Rhifaroth Arrives at Bree
[+TIME] Middle-earth time is:
Dawn on Sterday, Day 7 of January.
Real time is: 19:41:07 MDT on Sun Jan 13 2008.
Outside the South Gate
To the west and the north lies the village of Bree, chief seat of the Bree-lands. The town is nestled under the western flank of Bree-hill, a sizable mass against the skyline. The Great East Road crosses by a causeway into Bree, which is surrounded by a large hedge. Where the road pierces the hedge, a wall thirty feet wide and fifteen feet high has been erected. The stones are set well, with little mortar, but obvious care. Inset in the middle of the wall, under an arching row of stones, is a sturdy wooden door with two windows: one high, one low.
The shroud of night has wrapped itself about the Bree-lands. The upper reaches of Bree-hill stand dark and silent above the hedge and gate, save for the occassional twinkle of light from house or hobbit-hole. Heading away from Bree, the Road appears to run in a straight line to the south.
The sky is void of precipitation, the air around you dry, and the ground parched due to months of neither rain nor snow. The dawn winter air is cold and dry around you. The moon is above the horizon and in its waxing gibbous phase.
SouthEast leads to Great East Road: South of Bree.
West leads to Along Bree's South Hedge.
NorthWest leads to Inside the South Gate.
The snow is crisp and icy, from several thawings and refreezings, and it crunches underfoot. Smoke from a hundred homes drifts lazily into the afternoon sky, catching the setting sun. The southern gate into Bree stands open still, though soon it will swing shut - and, warmly bundled (so warmly you can hardly tell who he is!), Nob stands in the gate and chats with the guard there.
Rhifaroth on Elfaron>
In the fading dusk light, a rider approaches the gate walking his horse leisurely along the cold road. The animal's breath puffs against the chill air with the slight bob of its head. A tall man rides the dark, young grey, who is clothed in a long black cloak against the winter wind's teeth. The stranger's hood is up, his face unclear at the distance. The rider seems unhurried and unconcerned as though weary and travel worn. Clearly though it would seem that the stranger intends to enter the town before night falls.
"Oh, she's fine. Just grousing a little on missing out from so..." The guard stops and squints against the gathering dusk. "Odd.." he says. "Somebody out. And in this weather!" Shaking his head at the follies of Outsiders, he steps a little more fully into the gate's entrance. Nob turns as well, his short hobbit figure as wide as it is tall.
A man of rather average height and build, neither small nor large. His dark brown hair is worn into a short ponytail that brushes his collar. He watches you through squinted and suspicious eyes, his face stern with permanent scowl lines. He wears a badge upon his left breast, showing him to be one of the Constables of the Town of Bree. A short sword hangs in a scabbard worn about his waist and his hand rests upon the pommel.
Rhifaroth on Elfaron>
The horseman slowly draws closer as the dusk settles ever more upon the icy land. The mounted figure is hunched a bit against hte cold, his black woolen cloak drawn close enough that even the man's hands are held within it's folds, close to his body. Only as the horse stops, seemingly of it's own accord, and raises it's head to snort at the strangers does the man perk up. He rolls his stiff shoulders and looks around as though he had been lost for a moment in fatigue.
When the stranger sees the guardsman with what appears to be a dwarf or something, he nudges his horse forward to walk a bit closer before halting once more before them. A rough voice with a strange accent asks, "What is this place?"
The guard's hand steals to the hilt of his short sword. "Bree," he says, eying the man dubiously. Nob blinks and stares. Strangers, he is well-accustomed to but ones who travel and don’t even know where?
Wyr is IC
Before you is a man who's height is just over 6 feet. He is fairly broad of chest, perhaps aging into his early middle years. Straight black hair reaches to his upper shoulder blades, tied loosely back. Strange, dark lines and dots make a tattoo pattern across his cheeks on either side of his nose, drifting down each side of his neck. Similar patterns lace up the backs of his hands and forearms. An old scar runs along his hairline at the right temple, and another along his jaw. Otherwise, his face has the bone structure of a man of Numenor, beardless and well formed - perhaps even handsome to some. Although fair of skin, creases around his eyes and mouth demark years spent in wind and sun. The man's eyes are a pale, silvery grey, wary of this world.
