Where is Thari?
Ranol hasn't completely panicked yet, because while Thari hasn't been found in her room, in the common room, in the parlour, or outside.. he figures she's -probably- snuck off with Frarin somewhere. So it's mostly irritation running through the young dwarf right now. He's irritated that he has to find her at all, and he's irritated that she snuck off without telling anyway which seems incredibly childish to him.
He's pulling his heavy grey cloak over his shoulders as he leaves the inn, the light of the morning still growing brighter. There's an obvious scowl on Ranol's face as he slows, looking around slowly and trying to decide which way to go.
[Frarin(#31050)] Down the cobblestone pathway from the sign of the Prancing Pony comes another cloaked dwarf, this one the same that Ranol seems to think the source of his irritation, for it is Frarin the silver merchant. He comes from the centre of town, walking quickly with his limping gait. A scarf there is also about his neck and gloves upon his hands, and from the exagerrated redness to his face and the mushy snow that sticks to the bottom fringes of his trousers and cloak, he seems to have been out of doors for some time.
Upon sighting Ranol, Frarin's pace quickens still more and he raises a hand to the clan-karl eagerly. Ranol approaches Frarin, hurrying up to him but it's not the friendliest face on the clan-karl. "Have you seen Thari?" It's more a demand than a question, but his job is to keep an eye on the dwarf and he's not doing that right now. Normally Ranol is far more polite and curteous, but there's an edge to his voice right now.
[Frarin(#31050)] The edge in Ranol's voice does not go unnoticed by Frarin, but neither does it seem unexpected. The silver merchant gives a shake of his head, brow furrowed unhappily. "No, I haven't," he says. "Not for two days now. I've just been down to the market again to check for--" a glance towards the inn "--him. And I was coming back to see if maybe he would have returned to the inn for lunch."
Ranol runs his hand through his short ink-black hair, a stressed expression taking over his features. "You swear you haven't seen Thari?" He feels bad about doubting the silver merchant, but it's unlike her to up and disappear without word to anyone.. well.. maybe not, but Ranol tends to think the better of people regardless of the truth.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin bristles slightly at the clan-karl's need for assurance, frowning and narrowing his eyes. "I don't need to swear a thing. I said I haven't seen Thari and I haven't." He shakes his head, tugging at his beard as he looks up at the looming shape of the inn. "I went to Thari's room, the night before last," he says very low, holding up a hand before Ranol can give any sort of exclamation. "/Nothing/ happened. I just wanted to talk to him. But I thought perhaps you or your Thane might have heard me and told Thari off for it, and that maybe perhaps he had gone off in a huff about it."
Ranol drops his hand to his side. "Thari isn't here. I've checked the inn extensively. Braldor told me to find him.. but I can't. I assumed you two were together. The pony is still there.." His only show of nervousness is the restlessness of his light blue eyes as his gaze quickly shifts around.
[Frarin(#31050)] Drawing a breath, it is Frarin's turn to run a concerned hand through his hair, absently scratching the back of his head as he thinks. "No, no we're not together," he says, though he is distracted as he turns to look back down the cobblestone pathway. "And he's not at the market. I've asked at the southern gate and Thari hasn't been through lately. We might check with the guards at the other gates perhaps? To make sure he is still at least in town."
"Aye.. that's a good idea. I don't want to alert Braldor yet. He'll likely grow upset. I'd rather have some details first." The clan-karl furrows his thick black brows, hoping that Thari hasn't done anything foolish..
[Frarin(#31050)] "Durin only knows," says Frarin, rolling his eyes and absently tossing a hand in the air. "It's likely nothing, but after the last time Thari went missing...And all this business with the treasure. Well..." He drifts off, hugging his cloak about him and distractedly touching the head of the war hammer at his side. "Come on then," he says gruffly, starting back down the cobblestone pathway towards the sign of the Prancing Pony.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] The dim sound of steel shod hoof clunking against paving stone for a moment sounds in the street, coming towards the Inn. Snow still lays in the streets, muffling sound for the most part, except for crunching of ice or slush. But the other sound was different. And indeed, there comes a horse being lead by a tall man on foot. The horse is a familiar grey, saddled, but not being ridden. And as the animal moves closer to the dwarves it becomes apparent that Elfaron has lost a shoe. A shoe that is still attached loosely and flopping about a little bit with each step.
Seeker does not look pleased. Hood up, he walks the stallion back towards the stables from whatever outting he had departed on the day before.
