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Old 07-13-2004, 08:59 PM   #41
Nurumaiel
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Cynan sighed deeply and gazed down at Grimm's friendly face, stroking the black head absently. "My papa is dead," said he, "and my mamma is very sick. She will not die, though," he added fiercely, clenching his fists. He looked up at Kellan and relaxed a little, smiling. "I apologize," he said. "The neighbors are always whispering that my mamma is dying of a broken heart. My mamma is not dying, though."

"Of course not," Kellan murmured.

He looked up at her, his face full of curiosity and puzzlement, yet there was the faintest twinkle in his eyes. "How can you say that when you have never seen her? How do you know she is not dying?" Then he laughed. "Again, I apologize," he said. "You should think if anything caused my mamma to die it would be my persistant teasing." And the twinkle in his eyes grew greater.

He found it easy to jest about his mother's illness, for he was more than confident that she would grow better, but deep in his heart it weighed upon him. If all the madness of the gossiping neighbors was true and his mother did die, he would be left the eldest in his family at only eleven years old. He did not see how it was possible to care for them in such a situation. But, of course, his mother would not die. The only difficulty was to find some work to support his family, for their money supply would not last forever. He glanced sideways towards Rochadan and an idea sprung into his head. Maybe the stablemaser would appreciate more than one help about the stable.

"Miss Kellan, it has been more than an honor to meet you," he said, getting to his feet, "and to be perfectly frank I should not leave your company except that I feel it might be polite not to overstay my welcome. If you would like me to stay," and here another twinkle, "I would surely be pleased to. Yet if you no longer desire my presence, I will bid you farewell with such a courtly bow as is rarely seen in a young boy like myself." He was smiling very broadly now, and his eyes were sparkling with such mischief that it was a wonder they didn't spark themselves out. "What do you say?"
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Old 07-14-2004, 12:00 AM   #42
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"I would never ask you to take your leave, for your company is too comforting and my heart is neither brave enough nor bold enough to request your departure," Kellan replied honestly, trailing off to laugh gently at the boy's gallant nature. "Still, I think I would rather enjoy such a courtly bow from you. Yet I also think that Grimm would feel rather put out if you left. In fact, I do not believe he would let you go quite yet. Then I know that you have other needs to attend to, and I understand that others might like me to share you with them," Kellan had fast broken into a smile, as Cynan had done earlier. "I will be here for a while, and I will not take Grimm away from you before you both have a chance to enjoy each other's company once more."

"Then I bid thee farewell, Miss Kellan!" Cynan cried in a stately manner, giving Kellan a courtly bow, and it was indeed unlike any other bow Kellan had ever seen in as young a boy as he. With his wondrous bow he bade the dark woman farewell, and skipped off and away from Kellan and Grimm.

"What a nice boy," Kellan murmured to Grimm, who sat once more, whined, and placed his head dejectedly upon his folded paws. His Mistress sighed wistfully and placed her chin in her cupped palms. "You know we cannot stay forever, right? We shall have to go farther north ere the month has ended? But perhaps we might return some other time. I must go speak to the Innkeeper..."

Standing, Kellan found the man Finian and politely waited for him to return. When he had and had given his attention to Kellan, she blushed faintly. "Sir, I have a rather...strange request, or, more of a question...to ask of you," she began, her dark cheeks tinted with crimson. "I wonder if you might have a means of getting up onto your roof? On top of your roof?"
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Old 07-14-2004, 09:35 AM   #43
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Rochadan

Having seen the boy, Andhun, safely delivered into Bêthberry's hands to begin the treatment of his many burns and bruises, Rochadan took a final look around the common room. The young scamp, Cynan, was busy playing with another guest's dog. Finian was at the bar with Ærosylle. The tension of the encounter with Harstan had subsided and the other guests had all returned to their own thoughts and affairs. For the moment, all was once more right with the world. Rochadan sighed and looked toward the kitchen.

During the altercation with Harstan, he had heard Sallie's voice piping above it all. She would undoubtedly be well-finished with breakfast by now. It was about time he collected her back from Ædhral and Cook and returned to the stable. He still had not done anythng about that lame horse that had brought him into the common room in the first place. Turning, he went back to the kitchen and, after a brief word with Cook, left through the back door with Sallie perched happily on his shoulder, chattering away happily about the dog, the mean ugly man, and the two new boys. Rochadan only half-listened, throwing in an occasional question or exclamation where it was needed. Having opened his big mouth and volunteered to foot the bill for the care and keeping of Andhun, he was now worrying about how he was going to pay for it. A big heart and a shallow pocket were not always the best combination, not that he had any regrets about doing it. He would just have to figure out a way to manage was all. There were plenty of folks in Esgaroth still who were in worse financial straits than himself.

He sighed again and lifted Sallie off his shoulder to set her down outside the stable. She scampered off ahead of him to look for the new litter of kittens that one of the barn cats had delivered a week earlier. It was times like this that he missed his days as a messenger. While the job had kept him away from home for long periods of time on a fairly regular basis, the pay was very good. Excellent, in fact. He had managed to save a fair amount of money over the ten years he had spent as a rider, but it was beginning to dwindle, even though he tried not to dip into those funds unless it was completely necessary. Taking on Andhun, and possibly his little sister, would put a strain on the salary he got from Finian, but he couldn't see that he had a choice in the matter. Andhun must not be allowed to return to Harstan, not if the boy wanted to live to adulthood.

"We'll manage, won't we?" he asked, stopping in front of the stall that housed his own horse, Alydar. The horse reached over the stable door and nuzzled Rochadan's shoulder.
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:03 AM   #44
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White Tree

Finian blinked at the woman. The top of the roof. He shrugged. One of the joys of being an innkeeper was the fact that you met strange people. "Well, there are too ways: the first is asking Rochadan for a ladder from the stable and merely propping it up against the Tavern wall and scurrying up it and climbing onto the roof. The second is a wee bit more difficult. I can lead you up those stairs and up into a tiny attic where there is a small window. Through that window you could wriggle through like a worm and then struggle up onto the roof top." He grinned at her and added, "Though I think that way would be more suitable for a rascally young boy than for a lady like you."

A brief smile flittered across her face and she said, "The ladder will be fine."

Beckoning her to follow him, he strode out the Tavern towards the stable. Why on earth did she wish to go on top of the roof? Surely she did not mean to sleep up there in the cold and damp? He shrugged. Folks were strange. "You do not have to sleep up there," he said.

The lady laughed softly and said, "No, I wish to gaze at the stars."

Oh. That was....an interesting pasttime. Finian raised his eyebrows and shrugged once again. He never had been able to figure out why the stars interested so many people.

He dragged the ladder out of the stable, and propped up on the wall of the inn. "Just climb up it when you wish," he said, trying to make it a bit more stable. "If you are afraid that it will totter on you, call me or Rochadan and we will hold it steady while you climb it -- what's your name?" he asked suddenly, blushing that he could have forgotten it. Innkeepers always found out the name of the customers. It was a common rule that he constantly forgot.

"Kellan," she said. "And this is my dog Grimm."

Bowing, Finian said, "Pleased to meet you."
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Old 07-15-2004, 08:59 AM   #45
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Rochadan

Having at last finished wrapping the forelegs of the injured horse that had come into his care earlier in the morning, Rochadan came out of the stables just in time to see Finian and the dark woman from the common room standing alongside one wall of the inn, accompanied by the woman's large black dog. Finian leaned a ladder from the stable against the side of the building. Curious, Rochadan walked over to join them. He looked up at the awnings, worried that there might be trouble with the roof.

Nodding politely to the woman, he turned to Finian. "Is there a problem with the roof? Should I go up and take a look?"

Finian laughed, rising from where he had knelt down to speak to the dog. "No, that's all right. There's nothing wrong with the roof. It's just that Miss Kellan here likes to look at the stars. I was showing her a way to get up there."

"I see." Rochadan nodded. "Then I will be sure not to put the ladder away." He smiled at Kellan. "Please let me know if there is anything else you will be needing, Miss Kellan. My name is Rochadan. I'm usually around about the stables."

