Janna was surprised they’d found a table, but then a couple of locals had just wandered home, must have gotten lucky.
“Hail, and well met. I am Arohir, and the man over there is my lord husband, Fréawulf of the Westfold,” the newcomer said. “We would like some mead if available, along with some bread, stew, and a room for the night.”
Janna took a deep breath in preparation of the well-worn speech she and her sister had been giving patrons the whole night.
“Rooms are shared only, too busy for private rooms tonight. We’re a small inn, after all. You can have any valuables put under lock if you need for an extra few coppers. You’ll need to settle any bill before night’s end, before,” she emphasized, “you sleep.” Too many customers had figured out how to slip out of the windows before dawn… still, she picked up the silver coins he’d placed on the bar and smiled. “This should cover you so far.”
“If you need, baths are down the stairs, end of the hall,” she said, nodding with her head in the right direction. “Forgive the Rohirrim in the corner over there, they’re a bit rowdy tonight- oh! But you must be used to that,” she added with a mischievous grin, which earned her a thwack on the back of her head as her older sister passed by on the way to fill yet another order.
“I’ll get your food,” she finished as she headed back down to the kitchens to fill the order.
The food, however, was delivered to the small table by the older sister, Jorda, on a large tray. Two large tankards of mead, bread and the innkeeper’s famous (or perhaps, infamous) stew. She deftly placed the items before the two men with a pleasant, “Enjoy yourselves!”
Just as soon as they’d taken a bite and their mouths were full, the innkeeper – a jovial man aptly named Jorvan, with a great large beard and a voice to match – came over and clapped a hand on Arohir’s back in a friendly way.
“Welcome, new-comers! We are so honored to have you here with us tonight. How are you finding your meal? Ah- you are enjoying it, I see! Mouths already full! Wonderful, wonderful! Now you just tell ol’ Jorvan what I can do to make your stay better!”Nov 17, 2021 at 2:37 pm
Arohir nodded with a warm smile, chuckling as Janna joked about the other Rohirrim being rowdy before a playful smack to the back of the head. He took a sip of the mead, smiling as he handed over more coins for the room and for a lock, and their horse being stabled.
“I had assumed more coin for the room Fréawulf and I would share,” Arohir said with a chuckle. “I am completely fine with sharing a room, whether just Fréawulf and myself, or Fréawulf, myself, and some other person. Thank you for the hospitality.” He chuckled and took another long swig of his drink before embracing Jorvan warmly and friendly.
“Thank you, Jorvan – it’s been excellent so far. I cannot think of anything right now, though which of the rooms were available? Fréawulf and I would like to set our things down in there, if that is alright – we already paid.”Nov 17, 2021 at 7:34 pm
Jorvan hesitated a moment until he had worked out what the man was asking. “Oh! Oh yes, any room you like! Just find one with space and make yourselves comfortable. We’re packed full tonight; I’m afraid there are no private rooms to let, so try not to trip over your fellow sleepers.”
He glanced around the room as if afraid to be overheard – his eyes lingering perhaps a moment longer than chance on the group in the corner playing the dice game – then he added in a bit less jovial and more cautionary tone, “Ah- now gentlemen, I would hate to cast ill on my fellow man, that I would, but I should perhaps caution that not everyone that passes through town is perhaps always of the most upright character.”
He tapped his fingers together nervously as he tried to figure out how to put it even more delicately than he had, then finally simply said, “I would keep your items on you, if you would like them to still be there in the morning. Unless you’d like us to lock something up? We have a safe for valuables.”
OOC: While you can format your posts as you like, there is no need to bold your dialogue, we expect posters here to be able to operate at basic literacy levels 😂 And we expect people to read more than just the dialogue, as the action is just as important for continuity.Nov 18, 2021 at 7:10 am
OOC: And there is so much information that can be gleaned from the description of the scene and of the action: plot hints, props, conversation points, and things that can be built into, and even elaborated on, in your writing. It makes for a detailed and interesting read.Nov 18, 2021 at 1:03 pm
ooc: Sorry about that, will definitely add more to my next post tomorrow – was writing on mobile which is why it was shorterNov 19, 2021 at 7:57 pm
ooc: Took no issue whatsoever with the length, you’re fine there. It can take a bit to settle into a new story or feel out new characters. 🙂Nov 20, 2021 at 3:02 am
Between the unexpected interrogation over his arm and the sudden, dramatic increase in the noise and clamor from a group across the room, on top of his already frayed patience, Murien all at once decided he’d had quite enough.
In a moment of thoughtlessness, he stood and said, “Stay and enjoy yourself.”
Without waiting for a reply he grabbed the bottle of wine and headed for the door, ignoring Elenir’s calls after him. Ignoring, too, for the moment, the pain that plagued each step.
Elenir sat for a moment in silence, stunned and shaken, then turned toward Jaeniver. “Please, did he at least take his staff?”
She looked to where it still lay propped against the far wall. “I’m sorry, he did not.”
A distressed look crossed Elenir’s face and he stood, feeling his way along the table to find it. As he pushed past Murien’s chair he stumbled slightly on their things, prompting Jae to add, “If you might be persuaded, let me take it to him.”
He gave a brief, hollow laugh at that and shook his head. “I fear he does not take well to strangers…” But he realized just how helpless he felt in that moment, softly adding, “But I am certainly not fit to go running after him, am I?”
She stood, taking the staff and gently squeezed her kinsman’s arm. “Fear not. I have been a stranger on many occasions. Let me take it to him.”
He turned his options over in his mind, each seeming to be less ideal than the one before, until he finally nodded. “Then let me thank you most earnestly, for I dread to what ill his rashness might lead.”
