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Old 04-05-2011, 07:02 PM   #161
Galadriel55
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Thiliel was sorry that Sereth had to leave. She was a nice girl. But she needs to practice, Thiliel reminded herself, Frodo of the Nine Fingers is a big role, after all! I must not distract her too much while she stays. Or Frodo will by mistake burn Minas Anor instead of Barad-dur!

Thiliel giggled to herself. She walked aimlessly down the hall and back. Making a decision, she ran over to the stairs and climbed to the second floor. Her room was the last one in the hall. Its windors faced the back; it was the smallest room in the inn, but it was hardly ever occupied by anyone except for Thiliel.

Despite the bright sunshine and high noon, she felt very sleepy. She walked in, closing the door behind her. She pulled off her dress and climbed under the thin blanket. She yawned. Soon her eyes closed, and her breathing became level.
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Old 04-06-2011, 12:04 PM   #162
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Coldan stared at Asta, hardly believing he had heard right. He felt all blood drain from his face, and it took him all the restraint he could muster not to slap her.

"Is zis vat you zink of me?" His fist were clenched so hard his fingernails bit into his palms, but for all the storm raging inside him, his voice was cold as a blade. "Count yourself lucky zat I am not so. An Easterling vould beat you up and maybe rape you on the spot for such an insult." He shook his head with a bitter laugh. "How dare I! Yes indeed! How dare I speak to you like a man viz feelings zat can be hurt, not just some pet to be humoured, scorned or neglected at your vim!" All of a sudden a huge, grey hole gaped where his heart had been. "But as you vish. If I'm not good enough for you, flirt viz your pure-blooded Númenórean all you vant. I'm zrough viz you."

He threw the script down before her feet and strode off, only turning back to toss over his shoulder: "Find someone else to rehearse viz. You can ask Therian, he should know ze lines. Or, vell, you know who."

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Old 04-06-2011, 11:10 PM   #163
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The light was failing, cut off by the mass of Mindolluin. Aldarion walked briskly through the final gate into the first circle and turned towards the inn, anxious to report his progress to Brinn.

Aldarion had opened up entirely to Lord Borondir, telling him of the plight of the players, and he had been invited to return before noon the following day. Borondir would have gladly told all he could remember of the War of the Ring that very day, but he suggested and Aldarion had agreed that it would be better to give Borondir time to find some of his old journals and letters to refresh his memory. No doubt Borondir was reviewing notes even now.

And after his appointment with Borondir there was still his afternoon dinner with Bregolas and his family, where Aldarion hoped to discover yet more information. "Brinn ought to be thrilled when I report this to her," thought Aldarion. "It is possible that tomorrow will put us well on our way to curing our illness of information."

But Aldarion was looking forward to tomorrow night even more than the day, and the reason why- well, Aldarion was keeping that to himself for the time being.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:06 AM   #164
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Brinn thought over the mass of changes that Harrenon, Branor, and Therian had brought her--and the recasting decision she'd made, on the second. It only made sense, really--Therian was wasted on his current role, and it had been sheer stubbornness (and frustration at his woeful attitude towards women) that had kept him in it quite as long. And this meant Asta would be less hurt (she hoped) at the loss of Mary, who quite clearly now would have to go, and...

She stopped herself before making any further plans. It was clear she still had only half the story, and she needed all of it before they decided what to do next. It was so awful, being pent up like this!...

Rollan would tell her that, at this rate, it was a good thing that Amdir had not yet made her crutches. But Brinn chafed so much in her seat that it was tempting to disregard even those. She couldn't begrudge Amdir for taking the day off, though.

Just when she was about to consider trying to stand on one foot, Rollan came in the cart. "I made a deal that I think you'd be quite proud of," he said.

"Oh?"

"Talked the innkeeper into giving us a cheap rate on ale, as long as we can make sure no one drinks anywhere else. Should help keep talk down, I hope."

Brinn smiled widely and pulled him down for a kiss. "You're a marvel," she said. "How is everyone else?"

"Amdir's taking it well enough. Coldan wanted love advice--for our dear Asta--and I did what I could. You've seen the rest, I think?"

Brinn nodded. "He's finally speaking up then, is he? Well, that would certainly explain why he was so eager to secure her that part..."

"She could do worse than him, that's for sure."

Brinn nodded. "Yes, but will she see it that way? Asta's never been very forthcoming on her affections, I hope... Well, I hope nothing drastic happens. Nothing ruins a performance so much as when its actors fight. Unless they're particularly good actors, which..." Honestly, Brinn didn't know if any of them were good enough to hide that sort of thing on the stage. "Remind me again why we left Dale?"

"Well, as I recall, there was a dragon involved..."

Last edited by Mnemosyne; 04-07-2011 at 03:12 PM. Reason: DERP.
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Old 04-07-2011, 03:41 PM   #165
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Sador had spent the afternoon still kept to himself, although he remained with part of his concentration attentive to the frenetic movements of the various Players past and around his room. At one point he had heard a tentative knock, and half risen to his feet, before listening to someone retreating far too quickly for him to arrest their departure. Almost certainly then, whoever in this company had come to talk was as nervous about him as he was cautious about their band, conceivably more so. He had shrugged and settled back down to his desk, though sometimes he let himself be entertained by the goings-on of the young Player-maid and Ingold's barely older relative. Perhaps that had been it after all; not a matter of trepidation, but a childish prank.

He mulled them over singly, doubly, as an ensemble, what he thought he had detected so far. Celebrindal - Brinn, as he had already overheard enough to gather she was really called - with her oddly impressive mien, added to rather than reduced by her present injury. An effect, he thought wryly, unlike that of his own. Rollan, the coarse comedian whose geniality Sador suspected could hide a streak of temper and bad nature. Well, they would see about that.

Asta, Brinn's sister and lieutenant, and the child, presumably the company's main Player-Perian, she had gripped onto so hard and corrected so sharply; Sador saw them as amusingly similar specimens, a similarity unbeknownst, probably, to each other; and he had caught the same essential look from both, wary, hostile, as regarded his twisted leg a little repulsed, and when it came to his superior standing and his intentions towards them, prepared for the worst. Amdir, that intelligent and steady pair of hands whom his father had forced into opposition to gratify a whim...

And then at last he thought of Aldarion; that fair-featured, raven-haired apogee of the elegant stage figure, whose light, easy courtesy seemed to demonstrate a mercurial but vigilant intelligence. He would repay inspection; he would get that inspection. For Aldarion seemed to lead a pleasant life; no doubt many would like to inhabit it. As he laid down yet another of his strange, ever-blotted and reworked screeds of manuscript, stuffed it into the secrecy of his satchel, and dragged himself up out of the room to mix among the others at last, Sador wondered if even he yearned sincerely after the player-scribbler's destiny.

He tried not to attend to the increasingly uncomfortable answer to that question. The light was dying now; time to prove the tongue - despite his regrets and doubts - yet mightier than the pen...
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Old 04-08-2011, 10:31 PM   #166
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As Aldarion approached the player's set up in the courtyard he heard the voices of Brinn and Rollan within the largest of the carts. Just as Aldarion reached the cart, Rollan emerged. Aldarion hailed him immediately.

"Before you go, you may want to hear my report to Brinn," said Aldarion. "I lined up what could prove to be some extremely informative appointments tomorrow." Rollan nodded and motioned for Aldarion to step inside.

Aldarion briefly detailed his encounter with Bregolas's family and Lord Borondir, making it clear to Brinn how likely it was that Bregolas could help fill in some details, and how extremely helpful Borondir could be with not only the story, but perhaps in other ways as well given his influence.
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Old 04-09-2011, 02:02 AM   #167
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Barely had the word 'influence' escaped Aldarion's mouth when young Sador of Burlach hobbled up through the courtyard and attached himself to the party by the cart, where Rollan was just seeing Alarion out of the tent after his report. He nodded pleasantly to Rollan and to the playwright.

