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Old 03-23-2011, 05:28 PM   #106
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The 1590s
Posts: 2,825
Anguirel is a guest of Tom Bombadil.
Presumably with the help of the inn's long-suffering ostlers and grooms, all six of the guards and nobles who constituted the visitors from the Citadel had got themselves mounted up again as they entered the courtyard. They had broken their fast with expansive satisfaction, and from dawn it had now become almost noon.

From his saddleback, the Lord Cirdacil surveyed the company who had been trooped out to receive him. Clearly, they were still badly under strength; if this Rollan was to be believed, for reasons relating to their "historical research".

Here, at last, was Miz Celebrindal, suppressing her pain with a surprising amount of proud dignity from her chair. Flanking her was Rollan and another female player, whose rudimentimary visual similarity to Celebrindal made it easy enough for Cirdacil to guess she was her sister, even without Sador's perennial helpful whisperings. At either side of this family arrangement stood a child, gripping the sister's hand and looking solemn, and a thin, good looking fellow in respectable clothing. That, Cirdacil thought, will be Amlach's friend. They share the supercilious confidence in their faces, their certainty that they are the best at their frivolous artistry...

Keeping a respectful distance from these five players was the company's carpenter, and Cirdacil's only direct servant here, Amdir.

"Pardon me for not rising, my lord," the mistress of the King's Players began. "I am unable at this time. Will you please take a seat, and tell us what it is you have come here to say?"

"I am seated already," Cirdacil answered briskly, tapping his saddle, "but I shall descend a little if you would rather; since we need to talk about things of importance, no courtesy should be wanting."

Waving one of the subordinate guards to dismount too, the lord got out of his saddle without any great elegance, though he was, after all, a very old man. The chosen soldier supported his arm, and steered him to the most comfortable of the chairs facing the threadbare company. In the background, the young lord and the other three guards, including their leader, still hovered a little awkwardly from their horseback position.

"Well, first," Cirdacil, putting aside further preamble, started, "you may have heard about the circumstances you are performing in this year; the visit of the Perian consul, and of the Court itself. I must immediately stress that none of this is in the least exaggerated. This year, you are all the King's Players indeed. Forget about Bard the Northerner, or whoever your previous patrons may have been; you're about to have to live up to your name's most high-vaunting expectations."

Cirdacil paused to glare at his escort, apparently to ensure all their expressions were suitably solemn, then went on.

"I am, as you perhaps know, the Lord Warden of the Exchequer as well as, more recently, Master of the Revels, so I know with particular accuracy how much gold we can offer you for a successful performance. I am able to extend forty golden castar to be shared among your company, on top of your usual takings, if your performance is pleasing. Furthermore, you will be ratified as the official theatrical company of this city, licensed to play when the King sends for you, and rewarded on each separate occasion."

He had been speaking in a glum monotone while he announced these arrangements, but as he changed tack, he perked up a bit.

"Of course, you may not be pleasing to his majesty and his majesty's guests. And if you are not, it is otiose to add that your play's run will be over. I myself will almost certainly lose my office and responsibility for the Revels." He spoke here in an impassioned tone, perhaps mistakable for panic, though it was, in fact, anticipation. "If you fail, indeed, there may not be any plays in Minas Anor anymore."

Cirdacil now rose to his feet in a peremptory and powerful motion, leaving the guard who had helped him assume his place lagging paces behind.

"And in this regard, you have made a pretty deplorable start. Hardly had your, ah, rehearsing begun, when rumours from the very most exalted of places reached me that many of you were drinking all over town, dragging the city into disrepute before honoured guests in the name of your supposedly sacred art."

Perhaps surprisingly, at this pitch of anger he laid his eyes on the stalwart, loyally attentive carpenter.

"You, Amdil, no Amdir. I was under the impression you were a sensible fellow. Yet you led three other of these poltroons to a low drinking-hole, where they brought shame upon us all, in front of the Perian consul, no less." He snorted with decision.

"I am disappointed with you, sirrah, and I dispense with your services forthwith. Perhaps this company will still adopt you amongst them, if they don't think you more trouble than gain."

He breathed anew, in a more relaxed rhythm, as if with the sense of a task well done, before turning his head back in the direction of the pocket of riders.

"Now, Sador, come forward!"

The young lord trotted nervously up to a level with where his father and the guard were sitting. Cirdacil continued to speak, at last in a rather satisfied tone of voice.

"I gather you've been having certain difficulties with your script, Mistress Celebrindal, Master...Aldarion? yes, that was it, Aldarion. Anyway, I've decided that while this business arangement is forced to endure between us, I might as well loan you my son, Sador. I can spare him for the next fortnight, if I must; I am not a judge of artistic merit, proud indeed not to be such, but my second son is a noted scholar and thinker, and may be able to assist you if you fall into any egregious lapses of taste or decorum."

Cirdacil got up and now stamped back to his horse (again leaving the guard trailing and gawping at the old man's vigour,) while his son lingered.

"It will be an honour to assist," the young man added to his father's last speech. Then, after setting his mouth in a thin frame that proceeds many an ordeal, he dismounted, and shuffled himself forward on his bad leg towards Brinn, putting out his hand.

"Sador of Burlach, Mistress Celebrindal; I am greatly looking forward to our dramatic partnership. I have some small acquaintance with your playwright, by repute," and here he directed a look at Aldarion that almost had awe in it, such was its shy admiration, "and will be, well, quite thrilled to serve any of you in any capacity."

Last edited by Anguirel; 03-23-2011 at 05:36 PM.
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