“Do not worry mellon. He will be alright. Please, sit and let this not cloud your merriment. He will not be long.” And she quickly excused herself before making her way through the crowds towards the door Murien had disappeared through.
Finding his seat again he closed his eye, worrying silently over Murien’s discontentment. He feared this journey was working some deep harm in him, though for what reasons he could not yet guess.
in collaboration with JaeniverNov 18, 2021 at 12:52 pm
Back in the taproom, Jorvan is in discussion with a new patron…
“I would keep your items on you, if you would like them to still be there in the morning. Unless you’d like us to lock something up? We have a safe for valuables.”
“I say, Jorvan is quite right, you know. Why just last year I had my purse stolen! Stolen! Right off my belt.” The person speaking was a portly man, with rather small, deep set eyes and a shock of blonde, dishevelled hair. His nose was surprisingly red and when he spoke, he sounded a touch tipsy. “The name is Giles,” he added, extending his hand to the new comer. “I’m the school teacher here in this august village. You wouldn’t be in the position to buy me a drink, would you? I seem to have left my purse at home…”Nov 23, 2021 at 11:12 am
Arohir nodded at Jorvan, enjoying the last bit of his mead. “I understand – I had purchased use of a safe for the night, which Freawulf and I will be sharing.” Freawulf looked around for a serving girl, ordering some spiced wine for the two of them. “The main thing we had to set down were just some clothes – even then, we are glad to set them down in a safe for the evening. His eyes glanced around the room, and soon turned towards the newcomer who had introduced himself.
“Good to meet you, Master Giles. I am Arohir, and the man next to me is my lord husband, Fréawulf of the Westfold. Normally I had just brought enough coin for Fréawulf and myself, but we seem to have plenty to spare – I’m glad to buy you a drink. Anything in particular you’d like? What sorts of things do you teach?”
ooc: sorry for the short post, got the booster yesterday and it’s hit like a truckNov 23, 2021 at 1:19 pm
(OOC: Ugh, CW – that’s a shame. I hope you recover speedily. I’m booked in about 3 weeks with fingers crossed.
* When you’re feeling better * , here’s a suggestion: come back here, * and read back over the posts – yours and Elengils* and build a visual representation of the scene in your mind, yeah? Ask the 5 W’s and H questions : who, what, when, where, why and how. Who is present, what are their roles, what are they doing, where are they, etc. Starting on that visual, then start drafting a post.
I suggest this because, per the scene, Jorvan, Giles and your charrie were standing at the bar, but suddenly Giles and your character were seated at a table. 😄 This isn’t Hogsmead, friend, it’s a village in Middle Earth. ☺ You are permitted to take the time to describe an invitation to sit, down, then a walk to the table, and then introductions… You can take the time to build the scene. Practice your craft! )Nov 24, 2021 at 3:19 am
[[ooc: Don’t be so sure about that, Bardy. They’ve been at the table since my first post. The fault is mine if the action was compressed, I wanted to get both men involved in the scene – or at least allow for it
The food, however, was delivered to the small table by the older sister, Jorda, on a large tray. Two large tankards of mead, bread and the innkeeper’s famous (or perhaps, infamous) stew. She deftly placed the items before the two men with a pleasant, “Enjoy yourselves!”
Just as soon as they’d taken a bite and their mouths were full, the innkeeper – a jovial man aptly named Jorvan, with a great large beard and a voice to match – came over and clapped a hand on Arohir’s back in a friendly way.Nov 24, 2021 at 5:40 am
(OOC: Well, I stand corrected! I had them at the bar! So, the practice of visualising is a good one! 😀
And I’ve edited my post accordingly – )Nov 24, 2021 at 8:29 am
[[ooc: it’s my mistake as well, i had them at a table and thought that it was clear, my bad.]]Nov 25, 2021 at 2:24 pm
Jorvan’s already rosy cheeks flushed even further. “Ah! Now, good masters, no need for such a display of generosity! Why! What cause could our school teacher have for begging for coin from strangers, after all? It was a jest, I am sure, was it not, Mr. Giles?”
Without waiting for an answer he barreled on ahead. “Now, Mr. Giles, why don’t you head on over to the bar and we’ll get you sorted out, hm? No need for such jokes, for not knowing you they may take you at your word!”
As her pa had been speaking, Janna had come with the spiced wine that Freawulf had requested. However, when she saw Giles back in the inn, and moreover seemed to be begging strangers to buy him drinks, she let out a little ‘eep’. In a rush, she deposited the wine a bit harder than she should have, knocking several items around on the table, not even staying to apologize before she quickly scampered off to tell her ma.Nov 24, 2021 at 4:31 pm
Murien found the soft rain to be a soothing respite from the inn’s bedlam. He was halfway down the stairs before he realized he had left his staff in his hasty departure, and as the temper of the moment passed the pain leapt back to the forefront of his mind.
He was too firmly fixed on his purpose, however, and perhaps a little too proud as well to go back for it now. So he continued down the steps and limped out across the wide road to where an old oak offered an enticing place to sulk in solitude for a while. At least until shame drove him back inside.
Pushing through the pain, he quickly found himself nestled into a wide hollow where the main trunk split three ways about eight feet above the ground. He pushed the cork down into the bottle and took a long slow drink of the wine, already thinking about how he would apologize but with a head still too hot to do so yet.
He did not respond when Jaeniver spoke softly in her own tongue. She tried again, a bit more clearly now to make sure he knew she was there.