"Good evening, gentles. I have managed to make myself very snug indeed in this fine house, and now I am ready for a little business, if that would be congenial to any of you. Master Rollan, I hope that Brinn's leg is a little improved? She must remember there is always my own leech to call upon, should any worsening occur; but surely by now the sinews must be knitting again, I should think..."

It would appear that Sador, not unnaturally given the various inconveniences of his existence, added medicine to his other interests. But he seemed to have finished his meditation on that subject, turning now, instead, to Aldarion with a particularly contented light in his eyes.

"And now, Master Aldarion, what think you of your script? I would be very interested to have a look at it; business, as I have said, before pleasure...", and he tapped the leather bag of papers at his own side.

"But if its state of preparation is still too dubious, then perhaps we could go over some of these historical questions that are troubling you together? I have read the official accounts, and perhaps they will be of at least some use in the corroboration of your company's story. Besides, sir, we have more familiar matters to talk of, and friends in common, whether during our work or afterwards, over one of these excellently priced beverages of our honoured host..."

Now he half turned back to Rollan, and his next smile encompassed both men.

"Only, of course, if I am not interrupting anything..."
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Old 04-09-2011, 08:32 AM   #168
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Amdír had taken the day off, but that didn't mean that he wasn't working on Brinn's crutches. For years, ever since he'd first started as a carpenter in Minas Tirith, when he moved his family to the city after the war, Amdír had found solace in troubled moments by spending time alone, working on some small project with his hands. Were his wife still alive, she would have said this habit went back much further, for she remembered the early years of their marriage when he would retreat to the stables, and she would find him there whittling something out of a block of wood if there was nothing that needed fixing.

No longer employed by the Master of Revels, Amdír did not resort to the King's storehouse for the lumber he needed, but since any good carpenter tends to hoard leftover scraps of wood, he did not feel the absence.

Amdír was glad Rollan had given Coldan advice, because he was not sure he had any. His own dear wife had sought him as much--even more--than he had sought her, and even watching his own children wed had not given him much insight into the mysteries of winning another's love. Asta could be a hard woman to read at the best of times, and Amdír's private consideration was that Coldan might have done better to pine for a less... temperamental? stubborn? woman. But love was fickle that way, and one brother's sweetheart baffled the other.

It was pleasant to think of young lovers and their problems after a vexing morning. Even though Amdír was not troubled about his livelihood, he was unsettled by Cirdacil's actions, and was glad to seek solace in the steady labour of his hands and the methodical, untroubled musings about the younger generation's joys and woes.

As evening drew near, he had finished the crutches. They were a little long, but he would wait to measure them against Brinn before cutting off the excess and shodding them in leather.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:48 AM   #169
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At first Asta had felt nothing but the glow of victory. Ha! She had shown him! He would never dare speak to her like that again!

As the moments passed, this feeling of satisfaction slowly ebbed, leaving behind it a strange feeling of emptiness.

Asta picked up the script Coldan had flung down in his fury. It seemed she would have to to learn her lines all by herself. Well, that should be easy enough: she practically knew the part already. Only, somehow she found it hard to concentrate. The image of Coldan's retreating back kept coming before her mind's eye. There was just too much noise and general distraction in the courtyard, that was the problem. She decided to go to her room.

Once there, however, Asta sat on her bed with the script on her lap, staring straight ahead and biting her lip.

It was not her fault, none of it was. Coldan had no business being insulted. Why, Dorwinion was practically in Rhûn! Asta had seen maps, and she knew. She had not meant to be cruel, not really. She had never meant to be cruel. True, it had always been fun to tease him by pretending to misunderstand his blushes and stammered compliments, or by getting him to run useless errands for her all the time, or... or by flirting with Aldarion right in front of him, but– it had been all just a game. Surely he knew that? Besides, who could blame her when Aldarion was so handsome and charming? Sometimes she thought she might actually be in love with him. Wasn't she?

With sudden cold clarity, Asta knew finally and definitely that she was not, and that it was just as well, for the man of Dol Amroth was surely just amusing himself with her, too. And now Coldan would never forgive her. Being called an Easterling was the one thing he would never forgive anyone.

Asta blinked, and sniffed, and blinked again, and to her own surprise gave way to a storm of weeping.

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Old 04-09-2011, 01:46 PM   #170
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Coldan sat in the common room, unseeing eyes staring into the dark ruby of his third cup of Emyn Arnen Southside, his mood darker than the wine. How could a few words, a few moments have shattered so easily everything he had cared for these last three years? Even his love for theatre, his dedication to the Players, his dreams of becoming a playwright himself had to a good extent been kindled by his falling in love with Asta, back when he had first seen the troupe perform in Dale. Without her, everything else was void and ashes.

You can't go around acting like you're terrified of her, he repeated to himself with a mirthless grimace. Show her she should respect you, and your intentions towards her. A bright success that had been. How could he have been such a fool as to hope that she might care for him, that he might ever be more to her than a useful member of the troupe, amusing to play with at times, but mostly a nuisance? Instead, it had turned out that he was little better than an Orc in her eyes. (He stubbornly ignored that little voice in his head that kept suggesting it need never have come to that if he hadn't let his pent-up jealousy run rampant, if he had been more explicit to her about his love much earlier instead of flying around her ears with nary a warning after three years of timidity and vague allusions.)

He took another gulp, but no amount of wine could fill the emptiness inside him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What do you think of them as a rule, then, Aldarion," he asked, "the troupe, I mean? Any particular friends, wits, folk of quality? What about that rather striking girl with her machinery...has she bewitched your fancy now and then...?"
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Old 04-09-2011, 05:21 PM   #172
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"What do you think of them as a rule, then, Aldarion," Sador asked, "the troupe, I mean? Any particular friends, wits, folk of quality? What about that rather striking girl with her machinery...has she bewitched your fancy now and then...?"

Aldarion paused to consider what sort of answer he should give. Complete honesty was out of the question- he hardly knew Sador. But the man was pleasant and appeared to have good tastes, and also seemed willing to help, and so Aldarion thought it would be an acceptable gamble to let out one or two little tidbits for Sador to think about.

"The King's Players... They are... a work in progress," began Aldarion. "I do not believe that any of the members are without talent. Our regular leading man Branor- though one could hardly tell from watching most of our performances, he is capable of playing about any sort of character. The problem is he nearly always gets a ridiculous idea of what a character is. I can tell the rest of the troop is often with me in thinking he is over the top, but for some reason they won't help me get him under control. I still do not understand the dynamics that exist between them, I think."

Sador made no sign of interrupting, so Aldarion continued. "The Therian situation is odd as well. I think he could flourish under the right circumstances, but his personality and attitudes don't help him at all. If you haven't noticed a particular flaw of his, rest assured you soon will." Aldarion sighed. "Therian has yet to learn that half of theater is politics behind the curtain." Aldarion had learned that lesson all too well.

"Now Sereth- I think she probably has more talent than anyone when it comes to playing roles. Some members of the troop are rather protective of her, so I have not had much opportunity to work with her one on one, but I've done what I can with her lines and roles. I am quite interested in her future."

"And the mechanically inclined girl?" prodded Sador.

Aldarion took a drink to gain a moment for thought. Why does Sador wish to learn my opinion of Asta so badly? His original question was directed at her to be certain, and I was getting there eventually, but it seems he couldn't wait? Hmmm... I ought to be guarded on this subject until I know more.

