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Bęthberry 06-15-2003 11:52 AM

The White Horse Inn, Act II
Welcome to the White Horse Inn!

The previous thread becoming too long and tangled, we can continue spinning our yarns here.

And with a flourish to begin the new thread, here is a list of all the gamer players and game owner
s who can join RPGs in Rohan.
Only gamers named on these lists, and those named on the list for Gondor, can participate in games here in Rohan.

If you are a Shire gamer who wants to become eligible for this list, and who can meet the standard of writing for Shire games, you can post here at The Horse. The Innkeepers, Bęthberry and Aylwen Dreamsong will provide help to anyone who needs some guidance and explanation meeting the revised standard of writing for Rohan. (Please see The Golden Hall, remodelled, for the revised standards and for a full explanation of how to become a Writer of the Mark. THIS IS CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION AT THE MOMENT.)

Gamers with full status as Game Managers and Game Players:

Adanedhel 4711
Anglachel 4315
Annunfuiniel 6496
Airerűthiel 4573
Arien 5520
Arvedui III 598
Auriel Haevasawen 2051
Aylwen Dreamsong 3938

Belin (Ibaimendi) 1321
Brinniel 3296

Cuthalion 3330

Daniel Telcontar 2975
Dark Shadow 5380
DayVampyre 7028
Deorlin 5212
doug*platypus 5476
dragoneyes 4574
Dwarin Thunderhammer 452

Earendil Halfelven 5268
Elentari Greenleaf 4772
Elora 7611
Estel the Descender 1984
Envinyatar 5883

Galadel Vinorel 3964
Garen Lilorian 5106
Great Warg 3138
Gryphon Hall 2424

Helkahothion 4764
Himaran 5731
Hirilaelin 6107
Horse-Maiden of the Shire 5542

Ithaeliel 2844
Ivy of the Woods 3230

Kryssal 7005

Leighlei 1156
Lugbůrz 3733
Lyra Greenleaf 6073

Maikadilwen 1987
Maikafanawen 5409
Manardariel 5211
Manôphazân 10249
morai 2921

Novnarwen 7586
Nurumaiel 4911

onewhitetree 8
Orofaniel 7567
Orual 4756

Palando 6583

Ransom 4136

Sadbh 5241
Sharkű 3

Taralphiel 2723
Thalionyulma 1955
the real findorfin 473
theRuling Ring 4285
The White Lady 3754

VanimaEdhel 1864
Varda 3144

as well as all Gondorians

Gamers on a one-time only 'pass' to complete a game, who will return to The Shire upon completion of the current game:

Beruthiel 4876
elvenmaiden Earwen 5853
Meneltarmaciel 8259
Osse 8485

Gamers on 'probation' who could gain entry to Rohan as game players if they successfully complete the game they are currently in:

Carrun (RLK) 5606
Durelin (Brotherhood of the Last Alliance) 4652
TheLady Aerowen (RLK) 3670

Rohan Game Players: Those who are game players in Rohan but who must first found a game in The Shire before earning Game Owner status in Rohan or merit consideration for waiver status by co-owning a game in Rohan with a Rohan Game Owner. (This latter waiver category is extremely rare).

Alaklondewen 1873

Carlas 5457

Ealasaid/e 8876 (previously 7856)
Elora 7611

Imladris 8304

Nerindel 7498

Sophia TTM 2643

Tinuviel of Denton 7130
TheXPhial 95 (RLK)

Gamers who can post at The White Horse Inn thread :

Anyone who can meet the minimum standards for gaming in The Shire

If your name is not on this list but you did post on a Rohan game or in the previous White Horse Inn thread, please contact the Innkeeper, Bęthberry, via PM with the relevant information in order to have your name added to this list.

Please note that if you have not participated in The Green Dragon in The Shire and demonstrated that you can meet at the minimum the Shire standards for gaming, you should probably go to The Shire and game there rather than here in Rohan. In very rare and exceptional cases, a gamer can contact the Rohan Moderator (Bęthberry) via PM (private message) and, by demonstrating to her satisfaction superior gaming skills, that gamer can then participate here in The White Horse. To join games in Rohan, a gamer must play games in The Shire.

Bęthberry 06-15-2003 12:27 PM

The White Horse Inn facts.

It is the 3rd Age, about ten years before the War of the Ring.


The White Horse is located in Edoras, a centre not as sophisticated or elaborate as Minas Tirith, but still a bustling town with various trades, guilds, merchants, homesteaders, ranchers, housing the courts for the Kingdom of Rohan and the centre of all tribal history. It is a hub for traffic on the Great West Road from Harad to the Gap of Rohan and beyond, to Dale and Erebor and parts west. It is thus an administrative, financial, cultural and trade centre.


Théoden is on the throne of Rohan; Gríma Wormtongue is likely a page at court; Éowyn is just entering adolescence; Gilraen has recently died and Bran become king in Dale; Bilbo has lodged in Rivendell for about six years; Gandalf is paying his last visit to Frodo but has not yet begun his search with Aragorn for Gollem.


Ongoing characters in the Inn:

Bęthberry, the Innkeeper
Aywlen Dreamsong, the Assistant Innkeeper
Child of the Seventh age, Bard of Rohan
Annawyn (Estelyn Telcontar), a local seamstress to the ladies
Froma, the cook
Ćlfritha, (Bęthberry) a horse mistress
Ravenna (elven maiden Earwen), an apprentice seamstress
Lachlan (Taralphiel), son of the local alemaster
Raven (DayVampyre), minstrel
Leofan (Nurumaiel), stablehand, and his entire family
Iswyn (Sophia TTM), scullery maid
Talen (Daniel Telcontar), handyman and bouncer
Mialynn (Manardariel), baker's apprentice and serving wench
Delia (Orual) upstairs maid and apprentice healer


Gamers posting at The White Horse should base their character(s) on one of these occupations or positions and game appropriately in character and action. Various activities are going to be established at The Horse and gamers should match their posts/characters to those activities. The first activity will be a party, followed by a weekly farmers' and merchants' market in Edoras. A fire in the stable will later provide some excitement and then of course the need to rebuild the stable.

stable master
stable hand
scullery maid
wait staff for the Horse
justice of the peace
tent maker
potter and glassmaker
various smiths
trader/traveller from any region in Middle-earth
homesteader or rancher from the surrounding towns and villages
children of the town and their parents

Make a choice based in part upon whether you want to become a 'regular' posting here or whether you want to post occasionally. If you wish to take on a regular role as a member of the staff of The Horse, please contact Bęthberry via PM with your ideas for the character. The role of Froma the cook is up for grabs!

Edit: The White Horse Inn is now a moderated thread. Its purpose is twofold: first, to provide opportunities for experienced Shire and Rohan gamers to practice and improve their gaming skills without taking on the longer commitment of a game and, second, to provide a place to game while waiting to join a Rohan game.

Characters posted here must fit the particular activity in progress; activities will be changed regularly to provide a variety of action. Characters should also demonstrate plausibility and the kind of realism of detail for which Tolkien is noted. Planning or researching a character/occupation/activity before posting is recommended as a way of developing gaming skills, as is reading and following the rules in The Golden Hall, remodelled.

The White Horse is moderated by the Innkeeper (Bęthberry) and the Assistant Innkeeper (Aylwen Dreamsong).

[ June 28, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]

Bęthberry 06-15-2003 12:41 PM

Current time:

Very early morning. Bęthberry the Innkeeper is starting preparations for a party later today in honour of the new list of Rohan gamers and the new members of The Horse, Aylwen Dreamsong and Child of the Seventh Age. She has sent a special invitation to SusanDelgado to attend as an honoured guest as well as distributing a general proclamation to the city, and, indeed, the entire kingdom, about the party.

It is late spring, just before the equinox of the longest day of the year. Weather is warm, bright, sunny.
Do not jump ahead to the party, but post such activities as would be likely: the arrival of kegs of beer or casks of wine, meat from the butcher, provisions from various other merchants, new bunting and banners to be assembled, windows and tables to be cleaned, the fireplaces to be cleaned and restacked, the stable to be prepared for extra horses, extra rooms upstairs in the Inn to be aired out and prepared.

[ June 15, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]

Bęthberry 06-16-2003 08:28 AM

A familiar sound, a light rat-tat-tapping on the pane of her window, woke Bęthberry. The early dawn light was creeping tentatively into her room, but she could still make out Wyrd's shape at the window, his beak resting against the glass in case he needed to knock again to draw her attention. She stretched her arms over her head and breathed deeply. The air was still chilled from the cool night, but it was fresh.

Running her fingers through her hair to tidy it, she crossed to the window, opened the lattice and lightly petted Wyrd on his head. The falcon twisted around, enjoying the preening, and then flew off, but not before Bęthberry caught the sound of panpipes.

Peering out the window, she saw the new Assistant Innkeeper, Aylwen Dreamsong, sitting in the kitchen garden, amongst the herbs and rhubarb. Aywlen was an old friend whose song and mirth, to say nothing of her other abilities, would be welcome in The Horse. Bęthberry leaned against the lattice work of the window to listen to the last echoing strains of "Rise up Day" on the panpipes. Awylwen was a good piper and the song lingered around the yard of The Horse, giving a lively sense of bustle and activity without rushing life.

"Well, enough of daydreaming," said the Innkeeper to herself. "There's work enough to be done getting everything in place for the party this evening." She walked to her desk and looked at her list--enormous, inevitable list--of things to do.

Check with Froma about the bill from the butcher and see what meal he had planned for the party
Ask Aywlen to watch out for the arrivals of beer, wine, flowers
Supervise the staff's cleaning of the extra rooms and the main mead hall
See if the Great Fireplace needed cleaning
Talk to the stable master
Watch out for Annawyn's apprentice, who would be bringing the repaired banners and bunting for the celebration

"Ah, too much! Let me get some breakfast and coffee before I start to work!" said the woman aloud, turning to dress for the day in her simple tunic of yellow linen, and making her way downstairs into the Mead Hall where the clash of plates and cutlery signalled that life in The White Horse was starting anew.

Child of the 7th Age 06-16-2003 02:58 PM

Child came trudging along the road, with a pack slung haphazardly over one arm and a harp, his only possession he really valued, gently nestled in the other. One more hill and a bend in the road, and the White Horse should come into view.