"Thank you," answered Kellan. "I will keep that in mind."

He started to go, but then turned and came back. "There's a loose rung on the ladder, third from the top. I'll try to get around to fixing it sometime today..."

"Well, that's a thought!" interupted Finian with an easy grin. "We can't have our guests toppling off the roof now, can we? Especially not because of our own rickety ladder."

Rochadan laughed. "No! I guess that wouldn't do at all." He gave Kellan a friendly smile. "I will see to it that the ladder is fixed by nightfall." Glancing down at the dog beside her, he reached out and scrunched the animal behind the ears. "That's a fine dog you've got there," he added pleasantly. "What do you call him?"
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Old 07-15-2004, 11:35 AM   #46
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"He is called Grimm," Kellan replied, smiling at the large, burly dog by her left leg. She felt surprised at the kindness of Rochadan and Finian, for there had been many Innkeepers and staff members in her days of traveling who had turned down her request of using their roof. Many times Kellan had to sneak up onto the roof, and leave Grimm to guard for anyone who could have heard her struggling. I see I have chosen the right tavern, then, Kellan thought happily. She snapped back to reality and watched with a smile as Rochadan scratched Grimm. "He remains the best companion I could ever have. He listens, and I know that it seems strange, but I know he listens. We have traveled long and far, but Grimm seems to like Dale the best. We have met many good people here already."

Rochadan smiled at Grimm, while Finian looked up at the dog's Mistress with a nod."So you are not from here. Do you watch the stars wherever you go?" Finian asked.

"Yes. Where I come from someone would always watch the stars, because they could see things in the patterns and tell the weather and things of that nature. I became fascinated with the idea. Everywhere I go, I go there to see the stars and learn what I can from them," Kellan grinned, remembering all the places she had been and all the skies she had seen. Rochadan and Finian seemed just slightly confused.

"Do not the stars look the same in every town? Surely the skies do not change from place to place!" Rochadan commented, looking from Kellan to the top of the ladder where the faulty rung was and then back again.

"It always looks different. The sky in one town may somehow appear full of mist and veil, even if there are no clouds. In another place and another season, the sky is as clear as if the stars are merely a reach away from your face. My main intrigue has been how the stars change but somehow remain the same over time," the young woman explained. "Sometimes it reminds me of people...always changing but keeping the same mystery. Still, no matter how many times I see the sky it always looks as beautiful as the first time I really looked at it. You can glance up at it, knowing it will be there the next night. I look at it and search for the differences..." Kellan paused, realizing that she was getting carried away with her explanations. She laughed. "Sorry! Sometimes I forget that not everyone sees what I see...I did not mean to bore you. Thank you very much for letting me on the roof!"

Last edited by Aylwen Dreamsong; 07-19-2004 at 10:44 AM. Reason: I am the grammar Nazi, and I made mistakes.
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Old 07-16-2004, 04:44 PM   #47
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Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bêthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Shield The slow manner of healing

"Will I tell you what I shall do to make you well, Andhun? Of course I shall. Not a hand shall touch your skin nor a plaster be placed on your wounds, nor a fluid touch your lips without my first explaining the purpose and effect and gaining your consent."

Andhun looked up at her with startled eyes. Never before in his recent experience, at least since the terrible fire, for he could not always remember much before that, had anyone considered his own wishes.

"What does consent mean?" he asked curiously. "Will you make me sign a paper?"

Bethberry would have laughed at the boy's earnestness had not the cruel reality of his question and her recent experience of Hastan stayed her mind. She regreted her eagerness in wanting to bring the boy to the infirmary, without waiting to see if he wanted a friend to accompany him.

"Our trust lies in our word, here at the Vineyard Tavern, Andhun," she replied. "Shall I ask for Rochadan or Cynan to come here, to witness our words, so you will be more comfortable? "

A soft breeze blew gently through the room. The infirmary was a warm and sunny room, with windows on both east and south walls, and the west wall warmed by the heat of the kitchen. In the morning sun, everything looked fresh and bright. Andhun inhaled deeply, sensing the many aromas which the room held. They comforted him, but before he could speak, the Healer herself spoke up.

"Let me call Cynan. I suspect he will be as curious to see this room as you are, and perhaps I may learn something of his mother's health, too."

With that remark, she walked to the door and quietly bid Ædhral call Cynan to the infirmary.
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Old 07-16-2004, 07:09 PM   #48
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Cynan had been wandering aimlessly about the Common Room, finding himself at a loss of what to do now that he had taken leave of Kellan and Grimm. He had enjoyed the company of both, and Grimm had brought pleasant remembrances of his own dog. Cynan was not one to weep and feel bitter at memories of days and people past. No one had made a move to speak to him now, and he was restless. He would have returned to his home save that he felt he should not leave before he said a temporary farewell to Andhun.

He sat by the wall at a point where he could see most of the goings-on in the Tavern. He had not been sitting five minutes when a young serving girl came to the door and beckoned to him; she said nothing but she did not need to, for he felt certain it concerned Andhun. He followed the girl down the same path that Bethberry and Andhun had just recently trodden, until he was led to those two people. He smiled at both, and both smiled at him, and then Andhun turned his head up to Bethberry and said:

"Now that Cynan is here I feel much more at ease; yet I do assure you that even without his presence I should feel easy in my mind, and know that you would not harm me."

Cynan sat himself on a chair and gazed about. "It is very neat and tidy here, ma'am," he said. "It has been long since I have seen such a tidy place. My own house was once tidy and while my little sisters do an admirable job, they are still little and inexperienced, and my mamma cannot clean for she is sick in bed. Sometimes I do think that if the house were neater, she would be able to recover faster." He smiled ruefully. "I am not in the least talented at cleaning, so I cannot help her. I regret it."
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Old 07-17-2004, 11:55 AM   #49
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Tolkien

Finian thought that Kellan's star gazing could be an interesting past time if one had the eyes to see what she saw. "You did not bore us, lady," he said with a laugh. "Tomorrow you must tell us what kind of sky we have," he added. "Excuse me, but I must go see how the boy Andhun is doing."

With a bow he left her and went back into the inn, towards the infirmary. Bethberry and two boys were there, talking softly among themselves. The bright morning sunlight stained the floor, and a gentle breeze aired the room.

Finian leaned against the wall, remembering how often his own sister had come in this room. He gazed at Andhun, wishing that she as well had been maimed by the fire so that Bethberry could more easily treat her, or so that her sickness was more apparent. But Ærosylle was not plagued physically. Bethberry tried to heal her anyway and sometimes Ærosylle seemed a little better. He grinned at Bethberry and, when he heard a tenant of the Inn roar for a bit of beer, he remembered that he was not a boy, looking lislessly about for something to do. He was the Innkeeper now. With a sigh, he shot a parting grin at the boys and Bethberry and made his way behind the counter.
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Old 07-17-2004, 04:31 PM   #50
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Rochadan

As Finian made his excuses to Kellan and walked away, Rochadan gave her a pleasant smile. “I have to agree with Finian,” he said. “You didn’t bore me at all with your thoughts about the stars. Actually, I found your view quite interesting.”

He threw a glance over his shoulder toward the stable to make sure that Sallie was still in his sight and staying out of trouble. Seeing that she was on both counts, he turned back toward Kellan. “I used to do quite a lot of traveling myself, and I have to agree with you that the sky, even the air, can be very different from place to place. The moon and stars, though... silly as it may sound to you, I always took comfort in the fact that they always remained the same moon and stars regardless where I found myself when darkness fell.”

Kellan smiled. “Yes, I can see where one might take that point of view. They are the same stars and moon, after all. It’s just that where I come from, we tend to look a little deeper than that.”

Rochadan nodded. “Yes, it seems that you do. It’s like me with horses, I suppose. Some people look at them and see an animal, the whole picture. I look at a horse and I see whether they are well-cared for or not, if their limbs are sound, and so on. I can usually spot a fast horse at a glance over, say, a good cutting horse, as well.”

“Yes, that is basically what I was getting at,” said Kellan. “It’s not so much seeing things with different eyes as knowing what to look for when you open them.”

