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Bor's Folly: Theoden King

Tags: Imrakhor Theoden Menelglir Bor's Folly Bragollach Numenor

Short Summary: Imrakhor reveals to Theoden the true purpose of the Gondorian's quest.
Date (real-life): 2011-06-03
Scene Location: Rohan: The Meduseld

Doors open. The wind whooshes in from without. The voice of the Seneschal rings out across the chambers of the Meduseld in Rohirric, "Sirs Menelglir and Imrakhor of the Stoningland, and Eostan of the Riddermark." It is the latter of the two Gondorians that enters first; he is lordly of bearing and clad in the dark raiment of the House Bragollach. A pillar amongst pillars, his face wears the grim countenance of a lost world. In his wake comes Eostan, golden-haired and proud, walking steadily but without such deadly disposition.

Third in this group announced into the Meduseld is Menelglir, the silver, black and blue colors of his family evident in his tabard and cloak. Solemn is he this day, though his eyes briefly lift up to take in the full glory of the hall. Quickly he brings them down again, set forward before him.

Upon the throne is Theoden, hale though perhaps looking wearied by the audiences of the day. He bends to speak to a man upon a stool, a man holding a harp. Then he speaks to the hall-steward, and a goblet is brought to him, filled with some liquid that is faintly steaming. The King of the Mark sips at this, then nods and holds it out to be taken again. He watches the trio approaching, his eyes brightly flickering. A nod, slow, steady, and he regards the Stoninglenders thoughtfully. "Welcome to the Meduseld," he says at last, speaking in his native tongue.

Eostan bows to Theoden King before that King's words are loosed upon the hall. So, too, comes a bow from the Lord Bragollach. At Theoden's greeting both rise and the King's word are offered to the Lord Bragollach in his native tongue. Imrakhor replies loud enough for only Menelglir and Eostan to hear.

His words are such, delivered in Rohirric:

"Theoden King, your hospitality is graciously received. I arrive before you a representative of my Prince, Imrahil: a voice to his thoughts, a friend to his allies, a weapon to bear upon his enemies. So I come, as a friend, to enlist the council of the House of Eorl on matters most grave."

Menelglir's bow is deep, and his attention is certain upon the conversation. But the younger knight holds his tongue in these matters, at least for now, instead watching the King as he speaks, and then their interpreter, head tilted almost as if he is trying to understand the Rohirric.

"Do you, representative of Imrahil Aetheling have a name and parentage? And the other with you, does he come for the same reason?" The King leans back in his chair, tilting his head slightly. "And what matter is 'most grave'? What council is sought? And why hidden under guise of a wedding envoy?"

Again, the Bragollach Knight speaks through Eostan.

"I am Imrakhor Bragollach, Lord of the Bragollachs, Captain of the Black Swan and son to the once-Lord Dauragor Bragollach, descendant of Battanuazor of Numenor, a Lord of Hyarrostar and so named Bragollach for the Sudden Flame within his heart, whose lineage reaches back to the House of Beor. It is at the behest of such ghosts of the past that we now travel through your lands."

"Sire," Menelglir says, acknowledging the King addressing the question to him with a bow of his head, "I come, too, at the behest of Prince Imrahil, who I serve. He it is who has commanded me to give whatever aid I am able to Sir Imrakhor and the matter that brings us across the many leagues in the midst of winter's grip."

"As for my family, I am the son of Sir Nalstrarim Telpekhor, sire."

He looks to Eostan to translate.

Theoden's gaze sharpens before Eostan has a chance to translate; it is likely clear that he understands his visitors perfectly well. There is a flash like fire kindled in his eyes, and then he nods, looking sidelong at the seated scop. The bard looks over to the far corner, where another man is seated, wrapped in a cloak, his head bowed. Theoden's eyes narrow and his lips thin. "Ghosts of the past," he says, his voice sibilant almost, though clear. He leaves the rest alone, parentage and all. "Speak of this."

A flash from within his cloak and the Lord Bragollach produces a ledger within his hands. He hands the careworn tome to Eostan with these words.

"A ledger was delivered to me through such means as Amroth has to harry the servants of the East. It is written in Haradaic but the authenticity of its age and content has been confirmed by our scribes. It details the plight of who we believe to be Firiel, Ruling Queen of Gondor, whose peril was ensured by the fall of her husband, Prince Ardevui of Arthedain in the year 1975."

"She was driven, we believe, to the lands of the pukel-men of Druwaith Iaur, where we travel now. I offer no deception, Theoden King. The wedding is no farce and our journey shall perhaps bear no greater reward than that."

"Indeed, sire," Menelglir adds through the interpreter, "the wedding shall be the one bright spot in the journey. Seemingly, at least."

"And what has this to do with us?" asks Theoden, taking the scroll from Eostan. "I speak not Haradric; I know not of any who do in my lands. The elf-tongue, or even the Adunaic, I could find those." There is a dark amusement that flickers briefly in Theoden's eyes. "But as it is. Firiel, Queen of the Stoningland, travelled... where, precisely, then? Dunharrow is the domain of the Pukel-men, or was, a darkling place under the haunted Dwimorberg. But what of it?"

