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Old 10-17-2009, 06:18 PM   #721
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Idhreniel stood to help Mithalwen with the tray. "What news?" she asked. "You both seemed quite serious. I hope nothing bad has happened? It is, unfortunately, likely - the days have been dark recently."

She set the tray on the table and turned back to the elf. "The trouble will not hinder us from enjoying a meal, will it? If the problem is not pressing, let us eat."
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Old 10-19-2009, 11:44 AM   #722
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"Not exactly ..the innkeeper is most agitated about the disappearance of the cook but the other staff have managed to rustle up a few things, so food will be with us shortly" Mithalwen explained pouring wine for them all. "I don't quite know if it will help but I offered what help we could in finding her ... the searchers seem to have rushed off on wild goose chases without thinking it all through. I thought fresh minds might help the situation. But we can enjoy our meal first. I think. This wine is "Old Winyards" . From what I hear it should rival Dorwinion - if you have ever tasted that".

She passed the filled goblets to Idhreniel and the twins and took a sip from her own. Not quite as potent as the wines of Dorwinion but that was perhaps just as well - they had thinking to do - but its rich berry flavours spoke of good soil and a gentle climate. Unsophisticated perhaps but honest and open - maybe the wine or an area reflected the character of its people, the elf mused.

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Old 10-20-2009, 06:54 PM   #723
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Idhreniel smiled. "I have, but not for a long time, so I expect to be pleasantly surprised. My message isn't terribly important. I can spare time to help search. What do you know about the disappearance? And what have the earlier searchers done so far?"

Idhreniel sat again and took a goblet of wine. It was, of course, good. Idhreniel smiled. As she normally avoided company on the road, it had been some time since she had last enjoyed the pleasure of company and warm food. Coming here had been a good choice, despite her earlier qualms.

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Old 10-23-2009, 04:33 PM   #724
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"No, nor have I for many years - it is seldom to be obtained this side of the mountains,even at Rivendell. Rumour claims that Thranduil of Mirkwood is so fond of it that he buys much of each Dorwinion vintage leaving little for the rest of us - a scurrilous story no doubt but I am sure many would do likewise had they the purse and the influence! Anyway I digress." said the older elf.

Mithalwen, took another sip of wine then stood and moved away from the table slightly so she could get at the long case she had stowed under the bench earlier and unlocked it with a small key from her purse. She did not open it far enough to give the ever curious twins (who had not forgotten her earlier mention of presents) a sight of its contents other than the battered leather bag she extracted. The case was closed and tucked away and returning to her place. Mithalwen took out a slender softbound notebook bulked out with larger sheets of paper folded and tucked between it's pages. One of these she took and unfolded giving the others a glimpse of an abandoned design for an inlay before it was spread on the table. Mithalwen intended to be as methodical in this as she was with her craft.

"Well" she said, taking a pencil from her pocket and tapping it's end against her chin thoughtfully " it seems that the Cook received a letter yesterday and they think that might have something to do with it - in which case she left the Inn of her own will - though the letter may have been some trap or trick of course. And I don't think anyone heard a disturbance last night which would confirm that. The stableman has gone after the postman to see if he knows anything more. It might be a red herring though. She might have just gone for a morning walk and fallen in a ditch. A lot of the land near here is marshy or overgrown. Not many roads she could have taken- really only the track to the Woody End or the Causeway up to the East Road and bridge or down to the Ferry" . She stopped - uttering the words bridge and ferry spurred her memory and she thought back to the scene that had met her eyes when she had arrived at the inn. A ranger had been questioning a rather disreputable looking hobbit and she was sure that there had been mention of a boat.

"The river - someone saw a boat out on the Brandywine ..that is where the search party has gone I think - but I don't know exactly where".
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Old 10-23-2009, 05:19 PM   #725
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Idhreniel stood and moved to look over Mithalwen's shoulder as she searched through a notebook. When she heard that the Cook may have gone over the River, however, Idhreniel could not control the shudder that ran down her spine. She hoped they would not have to travel on the river. Water always unnerved her, and crossing the Rivers was one of the only parts of her job she disliked.

"Have the searchers checked locally?" she asked. "Maybe she has just fallen, or is stuck. And have they checked her quarters? She may have left a clue there. Although, any searchers have probably been there already."
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Old 10-26-2009, 03:42 PM   #726
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Mithalwen who had been at the point of putting pen to paper paused. "You're right Idhreniel! Of course! That would be the obvious place to start but I got the impression that once they had wind of the letter they followed that lead and then the sighting. If her belongings are missing it might show if she planned to leave and for how long. If nothing is missing then it is more likely some accident has befallen her. I don't know if she was in the habit of taking an early morning walk but it seems unlikely if they are looking first further afield" . She paused, deep in thought again.

"There aren't many places to walk near here though" Mithalwen continued, sketching a simple but fairly accurate map. Stock is really an island in a marsh. The cross country track to the Southfarthing goes through Woody End and there is a lane back of it to the hamlet of Wood Hall but otherwise there isn't much on that for many miles. We came from Woodhall and didn't see anything odd - not that there is much odd about seeing a hobbitwoman walking the paths of the Shire. " She added wryly.