“Yes!” agreed Rochadan thoughtfully. “But you say you can tell what the weather is going to be by the patterns of the stars. Can you tell other things as well? I can’t help but wonder if you might not be a fortune teller of some kind.”
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Old 07-18-2004, 10:08 PM   #51
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"Well, the tribe I am from was rather absorbed in the stars, I suppose you could say," Kellan began her explanation thoughtfully, slightly unsure of her own words. "Our star-gazers would use the sky as a reference of sorts, to study the patterns of the earth. Weather and changing seasons were always determined by the man who watched the skies. We believed that we could gain success in agricultural matters through the positions of the stars. There are some, I will confess, who stake their lives on the movements of the stars and other pictures in the sky, thinking that the fate could be said in these white lights in the skies."

"Are you one of those people?" Rochadan asked gently. Kellan knew he must have had more important things to attend to, but she appreciated his interest.

"I will not profess to know the future," Kellan answered truthfully, her dark eyes sparkling with inner laughter and outer exuberance. "However, with the ideas of my tribe, in the far South, I could say which days are bad and which are good. Some days, they would say, are good for starting a task; others are good for finishing. Some days were just plain bad to do anything. Different ideas were held for when children were born and how they would be when they grew up. I am certain there were more theories for the stars than there were days in a year..."

Kellan paused, and for a moment there was silence between her and Rochadan.

"What about you, sir?" She inquired politely. "If you have nothing pressing to attend to, I would like to know more about you, or if it pleases you more, about the Vineyard Tavern. Or, if you have other tasks, which I am sure you do, I would be fine with parting and going inside until the sun sets."

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Old 07-18-2004, 10:55 PM   #52
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Sitting quitly at a corner table. The tall man ,cloaked and hooded, sets his wears about his feet. Only a pipe is seen with glowing embers jutting out from his cloak. He pays no mind to the comming and goings around him. In the darkness of his hood burns two eyes like coals.

Yet he is not angary nor bothered. This is just his way. To be quit and to be unnoticed. So many things have happened to him. But he knows that he must now find some peace. Before the storm rises again. There are simple pleasures he can find here. Although he dosn't look it he is terribaly storng. But like all of his abbilitys this is hidden. Just as his mind and thoughts are veiled.

"The table seems to have a broken leg." He thinks to himself.

Grasping the edge of the round table. He lifts the entire table off the groud with one hand, as he sets one of his books underneath to steady it. He then realizes hes unwittingly done somthing that can draw stares. The table was not massive but it was big enough to raise attention. But for him being noticed could draw somthing out he didn't want. He hoped for the best and whent back to his thoughts.

Sitting quitly he thinks of his plans. Where will he go next? Who will he seek out? And most importently will they help?

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Old 07-19-2004, 06:33 PM   #53
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The Eye

The door swung open smoothly and in stepped an Elf. But it was not how one would ordinarily see an Elf, in fact it was quite an extraordinary sight.

For he was soaked from head to foot and had a most displeased look upon his face as if someone had played a cruel joke on him, which was not far from the truth. His golden blonde hair was in disarray, and his green and gold attire dripped all over the dry wooden floor.

With a sigh he looked about the Tavern, a small puddle of water forming around where he stood. His blue eyes caught sight of a table that was bathed in the sun's light.

As he made his way towards it his boots left a wet trail and a distinguished soppy sucking noise. Though he was mindful of the eyes that began to look upon him he pulled out the chair and stretched himself out in the sun.

His hope was that the Innkeeper wouldn't kick him out for making the floor wet.
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:30 PM   #54
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Kannah

"...Three. Four. Five."

Checking stock, Kannah thought irritably as she counted the sacks of flour in the store-room. Working here as long as I have, I'm still stuck checking stock. This is not what I agreed on.

She hefted the final sack of flour back to where it had been, and wiped the soft, fine powder on her emerald-green skirt. She looked in dismay at the streak it left on her clothes, shaking the multilayered skirt to no avail. She looked up from it when she heard a creaking noise coming from the common room.

If nothing else, Kannah had sharp ears for anything that may cost the inn money.

She swished her way into the common room, flicking her dark hair out of her face as she walked. "Is there a prob--" she began sharply, then stopped short. A tall man, swathed in a cloak, had corrected a table's uneven leg with a book. She flushed. "My apologies, sir, I'll get that looked at right away. Is there something I can get for you in the meantime?"
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Old 07-19-2004, 08:14 PM   #55
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White Tree

Finian laughed as he saw the table wobble as the man strove to correct it with a book, but saw that Kannah had come to his assistance.

The flow of customers had slowed and the only traffic the door saw were men sauntering out the door, which was, of course, entirely the wrong direction. Finian drummed his fingers and sighed. It was a pity that the Tavern wasn't a wee bit busier, but it was well off all in all. Besides, he thought with a grin, if it was busier there would be no time for fun. And what was life without a dollop (a large dollop preferably) of fun, eh?

At that moment, the door swung open and a tall elf strode into the room. His brows met in a jagged cleft, his green cloak hung limply from his tall body, and water streamed from his body. Finian's brows shot up, and he stifled a chortle. It was not every day that one saw a disgruntled elf.

Vaulting over the counter, Finian approached the man (still trying to smother the grin that would come to his face when he heard the squish of the elf's feet) and said, "May I help you, good sir?"

Behind him, he could see his sister carefully place her feet on his wet footprints and try to mimic his walk.
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Old 07-20-2004, 08:27 AM   #56
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Rochadan

"About me?" Rochadan caught the sparkle of mirth in Kellan's eyes and smiled in spite of himself. “There’s really not much to tell,” he said pleasantly, leaning on one rung of the ladder. “I used to be a long-distance messenger, delivering mail and dispatches from Esgaroth to wherever they needed to go. Now I take care of the horses here at the Vineyard. But, as far as your keeping me from my work, please don’t worry yourself. We haven’t many guests right now, so there really isn’t that much to do... other than fix this ladder.” He cast a dubious glance up at the broken rung.

“Thank you,” Kellan answered with a smile of her own. “But I hope you will tell me if that changes and you do find yourself with more pressing things to do. As I said, I would enjoy talking a bit, but am fine with parting as well.” She paused. “As far as your story goes,” she added after a few seconds of comfortable silence had passed. “I’m sure there must be more to it than that!”

“Well, yes.” Rochadan nodded. “There always is more to a story than one initially tells, isn’t there? Actually, for the moment, I am more interested in hearing the rest of your story than gabbing on about myself. I’m sure there is more to it, as well, than what you have told so far. When you say you come from a tribe in the Far South, would I be correct in guessing that you come from Far Harad? What brings you this far north? That’s a very long journey, especially to be made on foot and all alone but for the company of your dog.”
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:26 PM   #57
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"Yes, you are correct. I do come from the lands of Far Harad," Kellan remarked, nodding slowly. "And yes, it was a very long journey, and some part of it made without Grimm. I took the Harad Road to go north, for I was meaning to meet someone in Minas Tirith...someone who also watched the stars. However, I took some sort of wrong turn, I suppose, and made it to Dol Amroth near the Bay of Belfalas. That is where I met Grimm. He, a lone hound wandering where the folk of that town buried their dead and I, a wandering girl who had taken a road that did not lead to my desitation."

"You traveled all alone before that?" Rochadan asked, bringing a smile to Kellan's face without quite meaning to.

"Nay, I walked the roads with my brother. When we got to Minas Tirith, his plan was to part with me and take up jobs and lodgings there, for his dreams were never in the heat of the south lands," Kellan replied, her smile still bright and Rochadan's eyes still questioning. "He was the one who got us lost. In any case, I stayed in Minas Tirith with Grimm for near to a month, talking and studying and watching stars with the stargazer. He was such a funny man, and rather more obsessed than I am about the stars. One day he suggested that I see the view farther north, and he gave me the name of a friend of his, a man in Dale who might take me in and speak of the stars with me. I have not found him yet, and I think that perhaps tragedy befell him in the attack last year."

