The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum


Visit The *EVEN NEWER* Barrow-Downs Photo Page

Go Back   The Barrow-Downs Discussion Forum > Roleplaying > Elvenhome
User Name
Password
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


 
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-18-2006, 09:14 PM   #241
Alcarillo
Shadow of the Past
 
Alcarillo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minas Mor-go
Posts: 1,032
Alcarillo has just left Hobbiton.
Gárwine dined on breakfast alone in his room, but kept the door open so he could be first to know of the injured boy's condition. He was probably attacked when traveling through the city at night, Gárwine thought, and once he was beaten senseless, robbed. And what with the likes of Larswic's sons loitering outside at night, Gárwine couldn't help but feel that the boy should've been a bit more prepared. But then again, he could be new to Edoras. And country life is very different than town life. He remembered his life in Wilfrid's tiny village: serene and safe, though at times very dull.

Gárwine returned to thinking about the wounded boy, and Larswic's sons. It was not impossible for them to have attacked the boy. They were near the same age, were they not? And the sons' midnight laughter could just as easily have been about freshly robbed coin as about a lewd joke.

That's ridiculous, Gárwine thought, chasing the suspicions out of his head. The product of an over-imaginative mind looking for adventure, as my Uncle always said. Garwine finished his breakfast, and as he exited his room he remembered the horse fair was today. Hurrying down the hall, past the room with the injured boy, he found Eodwine near the cellars. Eodwine quickly gave Gárwine leave to visit the fair, and Gárwine bounded out of the inn, glad to be able to take a walk around town.

Gárwine walked through the streets, taking in all the marvels of the crowds. Street musicians played their music right in the road. Riders led their fine horses through the streets to the fairgrounds and the racetrack. People were everywhere. The entire Mid-Emnet had arrived for the occasion.

Gárwine headed to the racetrack first, to see the racers and their horses before the races began. He fingered the few bronze coins in his pocket, but wisely decided not to spend them gambling, remembering how Thornden had warned him against even playing dice. It's too bad Léof's foot still hurts, he thought. He would've liked to race his horse today.

He ambled past the racers, both because of the natural flow of the crowd and because the wanted to see the colorful pavilions and stalls built beyond the racetrack. There he saw innumerable shops selling treasures from all over Middle-earth. Such trade had grown rapidly since the end of the War, when the roads were made safer for the merchants. With four pennies Gárwine bought a little dwarf knife, straight out of the North. The stall-keeper said the best knives were all made by the dwarves, and Gárwine could not resist buying one. He continued browsing through the attractions. There was a group of acrobats tumbling across the ground, and more musicians, and more stalls selling their wares, and men on stilts in fanciful costumes. Wonder upon wonder from all across Middle-earth, and all here at the horse-fair.
Alcarillo is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 08:25 AM   #242
Kath
Everlasting Whiteness
 
Kath's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Perusing the laminated book of dreams
Posts: 4,510
Kath is a guest at the Prancing Pony.Kath is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Send a message via MSN to Kath
Having been running around on errands all morning Kara wasn't best pleased when Eodwine headed toward her, his mouth opening to issue another one. However, when she learnt that Saeryn was still refusing to leave off her work even for a bite to eat, she felt that this errand was particularly important. The girl obviously wanted to be left alone to work herself out of this mood, but she wasn't going to manage that if she was faint with hunger.

Kara headed back to the kitchen and noted that Eodwine had been right. A few rolls and some cheese were missing, as well as part of a loaf of bread. Shaking her head she mentally scolded the thieves, before realising that her absence most of the morning meant that anyone requiring a later breakfast than the one she had set out had no choice but to take what they needed. Thinking she ought perhaps to mention this to Eodwine, and suggest setting up a table that guests knew they were allowed to help themselves from, Kara collected a few small items, hoping that if the food was presented in a way that would make it easy to eat Saeryn would accept it. Some bread, cheese and slices of fruit were soon on a tray along with a cup of water and Kara headed back to the cellar.

As she reached the corridor she found Frodides hobbling down the stairs. The woman seemed to be in some pain still, but on catching sight of Kara she straightened up and removed any trace of a wince from her face.

"What are you doing!" Kara asked curiously. "Æðel said you were to stay in bed and off that leg for two more days yet."

"Bedrest doesn't suit me." Came the reply, more snappish than usual due to the pain being hidden. "I don't like to take boons from anyone and while I'm laid up like this I'm not working for my keep."

"Lord Eodwine said -"

"Never mind what he said my girl, it's me you'll be listening to, unless you really intend to give some poor soul yesterdays bread."

Following Frodides' eyes to the tray Kara saw that the bread she had picked up was indeed old, and very likely stale. Blushing she berated herself for being so distracted as not to notice and looked up, expecting to find disapproval in the old cook's eyes, but instead finding a quiet amusement.

"No one would have noticed so don't you worry. Just let me be of use. Help me along to the kitchen and I'll run through what we've got and make sure this doesn't happen again."

Kara still hesitated. Æðel knew what she was talking about, especially with these lessons she was having now, and it didn't seem right to go against what she said. On the other hand, Frodides would be happier with something to do, and it would mean there was always someone in the kitchen when Kara had to leave it. Finally agreeing she put the tray down on the stairs and helped the woman to her old haunt. Leaving her sat comfortably in a chair with her leg propped up on a stool and a stick in her hands that she might whack the knuckles of anyone trying to take anything, Kara headed back out again.

Carefully making her way down the cellar steps with the tray in her hands she found Saeryn still scrubbing away at the floor, seemingly the same patch she had been doing moments earlier.

"How long does one bit of floor take to clean?" She commented, intending it to be a joke, but from the look Saeryn gave her it didn't appear that she had taken it as such, and from the look she was giving the food it didn't look as though she was going to give much consideration to that either.

"I'm sorry if you don't wish to eat." Kara cut in before Saeryn could speak. "Lord Eodwine asked that I bring you something and it isn't much, just a little bit of food that will help you keep going if you intend to do this all day. Most of our guests have gone now and Frodides is watching the kitchen so I may take my mid-morning snack with you if you don't mind."

Gathering her skirts she sat down on the bottom step and placed the tray in between her and Saeryn. Taking a piece of bread from the tray she bit into it and then looked at Saeryn inquiringly, silently asking if she intended just to watch or to join her.
Kath is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 09:30 AM   #243
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
 
Feanor of the Peredhil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: perpetual uncertainty
Posts: 5,956
Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via MSN to Feanor of the Peredhil
After checking the Lèoðern for injuries at her fall, Degas allowed himself to be led away, his mind still connected to the music just as his hand was to the enraptured little girl beside him. While the musician had played a few off notes, Degas doubted that any but a practiced ear had noticed. He spotted a hiccup of breath as the man played, his well-experienced eye recognizing a hidden cough when he saw one; the player was ill. The instrument, though, that was of high quality, and that was what caught Degas's eye. He'd spotted a maker's mark just below the mouth piece and wondered at how its owner had acquired it. Degas's own was by the same maker and he'd gone through much to secure it, tracking down the reclusive craftsman and convincing him more through words and play than through gold, that he was worthy of the flute. Degas wondered if the people now surrounding him realized the worth of the instrument they had just heard, or the talent of the man who played it. His own fingers now itched to dance on his own pipes, or to pick a melody from a harp. Music he'd not played in weeks played through his head. He remembered late nights in Gondor's halls as he'd entertained his fellow lords and their ladies.

He was brought from his reverie by Lèoðern's excited giggle and a sharp intake of breath from Linduial. A full table of shimmering jewels set within delicate laces of gold and silver had caught their eyes. Degas picked up one necklace, a silver one set with emerald, and allowed the fine chain to fall across his fingers.

"What think you?" he asked Lin. "Does anything catch your interest?"

---------------------------------------------------

A dream. The words would not leave Saeryn's head. They began quickly to take on the rhythm of her scrubbing. I had hoped [scrub] to tell you my [scrub] dream last night. His words could not have tantalized her more if they had been the most irresistible sweets or promises a man could offer. [scrub] Intent to finish her job, she tried to push the words away, but Eodwine's voice filled her ears and his eyes filled her own. She was cold, hidden away in shadows. But the work needs doing, she told herself. [scrub] If I don't, someone else must. Why should they work while I play? Someone must work so that the young ones may escape into adventure for the day. Though she told herself this, she barely believed it. She could not understand her own stubborn refusal to let herself enjoy the fair. His dream.

Saeryn knew that Kara's kitchen was stocked. [scrub] She and the girl had talked over a small breakfast. Saeryn had been nearly unwilling to eat, not in the mood to take breaks or chat, but Kara had insisted and Saeryn was, after all, hungry... once she'd slowed down enough to notice. After Kara left, looking satisfied that Saeryn would not, at least, faint, Saeryn went back to work. Guests sought her out when they were in need... [scrub] she'd discovered it early, and appreciated the gesture. It saved her making rounds as often. Her job as hostess [scrub], keeping things running smoothly and caring for the household came too easily for her taste. She felt as though she were barely working. An oath sworn to her and a home to live in, food at every meal, a warm bed to sleep in, and nearly nothing asked in return. Saeryn felt unworthy, and she was uncertain why.

She'd been given all rights and privileges in the Folde with Fenrir, but she had paid for them several times over with sacrificed privileges of other sorts. Here, in Eodwine's home, she could do any sort of thing she desired. The freedom frightened her, almost, and she set her own limits to keep from merely floating away upon the plains breeze.

I had hoped to tell you my dream last night.

She picked up her cleaning supplies, standing and stretching. Her knees ached and her nose burned from the smell of the harsh soap. Her hands felt raw and looked red in the flickering lamp light. She wanted to hear that dream.

Climbing the stairs carefully, she fought herself for a moment. Decision made upon the top step, she finished her chore, stepping out the back door of the building and tossing her filthy washwater away and placing all else wheresoever it belonged. Disappearing into her room for a moment, she unbelted her breeches and unbuttoned her shirt quickly, removing her damp and dirty clothes. She folded them carefully and set them aside to wash, standing in thought for a moment. A dream... The fair...

She remembered her favorite gown as she washed, one light and scarlet and delicately embroidered with black and gold thread. Curls of careful stitching decorated the dipping neckline. She pulled it over her head and followed it with a soft black corset, fumbling with aching fingers to secure its ties. She untied her hair, finger combing her plait loose. Standing in the warm sunlight she blinked the darkness away from her eyes. She rubbed her cheeks briskly, waking herself to the daylight, and pulled a pair of soft slippers on. She closed her door quietly and went to the kitchen. Much the cook already, Kara tended to know more of each person's whereabouts than did even Saeryn.

"He's gone to the fair." the girl said, seeing Saeryn. She made no comment of the swift change, of the loose curls or the slender waist accented by the gown. Saeryn thanked her, making her way through the halls to the door. She wanted to hear that dream.

Opening the door, she blinked away the sudden burst of sunlight. People were everywhere. How could she ever find him in this crowd?

Last edited by Feanor of the Peredhil; 04-19-2006 at 02:02 PM.
Feanor of the Peredhil is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 10:27 AM   #244
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede

The young woman remained as her mother walked slowly back into the house. When she disappeared within, Rose turned and addressed in a most business like manner.

“You have the advantage of me. I do not know your name, sir,” she said. “And from the new lord, too? Is that so?” Even as Thornden nodded in consent, she put out her hand. “Might I see your papers of authority to transact his business for him?”

Thornden smiled at her quick thought. She was no simpleton. He complied at once and took out a rolled parchment. He undid the string of leather around it and handed it to her for her perusal. She unrolled it and glanced over it, studied the signature and handed it back.

“It is unexpected, I know,” Thornden said as he took the paper back, “but he being a new Eorl needs the coin now rather than later. He is building the Mead Hall, and he hopes to see many of his freeholders in time there. You, and your mother and father, are welcome, of course. He also, to show his thanks for receiving the coin due, wants to know anything you would ask of him, in favor or as some judgement of law, as is necessary.”
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 11:39 AM   #245
JennyHallu
The Pearl, The Lily Maid
 
JennyHallu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: In my luxury Barrow, snuggled up in a pile of satin pillows, eating fresh fruit.
Posts: 1,686
JennyHallu has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to JennyHallu Send a message via AIM to JennyHallu Send a message via MSN to JennyHallu Send a message via Yahoo to JennyHallu
"Does anything catch your interest?"

Lin blushed, looking at the glittering gems sparkling in Degas' hands to avoid meeting his eyes. "They're all beautiful," she murmured. "Something like this, though--this would reflect the color of your sister's hair and bring the warmth out of her skin." She held up a slim golden chain with a delicate pendant of rubies and filagree sparkling in the bright spring sunlight. "The red is a good color for her."