Ranol moves to follow Frarin, his eyes still narrowed and a serious expression on his face. He looks up at Rhiafaroth once, then suddenly pauses as he recalls that Thari knows the man. He smooths his face to a more casual demeanor and asks in a forced pleasant tone, "Good afternoon, have you perhaps seen Thari about this day?"
[Braldor(#30149)] Not long after Ranol exits, another dwarf comes from inside the Prancing Pony. It seems that frarin and Ranol have both contributed to conjure Braldor, Thane Bundazanul, and by the look of him, he ain't a happy dwarf today. His brow is furrowed, his dark eyes flash dangerously, and his step is unusually brisk and loud. However, as he sees his two brethren standing by the entrance of the Pony, he seems to remember his manners, and his temper seems to subside a little bit. "A fair evening to ye, cousins", the thane says, as he approaches the other two dwarves. Seeker, it seems, has gone unnoticed until Ranol brings the Thane's atention to him. "Oh, and a fair eve to ye too", he manages to say, giving the Man a curt nod. But soon his eyes go back to the clan-karl. "Why be ye asking for Thari, lad?", he asks, as he nears Ranol, "For surely ye can find Thari easily enough somewhere in the town, do ye not?"
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin's limping gait slows at the sound of shod hooves upon the cobblestones and stops when an unhappy looked Seeker comes into few. "Seeker," he greets politely, not unfriendly but the mild stress in his voice is not masked. He glances to Ranol as if to reiterate the karl's question to the man, but the sound of the Thane Bundazanul behind them calls Frarin's attention instead.
"My lord," says Frarin with a nod. "I have already been the market and Thari is not there, nor has he passed through the south gate of late. But I have not seen him since lunch of yesterday."
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] The sound of a dwarf's voice he is not familiar with draws the man's attention. He inclines his head politely to Ranol, with a glance to Frarin, "Nay, I have not." A third dwarf comes out to join them as the man draws the horse to a stop. Seeker doesn't really know Braldor either, but also gives that stout fellow a polite nod, "And to you, sir."
Ranol whips around at the sound of Braldor. So much for covering it up. The clan-karl bows to the Thane, tensing at the offhand question that Braldor asks about easily finding the missing dwarf. As he straightens he speaks as casually as he can manage, "I did not locate Thari in the inn, so I was about to check around town when I ran into Frarin here.. and this man I know is aquaintance of Thari as well."
[Braldor(#30149)] Braldor's brows furrow again at Frarin's words, and even more so at Ranol's. "What do ye mean, Thari has not been seen since yesterday?", he says, as his temper seems to be rising again. "Ye mean to say thari did not sleep in the quarters that were given to our group by Butterbur?", he adds, as his dark eyes go from Frarin to Ranol, and then back to the Merchant. "And if that be the case, why are ye here, instead of going to me and letting me know of this?", he adds, and now his eyes seem to pierce Ranol, clan-karl of Bundazanul.
[Frarin(#31050)] With a sidelong glance at Seeker, Frarin presses his lips together and mutters a forced casual response to the Thane's first question, "How should I know?" But Braldor's next string of questions makes Frarin bristle again and he shakes his head. "Thari is an adult, my lord, he can look after himself. We were merely looking for him out of concern and /I/ at least did not feel the need to make an official report on his status." Seeker is, for the time, ignored.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] This all of course does not really concern the tall man. But, the dwarves are blocking the path he needs to take to lead this temporarily lamed horse through to the stables. So he waits patiently, not saying a word, and using the excuse to listen in and find out what is afoot in town -this- day.
And as he does so, standing there holding Elfaron's bridle and reins, Seeker turns his cowled head and keeps an eye on who is coming and going around the Inn. In particular, he watches out for a certain young woman.
A young woman /does/ come out of the Pony. She is about Cordy's height and build. And she wears the same nondescript cloak, hood up. She strides down the path.
[Braldor(#30149)] "Well, that does not suprise me in the least, lad", Brador replies, assuming a condescending tone, "for ye Barazins seem to have grown quite disinterested in the affairs of yer clan since yer last Steward went away, ashamed perhaps opf some ill dealing he did", he says. "But in Bundazanul we care for our own, and defintely if one Bundazanul is missing, we will /all/ look for him, even if it means staying in this town for as long as it takes. And also", he adds, his dark eyes not leaving Frarin, "as Thane of the clan, 'tis my responsibility to ensure that all me brothers get safely back home... At least, that is Thane Bundazanul's main concern, although i know not if the brazins are of like mind".
