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Pipped at the post

Tags: Louse,  Agarhaz

Short Summary: A Dwarf's hope of locating the source of a much-chewed-on apple are in vain
Date (real-life): 2013-06-30
Scene Location: Center of Avenue of Tales
Date (in-game): April 3059
Time of Day: Evening
Center of Avenue of Tales

  The wooden street runs north and south here, passing in front of the wonderous Great Hall. Here is where all ceremonies begin, on the doorstep to the building on the east side of street. Four banners fly on the rooftop of the Great Hall and lean out over the street: The banners of Girion, Karath, Taurdain and Arathmor. The Avenue of Feasts heads out west across the way from the Great Hall and leads into the Market Square, and two smaller streets head east along the Great Hall to residential areas.

Obvious exits:
 East leads to Business Parade.
 Cedar Doors leads to The Great Hall.
 West leads to The Market Square.
 North leads to Avenue of Tales and Firespark Lane.
 South leads to Avenue of Tales and Merchant's Way.

----

Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Sun Jun 30 15:25:32 2013 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Sunday, midnight on a clear spring's night, April 23 of 3059

----

Spring is sprung, and all of Esgaroth seems the merrier for it. Already the long snows of winter are naught but a memory and instead the air is thick with the scent of the fresh flowers growing in some of the windowboxes - almost, but not quite, enough to drown out the omnipresent odour of fish.

It's reached the hour when shadows are lengthening and the trickle of traffic along the street is mostly in one direction: away from the Market Square and towards the residential areas. There are, however, out of the way corners if one does not wish to get swept up in the homeward rush. One such is offered by the steps leading up to the Great Hall. Sitting on those steps, tucked into an angle of the cedar doors, is a rather scruffy-looking greenshirted figure. The girl - for a glance at her burgeoning chest confirms that yes, this one is female - is currently munching on a wizened-looking apple, breaking off every now and then to see how far she can spit a pip. One must have entertainment, after all.

[Agarhaz(#10663)] The crisp freshness of spring is indeed in th eair as evening descends over the lake and shadows dance with the motion of wind over the water. But the tread of the khazad making his way through the hurrying townsfolk is anything but springy. He leans on his cane, not so much as if favoring an injury but rather as if he were so weary he simply needs the support.

His deep set eyes alight on the winter apple in the girl's hand and it seems to capture his attention. The barest glimpse of a tongue wetting parched lips is briefly visible through his dark whiskers and he turns his slow footsteps in her direction.

[Isobel(#23796)] The wind stirs water and air but also the clothes of the people in the street. A fairhaired woman, rather on the short side, walks briskly to the junction where Business Parade meets the Avenue of Tales and she stops there to survey the steady passage of people with a wrinkled forehead. The breeze catches the folds of her dark blue bloak and she grasps it with an annoyed click of the tongue before abruptly taking the plunge into the throng and joining them, going north.

The girl, Louse, is gazing eastward toward the Business Parade, her scrutiny resting in particular upon that short fair-haired woman. "Ain't that Missus Is'bel?" she murmurs aloud.

Focused as she is, the Greenshirt fails at first to notice that there is a Dwarf approaching her. When she does, she spits out the next pip in that direction out of sheer astonishment. This .. this walking beard wants to talk to her? But then she seems to recollect the Great Hall behind her, shuts her mouth (which had fallen open) and scrambles up. "Allo, Mister," she greets Agarhaz in an accent that's horribly thick and leaves each word horribly mangled. "Yer 'eadin' in there, right?" One thumb jerks to indicate the cedar doors.

Agarhaz comes to a halt, folding his hands over the top of his cane as the apple pit bounces off the boards at his feet. His sherp blue eyes follow it until it slips between two planks and is lost, then he look sup at the doors of the Great Hall. With a laconic wave of the fingers of one hand, so slight he doesn't bother to lift his palm off the cane in the process, he says, "No, lass. I've been there before." His voice is hoarse and he speaks slowly, a strange expression on his weathered face as if the sound of his own speech is somehow more surprising to him than the urchin's accent. A glance at the passing people and he seems to relax a little, "I'm Agharin's son, late of Erebor, as you might have guessed. Pray, do you happen to know where a poor traveler could find more like that apple you have there?"

[Isobel(#23796)] Indeed, it is 'Missus Is'bel' and when the noblewoman's eyes happen to fall on Louse she stops in her tracks. Only a few moments but enough to cause mischief; the person behind her wasn't quite paying attention and dodges at the last second but still ends up shoving his elbow into her arm. She yelps and the ungently rendered prod, however unintentional, sets her moving again, gaze firmly fixed on the Greenshirt. She draws the cloak tighter about her and hurries past lass and dwarf with a, "Good afternoon, Louse! Can't stay and chat, I'm to meet my cousin."

Louse doesn't look in the least chastened that she's just spat at a visitor. She stares at him, brow furrowed, and when he gives his name she offers awkwardly, "Bless yer!" It /was/ a sneeze, wasn't it? When the final words come, that look of consternation clears and she glances down at the well-gnawed item in her hand (there's perhaps a quarter of the apple left, and it's covered in tooth marks). "Ohh. Yer wantin' ole Coleson in th'Market Square - only 'e's gone done an' packed up fer th' day, an' 'e ain't there termorrer. 'E only shows twice a week."

Perhaps she might have said more, but at that moment Isobel hurries past. Louse blinks and enquires solicitously, "Yer all right there, Missus? Yer sounded like a scalded cat!" Ahh, such tact!