Now a man in the prime of his strength, he'd turned his back on Rohan some fifteen years before and swore that he'd never return. In that space of time, he'd traipsed from one end of Arda to the other, meeting people and seeing places that others could only dream of. He'd walked the streets of Minas Tirth and the ancient bowers of Fangorn, spoken with strange folk who called themselves 'kuduk', and even been a guest at Lord Elrond's table where he'd learned much about Elven music. Of late, he'd travelled south and east, as far away as Rhun and Harad. Here, he'd learned the art of staying silent, keeping his opinions to himself if he wanted to survive to see another day.

Wherever he went, his harp and flute earned him enough of a living that he could survive. He had actually done more than simply survive. For he had a small bag of gold and siver tucked away neatly in the top of his boot. Perhaps, he'd find a little place to call his own and settle down on the outskirts of town. Maybe open a school where the young lads of Edoras could learn the tales of their heroic ancestors and memorize a few letters and numbers.

Yet, if he was truly honest with himself, that was only part of the reason he'd chosen to return. Even as a youngster, he'd been able to sense when something important was going to happen in his small world that would shake up all the established ways.

His recent travels had been no different. Wherever he'd gone, Bard had sensed the shadow extending its tenacious grip on the land and, even more, over the minds of those who dwelled there. What was behind it, or why it had come, he had no idea. But something had whispered in his ear that Rohan itself might be endangered. Perhaps it was time for him to set aside his angry words and return home to see if he couldn't help in some way.

These last words brought a wry smile to his lips. How his childhood companions would have chuckled! It was clear to Child that skill in arms would soon be needed to defend the cause of goodness. Yet he was the least likely person in all of Arda to be of any use as a soldier. His one leg was shorter than the other, which caused him to walk with a decided limp. He had no trouble getting around on foot, but his gait was extremely awkward. Even more, Child had seen the look of pity in his father's face when he'd tried to match his brothers with a sword or dagger. It was not an experience he cared to relive.

Most of all, there was the inner wound that still rankled. His own family had been members of the lesser nobility, descended from a long line of warriors. When all his brothers came of age, their father had presented them with one of the magnificent stallions of Rohan. Perhaps not as long-lived or fleet-footed as the mearas that were reserved for the King's family, but wonderful steeds who could easily pull on a man's heartstrings.

Despite Child's extraordinarily gentle way with horses and the fact that he could manage a mount as well as his peers, there'd been no gift for him. For what man beside a warrior would need a horse so swift and strong? Sometimes at night, on distant shores, he'd dreamed of the horses he'd left behind in Rohan. Strangely enough, images of these steeds crept into his mind even more frequently than the beautiful young women whom he'd also left behind. Child had a nagging feeling that, until he managed to find some freedom from the pull of that lost dream, he'd never be able to appreciate any woman, no matter how lovely or kind.

With these jumbled thoughts plaguing at his mind, he soon found himself on the doorstep of the White Horse, wondering if he'd made a big mistake in even coming.

[ June 16, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]

Aylwen Dreamsong 06-16-2003 06:59 PM

Aylwen smiled as her song finished, the last tune lingering on the air. She stood, dusting herself off and gazing past the horizon. The new sun had risen, and everything was alive with the dawn as the day began.

The message from Bęthberry to come and help in the White Horse as Assistant Innkeeper was greatly appreciated by Aylwen, who had become rather bored with the typical life in Minas Tirith. Besides, Aylwen had not seen Bęthberry in a long while, and it was high time she visited the Innkeeper. There was even to be a celebration for Aylwen and…well, someone called Child, who were newcomers to the Rohan team.

Aylwen was just about to go inside and talk to Bęthberry about duties for the new day when just around the bend came a figure towards the inn. It was a man, limping slightly, with a harp cradled in one arm! Aylwen grinned, and cheerily greeted the stranger in the only way she could think of in such early hours: singing.

The minstrel boy to the war is gone,
In the ranks of death you will find him;
His father's sword he hath girded on,
And his wild harp slung behind him;

"Land of Song!" cried the warrior bard,
"Though' all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
One faithful harp shall praise thee!"

The Minstrel fell but the foeman's steel
Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he loved never spoke again,
For he tore its chords asunder;

And said, "No chains shall sully thee,
Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free
They shall never sound in slavery!”

The Minstrel Boy will return we pray
When we hear the news, we all will cheer it,
The minstrel boy will return one day,
Torn perhaps in body, not in spirit.

Then may he play on his harp in peace,
In a world such as Eru intended,
For all the bitterness of man must cease,
And ev'ry battle must be ended.

Aylwen did not wait to gain a reply from the man, and quickly ran into the inn through the kitchen garden door past many different herbs. The moment she entered she was slammed by the wonderful smell of breakfast sausage, spices, and many other things Aylwen could not identify. Soon after the scents had settled in Aylwen’s senses, the brash, clanging sounds of pots and pans followed. The Gondorian woman soon found Bęthberry amidst all the chaos talking with Froma, the head cook. Aylwen strode over to join the Innkeeper and the cook.

“Care for me to help with anything?” were the first words to come out of Aylwen’s mouth, for she was quite anxious to start her job as assistant. “If anyone is still sleeping I could easily wake them up. Then again, they probably wouldn’t like that. I could help take care of the deliveries for the party.”

Aylwen had quickly dismissed the notion of waking up any of the residents of the Inn using her panpipes. The set she was holding had only seven pipe-flutes connected, but they worked all the same. The smallest pipe carried a tiny, delicate sound when blown, and was gentle and sweet to the ears. The second flute was quite the opposite with its brash sound striking few harmonious chords. Aylwen rarely used that pipe unless it was by itself. The third bell was pure of tone and had clarity ringing in its voice that stirred the imagination. Aylwen loved the fourth pipe best, for she enjoyed its musical tone and cheerful melody. The fifth flute seemed to enjoy the sound of its own voice, and it was difficult for Aylwen to carefully blow over that pipe. The sixth bell was strong and powerful, its tone was deep and thick. Last but not least, the seventh flute on the panpipe set was sorrowful and somber with a voice lower than any of the others.

“Oh yes!” Aylwen added quickly, “there was a man coming up to the Inn! Should I go see to him?”

[ June 22, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]

Estelyn Telcontar 06-17-2003 06:33 AM

Bęthberry had just set down her cup of coffee when she felt a touch on her left shoulder. Her head wheeled around, but no one was there. A soft laugh to her right caused her to sigh in mock exasperation. “Must you frighten me like that so early in the morning?”

The corners of Annawyn’s eyes crinkled. “I thought you could use some fun to start off a busy day like this!” she retorted. “I’m glad to see you’re taking the time for a good breakfast. I have brought you something in hopes that you would exchange it for a cup of your delicious tea.” She laid a basket of small wild strawberries on the table.

“Oh, how wonderful!” The Innkeeper beckoned to one of the maids, who hurried off to fetch a cup of tea, knowing the wishes of the frequent guest. “I hadn’t expected to see you here personally today,” she said inquiringly. “Is everything all right with the old and new banners?”

“Yes, of course,” the seamstress answered. “Two of the girls will be bringing them later. The younger apprentices did the sewing; the older ones were still busy with dresses that were to be finished, and the work was really beneath their dignity, you know. But I couldn’t resist adding a few of my own touches. If you can take the time, have a look at the embroidery before they are hung up out of reach.”

“I will,” Bęthberry promised, “and thank you for helping me out! Now, have I told you who is coming to the party?”

Annawyn sipped her tea and listened, smiling at the excitement and energy her friend exuded.

elven maiden Earwen 06-17-2003 02:51 PM

The door swung open. The banners had arrived. Two young girls apprentices of Annawyn brought them.

“Hello girls. You could set the boxes right here” Bęthberry said as she pointed to an open space.

“Thank you” Ravenna a young girl with long raven hair pulled back into a messy bun, said politely as Mellaith and her set the large brown boxes down.

“Is it all right if we stay and help put up the banners?” Mellaith asked.

“Very well,” Bęthberry said."As long as Annawyn doesn't need you," she added.

“Thank you” Ravenna said.

Soon they were pulling out the banners. Ravenna and Mellaith had sewed most of banners by themselves with a little help from Annawyn. The first one was very long. It was made out of a beautiful green fabric. On the banner there was a rearing white horse on each side. In large, white, blocked letters it said 'Welcome to The White Horse Inn'. They decided they would hang this one outside. Bęthberry came over to inspect each banner as they pulled them carefully out of the boxes, just like Annawyn had asked her to.

There were many more banners in the boxes. All of them were different. Long, or short, fat or skinny. Some were green, and some were white, or black or other colors. Some of the banners were old and others were new. Ravenna looked at the banners they had already hung up. She was proud of their good work.

After they had hung up the banners in the two boxes the girls excused themselves to go find Annawyn and asked her what they needed to do. They walked out of the inn, and down the rode till they came to Annawyn’s shop. It was very sunny outside, and a light breeze blew.

“Hello Annawyn” they said together as the walked in.

“Hello girls. Is everything fine at The White horse?”

“Yes Madam. We just came back to see if you needed any help” Mellaith said.

“We helped put up the banners,” Ravenna added. Sunrays poured though the windows illuminating the room. Annawyn’s dark honey colored hair shone in the light. She was beautiful, in Ravenna’s eyes.

[ June 17, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]

[ June 18, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]

Mithadan 06-17-2003 02:56 PM

A rider, wearing the livery of Gondor, entered The White Horse, bearing a scroll. He proceeded to the Innkeeper and bowed low before presenting her with the tube. In it were two pieces of vellum. The first read as follows:


My lady, its been some time and that's certain. Yet I've not forgotten you or your fine establishment. When I can, I will visit. But I write today of more important matters. I received the attached today and thought you should see it and perhaps pass it on. Regards, X.
On the second piece of vellum was the following:

The New Rules of Gondor Have Been Posted in Ecthelion's Tower

Bęthberry 06-18-2003 06:36 AM

Nodding goodbye to the Rider of Gondor as he departed hurriedly, the Innkeeper gave herself a few minutes to reflect about the morning's events. The new rules for Gondor were displayed on the wall of the wordhoard, where Talômi and Talmérië were whispering excitedly over them. So far, Bęthberry could look upon the bustle and rush with satisfaction and some calmness.

A sudden gust caused the banners to flap, which brought a smile to her face. Perhaps it was the surprise visit of her friend Annawen and the sweetness of the plump strawberries for breakfast which had put her in a mellow mood. Annawen's wit and gentle teasing often brought a bit of relief from the hurried concerns of the days, now so often marred by dark troubles.