When he replied, it was that same language he and Elenir had earlier used between themselves. The tone was less than friendly, and the only word Jae caught of the entire short speech was the final word, “Elenir”. He followed that up with another drink from the bottle.
‘He doesn’t speak it,’ she thought, stunned at this unexpected revelation. ‘He does not speak Sindarin. Who is he? And what language is that he speaks?’
“I brought your staff. There is no need for you to be uncomfortable,“ she tried again but this time in the common tongue.
He looked down from his perch to where the elf was holding it up, as if a peace offering. He sighed. “I suppose he sent you out to fetch me, did he?”
Like Elenir, he spoke with an accent, only his was more marked. He was not comfortable using this language, though he knew it well enough. Some of his words came out just altered enough that it took slight effort for a listener to properly interpret them, though the context helped in that regard; but he struggled with some of the harsher consonant sounds.
“I do not mean to cause offence. Only to prevent you from a painful return journey when you go back to him. He is worried.”
Leaning his head back against the tree, he considered refusing it, but he was not looking forward to hobbling back up those stairs without it. It was, in fact, undeservedly kind of Elenir to have done this, given how he was acting. It made him feel even more guilty, which only served to make the thought of going back less pleasant.
He finally leaned over and reached for the staff. “I won’t keep you, I’m sure Elenir would prefer your better company.”
Though his tone had been quite antagonistic up till now, his last few words bore a heavy sadness.
The shift in his tone was almost palpable. Jaeniver very much doubted Elenir would prefer her company over that of his friend. “I doubt that he would. He truly was quite distraught at your departure.”
He took a very long drink from the bottle at that. Yes. He had heard the distress in Elenir’s voice at his leaving. And he knew he would want him to return. He knew it, but…
As she looked at the elf who had his face turned away she added softly, “My apologies for using the common speech but your language is unfamiliar to me. Would you care to tell me what it is?”
His language… The language of his forebeares, whispered into his ears since birth, sung throughout the forests of his kin; the language he mourned them in. He felt a stirring of resentment at the question. Was there to be no end to the bitter memories thrust upon him this evening, then? One bottle of wine was not going to be enough.
Clutching the bottle to his chest Murien started to sing softly. His voice was clear and high, and beautiful to hear; but the song was filled with sorrow and longing, though with a promise of hope. His language; sounding at once old and far away, and yet with a haunting familiarness. He sang several lines before he let his voice taper off, falling silent before he had come to its end.
“Hwenta,” he said at last, not looking at her, speaking almost as if not to her at all. “That’s our word for it. Elenir says it is related to your other Elvish tongues but… far removed.”
He fussed at a dried leaf that had fallen with the rain, mumbling as almost an afterthought, “He seemed to learn it easily…”
The song seemed to echo around her and felt familiar and completely alien at the same time. Hwenta. She had heard of the Avari, those that had followed a different path than her people had so long ago. “Who are they that you sing of?”
“It is a lament… for our lost.” Murien seemed in that moment far away, in some other life. He quickly shook off the memory and turned, angling his body downward from his perch in the tree to more fully face her. “And where is it that you call ‘home’?”
Home. It became more and more abstract as the years went by. It used to be with her family then it became the preciously carved halls of Rivendell, then, more recently, it became wherever Bréhon was. A sad hint of a smile ghosted her lips “Imladris.” she said softly.
He stared at her blankly for a moment, then said, as if slightly annoyed, “And where is that?”
She blinked. Was he joking? He had not heard or been to a cornerstone of Elven civilization? “You have never been to the House of Lord Elrond?”. Surely not!
“If I had, would I be asking?” he snapped, his foul mood quickly replacing the momentary curiosity he had displayed. Then he waved his hand and turned away again. “Forget I asked.”
That mood of his was starting to wear on her nerves. Jaeniver crossed her arms in front of her, pulling her cloak closer to her body. “For one as well lived as yourself you would do well to have a little more patience maybe.” She held up her hand to halt Murien interrupting her reply “Imladris, the home of Lord Elrond, though he has left us, can be found near the Ford of Bruinen, in the east of Eriador. I would have mentioned it immediately but you look like a well travelled sir.”
As she had spoken he turned again, looking at her with all the bewilderment of one looking at someone who had suddenly sprouted a second head. She might as well have gone back to speaking that incomprehensible language of earlier for all he understood any of the names she gave.
In irritation he, too, returned to speaking his own language, and though the words were unfamiliar, the meaning was all too clear, and one could easily interpret them as being little more than, “blah, blah, blah.”
He lifted the bottle to his mouth again, but the last drink left him wanting. He wiggled it slightly, gaining only a few last drops before he sank back in defeat.
Then abruptly he fell into a rather lively sounding song in Khuzdul, the language of the Dwarves; but it was odd sounding, archaic. Like Elenir’s Sindarin, it drew on older, antiquated word forms and structures, though hardly formal in this case, rather the opposite. A few phrases were so informal and idiomatic as to be almost unintelligible to a modern speaker.
Jaeniver seemed to sense that he had dismissed her and their attempt at conversation entirely now, and as he continued to sing whatever strange song it was he now sent into the night, she turned and made her way back into the inn, leaving him to his tree and his antagonism.
The song was, in fact, a delightfully naughty drinking song, without ever actually being vulgar. The listener was left to fill in with their own mind what was otherwise never stated in verse, drawing heavily on rhyme and clever turns of phrase.
And while the song itself seemed joyful enough, there was an edge of sadness to his voice as he relived old memories.
in collaboration with JaeniverNov 29, 2021 at 8:32 am
Outside the Wayfarer’s Respite Inn….