"Then there is the Causeway." The elf added the north south route to her plan and marked where its course joined that of the river at Bucklebury Ferry. " The bridge is much nearer than the Ferry if she wanted to cross the river and much easier. I wonder if she was really in that boat - I thought most hobbits hated them and water in general. I am beginning to think therereally is more to this than some simple mishap else I think she would have been found already, but if we can find out about her room then we might be a little further on". She paused and idly doodled a garland of leaves along the edge of the paper. "We can ask maybe whoever brings us our food maybe or try to catch Mr Boffin". With that Mithalwen laid down her pencil and picked up her wine.
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Old 10-27-2009, 07:44 PM   #727
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Idhreniel sat down again to wait for the server. She was happy to help find the Cook, of course, but she dearly hoped they would have a place to start. She just couldn't justify a mindless search when she already had an obligation to deliver the message. Still, perhaps they would pass near Mithlond, and she could deliver the message anyway. The other elves were going there, too. Perhaps Mithalwen would want to leave the twins there, in safety. That would certainly ease her guilt.

Idhreniel looked over the heads of the other people in the Inn, searching for the server. Hopefully, he could show them to the Cook's chambers so they could begin this search.
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:52 AM   #728
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Cir started as Mithalwen put her pencil down with a clunk and flushed guiltily. Her brother sent her a sideways glance that was at once amused and knowing. Mithalwen might not have noticed Cir sliding sideways in her seat, sending a sly foot under the table toward the mysterious case on the far side to try and lift the lid, but her nosy brother had.

"See anything?" He mouthed at her, and she shook her head in frustration. She had barely managed to get a toe under the rim before her aunt and their companion finished speaking. It was fortunate for her that the long years spent learning to take in enough of whatever she was supposed to be listening to whilst actually doing something else entirely had paid off, as it meant she had something to fall back on when Mithalwen turned to her with a question.

"Did you learn anything about the situation while you were in the kitchen? Is there anyone we could ask about the state of the cook's room?"

"I'm not sure." Cir replied, not missing a beat. "There were a couple of girls in there earlier, but they seemed run off their feet and didn't look to have any more of an idea where their cook had gone than anyone else. Still it might be worth checking with one of them. Should I go?"
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:44 AM   #729
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Mithalwen thought "I don't suppose it would do any harm - but they may be busy about our meal. At least we would know something definite . It may all be a storm in a teacup - and I hope it is so... we may be at leisure but Idhreniel has a message to deliver and well I must think of something to do with all the goods I didn't get to sell at Bree. Don't really want to take them back to Mithlond. Maybe there will be a market or something locally. I meant to ask Mr Boffin but this business is clearly occupying all his mind. " The older elf sighed and sipped again at her wine.

"It may be all we can do in the end is to alert the travelling companies to be on the look out but we will see. I can't believe a hobbit can disappear without a trace...." they were too solid for that she thought to herself. "

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Old 11-13-2009, 08:09 PM   #730
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Idhreniel watched Cir hurry into the kitchen. She hid a smile under her hand. The younger elf was good at fooling her aunt, but Idhreniel knew all the tricks. She'd learned them from her sister, Merkawen. Her smile faded, and she lowered her hand. Cir reminded her of the sister she'd lost. Idhreniel mentally shook herself. She had more important things to do than wallow in self-pity.

"Cir," she called after the elf, " if you can find someone there who looks like they know what they're doing, ask if we can look in the Cook's rooms." Idhreniel doubted that Cir had been paying enough attention to know what to do, but she also doubted that Cir would admit as much to her aunt. If they could get away with not paying attention, after all, most young elves wouldn't. Idhreniel herself had rarely heeded her elders when she was young. She felt a growing fondness for the elf, but turned back to Mithalwen. The Cook was more important right now.
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:55 AM   #731
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It was not that Carantilion did not care about the Cook's disappearance - he was quite happy to go looking for her - though he did not fancy the chances of he and his sister being allowed to do so unsupervised at the moment - exploration was always interesting. It was all this theorising and waiting for information he couldn't be bothered with, especially when it seemed to be getting in the way of a meal.

Breakfast seemed long distant - and a rather subdued affair - the atmosphere of displeasure expressed by their erstwhile travel companions had killed his appetite but now with his Aunt having forgiven, and seemingly forgotten their truancy he felt very hungry indeed. His sister's attempt to open Mithalwen's trunk while it was unlocked had piqued his curiousity about the promised presents. He really hoped his aunt would remember before she dragged them off around the countryside. He stared at the box speculatively. As he lifted
his gaze he noticed the smile leave Idhreniel's face and wondered what was the cause of her sorrow.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:27 PM   #732
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Amadi

Amadi ambled down a quiet back street of Stock, whistling a nameless tune as his bare feet kicked up the dust of the road. He was almost out of the Shire now, and very sorry to be leaving it so soon--this little detour was his last hurrah before finding the bridge over the Brandywine and into the great unknown of the Northern world. He'd enjoyed this odd, quiet little country with its equally odd little residents. It was all dusty roads and soft rolling hills with their cozy underground cottages. The local folk were pleasant and unhurried, polite even to one of the "Big Folk", as they called him, odd as he was. The very air gave him a sense of profound peace, as if he could go to sleep any moment and not worry for tomorrow, never mind he'd spent his last copper that morning.

He broke off whistling and ran a callused hand through his dark cropped hair, gazing up at the unbroken blue sky. It wasn't a real problem, not yet, anyway. He was a decent hunter and a better forager, so as long as there were woodlands, he wouldn't starve. But sooner or later he would need boots--even his deck-hardened feet couldn't take the rocks of the mountain passes--and warmer clothes. What he needed was a job. But the chances of finding something temporary in such a small town were slim.

He shrugged, and started whistling again. It would work itself out somehow; it always did. At the moment he was more interested in the "finest beer in Eastfarthing", which he was determined to sample, by any means possible. He amused himself for a few minutes thinking of ways to sneak into a hobbit cellar--it was hard in this country for one of his stature to sneak anywhere, and the mild-mannered hobbits were surprisingly protective of their foodstuffs. Take that fellow back in Bywater. No sense of humor whatsoever, that one.

