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Old 03-15-2011, 09:10 PM   #1
Feanor of the Peredhil
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1420! Lamedon Square Market

"He came at last by arched streets and many fair alleys and pavements to the lowest and widest circle, and there he was directed to the Lampwrights' Street, a broad way running towards the Great Gate." - RotK

At the corner of the Lampwrights' Street and Blacksmiths' Road, in the lowest circle of Minas Anor, is set the Lamedon Square Market, where all manner of vendors and buyers congregate daily to sell their wares.

In the manner of any market, there are the regulars, there to set up shop, or there to loiter, or there to make the daily purchases. And there are sometimers, who stop in now and again when things are needed. And there are those that stop in once and are never seen again. There are humans, mostly, but this is Minas Anor: it would not be unheard of for a visiting halfling, or a Dwarf, or an Elf even to make an appearance. This is, after all, where disparate people come to exchange that which – whatever it may be – they did not have before. A marketplace, bustling, is above all else a public place of that nature--where people jostle elbows and come and go. It can be a launch point for adventures... chance meetings... friendships... romances...

---

Mistress Fea, a baker by trade, was at the market at all times. Up well before dawn to put the loaves in the oven, she was the first to set up shop and the last to leave at the end of day. And at the end of the day, she was still available, because her shop, The Risen Loaf, was situated right within the square, on the very corner of the two roads.

This night she had not slept at all, because this day was a special day. It was the first of the spring harvest, when those outliers that winter away from the city would enter with their first wares of the season. It was a busy time, and anyone might arrive, and all would demand cakes and loaves and rolls and breads with fruits and breads with meats. Though most kitchens made their own breads, most market-goers would never dare resist the tantalizing scent of a long loaf of Mistress Fea's crusty bread filled with sausage and cheese. With the farmers from outside the city walls entering for the first time since autumn, the Market would be especially busy. A normal morning's baking of a normal batch of wares would simply not be enough.

As Fea shooed her shop boy Erchan away from her long tables, back into the bakery. The sun would rise soon, and the bells would begin to ring. Today would be a sunny day, and the oiled canvas they stretched above their goods when the weather was poor and rain fell would not be needed. The first breads to be laid out would be the golden rolls brushed with egg yolk; they would shine in the morning light like a dragon's horde. Those and breads stuffed with raisins and dates and nuts, and any other fruits that lasted through the winter. Morning breads for morning shoppers. As the day progressed, the goods would change.

"Erchan!" she shouted after her boy, "If you dare sneak a pie, I will flay you!"

"Abusing your help already, Mistress?"

Fea sent a dimpled smile to the speaker. "Captain Formy, you rogue, you know well that a boy his age would eat a pie and more every handful of minutes if not watched. Up a bit early, are you not?"

"On the early watch this day, what with all the new folk coming into the city for Market."

Having been to market for years, this came as no surprise, and she need not have asked except that it was habit to converse back and forth with abandon. "Well if you see a floundering shop keep or farmer's daughter with a crate of chickens, let them know the stall over by the Old Guesthouse is empty, what with Old Frid having gone off to Southern parts for the season. As long as they arrive early, of course. Lazy comers will end up half way to Candlewick Row, I should think. I do wonder what fresh new faces we shall see... Pie, dear?"

IT IS NOW VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING, IN LATE SPRING, WHEN THE FIRST FRUITS COME RIPE. THE WEATHER IS PLEASANT.


THE MARKET IS COMING BACK TO LIFE AFTER ANOTHER NIGHT.
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:22 PM   #2
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Bertie raised his head and sniffed appreciatively at the early morning air. ‘Aaaahhh!’ he sighed, leveraging himself up on one elbow from his bunking down quarters a short ways away from the market place. “Quarters” was a rather grand word for the pile of dusty burlap bags in the narrow alley way where he’d spent the night. Nonetheless he was grateful to have stumbled upon them when his watering place of choice last night had closed and barred its doors.

He heaved himself up, bracing his back against the alley wall as he planted his crutch firmly in the dirt. With a grimace he stretched the kinks out of his spine, and then bent down to grab up his leather bag. Reaching his hand into one of the pockets in his greatcoat he found the few coppers he’d saved to break his fast.