And the banners brought the bright hues of spring flowers into The Horse, lightening the dark oak buttresses of the tall ceilings. Bethberry was doubly pleased that Ravenna had picked up so quickly some of the skills of the seamstress. Ravenna was proving to be a good apprentice, showing much early promise. Business was brisk for Annawen as it was for most of the merchants and tradespeople of Edoras. More hands made lighter work.

The strains of harp and pipe came in with the gust of wind also. Something else to be thankful for. The music and youthful enthuasiasm of the younger Innkeeper had charmed the strange traveller, who few recognized after fifteen years. The music, Bęthberry hoped, had helped dispell the memories of the angry words spoken in this very Inn years ago. Long had Bęthberry looked forward to this return and happy she had been with the hearty embrace which broght them face to face after so many years.

The creaks and groans of the ale wagon brought the Innkeeper back to her duties. There were plenty of kegs to be unloaded. And few enough hands to do it.

[ June 18, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]

Estelyn Telcontar 06-18-2003 06:47 AM

Annawyn smiled at the girls’ enthusiasm. They had obviously enjoyed being out of doors on such a beautiful day. That was so much more interesting than sitting in the shop’s sewing room, though two large windows gave enough light and air to make working pleasant. However, there was work to be done, and they were here to learn how to do it well.

“You did right to help hang up the banners,” she said approvingly. “I am sure that you were more careful with them than anyone else would have been. After all, they were your labour. But there are seams to be stitched, if the dresses that were ordered for next week are to be finished on time. Work awaits you in the sewing room.”

Annawyn suppressed a sympathetic smile upon seeing their crestfallen faces. She too would have enjoyed a walk outside, but work awaited her as well. She followed them into the sewing room. Before sitting down to finish the intricate embroidery on a dress, she clapped her hands to get the attention of the young women who were diligently plying both needles and tongues.

“Ladies, I am certain that you are all aware of the party at the ‘White Horse’ this evening. I hope that you are all planning to enjoy yourselves there. There will be much to see – the banners that Ravenna and Mellaith have made,” she paused to applaud the youngest apprentices, the others joining in, “and there will surely be some dresses that were sewn here. To give all of you time to prepare yourselves, we will be finishing work somewhat earlier today.”

Excited smiles greeted her announcement, then animated chattering accompanied the rustle of fabric and the clatter of scissors.

elven maiden Earwen 06-19-2003 11:28 PM

Ravenna started working on the dresses almost immediately. She sewed and she cut and she sewed more. She was overjoyed at the thought of going to the party. But what am I going to wear? She came from a poor family so she didn’t have many dresses. I’ll decide later she thought as she continued working. Finally she had gotten the dress sewed. It was a pale blue, with long flowing sleeves. She had been working on it for ten days now. One of the older girls Jesslyn had helped her on it. Now all she needed to do was embroider it.

She walked over and stood behind Annawyn. She watched her make intricate stitches into a dress. Her hand moved quickly. Ravenna stood their watching and learning form Annawyn. She went back to her seat and started embroidering the dress. In white thread she made a design on the sleeves. It wasn’t as intricate as the designs Annawyn or the older girls made but it was still beautiful.

She soon finished embroidering the dress and set it aside to show Annawyn later. She started sewing another dress that Jesslyn had already started on six days ago. This one was burgundy and made of velvet. It was long and its sleeves were flowing. It was going to be a very elegant dress. After an hour of working the dress was partially complete. She still had to sew on the sleeves, fix the collar and adorn it. She spent about another hour working on the collar. She added a golden ribbon all around it and a small golden ornament in the shape of a flower in the center.

“Girls.” Annawyn said clapping her hands twice to get their attention. “In order to give yourselves time to prepare for the party you can stop working now”. Annawyn looked upon the excited girls.

“Thank you Annawyn” the girls said in unison. They hurried up into their rooms to change. Ravenna decided to wear her white dress. It was pretty simple except for the embroidery made in silver thread. Annawyn had embroidered it for her and it became Ravenna’s favorite dress. She slipped on a pair of white shoes and pulled her hair back into two long braids, one on each side of her face. She was ready to go and so where many of the other girls.

It was now about five o’clock. The girls had finished getting ready and were heading downstairs. Mellaith knocked three times on Annawyn’s door.

“Annawyn, will you be joining us at the party?” Mellaith asked politely.

[ June 21, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]

[ July 02, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]

Taralphiel 06-20-2003 12:31 AM

Lachlan slowly spurred his horse on through the streets. It was a fine day in Edoras, and despite the chilly wind, he could feel the sun through his light linen shirt. Today he was delivering ale to The White Horse for a special occasion. Grinning, Lachlan wondered if he would have the chance of seeing this event.

Slowing to a stop in front of the Inn, he leapt out and greeted the Inkeeper. 'Why Lachlan, where is your father?' Bethberry asked. He smiled 'His errands took him to the other side of the City, so I offered to help him with this one delivery' Walking around the back, he began to unhook the back of the cart, Looking around he mumbled to the onlooking Inkeeper 'Youre short of hand I see?' Bethberry frowned 'Indeed. And on a day like this!' Lachlan reached up and began unloading the kegs himself. 'I'd be happy to helo ye today. I only had this one errand to do, and father gave me the day to myself!'

Bethberry smiled and said 'Why thankyou Lachlan, it would be much appreciated. Though, Ill mind you watch out for the lasses wandering around here. I still remember the last time you worked for me, you had all of them following your every word' Lachlan laughed at this 'Was it that bad? I couldn't tell!' he brought down the last keg with a flourish, and wiped his brow.

'Well, what shall I do next?'

[ June 23, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]

Nurumaiel 06-20-2003 11:06 AM

The door of the White Horse swung quickly open and banged against the inside wall, creating a loud noise that echoed through the room, bringing many eyes to stop whatever they were doing and stare. A man dashed in and caught at it, but too late. He quickly pulled it back, studying the wall nervously for any marks it might have made, then looked sheepishly up at Bethberry, who was trying to hide her amused smile. "I hope that no damage has been done?" he asked in a concerned voice.

"I believe that none has," said Bethberry. "Just try to refrain from doing that in the future, please."

"Yes, miss," the man mumbled, running a hand through his ragged yellow hair. He was average height, around six feet, and he was dressed simply in the style of a Rohan peasant. He had kind-looking blue eyes, though at the moment they were rather worried looking as he fingers still scanned the wall. He looked as though he was in his mid-thirties, and Bethberry couldn't help but notice that he smelled of horses.

He gave a sideways look towards Bethberry, and then cleared his throat and closed the door very, very gently behind him. He had obviously learned his lesson. "Are you the innkeeper?" he asked.

"Yes, I am."

"Then I'll get right to the point," he said. "I would like to have some small job here as a stablehand, just so I can earn a little money to feed my family. I used to be a stablehand at a place in Edoras, but - " here he grew indignant " - they thought I wasn't a good enough stablehand and threw me out."

Bethberry raised her eyebrows with a silent question, and though it was most likely a question directed to her own self, the man understood the meaning of it. "I know what you're thinking," he sighed. "'Why would they throw him out?' It wasn't because I wasn't a good stablehand, because I'm very good with horses, as anyone in Rohan can tell you. They thought I wasn't good enough because some richly dressed man from Gondor came saying he wanted a job." The man's face turned bright red. "They decided that a man richly dressed was better than a man who could actually take care of a horse."

He looked down at the floor and spoke more quietly. "A friend told me that you needed some people at your stable, and so I thought I'd try my luck here, for everyone else was full. Please understand, though, I don't want to have an 'official' job here. I just want to help out with the horses a bit. I don't want to be considered one of your 'staff.' And if children would annoy your guests, I'm sure you can't let me work here, because my three-year-old daughter will be visiting often." If possible, his head sunk even lower. "If you can't possibly accept me, could you please direct me somewhere else?"

Sophia the Thunder Mistress 06-21-2003 03:41 AM

"Girl! The dishes!" Froma's harried shout brought Iswyn to her feet. Forgetting the kittens she'd been looking for in the courtyard, she rushed headlong back into the inn. Shoving her sleeves back up above her elbows as she went, the girl hurried toward the kitchen of the White Horse Inn. Stopping long enough to wave cheekily at Annawyn and Bethberry, Iswyn pushed through the heavy swinging door and into the hot kitchen.

Froma, the cook, leaned over a hot stove. Something rich smelling simmered there, for the party guests no doubt, but Iswyn's attention was on the other side of the room. A mountain of dirty dishes was waiting for her, steam rising from the water that had been heated. Iswyn dipped one finger into the water, yanking it out quickly and spraying scalding water in a half circle around her on the floor. "Iswyn, child, stop dragging your heels and get me that…” Froma’s arms gestured wildly in the shape of a square. Iswyn grabbed the nearest pan and held it up hopefully. Iswyn liked party days. Even though the usually cheerful Froma was cranky and rushed, there was something special about party food and party chores that made it fun. Froma made the square shaped gesture again, and Iswyn brandished her pan uncomprehendingly. With a dissatisfied grunt the cook crossed the room, eyeing Iswyn’s pile critically and extracting a large rectangular pan from near the bottom.

He pushed the pan roughly at the girl, “Wash it up quick, now. I need it for the apples.” Dutifully, Iswyn sank her arms up to the elbow in the hot water, scrubbing at the pan with a small brush. Scrubbing it clean took a long moment, and when she pulled the pan free of the water and shook it dry, her arms were glowing red from the hot water, and her face was shiny with sweat. Carrying the pan in stinging fingers, she set it on the counter beside Froma, watching as he ladled stewed pork and gravy from the pot she’d smelled earlier into a pie shell and liberally sliced cheese over the top. As he turned to put the pie in the oven, Froma swatted at Iswyn with a rough hand. “Mercy, girl, I’m busy, get to the dishes!” The annoyance in his voice had reached a level Iswyn knew well enough, and she scurried back across the kitchen and stuck her hands cautiously into the water.

The water had cooled to a reasonable temperature by now, and the dishes weren’t that bad, once she got down to it. And then there were always the baked apples to look forward to. She could hear Froma preparing them from somewhere behind her. Juicy and dripping with brown sugar, her mouth watered as she thought about them. The girl snuck a glance back over her shoulder, hoping to find the cook busy at something else so she could steal a handful of raisins. But no, there he was, stuffing the hollowed fruits with sugar and raisins and dusting cinnamon across the top. Iswyn grinned. She could wait, she could always try and get the crusted rim of brown sugar out of the pan just as they came out of the oven.