Eostan repeats Theoden's words to Imrakhor, to which the Lord Bragollach replies. His eyes meet the King's own and they are dark and forbidding.

"A Queen of Gondor does not simply disappear, Theoden King. Even in such desperate times. We seek passage across your lands to these, for our own Andrast, which borders the Druwaith to the South, is a treacherous terrain. We follow her path to her end, or perhaps our own," says Eostan.

"A queen of Gondor obviously disappeared, whether she might or might not. There are many strange things in this world. But... passage. Passage you may have. I will even gladly resupply you if you wish. But do not bring the ghost-folk upon us, nor the spirits of the Pukel-men." There is a hint of disapproval in Theoden's eyes, and once more he glances to the corner.

Imrakhor's cloak flutters ever so briefly, his eyes unmoved from Theoden. Eostan speaks to him and the Rohirrim's words are clear enough; yet the King's disapproval is clearer still. The Lord Bragollach withers not, saying:

"Our lands sunk by pride, our people scattered to the will of the Enemy, our bloodline dwindled. I do not idly rustle the graves of our elders. I can make no guarantee upon that which is to come, not even upon my life, for that is perhaps forfeit as well. I come in search of an answer, an answer to a question that we all must face: to what end do we come?"

"Was Firiel upon her feet? Was her death greeted by a smile to the West?"

"Or was she bowed and broken, her hope lost?"

"To what end?" Theoden tilts his head, and then he laughs softly. "We die. All of us, we die. And after that, who knows? And why should it matter, for if there is a life after this one, it is not part of this. It is another place, another life, another time. What might be in such a life has no bearing on what is, or will be, or should be in this one. I look hopefully to sit in the halls of my fathers, proud in their company. But pyre or mound, flame or worm, I shall lay my body down cold, and worms or flame shall eat it. So happened with your Firiel Queen. Death honours no rank."

There is laughter only in Imrakhor’s eyes: a fell, drunken laughter, and tiny pyres ignited upon this Lord's young face. Elsewise, his words are calm.

"Should Theoden King find his demise upon the fields of Gondor, I shall let no worms consume his body and no ignominy cloud his end. All shall know that he fell from his feet, spear in hand, the Riddermark upon his shoulders and deadly purpose upon his brow," says Eostan, bowing at these words.

Again the King laughs, though there is something more gentle in it. The man in the corner gasps softly, but for the moment the son of Thengel pays him no heed. "Should I fall on the fields of the Stoningland, shall I die in the land of my birthing, I shall not fall from my feet but from a horse," he retorts. "And perhaps there shall be glory in that. I am not foresighted, nor do I wish to know." He shrugs. But either way, I can understand the mystery of a queen gone missing, but that was hundreds of years ago, and what bearing it can have on the now is beyond me. I would that you explain it clearer."

The Lord Bragollach hears laughter and the words of Eostan. He replies with rigid speech:

"The voice that calls from these parcels: it is not the voice of Firiel, nor is it the whispering trickery of the Haradrim. Yet it is a voice that knows my name."

"I sleep and the voice calls to me. It dances upon my dreams and haunts my nightmares. These vagueries are all I have to offer. I fear they do little to clarify."

"At this the king nods his head. Something flickers in his eyes: understanding, perhaps, or a wary pity. "Safe passage, aye," he says gently. "And what else do you seek?"

"The Lady Cwen, a kinswoman of ours, whom you met not long ago. Her cousin is to be married within Edoras and I would see a grand celebration afforded her family. I have money; but these are the lands of Theoden King, and money does not buy such favor. Your favor nor your appearance," says Imrakhor to Eostan, who repeats. "Otherwise, passage is all I ask."

"I do not wish to tie the fates of the Riddermark to fallen Numenor."

"By the Oath sworn by Cirion and Eorl, so we are tied already," answers Theoden. "Though many do not know what that means. Even I do not know clearly all of it, but enough... I know enough, see enough. And if we do not stand together we shall all fall separately. The lady.... aye, her cousin. I would know his name, or hers, and a celebration is a good thing. But... this other errand..."

"I will have both delivered to you, as well as the Lady Cwen. All speak the favored tongue of the Meduseld," says Eostan, continuing to relay."

"This other errand. Perhaps you see what I see in it, Theoden King."

"The native tongue of the Meduseld," corrects Theoden, though there is no ire in his voice this time. "As for your other errand... yes and no. But... I can see enough. More than I want to know. But let me know if more is needed. Loremasters might avail you..."

Imrakhor bows as Theoden's words are brought to his ears.

"Thank you, Theoden King. Let my bow be signatory of the bond which exists between our peoples. The Lady Cwen will be most pleased to speak with you."

And so the Lord Bragollach rises and awaits dismissal from the King.

"You are welcome, Swan-Knight, faithful man of the Sea-Prince. If you do not come this way again, send him my greetings. Go now, and take your ease for as such time as you may. Passage you shall have, and aid as needful. Ferthu hal, Imrakhor.”

This time, the words are from the Lord Bragollach himself.

"Ferthu hal, Theoden King."

With that, he turns. His exit is no brighter than his arrival and he is left alone with his own thoughts. Those thoughts, ever darkly burdened.


Date added: 2011-06-04 13:16:39    Hits: 131
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