‘Old Bertie’s comin’!’ he called out to the source of the singular, savory smell. Mistress Fea’s lovely golden rolls, soft enough for him to chew easily, beckoned him on. ‘Might just have enough for a small cup of raisin-jack wine, too, if I work it right.’

He stopped just short of the baker’s booth, hearing the familiar voice of one he wished to avoid. ‘The Cap’n’, he muttered. ‘Lookin’ to give me grief as usual.’ Bertie melted into the shadow of a large old tree to wait ‘til the Guard had moved on.
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #3
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Well, Fea thought, that was no surprise.

"Erchan!" she called behind her into the shop. Her tables were spread before her business, making it easy enough to restock if she needed. Of course she could have sold breads from inside, and the folk of the Lower Circle would still come for it, but it simply was not the same as good human interaction. And besides, this way she knew what was happening here and there and just about everywhere.

The boy emerged with a bang, tripping over the doorway, wiping his hands on his breeches. "Yes'm?"

"Boy," she propped a fist on a hip. "Have you been sampling again?"

"No'm." His fingers looked sticky.

She raised an eyebrow. "Captain Formy, if you would be so kind as to watch my things for a moment, I need a word with my boy inside."

"Abuse him only gently," Form winked.

Fea took her shop boy aside and inspected him head to toe. His mother had died in childbirth, poor dear, and while his father was a good type, he let the boy leave the house with messed hair and grubby ears. "You will need to comb your hair if you want to help sell today. I will only have you out with me if you look presentable."

"But ma'am," he whined. "My hair just gets all bothered again anyway."

She cocked her head and he looked down meekly.

"I've a task for you, boy."

His eyes lit.

"Old Bertie needs his daily roll and he won't be coming for it if he sees the good Captain. Bring him a roll. He is off in the shadows by old Garn's spot. And you get the coin before he gets the roll, do you hear me?"

"Yes'm."

Fea shook her head and wiped her hands on her floury apron as she walked back out, her boots rap tapping on the cobble stones. As she neatened her rows and stacks of breads, she made casual conversation with the Captain, but her eyes were on the receding back of the boy as he headed across the square, out of the sight of Form, roll in hand.
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Old 03-17-2011, 05:55 PM   #4
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A small boy saw the door to The Risen Loaf open and his face immediately brightened. It was the new harvest, and he loved the Lamedon market, particularly the bakery owned by Mistress Fea. He hurried to the entrance but stopped and laughed at the door propped open. He remembered first coming to The Risen Loaf two years ago, and whenever Mistress Fea got tired of him and Erchan messing around, she would put one fist on her hip, point her finger and say, "Lenny! Erchan has enough work to do, without you nipping at his heels. Since you clearly want something to do, I'm trusting you with a very important duty. Can I?"

Lendir could not imagine what this very important duty was, but he wanted to know and he wanted the kind misses to trust him. "Yes, Ma'am."

"Good. You will be my doorwarden." Doorwarden? What was that, it sounded official. "I want you to hang around outside the shop. You are to welcome and hold the door open for customers. But, this is the most important part, I do not like trouble makers coming into my bakery. If you run into any trouble makers you are to come tell me immediately or go get Captain Formy. Can I trust you?"

Lenny had trouble containing his excitement. Mistress Fea's doorwarden and he did not want to disappoint. "Yes Ma'am!" he saluted and stiffened his shoulders "I'll be the best doorwoordin you can have!"

Lenhir smiled with that memory. Now he understood Miss Fea just wanted him out of the way, but he didn't mind. She was a very busy misses and could not be expected to watch over a boy who was not hers to watch. He thought he was a great doorwarden, the best. And after he proved himself to Miss Fea, she sometimes asked if he could mix or knead dough for her. Helping Miss Fea make her assortment of rolls, breads, pies, and baked good was Lenhir's favorite. Although he was definitely not allowed near the fire-oven. No way. That was off limits and he would get in trouble if Miss Fea caught him.