Lin was a trifle confused. For the last few minutes, as they'd wandered out of hearing distance of the flautist, Degas had seemed a little...detached, perhaps? Like his thoughts were elsewhere. The old musician had had a young girl dancing for him, a pretty enough lass...Lin's thoughts turned to Saeryn's stories of her brother: a bit wild, and somewhat of a womanizer, however gentlemanly he seemed to her now. Had he noticed the dancer? Was that what he was thinking about now, that disturbed his fascination with her so much? Lin wracked her brain, trying to call up details about the girl she'd dismissed earlier, sure that her hold on Degas' heartstrings was firm. A whirl of golden hair, flirtatious blue eyes, a voluptuous, supple body that enticed the men watching her with glimpses of white skin and athletic movement. There was no way Degas wouldn't have noticed her.

Would he try to find the lass before the fair was out? She was barely able to resist his charm...the dancer would think him a fine conquest. Lin was sure that Degas had forgotten all about her, and she turned away silently, trying not to show her hurt. Degas was bent over the jewelry, Lèoðern's little hand held firmly in his large one. Lèoðern was fine, Lin didn't need to help watch her.

Lin wandered off towards the next booth, brooding, the threat of angry tears hiding in her eyes, trying to destroy her enjoyment of the day. She recovered a little of her good cheer a few booths further, where she sifted through a pile of fine-crafted toys and bought a cloth doll with a finely carved wooden head and hands and a delicate painted face. Lèoðern would love it, and Lin tried to push her jealousy aside in anticipation of the child's excited face when she presented her with the toy later. She began to make plans of little dresses she could make from fabric salvaged from the green dress she'd been wearing when the wall collapsed, and continued to wander through the booths, admiring flowers and fabrics, buying herself a few girlish silk ribbons and yards of soft and fine navy blue cotton fabric and silver thread, thinking of the lovely dress she could make from it.

She stopped, finally, at a booth selling weaponry, looking over the selection of steel blades. Her father had taught her how to select a good knife when she'd come to him once asking advice for a gift for her brothers, and she began to cheerfully test the balance of a collection of small daggers laid out on the tabletop. The merchant, a bulky, bearded man Lin immediately pegged as not just the seller of the blades but also the smith, appeared almost magically in front of her, quickly and expertly homing in on a customer who was clearly lacking neither knowledge nor coin. Politely, he took the simple blade she had been examining from her fingers.

"My lady," he greeted her. "Surely ye don't require such things for y'self?"

Lin looked up at him, startled, but quickly recovered. "No, Master Smith, but as a gift for a friend."

The man nodded confirmation of her assessment of his role. "But what sort of friend, Lady? A father or a brother? A lover mayhap?"

Lin flashed the man a cold look. "You are too forward, goodman. But...I suppose he would be a suitor, more than anything else. I hope."

"Sorry, Lady. My apologies. I let me mouth run away with me brain, sometimes. Now wait..." He paused, looking at her carefully. "Ye're that cousin of the Queen, Linduial from Dol Amroth or some sech place, bain't ye, Lady? If ye don't mind me askin'?"

Lin nodded acknowledgement, and the man leaned down, rummaging under the table on which he'd displayed his goods.

"Now, Lady, it's a right honor to meet ye. There's some as don't like the Queen so much, her being a furriner an' all, but ye'll never hear me be called one o' 'em. She's a right fine lady, beggin' your pardon." He straightened up, lifting easily a heavy box. "But this be me first year to the Fair, see? I've got a name to build up, and I must have some good tales to bring home to my good wife. Selling a blade to the cousin of the Queen, now that's something to build a reputation on, right there, if ye take me meanin'. But none of those common things for a fine Lady like ye be, even if ye're just goin' to give it to a lad who bain't be deservin' of sech a lovely Lady."

The smith paused for a moment, lifting lthe lid, and pulling out five knives, and five daggers. Lin instantly could see that these were of a finer quality than any else he had displayed, and the pride the man had in them was evident. One in particular caught her eye, and she lifted it in her hands. The ivory handle was inlaid with silver and fine stones in a careful geometric pattern, smooth in her hand, though clearly designed for more mannish fingers. The double-edged blade, eight inches long, was of folded steel, catching the light in random patterns skittering across the surface. It was razor sharp and perfectly balanced, and the smith sighed when it became clear that this was the one that most interested her.

"Ach, Lady, ye have good taste. That's me masterwork, there."

"It's beautiful. How much?"

He named a figure and Lin paid it without blinking, high though it was. It took almost all the coin she had left in her purse, and she turned to return to Degas and Lèoðern.

They were nowhere to be seen. Lin knew she had wandered away while she shopped, but...she tried to retrace her steps, but soon became aware that she was lost and alone, and a little frightened. Get back to the Hall! she told herself. You're lost, and that way people can find you!

She pushed her way through the crowds, but her charmed passage earlier was only a memory. Men were entering the fair, not leaving it, and while she made it, against a strong current, into the city, she soon found herself forced into an area she was not familiar with. The men near her leered at her rudely, and a few even tried to reach out to touch her, though she pushed herself away from them in terror quickly approaching panic. She became increasingly aware of how well she was dressed, of the delicate jewelry she wore without ever thinking about it, the noble carriage that usually served her so well. She didn't have the experience to realize that was all that kept her safe was that unconscious bearing.

Finally she saw a man walking towards her who was well-dressed, and had the same air of command she associated with the nobility. She ran to him in tears, gasping out her story and her fear. The man didn't introduce himself, but repeated her own name back to her.

"Linduial? Of Dol Amroth?" he asked.

She nodded.

"You poor woman," he said, taking her elbow and leading her off the street. "It is so fortunate you thought to speak to me. Very fortunate." He made a gesture to someone behind her, and Lin suddenly picked up on a tone of insincerity in his voice.

With a scream, she whirled around, the blade she'd bought for Degas somehow making its way into her hand. She swung it wildly, and was both gratified and sickened to hear one of the three men advancing on her curse in pain, and see the flash of blood on her knife, before a blow from behind knocked her to the ground, unaware of her surroundings.

"Pity, Lady." The man she'd gone to for help stood over her body, signalling his men to lift her and her basket. "Not very gentlemanly, having to knock you out."

The men asked what they were to do with her things, and their leader told them to leave them and her be. "Carry her to our lodging, boys...and don't nick anything, not even that pretty knife. She's cousin to the Queen, boys. We'll be able to buy as many knives like that as we wish, with her ransom, and then we'll return her with all her things, safe and sound."

He chuckled. "More or less."
JennyHallu is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 01:44 PM   #246
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede

‘Who is that, Mother Cwen?’ Mayda had come in to get a pitcher of cool tea to bring out to the garden where she and Ardith were working. She stood in the doorway to the Hall, wiping her hands, wet from washing at the well, on the towel tucked into her apron. Cwen, she could see, was brewing up a large pot of tea and had set some sweet biscuits on a plate.

‘Why that’s some fellow from the new Eorl. Eodwine, isn’t that it?’ She nodded her head at her remembering, turning her bright blue eyes to Aesc’s wife. ‘And Mayda, dear, he seems pleasant enough and of an age, too. And here he is in a good position already with the Eorl.’ Cwen hummed a little to herself as she placed a bowl of sugared nuts in a little bowl. ‘He’s a man with prospects, I’m thinking.’ She got down a dark wooden tray and handed it to Mayda, putting atop it the tea pot, mugs, a little crock of honey, and the sweets. ‘Let’s just set up under the oak out front. The trestle table is still out there from yesterday’s lunch and so are the benches.’

Mayda raised a brow at all this fuss. It was more hospitality than one generally offered to someone one didn’t know. A cool dipper of water from the well perhaps . . . Cwen’s next comment set it all into place for her.

‘And he doesn’t have the married look about him, now does he? But we shall need to find out somehow if he is spoken for.’

When she’d got the tea and such to the table and Mother Cwen seated to her satisfaction on a comfortable cushion, Mayda ran back to the garden to give her news to Willim’s wife, Ardith. ‘Wash up,’ she finished with. ‘Mother Cwen would like us present. I’ll send little Alfrid to fetch Father Wistan and Aesc from the far field.’ She grinned at Ardith. ‘And I’ll tell him to ride slowly.’

----------

Across the yard, Rose noted the bustle of activity from hall to oak tree. She frowned, wondering what her mother and Mayda were doing. Her eyes fell back to the paper Thornden had given her. It seemed well enough in order, though she wondered at the fact that the new Eorl had not put his seal on it. Her father always used his old ring that had passed down from father to son in Wistan’s family.

‘. . . but he being a new Eorl needs the coin now rather than later. He is building the Mead Hall, and he hopes to see many of his freeholders in time there. You, and your mother and father, are welcome, of course. He also, to show his thanks for receiving the coin due, wants to know anything you would ask of him, in favor or as some judgment of law, as is necessary.’

She smiled at him, raising her brow slightly at his little speech. ‘And a fair enough man seems this Lord Eodwine, if he offers such a boon. However, Master Thornden, I think we, or that is you, will have to wait a little for my father to come in from the field to transact your Eorl’s business. I’m sure mother has sent for him. But come, I see mother has set up a little tea and sweets most likely for you while you wait.’

The Hall’s well was on their way to the oak tree. She offered him the opportunity to freshen up from the dusty road, then laved her own hands, wiping them on the length of toweling that hung from the well’s little roof.

Rose could see Mayda just coming back from some errand as she and Thornden approached the table. And Ardith was with her. The women smiled as they saw her in a most satisfied way.

‘Have a seat, good sir!’ Cwen called out to Thornden as he drew near. ‘Mayda’s just sent her son to fetch my husband for the business you have with him. I thought we’d just have a little refreshment here out under the oak on this nice spring day.’ She signaled for Rose to pour the tea and passed the plate of sugared biscuits to Thornden herself.

‘It’s a rare treat for someone from round the King’s Hall to come our way. So welcome, welcome, I say.’ She pushed the little bowl of nuts toward him. ‘I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I don’t know much of this new Eorl. Though I’m sure he must be a fine man for the King to have raised him up so. What is he like? Can you tell us? And his wife, would I know her?’
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 05:33 PM   #247
Taralphiel
Ghost Prince of Cardolan
 
Taralphiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Swan Wood
Posts: 649
Taralphiel has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via MSN to Taralphiel
Lys stirred slowly from his slumber. He looked down to see the blood had been cleaned from his face and body while he slept though his broken limbs were not touched.

'My boy...what has happened to you? Quite a spill...quite a spill...'

Lys had woken to find an aged man shuffling into his room, eyeing him and making noises through his pursed lips. Lys stared at him with eyes round in fear, and the old man grinned a little. He began to inspect his limbs, and Lys whimpered in pain. He shut his eyes tight, knowing he could do little but submit.

'Broken. Not good at all, young man...'

He must have been a Healer, for while his poking and jabbing hurt the boy, he felt a warm care and tenderness in his actions. The man produced jars of salves and creams, and began to dab them gently on the clean cuts, some of which were deep and needed bandages. Then he carefully bound the limbs so that the bones could begin to heal right. Despite how he tried to keep still and perfectly quiet, Lys let out a small groan as the man began to tug at his limbs to place them out straight. As a plot to distract him it seemed, the healer began to ask him questions.

'My name is Hrethel...' he began slowly "I am a Healer at Meduseld, though I think you have already gathered that much. What may I call you by?'

'Lys' he said slowly, staring up at the silver-haired Hrethel.

'Lys...good name, but short. What be the rest of it?'

'I...do not know to tell you, Sir...' he said politely, wincing a little as Hrethel began to tightly wind a bandage.

'No? Strange someone know not their own name! Do you remember how you got this way then, young Lys?' The mans face was warm, but inquisitive. Lys did not like being asked questions he had no answer for.

'I cannot tell you that either, Sir. I do not remember anything. Not my full name, nor my family. Not even how I got to be here, or who rescued me...'

The Healer paused, looking softly into the boys eyes. He gently placed one long, wrinkled hand on his lap, while the other stroked his chin.

'I have known a poor man, whom on a great fall has woken and remembered naught of his life. Very rare a happening, but still an explanation for your problem, my boy...'

Hrethel leaned over and gently coaxed the boys body forward so he could bandage his ribs and the cut on his head. He propped Lys' back up with pillows, and the boy looked carefully down at his chest. His body was peppered with brusies of blue and purple, and his ribs ached terribly. Hrethel would not tell him this, but the marks were not left by human hand - it seemed a blunt implement had left these signs. Whoever did this to Lys had done so with savage cruelty.

Hrethel stood up and looked the boy over once more. 'All I can say for the rest of your treatment is rest. Eat, drink and sleep aplenty will see you right. I shall send one of the lasses up with some bread for you. Your stomach asks louder than you can squeak!'

The old man chuckled, but before he could get far enough out of the door, Lys called out to him softly.

'Sir, I am most grateful to you for your kindness and care to me in your house...'

Hrethel laughed more at this 'Not my house, young man! Though now I beg your pardon, for I did not explain in full. You are in the Mead Hall of Lord Eodwine of Middle Emnet. When you are better, you shall work off what you owe to him, and not to me.'

