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Old 06-16-2007, 09:31 AM   #804
littlemanpoet
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: The Edge of Faerie
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littlemanpoet is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.littlemanpoet is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Rowenna cocked her head at Elborn's query, glancing at him with one raised brow. Could he not see the rags she wore instead of a good dress? Or was he mimicking daftness? Or asking something obvious to see how she would react? She shrugged.

"I was their captive for two years. They had me bound, waiting upon their kind ministrations." She said her last words with a sardonic smirk. "The Eorl found and rescued me. And my dogs."

“Two years, all bound up?” asked Elián mildly. “Seems like a long time for them to be toting you around with them. And your dogs. Explains your choice of wardrobe, though, don’t it?” He grinned, but, seeing that she was not amused, changed his tack.

“If it was me, I’d’ve ransomed the lot of you as soon as possible and spared myself the trouble of a couple years’ worth of ministrations, as you put it.” He gave her a sideways glance, thinking that she must have been treated very badly during her time of captivity. She seemed so angry. But then, he reminded himself, if he had spent the last two years trussed up like a holiday goose and relying on the kindness of a bunch of cutthroats, he’d be cranky, too. If that was really her story. For all he knew, she could be one of the outlaws just passing herself off as a hostage for her own purposes. After all, the captives looked about as rough and ill-used as she did. Who could say for certain that she was not one of them? To take her at her word alone, the Eorl was either a trusting fellow or an idiot, decided Elián. Either that or the girl was already known to him from an earlier association of some kind. Either way, Elián had his doubts. There was still the matter of the lock picks.

“I mean, you must be worth something to someone, eh?” he finished.

So this Elborn wished to bandy with words, taking advantage of her first slip. Did he wish to be her opponent, or her friend? Or both? She could not tell. Not yet. "To none but my former captives have I worth," she answered coolly. She allowed some small portion of bitterness to slide along her next words. "I have no kin. These outlaws killed them all." She waited for a comment of some kind, but none was forthcoming. She did not normally need to fill silences, but his gibe still goaded her, and she wanted her faulty speech fixed. "I meant that my captors bound me today so that they would be sure I was where they had left me. Does that satisfy your quibble?" She almost gave way to a sudden urge to raise her chin, frowning, and walk ahead of him, effectively turning her back on him. But that would be rash, and she fought down the urge. Deeds wrought from how one felt so often went awry; those wrought from thought were the more trusty. She continued her easy pace beside Elborn.

“It does indeed,” answered Elián. “To be honest, I don’t think there’s anyone who’d pony up a cent for me either.” At least not for his health and well-being, he added to himself. He was fairly certain that there was a least a little coinage available for the individual who handed him over to the hangman. “I am sorry to hear about your family, though. Why didn’t you just run away? With those great big dogs on your side, I imagine you’d be more than a match for ol’ Ghem and his lot.”

Elián cringed as soon as the words left his lips, hoping that the young woman had not noticed his use of the outlaw’s name. It was a stupid slip, but lock picks or no lock picks, outlaw or no outlaw, he was beginning to like the girl. It was making him a little too chatty for his own good.

Rowenna had good peripheral vision and caught Elborn's cringe. Had he twisted his ankle? No, nothing like. Had he said something he regretted? Her eyes widened ever so briefly: he had used Ghem's name without having heard it from anyone else. So he knew Ghem from somewhere. And he knew about Ghem's lockpicks. Had Ghem stolen them from him? Were these two old rogue-brothers? Fellow lift-pads? Better not use this tiny morsel of advantage this very moment; there might be a better time to use it. She tucked it away for safekeeping.

"You did not see Ulric and Withold kill two of my dogs as if they were ants. This whole brood were killers. I would not have lasted the day I chose to run."

“Oh, I see,” answered Elián. “Shows how much I know of outlaws,” he added a moment later in an attempt to cover his earlier slip. With a polite incline of his head, he dropped back a few paces, as though conceding that she had scored a point on him and he was feeling duly chided. In reality, he was silently chiding himself: put a set of petticoats in front of him, even raggedy ones, and sooner or later his brain turned to oyster shells and he began babbling away as though he hadn’t a care in the world. Or a price on his head. He sighed. It was probably because he had spent so much time at sea with no females around except the captain’s wife, Mrs. Snorrisson, who was a formidable creature and a good bit more dangerous than her husband when she was in a temper. In Elián’s opinion, she scarcely counted as female. He was tempted to perform a theatrical shudder at the thought of her, but decided the better of it. He had already drawn enough attention to himself as it was. Elián smiled ruefully at the ground. If he valued his own hide – which he did -- he really had to get a grip on himself, most especially his mouth.

The moment Elborn could no longer see her face, Rowenna smirked. "Shows how much I know of outlaws." So lame as to be laughable. She did not let herself laugh. She had enjoyed the conversation, as far as it had gone. Elborn was a likeable enough fellow, but that was the possible trap: too likeable. She needed to know more about him first; just as she had studied each of the outlaws and come to know their quirks - and their needs - especially the ones they didn't even know they had. Elborn's questions had been too near the bull's eye: she had learned how to manipulate the outlaws so that she not merely survived, but in the end got what she wished for from them.

These thoughts slipped to the recesses of her mind as she heard raised voices ahead, between the Halfling, the Eorl, and the Eorl's right hand man.
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