A studded jerkin of thick, boiled leather covers an off-white shirt. Long sleeves are pushed up to bare the man's forearms. Each wrist is scarred with old tissue as though from cuffs of iron, long ago. Grey woolen pants are tucked into high black riding boots which show signs of travel, but once held a fine polish. A plain long sword of very good make graces the man's left hip. A knife with a silvery raven's head might be glimpsed peeking out of the top of his right boot, just below the knee. A wide banded golden ring is worn upon the smallest finger of his left hand. Set flush into the ring is a smooth, tear shaped rich blue stone.
Rhifaroth on Elfaron>
The man let's out an audiable sigh, then shifts to stiffly dismount. Once his tall riding boots strike the hard, frozen ground, he turns and brushes the ice and bit of snow from his shoulders, shaking out the folds of his long black cloak. It is then apparent that some of what appeared to be snow is actually embroidery on the right breast of the cloak, next to the clasp - of a stylized white tree and seven silver stars. Whatever matching embroidery that once graced the left shoulder of the garment has been carefully picked out.
Reaching up with his left hand, the tall man sweeps back the hood of his cloak to reveal his face and black haired head fully, "Thank the Valor, I have finally made it to Bree!" The strangely tattooed face with silvery grey eyes smiles tiredly upon the two strangers, "Is there an Inn?" His words are crisp and oddly formed.
Will, the Guard, and Nob exchange glances. Will ventures the question in both of their minds. "Thank who?" he asks uncertainly. But Nob bursts in before the man can answer. "Of /course/ there's an Inn!" he exclaims. "Haven't you even heard of the Pony?" There is some mixture of shock and resignation in the portly hobbit's voice, and his brown eyes stare up at the man from inside several scarves (all red), a hood (dark green) and the wrappings of a short brown cloak. He shuffles his feet inside largish boots, which despite their suitability for the weather, somehow give the impression of not actually fitting very well. "We even have stabling," he says, assistant innkeeper instincts coming to the fore. "For the horse." He looks at it doubtfully, and prudently steps a little farther away.
Standing 16 hands high at the withers, this is a young stallion of Gondorian breeding - likely influenced with Rohirric stock. He has excellent substance to the legs and hooves without being heavy or coarse. He is the color of a stormy day, dark grey with dappling with black legs, mane and mixed tail. The overall proportions of the horse are square and balanced, with good clean movement and ample joints. He is outfitted for travel with plain, dark brown leather tack in the Gondorian style, and looks to be in lean but fit condition.
A pair of saddle bags are secured behind the cantle. Over this a bedroll wrapped in an oiled canvas that likely doubles for shelter in wet weather, with extra rope coiled neatly. A small round shield is hooked to the left front of the pommel, suitable for use while mounted. A light weight bow, unstrung, with a half quiver of arrows hangs from the right side of the pommel. It is adequate for light hunting but not a war bow. In front of the pommel drapes a water-skin.
Thiea comes through Bree's South Gate, along the Great East Road.
Thiea has arrived.
The man looks as though he was indeed about the answer the Guardsman, but the strange, short, portly fellow interrupts his thought. Looking the odd little fellow over carefully, the stranger nods and absently strokes the grey's neck, "Aye, and stabling for my horse. Elfaron and I have come a very long way. He deserves a good rest."
Glancing back to the Guard, the stranger asks, "I am unfamiliar with your customs here. May I then enter? Will either of you kindly show me the way to the Inn and stable?"
Will looks the strange man over carefully, stalling but there is nothing he can see to give him reason to forbid him the town - and besides, it's winter. The Inn could use the custom. He shrugs and starts to back out of the way, then stops. "Your name," he recites, carefully. "And where have you come from? And how long do you stay?"