Ranol had begun to try and and explain things, but his thane turns to Frarin and the clan-karl waits while Braldor makes his digs. He speaks up when a lapse presents itself, "My lord, I think this time might be better spent searching? I don't believe Frarin has any smaller desire than our own to seek out Thari."
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin bristles further still at Braldor's condescending tone and he even raises a hand as if about the retort. "If you think--" But he breaks off with a snort and a glare, as if forcing himself to remember the real reason for this unexpected gathering. He nods sharply in agreement with Ranol. "Aye, right you are, lad. And as I was saying, I'm going to check the west and north gates. I've already been to the inn, but that Hazel wouldn't have a word except about how her helpers keep dropping off like flies. So, if we might, my lord?" He eyes Braldor, gesturing towards the cobblestone pathway.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] As the young woman who came out of the Pony will have to edge through the blockage of dwarves in order to get past, Seeker stands quietly watching her. She will have to pass fairly close. And as she does so, the tall man inclines his head to her politely, "Good afternoon." he says, fishing perhaps for a response to see if it really is Cordelia.
The woman looks up. She's got blonde hair and grey eyes under that hood of hers. "Good afternoon," she answers politely, a bit startled, perhaps by the greeting from a stranger. She makes to keep on her way.
[Braldor(#30149)] Braldor makes a dismissive gesture with his hand to Frarin, as he turns to Ranol. "Ye shall go with Frarin and aid him in his search of the West and North gates of this town. I shall go and seek thari myself, and alert tjhose of our kin to also look for Thari. We shall find him in no time", he adds, as he turns on his heel and starts making his way back into the Pony.
Ranol nods at Braldor's instruction and executes another quick bow. "Yes, my lord. I apologize for not seeking you sooner. I merely wished to be sure that something was amiss before troubling you." He keeps his gaze low, trying to avoid letting Braldor see his irritation.
[Frarin(#31050)] "Oh good, a full out search party," Frarin mutters very quietly into his beard as Braldor turns to return to the inn. "Yes indeed, let's not draw attention to Thari, shall we." But these words are very low indeed and grumbled as Frarin turns away from the Thane. He starts towards the road outside of the Pony, pausing to nod to Seeker. "Could you...keep an eye out for Thari, my friend?" he says low. "After the stables yesterday...I was mildly worried that someone might have begun wondering about the...gossip. Just, be aware, mm?"
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] His own attention drawn from the young woman who passed, back to watching the Prancing Pony patrons coming and going, Seeker than turns his head to Frarin's low rumble. "Of course, Frarin. I'll keep an eye and an ear open for him. If I do see him, I'll tell Thari that you are looking for him."
As the other dwarf has left and the path is now a bit clearer, the scruffy man in need of bathing begins to lead Acelen's horse back towards the stables, "Cordy been about?"
That question seems thrown out off handedly - but he has been gone since yesterday.
Ranol says nothing further until Braldor is gone, then turns his attention back to Frarin and the man guiding the horse. He's only seen this Rhiffarth in passing a couple of times, but he remembers Thari telling him that her life is owed to the stranger. "What happened at the stables?" The clan-karl asks in a softer tone, tension easing now that the thane is gone.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin lifts a brow at Seeker and shrugs impatiently, apparently ready to be gone from the inn. "I don't know," he answers gruffly. "Hazel's having a fit because she's not come in to do her work this morning and Keldean is still sick." To Ranol, he shakes his head as if whatever happened in the stables in unimportant. "Nothing, nothing. I lost my temper, that's all. Come now." And with a nod towards the man, Frarin begins limping quickly across the cobbles.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] Eager perhaps to get the horse tended to, the man gives the unintroduced Ranol a shrug in answer to the question of the stables - as if he should know? He was supposed to be asleep.
As Frarin makes to dismiss that matter as well, and move on, Seeker listens to the silver smith's comment about Hazel being mad at Cordelia for not showing up for work. But he says nothing.
With a polite inclination of his head to each of the dwarves, the man continues on his way without a further word. He's going to be busy untacking, grooming, and tending to that loose shoe for a bit himself.
Ranol frowns, watching the exchange quietly. Once the man has moved on the guard gestures for Frarin to lead the way, his fingers twitching..
[Frarin(#31050)] Up from the centre of Bree come two dwarves, both clad in heavy cloaks to ward against the chill. Frarin is dressed in grey and his face is a ruddy red with the cold, his limping gait only mildly inhibited by the slushy snow still upon the ground. Towards the rarely-frequented North Gate do these two dwarves seem bound, for they make straight for it. The siler merchant's gloved hands are before him as he walks, but he says nothing.