"Yes, Asta," said Aldarion. "She speaks of her father's technical brilliance, and credits him with much of the equipment that we use, but she sells herself short in doing so. Some of the things I have witnessed her rigging up- I can tell you that she would have been more than welcome in The Swan Players' company with her skills."
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Old 04-09-2011, 07:51 PM   #173
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This was too much for Branor. Amdir had been fired, Brinn was appreciative of the information the troupe brought back but stressed about working in the new changes, and Asta and Coldan were in a torrid argument.

He tapped Therian on the shoulder and leaned in to whisper "Those two just need to release the tension...with eachother, already, don't you think?" Branor gave a wily grin. Therian grunted. Branor was taken aback, usually a suggestion like that one would get amusement from Therian. He must be overwhelmed by the drama too, thought Branor.

"So...Therian, I need a few drinks, before I lose my mind. What do you say we go see Ingold?" Branor went to wrap his arm around Therian's shoulders and lead him to the innkeeper, but Therian pushed him away.

"Get your hands off me!" Therian warned.

Branor was concerned for his friend, but his expression wasn't showing concern. It was the same blank and dumb look. The one he always gave when someone was obviously angry with him. Therian gave a disgusted sigh, shook his head furiously, and stormed away, making sure he rammed Branor with his shoulder on the way out.

"Fine! Go off then!" Branor was fuming, he did not know what he did to upset Therian, but he was sure he did not deserve it. "You spoiled, good for nothing, pompous - you know who you remind me of right now? My mother. That's right. When it was that time for her...so what, is it that time of the month for you!?" However Therian had vanished before Branor had finished the tirade, and he sincerely hoped Therian had not heard the last part. "I need a drink." He yelled back to Brinn and thundered into the common room.

"Inkeep! Your strongest mead, whatever will numb my senses!" he slumped onto one of the stools. Branor was not thinking about the reduced prices for the troupe players and left Ingold enough covering the regular costs. Normally Ingold would not cheat one of his lodgers, but he could sense he would have to carefully watch Branor's drinking.

"And this is Branor, our leading man I was telling you about." said a voice from behind him. Branor looked over his shoulder and saw Aldarion and another man standing behind him. His mood picked up slightly with Aldarion calling him the leading man. However, after Aldarion introduced him to Sador, he was still in no mood for idle conversation with anyone, and went back to drinking Ingold's ale.

"Something troubling you, Branor?" asked Aldarion. Conversation was now unavoidable and Branor's thoughts first went to Therian. What was his problem today? The entire morning he was acting queer and now he was fussing. No doubt about something petty and insignificant. But, he said nothing to Aldarion and Sador about Therian. "Coldan and Asta. Coldan's throwing fits about the script and your abilities to accurately retell a tale as large as this one. Something to do with Mary the Elf role. I did not hear the full tirade, but it was a firestorm."

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Old 04-10-2011, 01:32 AM   #174
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Brinn was left alone again as Rollan and Aldarion stepped outside. She could hear the voice of Sador, and his recommendation for the leech--oh, that was good of him! Still can't quite be trusted, she reminded herself, but perhaps he could help

And now, if she could just speak to Sador and see if he could get them some information on the official celebrations, or even a way to get into wherever any official accounts were! Plenty of time for that, though, as there was much mulling and musing to be done on what they'd acquired already.

Branor and Therian's information was apocryphal at best, but had a peculiar sort of charm to it that would, if used properly, translate better onstage than a lot of the hard facts they had received so far... The King was the most important member of their audience come Cormare, but it would do little good to make him, and no one else, happy!

Harrenon and Coldan, in turn, had stumbled upon a gold mine in that Bergil, which was good. And Aldarion, ever the pragmatist, had eschewed immediate gains in favor of greater ones tomorrow.

She could think of ways to make the great changes in the battles, already. That was the easy part, really, for so many here had been present for it. But how to lead up to those times, and get the audience feeling for all those characters beforehand? The King, and this Samwise, had been there for all of it!

That, and the information that they needed most desperately--the hobbits--was still scanty at best. She would hate to have to talk to Master Samwise himself, especially after hearing those trickles of rumors of what the Players had actually said to him, but they might have no choice...

There was a knock at the door. "Come in," Brinn said. Amdir stepped inside, carrying two shaped planks of wood. Brinn's face broke into a wide smile. "Are those my crutches?"

"I need to cut them to your height first," said Amdir. "But then, they will be."

"You're a marvel, Amdir; thank you so much." Abruptly she remembered that the man had lost his position. "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"If you could stand up, I'll be able to mark the crutches."

That was not entirely what Brinn meant, but she took the point and--carefully--rose. Amdir held the crutches to her side, and with a piece of charcoal, made two precise marks where he would need to cut them. "Shouldn't take me much longer now," he said, and turned to leave.
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Old 04-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #175
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Sador's easy and relaxed attendance on Aldarion's answers was, as so often, a disingenuous attitude, belying the frustration he really felt as he took them in.

Surely this (fairly) renowned player and writer could intuit that Sador had no real interest in the mechanistic side of the fair Asta's accomplishments? That he was merely enquiring, in as polite a manner as he could, whether or not there was any substantial attraction between this fine-featured hero of the stage and his relatively delicate looking colleague? Whether there were or not, it would seriously affect Sador's calculations, and quite soon he would have to call it either way. Aldarion's strait-laced, strictly artistic reply told him very little, for this player could be either concealing genuine and deeply-held feelings, or by his indifferent, cold answer inadvertently revealing, by omission, that Asta left him wholly unmoved. The only way to research this further within the bounds of good conduct would be to show that sort of interest in Asta himself, and that, he was sure, would involve its own problems.

But all he said was, "Ah, Aldarion, the Swan Players! Much have I grieved never to have seen them, though in our well beloved Amlach's accounts they live fresh and stark as the brightest of morns. You must, please, tell me much of them in the coming days...unless to recall such times bores or troubles you, of course..."

It was at this point that Branor made his peculiar, stulted entrance to their assembly. Curiously unresponsive, the lead actor fitted neither the positive nor the negative aspects of Aldarion's assessment; howbeit he had theatrical troubles on his mind, like the rest of the company. And if this Branor had drunk so heavily in the presence of the main guest from Eriador, Consul Samwise, Sador found himself thinking reluctantly, perhaps his father had been right to take some action, though it was still imprudent to punish Amdir merely because he was the easiest culprit to reach...

Still, it was as best to remain pleasant, and the dullard's information was at least consistent, and amusing. "Quite a damsel, this Asta," Sador persisted. "It seems her very glances and speeches leave turmoil in this company's wake...let us hope they are as impressive to the audience!"
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #176
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Aldarion did not mind Branor's intrusion in the least. He could tell that there was more to Sador's questioning than met the ear, but besides being unsure of Sador's intentions Aldarion thought their present location wholly unsuited for potentially prickly conversations. Considering how likely it was that Sador could catch Aldarion in a more private venue at a later time, Aldarion wondered if there was some sort of pressing deadline he was not privy to.

But Aldarion's attention suddenly turned to Branor. "Wait- did you say Coldan is blaming me for the inaccuracy of our tale, and for the inclusion of the Mary character?"

Branor nodded.

Fury bubbled up within Aldarion. He wanted to break something. Looking from Branor to Sador he launched into a tirade. "Mary was already in the script when I joined the troop, as was nearly everything else!! All I've really done is punch up lines here and there and added some drama and romance to the existing scenes and characters!! I'M THE ONE THAT SAID FROM THE BEGINNING THAT IT IS CONSIDERED SUICIDAL IN THEATER CIRCLES TO PERFORM RECENT HISTORY UNLESS YOUR WRITER WAS AN IMPORTANT FIRST-HAND WITNESS!!!!! Why of all people would that idiot-boy Coldan lay it at my feet?! He plainly hasn't listened to a word I've said in the past year!! Or perhaps he's just too thick to understand!"