He raced through the door-way and nearly knocked into Captain Formendur. "Oh, sorry, Captain Formy Sir!" (Lenhir always called him Captain Formy Sir, because even if he was not a mean person, Lenny was still frightened to cross the Captain. He was someone Lenny guessed you wanted on your side and not against you).

"Hey there! Watch where you're going, Lenny. I know I blend in well, but I am not a hard person to miss!."

"Yes, Captain Formy Sir. I will." Lenny spotted Mistress Fea and went up to her.

"Is Erchan here, Miss Fea?" he asked.

"He is, but I sent him away to make a delivery. What can I get for you today, Lenny?"

"Oh nothing, today, I just have wonderful news and I wanted to tell Erchan, and you!"

Miss Fea was still working but let Lenny know she was listening and waiting for the news.

"Ma says I'm going to be a big brother! Can you believe it!!!?"
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:51 PM   #5
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"Well that's quite exciting. And will you be as good a brother as you are a helper to me?"

Lendir nodded seriously.

"I think, then, that this is deserving of a special treat to celebrate." Having finished putting her breads in order, she leaned heavily against the table, making quite a show of thinking deeply. "I could have you... no, that would not work. Oh! I could always allow you to... ah, but that would never do."

She bit back a smile as Lendir fidgeted, too well trained to interrupt, but obviously dying of anticipation.

"Ah," she said, "I've thought of just the thing. It is a very important job. Far more important than doorwarden."

The boy's eyes grew huge.

"There are twenty pans," she said, "of hot cross buns, just come out of the ovens. They've cooled enough now for their frosting, which is already inside a pastry bag."

She thought his jaw might well detach and fall off, it hung so low.

"People will arrive any time now, Lendir, and my buns need to be crossed just right with their frosting. I cannot do it, because I have to watch my wares. Can I trust you, boy, to cross every bun just right, and when you finish, bring them out here?"
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
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Bertie growled as he felt a tug at the back of his coat and clumped about, ready to thump whoever had snuck up on him with his crutch. ‘What, boy?!’ he said low, holding his finger to his lips. ‘Erchan, ain’t it?’ He twisted to peek out from behind the tree. ‘Quiet now, don’t want the cap’n get wind of our business, do we?’ He focused his one good eye on the roll the boy now offered.

‘Bless that good missus as sent it!’ he went on, reaching out for it. Just as quickly, the boy put out his other hand cupped open and barring the way to the roll.

‘Old Bertie’s got it. Don’t you worry!’ He fished a copper jot from the recesses of his pocket and laid it in the boy’s hand. Transaction done, the roll slid into the same pocket to be savored with his soon to be gotten morning drink.

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Old 03-20-2011, 07:45 AM   #7
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As Erchan ambled back to Fea's shop, taking the longest way in order to secretly enjoy the biscuit he was quite sure Fea did not see him take, his stopped suddenly when he saw two men leaning against each other, both propped and sleeping against a wall.

Minas Anor was full of nooks where roads crossed, archways met walls, or where the architecture simply allowed for places for secrets to hide. In this little hollow, the two men seemed hidden, but only just. In the dark of night, they would have been all but invisible. In the early morning light, still silvery and cold, they were quite apparent, and Erchan wondered if he should fetch Captain Formy. Except that Old Bertie was still right around the corner, and wouldn't thank Erchan one bit for drawing the attention of the Guard in this direction.

Perhaps he should tell Mistress Feane? Even though she was just a baker, Erchan knew she was more than that, somehow. To him, she was the Queen of the Lower City, not that he would ever say such a thing. He had seen Queen Evenstar sometimes, at special events. Okay, he admitted, just that once, but she was beautiful, she was, and he meant no disrespect, but there was ruling a kingdom, and then there was ruling a community, and it wasn't the same, nor would it ever be.

One of the men wriggled a bit and Erchan stood there watching. The man cracked his back and Erchan saw he had a bruised eye. They were fighters! What if they were dangerous? He looked behind him, and Bertie was still there, savoring his breakfast. Erchan knew that if he shouted, Captain Formy would come right quick, but somehow he didn't think he should yell.

The man with the bruised eye looked around, bleary and confused. Suddenly he pounded on his companion. "Bran, Bran get up."

"What?" the other man moaned.