It was foolhardy at best, dangerous at its worst, but she couldn’t resist it, Bardhwyn had to get closer to Jaeniver and Murien and listen to them speak, if only for just for a few minutes and in hopes of learning more about these strangely clad, venerable Eldar, these Dwarf-friends of old. She remembered the dwarves of her childhood speaking of them with hushed reverence and quiet awe.
Bardhwyn crept quietly, picking her way through the shrubs and brush that encircled the open lawn in front of the Wayfarer’s. She stopped behind a small hawthorn bush overhung by a thick hemlock, the ground around it covered in a soft bed of pine needles. It was dry, and Bardhwyn crouched low and listened, feeling like a child again, and she fully expected to see her younger brother, Brand, coming up behind her, to join in on her eavesdropping. To these two elves, she was a child, of course, as ephemeral as a flash of lightning or a memory, like her memories of Brand; such a serious child, old before his years, their father would say…
“We shouldn’t be here, Bardy! We need to leave!”
“Go back, then, Brand. You’re such a chicken!”
“I am not!”
“If Drak catches us, he’ll use the rod.”
“If you keep making noise, he WILL catch us, and it will be all your fault.”
It was the dinner hour, the time when the dwarves of Erebor descended to various halls for their meals, leaving only a handful standing guard in the great corridors. After weeks of preparation, Bardhol’s two youngest children slipped out of their rooms, deep in the Dwarven city under the mountain, and carefully, secretly, made their way to Thorin’s tomb. Their goal, to hold the Arkenstone – just hold it, nothing more – and look into its brilliance. The children of Dale’s ambassador to the court of King Dain were familiar to many in Erebor, but they were seldom, if ever, allowed to roam the tunnels and corridors alone.
“Almost there!” Bardhwyn whispered, her excitement barely contained. Brand’s face was a pale shade of gray but he stuck by his sister’s side.
The entrance to the tomb was in sight and beyond it, victory! They stepped out from their hiding place behind a large granite column when Brand squeake, quite loudly, from behind. Annoyed, she turned to see before her a Dwarven guard, fully armoured, holding an axe in one hand and Brand by his collar in the other.
“The mice get bigger every year,” he muttered in Khuzdul.
Brand was right, they most certainly did get caned but Drak was now far, far away, alive still but labouring deep in the roots of Erebor, so Bardhwyn inched herself a little closer. Murien and Jaeniver were deep in conversation, hopefully enough so that they wouldn’t hear her approach. Bardhwyn understood Jaeniver, but Murien’s words were completely foreign, foreign and haunting. Jaeniver then used the common tongue but the song! Murien’s song was, once again, foreign to her ears, but also familiar, like a memory held by the very hills and sky itself, a memory she’d seen rise with the sun every morning.
She stopped straining to understand the words and just allowed the beauty of it to surround her. When Murien ended, she felt a deep sadness, yet tremendous gratitude. So transported was she by his song, she didn’t see the elf Jaeniver leave.
Then the familiar sounds of the Dwarven tongue fell on her like blocks of granite; she felt her heart rise in her throat at the sound of it. It was archaic Khuzdul, very difficult at times to follow and when she did, she desperately tried not to laugh out loud. She pressed her hand to her mouth, suppressing her laughter, her eyes watering… then she missed a word, then a sentence… then she picked up the gist once more. Oh, if Drak were only here! The dwarf who looked after her father’s estate would’ve revelled in it.
The song ended and Bardhwyn completely forgot herself; she clapped and cried out in Khuzdul ‘GURUL, GURUL! ’ *.
* well crafted!Nov 29, 2021 at 9:26 am
OOC: Takes breath. Holds breath. Takes a plunge.
Well, this was a mistake.
Beatrice had taken a calculated risk, catching a ride at the market with the basket weaver coming back to this little crumb of a town. She should have waited for Lady Carnille to send a carriage for her. It was the crossroads that lured her in, where the inn would draw gossip from all four corners. If someone knew anything to the detriment of the Dowager, her youngest daughter, or the daughter’s new husband, then Beatrice had a good chance of hearing about it before she agreed to join the daughter’s household as a resident bard and companion.
The invitation gave her a chance to stay out of sight until Quennel got over the little song she wrote. If the aging bard didn’t want aspersions cast on his manhood, then he should have taken better care with how he spoke about her. He was lucky she didn’t use his name. Only a few in the know could decipher the parable of the old oak and the slender rowan. But the men in the know were the ones with the power in the Guild. So, Beatrice accepted the invitation, and here she was, standing in the doorway of the Wayfarer’s Respite.
She didn’t count on the inn being packed. Or what looked like half a host of Rohirrim making merry with a pretty girl in the clothes that were clearly borrowed. Or the music already playing. Or – her heart gave a lurch – that was an Elf at one of the tables. It could not possibly be a mortal.
She hoisted her bags a little higher. She had packing down to art, but the lute was heavy on her shoulder as she made her way to the bar. At least it was a woman at the counter. Beatrice made sure that the light caught the Guild pin on her shoulder and tried for a smile that conveyed both that she was a seasoned bard whose presence was a blessing to the inn, and a young, virtuous woman alone in need of shelter.
“Good evening. Could I please get a hot meal?” She took a delicate sniff of the air that wafted from the kitchen and smiled happily. “And then, what are the chances of finding some privacy for the night?”Nov 29, 2021 at 11:38 pm
Yay! Frelga’s here! 🙂 Welcome, welcome!Nov 29, 2021 at 11:50 pm
The ‘virtuous’ display was of no interest to the Matron, nor was there any indication she recognized the attempt to impart such an image.