"That is quite a story, Miss Kellan," Rochadan murmured, looking back now and then to check on his little girl and make certain that she did not get into mischief.

"A long one, I'm afraid, and I apologize if I took too much of your time," Kellan replied ruefully and honestly. "And I must thank you once again for offering to take your time to fix the ladder."
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Old 07-23-2004, 09:47 PM   #58
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Rochadan

Rochadan laughed rather sheepishly and cast another look at the loose rung of the ladder. "Really, it's no trouble at all about the ladder. I should have fixed it months ago." He tipped it away from the wall in preparation to take it away for the necessary repair, then stopped. "Thank you for sharing your story," he added. "And pardon me for prying. It's just that I have never gone so far south as Harad and tales of the place interest me. Now... if there is anything you would like to know of Esgaroth or the Dale, please ask. Perhaps I could help regarding this stargazer you seek."

"I'm sorry if I seemed a bit abrupt in terms of my own story," he continued after an awkward pause. "I'm just not accustomed to talking much about myself. I never know what to say exactly. If you have any questions, though, please feel free to ask. And about the inn as well. I don't know how long you plan to stay in Esgaroth, but I think you will find the people here at the inn are a good lot."

"Finian will take good care of both you and Grimm," he finished with a smile, not wishing for the conversation to end just yet, but not quite sure how to prolong it either. As it was, he felt as though he was reaching for straws. He never had been any good at talking to women, especially not pretty ones, and had a way of coming across as either awkward or aloof, depending on how much of an effort he was making at getting along. Kellan interested him with all her talk of Harad and roof-climbing and star-gazing, but he had a feeling that, if he wasn’t careful, he was soon to pass directly through awkward into stupid. Finally, he sighed. He should just give it up and fix the ladder. Let the lady go about her business.

Just then, he felt a small tug at his pants leg. “Papa, does the doggie bite?” Sallie had limped over while he was talking with Kellan and now stood beside him with one little arm wrapped tightly around his knee. The other hand pointed at Grimm.

Instinctively, Rochadan reached down with one hand and smoothed the child‘s hair. “My daughter, Salaidhwyn,” he said to Kellan by way of a quick introduction. Then, he spoke to Sallie. “This is Miss Kellan, Sallie. Grimm is her dog. Perhaps you should ask her if the doggie bites.”

Sallie slid shyly behind his leg, not taking her eyes off of the big black dog for a second. “Miska-lyn,” she said finally to Kellan, peeking around the edge of her father‘s trouser leg. “Does the doggie bite?”
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Old 07-24-2004, 01:52 PM   #59
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White Tree

The blonde headed Elf looked at his wet boots then at the bag of his belongings, he opened it to be sure it was indeed waterproof and that his things were indeed dry. He nodded his head with satisfaction and closed his eyes.

"May I help you, good sir?"

The Elf cocked his head upwards with one glimmering blue eye open as he met the young man's gaze, he then opened his other eye and smiled. He stood up and greeted him nonchalantly, ignoring both the fact that he was soaking wet and that the Innkeeper was trying not to laugh because of it.

"Ah, you must be the Innkeeper, if its not at all a trouble could I bother you for a glass of wine, then perhaps a room with a hot bath if you have any available, I would prefer to get out of these wet clothes to allow them to dry properly" he said tugging on his tunic that was clinging to his chest.

It was then that he noticed an odd looking girl who was attempting to mimic his walk by following his wet bootprints. He gave her a strange look that was filled with both amusement and confusion.

She gave him a huge grin then continued to follow his footprints until she was standing next to the Innkeeper.

"They want to thank you for the water, for they were very parched except for that one", she pointed to a wet plank, "but he's always cranky, you can never satisfy him" she said with a tint of irritation and put her hands on her hips.

The Elf seemed bewildered and for a time couldn't figure if she was mad or just playing.

"Who wants to thank me?" he asked slightly puzzled.

"The wood planks of course, that one, that one, that one and that one" she pointed to each footprint, "but not that one" she shook her finger at it, "he's a grumpy one so be careful when you walk by" she cautioned then started on her way again following the bootprints back to where they started.

His brows furrowed for a few seconds then he returned his attentions to the Innkeeper who was shaking his head.
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Old 07-25-2004, 08:33 AM   #60
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Bethberry had let the two boys, Cynan and Andhun, look around the Infirmary, curious about all the little pots and vials and scissors and tongs and how many other implements and the herbs, some hanging to dry, scenting the air with a sweetish dusty scent and others bubbling slowly in a small pan over a small burner on a shelf. They began to imagine magic potents and secret spells and were almost on the verge of asking her about some of them when Finian had briefly stopped in.

Bethberry had quietly asked him about his sister, whose mind was her illness. Most people in the town were fearful of her and avoided her. Some even said evil was in her and had whispered amongst themselves that she should be shunned or sent away for the safety of other children. Bethberry did her best, whenever word of this came her way, to counter the ignorant fear, but it would be a long, slow process to enlighten some of those who were most fearful of difference, especially unexplained differences. When Finian left to attend once more to customers, the healer turned to the two boys. If she kept Cynan talking perhaps Andhun would be less shy of showing her his wound,s and talking about his injuries.

"Well, gentlemen, are you ready to apprentice with me? I have a special on this week. Find me three giant puffballs, a handful of toadstools, one eye of newt, four tadpoles, and the foot tracks of a spriggan, and you shall earn your status as 'prentice wizards, probationary." Bethberry's eyes twinkled as she said this and guided Andhun towards a long sort of narrow table, covered with a thin straw mattress which was wrapped in white linens.

She waited to let the boys answer before she handed Andhun a sheet to hold around himself after he removed his shirt. She hoped Cynan would talk about his mother.
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Old 07-25-2004, 01:45 PM   #61
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Finian shook his head and muttered out of the corner of his mouth, "She's a strange one. Ever since I tripped over it once she's gotten it into her head that he's a grumpy old chap."

The elf nodded.

Finian swallowed and glanced at him. He had never been this close to an elf before. Of course, he had seen them from afar but they were just people then....not elves. Here he could see the fair faice, the golden hair that barely glimmered, the grace that made them glide rather than walk. "This way, Sir Elf," he said, gesturing him to follow.

Finian galumphed up the stairs and, after debating whether the west room or the east room, he decided on the latter. He had rumours of the elves leaving for the west and that must be depressing. He supposed that even elves needed cheering up. "There you go, Sir Elf," he said, as he began to make a fire. "I'll send one of the serving maids up with your wine. But, tell me, what is your name and how did you become drenched, thus so obligingly quenching the floor's thirst."
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Old 07-25-2004, 06:42 PM   #62
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Lost in thought he realized there was a dark haired girl before him. Seeing her now he realized she must work here. Leaving his thoughts behind like mists that are driven by a breeze his face changes now.

“Yes if I could have a pint of ale and whatever is being served to eat? The table isn’t a bother but thank you still.”

Looking around the room he realized people where coming in from the storm. He saw a wet Elf and others coming in. Wondering what the maiden was thinking he soon looked to her eyes to see a smile. Smiling back he felt comfortable. Which wasn’t something he was accustomed to as of late.

Pulling his cloak back now he showed his face. Grim and gentle at the same time. His long jet hair fell about his shoulders. His dark eyes lost in concentration as he took a slow drag from his pipe.

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Old 07-25-2004, 10:53 PM   #63
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Kellan kneeled down next to Grimm, who sat rather placidly upon his hind legs. "If this dog bites, I have yet to see it. He growled at the man that came in earlier, which was the worst I've seen him do yet," Kellan wondered if her words had become lost upon the ears of little Sallie. Smiling, the dark woman pat Grimm upon his black, shaggy head. "He will not bite you, Miss Sallie!"

Sallie would not loosen her tight grip on her father's leg, bringing Kellan's smile downward into a slight frown. Kellan looked up at Rochadan, who shrugged, unsure of what to say in addition. An idea sprung into Kellan's head as she tucked a lock of curly hair behind her ear. Smiling once more, the lady held out her arm, her hand open for Sallie to take. "Would you like a hand to hold? He will not bite you, and especially not if I am here with you. Your father will protect us..."