"Get up, you fool, Brinn is going to kill us."

Killing? Erchan ran full pelt back to Fea's stall, dropping the rest of his biscuit. As the boy disappeared around the corner, a small mouse darted forth to snag his own fresh baked breakfast.

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Old 03-20-2011, 08:10 AM   #8
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There were more than a couple of hangovers in the Market Square that morning.

A wagon carrying supplies to the drapier's shop trundled its way in, and disgorged some unusual cargo. A slightly built young fellow, in expensive satin clothes of yellow and blue, put a couple of silver tharni into the drover's hand as he slipped off his seat beside him, and began to stride, unsteadily enough, in the direction of the bakery.

Angelimar of Edhellond was going to need an excellent breakfast indeed to unravel the evening before the morning after with anywhere near enough accuracy to boast about it the evening after the said morning. Some kind of meat would be good, but first a roll was even more essential. He was not usually either in the Square at this time of day or particularly interested in buying bread, but everyone knew Mistress Feane; in his case he had occasionally ordered elaborate cakes to impress (usually lady-) friends.

So when he reached the Risen Loaf, it was in a rallied tone - not quite clear of grogginess, but basically enthusiastic - that he greeted its proprietress...

"Morning, milady Fea. Lovely morning it is. Well, isn't really for me, but the point stands. Could y'get me a loaf about the dimension and softness of a pillow to make it feel any better?"
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Old 03-20-2011, 03:21 PM   #9
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Bertie shambled a little ways away from the market site, heading for The Compass Rose Inn. More of a dive, really. Its faded sign swung from one rusted chain, the other having been yanked off one night by a bearishly big sailor fellow just off ship and itching to give the first one who crossed him a beating. Or so the story went. Most likely it had just pulled out of the rotten beam from which it hung and was now suffering from the same general neglect as the rest of the place.

But the rotgut there was strong and cheap.

And One-Eyed Gorm was none too particular about his custom as long as they paid and took their fights out to the yard. The first he fully enforced; the second he was less rigorous about, especially those nights he felt himself in need of busting a few heads with his oak club just to keep in practice.

Before Bertie could get to this fine establishment he was knocked over by two small tornados hurtling down the footway. His crutch went skittering a ways along the packed dirt and his foot went flying out from under him.

'You tickle-brained flap-dragons!' he yelled out, casting a rheumy eye on the twins. 'Now look what you've done!'

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Old 03-24-2011, 09:01 AM   #10
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"Morning, milady Fea. Lovely morning it is. Well, isn't really for me, but the point stands. Could y'get me a loaf about the dimension and softness of a pillow to make it feel any better?"

Fea had sold Angelimar a loaf, but in the bustle had become distracted. With the actors having shifted onward, she turned her attention back to him.

"Is that quite sufficient?" she asked, "Or will you be needing anything else?"
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Old 03-24-2011, 05:19 PM   #11
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Garan was mortified at the sight of Bertie sprawled in the dirt. He like the old soldier, called him ‘Uncle’, and bedeviled him whenever he could to tell stories about his time in the Great War. He ran to fetch Bertie’s crutch. ‘Didn’t see you, Uncle! Sorry, sorry . . .’ he repeated several times, attempting to dust Bertie’s raggedy coat front off as the man stood up.

Goran, for his part, was bent over with laughter - tickle-brained indeed by the very idea of a “flap-dragon”. ‘Oh, that was a good one, Uncle!’ he chuckled, collecting himself enough at last to go help his brother try to leverage Bertie to a standing position.
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:01 AM   #12
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The young reveller took the healthily sized loaf with eager gratitude, and broke off a corner of the top at once, the better to examine the fluffy pallour of its interior...

"You've excelled yourself as ever, madam. Perfect. Oh yes, actually; you know I'm not usually down here when the day's so nearly started, but I'm trying to get a breakfast together; so could you tell me where the best butcher in this square is? And even maybe where I could find myself some mustard?"