“Not tonight,” she said rather roughly in response to whether there was any privacy to be had, nodding her head generally in the direction of the other guests that seemed to fill every corner. “But a meal can be done, if you have the coin.”
She briefly rambled off the items available, then added, “Sit, if you can find a table. Play if you like, but it will not lessen your costs.”
Her meaning was clear, while a seasoned bard might have been of interest had the inn been quieter, as it was they were not hurting for all manner of noise, so the traditional practice of inns offering performers a discount with the expectation that they would draw a larger crowd was rendered entirely redundant. Madge did very little that was not a benefit to her establishment, and displays of charity were few and far between.
As she spoke, a young, hardy lad of perhaps twenty had appeared with an armload of firewood, the same who had earlier pointedly delivered Thar’s pie. He had darker hair than his siblings which hung slightly in his eyes, and a piercing gaze to match his mother’s though perhaps with more darkness to them as well. He pushed his way through the crowd with his burden which he added to the dwindling pile beside the large hearth.
While Madge took care of any trouble to be had in the inn – and it was perhaps fortunate that Madge’s eyes had not yet settled upon the recently returned Giles – there was little doubt that her eldest son could likewise hold his own against any rowdier guests, his younger years were in no way an indication of a lack of experience.Nov 30, 2021 at 9:50 am
Outside, in front of the Inn
Suddenly, she was 10 years of age again; her trespass, discovered.
“Shit,” she muttered. Bardhwyn sat for a moment, feeling lost, which, in itself, was unusual. The ‘Traitoress of Dale’, Bandit Legend, was sitting in a bush, sleep deprived and feeling like a fool. With a heavy sigh, she stood up and sheepishly pushed her way through the shrubs.
Murien had been startled by the sudden cheer, looking for its source. When he heard the rustle from the bushes he expected a portly dwarf to emerge. Instead it was only the woman from earlier.
His face darkened, voice edged with disgust which he made no attempt to conceal. “Oh, it’s you again.”
“Yes, ‘me’ again,” she answered. “I, ah, I couldn’t help but overhear your song,” she said hesitantly. “It was very funny, from what I understood of it. There were a few words I didn’t quite follow.”
“Were there,” he replied flatly.
Bardhwyn took a slow inbreath, then released it; it was like walking barefoot on broken glass.
“Yes,” she answered, hesitantly. She then repeated a word, as best she could, struggling to roll the ‘r’ consonant sufficiently. “What does that word mean, if you don’t mind me asking?”
His interaction with the elf had left him in an even darker mood than he’d started in, which was a feat in itself, and so he perhaps was even more hostile than he might otherwise have been.
“Well I suppose it’s better than asking about my dead friends. I imagine you meant to ask about ‘ozki’,” he said, implying heavily she had said it wrong, though his own accent was likely to blame for it. “The closest word that would make sense to you is… boys? It’s not complimentary.”
“Dead friends?’ she muttered, confused. She then repeated the word in her mind, recollecting the passage and chuckled. “Ozki! I ah, I get it now,” she said, suppressing a smile, for it made the verse all the more funny, “but the ‘dead friends’ comment, I don’t-”
“Yes,” he snapped, cutting her off. “They’re dead, their skill is lost. What else do you want to know?”
He exhaled sharply, the wine bottle half way to his mouth before remembering it was already empty. He let it fall again with a pained sigh and a mumbled lament, “Boden was right, Dorwinion is better.”
“Dorwinion is always better,” Bardhwyn agreed in a quiet voice. She now understood that she’d somehow angered him by admiring the craftsmanship of his Dwarven hand, which was far from her intent. And ‘Boden’ was a Dwarven name; Drak had a nephew named Boden, who was a fine gemsmith. “Boden was right,” she added. “I know a Boden, he is the nephew of my father’s steward and he was, hopefully still is, the best gemsmith in Erebor. He once cut a diamond so brilliant, Thranduil himself came to inspect it, and, I think, bought it, in the end.”
As she had been speaking he had buried his face in his hands, but then all at once he exploded.
“I don’t know what any of those names are!” he cried, his frustration with her building on the many names the elf had said earlier as if they were all self-evident.
Bardhwyn took two quick steps back, dropped into a defensive stance before she was even aware; right leg back, left forward in a riding-horse stance. Her hand hovered over her right boot where she had one Dwarven throwing knife hidden. The elf remained in the tree, thankfully.
“They’re not important,” she said carefully. “I’ll leave you. I’m sorry if I offended you in any way. It was not my intention, Khuzd umârai.
He glanced down from his high branch, gave a derisive snort, and turned away from her. But his attention was drawn rather to his arm, and he pushed his sleeve back just slightly, running the fingers of his other hand over the design, over the gold-set runes that said just that: Khuzd umârai. Dwarf-friend. Silent tears filled his eyes but did not fall.
Bardwyn eased out of her stance. “I’m sorry for your loss,” she whispered in Khuzdul. She slowly backed away, partly out of respect, partly out of fear, and she felt a deep ache in her heart for this First-born. She silently vowed to share this meeting with Drak someday, if she was lucky enough to see the old Dwarf again.
His mood, unpredictable as the seas, went from anger to sorrow in barely a breath. “Mortal lives…” he whispered, also in the Dwarven tongue. “So fleeting.” Surely even if the One had meant their fates to be different, could they not have endured even a little longer?
Murien written by Murien_ElenirDec 2, 2021 at 10:59 am
Bardhwyn stopped at hearing this; he had repeated a snippet of a well known Dwarven chant: “’This fleeting world is like a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream*‘” Bardhwyn recited, again in Khuzdul.