As the last of the dishes stacked shining and steaming on the counter, and the kitchen filled with the smell of baking cinnamon, Bethberry poked her head in the kitchen door. “Froma, could you spare Iswyn for a bit? I think our peas may be ready to come in.” Iswyn held her breath, working in the garden with Mistress Bethberry was the best part of her job at the inn. But today there was so much to do in the kitchen. Froma hesitated a moment, but the thought of serving new peas with milk was apparently too much to miss.

He waved at her again with a smile, “Go then, but be back in an hour. I’ll have more dishes for you.” With a grateful grin at the Inkeeper, Iswyn snatched up a basket and dashed out through the kitchen door on her way to the cool garden.

Aylwen Dreamsong 06-21-2003 03:04 PM

“I can pipe for a few songs if it is needed. What about the dulcimer, mandolin, drums, or the fiddle? Can we find all those things here in Edoras?” Aylwen asked Child, who nodded as he eyed the banners that had been put up by the seamstress assistants. Aylwen was not used to Edoras and it’s simplicity, and thought it was even more confusing than the intricate and ever-changing streets of Minas Tirith. Child sat in one of the wooden stools by a table, and Aylwen sat comfortably cross-legged on the floor, which she noticed had begun to gather dust. She made a mental note to take care of it before the party.

“Yes, they will be easily found here. It seems the leisure class has been growing through the years. Entertainers will not be hard to find. However, many of their songs will be about old knights and tales that have become legends…the songs will hardly be the cheery tavern songs that might be expected for a party,” Child informed her, somehow keeping one eye on the assistant innkeeper and the other eye on a stranger who walked into the inn with several kegs of ale in tow.

“I can help with that, I'll teach them a few songs. If they're even half-decent minstrels it won't be too hard to learn a few good tavern songs," Aylwen assured the harpist. Her final words were slightly cut off by a sharp and rhythmic knock on the open doorway of the Inn. Aylwen looked up to see a tall, lanky man in the doorway with a wooden box in one arm and four like boxes stacked by his feet.

"Can I help you?" asked Aylwen cheerfully, standing up and starting to walk over to the man. It was most likely deliveries for the party, but Aylwen was still curious as to what the deliveries were.

"Flowers for the White Horse Inn, ordered by a Miss Bęthberry," the man answered in a nasally voice. Aylwen nodded and went over to help unload the crates. She waved the man off once all the boxes were picked up and set on one of the tables, and then sighed.

"What do we do with them, Child?" Aylwen wondered aloud, looking over to the bard and then back to the boxes. The assistant innkeeper was no herbalist, and knew little of flowers. She could barely even name two or three of the different kinds of flowers in the crates.

"Use your imagination?" Child suggested, though it sounded like more of a question than a solution. Aylwen nodded, and grabbed a few white flowers in her hand. She pulled a stool from a nearby table and positioned it by one wall and under a banner. Aylwen was able to reach the hooks and tassles that held up the green "White Horse" banner when she stood on her tip-toes. She fastened a few flowers around the top corners of the banner and then stepped down from her stool.

"I don't know that much about fashion and matching colors or whatnot," said Aylwen bemusedly, "but that looks good enough to me."

Aylwen repeated the process with the remaining banners, and was surprised to find that there were still three boxes full of flowers left. With these remaining flowers she made centerpieces for all the tables after dividing them up almost evenly.

"Right. Flowers, check. Now on to the floors," said Aylwen in a sing-song voice to Child.

Child of the 7th Age 06-21-2003 06:57 PM

Once Child had mounted the doorstep of the tavern and had a chance to come inside, he found his doubts dissipating somewhat, as he concentrated on the immediate task at hand. Aylwen had greeted Child with a cheerful song, an appropriate way to welcome a Bard. Then she'd tried to set him at ease, chatting of this and that as she strung up banners and decorated the room with an assortment of flowers that had just arrived in crates. He was grateful she hadn't asked him to climb up on top of the tables with her, since that would have been difficult for him to do.

The common room was to be closed for a few hours in anticipation of the party scheduled for later that night. Even so, several children kept scampering in and out, banging doors behind them and getting tangled in Aylwen's skirts. Aylwen finally put them to work, cleaning up the remnents of the greenery and dragging out the large crates to the back of the Inn.

"Who are they?" Child queried, genuinely curious as to where this ragtag bunch had come from.

"Those rascals?" A hint of an affectionate smile formed on Aylwen's face. "Sons and daughters of stablehands, millers, butchers, and laborers. All the working folk of the town. The little ones generally spend part of the day helping out their parents and learning a trade. But the rest of the time, they run wild and get into everthing at the Inn. I try to put a foot down, but it's not easy. And they are willing to help a bit if you ask them."

Child stared over at the band of five rascals who were now dutifully carrying out the remnents of the flowers and vigorously tearing the wooden slats from the crates and stacking them in piles.

"They're not in school?"

"School? Oh no, not for the likes of these. The prosperous merchants send their children to a local dame's school that costs a pretty penny, and the well-to-do landowners hire nursemaids and nannies to teach their sons and daughters what they need to know."

"No," signed Aylwen. "Their parents have a hard enough time making ends meet. They might have a few spare pennies one month but the next be scrambling for food to feed their little ones. In any case, many of them see no reason why their children should spend time learning their letters or numbers. It just doesn't seem to be part of their life."

Child stared over at the lads and lasses who were now sweeping up the remnents of the greenery that was scattered about on the floor. He thanked Aylwen and tucked away the information that she had given him, promising to think more about it at a later time.

DayVampyre 06-21-2003 08:44 PM

Raven sat across the street from the Horse, taking the brightness of the day and anticipating the coming of the night's merriment. Sitting on top of a few piled up boxes, she laughed at the follies of the street-children, all the while keeping an arm around a long beaten wooden box.

What her proper name was, she didn't even know, but everyone she encountered had always called her Raven, because of the satin blackness of her hair. Currently it was tied out of the way with a red sash, with went quite well with the rest of her attire, a loose white top and long red skirt. With her tanned skin and dark brown eyes, Raven didn't blend in with the townsfolk, but it made no nevermind to her, she was always traveling anyway, by herself, or with a group, it made no nevermind to her.

The day was getting hotter, and Raven could see that it was taking its toll on the rambuncious children. Sitting in the shade of the blacksmith's shop did offer some repite, and so Raven beckoned the children over.

"Children, you mustn't play so hard, or you fall over!" She said playfully to them, a few laughed and the two hams of the group fell down, as though it were their cue, after which insued more laughter, even from Raven.

"Sit down here in the shade, and I'll play for you," She said, opening the wooden box and taking out an old but loved instrument. It was a violin made of a fine but unknown wood. The children, ready for a rest sat down close to Raven, as the horse-hair strung bow alighted onto the violin. The song that the instrument broke into, with Raven's guidence, was a happy light hearted, and jaunty tune. The children were soon clapping in time with it. A few of the nearby adults took notice of this pretty little tune as it grabbed hold of their ears and when Raven had finished, the children were clamoring for more.

"Alright, but only one more..." She said, and then her fingers went became a blur once more, as another song speeded it's way off her bow.

[ June 22, 2003: Message edited by: DayVampyre ]

Daniel Telcontar 06-22-2003 08:54 AM

A tall and muscular man, clad in travelworn clothes with a cloak around him, entered the inn, and looked around. His gaze quickly swept over those he recognised as patrons, and ended on Aylwen, whom he guessed was either the owner or an employee.
"Are you the innkeeper here?"
He asked with a deep voice. Aylwen looked up from her work with the song and made an impression of the stranger.

"I am the assistent. Can I help you stranger? If you wish to be served, there are serving maids who can help you."
"I ain't here abou' food; I mean, not that I won't like any. Me name be Talan, I've travelled a bit here and there. I got here to the city, and I've heard a word that you'd be fancying someone here to make sure that people don't be doing something they shoudn't be doing. If you get what me meaning is."

Aylwen interpreted the stranger's words, and then nodded after making her decision.
"Ah yes, a doorguard to keep the patrons quiet when the ale has got to them. Do you think you have what it takes?"
"Well, I've was a street urchin, livin' in Dale for most of me life, so I know how to fight and how to scare others, so they don't jump at ya'. I promise to do me best to make sure nobody does anything you'd not want them doing."
"Yes, I think you could fulfill that very nicely. I will go and inform the innkeeper; she has the last word, after all, but I do not doubt that you are hired."

Talan stod, not knowing what to do when Aylwen rose and left her seat, but finally he sat down in a corner, and began eyeing the patrons in the tavern, taking his new job very serious.

[ June 23, 2003: Message edited by: Daniel Telcontar ]

Manardariel 06-22-2003 11:33 AM

“Deor, can you please move your feet? Yes, Fianna, that´s a very nice butterfly- no, don´t go catch it! Come back! For heaven´s sake, Briga, can´t you tie that knot yourself?”

Mialynn sighed, looking down at her siblings. She grabbed the end of Fianna´s dress, holding her back; helped Briga with her laces, and yelled a bit at her dawdling brother. “Everybody, move! Today´s that big party in the White Horse, Mistress Bęthberry is going to roast me and serve me for dinner if I´m late!” Fianna giggled at the idea of a roasted sister, but said sister silenched her with a deadly look. Mia grabbed Baby Dierna, and shooed the kids out of the door.

When they arrived at the Horse ten minutes later, they were already greeted by a bunch of people that had gathered outside of the large building. Deor, Fianna and Briga immediatly recognized a few of their friends, and with a blink of an eye, had dissapaered into the throng. Knowing they´d be fine, Mia turned her steps towards the kitchen doors of the Inn.

“Hello!” she called. “Am I...late?”

“Late?!” Dramatically, Froma rolled his eyes. “On a day like this, she dares ask! On a day like this! Now, I need you for baking. Five loafs of normal bread, three with herbs and two with bacon; and I want them done before noon! Is that clear?”

Mia nodded. Quickly, she sat Dierna down in a wooden vat to her feet and gave her a rag doll. The babygirl happily started playing, from time to time uttering a “dah!” or “Toooo”. Mia put on her apron and went to work.