Amadi stopped as he saw the inn. To his surprise, it looked to be a fair-sized establishment, complete with a stable and vegetable garden. A large part of the building stood outside of the hill, and judging from the round windows peeping out of the verge, there was even more space inside. He grinned, hopes rising. If it was this big of a place, perhaps they would need some help, after all.

Amadi bypassed the front door altogether and stepped neatly over the garden's fence, careful not to crush the herbs and vegetables growing there. He stuck his head in the half-open kitchen door, rapping on the door frame and putting on his most winning smile.

"Hello! Could anyone here use a cook?"

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Old 01-02-2010, 08:30 AM   #733
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Dick was helping Rowan and Prim get a lunch together that would not permanantly embarrass the Golden Perch. It took a little while, for none of them were quite as familiar with cooking as Cook herself, but when Cook was not there, their attempts would have to serve.

They were almost finished cooking when Cir entered the kitchen. "Excuse me," she said, before Dick interrupted her.

"The food will be ready in just a minute. I'm sorry it's taken so long."

"No, that's not what-"

"Rowan, turn the steaks over, will you?"

"I was wondering about Cook."

"She's not here, I explained to your aunt."

"I know, I was wanting to see if anyone had looked in Cook's room yet, and if they knew anything?"

"We looked," Rowan said, turning from the sizzling stove top.

Before Dick could express surprise, Cir could ask any questions, or Rowan explain a thing, a stranger appeared in the doorway. The four inhabitants of the kitchen looked up in surprise. The stranger didn't wait for any of them to break the silence.

"Hello! Could anyone use a cook?"

Dick, Rowan, and Prim glanced at each other. Dick stepped forward. "I am Seredic Boffin, I run this place. We...could use a cook...but I don't know anything about you, or if you can even cook half decently!"
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Old 01-02-2010, 12:50 PM   #734
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Whoops, Amadi thought. Mind following mouth, as usual. He smiled apologetically as he stepped into the kitchen, where three hobbits and an elf stood over a nearly-finished meal. The room was large, warm, and clean, with a ceiling that was (thankfully) at a comfortable height overhead. Tantalizing smells rose from the simple yet generous fare already set out on plates on the kitchen table.

"Let me introduce meself, then." He extended his hand for the innkeeper to shake. "Nice to meet you, Master Boffin, ladies," he sketched a half-bow to the others. "Amadi's the name, and I'm just a simple traveler headed for Bree." Amadi had long since given up trying to explain to most hobbits that no, he wasn't looking for "Dull ham broth", and yes, he knew there was a perfectly good Big Folk settlement just across the River.

"I'm more than a half decent cook, if I do say so meself.I've cooked with every meat and vegetable you can imagine, and even some you can't, and never got a complaint that I'd believe." He conveniently avoided mentioning it was mostly in a ship's galley. For some reason any association with the ocean tended to make hobbits nervous, and sailing on it for a living was downright disreputable. "I can manage good old steak and potatoes just fine. I don't want anythin' permanent, just a couple of days, till I can earn me enough for some traveling money--and maybe some of that famous beer I've heard of."

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:47 PM   #735
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Rowan and Prim glanced at each other and exchanged hopeful, girlish grins. Dick stared at Amadi with his mouth half open. “A couple days, you say?” Dick finally stammered. Amadi nodded his head. “Nothing permanent? I dare say you cook very well indeed, sir, very well indeed!” A genuine smile broke out across Dick’s face, wiping away the troubled, harried look that had settled itself for so long on the naturally merry face. “Come in, and welcome!

“You find us in something of a pickle today, you see,” he said as Amadi entered. “Finish up those plates there, girls and take them out to the elves, I’ll show Amadi around.” Prim and Rowan turned away, laughing and whispering together while they completed serving up the dishes.

“Our cook’s gone missing,” Dick said, continuing his explanation to the young man. “She’s been gone since this morning, and a great troublesome bother it is, too. No one knows where she’s gone or if she’ll ever come back!” He shook his head. “It doesn’t seem right. Cook’s always kept her nose out of other people’s business, there’s no rightful reason why something should ‘ave happened to her. What I always says is, them as keep out of trouble, stay out of trouble. But it aint so this time.”

A glance showed him that Amadi was not listening to Dick’s rambling. “Ah, forgive me. Here, let me show you the kitchen.”
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:04 PM   #736
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Amadi didn't need to be asked twice. Setting his pack behind the door and draping his leather coat over it, he shut the door behind him. The kitchen boasted a beautiful array of cookware, with wide open spaces and an oven big enough to broil steaks from a mûmak. And it was very well stocked, Amadi thought, mouth watering as he peered into the pantry. The wealth of goods dried and fresh sent his mind racing through all of the recipes that could be made. And if the rest of the Shire was any indication, this was only a small portion of the inn's food store. He brought himself back to Master Boffin's words with an effort.

"There's no rightful reason why something should 'ave happened to her," the inkeeper was saying. "What I always says is, them as keep out of trouble, stay out of trouble. But it ain't so this time."

Amadi shook his head. "If you pardon me sayin' so, everyone's got troubles. For your cook's sake, I hope it's the kind that she's found to remedy, and not one that's found her."

He looked at the many plates on the table. Even with the loss of their cook, they seemed to have managed well on their own. "Nevermind the tour," he said. "I'll find my way round in here fair enough, and you can show me the rest before I start on supper. Let's get these plates out first. I assume since it's all the same thing no one's special ordered, then?"

Amadi picked up three plates, deftly balancing two on one arm, and pushed through the inner door which he guessed would lead him to to the main area of the inn. He was correct, finding himself in a pleasant, open room with a huge hearth and many smaller tables and chairs. The door swinging to behind him got the attention of several guests, who (especially the hobbits) seemed relieved that food was finally on its way. It wasn't terribly crowded, but there were enough guests to give the room a constant murmur of noise.