The failing light of evening shadows form and features, but perhaps heightens the sense of hearing. A clear tapping sound resonates on the stones of the road, accompanied by a singular form, not yet in view of the watchers at the gate.
The tallish, broad shouldered stranger, holding his horse's bridle on the left side of the animal's head, begins to follow the guardsman but then stops at the question. "But of course... I am Rhifaroth, originally of Minas Tirith, Gondor. I have come these past months up from Dol Amroth and the sea of Belfalas." He smiles thinly, "As for how long I should like to stay, I do not yet know. Long enough..." the man chuckles, "To warm my bones and wait for spring, I hope."
The strange-sounding long and nearly incomprehensible names spin over Will's head. "Oh," he says intelligently. "Ah. Yes, yes, you may pass, of course. Er - no weapons in town," he adds, as an afterthought. He moves aside, back to his post, and Nob steps forward and makes a little bow. "Riferth?" he hazards. "Nob at your service. I'll show you to the Pony, if you'd follow me. Mr. Barliman has got a nice parlor warmed, if you'd care for it and we've a fine dinner cooking." He glances over his shoulder at the tapping noise, but gives it no particular attention.
Elfaron shakes his head and rattles his bit loudly in impatience. The dark grey young stallion paws the frozen ground with a steel shod hoof, eager to gain shelter and feed. The animal is overly lean as though it had not seen good grazing in some while, but has otherwise been well cared for by his rider.
Tap, tap, tap. As the figure nears, it presents itself as a lame woman, heavily cloaked and making her way up from town with surprising deftness into the midst of the group at the gate. "Ah, beg pardon, I'm sure," says Thiea Spool. "Evenin', Mr. Nob, Mr. Will." She peers curiously through the dim at the stranger, whose introduction she caught snatches of, those its numerous names mean little or nothing to her, either.
Rhifaroth nods and is turning his head to look at the smaller figure piping away eagerly - but something the guardsman says causes the stranger to pause and look back, "No weapons? That's absurd. Surely you jest." He pointedly glances back at his saddle, which carries a bow and quiver openly upon it, and a round shield with a few marks of past use in battle. For the moment he stands still, looking at the man with a somewhat sterner, more challenging look.
"Well," Will says, flustered, as his eyes follow Riferth's to the saddle and bow. "Bow's is for hunting, that's fine, of course. But it's the Chief's orders. No weapons, erm. Well. No swords, now, you see?"
"Good evening," Nob is saying to Thiea in the background. "And how are you today? Getting along all right, are you?"
"Aye, perfectly well, thank you." She rubs the end of her nose, which is pink with the cold. "The store has a proper amount of business for this season of the year, and well that it isn't too much, for with the cold comes the coughs and aches and pains, and a healer's got enough to do keeping up." She smiles grimly, giving the impression that all may not be well in the healing department.
Rhifaroth inclines his head, "The bow is indeed for hunting." He considers, then continues, "A very strange law... is your town then so peaceful that there is no violence here to suffer? Does then the long shadow of the East not reach to threaten this distant land, here? No orcs or trolls upon the roads? No robbers, thieves, or thugs of any kind in your town?" The man sounds, even with his foreign accent, to not believe in any such security. But he does not mention if he carries a blade beneath his cloak.
The guard relaxes a little, his round friendly face easing. "There isn't no orcs about here, not at all. Nor trolls neither, though my grand-da said he seen one once." A bit of a frown works itself into the creases of his face. "Couple fellers said they seen one bit ago... I reckon they was telling tall ones, though." And proudly, he adds, "We keeps the peace, we do. Not many go thieving, not here-abouts! And as they hasn't got swords, they can't cause much trouble, see?"
"Trouble?" Nob asks, concerned.