Lys tilted his head slightly 'Then was Lord Eodwine the man that rescued me? I owe him more than I can repay.' Hrethel's brow furrowed 'I know not who brought you in, young Lys. That is a question to ask him. For now, you should get some more sleep!
He will return to check on you by days end, and you can question him how you like!'

Lys nodded and thanked Hrethel once more before he left. Easing himself down against the mattress, he found no small wonder in the Healer's work. His ankle was tighlty bound so the dull aching had left him, and the sweet smell of the creams on his cuts soothed him into a much more comfortable sleep.

Last edited by Taralphiel; 04-19-2006 at 10:16 PM.
Taralphiel is offline  
Old 04-19-2006, 08:27 PM   #248
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
Léof rode through the streets slowly now, taking note of the vendors and their wares, watchful for something his sister might like. Sometimes he stopped for a bit to watch entertainers perform; there were all sorts, and at any other time Léof would have found them delightful. Now, however, he grew ever more conscious of the groups of people swirling around, talking, laughing, enjoying themselves. Léof began to feel lonely. He would enjoy the fair so much more if only he had someone he could enjoy it with – Gárwine or Æðel would usually have been his choice of companions, but now… They had shown no remorse for him, only given him “it’s for your own good.” None of this was his fault; it was not up to him to make amends, was it?

More than that, he for the first time since arriving at the Mead Hall felt the waves of homesickness. Well, not homesickness, precisely, since he did not miss the situation he had left. Yet he missed his small comforting stable and the small cozy house and the old and fading memories of happiness and love. Most of all, he missed his sister Cerwyn. She had been his only friendly company for years; he knew her better than anyone. Three years his junior she might be, but she would understand his plight like none of them did.

He tried to shake off his bitterness and self-pity and only had partial success. He finally chose a particular booth that was not terribly busy and stopped there, eyeing the fine gems that had been made into jewelry.

“Trying to find something for a sweetheart?” asked the man there with a smile. “I have several nice pieces.”

“Actually, no, sir,” said Léof. “For my sister.”

“Ah.” The man could not wholly hide his surprise.

Looking the table over, one necklace in particular caught his eye: a several-faceted dark green jewel that reflected the sunlight faintly, strung on a light silver chain. It was not fine in the way Linduial’s jewelry was, nor elegant as something he would expect Saeryn to wear, but to his eyes quite beautiful, and just the color of his Cerwyn’s eyes. “How much for that?” asked Léof, fearing that the price would be far too high for his small budget. The man confirmed his fear by naming a sum more than twice what Léof could pay.

“Well… what if you took out the silver chain?” asked Léof. That could be easily replaced by a thin leather strip. But the figure the man gave him was still too high. Regretfully, Léof shook his head. “I haven’t got the money, sir.”

“Well, what about this over here?” asked the man, holding up a similar but not so fine lighter green jewel. Léof shook his head again. The other one fit his sister so perfectly. “No, I think I’ll just have to try somewhere else.” With a mournful glance at the necklace, Léof prepared to mount Æthel again.

“Now hold on there, lad,” the man said. “How much is it that you’re short by?” Léof told him, and the man thought for a moment. “I’ll give it to you,” he decided. “Without the silver chain, but I can give you a leather string if you like. Those come inexpensively enough.”

Léof broke out into a grin. “Yes, sir, and thank you.”

“You’re welcome, lad. Now here you go.”

Léof accepted his package and placed it securely in his pocket. With his spirits improved, he decided to make his way back down to the racetrack; the races would be starting soon and he intended to watch some before his chance came.
Firefoot is offline  
Old 04-20-2006, 03:40 AM   #249
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
"Where’s Leocsley?”

Larswic looked around him for the lad, wondering why he had wandered off. Leocsley sometimes wandered off alone at home, but he was quite a wary lad and he hadn’t expected him to do that in the unfamiliar city of Edoras. He looked towards the stables, squinting in the bright light to see into the shadows cast by the walls. As he looked, a sudden movement caught his eye. It seemed to be a horse and rider, racing off.

“Who the?”

“I saw him too,” said Wultheof, interrupting his father. “That’s the ostler, you know, the one I said who looked to be a born jockey?”

“The lad with the gammy leg?” Larswic strained to see where the lad had gone, but he had ridden out of the stables so swiftly he had quickly disappeared from sight down the lane that ran from the Mead Hall. “We have to try and find him at the fair. By the way he ride out of there, pound to a penny he’s gone to sign up for one of the races, and I’m not missing a chance of a good wager!”

Larswic smiled and felt for the pouch of gold in his pocket, imagining for a moment that it was twice, even thrice as heavy. He looked into the distance for a moment imagining new stallions he could buy, the fine and lavish wedding he might set up for his daughter one day, more acres of good grassland, the lush green turf cut by little streams.

“But we’ve got to find Leocsley!” came the voice of Wultheof, interrupting his father’s daydream.

“Find who? I’m here,” Leocsley walked up behind them and Wultheof jumped and spun round, glaring at his cousin. He had been thinking of whether to tell his father about Leocsley and his skiving off to talk to lasses. He wouldn’t get any coin for it, but his father might decide that Wultheof was the more reliable one, he might even give him some control over his cousin, make him his boss in some way. But he hadn’t decided if it was such a good idea yet, it didn’t feel quite right to him, but he knew it would make him feel better for a while.

Wultheof was a quick witted lad just like his father, and he was strong. He knew he would one day take over his father’s trade and land; that should have given him more than enough of a sense of his own status. He was at times quite bullish about his position as Larswic’s eldest son, especially when pushing around one of his three younger brothers or his sister, and since his mother had died, there was often no hand at home to check him as the indulgent aunts who looked after them all usually spoiled him. When his father was away, he was the head of the family.

But then there was Leocsley, who was always on his mind. A bit taller than him and darker, and despite not being as strong, the lasses seemed to find Leocsley interesting. He was better with the bow of course, and sometimes just a bit too quiet and secretive. Wultheof liked being able to have all the say for the pair of them, but Leocsley seemed to know everything about everyone, and he was so quiet, nobody seemed to miss him when he sneaked off. Even his own father seemed to think Leocsley was the reliable one, but it was just that they didn’t notice when he wasn’t there. On the other hand, everyone always noticed the moment that Wultheof disappeared, and he thought he couldn’t get away with anything, and felt resentful.

“Where’ve you been?” said Larswic, looking at his nephew from under his eyebrows. He looked quite threatening when he did this, and he knew one of his glances was usually enough to keep the lads in check.

“I’ve been behind the fence, watching yon ostler riding out the gate. He’s saddled up for the races, I’m sure of it!” Leocsley had cut down any chance of Wultheof giving him away; he looked at his cousin with a look of triumph.

“Well, come on then, no time to lose!” said Larswic, striding off ahead of them. The two lads looked at each other warily, and as they passed into the lane, they heard the faint sound of a girl giggling.
Lalwendë is offline  
Old 04-20-2006, 08:56 AM   #250
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away -- Wistan's Farm - Dunstede

Thornden was half inclined to refuse Rose’s invitation to go take the refreshment that her mother was putting out, but there was little else to do until the father got back, and it wouldn’t be polite to refuse, really. He was grateful to stop at the well and wash his hands and face before being led to the trestle table set out beneath a great, spreading oak. There he was invited to take a seat and as he was passed the biscuits and poured tea, Cwen asked him questions.

“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I don’t know much of this new Eorl. Though I’m sure he must be a fine man for the king to have raised him up so. What is he like? Can you tell us? And his wife, would I know her?”

“He is not married,” Thornden said. He lifted his hand to accept the mug of tea that Rose offered him, giving her a swiftly ‘Thank you’ and a brief lifting of his eyes before returning to Cwen’s questions. “I am not sure that he has any intentions to be. He is a good man, though. Quite worthy of being the new Eorl. I met him soon after the king raised him to that position. We’re in the midst of rebuilding the Mead Hall and he carries himself remarkably with everything that has to go on. However, a catastrophe happened not a week ago which changed things rather suddenly. I can’t say he was too pleased with that, but he bore himself well.”

“What happened?” Cwen asked. Thornden didn’t know if it was out of genuine curiosity, or simply for something to keep the conversation going.

“A wall fell over,” he answered simply. The four women looked at least mildly surprised. “We had taken the great roof off,” Thornden explained to them, “and a tarp covered it. But that day it rained, and with the extra weight of the water and no roof to help support it up, not to mention the mud that it caused at the foot of it, the wall simply fell in. Fortunately, only one person was hurt, and she wasn’t even wounded too badly at that. But I can’t imagine what Eodwine could have been thinking. What is a man to think when his walls start falling over? But, as I said, he appeared to do well. Never lost his head or his temper with anyone, or anything of the like.

“He’s very kind to everyone. This morning, as I was leaving the city, I found a boy. . .” Thornden paused to consider what all he should tell of this boy. He took a bite as he thought and then as he chewed decided to leave the extent of the damage done to Lys’s body out of the story. “He was rather badly hurt, and I carried him back, and Eodwine was there at once and took him under his own hand. He sent me off, I should have liked to stay, but I had my work to do.

“Then there are many different people at the Mead Hall that he’s greeted and brought in under his wing, you might say. Our ostler, now, he’s just a boy, practically. Came to him weary and hungry with traveling and looking for someplace to work and earn a living, and Eodwine agreed to let him take the job as an Ostler for thirty days to see how he did, and if he was satisfied with the stables and horses, he would be his Ostler for good.

“He’s a good man. Wise and considerate, and willing to accept most everybody who comes, and he’ll help anyone who needs it. Perhaps that’s not necessarily always the best way for business, but he’ll learn that in time without giving up his better traits.”

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-24-2006 at 02:29 AM.
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-20-2006, 03:20 PM   #251
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
The writ Eodwine had placed in Thornden's hand had brought home the need for a sign, some thing form middle earth that would mean 'Eodwine, Eorl of Middle Emnet'. He meandered through the grounds of the fair, pleased with his lack of fame, for now, as folk recked him not as their new eorl but as yet another freeholder from some place far or near. He sought no fame until he was ready. What, pray, shall make you ready, O Eorl Eodwine the Unready? He did not know.

But his dream kept pulling his thought from the fair's gaeity and the eorl seal-to-be. What does one do with dreams? Remembered dreams? Folklore had it that dreams were from the gods, and maybe so - but he had learned from no less than Elessar of Gondor about the gods.

It had been as King's Messenger that Eodwine had had right to speak to the King of Gondor, who, being a humble man for all his greatness, looked with a kindly eye upon Eomer's messenger. He beckoned him to walk along the heights night to sunset. Aragorn, son of Arathorn, he had named himself, and 'Strider' he'd confided with a twinkling eye. Stories there were to be told about a name like that, and Eodwine had hoped to hear them some day. He had over the years, more than he felt he'd a right to, but such things had turned him into a student of the War of the Ring that had sent him to the Shire just last year.

On that walk with Elessar, Eodwine had learned of Manwë and Varda and all the great Valar, how they were gods to be sure, but angels of Eru the One. Beyond Eodwine's thought was that One. He clung rather to Manwë, lord of the winds whose messengers were the great Eagles and Hawks. High in the sky they flew, saw all that passed both good and ill, and brought word back to their lord in Valinor.

Eodwine gave thought, now, that he, Eomer's former messenger, was like to Manwë's Hawks; not the Eagles, for that would be reaching too high. So a hawk could be his seal, or a part of it, for it seemed not enough somehow.

Eodwine had found his way to the race track. It was good to see horses and riders, the very soul of Rohan, moving together as if they made two-headed creatures that could run fast and think with a man's thought how to run if not faster, then find some way to reach the goal before others. The out and out races were enjoyable enough, but Eodwine was always drawn to the other skills, for speed was not all that was needed among the Eorlingas. There were the tests of fleetfootedness, with gates and fences and waterholes scattered here and there over a cantering course. Elsewhere were mock battles, warriors wielding sticks in place of swords, their warhorses proving their mettle or not. Then there was this new game with long poles, and a ball the riders smacked toward one goal or another. The horses that were most willing to do their masters' wills served best, and light as cats on their feet.

Elessar had told Eodwine a tale of cats. Some queen, of Beruthiel, Eodwine though he recalled. It made him grin. Then his brow rose as he saw in his mind a hawk with a cat's head. Now there was an odd thought! Nevertheless, it seemed to Eodwine that his seal would have a cat-headed hawk on it. But that was not enough either. And now his thought was stuck as he tried to ferret out, Why a cat's head? He did not know, but contented himself with watching the horses and riders with the poles.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-20-2006, 03:56 PM   #252
Celuien
Riveting Ribbiter
 
Celuien's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Assigned to Mordor
Posts: 1,794
Celuien has just left Hobbiton.
The jewels on the table were beautiful, glistening over Degas' fingers. Lèoðern was filled with questions. What was that big green stone? Or that blue one? Or the red one, glinting like fire on the corner of the table? But despite their lovely shine, the precious gems couldn't distract Lèoðern from the music she heard earlier.