He moved toward the nearest occupied table--a booth with three elves seated together. The silver-haired one had turned away from the door to say something to the one across from her, but as she turned and Amadi caught sight of her face, he stopped in his tracks.

Amadi muttered some less than savory Haradric under his breath. "That one? Here?" He couldn't believe his horrible luck. One of the other elves had caught sight of him; he couldn't turn to another table without drawing even more attention, and if he backed into the kitchen, what would he tell Master Boffin? He could put his newfound job in jeopardy. But if she recognized him, and was one of the ones who held a grudge, it might be even worse. It was a terrible dilemma.

Maybe she wouldn't recognize him, he tried to calm himself as he slowly resumed his walk to the table. His arm protectors were covered temporarily by the plates in his hands; if he just dropped off the food and nipped right back into that kitchen for a very long tour maybe she wouldn't remember him. Yes, and perhaps while he was at it he could wish himself a pretty little sailing ship with wings and fly all the way to Gondor.

Stars, had he been born under a luckless sky?
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:28 AM   #737
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Idhreniel glanced up as a young man walked towards their table. I thought they had only hobbits as staff here, she thought. She was about to shrug the thought off, however, when she saw the man stop, staring as though seeing a vision of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad. His eyes darted from Mithalwen down to the plates in his hands and back again. Far tenser than before, the man started walking again.

Idhreniel raised her eyebrow. There was history there, she was sure of it. Her lips tugged upward in a hint of a smile. She was sure this would be a great amusement to liven up an otherwise altogether too serious trip. She covered her smile with a hand as she thought of ways to draw out any possible shred of entertainment. Glancing at the twins, she thought to herself, I'm sure they would help me with this. They look like the sort who would love this kind of thing. I can help with plotting, and they can take care of the actual interactions. The man was far too new for her to talk to, and far to intimidating. Yes, the twins would be a huge help in this plot.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:11 PM   #738
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Mithalwen turned just inclined to get a glimpse of the young man's face as he turned away. She recognized it immediately as being of the lad who had passed the winter at Mithlond and had left there shortly before her own departure.

Her momentary suprise at seeing him was soon rationalised - few roads led out of Mithlond and the Shire was one of the few populated areas on the way to - well anywhere really. She had a fair guess at why he had feigned not to recognise her for she had no doubt that he had done so - their ways had not crossed much but Mithlond was a small enough place these days. It suggested that suspicions had been correct, that the adan had been a little lightfingered as well as charming; that it wasn't just coincidence that more things than usual had gone missing during his time with them.

Nothing particularly valuable had disappeared and circumstances were usually such that the bereft owner could not be certain that there was no other explanation for the disappearance. She herself had mislaid a pair of leather arm guards. Not precious but new from the leatherworkers. She was sure that she had hung them in her forge but she had done so much clearing out and moving around in preparation for the twin's visit that she couldn't be sure she hadn't just misplaced them. So not something she could make a fuss about but it was a little galling since the Elves had been welcoming to the vagbond and she doubted he would have been denied anything he had truly needed. Maybe it was just the way of a different world - that anything not locked up was up for grabs and few in Mithlond would think of locking their doors against neigbour or guest.

If his behaviour was the mark of a guilty conscience well then maybe he deserved to suffer a little. Her face was as deadpan as when she had chastised her nephew and niece as she spoke:

"Master Amadi! What ill have I done you that you refuse to acknowledge our aquaintanceship?"
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:39 PM   #739
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Amadi nearly dropped his plates in response. “Na, If it’s Mithalwen, I didn’t never see y’ther,” he stammered. The Northern accent he’d worked on for nearly a year flew out the window. He tried to hide his fluster as surprise. “Welcome t’ the inn, if ye haven’t been yet.”

It wasn’t as hard to smile as he thought it would be; Amadi really had liked the woodworker. She was kind and seemed more down-to-earth than most of the fae folk. Mithalwen was the only one he’d felt sorry for “borrowing” from, but he could never have let them know why he needed to cover his arms before rejoining the world of men. The marks had meant nothing to them.

Besides, it was only after he’d been escorted out of the Havens that any elf had said anything to him. How was he to know that such little things would matter?

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Old 01-26-2010, 12:25 PM   #740
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Despite her resolve, Mithalwen found it impossible not to return Amadi's smile. She had a high tolerance for the follies of the young and there was something about the boy that made it easier overlook his misdoing even though his placing the plates on the table revealed the evidence. Should she say something? If she did it would not be now in public. She doubted there was any malice in his scavenging though it seemed a strange thing to take - there was no real value in the arm guards, and there was things in her workshop of much greater value that he might have taken and did not. So there must be a reason but without knowing it she must be a little cautious, hoping above all that nothing would be "mislaid" at the inn or she would be hard pressed to explain why she had kept silent. . To know all is to forgive all she thought but for a moment she half thought she had spoken aloud and this roused her to answer, realising that her companions had started to stare.

"Mr Boffin has not be remiss in his hospitality but another welcome is still...welcome. I must thank you for bringing our meal - I understand they are a bit short staffed - which reminds me ... is there anymore news on the cook?"
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:54 PM   #741
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Idhreniel's eyes flitted between Mithalwen and Amadi. She faked a yawn so she could discretely cover her growing smile with a hand. She knew her eyes were crinkling, but hoped the others would be too entertained or involved in the almost confrontation taking place before them. Carefully smoothing her face into something that she hoped showed no sign of mischievious intent, Idhreniel leaned forward to address Mithalwen.