Murien had stopped paying attention, though. He was tired and miserable and out of wine, and now he just wanted to be back at Elenir’s side. He took the staff and let it fall to the ground, slipping after it though landing with a muffled groan as the pain shot through his side. He rested his forehead against the trunk of the tree, holding it as he panted softly, letting the pain pass with each breath.
“May I help you, Khuzd umârai?”
He looked at her silently, seeming almost more confused than anything now. “You’re not a dwarf,” he said without any hint of his earlier anger, just simple observation.
“No, I’m not, just raised by them, more or less,” she answered.
He shook his head. No, she couldn’t help. But he did ask, “What were those names you said?” Because he really was frustrated not knowing what anyone was talking about.
She cast her mind back to her comment made, what now seemed, over a year ago. “Thranduil? Erebor?” she repeated. Murien nodded.
“Thranduil is King of the Silvan elves,” she explained. “His court is in the heart of the Greenwood, which lies east of the Misty Mountains and north of Emyn Muil. Erebor is the Dwarven Kingdom of Dain the Ironfoot, and lies in the heart of the Lonely Mountain, which is north and east of the Greenwood. If I had a map…” she trailed off, wondering if any of what she said made sense.
“Greenwood…” he murmured, giving a slight nod. Finally, names he recognized at last! “Yes… we came through it. There was a beauty to it.”
And the Lonely Mountain. Boden had mentioned Erebor, now that he had a chance to think of it; dwarves from Khazad-dûm had built it. Long after any he had known were gone, but it was something he could connect to, at any rate. But Elenir had called the mountains Hithaeglir. Were those the Misty Mountains she spoke of, or something different? So many things to try to sort out.
He leaned down at last and picked up his staff, turning to lean his back against the tree.
“There was a time, not long ago, when it was called Mirkwood, and was home to many a fell beast and several trolls. Sauron himself took refuge there early in the last age, so I’m told. Now the land is restored, since his fall, and once again, elves, dwarves and men live in peace in the northeast,” she offered. “And Radagast, The Brown, he lived there, perhaps even still, I’m not sure. Forgive me, there are few I can discuss such things with, so I am apt to ramble on … I am going to go in now,” she said, turning halfway towards the Inn, feeling increasingly awkward.
And back to the names he did not recognize. Sauron? Radagast? He sighed and rubbed his eyes. He would have to ask Elenir about these things. As for living in peace… he gave a mirthless laugh. Not all did. He shifted his weight onto the staff, supporting his injured side. Then, as if guided by some hand of fate, he pulled his sleeve up all the way. He wasn’t so much letting this strange woman see it in full as he was looking at it himself, but the result was the same.
Beyond just his hand, there was most of a forearm extending up to just under his elbow. Upon it was set in gold threads a tree all aleaf and covered in silver blooms – mithril, if one knew what they looked at – with roots wrapping around at the wrist and encircled by a ring of runes upon either side, which read in the Dwarven-tongue:
BETWEEN OUR HOUSES BROTHERHOOD EVERLASTING
Then was set a very rare dual maker’s mark, and while it seemed to be unheard of to look upon the works of either of them alone, the two of them together seemed something beyond even legend. For upon one side was set the star of Brokk, Grandmaster Craftsman of Durin and upon the other, the hammer and anvil of Eitri, Grandmaster Smith of Durin, both named Disciples of Mahal**.
She gasped. The mithril lines flared brightly, even in the weak torch and lamplight that bleeded out from the Inn they blazed out like brilliantly moonlight, and the hand moved and gestured so effortlessly; it was pure art and pure function, it was a treasure unlike any she’d ever seen.
“It’s exquisite,” she whispered. She read the runes: ‘Water-Jewel’, she murmured, smiling. A beautiful image, a kenning, perhaps? She read but did not recognise the names; she vowed to commit them to memory. Moved, she spoke a traditional Dwarven benison: “Long may their names be carved in the hearts of the Sons of Durin.” Bardhwyn composed herself. “My thanks,” she said, bowing slightly.
Murien gave no reply, not really sure what had prompted him to reveal it. He looked at her, though, actually looked at her. A hint of confusion on his face, a touch of uncertainty. Something was strange… he shook his head. He was too tired to care. Wordlessly tugging his sleeve back down he began to walk slowly back to the inn.
*The Diamond Sutra
**Dwarvish name for Aulë
in collaboration with BardhwynDec 2, 2021 at 12:46 pm
Bardhwyn re-entered the Inn, suddenly feeling the full weight of the journey she and Thar took before arriving at The Wayfarer’s. She was repeating the names she read in Dwarvish runes on Murien’s arm: Brokk, Grandmaster Craftsman of Durin and upon the other, the hammer and anvil of Eitri, Grandmaster Smith of Durin, both named Disciples of Mahal ; she was determined to remember them and their talents, always. Maybe share a tankard with Drak someday and relate the story to him, of the evening she met an ancient ‘Dwarf-Friend’. Murien would stay in her memory as well, perhaps even haunt it on occasion for she’d never met an elf so formidable yet so vulnerable.
She entered the tap room and saw Thar, or ‘Hoban’, engaged in another dice game – this time with the Rohirrim, clearly enjoying himself and the attentions of Diya. She smirked and decided to let him play both games;Bardhwyn knew who he was riding out with the next morning and it wasn’t going to be Diya. After a few quick words with Jordah and a slight wait, she reclaimed their possessions from the storage room and wandered down a dimly lit hall to one of the shared sleeping chambers.