[Agarhaz(#10663)] The bedraggled dwarf watches the young noblewoman stumble past with a raised eyebrow. His clear eyes flitting from the brooch she wears up to the doors of the Great Hall once more before returning to the urchin. He tilts his head and one side of his face bunches and moves as he chews unconsciously on a bit of his ill kept mustache. Then he blows out a breath that makes the whiskers flutter, "Well then, you deliver ill tidings for one so brightly clad. But its my own fault for arriving so late in the day." He taps the cane on the boards between his boots, "My feet move slower than my appetite, you see."

Louse misses that wonderful display of beard-chewing: she's still staring after Isobel worriedly (dashing off like that is surely suspicious behaviour!) She does at least look back when the Dwarf speaks. "Never mind, Mister, I bet yer gonner find lots o' other good things ter eat. Pies an' stuff ..." She waves a hand vaguely, then recalls she's still holding that final bit of gnawed-on apple. She chews on her lip in silence for a moment and then offers, very magnanimously, "Yer want this?" She doesn't even quote a price - certain sections of the Underdecks population would be horrified!

Agarhaz grows suddenly as still as the wind the moment before a storm breaks. He looks at the offered fruit and his brow knots itself in consternation reminiscent of a scribes illuminated doodle in the margin of some tome of tortured poetry. Then, with no trace of transition, his visage splits into a broad grin and the laughs heartily. "Keep your apple lass, enjoy it." he leans the head of the cane against his side and holds the stout stick with ihs upper arm as his hands fiddle at his belt, "Here, that's as much a kindness as I've seen in many a moon. Take this for your trouble." Deft fingers twist a link free from his belt, bending the soft gold and pulling it free with a twist. Its a tiny link and its loss seems to have little effect on the already barren appearance of the once impressive belt.

"Yer sure?" A rather relieved-looking grin lights up Louse's sharp features as she lets her apple-holding hand drop back to her side.

With his next actions, however, Agharin's son once again manages to confound her. Louse blinks at the little gold link, mouth falling open slightly, and to hide her surprise she says the first thing that pops into her head: "Ain't yer trousers gonner fall down if yer keeps losin' bits off that?" It's ... an appalling image. However, appalled or no, Louse's natural Decks cupidity comes to the fore in her next speech. "Course, if yer /sure/ yer don't need it ..." She holds out her free hand hopefully. "Was there anythin' else yer was needin' a 'and with? Us Greenshirts are good at 'elpin' folk." She puffs out her chest, feels buttons strain and rapidly slumps her shoulders again to keep her green shirt in one piece.

Agarhaz presses the little scrap of metal to her hand, insisting she take it, "Go on. I suspect I'll have to go home soon enough and I've other belts." His sun-darkened knuckles wrap around the haft of his cane once more and he tilts his head inquiringly, "Tell me, is Brue still running the Flagon? Its been years since I set foot in there, even if he's still at it he might not remember me." The latter part of that statement seems to be more of a thought that escaped unbidden and his wild eyebrows dip down to shadow his eyes as he hears himself speak.

Who's Louse to spurn generosity like that? Eagerly her fingers close round that tiny link, hiding it from view; her hand disappears somewhere inside the green shirt and when she withdraws it again the link is gone.

At the question, the girl nods firmly. "Course 'e is, Mister. Like 'is uncle, and 'is grandaddy afore 'im. There's right good ale in th' Flagon, an' it's allus warm. I likes it." Suddenly a thought occurs to her and she tilts her head, regarding her new acquaintance through narrowed eyes. "Say, Mister, what did yer do that 'e'd remember. Did yer break a few tables or summat?" The grin she flashes now is admiring; then the girl shoves the entire remaining bit of apple into her mouth and concentrates on chewing.

Agarhaz turns part way around to glance back at the tavern in question. His smile, still lingering after her offer of the half eaten apple broadens slightly, "No, I try not to break tables anywhere that the ale is good. As a general rule, mind you. As to what I did that he would remember? Well, maybe nothing." He looks back at her, and seeing her chewing the last of the core, pulls himself up to his full height so as to be ready to dodge should more flying pips head in his direction.

Louse, unsurprisingly, chuckles at those words of wisdom regarding tables. "Must be why th' stuff in th' Fishtale's allus breakin'," she mumbles, a few flecks of chewed pulp escaping with each word (that Dwarf better not be too close!).

Her companion need have no fear that he'll be peppered with pips; from Louse's head-turning she's clearly seeking another target. A silence filled with intense concentration follows and then, swift as a ferret down a trouser-leg, the young Greenshirt turns her head and spits ferociously and rather accurately in the direction of a fur- and silk-clad figure passing the corner of the Great Hall before turning southwards toward the Arathmor residences.

[Agarhaz(#10663)] As the sudden barrage of masticated fruit hurtles toward the unsuspecting passerby Agarhaz chuckles softly, "You would find yourself at home at a dwarven table, my young friend. Thank you again, for the offer of the apple and for brightening an old dwarf's day." He gathers himself up, perhaps to head to the Flagon, "I think its time I started setting things to rights. I've no doubt I have a mess to put right. But first, I think I'll have some of that good ale. Would you care to join me?"

Offers of free ale are not to be sniffed at. "'Course, Mister," Louse responds eagerly - but then comes a cry of outrage as that poor unsuspecting merchant (hmm, we don't even know if he /is/ a merchant, do we?) turns smartly on the heel of his shiny black boot to view the crowd, clearly seeking a culprit. "Gotter go!" the Greenshirt gasps, already springing nimbly down the steps. "Be seein' yer!" Taking to her heels, the girl runs off northward, following the same path as Isobel earlier.

[Agarhaz(#10663)] The dwarf looks bemused a moment at the girl's sudden departure but shakes his head, still smiling and starts to pick his way through the thinning crowd toward the Flagon.


Date added: 2013-07-02 11:43:44    Hits: 65
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