Sallie let go of her father's leg, no matter how reluctant, and took Kellan's hand. Standing next to the crouched woman, Sallie was only inches away from the large, dark dog. Cupping Sallie's hand in her own, Kellan guided the girl's tiny fingers over Grimm's fur. Kellan let go, and Sallie stroked Grimm all by herself. Grimm turned his head, startling Sallie, but he only turned to lick her hand. "Ewww!" Sallie giggled, and Kellan hoped her fears had subsided.

Rochadan watched, and Kellan stood as Sallie began to play with Grimm. Looking over at Rochadan, smiled and gestured to the little girl. "Does her mother work in the Inn as well?" Kellan asked, a laugh upon her voice as she watched Grimm and Sallie.
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Old 07-26-2004, 10:21 PM   #64
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White Tree

"She's a strange one. Ever since I tripped over it once she's gotten it into her head that he's a grumpy old chap."

The Elf nodded with an amused but not cruel smile on his lips, he had heard of such behaviour before and in his opinion it was quite harmless as long as they didn't hurt themselves or others. The Innkeeper guided him to a room and he couldn't help but notice the slight hesitance that the young man had about which room to open.

He didn't understand why he hesitated, certainly either room was just as lovely but instead of asking he shrugged and followed the boy into the east room.

"There you go, Sir Elf," he said, tieing back the curtain with a red cord to alighten the room, he knelt down by the fireplace and began to make a fire. "I'll send one of the serving maids up with your wine. But, tell me, what is your name and how did you become drenched, thus so obligingly quenching the floor's thirst."

The Elf laughed and turned his eyes from the window, "I must apologize for my rudeness Master Innkeeper, my name is Thalinar of Mirkwood" he made a courtly gesture, "and my sodden appearance is no doubt humourous to the onlooker but more than less so for the victim. Some fellow rafters, both men, conspired against me, I know not why, and decided to launch me from my wooden raft that was laden with supplies intended for your town. Whether they are lost to the river or were stolen I cannot say. I allowed for the current to carry me to the new docks, where I surely caused a scene in the quiet dawn".

Thalinar sighed and shook his head "I am unable to put names to the faces of those men but I can put faces to the crime and if I were to see them again I would recognize them immediately".

He looked at the boy who was stoking the small fire and listening to his story, "what of you Master Innkeeper? What is your name and how did you come to own this Inn for you look to be a young lad".
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Old 07-27-2004, 06:39 PM   #65
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With the soup on the simmer and the bread resting on the sill, Ædhral slipped out into the common room. Leaving cook to finish the preparations for Lunch, As much as she enjoyed helping cook in the kitchen the common room was by far her favourite room in the inn; here she got the chance to meet many new and interesting people and some with stories to tell. Everyone has a story to tell if one just takes the time to listen, her grandfather would often tell her. She smiled warmly as she recalled sitting on his knee as a child, listening to his stories of the dwarves in their deep halls of stone and of the elves and their enchanted forests. She laughed silently to herself as she took a damp cloth and began wiping the tables, stopping as she almost slipped on a wet puddle on the floor.

“Now how do you suppose that got there?” she whispered to herself. Then looking up she saw a whole trail of little puddles leading from the main door all the way up the stairs to the guestrooms. “Oh my that will never do.” She gasped as another guest almost slipped on one of the wet puddles. Quickly she went to the kitchen, fetched the bucket and mop, that sat inside the back door and began soaking up the wet trail before there was a serious accident. It would not do to be taking any more patients to Miss Bethberry today she thought as she tucked a stubborn stray lock of dark hair behind her left ear.

As she worked she recalled an elven tune she had heard the elves of Mirkwood sing as they passed through on their march back to their woodland realm after the victory of the five armies. She off course knew not what they sung but the tune had always stuck in her mind and she now hummed it happily as she worked her way up the stairs following the damp trail onto the next landing right up to a room on the east side. As she finished she leaned on the mop handle, still humming the lively elven tune and examined her work; “not to bad!” she grinned to herself.

Just as she was lifting mop and bucket to return down stairs the door behind her opened and her name was spoken by the familiar voice of the innkeeper. With a ready smile and a mischievous glint in her eyes she turned, “fair day master innkeeper, how may I be of ser…” she began jovially, but stopping in mid sentence as she realised that Finian was not alone. A tall fair headed elf stood behind him, his dripping wet tunic clinging tightly to his lean but muscular torso. Suddenly aware that she was staring she quickly averted her eyes, turning fully towards Finian which did not help matters as a broad knowing grin had spread across the young innkeepers face, causing her cheeks to flush a deep shade of crimson.

“You required something of me, Finian?” she asked, hoping that it was something that would require her to leave as quickly as possible so she could escape her embarrassment.

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Old 07-29-2004, 03:41 PM   #66
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White Tree

Finian was sorely tempted to tell Ædhral to make sure that the elf's room was comfortable while he himself went to fetch some fresh clothes for Thalinar. However, he said, "Oh, I was wondering if you would be so kind as to fetch some fresh clothes for our Mirkwood. Some fellows played a prank --" he sniggered -- " and he fell into the river. I'm sure that we will be able to find the culprits soon enough," he went on cheerfully, "as this is the only Tavern in town. Would you like to stay for a couple of days?" He asked, turning to Thalinar.

The elf nodded and Ædhral scurried down the stairs. Finian strode toward the small empty fire place and began to build a fire for the elf to dry himself. "My name, Master Elf, is Finian. My father --" he stopped here, remembering the charred remains, and his crying sister. "My father died in the attack and left me in charge of the Inn -- or what was left of it, " he said with a feeble grin.

The elf remained silent and Finian said, "But he died nobly." He nodded and said, "He did not grow old and feeble, which was a dread of his as it is with all of us I think."

The fire blazed into life and Finian asked, "Is there anything else Master Elf?"
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Old 07-30-2004, 11:50 AM   #67
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The Eye

Thalinar nodded and said nothing else. How could one comfort a stranger? And even if Thalinar had known the boy all his short years and had seen his father perish in the Dragon fire there would still be no way; comforting cannot bring a loved one back save only in memory. It was a feeling the Elves knew all too well.

Thalinar gazed out the window again, his blue orbs dancing up and down as if searching for something in the distance. He was snatched out of his reverie by the young Innkeeper.

"Is there anything else Master Elf?"

The Elf looked across at him and noticed the fire, "nothing except the wine and a hot bath", he pointed to the half sized tub in the corner, "or a basin of steaming water and two towels will also do me fine", he smiled warmly at the Innkeeper.

"I do not wish to pry Master Finian but before you go would you tell me who that young maiden was? By the way she looked at me it was as if she had never seen an Elf before".

But Thalinar had a slight glint in his eye not often seen in Elves, it showed mischieviousness. The Elf had seen the look in the girls eyes and the crimson blush of her cheeks, his curiosity certainely got the better of him and he questioned why their meeting had been so awkward and what he could do to right it.
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Old 07-30-2004, 07:06 PM   #68
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Nodding Ædhral turned and descended the stairs as quickly as possible, her face still flush with embarrassment. Staring at a guest so, she admonished herself, but he was an elf and although she had seen them from a distance she had never seen one so close and he was handsome, no! That’s not the point, she scolded herself again. He is a guest and staring at him so was not only rude it was wrong! Shaking her head she then wondered just were on earth Finian expected her to find clothes suitable for an elf.

She then remembered that there had been an old chest that Finian’s father had kept filled with clothes that guests had carelessly left behind, she and Kannah had even mended one or two things and she was sure it was one of the things that had survived the fire. Passing through the common room she picked up another tune, this one local and less lively than the elven one, put pleasant and calming all the same.

Pushing open the door to the kitchen she called to cook. “Finian needs me to find some dry clothes for one of the guests do you need anyone to help with lunch.” Cook grumbled something that she could not quite catch then waved her away muttering that if she needed help she would get Kannah from the common room.