Angelimar had overpaid her a little, not commenting and indeed as if by accident; for certainly this young man liked to be liked...
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:55 AM   #13
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Crossover Posts from The King's Players:

Pitchwife:

Still yawning, for he hadn't slept that well, Coldan trudged along through the streets, doing his best to keep up with Harrenon's brisk stride. The fresh morning air and the gleams of early sunlight on the upper stories of the buildings around them contrasted sharply with his muddled brain and the gloomy mood he had carried over from yesterday.

It could have been worse, he reminded himself. At least Brinn had shown sense enough to team Aldarion up with Rollan and keep him safely away from Asta for most of the day. (Remembering how the two of them had intimately whispered together last evening sent renewed pangs of jealousy through his heart.)

At first, he had relied on Harrenon to come up with an idea as to where to start their research, but it soon became apparent that the young Gondorian was about as much out of his depth as himself.

“How about looking for armouries or smithies?" Harrenon finally suggested. "You know, places where you can get swords and the like. Soldiers go to such places even in times of peace, or so I’m told. Who knows? Maybe we might even run into some of the Citadel Guards, if we’re lucky.”

"Sounds good to me", Coldan replied, "if you know how to find such a place."

Harrenon didn't, so they agreed to just stroll on and enquire for directions on the way. Their first stop was Lamedon Square Market, which was already filling with a busy crowd eager to get hold of the best goods while they were fresh; two or three city guards were patrolling among the market-goers, but none of them looked old enough to remember much about the war.

"Lots of people to ask for the vay", Coldan observed. "Let's start zere!" He pointed to a bakery that sat right in the middle of the square, at the intersection of two crossing roads. Harrenon had been in such a hurry to set out that he had had to forego breakfast, and his stomach was complaining rather loudly. He bought some delicious-smelling golden rolls from the owner, a well-rounded woman with a friendly face, and asked politely: "Vould you know, good mistress, vere to buy a good blade in zis city?"

---

Fea

Therian woke with the rough edge of a cobble stone digging into his hip. His head was on Branor's shoulder in the most undignified of ways. The two of them were crammed into the space between two decorative archways. It was chilly; he could tell by his breath coming from him in bursts of white.

"Bran, Bran, get up."

Branor woke up with a moan. "What?"

They were in some corner of the city, and Therian could not remember how they had ended up there. He smelled fresh bread, which meant it was morning, and besides that, it was getting light.

"Get up, you fool, Brinn is going to kill us."

Some motion caught Therian's vision off to the side somewhere. A boy, perhaps?

"Where are we?" Bran grumbled.

"Olog... chased us... but then I don't remember..."

They hauled themselves to their feet and stumbled toward an intersection, following the smell of bread. A large sign pointed their way, emblazoned with the words, "Lamedon Square Market: This Way!"

---

Pitchwife

The baker was just about to answer Coldan's question when a young boy came running at the top of his speed, stopped himself abruptly right in front of them, waving his arms for balance, and shouted: "Mistress Fea - Mistress Fea - there's two men over there - they've been fighting - and someone's going to kill them!"

The woman turned to him and took him gently by the shoulders. "Easy, boy, easy", she said in a voice that managed to sound sober and comforting at the same time. "One thing at a time. Where are they? Did you see them fight? Was somebody threatening them?"

"Over there, ma'am, near Saucepan Alley", the boy panted, pointing into the direction he had come from. "They were alone, but one of them has a black eye, and he said to the other one: 'Brinn is going to kill us'."

"Vat?" and "What?", Coldan and Harrenon cried out simultaneously, staring at each other in alarm. When Coldan's eyes followed the boy's pointing finger, he saw two all too familiar figures emerging from an alleyway into the market square, making for the bakery with a stiff gait that looked like they had spent the night lying on hard ground.

"Merciful Valar!" he groaned. "Can't zose two be trusted to stay out of trouble for a few hours at least?"

---

Boromir88

"Vere have you two been and vat exactly have you been doing?" Coldan asked when Branor and Therian walked into the bakery.

"Glad to see both of you as well" shot back Branor. He was stiff, tired, and thus in no mood to banter or feel like he had to answer to anyone.

"I make no offense," replied Coldan. "but you have made a fine mess of things vith your antics so far."