"Do you think he'll play again?" she asked Degas of the musician.

Degas didn't know, but promised to play Lèoðern an air later, at which statement she clapped her hands in delight. She turned to voice her excitement to Linduial, but found she wasn't there.

"Where's Linduial?" she asked.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Garstan labored far into the morning, his son at his side. While young - still too young to take on the tasks of an apprentice - the boy had shown talent in his father's craft, and Garstan delighted in his growing skill. The sound of their hammers and chisels made a clanking duet in the Hall yard.

Garstan's chisel rested. His piece, a rounded end piece for the growing chimney they now labored upon, was complete. Garmund's simpler portion, a plain stone for the middle of the row, soon followed. He handed it to his father with anticipation, a searching look on his face. Would his work meet approval?

Garstan smiled and praised the boy for his work while gently pointing out places where the finishing of a groove might have been smoother, and curve more exactly formed, and demonstrating how to make the improvements as he corrected the carving. But the flaws were very slight. The work was good. Garmund would make a fine stoneshaper one day. Garstan had certainly not been as able at the same age. Perhaps the son would outshine the father in time. And wisely, Garstan was thankful for his son's gifts.

Garstan stepped to the side and watched his son place the completed stones into place. Then they stepped back together to look at their work. The chimney was nearly finished. Only a few small end pieces to connect the chimney to the rebuilt wall were left to be done. And they couldn't do that until the carpenters finished their work, as the stones had to be properly fitted to the wooden beams. The carpenters were behind. There was nothing more to do until the carpenters completed the woodwork, or until Lord Eodwine turned his sketches for other improvements to the Hall to more solid plans.

Garstan thought of the fair. Lèoðern was there. He knew that Garmund would like to see the horses run too, though (responsible child that he was!), he would not ask to go until he knew that their work was done. And perhaps they would meet Lord Eodwine there to give him a report of their progress. The damaged cart had not slipped Garstan's mind either. Maybe they would find a wheelwright at the fair with whom they could barter for repairs.

"Well, my boy. I'm thinking that we've finished here for now. And that you've earned a reward for a job well done! Would you like to join your sister at the fair?"

Garmund eagerly accepted the idea, and the two set off for the fair.
Celuien is offline  
Old 04-20-2006, 04:51 PM   #253
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
 
Feanor of the Peredhil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: perpetual uncertainty
Posts: 5,956
Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via MSN to Feanor of the Peredhil
Saeryn greeted those she passed, speaking kind words to elderly women on door steps as they stitched their rips and tears in the warmth of the sun, listening interestedly to the bustling voices of the crowd. She met with several townsfolk that she had come to know and blushed at their praise of her gown, having only ever seen her in men's garb. She walked alone through the crowd, standing tall, her eyes ever roaming for Eodwine.

"Saeryn, Saeryn!" a small boy ran to her, hugging her about the legs. She ruffled his messy golden hair and spoke softly to his mother, thanking her for the sweet rolls she had shared the day before.

"Have you seen Lord Eodwine?" Saeryn asked curiously. The woman was a veritable mine of information if one knew enough to ask. Living as near to the middle of the city as could be, she often knew the local news before the King's messengers even had heard it.

"Yes, yes, Lady, I spotted him off that way, a look in his eye and all." The round woman's pink cheeks, burned lightly from the day's sun, moved as she smiled a curious smile. "Lost him, have you?"

"So terribly difficult to look after, lord of halls." Saeryn jested back. "A look, you say?"

"Oh yes, Lady, and he looked right thoughtful. Like chewing on a tough bit of meat right in his head, if you'll take my meaning. I last saw him wandering toward the horses, dear, if you mean to follow."

"I do, and thank you, Ma'am Verithy." Saeryn bent down, carefully detaching the little boy from her leg. Handing him a sweet, she said "May your day be as excellent as your desserts, Mistress. And you have a good day as well, little master."

He grinned a gap-toothed smile as Saeryn re-entered the shifting mass of people. She let the crowd carry her until she heard tell-tale winnying over the shouts of men clustered close on a hot day. Horse sweat and hay and mud and warm men scented the air.

A familiar form met her vision. Saeryn looked him over, eyes lingering on his broad shoulders and the curve of his jawline. He looked toward the horses, unaware of her. She moved through the crowd between them with an easy grace, stopping just next to him.

"Any riders of special talent?" she murmered eventually.
Feanor of the Peredhil is offline  
Old 04-21-2006, 07:59 AM   #254
JennyHallu
The Pearl, The Lily Maid
 
JennyHallu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: In my luxury Barrow, snuggled up in a pile of satin pillows, eating fresh fruit.
Posts: 1,686
JennyHallu has just left Hobbiton.
Send a message via ICQ to JennyHallu Send a message via AIM to JennyHallu Send a message via MSN to JennyHallu Send a message via Yahoo to JennyHallu
The hall, which had been feeling uncomfortably crowded in the last few days, cleared out quickly. Marenil could hear Kara puttering about in her kitchen, the rhythm of Garstan and his son working in the great Hall, and Aeðel, busily caring for the boy Thornden had found earlier, but everyone else seemed to have gone to the Fair. Marenil had no complaint--it had been hard, these last few days, to deal with his grief while surrounded and hemmed in by so many people.

And in his room...well, there was quiet, and peace...but too much space. Marenil could see only how comfortable Enna and he would have found that room, together, and now he felt he should move to more bachelor quarters. It was the work of only a few minutes to return his meager possessions to his small chest and moved them down the stairs, though he was thankful the young healer was preoccupied while he did it.

He moved everything into a small empty room near Garwine's, and looked over the narrow single bed and short dresser with satisfaction. No fancy chair, no fancy wardrobe...just what he needed, and no more. He put things away quickly: clothes folded in the dresser, his boots under the edge of the bed, his cloak hung over one of the peg hooks on the back of the door. His pillows he placed back against the wall, so the bed could be used as a couch during the day.

Pleased with the closeness of the little room, he walked outside into the courtyard, stretching, and settled himself into an old chair from the Great Hall he'd snuck out of storage and onto the lawn the day before. It was a good day for quiet pursuits, despite the human noise from the fair that reached even this far into the city. People rushed to and fro in the road before the Hall, and Marenil settled back to watch them, warm sunshine soon lulling him into a comfortable doze.

"Eh, what?" He shook himself awake at the touch of a hand on his shoulder. A youngish man wearing the sign of the White Horse stood before him uncertainly. "What's the matter, now? May I help you?"

"I was hoping you're the man I was looking for. Master Marenil, head of Farlen's household in Dol Amroth?"

"Aye, that'd be me."

"My name is Erkenbrand, of the house of the King. I am one of his messengers. I have a letter for you." The man handed Marenil a thick bulky missive, sealed with blue wax and Farlen's seal. Marenil took it and looked back up at the man.

"Erkenbrand, eh? Are you the one in all those stories from the War?"

The man laughed. "No! No, the Marshal I certainly am not, though I've met him. Surely you've noticed how great men seem to leave namesakes in their wake like lesser ones leave debts. You should see how many Lothwens, Gimlis and some such have sprung up in the past few years. Even saw a Gimliwen once." The man saluted Marenil with a smile and walked off with a firm brisk step Mar's stiff, old bones envied very much indeed.

He opened the letter with a vague sense of dread. It seemed nothing but bad news had been filling his letters lately, and he didn't much look forward to the next one. A quick scan showed him it was indeed from his lord, and that Linduial had spent far too much of her coin in getting the news of his ill-health to her father. He'd scold her for it later...his doings were hardly worth that much money or urgency--but his musings quieted as he read more closely.

Fifteen minutes later, Marenil lowered the letter with a sigh and stood up. Free...all oaths held filled many times over. The bulk had been from a new signet ring, this identical to the Lord's own, as sign and reward for his long service: Farlen had sent instructions to a merchant based here whom he dealt with often to give Marenil a sum of money upon presentation of that ring. His son was steward now, and doing a good job of it apparently. He was not needed at home, Enna was gone...what was he to do now?

Last edited by JennyHallu; 04-21-2006 at 01:02 PM.
JennyHallu is offline  
Old 04-21-2006, 04:48 PM   #255
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
Léof had found a place where he could settle in to watch without bothering anyone and without being unduly noticeable. Mostly he watched the races, studying them to see if he might pick up any tips. He had begun to feel slightly out of his league; these horses were much finer and this was a much larger affair than any small-time races he had watched in his town. Perhaps he did not have a chance at all, and any hope he had of winning was naught but a fool’s hope. He turned his gaze to Æthel, off of whom he had dismounted – no point in putting extra stress on her when they would only be standing here for the time being – and saw an alert but not unnerved horse, expressing her quiet confidence in him. He knew his horse; let that be his trump card.

In between races, he paid more attention to the crowd, and he began to figure out the sorts of people – which ones were simply watching, then moving on; those who seemed interested in buying or selling; those who seemed to be there for the betting – when not watching a race, these often milled around the horses themselves, many of which were kept off to Léof’s left. A few cast glances Léof’s way, but mostly he was ignored as a bystander. In appearance, the pair truly was not particularly remarkable, especially not with Léof standing on the ground, his weight shifted almost wholly onto his good foot.

As the race immediately preceding his ended, Léof mounted up once more, feeling nervous twinges in his stomach. He didn’t really know what he was doing! But he nudged Æthel forward towards the paddock where he had seen all the other horses go before the races, both to warm up and to allow spectators a chance to see the horses. He told the man at the gate who he was and he allowed him through. Now was the most tenuous part of his plan; anyone from the Mead Hall who happened to be watching the races would see him now, might try to stop him. But slowly these aggravations died away as the calming effects of riding took over. He let his instincts and habits guide him as he rode around, watching the other riders and horses, trying to figure out which ones would be the real competitors, which ones seemed in tune with the jockey and which ones fought it. And suddenly, he smiled slightly. This was all racing, even racing at this level, was: an application of all the things he knew already. He nudged Æthel into a trot, feeling her respond to all his little signals and reading her like a book. He was ready for this, and what was more, so was she. Soon, very soon now. Let’s do this.
Firefoot is offline  
Old 04-21-2006, 09:54 PM   #256
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
Eodwine enjoyed this new game of polling on horseback. He tried to imagine how it might have been thought up. Some victorious and bored horsemen maybe used their swordflats to knock around an orc head. Eodwine swallowed. Enough of that kind of thinking. He'd done his share of killing in battle, but did not care to think on the more grisly aspects.

"Any riders of special talent?" Saeryn asked.

"Oh, some, yes," Eodwine replied. Then he did a double take. "What are you doing -" There she stood, leaning on the rail beside him, her bright hair flowing, dressed in a lovely scarlet gown that heightened the mystery of her. Eodwine forced his eyes back to the horsemanship. "- I mean," he smirked, "so you've put away your drudgery for the day?"

"For now at least."

He knew why she'd come. The dream. Eodwine allowed a half smile on the side of his face she couldn't see. He wasn't ready to open that up. Let her ask. They watched the horses and riders for a while. Eodwine for his part did not want to break the silence. He had his seal to think on. He thought of asking Saeryn what she thought, but decided against it; he wanted to do more thinking on it first. Figure out the cat head on a falcon body. He waited for the inevitable, curious how she'd approach it, laughing inside a little in anticipation. He hoped she wouldn't be disappointed or put off. Just because it might be an off-putting dream to, well, anyone.

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 04-21-2006 at 10:11 PM.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-22-2006, 07:43 AM   #257
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
 
Feanor of the Peredhil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: perpetual uncertainty
Posts: 5,956
Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via MSN to Feanor of the Peredhil
Saeryn tried not to shift from foot to foot with impatience. She waited for him to speak, to tell her about his dream. In the companionable but expectant silence, she began to think of the image she must present. Why had she worn a gown? There was no real reason for it... she was more comfortable in men's garb. She planned to work again when she returned. It was foolishness. And he didn't even notice. She thrust the last though away, blushing and hoping Eodwine did not see her cheeks glow in the sun.

She looked to the left, eyes searching for any distraction. In a nearby field, a race was soon to start. Her eyes swept the horseflesh, taking in size and whether or not the mounts seemed likely to do their masters' bidding. A small and familiar frame met her eyes.

"Oh!" she said softly, "Eodwine, it's Lèof!"

"What?" his thoughts were interrupted by her sudden speech.

"Eodwine, Lèof is racing. Come," she took his hand thoughtlessly in hers and began to tug him through the crowd lightly. "We should watch him."
Feanor of the Peredhil is offline  
Old 04-22-2006, 01:05 PM   #258
Anguirel
Byronic Brand
 
Anguirel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The 1590s
Posts: 2,825
Anguirel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
The words Manawyth had tentatively addressed to Thornden after his first song were, he hazarded, to an extent coming true. For many days the Dunlander had marshalled his strengths and tried to groom his mind into the habits of the Rohirrim. He talked little, but often listened gravely; practising when he was alone, and this manner his speech of the Mark was much improved; the grammar almost faultless, and only marred by the Dunlending lilt. At the same time, he paid attention to the Mead Hall's harp, carressing its strings. The instrument was the truest friend he had won here so far. When he tried it, he remembered his brother and another life, and wondered if the happiness of that life could grow again in this peaceful exile.