With half an ear toward the troll-talk (Thiea is never one to waste an opportunity to glean gossip she is, after all, a shopkeeper), Thiea nods in answer to Nob's question. "The mullein shortage is bad enough when I'm looking after four or five kids with coughs, and not a few elders on the brink. But go adding my own da into the mix, and, well, it tends to wear on a person, healer or not."
Nob nods commiseratingly. "And now, I suppose you'll have trouble finding any more until spring. Unless," he adds doubtfully, "Someone could find the dried ones in the snow? Would it work if it was dried?"
The stranger relaxes a little bit as well and shrugs, "I am quite unaccustomed to places, of late, being free of such pestilence - though of course Gondor suffers no orcs, trolls, or the like within her boundaries if she can help it. But she is a well armed and wary nation, to stand so close under His evil gaze..." Rhifaroth does not elaborate as to whom 'his gaze' refers to. The man waves a tattooed hand to indicate the town within, "But I give you my word that I shall cause you no trouble here, so long as no trouble comes to me."
Glancing back to his horse he strokes its neck to quiet Elfaron's impatience. To Nob he asks, "Will you show me that stable and Inn, lad?"
Thiea eyes Nob conspiritorially. "Aye, it'll work dry, and well... just like the good stock I put up this summer... what's gone and mysteriously vanished from my loft." She looks round as Rhifaroth addresses Nob. "Here, come 'round the shop later on if you're free and I'll tell you about it." Giving a curt nod to Rhifaroth and a wave to Will, Thiea trip-taps back the way she came, fading into the now near-darkness.
Will nods, his face still slightly suspicious, and steps back again out of the road. "Well, all I can say is I'm sorry for you then," he mutters, almost to himself. "Living in a place like that!"
"I'll spead the word," Nob promises. "Maybe someone as needs a bit of extra coin wouldn't mind going off and hunting for some for you." Startled, he turns to look up at the man. "Eh? Oh. Oh, yes, of course. Come along this way, then." And he starts off after Thiea.
Rhifaroth inclines his head politely to the woman, only just then really noticing her as she is already taking her leave of them. The man begins to lead his thin horse after the portly lad as Nob begins to lead the way. To the Guardsman, Rhifaroth glances back and smiles sadly as he walks, "‘Tis the way of most of the world I have yet seen,. Be truly thankful if it is not so here."
With steel shod hooves, the dappled grey horse is quietly lead through the dusky gate and into the wintry town. The man's saddle, saddle bags, and various stowed things creek softly with the horse's movement in the cold.
Thiea moves to the Northwest and enters the Village of Bree.
Thiea has left.
Nob, cheeks red from the cold, is disposed to be chatty. "So you'll be spending the winter here, then?" he asks. "Been cold, it has. Terrible cold, though we had us a nice spell a week or so back. The stablemaster'll take good care of your beast, no fear of that. He's a good man, he is. From Archet or somewheres, I think. Plenty of experience with them. I prefer ponies, myself... would you be wanting a stew tonight then, or something heartier?" As he speaks, he is moving along quite softly for the clumsiness of his boots.
The tall man also walks lightly enough for his size, but nothing so light and nimble upon his feet as the quick Nob. Instead Rhifaroth's tall black riding boots, once finely polished but now much worn with travel, stride wearily along making the snow crunch with his steps. Behind him his horse is much louder, breaking through ice and snow with his shod hooves.
Rhifaroth mostly listens to the chatter without much comment, being so tired and cold as he is just now. But at the last he glances at the other, "Stew? Anything hot would be welcome. I've had nothing but lembas and game meat for the past month.”
Nob moves to the Northwest and enters the Village of Bree.
Nob has left.
You go through the gate and enter the Village of Bree.
Elfaron> Rhifaroth has left.
----------------- Log cuts to the Prancing Pony Inn ---------------------
Under the Archway
You stand under the archway of the famed Prancing Pony Inn. The archway above your head is constructed of stone, and the wooden beams help give support to the inn's three storeys. The archway seems to separate the inn's two wings, and straight ahead lies an open-air innyard. That there are no visible doors or windows on the south wing might tend to indicate that it housed the town's stables. On the north wing, just inside the archway, a few broad wooden steps climb up to a doorway. Near the middle of the arch, and flanked on both sides by lanterns, hangs a 'sign' which shows a fat white pony reared up on its hind legs. Presently the lanterns are unlit.