"Do not concern yourself with us," Branor muttered "we decided it was better to investigate at night than in the morning. Mornings everyone is busy with daily duties and is in no mood for friendly chat with strangers. Besides we found out a good deal about the hobbits yesterday, aint that right?" He looked to Therian for support, but it was clear Therian, like Branor, did not remember last night's events.

Coldan and Harrenon looked at Therian's bruised eye and wondered how much investigating the two really could have done, but did not protest further.

Branor's stomach was grumbling and when he saw the lady attending her goods, he tapped Therian's arm. The misses's face looked worn, like any person who runs a store typically does, but there was still a fair and vibrant beauty to her. Branor could tell she took great care to make her goods and give her customers the best. If Therian really wanted to know how to properly address a lady than Branor was going to show him.

"Hello Misses" he smiled and leaned forward onto the counter. His tone softened to a near whisper "I am in desperate need of nourishment and have heard high remarks about your wares and ability to satisfy what I need."

The Mistress firmly placed her hand on the counter, expressing just tell me what you want and go about your business.

"But I have not been in here before and do not know what you have. I am feeling something sweet and filling. Can I see your finest sweet buns, honey?" Branor cleared his throat. "Pardon me, that was supposed to come out as, can I see your finest honey buns...sweetie? Ahem. No. Do your buns have honey drizzled on top?"

---

Fea

Fea crossed her arms over her chest and shared a look with Captain Form. "Now, young man," she began, though Branor could easily have been her age for all she knew, "it looks from your bruises that you have been fighting. And that is not looked kindly upon in the King's City, or in my market."

Therian gulped and stuttered, "Your market?"

"Yes, boy, mine, as far as that sort of thing goes. You are not from around here, so I would not expect you to know it, but in these parts we have ways of behaving. I take it the two of you are the cause of my shop boy scooting his tush back into my kitchen faster than I've ever seen him move, all the while yelling of murders and ruffians?"

Therian looked at Branor. Murderers? But they were just actors! A puzzle piece of memory locked into place and Therian saw for a moment the flash of Olog's bear shaped body as he lumbered after them down the road. How, he wondered, had they escaped? They had not had that much to drink, had they? And for the sake of it all, why had they slept on the ground? "I... um... well, by 'kill' we meant our Boss... and not really kill so much as be very upset with us... in a way that might mean she will not be our boss any more?"

Fea humphed and found a sweet sticky roll for Branor and charged him double her normal price, to make up for Erchan's loss of productivity, and because the fool had to learn one way or another, and maybe an empty pocket would enforce the idea of a mouth that had no words coming out of it.

"And," Fea said, "In the mean time, you've had me neglecting another patron. If you will excuse me..."

---

Formendacil

Amdír made good time returning from Lord Hallas's estate, and was slowing climbing up into the city from the Great Gate before morning had truly passed. It helped that Lord Hallas's estate was close to the city, no more than a league or two. It also helped that days were long, and one could get a lot done when the sun rose early.

Normally, Amdír would have avoided going through Lamedon Square Market with a laden waggon, but even though it was coming busy as the morning wore on, he didn't fancy trying to take the waggon, which was more cumbersome than most carts he drove, down one of the back ways, and decided to continue slowly up Lampwright's Street, even if it meant braving the impatience of the crowds.

He was passing through the Market, irritating the occasional seller or buyer of goods and wares when he caught sight of Branor and Therian looking rather worse for the wear next to a well-kept baker's stall. A large man wearing the uniform of a Tower Guard loomed nearby.

"Branor! Therian!" called Amdír. "Hello, there!"

Instead of immediately catching the two actors' attention, Amdír's salutation was noticed by the Guard.

"Good morning, good yeoman!" returned Captain Formy jovially. "Are you responsible for these impertinent ragamuffins?"

Amdír's natural respect for those in authority caused him to overlook the jovial diminishment of the two actors.

"No, sir, though I know them. They are members of the King's Players, staying at Ingold's Inn."

"Good King Elessar has players? What do they play at? Are they a troop of gamblers that play at the games of dice said to be prevalent in the cold of winter in the King's northern homeland?"

"No sir, they are an acting troupe--from Dale. It is from King Bard II that they take their name. They are here to put on a performance as a part of the Cormarë revels."