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Old 04-11-2011, 02:39 PM   #177
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Thiliel took the tray from Ingold in her usual flamboyant mood. The nap had restored all her former energy, and then some. She took care to concertrate while going around the tables, so that she woudn't spill anything.

Everything went fine, until she was almost past the last table, where three men were engaged in a conversation. All of a sudden, one of them started shouting at the other two. It made Thiliel jump, so that she almost knocked the tray over. She carefully backed away from the table set out to the wagons at a fast pace. Ingold would be able to sort it out.

Just as she reached the wagons, Thiliel saw another man coming out of one, holding two wooden crutches. She nodded to him with a "Good evening, sir!" and proceeded inside. She found Mistress Celebrindal carefully lowering herself down on a chair. Thiliel put the tray down on the floor and ran over to help. When Celebrindal was seated, she picked up the food and handed in over to the woman.

"Good evening, Mistress Celebrindal! I've brought your supper! How do you like it here, in Minas Anor?" Thiliel added after a pause, "I think it is the best place in all of Middle Earth, except for my home in Lebennin, that is. I do enjoy helping my Uncle, even though it means that I have less time than other lasses to play. There usually isn't any trouble in the inn greater than a broken pot, and I can clean that up quick. Today, though, there seems to be something queer. There was a man yelling at someone. I don't know why; I left quickly. I think he was talking about theatre, though. What do you think?"

Too late did Thiliel realise her blunder. I'm saying all this about a man who is probably Mistress Celebrindal's employee!
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Old 04-11-2011, 03:31 PM   #178
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Coldan stirred from his dejection, irritated by he knew not what that chafed his senses like some annoying insect buzzing around his head on a hot summer day. It took him a while to recognize Aldarion's voice reaching him from a few tables away - the very last thing he would have wanted to hear now. Looking up, he saw the playwright sitting and talking with a fair-haired young man in fine clothes whom he hadn't seen around the inn before; probably some aquaintance from the city - or, the thought shot through his head, could that be the chaperon Lord Whatsisname had installed to supervise the Players? If so, Aldarion had surely been quick to cotton up to the powers that be. Just as was to be expected.

Neither of them was looking his way, and it seemed they hadn't noticed him yet, which was just as well; he wasn't in the mood for any conversation, least of all with Aldarion. He turned his attention back to his cup of wine, only glancing up briefly from time to time with a glowering look. But after a while, the duo was joined by Branor, and their talk became a little more lively. It was evening by now, and the common room was rapidly filling, so he didn't understand much of what was said, but he thought he heard his own name mentioned, and 'Mary the Elf', and Asta's. Then Aldarion suddenly became quite agitated and shouted: "I'M THE ONE THAT SAID FROM THE BEGINNING THAT IT IS CONSIDERED SUICIDAL IN THEATER CIRCLES TO PERFORM RECENT HISTORY UNLESS YOUR WRITER WAS AN IMPORTANT FIRST-HAND WITNESS!!!!!"

Some heads turned at that unexpected outburst, and Coldan saw the young serving-maid who seemed to be Ingold's niece or something start up and hurry away. Most of Aldarion's following words were drowned in the buzz of other voices, but he clearly caught "that idiot-boy Coldan" and "too thick to understand".

Maybe it was the wine that did it, maybe the grudge of jealousy that had boiled under a closed lid for too long; probably both, but at any rate he decided at this point that he had had about as much of this man as he could stand. He rose up, stepped over to the other table and stood defiantly in front of Aldarion.

"So you zink I'm too zick to see zrough vat you've been up to viz zat Mary role? Maybe you should explain zen. But keep it simple, so I understand."
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:13 PM   #179
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Trouble. Brinn bit back a curse. If it weren't for the ache in her foot she'd already have been on her feet, at least to learn what exactly was the matter. She breathed slowly, through her nose, and counted to ten in her mind. Then she smiled.

"Thank you, Miss Thiliel," she said. "If you don't mind, do you think you could return to the common room? If any sort of violence breaks out, get your uncle to stop it, and send the fighters to me, one at a time. Otherwise, just let me know what happens when you pick up this tray." She took a bite of the food and forced herself to taste it before swallowing. "This is quite good," she said.

Now, could she stay as calm as she sounded, without quite knowing what was going on? She hoped that Rollan--if indeed he was there--would make things better, if they really were a problem, and not worse.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:19 PM   #180
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Rollan, in the meantime, had gone to Smaug's cart in search of his sister-in-law. He'd remembered the nervousness of Coldan that morning, and wondered if he'd managed to get up the nerve to talk to Asta. There was only one way to find out, after all, and if he hadn't--well, at least Asta would be on the alert. Maybe he'd even be able to get his own thoughts on the matter in, though she could be remarkably stubborn in that sort of way. "Better two than one," he told himself, "especially when one, at least, has some experience in the matter."

He mounted the steps of the cart and knocked on the door. "Asta?" he said. "Are you there?"
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:05 AM   #181
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Though physically rather alarmed (especially when he considered the uncontained and as yet uninvolved strength of the inebriated Branor yet to be added to the equation), in truth Sador could barely quantify his good luck. An emergent fight! And over just the right pretext...

He knew what his father would want him to do now; to take the sort of action which he had promised when he had persuaded Lord Cirdacil to leave him here; to crack down on the first hint of misbehaviour. He could slip out, gather a posse of Guards, have all the players in the common room arrested indiscriminately and held indefinitely for questioning. That would waste so much of their time that it would certainly imperil the production...

...but, of course, he wasn't going to do that. It wasn't his style. He was the clever one, the subtle one. It would be crass to dismantle all the connections, all the credibility he was only just beginning to amass, and it would work entirely counter to his own personal aims, quite separate from his doddery old sire's.

Besides, he was in much too good a mood to be a spoilsport now. What his line of questioning had failed to confirm (and in a way he worried Aldarion might have found intrusive, as well) had just been made quite crystalline in clarity. This spat might purport to be some absurd artistic difference, about "the role of Mary the Elf" (most definitely, in any case, a ludicrous historical solecism), but it was obviously really about the actress who played her. Aldarion - the sly dog - whatever the discretion of his answers, was regarded by at least one lovesick rival as seriously involved with the girl Asta. And as a matter of fact Sador was inclined to agree with that odd looking Easterling fellow here. "Added some drama and romance", my foot...

Anyway, whether or not these rumours were true - whether or not his suspicions about Aldarion's lovelife while a member of the Swan Players were misguided - this information would strengthen Sador's hand in his second-most deeply held desire - to wed the Lady Gloredhel of Dol Amroth, his brother-in-law Amlach's sister.

For now, he was happy to play the peacemaker. It was more likely to get him good words among the Players than kicking up a fuss; it might even persuade old Ingold to treat him with a little more respect and friendliness.

"Gentles, gentles," he cried out, getting to his shivering feet and stuttering from involuntary, if quite helpful, cowardice, "this is no time for harsh words. Nothing has been said against any man's honour here that cannot be speedily retracted. Think of the play; think of your art, your characters; think of the Fellowship of the Ring, and try to emulate them a little more closely..."

Even, perhaps, unto breaking...

***

Up at the Treasury

"That's an awful bad cough you've got there, my lord," a soft voice murmured in the gloom. "You shouldn't stay up working so late."

Cirdacil glanced up in surprise. It was Lady Elanor; she was certainly a sweet girl, more polite than the rest of her curious people as far as he had seen, and this was not the first time she had thought to come to see him on a mercy-visit. It was late now, yes; sometimes he allowed himself to be quite lost in his figures, especially since offloading all that distracting Revels business onto his boy. And his cough was becoming pretty atrocious.