She quietly opened the door out of respect to anyone sleeping therein, and unsurprisingly saw several people asleep on various straw filled mattresses on the floor: there was a small family off to one corner, and various bundled heaps of personages on other mattresses, some sleeping alone, others clearly couples huddled close and all were sleeping soundly, despite the noise drifting down the hall. Someone’s snore was audible, but not terribly loud. If anything, it made Bardhwyn feel all the more tired.
Thankfully there was one mattress free so she claimed it, unwrapped one of the furs, pulled off her boots and, cradling them (for there is nothing more upsetting than having your boots stolen), stretched out on the mattress, covered herself with a rather nice wolf pelt and immediately fell asleep.
At some point in the night she felt Thar dropping down next to her, then a soft, boozy-smelling, kiss on her scarred cheek before she drifted off to sleep once more.Dec 4, 2021 at 1:57 am
<div>So motherly concern was not on offer. Still, innkeepers usually took pains to propitiate bards. Bards traveled and they talked. A bard would spread the word of a friendly inn, in hopes of finding a warm welcome the next time. Angry bards could be destructive. They said things like, “it’s crossroads, an inn doesn’t have to be good to do well, but I at least hoped it would be, you know, reputable.”
Her purse was in good health, and she rarely sang for her supper anymore, but she felt an obligation to others who might follow her. All in good time, however.
She surveyed the inn for anything menacing or exciting.
The Rohirrim still had the one girl per eored situation going, now with added gambling. As Beatrice watched, the young woman removed her hand from one man’s arm to brush against another’s hand. Bless her, at least she knew what she was getting into.
The tableau at another table she recognized as Innkeeper Wrangles the Town Sot. Once that was handled, the two young gentlemen would surely move over to make room for her. They sat close together as it was. Beatrice could handle herself, but it was nice to know that she would not have to.
“A stew and a slice of pie, then. That table with the young gentlemen, please. And some cider, if you have it,” It’s good luck to buy a bard a drink was heavily implied. “And do you know if there is a family in town that could put me up?”
She would eat, then go make friends with the musicians, then see if there were any locals willing to share gossip. Then she would see if she could find a better sleeping situation than a straw pallet in a room of snoring travelers. Then…
She spotted the young man carrying the firewood. Several moments passed before Beatrice remembered to press her lips together and swallow. No, she told herself firmly. No, no, of course not, her self replied. It’s just, he is so pretty.
But she was not going to stare. Or at least, she was going to stop very soon.
</div>Dec 5, 2021 at 8:44 am
“It’s become quite dark, hasn’t it?” Pod commented.
Sweet Pea said nothing. She just kept walking, her large, thick skinned, fur-topped feet scuttling small pebbles and stones as she walked.
For a Hobbit she had quite a strident gait, forcing Pod to sometimes jog a few steps to keep up with her, only to fall quickly behind, then jog once more.
“I do wish you would slow down”, Pod remarked, slightly out of breath.
Sweet Pea stopped in her tracks and turned to her elder brother, feeling quite exasperated.
“I do wish you would stop complaining!” she replied. “You’ve not stopped moaning since we had our supper break on the river bank. ‘The road is too hard on my feet!’ ‘The sun is too hot on my back!’ ‘The owls hoot too spookily!’ And now I walk too quickly.” She propped her balled fists on her hips, just like their mother used to do, and she looked at him sternly. “The Inn isn’t going to come to us, you know, we must go to it!”
Pod shuffled nervously under his sister’s rebuke, his hands thrust deep into his trousers, and he muttered some sort of an apology. They set off once more, with Pod now holding his tongue and after a short time, and after coming to the end of a long, wide bend in the road, The Wayfarer’s Respite came into view.
“Finally,” Pod exhaled.
“This is it, Pod,” Sweet Pea said excitedly. “Let’s see if we can find some work!”Dec 5, 2021 at 11:12 am
Petitioner to the Council : 1 posts
The area seemed familiar, and when the town appeared ahead, it was clear he’d been there before.
Not a very witty reaction for someone who professed to be a bard, but, primo, Dust was alone and not obligated to impress the local wildlife with his verbosity, and secundo, he wasn’t actually a bard, was he.
Which was just one of the reasons he preferred those little inns and taverns that lay off the beaten track. No one checked your credentials when you were the only entertainment for miles.
Then again, there were inns right on the main tract where no one cared if you had a pin in your cloak either. If you could sing loud enough and tell tales tall enough, you’d get your pint, your bowl, and even your bed.
It was just terribly embarrassing when a proper bard showed up in the middle of your song. Especially a bard you knew. That withering look when they realised you’d never joined the Guild. What, all those years! How could it be?
Some of them asked outright. Most of them asked outright, actually. Bards are only subtle when it benefits them, and none would pass up the chance to gossip.
Oh, you know, Dust would answer, things happened, events occurred, situations arose, but it’s all set, it’s practically settled, I’ve got letters of recommendation coming…no, you don’t need to write me one, haha, that’s so kind and not at all condescending. I just haven’t had the time to drop by! So busy! So many adventures to have, and songs to write about them!
He made his way through town, every turn more familiar than the next. By the time the inn finally appeared, he’d managed to count…at least seven years had passed. At the very least. The inn now sported a much thicker cloak of ivy on its walls, and Dust himself sported a modest, but satisfying beard. Just like the inn and its foliage, it had taken him nearly all of those seven years to grow it.
He straightened up to his full, but still unimpressive height, wiped his face and dragged his fingers through his flaxen hair. He brushed down his clothes- they too, had greatly improved since his last visit. Especially the boots, which were now the right size, lacked holes, and had never belonged to anyone else but him.