When he heard of the horse fair that was to occur, Manawyth took it as a sign from the gods of old. The black horse in the stable was one of his few remaining possessions that tied him to Dunland-perhaps the last. He had sold his sword days ago, on the evening he had sworn to renounce battle. He even cut his dark hair as much as possible alike to one of the Riders now.

So, yes. He would seize this day. He would go directly to the Fair and offer his steed for sale. It would not grieve him to lose it; it was a fine animal, a great stallion, but suspiciously fine; and it had links to a past he would rather have forgotten. To the stables he went with determination on his one-eyed face.
Anguirel is offline  
Old 04-22-2006, 01:26 PM   #259
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede


Rose saw to the topping of everyone’s mug; then, sat down herself, cradling her own in her hands. She sipped now and then, more to be sociable than because of thirst, her eyes roving about the little gathering.

Her mother sat at the head of the assemblage; much like a little queen, she thought, a light smile curving her lips. Mayda and Ardith sat one to either side of her, her ladies in waiting. They took in every word, and every nuance, too, she thought of how Thornden delivered his answers. There were so few visitors from beyond their farm that such a conversation would be savored for some time; told and retold in all its detail.

She wondered sometimes if her mother and sisters in law might have been happier had they lived closer by a bigger town. Rose could just imagine a weekly trip in to the marketplace, all nicely dressed, their baskets swinging from their hands. And not for that they could buy, really, but for the gossip and the news of other people’s lives. Oh, she loved them dearly, she chuckled to herself . . . but their ways were not hers. More to her liking was the company of her bees and their day to day business; or the goats and sheep as they vied for position and chatted in their own ways among themselves; the chickens, too, now, they were as much the busybodies as she needed; and even the pigs, those self satisfied beings who lived for their next meal and a good roll in the mud.

By the time she had finished her ruminations, the conversation had passed through a discussion of the weather, the crops and which fields they planned to use this year for oats while the others be planted with a resting crop for the soil, horse beans, most likely; one they’d plow under the next planting season to feed the land. Rose glanced at Thornden, wondering how much this detail might intrigue him, or was he one who could easily school his features to reflect interest. It mattered not, as long as her mother enjoyed her little time of hospitality and holding court.

A shift in subject was adroitly brought about, preceded by a refreshing of the mugs and another round of sweets.

‘And you, Master Thornden,’ began her mother, an inviting smile, an encouraging smile, on her face. ‘It seems that we’ll be seeing you now as you make your rounds of the new lord’s tenants. What might you tell us of yourself? Is your father’s family from Edoras? We have a number of friends we see there once or twice a year . . . might we know them?’

Mayda, all pretty smiles, continued Cwen’s line of inquiry. ‘And your goodwife, Master Thornden, will we meet her at Lord Eodwine’s Hall when we come to town? How proud she must be that her husband has gotten such a position! I know I would be were I in her place.’ She colored prettily, her eyes, gone wide for a moment. ‘Oh, here I’ve gone and got you married and perhaps that’s not so. Still, a young man as handsome as you must at least have someone for whom he is intended.’ She laughed a little as if to make it but a lightly given observation.

Rose choked on her swallow of tea at this last sentence. So this is what they were about! ‘Sorry!’ she gasped, noting the quick, arch look on Ardith’s face. ‘Please, carry on. I’m quite recovered now,’ she went on, clearing her throat of the wayward liquid.

And you’ll be sorry, too . . . she thought to herself as she glanced at Thornden quickly and then away. Especially sorry if they find you “available”!

Poor man! He looked, to her eyes, ever so much the fox among the hounds . . .
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #260
Alcarillo
Shadow of the Past
 
Alcarillo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minas Mor-go
Posts: 1,032
Alcarillo has just left Hobbiton.
Gárwine continued walking through the stalls and staring at all the wonders. He had slipped his new dwarven (or so it was advertised) pocketknife into a pocket where it would be safe jangling against his coins. He had little left to spend, so he just looked at the many precious items for sale with a hungry stare. It soon seemed to him that the races would begin soon. He stopped at a stall selling little flutes and harps to ask if the races had begun yet.

"Excuse me, sir?" he said. The stall-keeper turned around. He was a pleasant old man, smiling at everyone.

"Ah, yes, sir, what can I do for yah?" The old man's hands ran across the table, showing off his collection of little flutes. "Here for a flute? A harp? I've even got a few fiddles in, straight out of Gondor."

"Um, no thank you, sir, not at the moment," said Gárwine, though he would've liked a little flute to learn to play on. "What I really wanted to know was when the races would start."

"Ah, the races! They've begun already! I think the first race should be ending about now, or the second race beginning. I've got a lot of money riding on that one horse out of the Westfold, you know, the grey one, . . ." he snapped his fingers trying to remember the horse's name, but Gárwine was already away.

"Thank you, sir!" he called as he hurried away through the crowds. Garwine would tell Léof about how the races went back at the inn.

"Now, come back after the races!" he could hear the old man say behind him. "I've got a flute with your name on it!"

Gárwine hurried away, following the flow of the crowd towards the racetrack. He moved past the stalls and pavilions, and soon he entered the crowds at the racetrack. If Gárwine wanted to bet, now was the last time he could. He felt the few coins in his pocket, and decided right there he would gamble half of what money he had. What harm could come of it?

The racers were already lined up at the starting line. Gárwine pushed his way through the crowds to reach the fence, where he could get a good look at the horses. The grey horse the stall-keeper had mentioned stood near the end. He was a fine horse, but Gárwine thought his rider was too heavy to let the horse gallop at its quickest. Gárwine's eyes moved slowly down the line. Now, that horse looks a little like my Herefola! Except maybe a little smaller. Gárwine thought this omen was enough for him, and drawing five pennies from his pocket, made his way to the betting tables under a great white and red pavilion.

"Just five pennies? Tsk, tsk. I see where just dipping our toes into the betting pool today..." said the thin man at a table spread with piles of coins and papers. "And on which horse?"

"That one," said Gárwine pointing behind him, "The one that's a browny, chestnutty color, a little smaller than the others next to it."

The thin man stood to get a better look. "Ah, now I see it. It looks like the rider's a little young though. And he's obviously putting too much of his weight on one leg, like he's hurt. Are you sure you're betting on that one?"

"Yes, sir." said Gárwine, confident as ever.

"Okay, then."

Once the process of betting was finished, Gárwine ambled back to the fence. The race would start any moment, and Gárwine wanted to see how his rider would fare. Doubts formed in his head. A rider with a hurt foot? A small horse? How small? Gárwine leaned over the fence to get a view past the waving hands of the other spectators. The horse seemed small indeed squeezed between two great chargers. And sure enough, the rider was leaning too heavily on one foot and not the other. And he was rather young, too, barely a man. The face looked so much like Léof's, but he couldn't tell for sure, with the other riders getting in the way…

Last edited by Alcarillo; 04-22-2006 at 06:44 PM.
Alcarillo is offline  
Old 04-23-2006, 08:15 AM   #261
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
The lads followed closely in Larswic's wake as he made his way confidently through the milling crowds. Men made way for him and drew wives and daughters close as this man with the broad frame strode purposefully onwards. Nothing would get in his way. The lads hardly dared cast a glance at the brightly coloured stalls and amusements they passed; the crowds would have quickly closed back around them if they had not kept up with Larswic.

He had the sound of the bookmakers in his ears, the smell of excited horses ready for racing was on the air and his mind was filled with schemes and plans. Larswic went straight to the enclosure where the horses and riders sat warming up for the races. "Wait there," he said to the lads, ducking under a fence. "And do not move. Or else." He quickly disappeared in the throng of nervous horses, riders and men.

Larswic joined a group of people who listened as a list of horses and riders was read out over and over. This was the list of races and who would be competing. Some lingered, bookmakers who were making notes of who was taking part and mentally calculating odds as they tried to remember all the names. Smaller men and youths strained to hear the names of those they would be competing against and nervously looked at the ground as they attempted to decide on strategies for winning. Others, like Larswic, only lingered to hear the one or two names they were interested in and then made off again into the crowd.

He moved more cautiously now, as he moved deep into the area where the horses waited, and not just for fear of receiving a kick from one of the highly strung animals. He was looking for a horse he knew very well, one he had bred himself and had sold a year since. Then he spotted the pure black young stallion, stamping his hooves and shaking his tail in irritation as he was made to wait in the enclosure. This horse was the finest race horse Larswic had ever known, let alone bred himself. The price he had raised from selling him on had been enough to build his family a new home from scratch and buy a dozen more horses of good bloodstock. What was more, he retained a stake in anything the horse won. But this horse was so good, the odds were already shortened on him at every race he turned up at. Larswic had a plan and looked for the owner who was not far away, and the two men greeted each other with handshakes and hearty back slaps.

***

The lads had waited by the fence as Larswic had told them to. They had not forgotten their spat and though they were now distracted by all the excitement around them and were chatting excitedly about the races and the horses and the people that passed by, they did not look one another in the eye. Larswic knew as soon as he saw them that some kind of disagreement had passed between them. That he had not found them tussling on the floor or tormenting someone was enough to tell him something was up. Thinking quickly, he went into his pocket and pulled out a few small silver coins.

"These are for you two," he said, with a smile, looking at each lad from under his stern brows all the same. "I think you've earned a little pocket money, and not just for the work, but for keeping a keen eye on the local riders." He looked at Leocsley as he said this, as he was genuinely pleased that the lad had spotted that young ostler riding out. But he gave Wultheof a few more coins all the same. He would always favour his son.

"Spend them how you will, but I'm going to see a man about a horse!" he laughed, and nodded towards an area where men stood raised above the crowd on crates, waving white gloved hands madly about in the air.
Lalwendë is offline  
Old 04-23-2006, 11:06 AM   #262
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away -- Wistan's Farm - Dunstede

Thornden, unlike Rose, caught no hidden motive in Cwen's and Mayda's questions. They had asked at once of their new Eorl - why not be curious of him as well? They would, after all, (and providing Eodwine thought he worked well as steward) be meeting him at least four times a year. He had often heard of the curiosity of women, and he should have thought that sometimes they had reasons for such curiosity, but he didn't.

"I have no wife," he said, smiling again at Cwen's quick assumption of another match that wasn't. "And no," he added in answer to Mayda's questions. "I am not promised to any woman." He chose to ignore her rather blatant remark to his looks. "Doubtless if my mother or sister had any say in the matter at all, I would have been married years ago, but I avoided their whims and plans." Cwen, Mayda, and Ardith all smiled as one and Thornden wondered at the glance they all sent to one another. He gave one questioning look towards Rose, but she was looking rather hard at her tea with a strange smile on her lips, and she didn't offer any help or explenation at all.

"Well, that's a pity," Cwen said, but not looking at all as though it were. "I had hoped that I might know your wife. But come, tell me, might we know your family?"

"Likely not, ma'am," Thornden answered truthfully. "My father is a a free holder in the first Emnet. He rode with King Theoden to Helm's Deep, and later to Gondor, and he returned wounded, but not dead, and he didn't leave the farm again. My sister is married, and she now lives still in the same Emnet, on different land. A little time before she was married, I went to Edoras. There I worked to become Guard at Meduseld, and there I was for the past year, until I went to Eodwine and asked for a chance to be his steward. So I am really the only one of my family who has ever lived in Edoras."

They politely asked him how many there were in his family and he answered that besides the addition of Medreth's husband there were six children, he being the oldest. There fell a short pause then at the end of which Thornden thought it not very unpolite to ask a question that had begun to tug at his mind for the past five minutes.

"I don't mean to be rude, and it is very pleasant here, to be sure, but how much longer, do you think, until goodman Wistan returns? There are still several places I must go before I can return. Will he be much longer, do you suppose? I understand that one of your sons was sent?" He looked at Mayda expectantly.

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-24-2006 at 02:29 AM.
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-23-2006, 12:37 PM   #263
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
Once all the horses had assembled in the paddock and were ready, they all rode out onto the track. As they proceeded, another of the jockeys caught his eye. He said no words, but the skeptical look he sent down towards Léof’s foot said enough. Léof tried not to let it shake him. This other rider handled his horse rather poorly, to Léof’s eye, manhandling her rather than working with her. Léof gave the other a look of his own and urged Æthel into a gentle canter with almost no visible effort at all.

The horses lined up at the starting line, and Léof found himself in the fourth position from the rail, straddled on both sides by horses each a hand or two taller than Æthel, one a fine looking black and the other a dark grey. There came a moment of tense stillness; then a bell rang, and the horses charged forward almost as one animal. The race was on.