"Look here," Elanor went on, "I've brought you a nice cup of cophir. You know, that funny drink the traders from Rhun sell."

"I know it well," Cirdacil replied ruefully. "I used to trade in it myself, my sweet demoiselle. In Pelargir, where I was born, they have a saying about it that goes just so...

Cophir, that makes the politician wise
And see all things thorough his half-closed eyes.
"

"Well, Lord Cirdacil, perhaps you ought to close your eyes fully a bit more often."

They laughed quietly together. When Cirdacil broke the ensuing comfortable silence, after gulping at his cophir, he looked thoughtful.

"Lady Elanor, this play is looking really very rocky, you know. It might not come together at all, from what I've learnt so far and from what my son tells me, too. Those rogues are causing no end of trouble down at the Inn of Ingold. Do you think your mother and father would mind terribly if we just hired the usual bard? He could sing of Samwise the Brave and all that, very easily, and so cheaply, too..."

"Oh," Elanor said sharply, then articulated, "I'm sure there's no need to worry, my lord. I'm certain mamma and papa will be quite happy with whatever the Players turn out."

"Maybe," the unwilling Master of the Revels commented doubtfully, before hacking out a gruesome cough.

"Talking of which, I ought to be getting back to them now. Good night, my lord. Have a good sleep soon." Cirdacil's eyes had already returned to the Gondor Pipe Rolls, so he did not see the extraordinarily sly expression on Elanor's face as she departed...

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Old 04-12-2011, 08:29 AM   #182
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Coldan barely raised an eyebrow at the young nobleman's intervention. He couldn't have cared less for play, art or Fellowship right now.

"You mind your own business", he growled, then added as an afterthought, "my lord. Aldarion, I'm listening."

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Old 04-12-2011, 09:00 AM   #183
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Think of your art, think of your characters. Branor did not fully understand why this person was with the Kings' Players, but the young man was right. Aragorn carried a big sword, but he also walked with peaceful words. Now was the time for stern and swift justice, truths only a King could bring.

Branor got up from his stool and walked towards Coldan and Aldarion, slowly (so he did not get light headed), but confidently.

"Fellas," in typical fashion, Branor was puffing out his chest. "You are making all of this trouble because you, Coldan, fancy the Lady Asta? And you, Aldarion, have had your pride wounded? Coldan, fighting Aldarion is not going to make Asta fancy you. Aldarion, knocking out Coldan is not going to fix the script and prove your undoubted writing talents." He caught Thiliel in the room out of the corner of his eye. "However, if both of you insist your honors have been questioned, than take it outside the City walls. For if you come back this matter better be resolved, or I will see to it you are both gone. Brinn started this troupe without either of you, we can get by without either of you."

Branor did not wait for a response from Coldan or Aldarion, nor wait to see how they would react. Frankly, he did not care if they put eachother in the Houses of Healing. He was just hoping they did not start fighting in front of the young Thiliel. Her uncle owns the Inn, and Ingold can easily decide to throw the players out. Then who in the City would take them? Branor would be dead before he let two knuckleheads ruin this chance.

Once Branor was sure he was out of the common room, and out of everyone's sight, he exhaled and relaxed. He needed to talk to Brinn and hopefully she was alone.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:26 PM   #184
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Harrenon had retired for a while, having left Brinn the notes Coldan had made of Bergil’s account and telling her that he would probably be in his cart, if he was needed for anything. He doubted he would be soon. There would have to be decisions taken soon concerning the changes that had to be made in the play and Harrenon was by now familiar with the style of his fellow Players. First they were going to argue for what would seem like hours on end at which point they would finally grow tired of sniping at each other and start trying to find a solution. Harrenon was not one to snipe much, so he thought that he might as well skip that part.

He stood for some time trying to relax, enjoying the time spent alone. It was not that he did not like the company of the other Players. Yet sometimes being constantly on the road at close quarters with a small group of people could be very trying. There was little time to oneself and no chance of much proper rest.

In the end, however, Harrenon grew restless. He was curious to see how the other Players were dealing with all that had happened. Perhaps he judged them wrongly and they were actually not going to have a long and wearisome argument after all this time. He thought that there would be no harm in going to the inn’s common room, at least to have a look at how things were proceeding. If he stumbled over something he did not like, he could always go back to the wagons.

As he was about to enter the common room, he spotted Brannor getting out and by the look on the other’s face, Harrenon judged that something was not exactly quite right. Harrenon sighed. So much for no arguments.

Harrenon walked in and saw that Aldarion and Coldan were staring daggers at each other. The man Cirdacil had saddled them with – Sador, his name was, if Harrenon remembered correctly – was looking quite uncomfortable. So there had been sniping then, and by the looks of it, it had been quite serious.

Not wanting to interfere– what would have been the point anyway, since he had no idea what had actually transpired there? – Harrenon found a table at a safe distance and sat down. He told himself to steer clear of whatever trouble was brewing. Unless, of course, Coldan and Aldarion did not decide to try and kill each other, that was.

Looking around Harrenon spotted the young inkeeper’s niece – Thiliel, that was her name, and turned to her:

“I say,” he asked, “Do you have any idea what went on here? These two look like they're about to jump at each other’s throats.”
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:17 PM   #185
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"So you zink I'm too zick to see zrough vat you've been up to viz zat Mary role?" questioned Coldan. "Maybe you should explain zen. But keep it simple, so I understand."

Aldarion glared at Coldan. Of course Coldan had brought up Mary the Elf- Asta. It had always been a bit too obvious that Coldan had some sort of crush on her, and so naturally he would dislike Aldarion's scenes with her (which were admittedly quite enjoyable), but that ought not to have any bearing on the issue at hand- Coldan blaming Aldarion for all of the inaccuracies in the play.

But just as he was about to reply, Branor stepped in to play peacemaker. Though Aldarion was no less frustrated and angry after the speech, it did at the least keep him from shouting when he turned to address Coldan, and the idea of punching the Easterling also subsided into a colder sort of fury.

"Asta has nothing to do with my complaint, Coldan," began Aldarion. Coldan showed every sign of interrupting, but Aldarion held up a hand and continued. "I was informed that you essentially placed the blame for the script and story problems at my feet while I was away, and I will not stand for that. I did not invent these roles, nor did I invent the overall plot, and if you'll recall I am the one that suggested we do an entirely different drama before it was evident that we were stuck."

"I was a great actor once, working with the greatest company in the history of Gondor!" exclaimed Aldarion, suddenly becoming more passionate. "I had it all, and by the Valar I will rise again! But how can I impress the nobles and royals of Minas Tirith if our production is laughable?! No, Coldan, no! If it is this play that we must perform, I want it fixed- more badly than anyone! And I'll not let you lumber about behind my back saying that I am the cause of its flaws!"
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:44 PM   #186
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Thiliel nodded to Mistress Celebrindal, and with a quick "Right away" she sprinted back to the inn. She came in to see that a fourth man was trying to quiet down the fight that sprang up between the other three. However, it looked like his arguents were not heeded. This time, Thiliel clearly recognized one of the men as an actor that she has seen earlier this day. She didn't recall him there when the fight started.

“I say,” said a man's voice, “Do you have any idea what went on here? These two look like they're about to jump at each other’s throats.”

Thiliel turned around. It was another actor. "I don't know for sure, sir. The man who is shouting right now suddenly yelled something about theatre, history, and witnesses, and I think the other ones yelled back. I'm not certain. You see, I had to deliver supper to Mistress Celebrindal." Thiliel was confident that the actor would understand, because he was around when she met Celebrindal. "She said that I should tell the men to go to her cart one at a time. What do you think this means? Will they be fired?"