Dust propped a foot up against a post to flick some dried mud off. He checked the clasp on his pouch, securing it against pickpockets, and straightened the bag on his back. It was still the same bag he had left home with so many years ago, when he was just a lad. Only now it had plenty more patches and pockets added, was embroidered here by necessity and there by whim of his jester friend Geli (what was she up to these days?), and it contained all of his worldly possessions, including his beloved cranklyre, or as some preferred to call it, his hurdy gurdy.
“Inn we go,” he muttered the terrible pun for luck, and stepped through the door.Dec 6, 2021 at 12:10 pm
ooc: 😲 dances excitedly back and forth Rodia!!! 😍Dec 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm
Citizen of Imladris : 85 posts
OOC : I have to log in as myself to come and say hi and so happy to see you here Rodia 😁Dec 6, 2021 at 12:58 pm
Giles beamed at the suggestion of a ordering a drink, despite Jorvan’s withering look.
He then felt a sudden wave of nausea, nothing too strong, just a mild upset like the feeling one gets when eating far too much of the stilton cheese at the Winter’s Solstice party. Giles blinked and looked about. Were he able to conceive and hold the notion of multiple universes and time streams, he would have sworn there had been a divergence in the time-space continuum, that several branches had just occurred affecting the lives and fates of many of the Inn’s patrons.
But he couldn’t hold those notions, so he just released a small burp and felt immediately better.
“Well, that’s odd,” he muttered, “I swore we were standing at the bar, but no, here we all are, and you two fine gentlemen are at a table and here is Jorvan,” Giles extended his hand, “Hullo, good to see you again, old chap.” Jorvan allowed Giles to shake his hand for a moment, before gently pushing him off.Dec 7, 2021 at 2:58 am
“I’ll have whatever they’re having,” Giles said happily to Jorvan. “And it’s awfully kind of you, wot, shouting for me, my undying thanks,” Giles said to the seated men. He sidestepped, taking an empty chair from a nearby table and dragged it over to Arohir and Freawulf’s. “What do I teach, you ask? Well, better to ask what is it I DON’T teach, ha ha! Come ask me about any subject, except of course about your fine selves, I know nothing about you both. HA! Let’s start there, then. Tell me about yourselves. I’m always anxious to learn, mark of a scholar, you know…”
Jaylen beat the dust and bark from his sleeves as he turned to head back downstairs. But the mass of dark curls held back by a lace band at the bar caught his eye. She was gowned in pale green with a satin collar, and a darker green cloak over it, both of finer wool than he was used to seeing. The Guild pin was the only visible ornament, but she bore a lute, which, alas, would prove of little use this night.
He tarried rather than return directly to his tasks. It was just the curiosity of such a peacock in this place. Curiosity, that was all. While the inn drew all types, there were some more common than others. Not that there was anything wrong with the rowdy band of Rohirrim, they brought in plenty of profit that kept the place going, and they rarely needed to be dealt with, not like some of the more unsavory types that had come through.
But this doll of curls and fluff, this was unusual. This was unusual enough to pique his curiosity. So, finding something meaningless to fuss with behind the bar, he edged closer to listen, just catching the tail end of her question.
“…a family in town that could put me up?”
“It’s late,” his mother was saying in return. “Most folk as have homes are already abed, and most still here are staying here, else returning to some camp or other.”
He cleared his throat in polite interruption, though somewhat avoiding looking at the lass directly, and offered, “I could ask around.”
“Would you really? That would be very kind,” the bard replied, brightening. “Thank you,” she added to both the mother and the son.
Madge cast a sidelong glare at her son, thinking he had best not be thinking what she guessed he was. “Fine then,” she said. “I’ll get your meal, and my son here will ask around.”
She gave Jaylen a pointedly disapproving look which included in it an expectation that he would be doing this on his own, rather than escorting the woman with him, if he had let any kind of thought of it enter his head.
He tipped his head slightly to the lady, glanced at his mother rather more impassively than he felt, and went over to one of the few locals still around, his gaze constantly returning to the lass, though never for more than a moment.
Meanwhile, Madge told her to find herself a place to sit, if any were left. It seemed one of the larger tables had all but emptied over there in the corner. As she was headed down to the kitchen, her daughter caught up to her, tugging her sleeve insistently, whispering frantically in her ear.
in collaboration with FrelgaDec 7, 2021 at 8:50 am
Sweet Pea and Pod stood tucked off to the right of the entrance to the common room, Sweet Pea beaming, excited by the music and conversation, but Pod shrank behind her sister, his eyes wide with apprehension. They’d come up the stairs, carefully trailing behind a tall (to them) man with a very large, well secured bag and big boots, who had the air of someone who’d frequented the place.
“Pea, it’s only big folk,” he whispered. “I don’t see any Hobbits.”
“No, neither do I,” she agreed, smiling.
“But Pea, you know what that means, don’t you? No right sized chairs, or tables, or Hobbit sized beds!”
Sweet Pea huffed and looked up to her big brother. “And? Don’t be sizest, Pod. They can’t help it if they’re big. We’ll manage, and be polite about it. Now, let’s get over to the bar and ask who the proprietors are, see if we can’t bring some Hobbit cheer to this fine establishment.”
Reluctantly, Pod followed his sister as they weaved their way to the bar. They politely edged their way in between the big folk and arrived at the bar, their eyes and the tops of their heads just clearing the edge of the polished wood. Behind the bar stood a rather cheerful, bearded man who was, harried, yes, but it terrific good humour.
“Excuse me sir,” Sweet Pea piped. “Are you the proprietor?!”Dec 8, 2021 at 12:21 am