It was a truly brilliant day. Sunlight flooded the kitchen, leaving golden spots on Frona´s back and blinding Mia whenever she looked in direction of the pots. Through the open window, she heard people bustling in front of the Inn, heard big wagons thunder by; heard children laugh and birds sing. She worked quickly, mixing her doughs, forming the loafs of bread, adding the special ingredients only she knew. As she was just sprinkeling the last two loafes with poppy seeds to add some flavour, someone appeared at her side. It was the Mistress Bęthberry.

“Mialynn? Can you please look after the front desk for a moment?” She grimaced. “And can you tell that brother of yours that my stables aren´t a place to play hide-and-seek?”

Mia blushed. “Of course, ma´am, and I´m so sorry about Deor, did he break anything?” she asked, scooping up Dierna and hanging her head at the same time. Cursing silently, she followed Bęthberry into the Inn´s hall. “You wait, Deor...”she thought. She´s told him again and again to be careful around the Inn, told him countless times it could cost her her job if he broke anything... but he hadn´t so far, and Mialynn was far too busy to pull a “what if the sky falls down?”.

Amanaduial the archer 06-22-2003 03:45 PM

The rider clattered through the street on her large, brown stallion, 17 hands but as gaunt as the rider herself. As he rode, several of the townspeople stood to tell the rider that she must not ride through so when there were children playing, but their fears were soon put to rest, for this rider was more than a little skilled in 'tricksy horsemanship' as it was often called. As he rode, the children who had been playing shrieked in delight- the rider made his horse raise his feet and legs high as he trotted lightly through the cobbled streets, letting the children run beneath him. A smile lit his thin features to hear their laughing and the sounds of the merriness caused a woman from the Inn to poke her head out from an upstairs window. The rider waved jauntily to her, slowing his horse and allowing him to walk in a more usual way, and the young assistant Innkeeper grinned back.

"Miss Dreamsong! Didn't I tell you I'd be back in town?"

"Not this town, you great lummox, Tar!"

The rider held one gloved hand to his chest, a look of immense hurt on his face and he pretended to slip from his horse as if shot, making Aylwen gasp, before catching himself at the last moment, with trouble even for him, and completed his unique dismount a little more clumsily than intended. Aylwen laughed and ran down the stairs.

By the time she reached the door of the Inn, the rider was hastily brushing himself down. Aylwen leant on the doorframe, watching him, and eventually he smiled sheepishly and bowed to her a little, sweeping an imaginary hat of his dark, floppy hair. Aylwen grinned and shook her head, and Tar moved forward to hug her lightly. Aylwen moved back first, shocked at how bony his hug had been. "What's happened to you?"

Tar smiled wanly. "I went on a diet, of a sort?"

"What sort?"

"A sort of...forced sort. But that's a story for another day. Anyway," he rushed on at her shocked expression, not willing to answer questions here and now, in the middle of the street, and held open his arms again, as if about to say 'ta da!'. "I'm back, alright? Rode all this way to see my favorite cousin, and she keeps me standing here like a fool..."

The young assistant Innkeeper laughed. "Tar, I would invite you in, but it's...well, it's a little chaotic around here. As I'm the assistant Innkeeper-" She stopped suddenly, eyeing Tar with suspicion. "Hang on, how did you know I was here?"

"I have my ways, little cousin. Anyway, its chaotic because...?"

"Party- for Child and myself, as we're new to the Inn," She said, proudly.

"Child...?" Tar was getting more mystified by the minute. Aylwen shot him the exasperated look that had always quelled Tar as a child, and he put his hands up. "Alright, alright, I won't ask any more questions. How can I help?"

Aylwen's face became more relieved, and she smiled at Tar, still business-like, but gratified at the offer of help. She put on a mock serious look and voice for a moment, wagging a finger at him. "I should think so too- keeping me here, distracting me- for shame, Tar!" As he laughed, she joined in, then beckoned him in, to do some job.

Tar gazed around the street before he went in, and at his horse, who was standing, bemused, among the enchanted children, stroking his fur and reaching up to his mane. Aylwen had always been a good friend to him- she wasn't actually a blood cousin, more an incredibly close friend. She had taken him in when he was just a tall, lanky kid, helping him out with the other kids when they laughed at him. But he wouldn't tell her why he was so thin- not yet. Turning and ducking under the door, her followed her in.

Nurumaiel 06-22-2003 06:50 PM

The man turned and retreated out the door once again. He ran his hand down the neck of his bay horse and smiled. Now that he had some little job he didn't need to worry anymore. He wouldn't need to sell his horse, whatever else may happen. At least not yet. Just because he had a job now didn't ensure that he would all his life. But maybe, just maybe, he could regain his old work in Edoras, where he was paid a handsome sum.

The man (whose name, by the way, was Leofan, meaning Pleasant One) reached into one of the two saddlebags and pulled out some rope. He took the bridle of the horse off and skillfully made a halter from the rope. Giving a little clicking noise, he led the horse into the stable. The smell of horses greeted him and the whinny of horses as he gently urged his stallion in alongside him. The clip-clop of the horse's hooves on the wooden floor was like music to his ears. Here he was at home. Swordplay had always frightened him and he had always felt unsafe when he ventured to do something. But in a stable, when with horses, he felt safe and strong.

"Mihtig," Leofan said, addressing his horse, "take your rest here. Soon we will be riding back home again to fetch your mistress, and your younger mistress, little Mćrcwen." He thought of his little daughter's sweet, innocent blue eyes and the waves of gold that spilled down her back and he smiled. Soon he would see that freckled, smiling face satisfied with more food that she had had in a long while.

He felt inside him that Bethberry and the rest of the staff at the inn were good people. They would do their best to help him and they would not find his daughter annoying. After all, had he not seen other children as he had went out the inn door? Mćrcwen would be a sweet friend for them all, and Leofan was sure she would be a little joy to the staff and guests at the inn as she was to he and his wife.

Leofan went to fetch some hay from the loft above so his horse could have some dinner. He removed the saddle from his back and then settled down to watch his horse eat. Leofan considered Mihtig as the twin to his daughter, for both the horse and the child had been born on the same day within a space of a few minutes. Mihtig loved the whole family, and they loved him as well, especially Mćrcwen, who simply called him 'my brother.' Where that idea had come from, Leofan never knew, but he suspected that she had heard the joking and laughing over the day of their birth and had taken it up. So now Mihtig was known as Mćrcwen's twin.

The horse finished eating and Leofan waited a few more minutes to let the former settle what he had just eaten. Then he tacking him up again and led him outside. Poking his head into the door of the inn, he found himself face to face with Aylwen, who gave him an inquiring look. He spoke quietly, hoping that his horse wouldn't be too startled by the noise from the inn. "Would you please tell Bethberry I'm off to fetch my family and I'll be back later today?"

"Yes, I will," said Aylwen, giving him a reassuring smile. Feeling sure that his message would be delivered, Leofan gave a little nod and withdrew his head, ducking it just in time as it nearly collided with his horse's, who had leaned forward to see who his master had been talking to.

Leofan mounted and slipped his right foot into the stirrup. Gathering up the reins, he glanced back at the inn with a wide, shining smile. Hopefully this wasn't all a dream. Hopefully he wouldn't be waking up to find that he had no work and that his family was still going hungry. But, as Leofan turned Mihtig's head in the direction of home, he knew that it wasn't so. A little flick of his right heel and they were off towards home at a good, steady canter. But they would come back, with his beautiful wife and sweet little daughter.

[ June 23, 2003: Message edited by: Nurumaiel ]

Orual 06-22-2003 09:11 PM

The White Horse Inn had finally appeared in the distance, warm and inviting and intimidating all at once. The girl on the road rubbed her arms, stooped a little under the weight of her pack. The breeze swept her onyx hair away from her face, tendrils creeping across her blue eyes. Tears hung in those blue eyes, and a few fell onto her freckled, teenage face.

She clutched her small bag of dried herbs in her small hand, and uttered a small prayer. She just had to fit in here. She had nowhere else to try.

"Hello, my name is Delia, and I'm looking for a job here," she recited under her breath. "I'm very good with herbs, and I don't mind hard work. I could scrub the floors for you if you wish, or I could work in the garden, if you have a garden, or I could tend bar, I promise I wouldn't drink a drop. I don't want any money, just food and board. I don't eat much, and I won't need a big room, either."

She quietly opened the door to the common room, and she immediately shrank back against the wall. Far too many people here. She crept over to someone who knew like she was in charge. She heard someone call her Aylwen, and she crept up to her. "Excuse me, ma'am," she began. She took a deep breath. "M'name is Delia and I need a job here and I'm willing to work for nothing but room and board and I'm good with herbs and I can scrub the floors or tend the garden or anything you need." She paused for breath, and made a dismayed face. That wasn't at all how she had intended it to go. She flushed, and fiddled with her purse. "Sorry..."

Bęthberry 06-23-2003 07:45 AM

Bęthberry watched the timid and slightly tired young girl, her hands clutching a small wilted bundle of herbs, approach a very busy Aywlen. The Innkeeper approached her with a glass of water.

"Would you like to wet your parched throat? You look like you have been walking some distance." The Innkeeper's voice calmed the young girl, who smiled shyly and gulped the water.

"And so you say you would like a job here? We are in need of maids, for we have many rooms, almost two dozen. You know how to sweep a room tidy, make a bed so that the sheets stay tucked in, are willing to launder the sheets and towels as well?" The Innkeeper watched the girl's eyes as she answered.

"Oh, yes. I know how to get rid of wine stains and food stains. Blood stains as well."

"Well, let us hope we don't have many of those. We're not a fighting establishment, although we've seen our share of hard times. And we've a good, strong lad now to help keep order. Yes, Delia, I think you will be just what The Horse needs. Please, see Froma in the kitchen. He can give you a plate of food for lunch and then Aylwen can show you to the rooms upstairs."

Delia's eyes shone as she nodded with relief and skipped away to the kitchen.

The Innkeeper then went to the front desk to relieve Mialynn of her duties there.

"I'm sure Froma will need more help in the kitchen. I thank you for covering the Desk for me. And, don't be so concerned that your young brother and sisters will be a bother. I simply worry that children will be hurt by the horses if they scramble around in the stable, but feel free to let them play in the large sand pile beside the kitchen garden. Many of the children play there--in fact, Raven the violinist has just brought a large crowd of them there. And Leofan our new stable hand has a daughter who will be playing here as well. Landsakes, maybe we will have enough little voices here that someone can start a children's choir."