But this couldn't be. The actors had to stay together. Otherwise, how will they manage to do the play? Thiliel's expression reflected some of her concern.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:11 PM   #187
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Fighting Aldarion is not going to make Asta fancy you, Branor had said. Coldan wasn't too drunk nor too enraged not to recognize truth when it bit him, even when it hurt as much as this. He even recognized Aldarion's right to complain about being slandered in his absence, and his zeal to correct the errors in the play. But that was beside the point; the play was the last thing on Coldan's mind now.

"I don't give an Orc's fart for your ambitions", he replied. "You didn't invent Mary, I'll give you zat; but it vouldn't be half as difficult to get rid of her now if you hadn't blown up her part so much at Éowyn's expense, only to include a love story between her and your own character. All for purely dramatic reasons, I suppose." He snorted contemptuously. "Tell zat to your granny. And yes, you suggested ve perform Children of Húrin instead of ze Var of ze Ring. Guess who as Nienor and Túrin. Do you really zink I am too daft to see vat's going on here?" The last sentence had come out as a yell, but the wrath in his voice died down again as quickly as it had flared up. "Not zat it matters anymore. If she really wants you, let her have you. But tell me one zing, Aldarion!" He leaned forward to place one hand on the back of Aldarion's chair, the other on the table, and brought his face close to the playwright's, lowering his voice almost to a whisper. "Do you at least love her truly, or are you just toying viz her as if she vere some strumpet from ze city? Answer me, Aldarion, or ze play can go to ze fires of Mount Doom for all I care."
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:14 PM   #188
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"She said that I should tell the men to go to her cart one at a time. What do you think this means? Will they be fired?"

So Brinn was thinking of taking drastic measures if she wanted to do that, Harrenon thought. He had to admit that he could not help but admire the way Brinn dealt with the troupe. That took a lot of patience since they were all difficult enough, Harrenon included.

“Oh, I’m sure she won’t fire anyone,” Harrenon told Thiliel reassuringly. “She wouldn’t do this to any of us, no matter how much we misbehaved. And at any rate, she can’t fire any of us now, with the play so close. I’m sure she just wants to teach some sense into them and ask them to put aside whatever differences they might have until the play is over, that’s all.”

Yet observing from afar Coldan and Aldarion’s current interactions, Harrenon could not help wondering uneasily what it would take for those two to agree to put aside whatever differences they might have. However Brinn intended to deal with the problem, Harrenon wished her luck.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:56 AM   #189
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Asta had, in fact, taken refuge in the wagon. She kept Smaug and her other mechanical charges in good order, but there were always last minute repairs and adjustments to be made. Besides, it was calming to lose herself in the painstaking work of her hands. Just the company of her beloved puppets was calming, too. Demanding they might be in their own way, but she understood their needs, their innermost workings.

"What's wrong with people, Smaug?" she asked the dragon-puppet aloud, as she polished the great fangs that fringed his gaping mouth. One of Smaug's huge rolling crimson eyes had slipped a little in its socket. It gave him an unfocussed look that seemed oddly gentle. Asta rather liked that, but she knew her duty, and had the errant orb back in place with a few deft twists of one of her special tools, a long blade-like implement with a hooked end.

It was at that moment that she heard Rollan's knock. She did not feel ready to talk to anyone yet, and had to resist a childish impulse to keep silent and hope he would go away.

She opened the door. "What is it?"

"I just wanted to see how you were getting on, Asta... thought you'd still be rehearsing. With Coldan."

"Oh no," Asta said quickly. "We're– we're finished."

Rollan was looking at her in such a curious way that Asta wondered if he could tell she had been crying. Her complexion always did tend to stay blotchy after tears.

"Asta, has something–" he broke off, startled as she was by the roar of anger that had erupted from the direction of the Common Room.

Asta clambered out of the cart as fast as she could and dashed inside, not waiting to see what Rollan would do. That had been Aldarion's voice; then Coldan's had followed it, equally enraged. They were murdering each other! Or, at least, her sense of realism corrected her, Aldarion was murdering Coldan, anyway.

The noise had partly subsided by the time she reached the hall, where she almost ran into Branor. The actor was a trifle unsteady on his feet and showed other signs of having partaken a little too well of Ingold's hospitality.

"Not to worry your pretty little head about it," he told her in his most lordly fashion. "Coldan and Aldarion had words– over you, and who can blame 'em," he winked roguishly, "who can blame 'em, indeed? But not to worry, I took care of it. Not a peep out of 'em now."

His words might have been more convincing if Coldan's voice had not at that moment shouted,
"Do you really zink I am too daft to see vat's going on here?"

Asta paused on the Common Room threshold. Coldan, she saw, was now bent over Aldarion's chair, in a way that, to her raging imagination, looked positively sinister, as did the expression on the playwrights upturned face.

She darted into the room, weaving between tables until she reached them, "Stop it," she cried. "Stop it now, you fools! What do you think you're doing?" They both jumped and stared at her. It was only then that she realised she had brought the hooked blade with her and was now holding it before her like a weapon.

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Old 04-13-2011, 11:44 AM   #190
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Aldarion resisted the urge to roll his eyes as Coldan gave his answer. Coldan was not even remotely addressing the issue at hand, or at least from Aldarion's perspective, but instead ranted entirely about Asta. "How is it any of his business what Asta does on stage anyway?" thought Aldarion. "How would she feel if I gave into Coldan's whims and took her out of any romantic lead part to suit his jealousy? I doubt she'd be pleased."

Then Coldan surprised him, leaning in close, and demanding that Aldarion choose between "I love Asta" and "she's a strumpet I'm toying with". Aldarion was outraged. "What a thing to ask someone!" he thought, as Coldan's gaze continued unbroken, awaiting an answer. "I mean really, relationships between people are changeable things, with room for growth. I ought to ask him the same question of Brinn and Sereth just to make my point!"

But before Aldarion could speak- "Stop it! Stop it now, you fools! What do you think you're doing?" The loud interruption caused Aldarion to rise partway out of his chair. It was Asta, and what was more she was brandishing a weapon.

Instinctively Aldarion darted clear from his seat and his hand flew to his hilt, but barely he restrained himself from actually drawing the blade. His eyes flickered back and forth between Coldan and Asta. Perhaps more had happened in his absence than he knew? The naked steel in Asta's hands certainly suggested it.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:33 PM   #191
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Branor found Brinn at one of the wagons. She was alone and did not seem thrilled, or shocked, when Branor approached. Surely he had something to do with the trouble in the other room.

"I suppose you have a part to play in causing this ruckus, and why young Thiliel came running in here yelling trouble?" She was now looking stern.

"Aldarion and Coldan are arguing about Mary the Elf, but it has more to do with the actress playing her. So why don't you just go ask Asta?" Branor shot back. "What makes you think I have anything to do with her, or care who your sister toys with?"

"You tell me, Bran." Brinn was holding firm. "All I know is anytime news of trouble my players are causing reaches me, your name has been right in the center of it."

There was a long silence. Branor was clearly suppressing something but just when it looked like he would dodge answering, the frustration which had been building up came out. "First Therian, and now you? Speak clearly!" There was another pause, as Branor realized Speak clearly was one of his lines. He did not want to shout at Brinn, he simply wanted to understand why everyone's anger has been directed towards him. "I mean, it would be much easier if I knew why you and Therian are angry with me. For I honestly can not tell you what it is I have done to offend you. Yes, Therian and I snuck out to the Rohirric Unicorn last night. We did so believing we could learn more about the hobbits you told us to investigate. Then some dumb brute started making trouble with Therian. So, I stepped in to protect him, and I may have insulted the oaf's intelligence, but would you rather I had let him squash one of our better actors into dust? The trouble that's going on in there? As I told you, I am not the cause. I tried to calm the hot tempers down. If they don't, do not come blaming me. Your sister is the cause of that trouble."