"Do you know this man, Amadi?" she asked, even though it was extraordinarly obvious. She didn't pause for an answer. "Mithalwen, you did not mention you had friends at this Inn. Perhaps he can be of use to the search for the Cook."

She could not quite bring herself to look into his eyes - he was still a stranger. Under normal circumstances she would have let Mithalwen do all the talking, and tried to fade into the background. A chance for amusment, however, could drive her to almost any lengths. Almost. Actually making eye contact and talking to a stranger she would not do.

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Old 02-01-2010, 12:43 PM   #742
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Know... now that was a loaded word. Yes she knew him in the superficial way that elves knew the few mortals that tarried briefly in their lands, but Mithalwen had been a tiny child when Elendil and his sons reached Lindon from lost Westernesse and a season in mortal lands was such a brief spell for an old elf - could an ancient yew know a spring crocus that brightened the wood for a few weeks before disappearing for ever? It seemed too much effort now to try.

She had known some mortals well, one too well perhaps - but that was at the dawn of the age when she was young and the blood of Numenor strong, and she had seen the White Tree new planted in the court of the King in Minas Anor. Now she had such dealings with mortals as was necessary for trade. Always civil, sometimes affable but did she know them. No. But she must reply more simply.

"We are acquainted. Master Amadi spent the Winter in Mithlond but I did not know he was here til this minute. He must answer for himself if he knows anything of Miss Brandybuck's disappearance". It was a somewhat terse response but it had been a slightly impertinent question.

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Old 02-14-2010, 05:10 PM   #743
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"Of course," Idhreniel said, tipping her head and flashing a vague smile. "What a coincidence, then, to meet here. Perhaps even good fortune, if he would be kind enough to help us in our search."

Gathering every scrap of courage she had, Idhreniel turned to mostly face the young man in front of them. "Well, Master Amadi?" she asked, staring at a point a few inches to the left of his actual face. Her voice was higher pitched than normal, and she spoke faster in her nervousness. "What do you say? Will you help us?"

She dropped her eyes to her food to compose herself for a moment, then turned back to Mithalwen. "The hospitality here is indeed welcome. I am glad of the Inns along the Road to the Grey Havens; they have often proved most helpful indeed during journeys. The Golden Perch especially is very comforting after travel." Idhreniel knew she was still speaking too rapidly, but it matched her pulse. She should not have spoken to the young man, it was far too stressful. She prated on about wonderful Inns for a few moments before hushing awkwardly.
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Old 04-08-2010, 11:39 AM   #744
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Ferethor entered quietly, and limped toward the most inconspicuous table by the far wall. He was not the type of person that warranted anything more than a cursory glance as he passed by. The days being what they were, evil and dangerous, surely the sight of travellers armed to the teeth must be a common occurrence in this inn. And he was hardly of the build that inspired fear in others. Slender and willowy, almost to the point of boyhood, he looked more like a serious lad in his late teens than an experienced swordsman and mercenary who has seen close on thirty winters.

He was clad in a chain-mail of tarnished silver, black woollen breeches, and mudstained leather boots that bespoke of a long and weary journey; his cloak boasted bloodstains as well as mud. His own blood, if his occasional winces and heavy limp could be trusted. Nevertheless it seemed as if he was not too keen on drawing notice to himself. That faithless cur, to betray him like this...

"Miss?" He called to the elven woman nearby, perhaps mistaking her for the serving staff. "Do you have any of those sickeningly sweet dwarven ale available, and if so, could you bring me a tankard? And some fresh bandages to dress my wounds, if you have any? It's nothing serious, I..."

He began coughing blood.

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Old 04-10-2010, 01:25 PM   #745
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Conversation between the elves had faded after the slight awkwardness of their interaction with Amadi and each gave their attention to their meal. Mithalwen had let her thoughts wander the path of her long memory until the new voice brought her back to the present - she wasn't sure he addressed her, but one glance was enough to tell her that he needed help and urgently.

In a moment she was at his side, later she might wonder at a mailshirt worn in the peaceable Shire but for now the blood that flecked his pale face held her attention fully. She rued that she had little leechcraft - there were those in Mithlond that did though there was not much call for it save for the odd accident or the succour of mortals in the area. Mithalwen thought bitterly that she could repair wood or metal but faced with an injury more serious than a scrape or minor burn she was at a loss.

She guided the warrior to a seat and called to her companions to seek help.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:08 AM   #746
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Ferethor had not meant to make a spectacle of himself like this. He hastily covered his mouth with his palm, a flush that might be half shame and half fever creeping up his hot cheeks, the crimson blood running down the length of his wrist to the bent elbow where it pooled onto the floor. 'It’s not… Not serious…' He managed to gasp out, half-strangled, as he let the elven woman support him to the nearby armchair where he promptly collapsed.

Exactly what wasn’t serious? He wondered feverishly in a lightheaded daze caused by the loss of blood. The broken piece of steel lodged between his ribs, the betrayal, or his own life? He was the typical rank-and-file, one that will do to swell a progress, perhaps, or start a scene or two; no doubt, an easy tool. When the war ended, the nameless soldiers who risked their all on the battlefield were discharged with a few silver pennies and a word of thanks. Ever since, he had tried to scratch and claw his way through life as best as he could, asking nothing else of his country. Now he was dying in a backwater inn because the new laws set down by King Elessar has decreed that all outlaws and their associates be hunted down and killed. Did Gondorian patrol even know that the brigands around here were former Gondorian soldiers who had nowhere to return to? Did they even care? The accursed officer with his 'Halt, and go no further!'...

'Besides, without me to smooth matters out, my former colleagues would have had no scruples about slaying the merchants instead of striking a deal. I probably *saved* their lives, not… not…' Ferethor muttered thickly, then stopped, chagrined that the elf woman might have heard.