With a quick nod she left the kitchen and made her way down to the stables, if anyone knew what had become of the chest it would be Rochadan. As she approached she saw the stable master conversing with one of the guests, little Sallie as always was not to far away, a smile crept over her face as she realised that the little girl was playing happily with the large dog they has seen earlier.

“Ada, Ada look!” the girl cried excitedly as she saw her approach, “Isn’t he beautiful?”

“Indeed he is princess,” Ædhral smiled reaching down to gently scratch the shaggy dogs ear.

“His name is Grimm,” Sallie grinned, “and he’s my new bestest friend.”

“Is he?” she laughed, “then I had better ask cook to save the bone from the soup for your new friend’s lunch, I do not think mud pies would agree with him,” she winked.

Sallie laughed, “don’t be silly Ada only the kitties like mud pies!” the two laughed together, then remembering why she was there Ædhral turned first to the girl with whom Rachadan was speaking. “Hi, my name is Ædhral. I must apologise for interrupting, but I am in need of the stable masters ear for a moment, I will not keep him long.”

Then turning to Rochadan she asked him if he remembered the old chest, telling him about the soaking wet elf and Finian’s request that she bring him fresh clothes, but she deliberately left out how she had thoroughly embarrassed herself, by staring.
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Old 07-31-2004, 07:09 AM   #69
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Rochadan

"Does her mother work in the Inn as well?" Kellan asked, a laugh upon her voice as she watched the stablemaster's daughter, Sallie, playing happily with Grimm.

At the mention of Tristana, Rochadan felt the familiar spike of pain that appeared every time he tried to speak of her. While it had been three years since her passing, he still felt the loss with a sense of immediacy. To hide the sorrow that he knew must show in his eyes, he turned away from Kellan for a moment to watch Sallie and Grimm.

"She seems to have gotten over her fear fairly quickly, hasn't she?" he commented, more or less to buy himself a few seconds of time. "As for Sallie's mother," he continued once he had composed himself again. "No, she doesn't work in the inn, though I think she would have liked it here very much. She passed away three years ago."

"I'm so sorry," answered Kellan immediately, the laughter disappearing from her voice. She, too, glanced down at Sallie, then back again at Rochadan, piecing the story together for herself. “Was it childbirth?” she asked softly.

Rochadan nodded. “It was a difficult birth and Tristana had never been very strong.” He looked at Kellan, smiling sadly. “That’s why I came off the road. With Tristana gone, I needed to be here for Sallie.”

“She’s a lovely little girl,” answered Kellan.

Before Rochadan could respond any further, they were joined by Ædhral, who came from the direction of the kitchen. Rochadan watched as the serving girl shared a playful conversation with Sallie, then paused to introduce herself to Kellan.

“Hi, my name is Ædhral,” she said pleasantly. “I must apologize for interrupting, but I am in need of the stable masters ear for a moment, I will not keep him long.”

Kellan nodded graciously as Rochadan excused himself and retreated a few feet away with Ædhral to see what he could do to assist her. He listened as she explained about the soaking wet elf and Finian’s request for dry clothes. Then, he nodded sagely.

“Yes, I know the chest you are looking for,” he said with a smile, noticing the slight flush that rose in Ædhral’s cheeks as she described the wet elf. “It’s in the attic. I’ll bring it down for you... if you will be so kind as to keep an eye on Sallie for me.” When Ædhral gratefully agreed, he turned to Kellan. “I shouldn’t be more than a few minutes, if you care to wait. Otherwise, if you need to go on about your day, I promise you the ladder will be fixed by nightfall!”

With that, he stooped and gave Sallie a light kiss on the top of her head, leaving her to play with Grimm under the watchful eyes of the two ladies as he went to retrieve the trunk of clean clothes for the elf.
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Old 08-02-2004, 08:29 PM   #70
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Kannah filled up a pint glass with ale and piled some food on a plate, glancing the whole time at the cloaked man. She wound her way through the crowds and placed the mug and plate on his table.

"Will you be staying overnight, sir?" she asked curtly. Silence greeted her query. "Sir? If you will be staying overnight...?" Still no answer. "Well." She cleared her throat, and he started, turning to her in surprise. "Simply come find me when you are ready to pay. If you are staying overnight, you may pay in the morning."

She turned to go, then stopped. She turned back to him. "What is your name, sir? And what brings you here?"
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Old 08-05-2004, 12:59 PM   #71
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With difficulty Finian hid a mischievous grin. "The girl's name is Ædhral, Thalinar. As for why she blushed it was because of your handsomeness I suppose."

The elf stared blankly back at him, causing Finian to burst into a fit of chortling. "You are obviously a stranger to the female ways," he said, gasping for breath. "Stay here, while I get some hot water, the towels, and a goblet of the finest wine," he said, turning on his heel and striding from the room.

He hurried down the stair and went into the kitchen, where he sloshed some water into a kettle and set it over the fire. Going into the cellar, he scanned the titles of the wine, deciding which would be suitable for an elf of the Woodland Realm. He finally selected a bottle of older vintage, muttering, "I had no idea we still had some of this left." He made a feeble attempt at brushing the dust off the bottle as he went back into the kitchen.

By this time the water was heartily boiling and Finian poured it into a basin, grabbed some towels, and walked as quickly as he could up the stairs back to the elf's bedroom. "Here you go, friend," he said, grinning.
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Old 08-06-2004, 01:14 PM   #72
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Shield Journeying

The two boys, Cynan and Andhun, had long since left the Infirmary where Bethberry was drying herbs and preparing some of her ointments and infusions. The sun had slowly moved on, changing the aura in the room from fresh early day to full heat. Suddenly, the door flew open and an excited Sallie, Rochadan's daughter, ran in, following close by Grimm, who appeared to have become her shadow.

"Bethy," the girl called breathlessly.

"Yes, Sallie, what is it?" The Healer looked up from her table with a smile at the child who she adored. For his part, Grim bounded forward and nearly succeeded in toppling a chair and a small table, but Bethberry was quick to grab them and save the coverings from a tumble. She caught Grimm and gave him some affectionate scratches as a way of calming him down. "Now, Puppy," she said with a grin. "Don't come bounding into here unless you expect some playful tussling with me." He growled happily and nearly licked her hands.

"Me too!" proclaimed Sallie as she ran into the woman's arms, who proceeded to lift her up and swing her round before placing her carefully beside the dog.

"Now, young lady, what is it?"

"We had a message left for you. One of the travellers from Dale came and said he had a message from a family there."

"Did he stay?"

"No, he said he couldn't, but he was very serious about this note. He said I had to give it to you right away or ... or... "


'Or what?"

"Well, he didn't say exactly, but he mentioned some boggans that might frighten me in the night."

"Well, you have saved yourself some fright, dear Sallie. Come, let's see what this missive is about."

Bethberry bent over the scroll in the golden sunlight and found a request to come to Dale, to tend to an ill member of a family she held dear. A very ill member. Bethberry sighed. She seemed to be making many journies this last year for illnesses beyond healing.

"Sallie, I shall have to leave Esgaroth for a bit, to journey to Dale. Can you go tell your father I must have a horse and be away within the hour?"

Sallie eyed her with worried eyes, but Bethberry tousled her hair and told her not to worry' she would return soon.

Shortly after, her bags packed and her medicines prepared, Bethberry took her leave of Finian. He was a young man, but he would have strong support from Rohadan and the others at the Tavern. She was happy to see him look so confident about his new Tavern. The past year had been hard for him, but he was a strong and courageous man who walked proudly in his father's footsteps.

Bethberry entered the stables, where Rochadan had a horse waiting for her. She said several words of good bye to him, gave Sallie a cheerful kiss, and stepped into the stirrup with a jump. She whistled twice and Wyrd appeared out of the pale blue sky. With that, she was on her way.
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Old 08-08-2004, 04:07 PM   #73
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The two women chatted pleasantly about the inn and the town itself, but always they came back to the subject of the inn and it staff and the young southern woman soon came to realise that the inn was more to Ædhral than the mere place of her employment, it was her home and her family. As they spoke, the serving girl kept a careful eye on the stable master’s daughter, smiling warmly each time the little girl squealed with laughter and delight.