Doorway leads to Entryway.
Archway (Out) leads to Before the Prancing Pony.
The man and horse follow the hobbit along up through the streets and into the town. Finally, they come to the Pony though now the hour is late enough that the sun has fled entirely, and left the night growing colder by the moment. A bit of harsh wind makes its way through the streets and causes the man to hold his cloak close against the prying fingers of the chill north's breath.
The horse seems glum in the cold, head lowered and ears back. The animal leans its shoulder against the man and turns its head about to press it at Rhifaroth. The man reaches up a hand to scratch at the horse's head, "Just a bit further, my friend. A warm stall and grain are your lucky fate tonight."
Looking at the inn, the man reluctantly turns towards the inn-yard, "I shall see to my horse first, before myself, lad. If that is the stables, I shall return in a few moments if there be anyone there to see to him."
"Of course," Nob says, head sunken into his scarves. He waits patiently as Rhifaroth heads towards the stables, muttering under his breath, "'M not a lad!"
Rhifaroth glances back over his shoulder and adds, "If no one is in there I may be a while with untacking and grooming. You may as well go on in and warm yourself." Then he trudges off with the tired horse.
After a while, which seems like an eternity in the cold night and fierce wind, the strange man finally returns without the horse. He carries a fair bit of gear up over left shoulder, his right hand holding his black woolen cloak as close as he might in the cold - keeping his long sword concealed as best he may. He has left the saddle and bridle in the stable, but brings his bedroll, shield, bow, and saddle bags. Once he has come back to Nob, he stamps the snow from his boots, "You didn't have to wait, lad."
Louder this time, Nob says, "I'm not a lad. And it was no problem, none at all." But now he gratefully opens the door to the inn and stumps inside, where he promptly divests himself of the boots, at least half of the scarves, his cape and the hood. Wiggling his furry toes with relief, he asks, "Would you like a room first, or shall I get you supper? And were you wanting to come into the Common Room, or have the parlour?"
Rhifaroth stops once they are inside and looks the strange, small, dwarf-like little man over carefully, taking note of the furry toes, lack of beard, and now bared feet. "My pardon, I mean no offence... how is it proper for me to address you? If your name was given me, I apologize for missing it. I am very weary."
At the last, the stranger adds, "I'd like to stow my things. A private room if you have one - I can pay for it, then the meal, please." Thinking of it, the man stops just as he starts to follow, "You wouldn't be able to draw a hot bath, would you? I must be frightfully soiled with travel."
"Nob," Nob replies. "You can just call me Nob. The rooms are right along here, and I'll have a bath readied for you." He starts off along the passageway, then stops and looks back, apologetically. "My apologies, but... did you wish to eat privately also? Or were you coming down to the Common Room after your bath?"
"Nob" the man repeats, "Very well, thank you." He glances at the rooms as they are indicated, then back to the strange little man named 'Nob'. "No, I'll be glad enough to eat in the Common Room now. The company will be welcome. I can bath after, then rest... if it's no trouble."
Nob nods several times, repeating it all to be sure he has it right. "Room, dinner, bath. Room, dinner, bath... here you are, sir, I'll just pop down and see you've a table - come along when you're ready, it's just along there." He throws open the door to a small cozy room, and waves a hand back the way they have come. And indeed, the chatter and laughter would guide anyone.
Nob climbs a few steps and passes through the open doorway that leads into the Foyer of the Prancing Pony.
Nob has left.
Once up in his room, the door closed, Rhifaroth sets down his gear and looks about himself. Reluctantly he unbuckles his sword belt and murmurs to himself, “Now, where am I going to stow you safely?”
--------------------- End of Log --------------------------