Léof allowed Æthel to take a place behind the front runners, with one horse between them and the rail. Dimly over the pounding hooves and the wind whistling in his ears he could hear the cheering of the crowd, but this was soon blocked out. Around the first turn they flew, and as the horses shifted positions Léof found the jockey who had caught his eye earlier on his outside – the side of Léof’s bad foot. Very subtly he angled his horse over closer to Léof, bumped Léof’s foot with his own. Léof felt a spasm of pain but tried to ignore it and the other rider. But when he did it again in the middle of the second turn, Léof began looking for ways to change his own position, to no avail: he was boxed in. Three horses were running abreast ahead of him, and the only way to move would be to severely check Æthel and go around, and however strongly Æthel was running now, she would need all the energy she could get when it came to the end of the race. He would have to wait and be patient.

But as they neared the half-way point on the backstretch of the second lap, Léof was beginning to feel desperate. The other rider showed no signs of letting up on his harassment, and the other riders in front of him had not moved sufficiently for him to have an out. Then – there! The horse just in front of the other rider was edging forward, trying to get a shorter distance around the turns. The other jockey was paying so much attention to Léof that he did not seem to notice the small hole. A few more seconds, and it would be wide enough – Léof hoped. He took the chance and urged Æthel through the hole, giving her a little more rein. Her stride lengthened and they shot through the hole, leaving them far on the outside with three more turns to go – but out of reach of the other jockey. Léof’s foot had begun to throb more than it had since it had first been stepped on, but he refused to let it bother him.

They rounded the turn, and as the final lap approached, horses began to really shift around as their jockeys searched for the best positions. Now that Léof could focus on the other horses, he began to take note of their states. As he had expected, the two horses that had started out in the lead were already running close to full-out, having engaged an early speed duel. The black horse on the rail was still running strongly, as was the grey on Léof’s left. Léof glanced back quickly; there still seemed to be a few horses behind him that might make a closing bid. Æthel was still running strongly beneath him, but there was still another lap to go – would it be enough? The real speed in this race had yet to show itself, and Léof did not have any clear experience to tell him how much Æthel had to give him…

Last edited by Firefoot; 04-23-2006 at 02:41 PM.
Firefoot is offline  
Old 04-23-2006, 03:58 PM   #264
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
"Eodwine, Lèof is racing. Come!" She took his hand in hers and began to tug him lightly through the crowd. "We should watch him."

"And him with a bad foot?" Eodwine said absently. His hand was sweaty. She had to notice. What did it matter? This would not do, being dragged around a horse fair by a twenty-something young filly, no matter how how elegant her gait. He rolled his eyes.

"Hold up there!" He tugged back and slowed Saeryn down. He pulled his hand gently from his and placed his hands on both her shoulders, standing behind her. "No lead!"

She looked up over her shoulder at him and gave him a quizzical look, then stuck her tongue out at him prettily, and set off at a good pace, snaking through the crowd until they were at leaning against the fence, watching the race.

It was already under way, and seemed to be on the middle lap. Eodwine tried to make out Léof, but could not.

"There!" Saeryn shouted, pointing. "Caught in the middle, lower than the others!"

"Of course. Æthel is the smaller horse." Eodwine watched Léof's progress, worrying his molers against each other. "He's a fool for being out there with his bad foot."
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-23-2006, 05:19 PM   #265
Celuien
Riveting Ribbiter
 
Celuien's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Assigned to Mordor
Posts: 1,794
Celuien has just left Hobbiton.
The fair was a sea of chaos, threatening to swallow the reserved stoneshaper in its midst at every moment. People came at Garstan from all directions, hawking their wares, inviting him to their shows, begging a coin. He was terribly uncomfortable. Not a familiar face in sight.

No familiar faces. Where, in all this crowd, had Lèoðern been? He pushed aside the thought that he had come in no small part to check on her. Garstan didn't want to doubt the pair who had been so kind as to take his daughter to visit the fair for a treat, but it was difficult to leave her in their charge. She had never been out of his supervision before. He hoped to find them soon.

First he would find a wheelwright. The cart still needed repairs. The search wasn't difficult. Near the stables, there was a booth surrounded by stacks of wheels. A crudely drawn sign with the image of a wheel hung at its front. But the booth was empty. Garstan asked a nearby loiterer if the booth's owner had been seen, and received a curt reply in the negative. He would return later.

Shouts and cheers echoed in the distance. The horses were running. Garmund would probably enjoy the race. So too would Lèoðern. Maybe that was where she had gone, cheering on the horses and riders from the edge of the race. Garstan led his son in the direction of the din, listening to the boy's excited speech about horses. Lèoðern and her brother weren't so very different in some respects.

They came up to the crowd gathered around the horse race. Garstan quickly scanned the watchers, searching for a wisp of red hair, listening for Lèoðern's familiar laughter. But instead of his daughter, Garstan spotted Lord Eodwine and the hostess from the Mead Hall. It dawned on him, even at a distance, that there was something different about her, though he was unsure what it was.

If frustrated in one search, Garstan had at least succeeded in another. He approached Eodwine and Saeryn, and found himself staring at the latter's gown and hair, despite trying not to notice the difference from her usual appearance. She was blushing, and he thought that Eodwine looked a bit flustered.

Garstan now felt confused himself, though he could find no good reason for it. He had come to speak to Eodwine on business, though he feared that he had arrived at an inopportune moment. Still, there was nothing to be done about it now. He couldn't vanish without a word. Garstan raised his eyes to meet Eodwine's face.

"My lord," he said. "May I speak to you?"
Celuien is offline  
Old 04-24-2006, 04:13 AM   #266
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede

‘I don't mean to be rude, and it is very pleasant here, to be sure, but how much longer, do you think, until goodman Wistan returns? There are still several places I must go before I can return. Will he be much longer, do you suppose? I understand that one of your sons was sent?’ He looked at Mayda expectantly.

‘Why yes, little Alfrid was sent to give him your message,’ returned Mayda. She flicked her gaze toward Ardith, who nodded her head in agreement and sat forward on her bench.

‘It will take some time for Father Wistan to get here, you know,’ Ardith went on. ‘The men have all gone down to the far western field to mend fence and begin to clear that field for plowing. We’ve let it lay fallow for a number of years; let the grasses come up and kept it for pasturage. But now it’s time for getting that field into production and moving the pasture elsewhere . . .’ Ardith flustered a bit, thinking she had said more than was really needed. ‘But Alfrid would have got there by now and they should be on their way back, unless there was one project they really wanted to get finished.’

Cwen beamed at Ardith, giving her an assuring smile. ‘Tis true Master Thornden, And we’re sorry for the inconvenience. But by your own words, you have come early to collect. Had it been nearer the time we usually expect the steward, my dear Wistan would not have gone so far afield or he would have left one of our sons near to conduct the farm’s business.’ She put her plump finger to her chin as if a sudden thought had just come to her.

‘We’re I younger,’ she went on, ‘I would take you out myself to where the men are.’ She shifted stiffly on her cushion as if her hips were aching a little. ‘But these old bones just don’t travel that easily.’ Cwen looked expectantly toward Mayda and Ardith, who both made their very good excuses how they had tasks they really needed to get back to, and no, it just wouldn’t be possible for them to take the time.

Rose all this time had kept quiet as a mouse, making herself as small and invisible as she might. She was, in fact, thinking of slipping silently away and back to her bees. Most of her morning had been spent building frames for her hives, and she wanted to exhange some the old ones filled with honey for the new. She put her mug on the nearby table and slid to the end of the bench she was on. She was just bending down to retie the laces about her breeches cuffs when she heard her name mentioned . . . no, not mentioned, offered, more like, as a solution to the whole problem.

‘Why that’s just the thing, Mayda!’ she heard her mother say. ‘Rose would be just the one. She’d be delighted to take you out to where the men are. Wouldn’t you, dear?’

There was an imperative in that last question that made her rethink her first answer, but she would not altogether give up the hope she might say ‘no’. Her head bobbed up, and she was almost ready to make her own excuses as had the others, save her mother had that look of authority, that is that bone deep knowledge she could exude at the most inconvenient times that she still and would always know what was in the best interest of her daughter.

Thornden had turned, too, to look at her. And while she didn’t wish him ill, she did curse the new lord who had sent such a convenient possibility into the hands of her mother and her sisters-in-law. She was still about to say ‘no’, except that Mayda, from outside the steward’s view, was giving her a severe look and cocking her head toward Mother Cwen. As was Ardith, who had straightened her back quite stiffly and shook her head in a most emphatic manner.

Thorns and thistles!

Her mother would be crushed if she made a scene. And she would never hear the end of it from her brothers’ wives. The lot of them, when banded together in a cause, could make one’s life a living hell . . . if they so chose to do so . . . and wouldn’t they just!

And then of course there was her dear mother, a quite accomplished actress when she wanted something her way and who was and always would be the central jewel of Wistan’s life. If Cwen were happy, he was happy. She sighed thinking how he would look at her with his grave face, saying, ‘Don’t be selfish, now, Rose. Do this one thing for your poor mother who’s done so much for you. It’s just a little thing . . .’ And then, of course, with a half smile, add, ‘Give me a little peace, my darlin’ girl . . .’

‘Well, then,’ she said, her voice a bit muffled as she bent down to untie her cuffs once again, her long blond hair falling forward to hide her face. She stood up, pushing the wavy masses away from her cheeks and stuffed the leather thongs in her pocket. ‘I’ll just fetch a horse for me from the barn. Why don’t you bring your own along, Master Thornden, and we’ll start off from there.

She smiled encouragingly toward him.

Sooner done; sooner he’s gone . . . and sooner I’m free of my ‘obligations’ . . .

Last edited by Undómë; 04-25-2006 at 08:26 PM.
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-24-2006, 06:32 PM   #267
Firefoot
Illusionary Holbytla
 
Firefoot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
For the barest instant, Léof had a flash of imagination that he was not racing, and that there were no stakes, but that he and Æthel galloped full out through the fields of the West Emnet, purely for the joy of doing so – in much happier times. “For the simple joy of doing so” was not the sort of phrase that had much bearing on his life in recent years. But the recollection flashed away and was replaced with the view of reality, the exulting thudding of hoofbeats mixing with the exhilaration and inherent danger of the race.

They rounded the first turn for the last time, the horses’ long strides eating up the backstretch. It was just before they entered the final turn that Léof made his move; he did not care to make the turn far on the outside as he was. He loosened the reins, urged Æthel on. For him, she willingly dug deeply, flying along faster than Léof would have thought possible given their already fast pace. He felt as much as saw the grey horse accelerating behind and beside him. They entered the top of the stretch; Léof could feel Æthel starting to tire. “Just a little more,” he urged. “We’re almost there.” The wind whipped the words out of his mouth. She plunged doggedly on; he glanced back to see the grey horse tiring as well. Then he noticed something else entirely: the black horse starting to charge up on his outside. The finish line loomed, so close, yet so far; Æthel was tiring while that horse was picking up speed. Very suddenly, Léof realized how very much he wanted to win. He had not expected anything going into the race, but he was so close, now.

“Go, girl, come on, Æthel baby!” The black horse reached her flank, now its neck was even with Léof’s leg. The next moments seemed to pass in slow motion; even the wind buffering his face seemed to die for a moment. Æthel’s legs extended, and with a last effort, they crossed the finish line. In first. Within a couple of strides after that, the black horse had passed them, but not before the finish. Just before complete disbelief and joy could fill him, a sobering thought crossed his mind: the black horse should have won. The jockey had waited entirely too long to let the horse go; the horse still had plenty energy left, so why had he not been given free rein before or during the final turn?

These thoughts were quickly replaced by a wholly other sensation: throbbing pain in his foot. Sitting in his saddle, he kicked free of the stirrups to let the foot dangle uselessly, guiding Æthel with the insides of his legs.

Then concerns for himself subsided in favor of concern for Æthel; she was breathing hard, and her neck was darkened in sweat. He patted her fondly. “You gave it all you had out there, girl. It’s a nice hot mash for you tonight, and plenty of rest.” And plenty of rest for you, too, he told himself. The rush of exhilaration following the stress of getting here in the first place was leaving, draining him. He collected his purse money – easily enough to pay back for the money he had spent that day – and hardly remembered doing so. He felt a touch of dizziness and, after leaving the track, dismounted before he fell out of the saddle. He leaned against a post, absently rubbing Æthel’s nose as he gathered his energies for the trek back up to the hall.
Firefoot is offline  
Old 04-24-2006, 07:50 PM   #268
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away - Winstan's Farm - Dunstede

Thornden got up as Rose did and as she turned towards the barn, he thanked Cwen and the two remaining women. "Thank you very much for the tea and refreshments. I hope we will be seeing you soon at the Mead Hall. Once the roof is raised and a proper kitchen is in tact, we'll be able to return the favour."

"Thank you and you're welcome! We'll come, I'm sure. Goodbye, Master Thornden!" they all replied in their different variations and he turned and followed Rose. She turned towards him when they reached Flíthaf.