It was not long before Rochadan returned the chard chest balanced upon his broad shoulders, “I wasn’t sure if you wanted the chest taken straight to our guest or if you wish to see what we had first?” The Stable master grinned, setting the chest down before them.

“Well it hasn’t been opened in sometime perhaps it would be wise to take a look inside first,” Ædhral shrugged. Then snapping the catches back they slowly opened the lid, even little Sallie stopped her play, curious to see what was inside. To their surprise the clothing within still looked in good condition, Ædhral pulled out a bright orange shirt and wrinkled her nose in disguised at the ghastly brightness of the fabric.

“I can see why that might have been left behind!” Kellan laughed, Rochadan nodded his head in agreement and Ædhral could already hear the dry sarcastic remarks the garment would receive from Kannah if she saw it worn in public, quickly she banished it to the bottom of the pile.

“What bout dis one?” Sallie smiled brushing her little hand over the soft fabric of a forest green tunic; Ædhral carefully lifted it out of the chest.

“Oh yes, I agree that looks very fine,” Kellan smiled.

“Yes, very fitting for an elf and the right size too I think!” Ædhral winked, holding the tunic up against the stable master who was roughly the same height as the elf. “Yes very fetching indeed,” she smiled playfully.

“Well that might be so, but if our guest is not to cause a stir he will be needing pants as well,” The stable master blustered hiding the deepening of his cheeks as he delved into the chest. Ædhral suppressed a snigger as she helped to find a pair without holes or faded with age. Finally, with the help of Kellan and little Sallie they found a dark pair of pants with green stitching and a good pair of walking boots that looked like they might fit the elf.

With the garments in hand, she thanked Rochadan and Kellan for their help.

“What bout us!” Sallie pouted pulling on Ædhral's skirts.

“How could I ever forget my best helper and her friend," she grinned, "Come to the kitchen after dinner and I may have a nice surprise for you both!” she whispered with a wink as she bent down to kiss the child’s head affectionately. Then after stroking Grimm’s shaggy coat she returned to the inn.

As she ascended the stairs to the guest quarters her stomach knotted, she hoped the elf had not noticed her embarrassment and that Finian had not said anything about it, but she did hope the young innkeeper was still there so she could excuse herself promptly, before embarrassing herself more. Reaching the door she knocked politely and waited for someone to answer.
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Old 08-08-2004, 08:58 PM   #74
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When Bethberry had finished treating Andhun the two boys had wandered back to the table they had been previously seated at. Cynan looked about for Rochadan, for he would have to leave soon and he did not want to leave Andhun alone. The latter boy was studying the table with deep concentration though it was plain to see that his mind was focused upon something other than the table. Cynan slid his chair sideways so he was closer to his friend and he said, "Andhun, tell me what you're thinking of."

"I was thinking of how Bethberry treated me," said Andhun. "It was so interesting the way she made up the different medicines, and so soothing to my hurts." He paused a moment to collect his thoughts, and then he cast a gentle gaze to Cynan, smiling softly. "It must be very wonderful to have the ability to comfort people so."

"There are other ways to comfort them, Andhun," said Cynan. "I was watching you the whole time and you were not comforted not only by Bethberry's treatment of your wounds, but you were also comforted in spirit. Her kind and gracious manner filled you with a peace and joy I sense you have not known for a long while, and combined with her soothing treatment to your wounds I suspect you are a little overwhelmed with all the goodness of it."

"I am, rather," Andhun admitted, "and more than a little bewildered, for I have come to grow unaccustomed to such kind treatment."

They said nothing more for awhile, but sat in silence. Andhun contemplated with increasing wonder the kindness he had known at the hands of those at the Tavern, and Cynan was filled with gratitude that he had found this lad and had been able to lead him to these good people. Perhaps not far from this day someone older and more able than he himself would find him and help him and his family. But now he must look after his family himself, and he must tend to his mother. He turned to Andhun and took his good hand, holding it tightly. "I must return home now," he said. "My family will perhaps need me now. Rochadan will take good care of you, so you need not fear in my absence. Seek out also the young woman Miss Kellan with her dog Grimm. Both are kind. The girl Ærosylle, too, will befriend you. Goodbye for now, Andhun. I will return as often as I may."

"Goodbye, dear friend," said Andhun with strong feeling, and as his good hand was clutched tight in the hold of his friend, he clumsily and weakly raised his right arm and awkwardly in manner but not in feeling embraced Cynan. "You have saved me much pain and sorrow, and I can never repay you for it, but I will do all I may. When you return to visit, bring your family with you. I am sure they will be welcome."

"You are always welcome at my home," said Cynan, and his voice was thick, for he was moved at Andhun's display of friendship. "Goodbye." He hastily and self-consciously returned the embrace, though not without genuine fondness, and then he pulled himself gently from his friend's hold and hurried out the door. Andhun limped to the window and stood there waving, and Cynan turned with a wink and a returned wave before he went skipping down the lane. Andhun returned in a lonely fashion to his table.
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Old 08-11-2004, 12:36 PM   #75
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White Tree

With Finian gone to fetch the wine and hot water, Thalinar picked up the tall brown coat rack and placed it by the fire taking off his wet cloak and hanging it to dry. He couldn't but grin picturing the face of the maiden Ædhral again, he would have never expected such, even though he was a raftsman from time to time when he wasn't wondering the entanglements of Mirkwood he usually tried to keep clear of Men.

But the Inn changed his view, after all it was run my a man though he is yet very young and all other staff that he had seen were of the like. He was shown kindness that he was unaccustomed to from their race, for they had treated him with no lack of contempt, perhaps he had just been in the presence of the wrong people who hold attitudes like that about everyone; Thalinar knew Elves did the same.

Thalinar shook his head, such unpleasant thoughts on such a sunny day should not be allowed, he laughed to himself and tried to straighten his hair out in front of the mirror by the bedside. Finian walked briskly back into the room after a few moments with basin and towels in hand, balancing the wine bottle as he set these things down on the table.

"Here you go, friend," he said, grinning.

He pulled out a corkscrew from his pocket and uncorked the wine taking up the fine crystal goblet and pouring the fragrant liquid with practiced skill.

"Much thanks Master Finian, I apologize for-"

Finian held up his hand to stop him, "theres no need to apologize for anything, a little puddle on the floor can easily be wiped up without incident, though Ædhral's crimson blushing is another story".

Thalinar nodded with a parted grin on his face, "if you need anything else Master Thalinar don't hesitate to fetch either myself or Ædhral" he winked and left the room, closing the door behind him.

The tall Elf sat on a wooden stool and pulled off his boots heavy with water. A small puddle poured out of each as he set them next to the fire place, he then untied his dark green tunic and hung it on the coat hanger followed by the light shirt he wore under it.

He picked up his travel bag and rumaged through it looking for soap and a sponge, which he found much to his relief. Thalinar sipped on his wine as he washed himself of mud and silt, lastly washing his hair with the fresh foaming soap.

Thalinar quickly wrapped a dry towel over himself when he heard knocking at the door, his hair dripping in his face he grabbed his comb and ran it through his glimmering golden hair.

Then he opened the door.

"Ye-" his words caught in his throat when he saw two wide eyes peering over the top of a pair of dry boots, they were the same eyes that grew wide before with blushing cheeks. His eyes couldn't help but widen in response.

"Oh, uh hello Lady Ædhral" he said awkwardly realizing he was only in a towel, it was only fitting that he started to blush.
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Old 08-13-2004, 05:46 AM   #76
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Ædhral’s warm brown eyes widened in astonishment as their elven guest answered the door wrapped only in a towel, her cheeks burning she lowered her gaze and awkwardly thrust out her hands, “Uh, these are the clothes, master Finian asked me to find for you. I hope they fit, we don’t oft get eh, elven guests,” she flustered, still staring at the wood grain of the dusty floor.

“Thank you, I’m sure they will,” the elf answered, awkwardly taking the clothes in one hand as he tries to maintain his modesty by clutching the towel in place with the other.