Mialynn nodded with a happy sigh and went off to finish her baking in the great kitchen.

Bęthberry peeked outside and saw that the new young lad who Aylwen had hired was helping Lachlan unload the kegs of ale and, in the kitchen garden, Iswyn was showing some of the children how to shell peas.

Things are falling into place, she thought with relief, and it is but mid-afternoon.

Bęthberry's serene hazel-green eyes then swept over the busy Inn with happiness and indeed some anticipation, for there were one or two others in particular she was waiting for.

[ June 23, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]

Daniel Telcontar 06-23-2003 11:45 AM

Talan put down the keg he had carried, and placed it among the others in the dusty cellar. He removed a spider's web from his face, and then returned to the cart outside.

"Any more of them kegs?" He asked Lachlan, who gave him the last. Without much effort, Talan grabbed it and carried it down into the cellar. On his way up, he noticed the girl helping out in the kitchen. Although he was new, he hadn't seen her before and guessed she was newly employed also.

"Well, if me eyes ever looked at a finer sort..." he whispered to himself. The cook called her name and he was quick to catch it.
"Delia," he whispered.

He caught himself day-dreaming, and looked around. It didn't seem like there was any more work to be done, not anything that could be done by his big, rough hands. He sat down in a corner and waited for someone to need his help.

Aylwen Dreamsong 06-23-2003 12:17 PM

Aylwen grinned as the little girl skipped off into the kitchens to get some food to eat. Delia was most likely scarcely more than a few years older than some of the children that were playing tag outside. Aylwen hoped Delia would come out of her shell and not be nervous around everyone once she got used to the folk around the inn.

"Oh yes! Bęthberry," exclaimed Aylwen suddenly, getting the Innkeeper's attention. "Leofan wanted me to tell you that he went off to get his family and he'd be back later today."

"That's fine, so long as he watches his daughter when she's around the stables and she doesn't get into trouble," replied Bęthberry, eyes on the children that sporadically ran by the door of the White Horse playing their games. "She can join the choir."

Aylwen chuckled at this and continued to sweep the floor. The tables still needed a quick clean-up, but Aylwen would take care of that later. Before long Delia came shuffling out of the kitchen, looking a little less shy as she finished the last bit of a piece of bread. She tapped on Aylwen's shoulder lightly, as if she were afraid of any sudden movement.

"All right, let's go. I'll show you the upstairs," said Aylwen gently to the girl. Delia nodded and Aylwen set the broom against the nearest table before leading Delia towards the stairs that led upstairs. Aylwen showed Delia one of the empty rooms on the far end of the upstairs hallway. There were two beds on either side of the window and a simple rug on the floor.

"Now, she said you'd been hired to...oh yes, make the beds and sweep a bit, like the other maids, right?" murmured Aylwen, talking more to herself than to Delia. Still the girl nodded and Aylwen smiled. "Well, I guess we'll assign you to tidy up this room and the six rooms next to it and across from it every morning."

Delia nodded, looking out of the doorway to the room to make certain she knew which rooms Aylwen was talking about. "All I want you to make sure of is that you don't sweep the dirt under the rug. That makes for a big mess later on when you're asked to wash the rug. Now, Why don't we go downstairs and you can ask Bęthberry about sleeping arrangements."

Delia smiled and the two walked back downstairs in silence. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, they were met by the hustle and bustle of Lachlan, Talan, and Tar each carrying a crate into the Inn. Aylwen squinted her eyes, wondering what on earth was in the crates this time.

"What are those?" Aylwen asked Tar, who set his crate down on the floor, dust slightly billowing out.

"Doesn't look like you did a very good job, little cousin," replied Tar absently with a smile on his face. Aylwen glared at him, and he laughed. "More flowers."

"More flowers!" exclaimed Aylwen exasperatedly. Who had ordered more flowers? Had the flower man from before forgotten a few crates? Aylwen sighed and turned to Delia. "Do you know what kinds of flowers these are?"

"Yes ma'am," she replied once she had gotten a look at the flowers in the crate Lachlan had set down.

"Good. You and Talan can figure out something to do with them, right? I'm fresh out of ideas," continued Aylwen, eyeing the flower-decorated banners and tables. Talan pulled the covers off the crates as Delia began to think of ways to use the flowers.

"Tar, since you think you could do so much better about the dust," said Aylwen again, playfully shoving the broom into Tar's hands and ruffling his tousled dark hair. "You can sweep."

"Lachlan, if you wouldn't mind, could you perhaps go and make sure the children stay away from the stables while Leofan is out?" Aylwen finished her orders and went outside to see if anything else needed to be done before the party.

Outside, she heard the obvious notes of a happy fiddle being played over by the sand pile by the kitchen garden. Aylwen looked and walked over to the sound, since she could not see the performer beyond the group of huddled children that were laughing and giggling. The children made way for Aylwen when she walked over, and Aylwenwas able to see the violinist. It was a young woman with long dark hair and tan-brown skin, playing a cheerful song that made several of the children clap and giggle.

"Wonderful! A violinist!" exclaimed Aylwen once the woman's song was done. Aylwen figured that this might solve the problem of finding entertainers for the night's festivities. "Would you happen to know any other musicians around here?"

"I think so," replied the girl, putting the violin back in it's box. "I'm Raven."

"Hello Raven, I'm Aylwen," said the assistant innkeeper, scolding herself inwardly for forgetting her manners and introducing herself. "Would you like to play a bit for us at the White Horse tonight? We're in need of entertainment."

Orual 06-23-2003 02:39 PM

Delia spun a little bundle of flowers by their stems, inhaling deeply. Her mother would use these flowers as potpourri. She would pick them in the late summer, and hang them from the rails of the stairs in their house.

"My mother said that these would help you think better, if you breathed right," she informed Talan. "My father thought it was nonsense, but Momma taught me all the different ways to use wildflowers. And my grandmother said that if you hung these above the doors, it used to mean that guests were welcome." Her eyes lit up. "Of course! That's what we can do with these. Hang them on the top of all the lintels, inside and out. All the interior doors, too. People might not understand, but they're pretty flowers any way you look at it."

Grinning, she began to deftly gather the flowers into small bundles and tie them with small bits of ribbon. "I'm Delia, by the way. I just got here. I'm fourteen, and I was an apprentice healer in Gondor. That's where I came from." She looked down when she saw Talan looking at her. "Sorry. I don't know what came over me that I'm talking so much."

Nurumaiel 06-23-2003 06:58 PM

Leofan's house was only a short walk away, and at a canter he reached it in the space of a few minutes. Dismounting Mihtig quickly he stopped for only a few moments to look at his little house. It would have to be left alone for awhile, for his family would be living at the White Horse for a time. He pushed open the door and called out, "Frodides! Mćrcwen! Come and hear this!"

A small freckle-faced child appeared out of seemingly nowhere and leaped into his arms. He kissed her cheek and carried her into the next room where his wife was sitting in front of a weaving loom. She looked up and her eyes lit up. Standing gracefully, she strode towards him and smiled. "You look pleased, Leofan," she said softly. "What is it that has happened? Has good fortune come our way at last?"

"I will not waste time explaining here," said he, taking his wife's hand and leading her outside. "Come with me and you will see, not hear." He placed his daughter on Mihtig and smiled as the horse nickered softly, greeting his 'sister.' Leofan then helped Frodides to mount. She looked down at him with a puzzled face. "It is just a short walk from here," said Leofan.

He took up the reins in his hands and began leading Mihtig forward. Frodides sat easily on the stallion's back, needing no support from the reins. Mćrcwen swayed a little from side to side, and Frodides clasped her daughter's hands firmly and placed them on the horse's mane. "Grasp his mane, Mćrcwen," she said. "You are not a skilled rider yet." Mćrcwen giggled as Mihtig tossed his head up, feeling the little hands touch his neck.

The White Horse soon came into sight and Leofan pointed at it, saying no words, but his wife understood. She let loose a merry laugh and smoothed out her daughter's hair, kissing her on the top of the head. The child was already happy, but how much happier she would be when she knew no hunger! Frodides reached out and lay her hand on her husband's shoulder, smiling down at him with beaming eyes.

"Ćtstandan, Mihtig, ćtstandan," Leofan said softly. It was a word in the language of his people that meant stop, or halt, and it was by that word that Mihtig learned that he must stop. Leofan patted him in praise, and then held out his arms to help his wife and daughter dismount. Taking their hands in his, he brought them to the door of the inn. He pushed it open very gently, and led them in. Mćrcwen gave a squeal of delight when she saw the other children.

"Now," said Leofan, releasing his daughter to go play, "go enjoy yourselves with the other children, and you, Frodides, introduce yourself to Bethberry and Aylwen. Maybe you could give them some assistance in preparing the party tonight?" Frodides nodded. "I must go tend to Mihtig and the other horses." He moved back to the door, and then paused. Looking over his shoulder, he added, "Perhaps you could ask Bethberry for me if there is any special task she would like me to perform in the stable?"

"Yes, Leofan," said Frodides, watching her husband go. Turning back to all the various faces, she felt a blush rising to her cheeks. She was not commonly a shy person, but she felt embarrassed being shoved through the door and told to speak with Bethberry and Aylwen. What a misfortune that her husband had not remembered that she knew not which of the many faces belonged to the aforesaid. Ducking her head, she stepped forward to her daughter who was already introducing herself to the other children.

Taralphiel 06-23-2003 08:16 PM

Lachlan flashed a smile at Aylwen 'I'll put the cart in the stable and get to it right away!' Climbing up, and waving a thanks to Talan and Tar, he wound the horse and acrt round the back and into the stables. Once he had moved them into a clear space, he sauntered out to find a group of children skipping merrily about the gardens, and some ladies trying to make sure they caused as little trouble as possible.

With a small bow to the girls, he turned to the children 'Aha! What do we have here eh?' Some of the children recognised him and sqealed, and he proceeded to playfully chase them away from the danger of the moving hooves. Eventually getting them to sit down, he looked about for something to keep them occupied. Seeing a pile of stray wood, and a few knives he suddenly had an idea. The beautiful notes of the violin made the children giggle and grin, and when he suggested they make their own music, they were even more excited.