“I’ll go in and get my horse. It won’t take but a few minutes.”

“I can help you,” Thornden said at once. She looked at him quickly, lifting an eyebrow slightly, and then casting a sharp look beyond him towards her mother and two sisters. “It will take less time,” he said. She shrugged and then turned and led the way into the barn.

They walked up between an aisle of stalls, half of which were empty, before Rose stopped before one and took the halter. Thornden waited while she went in and brought out her horse, a slender, sleek bay with black mane and tale. Together, then, they continued walking down until they came to where she could tie the horse to an iron ring in the wall.

“I’ll get the saddle for you,” Thornden said as she turned from that. She led the way again in silence to a room where saddles and bridles belonged.

“Take this one for her,” Rose said, laying a brown hand on one saddle. “And this is her bridle as well.” She picked up the bridle she spoke of and laid it across the saddle and then picked up a bucket with grooming tools in it. Thornden took the saddle and followed her back out. He hung it up on the aisle wall and then took one of the brushes and positioned himself on the opposite side of the horse that Rose worked on.

The grooming took very little time at all. Few words were passed between the two of them as they worked. Thornden saddled the horse for her (she probably would have done it, but he had the saddle in his hands before she had quite finished adjusting the blankets), and then he went out, Rose following, leading her horse. He untied Flíthaf and turned him about before putting the reins back up over his neck. Then he mounted and moved his horse up beside Rose’s.

Ardith and Mayda were just leaving the house to go back to their work and Cwen was making a last trip in from the table. They all smiled and waved as the two of them turned their horse's heads about and started.

They said nothing for some time, riding in peaceful silence. Thornden was occupied in looking about him, taking into stock the long fields, separated by wide belts of trees and hedges.

After some time of such riding, Thornden turned towards his companion. "Were those your sisters we were just with?" he asked.

Last edited by Folwren; 04-26-2006 at 11:17 AM.
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 03:13 AM   #269
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede

It was one of Rose’s great pleasures to ride round the family farm. She knew every inch of the lands; their nuances in every season. As she turned them down the rough dirt path between fields, she smiled at the tips of barley grass just pushing up from the dark, rich soil. She’d helped her brothers sow the seeds late in the tenth-month of the year. Hardy little things, they were; they wintered over, waiting for the first thaws and had begun to send their shoots up toward the promised sun. To either side, the fields had just been plowed and soon her father would call it time to plant the oats. All around her the air was heavy with the richness of new turned earth.

She pulled herself back to the present situation and recalled she had a companion riding at her side. She applauded the fact he had so far not been of the idle chat sort. And a few stolen looks his way had assured her he could sit a horse well. Two favorable points, then, for Master Thornden, she thought to herself.

‘Were those your sisters we were just with?’

The question brought a smile to her face, and she wondered how she should answer him. She could speak the plain facts or embellish the answer with her own interpretation. His attention was turned to her, and his hazel eyes regarded her in an expectant manner.

‘Oh, much worse than sisters, I should think,’ she began. ‘Though I love them dearly,’ she then disclaimed. ‘I can’t really know how awful a sister might be, having only brothers myself. But I could imagine that a sister might take into account my own feelings and preferences and fancies, as I should like to think I would hers, and take my side in those sorts of family arguments and discussions where the force of opinion was against me.’ She chuckled, relishing the thought of such a confederate.

‘No, those are my sisters in law. And you only met two of them. There are four altogether.’ She counted off on her fingers. ‘Aesc and Breca are twins, and my oldest brothers. Mayda is Aesc’s wife; Lynet is Breca’s. Ardith, the other one you met, is Willim’s wife; he’s the next oldest. And my youngest brother, Garan, is married to Britta. I say youngest, but still he is five years older than I.’

They had come to the corner of one of the fields and took a sharp turn, riding now along the length of it. ‘I do hold them dear, my sisters in law, and mostly for the fact that they do love my brothers well. But they seem to have become joined at the hip with my mother, and I can always count on them to support her opinions and decisions. And therein lies the problem when the opinions and decisions under consideration concern me. They are a quite formidable force, my mother and my brothers’ wives . . . quite a tough opposition to get round at times.’ She grinned impishly at the thought and shook her head. ‘But I do manage to outfox them now and then. And so far, in the game, I do believe I’ve managed to stay a step or two ahead of them.’

‘What about you?’ she asked, turning the focus from herself. ‘Didn’t I hear you say you were the oldest in your family? I envy you, as I’m the youngest in mine. I wonder . . . it must be easier, isn’t it? As the oldest child and a male, to boot, to be able to avoid your mother and sister’s whims and plans, as you so ably put it earlier.’

Last edited by Undómë; 04-25-2006 at 03:17 AM.
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 03:35 AM   #270
Lalwendë
A Mere Boggart
 
Lalwendë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: under the bed
Posts: 4,804
Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Lalwendë is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
He’d done it, the lad had actually done it, and what’s more, he’d made it look real. Larswic shook his head and wondered if the lad really had managed to pull it off all on his own. He couldn’t be sure.

His heart was racing now, more so than when the race had been going on. He had shouted and hollered along with everyone else as the riders had neared the winning post, but it was an act at first. Yet as the race had finally drawn to an end, his shouting and excitement had been genuine. His face was red and his throat sore. The little slips of paper which his bets had been written on were now getting crumpled in his fist, and he looked down at them almost tenderly, and smoothed them out.

Larswic went quickly to the bookmakers to claim his gold. First was the man to whom he had placed a single large bet on Leof’s horse. This was the most important one, and the bookmaker gave him a broad smile as he handed over the money, though his face was white with shock. Larswic left him with a silver coin and an instruction to “get yourself drunk tonight with that”. Next he went to the bookmakers where he had placed money on his own horse coming second; the amounts here were large too, as the odds on this horse not winning were long. Finally, he went to claim the money from his first and second place wager.

As he moved quickly through the throngs around the various bookmakers, Larswic nodded his head at a few people who went by. However, these were more than passing acquaintances. One was none other than the son of the man he had sold the black stallion to, and by the way he held his cloak close to his chest, he was reaping a large reward of gold for his wager. He gave Larswic an almost imperceptible wink as he went by and Larswic quickly pressed something into his hand.

The others that Larswic passed were some of his closest contacts. Regular punters, trusted dealers and those men who he wished to keep in favour. A small number of Larswic’s customers got a lot more for their money when they bought a horse from him; they also bought his intelligence and insider knowledge, they bought future hopes and chances from the man. He knew that he would be treated to more than a few drinks over the coming days. He also knew that he had bought their discretion and moved confidently as ever through the crowds, heading for the winners’ enclosure.

When he got there, he played his role as a part owner of the second placed horse, commiserating that he had not won, but saying how he was content with his share of the second prize, all the time feeling the pull and heavy weight of the bag of gold he carried under his shirt.
Lalwendë is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 03:34 PM   #271
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
‘And therein lies the problem when the opinions and decisions under consideration concern me. . .’ Thornden wondered what sort of trouble the three wives and the elderly mother could possibly cause Rose when such questions were under discussion. He glanced at her curiously. Surely she didn’t have too many troubles, living out here among family that loved her. He’d seen and heard stories of young people hating their life at home and having to run from it, but she didn’t appear to have that problem.

‘What about you?’ she asked, breaking his thought abruptly. ‘Didn’t I hear you say you were the oldest in your family? I envy you, as I’m the youngest in mine. I wonder. . .it must be easier, isn’t it? As the oldest child and a male, to boot, to be able to avoid your mother and sister’s whims and plans, as you so ably put it earlier.’

Thornden broke into his easy smile and laughed softly. ‘Don’t envy me,’ he said, shaking his head and looking away briefly. ‘It’s not easier being oldest. And it may be even harder when you’re a male,’ he added, nodding slightly. ‘More is expected of you - when you’re younger anyway. If something bad happens and you’re part of the pack, you’ll probably be the one blamed for the ruckus, whereas the younger chaps get off free because “they didn’t know any better.” Of course, as I started getting older that didn’t happen quite as often.

‘But then there were other problems. Father wanted me to stay and take over the land and the breeding, raising, selling, harvesting, storing as the seasons required. I was oldest, I should take it on.’ Thornden made a short, soft laugh again, a regretful look crossing his face. It was clearly an old disagreement. “But that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I don’t want to raise cows. I may have patience to train horses, but I don’t have the interest. As for wheat and barley, corn and whatever else that would need to be raised - well, it’s all very well and good, so long as the farmer likes what he does and doesn’t mind it, but I wasn’t willing to go out day after day, hope that it rains, lug water if it doesn’t. Crops and animals wasn’t what I wanted to do all my life.

‘As you can tell, I didn’t stay. I guess, in some given lights, I should of. It may have been my duty, but I don’t know. I went to Edoras. I went there because when my father went off to war and came back with stories, and his wound, I knew I wanted to fight. As I got older, of course, I realized that I wouldn’t want to fight, necessarily, but to just guard our king would be enough. And it was, while it lasted. Father agreed, finally, that I should go. . .I guess he didn’t have much chance to disagree, seeing as I told him I was leaving whether he liked it or not. It wasn’t a wise thing to do.’ Thornden shook his head. ‘I’m not usually hasty, and that may have been another thing in which I should have tried again to talk it over.

‘It was hard,’ he said, winding down towards conclusion. ‘Being oldest definitely isn’t easiest. I have to set examples for the younger children. Especially for my youngest brother, Javan, who used to think I couldn’t possibly do anything wrong. It’s hard to live up to that standard, you know?

‘But the whims and plans of my mother and sisters that I said I avoided. . .that was only in marriage. And it’s not like they didn’t put me through the ringer at times to gain their own ends. They tried everything, I imagine. . .everything that came within reach. After I moved to Edoras, I got letters almost every week from both of them, and in almost every one they asked if I had met anyone and to be sure to tell them if I planned to get married. As though I wouldn’t! The inquiries have gotten less, though, and I’m in the hopes that they’ve fair forgotten that I’m still lacking a wife. Medreth now has a son that keeps her pre-occupied, and my mother is still busy with four children still at home - one still only twelve.’ He smiled at Rose, a merry light in his eye. ‘By comparison, our family is much younger than yours, you see.’
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 05:43 PM   #272
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
"My lord," he said. "May I speak to you?" Eodwine turned. It was Garstan. The timing was really very bad. The horse race had begun, and Léof, his very own ostler, was in the thick of it!

"After this race!" He said. "Léof our ostler is riding in this one. See!"

"Well I'll- So he is!" Garstan hooked his arms over the fence alongside Eodwine and they along with Saeryn watched, mouths agape. Little by little awed silence gave way to muttered wishes in Léof's interest.

"Come on, come on!" said Eodwine.

"He's making a move!" Garstan cried presently.

"Oh, oh! What if he wins!" Saeryn cried.

"Come on!! Come on!!" Eodwine cried with abandon, his eyes wide, his neck taut.

"That big black's catching him!" Garstan muttered.

"Oh please no!" Saeryn begged.

Eodwine almost said that the black seemed to be tiring, but no. He knew horses. That black was being reined in, or at least he thought maybe. Next instant, Léof was across the finish line. Garstand and Saeryn whooped, and Eodwine found himself the recipient of a quick ecstatic embrace from Saeryn. Then she was jumping up and down in her excitement.

"He won! He won!" she was crying.

That had been nice, Eodwine thought, but he had not forgotten the strange nature of Léof's win. He wondered who owned that black.

"Let's go to Léof!" Eodwine said, and started walking.

"Lord!" Garstan said, suddenly reminded of his question. "About the kitchen. I was thinking....."

"Talk while we walk, Garstan. Coming, Saeryn?"
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-25-2006, 07:38 PM   #273
Feanor of the Peredhil
La Belle Dame sans Merci
 
Feanor of the Peredhil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: perpetual uncertainty
Posts: 5,956
Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Feanor of the Peredhil is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Send a message via MSN to Feanor of the Peredhil
"Of course, Lord." she said, taking his proffered arm lightly, feeling his toned muscles beneath his light shirt. Saeryn used his title without particularly realizing it, thoughts still on the race, her eyes still seeing the handsome ebony racer fall behind, her ears still ringing with the shouts of the crowd, her heart still racing as quickly as the horses had.

The dream shifted from her attention as she giddily walked beside Eodwine, a bounce in her step, as enthusiastic as she would have been had she won the race herself.

The breeze blew her hair lightly and she impatiently pushed a stray curl from her pink cheeks as her eyes scanned the crowd for Lèof or his horse.

"Eodwine, we should celebrate his victory later... perhaps a small party in his honor. What think you?"
Feanor of the Peredhil is offline  
Old 04-26-2006, 12:14 PM   #274
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away – Wistan’s farm – Dunstede

A delighted smile lit Rose’s face, though not in echo of Thornden’s. Here was one who had already done battle against the urgings of mother and sisters and now stood firm against their schemes and stratagems concerning marriages. He’d made it clear, she thought, that marriage was not in his plans. Let her mother and her little covey dream of her hand-fasted to this steward of the Eorl. He would be proof against them. An unwitting partner in her own plans to avoid that little noose for as long as she might.