“Is there anything else I can get you?” Ædhral asked, praying that there was not so she could escape this embarrassing situation. Twice in one day and the same guest, no least could this day get any worse she thought bleakly, promising herself that if she got out of this situation she would spend the rest of the day hiding in the kitchen.

As she stared at the ground waiting his reply she wondered if he was just as eager to be out of this awkward situation as she was!
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Old 08-13-2004, 01:29 PM   #77
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Seregon arrives at the Vineyard

Many folk passed by the Vineyard Tavern on the main road. But if you approached it from the back, as Seregon did, you got a different view.

Seregon picked her way around the outbuildings, some under construction, so necessary for the running of an inn – a stable, sheds, privy, and so forth. She was hungry. She and her sisters had been tramping for days, sleeping rough, making for Laketown as it rebuilt itself. Now her sisters were waiting in a likely-looking field on the outskirts of the town while Seregon had a look around.

That apple tree looks good, Seregon thought. It is rare to see one spared by the dragon fire. I hope they don’t begrudge me a few apples. And Seregon began to climb the apple tree at the back of the inn. Whoever had lived here previously had taken good care of this tree, because its limbs were shapely with shiny healthy leaves and the fruit was already ripening. Seregon’s green breeches and tunic blended in so well that no one could have told there was a young woman halfway up the tree’s trunk. She stopped there to eat an apple.

I cannot pay for these, for that costs “money” and I have none, she thought. I can work, though, and I will work the better for having eaten some lunch. Maybe the innkeep will let me work for some food for my sisters, too. And maybe, just maybe, I can find the right person to ask about … But at that moment, in mid-bite, Seregon looked through a window into a bedchamber in the inn, and she nearly dropped her apple.

She saw the backside of a tall figure. He – for it was clearly a he – was partially wrapped in a towel and was scrambling to keep it about him while with the other hand he reached to take some garments from a blushing girl. Even through the window Seregon could see that her face was bright red. As Seregon watched, smiling, the tall figure lunged for the garments and in so doing, lost his struggle with the towel. The inn girl bent to pick up the clothes, the tall figure did so too, and Seregon saw them both knock heads and fall down in a heap.

Seregon laughed. “A merry old inn!” she said aloud. “I think I’ll try my luck!” She finished the apple, being sensible above all else, and headed for the inn’s front door.

Next thing the Vineyard’s patrons knew, there was a short slender woman standing in the doorway. She had a bowl-shaped head of black hair and a single braid behind her ear that was dancing as she waved. “Greetings!” she was saying. “Greetings!”

Last edited by Chathol-linn; 08-13-2004 at 04:19 PM. Reason: writer's niggling, and corrct Inn to Tavern
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Old 08-14-2004, 12:42 PM   #78
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Tolkien

Finian strode back to the common room, wondering where his sister was. Hopefully she was only having a conversation with the plates and not under the impression that she was a bird and had the capability to fly. He ran his fingers through his hair and wished that there was some way he could keep an eye on her...she was always scurrying about, skulking about when she became this happy. Why couldn't she be ina normal mood more often.

The door bounced open and a short slender woman shouted, "Greetings," waving her hand furiously in the air.

Finian blinked. Usually guests would just slip in with the shadows, or stump in, shaking of their weariness for a good pint of ale and a good bit of news. Finian could see the other guests' heads swivel in her direction.

Vaulting over the counter, Finian darted down the room, bowed, and said, "And what may I do for you?"
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Old 08-14-2004, 06:51 PM   #79
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Andhun sat uneasily at his table, unsure of what he should do now that Cynan was gone. He thought he might seek out Rochadan, but he did not know the lay of the Tavern and did not want to risk being lost, just in case his master was still about. Instead he betook himself to the window to watch for Rochadan, and at the same time he watched those who passed by the Tavern, gazing studiously into the face of each. His attention was directed especially to the face of every little girl, trying to decide if she were his sister or not. He remembered her only vaguely, for he did not remember very much from before the fire. Yet he had those vague memories.

When the door opened and a short woman with black hair came in, calling her greetings, and she temporarily caught Andhun's attention. It was drawn away very soon, however, for another woman entered the room, silent and reserved, but with a quick, bright eye and a firm bearing about her. Andhun started and blinked several times, for this woman was almost the perfect image of his mother. Indeed she was the perfect image, save that she was still very young, certainly no older than one-and-twenty. She called out no merry greetings but merriness flowed from her, just as with his mother, who had always been a quiet one but with a presence of cheer and good will. This young woman had, like his mother had, dark hair that was between black and brown, and soft, shining blue eyes that looked here and there with warmth, as if bestowing good wishes to all they rested upon. Her step was quick and lively, and she moved with confidence and grace. Her face was lightly freckled from the sun, but they were also rosy from some recent exercise. As she cast her glance across the room, taking it all in for thoughtful consideration (for it was always what Andhun's mother had done), her eyes fell upon Andhun, and she contemplated his burns and scars, and a cheery smile flashed upon her face, and she winked at him before moving on.

He watched her with emotions swelling up in his heart, and he felt the heat of tears rushing to his eyes and he tried to drive them away. He felt an intense longing to see his mother again, and to put his arms about her neck and feel her gentle kiss upon his head, and to look up at her and say, "Mamma." Was it only a year since the fire, since he had lost his home and family? Since then he had felt a harsh kick in the place of a mother's loving embrace. The tears would not be held back, and so he let his head sink to the table so no one could see that he wept. If his mother were there she would take him and hold him and say, "Hush, my little darling, and don't cry. What have you to weep for, blessed as you are?"

A gentle hand ran through his hair, a tender arm went about his shoulders, and his head was pulled from the table and he was held close to someone. "Hush there, darling, hush," a soft voice said, and as he looked up in amazement his eyes met with eyes like his mother's. The young woman sat beside him, and with her apron she dried his tears, and then held out her hand to him, which was full of little sweets. "I do not know if it will be a comfort to you to eat them," she said, "but I do not doubt it would give you great pleasure to keep them with you and give them to whomsoever you choose." Andhun smiled at this, took the sweets, and put them in his pockets, and looked up at her once again. "Now," she said with no little degree of satisfaction, seeing that she had cheered him at least a little, "what was the cause of your grief?"

"I was just being foolish," he said, "and crying for my mother, who has been dead for some time now."

"Foolish?" The young woman with no little surprise. "It's never foolish, m'dear, to weep for your mother. Isn't she the one closest to the heart of every young boy? So don't be ashamed of that, or think yourself foolish, or any other such nonsense." She smiled in a bright way at him, and then spoke again, saying, "My name is Eacwen, and I will be staying at the Tavern for a little while at least. I do hope we can be friends."

"Certainly we may!" Andhun cried with strong feeling. "And I will introduce you to all those who have been kind to me at the Tavern so they may also be kind to you. My name is Andhun."
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Old 08-16-2004, 01:12 PM   #80
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White Tree

Thalinar took the clothes that Ædhral had thrust at him, he ensured her that they would fit as he fumbled with his towel. She lowered her haze trying to hide her ever reddening cheeks.

He was about to apologize for yet another embarrassing situation when the clothes slipped from his grasp, he reached out for them as did the young maiden and their heads met with a smack and a hard landing on their behinds. Thalinar's luck held out and he was able to keep the towel in check, barely.

He steadied his gaze to Ædhral who was rubbing her sore head across from him, twice in one day and with the same girl, he wished to get out of this humiliating situation.

I should have stayed in the river.

He thought to himself coldly and stood up from the wooden floor, he clutched his towel tightening it around his waist and gave Ædhral his hand and pulled her up from the floor, he then stooped down and scooped up the dry clothes.

His head started to throb from the impact. "I must say that I am truly sorry, for both incidents, I had no intention to cause you harm or discomfort. Thank you again for the clothes it was very kind of you" he smiled weakly but warmly and closed the door to his room.

He sighed deeply and began to dress himself in the dry clothes, everything was a perfect fit. Thalinar was all too thankful for that, it would mean he could avoid another potentially uneasy situation that he would rather not have.

And if it could be helped he would try to stay in his room for as long as possible. He opened up the window and sat next to it with his goblet of wine in hand.
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