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Old 04-13-2011, 02:55 PM   #192
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"I was a great actor once, working with the greatest company in the history of Gondor! I had it all, and by the Valar I will rise again!"

It was a noteworthy outburst, Sador thought, from the sitting position in the corner back to which he had retreated after his abortive appeal to the players' sense of dramatic integrity. Surprisingly one of them, the ox-headed sot, no less, had apparently taken his advice to heart, but only as an exercise in self-aggrandizement, followed by a none-too-valiant retreat. Ah well, it was something of a relief to have one fewer overexcited, uncouth brawlers in proximity to him...but now it was Aldarion's turn to perform, it would seem, and he was declaiming with a passion which had been quite absent from his tone while they merely bandied the girl's name...

Had Amlach not said it was in the role of Ar-Pharazon, Sador reflected, that Aldarion had been 'discovered' by the world at large? There was something a little like the golden king in his tone now, or even, perhaps, more sinisterly hubristic, in his dark vow to "rise again". Even more intriguing to Sador was the unmodulated respect, almost yearning, with which Aldarion referred to the Swan Players as "the greatest company in the history of Gondor"; it contrasted easily enough with the touchy playwright's reference to his current troupe as a "work in progress".

He speaks of the Swans as an Elf does of the Hither Shore...it is even as I hoped. He longs to return to his true peers, and we shall test yet what he shall and shall not do to fulfil that wish...

The Variag gentleman, or whatever he was, was now honouring Master Aldarion with some even more intemperate language about the bodily functions of yrch. Wonder how he got to know so much about them, eh? But much as before, Sador found himself impressed despite himself with the pithiness of that foreigner's rhetoric. The fella sure knew how to frame a dichotomy, and seemed to have left Aldarion so speechless that he was trying to catch words out of the air by opening and closing his mouth. It struck Sador, quite pleasingly, that at this unfortunate moment the handsome player resembled no one so much as his slow-witted elder half-brother, Lord Ecsichil, trying to make conversation on a bad day and ending up catching flies in his tonsils...

But the smart young nobleman's cogitations were interrupted by the unexpected apparition of cold steel, which caused him to seek strictly temporary sanctuary beneath the table.
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:31 PM   #193
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"Stop it now, you fools! What do you think you're doing?"

Coldan started up and froze, transfixed by Asta's voice. His mouth fell open when he saw her rushing towards them, brandishing a crooked blade like a scimitar, her long hair waving in her wake, her eyes glaring with fury. Never had she looked more like a shieldmaiden than in this moment, and a glorious sight it was, even though she had broken his heart today and was now storming at him as if she meant to slay him.

Only when she had reached their table did he recognize the blade in her hand as one of the tools she used for the maintenance and repair of her automata; he had often enough run and fetched things for her when she was working to know most of them from sight. And what he had first taken for the red blaze of rage in her eyes looked more like - no, that couldn't be, could it?

Next to him, Aldarion had sprung up from his chair and stood poised like a wolf facing a pack of hounds, his eyes darting to and fro between Coldan and Asta, his hand at the hilt of his sword. Was the man mad now? Obviously Asta's warrior-like entry had not failed to impress him, either - but surely he wouldn't draw that thing now and risk wounding Asta?

"Let zat sword go, man!" Coldan hissed. "Can't you see it's just a tool?"

Only after that did he think of answering Asta's question, if indeed it had been meant as one.

"If you hev to know", he said, turning to her, "I vas just asking Aldarion vether he loves you."
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Old 04-13-2011, 04:32 PM   #194
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Thiliel was relieved when the actor assured her that the play will go on, and even more so when the sandy-haired woman rushed into the common room and over to the fighters' table. "Stop it now, you fools! What do you think you're doing?" her short command seemed to accomplish what other more elaborate arguments failed to do. Thiliel noticed that the woman was holding some piece of metal as though she would poke out the eyes of any who disobeyed her. One of the men rose and his hand jerked to his sword, but he stopped the movement.

The other man, who Thiliel met at the carts, scowled at the one with the weapon. Looking straight at the woman, he said in a hollow voice, "If you hev to know, I vas just asking Aldarion vether he loves you." So the one with the blade must be called Aldarion!

"Please forgive me for interrupting, good sirs, but I have a message for you," Thiliel said, stepping forward. She didn't want to get into the thick of it, but at the man's reply the woman's look turned from angry to dangerous, "Mistress Celebrindal asked me to tell you to please go see her at the wagons. She wants to have a private conversation with you, one on one. If you could please- "

Turing to the lady, Thiliel asked, "May I help you somehow?" her feelings toward the woman weren't exactly warm, but peace at the inn was more important.
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Old 04-13-2011, 05:07 PM   #195
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Aldarion took his hand off the hilt. Asta was upset, but it did not look like violent rage, and Coldan was quite right about her blade- it was actually a tool (though still dangerous). Then Aldarion's eyes widened in disbelief as Coldan turned and informed Asta that he had just asked Aldarion about his love for her. "What is wrong with this man?!" thought Aldarion. "This is not how things such as this are handled!"

And then Thiliel, a young girl that he had seen about at the inn, stepped in to relay a message from Brinn- a summons to a one on one meeting for each of them. "Well," thought Aldarion, "This may not be too bad. Seeing as Coldan slandering me behind my back was the start of all this nonsense, and now he's going on about love and such when we ought to be putting our full efforts into the show rather than introducing discomfort and awkwardness. Brinn should be able to clamp down on this nonsense."

"Fine!" said Aldarion aloud. "I'll go pay Mistress Celebrindal a visit immediately." As he passed by Asta, he stopped and inclined his head briefly, and spoke so that it was difficult for anyone other than Asta to hear. "Sorry if we upset you. My only concern this day is preparing for our production, but Coldan insists on unfairly insulting my writing and demanding that I declare you my 'true love' or 'some strumpet from ze city'. I will make sure Brinn knows you shoulder no blame in this matter."

Aldarion backed away, inclining his head yet again, and stepped through the common room door.

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Old 04-13-2011, 08:52 PM   #196
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Brinn sighed heavily. This was exactly why she disliked being injured.

"Your pardon, Branor," she said, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I had merely assumed--Thiliel did not give me much information to go on. Still, we had better get this settled now and not let it rankle.

"First of all, there was the part where you ran into Samwise, and, from my understanding, blurted out he was supposed to be dead?... A little tact would be helpful, you know! But more importantly, showing up back to the rehearsal drunk, passing out? All of this behaviour is highly unprofessional, especially when we have less than week to completely change our script! And on top of that, word got out to this Lord Burlach, who as a result has formed a very low opinion of our group, and--"

She sighed again. "It is just very stressful. And yes, Therian may have caused trouble--in fact, thank you for letting me know, for I shall have to speak to him about that--but there are ways to withdraw, politely, when you're in over your head, and not make things worse. You, quite frankly, may not know how to do that, and we can ill afford to make any more enemies right now."

Brinn paused. "I'm sorry. That came out poorly. At any rate, given that all I knew up to this point was that there was shouting going on within the common room, I assumed you were at the root of it, and if what you're telling me is correct, that was a wrong assumption to make.

"Since, however, you weren't in the thick of this particular scuffle, perhaps you can tell me, to the best of your ability, what happened?"
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Old 04-14-2011, 09:51 AM   #197
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"I will certainly do the best of my abilities. Where to begin?" Wonderful. This meant Branor was going to start re-enacting the whole scene, complete with dramatic gestures, different voices, and probably props.

"The drama of the day, capped off by Therian being cross with me, which I still can not figure out, was too much for me, so I went into the common room for relaxing Branor time." Brinn could not stop her eyes from rolling, because even if Branor was trying to cover up, she knew this meant he was planning to get drunk again. It did not matter though, as Branor was now really getting into the re-enactment and started jumping to different spots, signalling he was playing different people.