So he took up one of the knoves and began carving small makeshift pipes. Not of the best craft, they allowed only a few off notes. But that was enough to keep the children seated and much amused. Shifting his weight and leaning against the warm brick, he smiled and kept at his carving.

[ June 26, 2003: Message edited by: Taralphiel ]

DayVampyre 06-23-2003 08:26 PM

Raven stood up, holding her box under one arm.

"I'm always in the mood to play, especially at parties, if that is what you're getting ready for?" Raven said

"Yes, it is! And it's been very hectic all morning!" Aylwen exclaimed, clearly venting out a bit a frustration.

"Does drinks on the house for tonight, sound like a fair trade? I can promise you won't regret it," Raven asked.

"I'll have to check, but if not, I'm sure we can arrange something."

Raven smiled

"alright then, lets see this place," Raven said and Aylwen led the way in.

As soon as Raven set foot inside the bustling inn, her senses were assailed by the aroma of flowers. It was quite an impressive display.

"we're still not quite done yet, but, we're definitly getting there," Raven nodded as she began to walk around, exploring the new territory.

Daniel Telcontar 06-24-2003 03:45 AM

Talan looked at the flowers, not knowing what to think about this girl who spoke so fast, and he suddenly felt very plain and simple.

Like so many other times, he wished he had not lived the life he did, but there was no point thinking more about that. Instead he began hanging the flowers up, helping Delia as she wished. When her flow of words stopped, he looked down in the ground and said:

"I'm Talan, as you may know. Eh, the helper around here. And I also make sure nobody's messing around, you know, keep 'em in line and such."

After this introduction, he didn't know what to say, nor did he dare to lift his gaze and look at her. Finally, he took another bundle of flowers and hang them up on the rail.

Bęthberry 06-24-2003 08:06 AM

The Innkeeper led Delia upstairs, the hallway now scented with a pleasant aroma from the sprigs the young girl had placed atop the door lintels.

Then, lifting a large key from the many which hung from her waistband, Bęthberry opened the door to a large closet, really a small room, to reveal piles of sheets, pillows and pillow cases, comforters, blankets, wash basins and water jugs, even chamber pots. Spare mattresses as well.

"Here, Delia, are the supplies you will need to prepare the rooms. Perhaps you can get Tar or Talen to help you lift the heavier items. I will unlock the six rooms at the end of the hallway and open the shutters to air them out. We don't usually use them, but perhaps we will have more overnight guests this eve."

Then, the rooms opened and aired, Bęthberry returned to the kitchen, now a veritable hive of activity not just with action but with Froma' stinging exhortations as well, and spoke briefly with the irrascible cook. She took from him the long menu to be posted in the mead hall and then turned to Mia and Iswyn.

"Mia, could you please pile clean tankards and glasses on the bar and the large buffet in the mead hall? Oh, and, we will need extra help washing dishes for tonight. Iswyn, could you find several of the older children who might be relied upon to help you wash? Five silver coins to each child who helps--really helps--without any breakage."

Finally, returning to the entrance hall where her desk lay covered with table cloths and napkins, Bęthberry came upon the shy young woman Frodides.

"Please, Ma'am, are you Bęthberry the Innkeeper?" the woman curtsied. "Would you have need of any more help here? I am Frodides and I am good at cleaning and serving. You've hired my husband, Leofan, as stable hand." Two young girls hid behide her long skirt.

Bęthberry looked the woman over. Her clothes were neat but worn, obviously second and third hand. Hesitation and care marked her eyes. A small smile spread over the Innkeeper's face.

"Well, now, it seems I have inherited the entire family. You've a need for honest work and I've a need for good help. I liked your husband's face and now yours as well, despite your habit of serial application." Bęthberry's grin widened.

"Well, I like cleverness as much as honesty, and am even more pleased when the two meet. Yes, Frodides, I'll take you on, as serving maid in the mead hall. Keep your eyes and wits about you, though, for patrons come in all shapes and sorts and mind none trick you with leaving 'er they show you their penny for their potage. And there's a passle of children out behind the kitchen garden. Mayhap your bairns will find friends there."

The Innkeeper then turned to the large bulletin board and posted Froma's menu for the party:

Dandelion Salad
Marinated Asparagus
Swiss chard, chick pea, sweet pepper and bulgar salad
Fig, Arugula and walnut Salad, with Goat cheese
Mixed Greens

Spitted Side of Beef
Chicken and Leek pies
Grilled Lamb chops
Baked trout with raisin stuffing

Parsnip patties
Salmon stuffed potato skins
Lentil, carrot and onion casserole
Mushrooms, spinach, and cheese tart
Peas and cream

Chilled poached pears
Apple barley pudding
Cherry cobbler
Raspberry Fool

Ginger mead, Cider, Ales, Strawberry punch, Pink Lavender lemonade
Tea, Coffee

[ June 24, 2003: Message edited by: Bęthberry ]

Nurumaiel 06-24-2003 11:22 AM

Frodides gave another curtsy, joy flooding her heart. She clasped her daughter's hand. "Thank you miss," she said. Hesitating for a moment, she added, "My husband wanted to know if there was any special task you would like him to peform in the stable."

"Yes," said Bethberry. "Tell him to prepare the stalls for the horses of many guests, and give him my message that I hope it won't be too much for him."

A soft smile touch Frodides lips and she gave a little nod of her head. "Yes, miss, but there is no need. My husband can handle that and more." She moved towards the door, slowed by the weight of her daughter still clinging to her skirt. She bent down and spoke a few words to her, but the little girl shook her head vigorously and clung harder. Frodides straightened and turned back to Bethberry. "Would it be all right if my daughter, Mćrcwen, came into the stable with me? It appears she doesn't want to stay here alone."

Bethberry nodded. "As long as you make sure she doesn't hurt herself," she said. She gave Mćrcwen a warm smile. The girl blushed, but, her face half-hidden by her mother's skirt, shyly smiled back.

Frodides lifted her daughter up and carried her out of the inn. It was much easier than dragging her, and the mother didn't want her daughter to get dirty be dragged along the ground when a party was so close ahead. Mćrcwen giggled and put her arms around her mother's neck giving her a kiss on the cheek. Frodides smiled and kissed her back, loving that freckled, smiling face so close to her own. How blessed she was to have such a sweet daughter!

Inside the stable Leofan was cleaning out a stall and talking to Mihtig and the same time. Frodides smiled and let Mćrcwen softly to the ground, clasping her hand firmly. She highly doubted that any of the horses currently residing in the stable were ill-tempered, but some of them might be a bit more spookish than Mihtig, and they didn't know little Mćrcwen, who would feel perfectly safe crawling under their legs and the like.

Frodides delivered Bethberry's message, and Leofan noddded. "I can handle it all with no worry," he said. "The stable here is a beautiful one, as are the horses."

"Yes," said Frodides. "Now I must go back into the inn and carry out my duties as best I may." And she told Leofan about her new job. He caught her up in his arms and first kissed her, then his daughter, laughing. Frodides laughed along with him. They both knew what this meant. After his wife had left the inn, Mćrcwen in her arms, Leofan turned to Mihtig. "Well, do you hear that? Your mother is also working, and now there shall be no chance of either you or Mćrcwen going hungry."

Mihtig whinnied his agreement, and then walked to the corner of his stall and slowly began to doze off. Leofan watched him until he was in a light sleep, then resumed with his work. Later he would bring his daughter in to watch him work. He was always able to converse easier with children than adults, and he loved listening to their different interesting, amusing speeches while he tended to the horses. Pausing once more in what he was doing, he spoke softly his hope that the other children in the inn would befriend him as well. Then he continued cleaning the stall.

Manardariel 06-25-2003 08:01 AM

Quietly humming to herself, Mia placed glass after glass after glass.... and suddenly she had a brilliant idea. Her face spread into one of her extra-wide grins as she carefully opened the window of the hall, looking outside into the square.

"Fianna!" she called. The girl looked up from her game and skipped to the window. "Fianna, do your friends like to sing?" When the girl nodded eagerly, Mia beckoned her nearer and wispered plans into her ear. While she spoke, the younger sister´s face got wider and brighter with exitement. Mialynnn watched her run off again, and pleased noted the children gathering around her. "Brilliant!" she smiled. Now, back to those glasses...

While the pile of glasses got smaller and smaller, Mia´s eyes strained outside, ans sometimes he thought she could hear the light jingle of children´s voices in song.

"I´m sorry, could you maybe help me?" Mia turned around to see a young woman, with a young girl of perhaps Briga´s age tightly grasping her mother´s hand. She looked unfamiliar, though Mia was sure she had seen the girl´s eyes somewhere already, though she couldn´t place them.

"Yes?" she asked, studying the woman. She was quite beautiful, and had something around her that made Mia immeadiatly like her. She flashed a wide grin and extended her hand. "I´m Mia, I´m a serving maid here."

"I´m Frodides, and this is my daughter Mćrcwen. I was just hired as a serving maid, as well. The Misstres Bęthberry just asked me to help you with these glasses, and that we should afterwards set up some of the breads..." her voice trailed away, while she nervously smiled at Mia, who grinned brightly.

"Another maid, you say? Brilliant. Shall we, then? Tankards here, pitchers there, glasses in the cor-" she was interrupted by a squeel from the vat in the corner. Dierna, obviously hungry, started tittering and protesting. Mia sighed, took her up and cradled her a bit. "Hush, hush little one. You´ll get your lunch, yes.."

She looked up at Frodides, who was bewilderedly staring at her. Mia half-sighed and gave a little smile. "Frodides, meet my sister. Say hi, Dierna...."

Aylwen Dreamsong 06-25-2003 11:42 AM

"Right, now I don't think there will be too much of a problem with you having your end of the deal, so long as you stay under control. I trust that Talan will help you with that if the drinks go to your head," continued Aylwen sternly, though she was almost certain there would be no trouble with Raven.

"However, who has ever heard of a one-instrument playing band? Surely although I enjoy the sound of your violin, the guests would also enjoy the sounds of a full group. You said you knew other musicians around here, correct?" Aylwen asked Raven, who nodded as Aylwen began to lead her out of the White Horse. "Good. Why don't you do see if they'd be interested?"

"Alright. I'll be back," said Raven as she walked down the street away from the White Horse, violin box in hand. Aylwen was glad of her choice of musician, for Raven seemed to have loved music when Aylwen saw her playing to the children.