It was unfortunate that he encountered the Gondorian patrol officer in such a backwater place as the Shire. If it was a city, he could lose himself among the crowd and the numerous buildings, but this… they’d come for him here, sooner or later. He had to leave. Now. But his sinews were paralyzed with pain and wouldn’t move. Perhaps it was better this way, to die in a place where no one knew his countenance or name, a quiet and nameless end that befit a nameless former soldier of Gondor. With luck, if he left his wounds untreated, then he'd be dead before the guards rushed into the inn to arrest him.

Ferethor wiped his bloody chin with his sleeves, took a deep breath, managed a weak smile, and tried his best to maintain a clear and steady voice as he lied,

'I thank you for your courtesy, fair miss, but it's nothing serious. If I sleep it off, I'd be fine.'

He nervously fumbled in his pocket, wondering whether he had the currency to repay the inn for the trouble that he would incur should he die here. A handful of bronze coins, not enough, and... Ah, the silver. He had not spent the pouch of silver pennies that he received as he was discharged from the military services, bought as it was with his blood. It would be only fitting to pay for the blood that he was spilling now with the Gondorian silver. He took out the black leather pouch with the silver tree of Gondor stitched onto it, and quietly slid it onto the table. There. At least he would be beholden to no one in death or life.
.

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Old 04-11-2010, 01:15 AM   #747
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Idhreniel blanched when she looked at the man. He was covered in blood, and was beginning to cough it up. "Oh Eru," she whispered, starting to spring to her feet and tripping over her chair in the process.

Glancing repeatedly over her shoulder at the bleeding man, Idhreniel ran to the kitchens, skirting around the edges of the room. "Sir!" she said, breathless, when she got to the innkeeper. "There's a man. I don't know who he is. He's hurt, and bleeding, and sir, he needs help. Send for a healer, or something. He's bleeding badly!" Idhreniel shut her mouth forcefully - she was starting to babble on. She turned and hurried back to Mithalwen and the man.

"The innkeeper, or one of the staff, have gone for help," she said. "What can we do until then, Mithalwen? Do you know any healing?"

All she could do was bandage small wounds, and she was poor enough at that. Half the time she forgot to bathe the wound first and - oh. Right. Bathe the wound.

"Do we have water? To wash the wound?" she asked, voice growing higher every time she spoke as she grew more and more upset. "Then again, maybe we should just wait until the healer gets here. But can we? How badly is he hurt?"
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:40 AM   #748
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Aeridor had finally reached the Golden Perch Inn. He was a lanky man of about 31 with brown hair down to his shoulders and a rather large black cloak covering him with the hood up. In his right hand he grasped an oak staff, and in his left he held a map of Eriador splayed out.

It was evident he had been traveling many a mile, and that the elements had not been so kind to him, but the look of relief on the man's face when he saw the round door to the Inn-built-in-to-the-hill defied his struggles. He was from the north east, from Forodwaith, but he had lost his family and was forced to leave after the rise of Angmar. He had an immensely strong will and could be quite persuasive if his will was strong enough, but he was also very greedy and stubborn.

"Built like an elf, but with the mind of a dwarf" his family used to say to him, and he chuckled at the thought of it, but a frown quickly came across his face as he remembered their passing. After fleeing Forodwaith he had made it to as far as Bree, where he started up an organisation known as MESS: Middle Earth Supremacy Sanction, which believed in the mortal's superiority, and bore a strong dislike for Angmar - as it was ruled by the immortal Witch-King - and inevitably the elves. He had been advised to come to this inn specifically by one of few recruits, so he set off on a journey to get here - mainly because he wanted to explore.

Aeridor's brown eyes gleamed with excitement and ambition as he walked up to the Golden Perch Inn eager to recruit members, and hopefully bring about his intent of mortal supremacy. MESS was hardly known, but Aeridor saw this as an advantage, and would keep his true ideas to himself until he had members.

He entered the Inn and found himself in the common room, where there was a man lying on the floor bleeding. A few people were gathered around him so Aeridor quickly took off his cloak and leaned his staff against the door. He rushed up to the man and examined him. "What's happened here? Do you need any assistance?" They were waiting for a healer, which luckily Aeridor had obtained skills of during his road life. He looked at who the people were; they were elves - members of a race he fiercely stood against and hated, yet helping a man possibly bleeding to death.

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Old 12-07-2010, 01:04 PM   #749
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November 2

Seredic Boffin wiped the next mug only half enthusiastically with his rag. He set it by all the others underneath the counter and cast his eye over the empty common room. Almost empty, anyway. The only customer sat by the fire, and even he probably wouldn’t be there very long. He was old Mr. Burrower, an old customer who came in at least once a week, and even the absence of Cela, the old cook, hadn’t caused Mr. Burrower to change his habits. He was a dear old fellow to continue coming so faithfully.

Dick sighed as he picked up another mug, and he looked out the window. The leaves on the trees outside were rattling in the dry, cold November wind, and the door was shut fast to keep nipping air out.

Rowan came in from the kitchen and stopped by him with a clean stack of towels. “Naught much happening today,” she said, glancing about the room just as Dick had. Dick just shook his head. “Poor old cook. I wonder whatever happened to her,” Rowan murmured. She bent to put the towels away.

“I wish you wouldn’t talk as though she were dead, Rowan,” Dick said. His tone was a little sharp, and Rowan straightened abruptly. “Prim’s getting right along with the cooking. Pretty soon our common room will be as full as ever. And, besides, the beer’s still alright, which is what brings the most business from neighboring towns.” Rowan didn’t answer. She just nodded and turned about and went back to the kitchen.