‘Perhaps the stork should bring my mother another wee one to take care of,’ she said, laughing aloud. ‘I’ll agree to say then that your lot was not that much easier, having heard the obligations and demands you’ve had to deal with. And in the bigger sense I suppose you could say my little life is not cast in such looming shadows as I might have made it seem.’ Rose laughed again, as if to remove any doubts on that. ‘Really, I do find my life here on this farm very satisfying . . . its lands and flocks and crops . . . and yes, even the hard, drudging work at times . . . the caring and the doing of all that needs be done gives me a rare satisfaction that I can hardly think anything or anyone might with such constancy.’

She halted her horse beneath one of the old apple trees that grew amidst the field’s hedgerow. Her hand went up to one of the lower boughs where the creamy, five-petaled blossoms grew thick among the leaves. ‘Look here,’ she said, plucking a small cluster of flowers. ‘How pretty it is and how fresh it smells, just like spring. My bees are already hard at work making honey from these flowers that we’ll soon have to spread thick on our bread. In the summer the spreading branches will give shade to us as we stop for water or food when the field needs working. And in the early autumn will come the fruit, to eat right from the tree, make into good cider, both fresh and hard, and then the pies all hot and sweet.’ Rose tucked the stem of flowers in her hair and patted the scaly grey bark of the tree. ‘When the old girl dies, her wood will keep us warm when the snow comes and make the hall smell sweet, like spring.’

A moment of certain ease and pleasure passed over her features as she perused what could be seen from the vantage point of her saddle.

‘Ah . . . but I forget. You are in a hurry to see the Eorl’s business done, and here I am talking apples and bees and such to you.’ She grinned even as she spoke, no regret evident that she had both poked a bit of fun at him and wasted a bit of his time. Rose nudged her horse a little with her heels, urging her mare down the little path again.

‘Just a little way further, Master Thornden. They’re in the far western field. It’s the one that butts up against old Eadig’s place.’ She paused for a moment. ‘That is, I guess it would still be Eadig’s place, though maybe it’s gone back to the King or would it be the new Eorl? Eadig died, you see, this last winter. His boys died in the War, and his wife, too is dead. He was the last to go.’

‘My father would like to add the little holding to Dunstede. Part of today’s plan was to walk the acreage; I think that’s what I heard them say as they left. I suppose that he will need to decide whether the place can make the land-rent.’ She looked across at Thornden. ‘I’m quite sure it will, you know. I used to take Old Eadig baskets of honey and bread and ham and other such as the old man needed. He used to show me around his fields. They weren’t planted, of course. He couldn’t manage it in his last years. But he told me great stories of what he’d grown and the flocks he’d pastured.’ She nodded her head at the thought of new opportunity. ‘Of course, we’d . . . that is, my father . . . would need to find out how he might obtain the land.’

Rose looked thoughtfully at Thornden. ‘You wouldn’t by any chance know how to go about it, would you? Be a shame to let a good farm like that lie fallow. Be no one to pay the rent . . .’
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-26-2006, 03:13 PM   #275
littlemanpoet
Itinerant Songster
 
littlemanpoet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
Posts: 7,049
littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.littlemanpoet is a guest at the Prancing Pony.
"Eodwine, we should celebrate his victory later... perhaps a small party in his honor. What think you?"

"Yes indeed! That is, as soon as I fall on his other foot as punishment for risking laming himself for the rest of his life!"

"You wouldn't!"

"No, but I should."

Saeryn grinned and seemed satisfied, walking jauntily by his side. He wondered what Garstan thought of the spectacle of the Eorl of Middle Emnet arm in arm with his hostess who happened to be half his age. She had deftly inserted her arm in the crook of his arm. He supposed that maybe his elbow had been not quite snug against his own side, so it could have looked like he was inviting her to take his arm. Oh well, the damage was done, if damage one could call it. Eodwine cast furtive glances to either side, to see if people noticed, and if they did, how they were reacting. Maybe it was all in his head, but he could swear that he saw a few more winks and knowing smirks than was really quite necessary.

Not that he minded her touch one bit. No, he enjoyed that. Too much. It was taking great reservoirs of restraint to hold himself from taking her in his arms and determining once for all how soft those lips really were and how they would feel against his own. Now he felt guilty, especially considering his dream.

Stop it.

She probably hadn't a clue. And therefore he must continue with all the endurance he could muster to keep her from getting one. Maybe he should release her arm. No, that would probably send the wrong message too. Best just make the best of a bad situation.

"My lord?"

It was Garstan. The man had had a question, and all the hubbub had kept him from putting it to Eodwine. Time to redress that wrong.

"Yes, Garstan! You had a question! Put it to me!"

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 04-26-2006 at 07:22 PM.
littlemanpoet is offline  
Old 04-26-2006, 08:15 PM   #276
Celuien
Riveting Ribbiter
 
Celuien's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Assigned to Mordor
Posts: 1,794
Celuien has just left Hobbiton.
"Yes, Garstan! You had a question! Put it to me!"

Eodwine's sudden command was a relief to Garstan. Saeryn's arm in Eodwine's made him uncomfortable. As it did Eodwine, or so Garstan suspected from the furtive glances he directed at passers by. On second thought, it wasn't the joined arms that disturbed him as much as the vague uneasiness he detected in Eodwine. Garstan welcomed the invitation to pose his question.

"Well, my lord. I was thinking. While the wall is down, might it be wise to move the kitchen back a bit from the main hall? With all the cooking and flame in the kitchen, it makes the Great Hall over warm in summer, I'm sure. And too, should the kitchen take fire, it would spread quickly to the rest of the hall as things are. So I've seen it before where the kitchen was separated a bit. Moved away by a hall. What do you think?"

Garstan watched Eodwine's face, trying to detect his reaction to the plan. It had been a bold step. This was Garstan's first time suggesting an idea of his own to an employer, and an important one at that. He hoped that the idea would be well received, not least because he genuinely liked and respected Eodwine. But the thoughtful gaze in his eyes was unreadable to Garstan.
Celuien is offline  
Old 04-27-2006, 08:18 PM   #277
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away - Winstan's Farm - Dunstede

‘You wouldn’t by any chance know how to go about it, would you? Be a shame to let a good farm like that lie fallow. Be no one to pay the rent . . .’ Thornden glanced at her quickly and smiled again. He and Eodwine had not discussed such matters. There had been no time.

'Oh, no, I don't know anything about it,' he answered. 'Nothing except that you'd have to tell Eorl Eodwine himself. I can tell you what I think the answers would be, though. A good field like that lying fallow doesn't do anyone any good. I will tell him that you and your family would put the land to good use and would like to gain possession of it. I do not doubt that he will be happy to give you that wish.'

He'd remember, later, when he talked to Eodwine and gave his report. It was such a boon that the Eorl had asked people to ask of him. Something he could grant and welcome.

They rode in silence for a little while, until the came to the crest of a small hill. Fields were spread below them, the plowed and upturned rows running evenly in one direction to meet another corner where they ran in another. Thornden and Rose halted their mounts and his eyes ran swiftly over the early green fields.

'Things seem to be going well for you as it is. Are you certain you'll need that other field?' He looked almost mischeviously at her. She merely laughed lightly and started her mare again, heading down the the gentle slope. He cast another glance around and began to follow her. He had seen riding towards them, on the dirt roadway between two fields, a group of horsemen.

'There they are,' Rose called back over her shoulder. Thornden urged Flithaf into a trot and came by Rose's side.

'Who's all there? Your brothers and father?'
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-28-2006, 02:58 AM   #278
Undómë
Shade of Carn Dûm
 
Undómë's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 400
Undómë has just left Hobbiton.
Away -- Wistan's farm - Dunstede

‘Who is that . . . with Rose?’ Wistan stared into the distance as his daughter and a man he had not seen before came riding down the path toward him. ‘You go see to her, Willim. And you, too, Garan. Make sure that everything’s alright.’ He shifted in his saddle looking from one to the other of his elder sons. ‘Aesc, Breca. Ride along with me. It’s most likely just the new Eorl’s steward, as the boy said. But still I find it odd he’s come so early for the fee. And why didn’t he wait at the Hall til I arrived?’

* Ж *

‘Rose!’ Her two brothers swarmed about her, smiling, and in the process effectively separating her from her companion. ‘Didn’t expect to see you here,’ Garan said. ‘I thought you were spending the day working on your bee hives.’

‘And who’s this?’ Willim put in, bringing his horse about to face toward Thornden. ‘Doesn’t look like a bee to me, sister mine.’ Garan came alongside his brother, his face set neutral as he inspected Thornden.

* Ж *

Before Rose could make the introduction, Wistan and the twins drew near her little group. ‘Wistan, good sir,’ he began, nodding at Thornden. ‘And you are . . . the Eorl’s new steward . . . yes? Sorry, my grandson could not remember your name.’ He moved his arm in a wide, horizontal arc, taking in his sons with his hand. ‘How might my family be of service to the Eorl?’
Undómë is offline  
Old 04-28-2006, 07:19 PM   #279
Folwren
Messenger of Hope
 
Folwren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In a tiny, insignificant little town in one of the many States.
Posts: 5,228
Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Folwren is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Away - Wistan's Farm - Dunstede

Thornden thought he knew very well what Rose's brothers were about and he allowed Flithaf to edge away without argument or trouble. He sent an amused glanced towards Rose as her two brother's rode between them. In another moment, the father and two other men joined them.

"Wistan, good sir," the farmer greeted him. "And you are. . .the Eorl's new steward. . .yes? Sorry, my grandson could not remember your name. How might my family be of service to the Eorl?"

Thornden nodded in greeting. "Thornden at your service," he said. "I have been sent for two reasons by the Eorl. I know not if you know that lord Eodwine has been newly appointed by the king. He came into his place not two weeks ago and since has been working on setting up his lordship and also rebuilding the Mead Hall. He has suddenly become too short on coin, due to an unnexpected accident-" most accidents were unnexpected but he neglected to make that point "-and I have been sent out to collect what is due for this first quarter. My second reason was to take any boon or wish that you would have carried to the Eorl to him that he may grant it, if it is in his power, or, if it is not, do all that he can to fulfil what you need.

"Your daughter, Rose," he continued at once with a nod towards her, "has been telling me of the field west of you. The holder of it has recently died, I understand, and you would like to gain possession of it. That is such a thing that I could bring before him, and he would be able give you a fair and good answer." He would have added 'quickly' to the end of his statement, but it occured to him that Eodwine had been extremely busy of late and may not be able to get all of his free holders' wishes immediately.

"If you have anything else you would like said to him, or something else, as well, that you would like to see changed or granted you, I will take it to him and tell him."

Last edited by Folwren; 04-29-2006 at 08:17 AM.
Folwren is offline  
Old 04-28-2006, 08:09 PM   #280
Alcarillo
Shadow of the Past
 
Alcarillo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Minas Mor-go
Posts: 1,032
Alcarillo has just left Hobbiton.
Léof had won the race! Gárwine clapped his hands together and shouted out in joy. A great grin spread across his face. He felt jubilant, and not just because his friend has won. There was money to collect!

Gárwine turned from the fence, with eyes set on the red and white pavilion, where wagers were set at all those money-covered tables. He walked through the crowds, bouncing along gleefully towards the pavilion. Not many people were entering, and that made Gárwine happier to know that he had bet against the odds and won. He entered the shady pavilion and strode to the table where the thin man sat.

"I believe you have some money for me," Gárwine said, smiling.

"Ah, yes. Luck was on you're side," said the thin man.

The thin man stood and pushed piles of shining coins across the table with a reluctant sigh. Both Gárwine's eyes and his smile grew wider. So much money! He scooped it up in his hands and dumped it into his pockets. And with a nod of thanks, he walked out of the pavilion, with his pockets considerably heavier.

Gárwine strode over to the racetrack, where he could find Léof. He pushed his way through the crowds and, passing through a gate in the fence, walked onto the racetrack. Crowds of spectators milled around, meeting all the riders, admiring their horses, chatting about the race's outcome, among all sorts of other festive activity. Gárwine dove through the people to find Léof. Gárwine spied him standing beside Æthel. He was shaking hands, smiling even wider than Gárwine, and speaking with the many fans (mostly young maidens, Gárwine noticed) who had approached him to give their congratulations. Gárwine walked up to him, and Léof turned away from his group of admirers for the moment.

"Gárwine, I've won! Did you see me?" said Leof.

"Yes! I was watching," Gárwine said, "And look at all the money you won me!" He dug a hand into a pocket and withdrew a handful of glittering coins. "Haha! I ought to buy you a reward for winning me all this! Amazing race!"
Alcarillo is offline  
 

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:09 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.