Aylwen turned, hearing the sounds of voices trying to sing in unison near the kitchen-garden door. She walked over to the choir of children, straining to sing together and in tune. Aylwen chuckled, and pulled her pipes from her belt-sash. She played a simple tune, catching the children's attention.

"How would you all like to learn a new song? You can sing it for Bęthberry and all our guests tonight!" Aylwen suggested, sitting down so that she was close enough to the children's height. Some of the children nodded, others clapped or jumped up and down.

"Alright then!" exclaimed Aylwen happily. She had the perfect song in mind. It was simple, and a tad repetitive, but would do well for the children. "The song is called 'A Hundred Years Ago'. I'll sing the first verse, and you repeat after me, alright?"

Aylwen brought the panpipes to her lips, choosing the fourth pipe. She began the tune, remembering the first verse:

"A hundred years is a very long time,
Oh, yes, oh!
A hundred years is a very long time,
A hundred years ago."

The children repeated what Aylwen had sung, in a tune and pitch that was nearly perfect. Aylwen piped the bridge on her pipes and began the second and third verses.

"They used to think that pigs could fly
Oh, yes, oh!
I don't believe it, no, not I!
A hundred years ago.

They thought the stars were set a-light
Oh, yes, oh!
By some good angel every night,
A hundred years ago!

Aylwen paused for a moment after the third verse, searching the small crowd of children. "Come up here, child!" she said, to one little girl in the crowd. "What is your name, sweet?"

"Fainna," the little girl replied, eyeing Aylwen's pipes.

"Well, Fainna, would you like to sing the last verse of this song?" Aylwen asked, letting Fainna hold her panpipes.

"Alone?" Fainna wondered, examining the pipes and turning them over to look at them through the flute holes.

"Yes, but I'm sure you will do well. The last verse is simple, it is like the first. Do you remember how the first verse goes?" Aylwen asked as Fainna handed the pipes back to Aylwen. Fainna nodded, and sang the first verse perfectly:

"A hundred years is a very long time,
Oh, yes, oh!
A hundred years is a very long time,
A hundred years ago."

"Good job. Now, practice this song, and don't get into trouble with Froma for standing too close to the kitchen garden. If you still want to, you can sing it tonight for everyone. I have to go and get back to work, but I trust you, Fainna, to have these rascals trained and ready to sing by tonight!" said Aylwen in mock seriousness as she waved goodbye to the children and walked back into the White Horse.

Tar was still sweeping, and Aylwen grinned at his attempts to discreetly swipe the dirt under one of the rugs.

"Tar, I thought you were trying to sweep up and clean the floor," began Aylwen, bending to the ground and wiping her hand shortly across the floor.

"I was! It is a whole lot better than when you were sweeping. I'm almost done!" said Tar proudly. Aylwen grinned and shook her index finger at him.

"Then please explain to me why there is still a good layer of dust here," said the assistant innkeeper, showing Tar her dusty hand. "Or perhaps you just missed a spot?"

Tar laughed, and Aylwen watched as he got back to work. His clothes were so loose on him! Tar was a lot skinnier than the last time Aylwen had seen him. Why, he was practically skin and bones and messy hair now! But Aylwen felt a little better as she promised herself that she would make sure Tar got enough to eat tonight from Froma.

Everything was going well, and things were starting to pick up at the White Horse inn.

Nurumaiel 06-25-2003 11:59 AM

Frodides smiled back at Mia. "Thank you for your help," she said. She looked at Dierna and gave her a kind look. "I'm very pleased to meet you, Dierna." Letting go of her daughter's hand, she gave her a gentle push forward, leaning down and whispering in her ear. Mćrcwen spread out her skirt, and made a deep curtsy, saying, "I am pleased to meet you, Mia and Dierna."

"How sweet!" Mia said, laughing a little. Mćrcwen blushed prettily and curtsied again. Mia smiled at her, and then she looked up at Frodides, a light in her eyes. Frodides did not notice; she was too busy with the glasses. "Frodides, can your daughter sing?" she asked.

Frodides gave Mia a look of surprise, and then laughed, lifting her daughter up and setting her down next to the glasses. "Yes, miss, she certainly can," she replied, tweaking her daughter's nose. "She loves to sing... and dance." She set down a glass she had just finished and picked up another one, smiling a little as she recalled those nights at home when Mćrcwen would perform for her weary father after a long day of looking for work.

Mia smiled widely. "And you say she can dance?" At Frodides nod, Mia continued on rapidly. "You know of the party tonight? We are planning on having a children's choir sing, and Mćrcwen should join them." She began speaking quicker as her excitement grew. "But if Mćrcwen can dance, she could teach some of my sister's one of the ones she knows and they could perform a dance routine tonight!"

"What a wonderful idea!" Frodides cried. "Mia, let us do that, shall we?" She began working on another glass, and they began to discuss costumes, dances, and music for their planned performance that night. A suggestion from Mia that two of the girls could dance while the rest of the children sang threw Frodides into more excitement. With all their planning, the time passed merrily and the work of cleaning glasses was soon done.

Manardariel 06-25-2003 12:27 PM

"How time flows when one has a delightful companion!" Mia thought, while she and Frodides merrily talked away. Her lttle daughter had dissapeared into the kitchen garden, and it wasn´t for long when Mia thought she heard her and Briga fighting over a dance step.

"You know?" she told Frodides. "I think we hould make them all wear little hats, and in the end they can throw them up in the air. And you know something else? I think we should keep this as a suprise for the Misstress. After all this was her idea..." she grinned, imagining Bethberry´s stunned look when she found out the choir she´d playfully mentioned was becoming reality.

At that moment, Deor came running at her. "Mia, that´s not fair, Fianna says I have to sing, but I really, really don´t want to! Can I go into the stables, please?"

Mia laughed. "That´s fine, you don´t have to, if you really don´t want to. But do me a favour. Run home and get as many of those hats the the apprentices use as you can possibly carry. And do me a favour, don´t let yourself be seen by Bethberry. Ok?"

He nodded seriously, and dashed off. Mia smiled and turned to Frodides.

"Baker´s caps will do for hats, don´t you think?"

[ June 25, 2003: Message edited by: Manardariel ]

Bęthberry 06-26-2003 06:50 AM

It is now 5 pm and party time. Townsfolk will be arriving and travellers, too, as well as the staff of the Inn. Keep track of all the activities so that there is a consistent narrative thread!

There will be feasting of course and merriment, some speeches and musical interludes and, in the finest tradition of gatherings, stories and songs. Don't be afraid to let your character speak up and tell a tale of the olden days.

Nonesuch 06-27-2003 07:31 AM

Shambling along the road was an ill-kempt man. His hair might have been blonde but was matted with dirt so that its color could not easily be determined. On his feet were roughly fashioned shoes made of leather and string. They kicked up dust as he shuffled along slowly towards no specific destination.

One arm hung by his side, useless and shrivelled; the hand fixed in a permanent and immovable claw. His other arm worked well enough, though his palm and fingers were calloused and his nails dirty. Grey and tattered were his clothes though they might have begun as some other color. A belt of rope held up his trousers which were a bit too short and revealed dirty and scuffed shins. On the belt hung a scabbard of black leather trimmed with blackened metal. In it was a short sword with well-fashioned hilts. Its pommel was covered with a patch of cloth bound by strips of leather.

A Man of the Mark passed by at a fast trot, mounted on a fine steed. The man stepped to the side and looked up as the golden-haired rider clattered by without a glance. With a hint of a shrug, the man walked on. He approached a large building with stables and outlying sheds, encircled by a shoulder-high wall. Fumbling through his pockets, the man withdrew a handful of copper coins. These he returned to his pocket with sagging shoulders. He looked briefly up at the sky before shuffling on.

Again he heard the sound of hooves behind him. Once more, he stepped to the side of the road to allow the horse and rider to pass. However, the rider slowed and paused beside the man. The green field and white horse of the Eotheod gleamed upon the rider's livery in the westering sun. The horse stepped restlessly from side to side as its rider contemplated the grim aspect of the traveller. Then, with a slight grin, the rider dug into a pouch and tossed a few silver coins to the man who caught them neatly with his good hand before they reached the ground. They each nodded and continued on their ways.

The traveller took the path to the large building and stopped below a placard bearing the sign of the White Horse. He swayed from side to side uncertainly as he fingered his new found wealth and looked longingly at the door.

Aylwen Dreamsong 06-27-2003 01:27 PM

The Inn had become quite crowded in little time. Aylwen thought it couldn't have gotten any more chaotic than the preparations, but she was wrong and realized it early on in the party. However, things had been going well and there had been no trouble yet involving rowdy drinkers. Perhaps just the sight of Talan scared most into drinking sensibly. Raven had come through with a good group of musicians to play for the party, for which Aylwen was very grateful and happy. Leofan had been called in from the stables for a while to enjoy the party, and many of the children had come in as well.

Raven began one song with a jolly and light tune on her fiddle, which was followed closely by the sound of a flute. One of the musicians, who Aylwen believed to be the drummer, began to sing a song he called 'The Nightingale':

One morning, one morning, one morning in May
I spied a young couple all on the highway
And one was a lady so bright and so fair
And the other was a soldier, a brave volunteer

Good morning, good morning, good morning to thee,
Now where are you going my pretty lady?
I'm going to travel to the banks of the sea
To see the waters gliding, hear the nightingales sing.

They hadn't been there but an hour or two
Till out of his knapsack a fiddle he drew
The tune that he played caused the vallies to ring.
O harken, says the lady, how the nightingales sing.

Pretty lady, pretty lady, 'tis time to give o're.
O no, pretty soldier, please play one tune more.
I'd rather hear your fiddle at the touch of one string
Than to see the waters gliding, hear the nightingales sing.

Pretty soldier, pretty soldier, will you marry me?
O no, pretty lady that never can be.
I've a wife back in London and children twice three.
Two wives in the army is too many for me.

Many folk in the inn began to clap their hands or tap their feet, and a few sang along. Children sat around at a lower table that Lachlan had set up from the back, and some sipped Strawberry Punch, pretending to be grown-ups at a feast. Several of the children wore what looked to be baker's hats, which confused Aylwen, but she didn't think twice about it.

Between serving drinks and keeping her balance with the children running around, Aylwen made certain that Tar got enough to eat, and that Delia met a few visiters and perty-goers her own age. The party was going well, with few troubles or problems.

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