"Best see they take a break from their own revels, if they wish to entertain anyone else," suggested the captain with a mock-stern glance at the actors.

---

Dimturiel

“That’s it,” Harrenon said after the problem with Therian and Branor seemed more or less solved with the arrival of Amdir. “If I had any doubts until now, I don’t anymore. First we find out we might have faulty information, then Brinn breaks her ankle and now this. There’s no doubt about it. We’re cursed. This play is cursed. We’re not meant to do it. We can’t put up a performance about what happened in the War of the Ring. It’s wrong. We’re…we’re meddling with something that’s too…too grand for us and we can’t do that. We’re receiving all sorts of signs that we can’t do it. This play is doomed. I’m sure it is!”

It was not often that Harrenon lost control like this in public, but when he did, his outbursts where usually memorable and quite embarrassing in hindsight. After he was finally done he was aware of a sudden silence around him and realised that many had stopped whatever they were doing to listen to him curiously. Coldan looked quite uncomfortable at the turn of events. Harrenon bit his lips, realising that the only thing he had done was to draw even more attention to the Players.

“I’m sorry,” he said sheepishly to Coldan. “I shouldn’t have done that. I’m really sorry. Now can we please find that blasted armoury before I say something else that might cause trouble?”

---

Pitchwife

(partial post)

"Zat will be for the best, I zink", Coldan agreed, dragging Harrenon away from the bakery before the huge captain of the guard who had shown up in the least convenient moment could think of inquiring what legitimate interest two civilians, whose friends had just caused rumours of fighting and murder, could have in finding an armoury. As for Branor and Therian, Amdír could probably be relied on to take the two goodfornothings back to the inn without much further mayhem, and once there, Brinn would have a word or two with them that would hopefully put some reason into their heads, if reason could bear to dwell there.

---

Boromir88

Branor, despite that disaster, was grinning when he walked back to Therian. "And that, my boy, is what women will do to you. They will take your money and leave you on the side standing helpless. And that misses, not all that interesting anyway, certainly not as pretty as Brinn. Oh my, uhm, you did not hear me say that." In truth, he was just trying to save face, even though he guessed Therian knew Branor had that blow up in his face.

He was not bothered by being charged extra, since it was probably the best sticky bun he could remember having. "Mmm, that was quite tasty. I would go back and ask for another, if I was assured she would not hike up the price on me again. Still, she woefully undercharges for her sticky buns."

"What do you expect from, you know, from a shop being owned by...a her." Therian said. He still seemed focused to figure out how every lady he's met in Minas Anor defies traditional logic.

The large guard-Captain was not enjoying their conversation as he always was shooting suspicious glances, as if he was looking for a reason to throw the two out.

"Branor! Therian!" called Amdír. "Hello, there!"

Amdir was engaged in conversation with Captain Formy, and was slowly looking more stern towards Branor and Therian. When the two approached Amdir and he saw their faces a look of exasperation, what had these two whippers been up to? And how did they get Captain Formy so riled?

"I suppose I need to take you both back to the Inn, after your adventures last night?" Amdir gave them a hard look.

Branor was lost, how did it seem like everyone knew what happened last night except for Branor and Therian? Not that he would apologize for any trouble making he caused, as it most likely was not his fault. It would still help to know why he needed to apologize? All he did was save Therian from getting squashed. Unless Olog finally caught up to them? He could have sworn, while Olog had the clear advantage in strength, they more than made up for by outwitting the lame half-wit.

"Thanks, Amdir, but that will not be necessary." said Branor. "I am going to continue following Brinn's orders by investigating the hobbits. You can tell her this if you see fit. Therian, you coming?"

---

Fea

Therian somehow found the generosity not to laugh at Branor. It helped that he was rather busy feeling concerned about his behavior over the night. This Captain Formy seemed to know much of everything, and he had mentioned nothing, nor tried to arrest them. This Mistress Fea looked as though she knew everything, and she had said the market was practically hers. Surely if they'd done anything too awful, she would have known, but instead she just repeated her shop boy's words. Really, anything they'd done could not have been that bad.