'Aldarion asks "Something troubling you, Branor?"'
What was truly bothering me was Therian running off, but I tell him "Coldan and Asta, because Coldan is unhappy with your script, especially Asta's role as Mary the Elf."
Aldarion objects with great indignation, his honor has been questioned. Why of all people would that idiot-boy Coldan lay it at my feet? Can he be that thick!!!!?"'

'Coldan overhears and is furious. He demands an explanation. Enter the young man Sador. He makes a desperate plea for the two actors to let their cooler heads prevail. "Think of your art, think of your characters. Think of the Fellowship!"
But Coldan is furious, he doesn't give a mumak's waste about the play right now. Asta and Aldarion have wounded him. "You mind your own business!"
This is when I feel it is my duty to intervene. The brave Sador can make passionate appeals to your emotions, but he did not know the two actors like I did. He did not know they needed to hear the hard truths.'

Now was the time for Branor's monologue of his performance for Brinn. It was time to look granduer and kingly! "You are making all of this trouble because you, Coldan, fancy the Lady Asta? And you, Aldarion, have had your pride wounded? Coldan, fighting Aldarion is not going to make Asta fancy you. Aldarion, knocking out Coldan is not going to fix the script and prove your undoubted writing talents. If both of you insist your honors have been questioned, than take it outside my City's walls. For if you come back this matter better be resolved, or I will see to it you are both gone. Mistress Celebrindal started this troupe without either of you, we can get by without either of you."
'And thus, knowing my swift judgement settled the dispute, I exit.'

Branor could not tell if his dramatic rendition amused Brinn, but sifting out Branor's obvious showmanship she at least got the facts, whether she knew it yet or not. "Ok. Thanks Branor."

"No, it is I whom bows to you." he knealt on one knee.

"It is not necessary to be in character anymore. Really."

"Right." he cleared his throat, hardly believing he could be this embarassing in front of a lady, especially. Why must she have a pretty face? "That was to the best of my ability. My advice is I liked it better when there weren't so many egos in our small, but lovely, band of performers. The performance is a joke to everyone, they only care about their power, their position, and how to acquire more of it. Sometimes, I think it is a joke, even to you. Do you want this to be the best performance you have ever put on?'

It was rhetorical, and Brinn was not going to bother to respond, but Branor briefly paused to make sure Brinn knew he was being sincere. "Then you have to start making the best use of the talent available. Therian's is going to waste, because you are sticking him in a role he hates. All for what, your amusement? Teaching the boy a lesson? You are wasting talent and not teaching him anything, other than to be miserable and bitter towards you. I am trying to say, you may not agree with my tact and methods, but we have a long history together, one you can always rely on. And I hope it is still enough for you to trust me. I have probably said to much now. I will retire."

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Old 04-17-2011, 12:14 AM   #198
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Brinn thanked her old friend for his advice, but did not say anything more. Now was the time to weigh things over, and think before doing. But she'd make sure, whenever she did come to a decision, to let Branor know. First, though, she'd have to hear from Aldarion and Coldan--and Asta, too, by the sounds of it. Ugh, how she hated spats, especially at a time like this.

"It's not a joke, Branor," she said finally. Seemed wrong not to respond to him after he truly had performed to the best of his ability--though, really, he was hardly one to talk about egos! "But it is an entertainment, and was never meant to be anything more. I don't do this because it's art, or because the King wants it, or because we need to advance ourselves. I do it because it makes people happy--not the lords and ladies, but the people like us, like the ones from back--" well, home wasn't quite the right word anymore "--in Dale. And if it stops making people happy..." because nobody here is happy "...well, I guess charity begins at home, doesn't it? Thank you for your words, Branor. It sounds as if there are some disputes in need of resolving, and not just on the short term, if we can manage it. You've already alerted me to one, so thank you for that. But I'll deal with tonight's problems first. If you see any of those involved, please--politely--ask them to speak to me, and make sure they know I'll be kind about it. Good night."

Branor left, and Brinn was left to muse on his advice about Therian.
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Old 04-17-2011, 01:48 AM   #199
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A little stir in the teacup

Sador had used the opportunity of the struggle to crawl several tables away, planning to get up again only when he was sure no spying eyes would impair the dignity of his position. As he went about this way of escape, he happened to be directly below the retreating Aldarion's irritable whisper to Asta...

"My only concern this day is preparing for our production, but Coldan insists on unfairly insulting my writing and demanding that I declare you my 'true love' or 'some strumpet from ze city'. I will make sure Brinn knows you shoulder no blame in this matter."

Sador's view on this snippet was twofold. It was, evidently, the case that this justly well regarded player was an artist first and a lover a long way second. At the same time, he couldn't help noticing, being no novice in sweetened remarks to the ladies himself, that Aldarion had carefully avoided committing himself - and not only to Sador, a relative stranger, but to Coldan and Asta, the love object, and the rival, themselves. Sador now suspected this supposedly dedicated actor was acting a little too neatly here, and trying to have things both ways, retaining credit with his prettiest colleague while at heart still hoping to win the Lady Gloredhel's affection.

By now Sador had wormed away to another corner, some yards behind where Coldan and Asta stood framed by the threshold (and rather a pleasing tableau they made too, in their way, he thought). While they lingered, thus distracted, he got back up, brushed the dust off his tunic, hobbled a couple of paces forward and coughed lightly, until both had turned round.

He now nodded politely, and turned to the Wainriding character in particular.

"Master Coldan, I believe? I have already met Asta, but I fear you and I have not been properly introduced. I am Sador of Burlach - for do let us dispense with that cumbersome 'my lord' you were courteous enough to employ earlier. In my view the honour of a player stands as high as many a prince."

Sador bowed his fair head lightly and continued.

"I have the good of this play on my conscience, all the more so because of some of my father's unnecessarily harsh speeches and measures. I would entreat you to set your mind at more ease, for the sake of your peace as well as the play's success, about Aldarion. The truth is, I know him a little by repute - why, we are almost relatives by marriage, after a fashion - and the name of Aldarion is already often spoken of in connection with a lady of Dol Amroth."

Now he turned quickly to Asta.

"I am sure, taking that fact into account, Mistress Asta, none of his actions towards you have been impertinent or remiss? The fellow is a man of honour..."

Unlike me, Sador thought, keeping his ironical smile tucked behind his concerned frown. You may think to have them both, Aldarion, but I shall leave you yet with neither...
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:06 AM   #200
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"Remiss? Oh no– believe me, this has all been a... a misunderstanding..." said Asta, but she could feel the heat rising in her cheeks. So Aldarion had been just stringing her along all this time! So he did think of her as a plaything! She almost wished she had skewered him.

She turned to the prompter, staring at a point immediately over his head. "Coldan? Coldan– I– may have said– um, one or two things earlier that I didn't really mean. I'm..." If there was one thing Asta hated, it was admitting she had been wrong, and she had to swallow several times before she could go on. "I'm sorry. Now," she added, before Coldan could speak– there was no telling what he would say, and the last thing they needed was another scene with Lord Sador as witness, "Thilien?"

"Thiliel," corrected, Master Ingold's officious little neice, who was still waiting around for an answer.

"Thiliel, please tell Brinn– er, the Lady Celebrindal– I'm coming."

The girl bobbed a quick curtsey and bustled away, full of the importance of her errand. Asta had found her annoying before, but now she was almost inclined to envy the childisheagerness that made even the drudgery of a maid's work new and exciting. She sighed. It would not last, of course.

Turning back to the two men, she noticed Lord Sador looking at her once again with that odd, private smile of his. She was sure he had noticed her slip with the name– but was it only that?

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