Dick sighed. Things hadn’t been the same since cook left. The food had been good, but not as good as it used to be. Moods had been darker, tempers shorter, and although he knew it, he couldn’t always change even his own. The cold, overcast days that continued to roll in one after another with no rain and no warmth didn’t help.
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:44 PM   #750
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Penny

Penny stood fidgeting, dancing a bit from foot to foot, as her aunt gave instruction to the stable-hand. A nice looking fellow, she thought. What with his honey colored curls and all. Smart, too. That is he took in Aunty’s instructions about the pony with a serious look on his face, no smirking, nodding his head as she ticked off the shaggy rascal’s little quirks and habits.

‘Now, mind you,’ she heard Iris say with a shake of her finger to emphasize the point. ‘Don’t go trying to brush him out before you feed him. I don’t want to hear that he’s nipped your arm ‘cause you wanted to do it your way!’

Seeing that Iris was about to begin instructing just how Velvet liked his oats done up, Penny excused herself with a quick smile at her aunt and a nod to the stabler. Picking up her own small satchel and Iris’ much larger carpet bag she made her way from the stable toward the Inn.

The dry, cold November wind chafed at her cheeks as she skirted round the building to the front entrance. Her feet hurried through the scattering of leaves along the way, making small crunching sounds as she passed.

A singular gust of wind gave some small assist as she pushed on the tight closed front door. A few leaves blew in with her entrance, skittering along the wooden floor before coming to rest beneath some old gaffer’s chair.

‘Sorry ‘bout that!’ she called out to the mostly empty room. Leaning her sturdy little body against the door, she shoved it shut tightly once again. ‘Didn’t mean to bring the chill in with me,’ she continued, coming to stand by the gaffer’s table. He was sitting near the fire enjoying a mug of something, something that smelled quite good . . . and warm, too. She could see the steam rising from the mug as he cupped it in his hands.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:50 PM   #751
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The crisp November wind gently blew passed the trotting paint stallion, the rider sitting astride his back gazing at the new land that was laying out before her. She pulled her steed to a halt at the entrance way of the small building that was built into the hillside, letting out a deep sigh before climbing off of him.

"We've done it this time, Aergolas."

The horse pawed at the ground, nipping at her grey cloak that was pulled tightly around her. Taking hold of the reins from his bridle, Aeron led the horse around towards the back of the building, smiling when she saw the stables.

"May as well stay for a while beings we're here, right?"

The paint shook his light chestnut and white mane, snorting at his rider. Chuckling, Aeron patted the side of his chestnut and white neck, leading him into the relatively warm stables. She led him into one of the empty stalls at the main end, removing his tack. Aeron smiled to herself behind her mask at the other two hobbits in the stables, pulling out a small brush from Aergolas' saddle bag, giving him a good brush down. Finishing up, Aeron closed and locked the gate to the stall, giving his muzzle one final scratch before exiting the stables, nodding her head in acknowledgment to the other two hobbits in the stables as she left.


Walking around to the front of the Inn, Aeron stepped inside, closing the door quickly so she didn't let any of the heat escape from inside the cozy room. Her eyes scanned over the relatively empty room, save for a few hobbits. The heat inside the room felt extremely good to her, not having felt as much warmth in quite a long time. Deciding to take up residence at the bar on one of the stools sitting there, she couldn't help but look at the small room with curious eyes, as if she had never seen such a sight before in her life. Her grey eyes landed on the hobbit standing beside a table for just a moment, before turning away to look at the wall in front of her. Truly she was an anti-social being and didn't mean to be, although that came from roving the wilderness of Middle Earth and being away from civilization for too long.

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Old 01-01-2011, 10:58 AM   #752
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Mr. Burrower barely noticed when the young hobbit entered the common room. He acknowledged the cold gust of wind with a slight hunch of his shoulders and that was all. But he could not very well ignore the young lady when she came and stood just by his chair, explaining that she had not meant to bring in the cold air. He turned his head and peered up at her.

“Well, why don’t you sit down and join me,” he offered. “You looked fair frozen to bits. Have you come far?”

--

“Ah, just as I thought,” Dick said to himself with satisfaction. Two new customers arrived, one after the other, in less than five minutes. He poked his head into the kitchen door and alerted Rowan and Primrose of the news and then returned to the bar where the woman sat.

“What can I get for you today? Something that will warm you up after that nipping wind, maybe? A pot of beer, perhaps? We have the finest you’ll find in a hundred miles!” That may have been an exageration, but it was certainly the finest beer she could find in the Southfarthing.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:04 AM   #753
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Pulling down her forest green mask, letting the material hang from her neck, Aeron smiled at the hobbit standing in behind the bar, chuckling at his words.

"A pot of beer sounds quite inviting, my friend, I believe I'd like to try some."

She continued afterwards to examine and survey the inside of the hobbit hole, thoroughly enjoying being in a different setting other than the barren lands known as the Weather Hills. She even enjoyed it more than she did the Prancing Pony; the feeling was more homely and comforting.
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:38 PM   #754
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Penny

‘Why thank you, Mister . . . ummmm...’ Penny’s brow furrowed as she realized she had no idea what the gaffer’s name was.

‘Burrower,’ the old fellow offered, filling in the trailing silence. ‘Mr. Burrower,’ he went on smiling as he nodded toward the empty chair across the small table. He waved a hand at one of the servers, motioning her over.

‘Oh, and I’m Penny…Penny Noakes…from Pincup.’ Settling her cloak over the back of the chair, she settled herself on the well worn seat.