He thought about what they'd done, or what he couldn't remember them doing, and realized unfortunately what he knew they had not done: learned anything of value about the hobbits, except that Master Sam's wife used to serve beer for a living. He was not sure what value that was, except that probably Sam liked his brew, which Therian already knew from meeting him.

If they went back now, war would all but break out. Best to go back with definitive proof of something, anyway. And besides, they might find out what they'd done in the night.

Therian looked at this Mistress Fea, watching as she deftly sliced a loaf of bread for a patron, wrapped it, and tucked his coin into her apron band. She was a pear shaped woman. He wondered if she had children, or a husband. Ugh, he thought. Olog. How could that pretty young thing at the tavern be married to an oaf like Olog? The man lumbered. Any man whose locomotion so closely resembled that of a bear or a boar should not be married to such a delicate specimen of femininity. This Fea, however, crushed his thoughts without doing a single thing. She was no delicate flower, no elanor on a hillside. She was no single willow in a vale, wistfully blown about by the breeze. This Mistress Fea was a mighty oak, he thought, or perhaps more of a maple. He watched as she pulled a small bag of bite sized muffins from some hidden place and gave one each to a handful of small children. They bounced and ran away squealing. Sturdy, she was, but sweet. And like autumn leaves burnished gold and red, she had an undeniable beauty even if he thought of her as a tree.

Branor snapped his fingers in Therian's face.

"What?" Therian snapped.

"You coming or not?"

Therian looked back at Fea. Here was a woman completely at home in the body of a woman. She wore no men's garb like they said Eowyn wore into battle. She did not stand here selling things dressed as a fellow, clad in a fellow's trousers, her breasts bound flat, her hair hidden away. She did not flaunt herself, surely, yet she wore serviceable skirts and petticoats, and sturdy boots, and a blouse and a shawl and over it all, an apron. She dressed as Therian's own mother had dressed before she died: for practicality. But there was something to the flare of her skirt that admitted her womanhood, drawing the eye from her pinched waist around the curves of her hips and out. She was no Queen Evenstar, of course, but she dressed as a woman though she did the mannish work of selling things in a public place.

Nor did she disguise her voice, as they say Eowyn did. In fact, this Mistress Fea appeared to pretend to be nothing except what she was: a woman that baked and sold her baked goods. A woman that was used to being obeyed. A woman that was not unnecessarily crude or vicious to men. He had known some women like that: ones that behaved as though venom from their lips would somehow change the world. Well, as his mother always said, you catch more flies with honey. Or was that sugar? And what was it that you didn't catch them with, vinegar? Milk? Milk made no sense. He couldn't remember flies ever going to milk.

But the point was the same. There was something to this baker lady that caught his attention.

Branor hit him in the arm. "I'm leaving."

"Huh?"

Amdír asked, "Are you drunk?"

"No," Therian said. "Not drunk. Leaving. Going. Branor, where are we going?"

---

Boromir88

"No," Therian said. "Not drunk. Leaving. Going. Branor, where are we going?"

"We are going to do what Brinn sent us off to do." Branor yelled back. He was already quite a few paces ahead of a trailing Therian.

"What was that again?"

Branor stopped and waited for Therian to catch up, just so he could hit him in the chest. Therian did not look happy, but Branor was more shocked when Therian did not attempt to strike back. Seriously, what was wrong with this boy today?

"Ever since waking up this morning, you have been acting weird. Particularly back there at Mistress Fea's. I thought we got away from Olog, but it appears he's knocked the wits out of you!"

---

Formendacil

Since it was clear that Branor and Therian had no intention of returning to the Inn, Amdír bid Captain Formy a good day, and continued on without them. He unhitched the horses from his cart once he reached the inn, and tethered them, before going inside to fetch help in hauling down the first setpieces. As he did so, he could not help but notice six handsome steeds already tethered. From their glossy coats and fine tack, it was clear to Amdír that someone of importance was present, and had a fearful premonition that it might be the new Master of Revels, the Lord Cirdacil.

A bit fearful, for he had not yet determined the measure of the lord, Amdír entered the Inn, hoping he was wrong, and wishing he was still carting his way across the Pelennor.
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