‘Some sweet hot tea would be wonderful,’ she said as the server stood by the table, an expectant look on her face. Penny’s tummy grumbled, protesting its empty state; it had been a long time since breakfast. ‘Oh, and could you bring us some hot, buttered toast and maybe a pot of jam…and a plate of nice, crispy bacon?’

Penny grinned at the gaffer. ‘You’ll have a bit with me, won’t you, Mr. Burrower?’ She turned back to the server, ‘Could you make that for three, Miss? My auntie should be in soon. She’s just settling our pony with your stabler.’ Penny glanced toward the door, wondering what was taking her aunt so long.
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:41 PM   #755
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“A pot of beer, then, it is,” Dick said. He swept a mug from beneath the counter, whipped about, filled it, and finished it off without spilling a single drop of foam. He turned about to lay it before the young woman. He watched, rubbing a towel beneath his hands, while she took a sip of beer. “Eh, uh…have you been in these parts afore now?” he asked. “I doubt that I’ve ever seen a girl ranger before ‘round here, begging your pardon.”

--

Rowan nodded her head in response to Penny’s requests and turned about to repeat it to Primrose in the kitchen. Old Mr. Burrower sat as comfortably as ever across from Penny.

“I’ve already eaten this morning, but I won’t turn down a second breakfast,” he said. “Have you and your aunt come all the way from Pincup today? Mighty far piece, aint it? Are you visiting some folks and kin in this area?"
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:20 PM   #756
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Aeron had to admit; this beer very well could have been the best to ever pass between her lips and slide down her gullet, albeit it was the first she had had in ages. She looked up at the hobbit when he spoke to her, sitting the mug down on the hard wood counter. She chuckled at his question, giving him a sheepish smile.

"Nay, I fear my curiosity got the better of me, this time. I've never seen the wonderous sights of the Shire before, and after tending to some business in Bree, I just could not help myself."

Truly the Shire was a wonderous place for her to visit; she absolutely loved what little she had the privilege of seeing thus far. The young woman took another sip of the excellent tasting beer, smiling in satisfaction.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:11 PM   #757
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Walking quickly Arandon wandered the streets of Stock making for the Golden Perch Inn. The chill of winter was beginning to bite and he pulled his cloak tighter in a vain attempt to stave off the cold. As he approached the Inn he quickly and almost without thought made a mental note of it's characteristics a technique he had long ago learnt could very easily save lives with his being especially important amoung them.

He quickly mad his way to the door and noislessly opened it ducking as he entered within seconds he had noted all possible exits and where in the room the best seat was.
Without acknowledging the existence of any other being he made his way over to a small table in the corner where he sat silently puffing on his pipe whilst always keeping a careful watch on the others who were around him.

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Old 01-08-2011, 01:40 AM   #758
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“Ah, it’s from Bree you’ve come, is it?” Dick said, leaning his elbows on the countertop. “I’ve never been out that far. Are people as strange there as they say they are? I’ve heard some mighty strange tales of happenings in Bree, though not too many years back one might’ve said the same thing about our own Shire. Still, they are Outsiders…begging your pardon,” he added, realizing that he was speaking to one of those very same outsiders. “I didn’t mean to imply -”

His words broke off when another person entered the room. It was a man, apparently, but the hood was pulled up close over his face and Dick could not see what manner of man he was. The stranger took a swift glance about the room and then with a few, long strides, he took a seat in the darkest corner of the room and produced a pipe from somewhere within the folds of his cloak. It became immediately clear that he wished to see and not be seen or noticed.

“If you’ll excuse me…” Dick said, narrowing his eyes a little. He quickly passed about the edge of the counter and approached the newcomer doubtfully. He did not like shady characters and this was most certainly a shady one.

“Good morning, sir,” Dick said, coming to stand directly before him. “How can I help you?”

Primrose came out of the kitchen just as Dick was crossing the room to speak to the man. She put one hand on her hips and clicked her tongue. “He never did like it when people don’t say a proper ‘how d’ye do’,” she commented. She turned to Aeron. “It simply isn’t proper. Hullo. Can I get you anything to eat? It’s not right to drink beer on an empty stomach, you know. But I don’t believe it’s good to do anything on an empty stomach.”
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:39 PM   #759
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Arandon had noticed the barman looking at him during his conversation with a young female ranger, he carefully examined him as he wandered over. He seemed unexraordinary in appearence. The halflings it was said were a jolly and carefree bunch but he always found they were distrusting of him, he had certainly never thought they were overly warm to him on his journeys through the Shire to the Ered Luin. He allowed his mind to wander and thought of the mountains it was always where he felt most at home he supposed it all started when he was little and he would explore the Emyn Uial at the foot of which he had lived round 5 leagues from the northern shore of Lake Nenuial.

He was interrupted from his daydreaming by the barman whom he had totally forgotten about 'Morning' he muttered back only half returned from his daydream.

'I have walked many leagues and require a place to rest, have you any rooms avaiable?' His mind then turned to food having not had a decent meal for the last 10 days, he asked as kindly as he could 'Is it possible to order a plate of food and a pint of Ale?'
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Old 01-08-2011, 01:58 PM   #760
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That was more like it! Dick thought, nodding to himself. He thought that perhaps if the man was willing to be a customer he might not be so bad after all.

"Yes, we've got rooms available, and we have food, too, of course. I'll get you something directly."

"Prim," he said, bustling up to the counter. "See that the gentleman in the corner gets something to eat." He grabbed another mug and began to fill it.

"Just as soon as I get this 'ere young lady's order, then I'll go," Prim replied. "You did want something to eat, didn't you?" she asked Aeron.

Dick 'humphed' and then bustled off again to take the ale to the stranger in the corner. "The food will be coming directly. You've come many leagues, you say. What's your name?"
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