There is a guard at the North Gate this afternoon, stamping his feet in the cold. He looks toward the approaching dwarves. At least it relieves the boredom.
Ranol nods quietly. His hood is down, his black hair a contrast to the white snow around them. Under his cloak he rests his hand absently on the pommel of his broadsword, then thinks better of it as they approach the gate. No need to put the guard on edge. "Braldor is going to stir things up quickly, now.." He mutters, before forcing a friendlier face and nodding to the guard. "Good afternoon. My cousin and I wish a quick word with you." Ranol gives a quick bow to the guard. Flattery never hurts.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin too gives a small bow to the guard once his limp comes to a halt. "Indeed," he appends to Ranol greeting. "We were hoping you might have seen a friend of ours, or if one of the other guards of this gate might have. Another dwarf, with a blond beard and red tunic."
This guard is young and bored and cold, and his shift can't end soon enough, as far as he's concerned. So he just stares at the dwarves in ersponse for a moment--aren't all dwarves short and bearded and wearing a tunic, after all? Then he sighs. "No, sir, only a few stragglers up at this end of town all day." "Did anyone approach the gate last night?" Ranol asks, keeping his tone light-hearted as if this were nothing more than casual business.
[Frarin(#31050)] "Or yesterday afternoon, even," Frarin adds, lifting his brows in question.
Well, yesterday afternoon--that's another matter entirely. This particular guard /was/ on duty then, but there was hours and hours of unbroken cold and then the snow, and then that cute young girl he's had hiseye stopped by to bring him some warm food, and the little gatehouse was warm and dry, and... The guard coughs, coloring briefly. "No sir. Was here all afternoon and evening yesterday. One or two folk passed through, but no dwarves."
[Frarin(#31050)] With what can only be described as a politely dubious look, Frarin gives the guard a grateful nod. "Very well then," he says. "Thank you for your help, Master Guardsman." But instead of turning away from the gate to head back towards town, Frarin motions for Ranol to follow him through the gate and into the snowy landscape to the north of Bree. He glance back at the guard as he does so, but quietly mutters to Ranol.
"I walked right by a sleeping guard at the south gate once, with my hammer at my side and before Mayor Torebras allowed weapons into Bree for a fee. Best to check a bit. Then we'll see about the west gate. Thari had mentioned returning to Deadman's Dike to look for her axe, who knows if she's gone already."
The guard only yawns. Stupid dwarves, anyhow. Nothing ever happens in Bree.
"That sounds a good plan." He agrees as he follows Frarin. "I truly hope this is nothing more than a small protest by my cousin.. but.. " He shakes his head, the worry evident in his eyes.
There is nothing to be found immediately outside the gates or in sighting distance of them.
[Frarin(#31050)] "A protest, I doubt it is more than that," says Frarin as he trudges through the snow, but he does not sound convinced of himself. "Or she is being stubborn. May the Maker keep her, but she does like to prove her points, and she is not pleased with this bodyguard business. But why she should leave to make a point...and not inform me..." His voice drifts away and he shakes his head, lips pressed tight together in a thin line not even visible beneath his beard.
To distract from the growing concern, however, he points to the north. "How about we check around that bend there? And if there is nothing, we shall return. If she is not in Bree, then perhaps it may be worthwhile to ride north and check Deadman's Dike."
"Braldor.. he's.. " Ranol frowns, ".. difficult." When Frarin points out the suggested area to look, the clan-karl begins moving in that direction, plowing through any snow that's collected."
[Frarin(#31050)] "Hoh," Frarin grunts unhappily. "You do not need to tell me /that/. I have never much had a mind for him, but ever since Thari and I have begun courting, he has begun sticking his nose where it does not belong. And suggesting that Barazin does not care for it's own!" He snorts at that, stomping at the snow irritably. On they go, drawing nearer the point where the overgrown, and indeed, snowed-over, path disappears around a bend and falls out of sight of the gate behind.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] It's been a while... more than an hour or two later. Talking to gate guards and searching takes time. Dwarves are perhaps slow to travel anyway, so it is really no surprise that a tall man with long legs and ground eating easy strides might over take them ere they got along too far.
And so, Seeker appears grey cloaked with hood up, long bow in his left hand, quiver and small pack upon his back. As though he might be out afoot for some while. He also seems to be paying some attention to watching for tracks in the snow that lead off from the main road - but upon sighting the small group of dwaves up ahead, he alters his course more in their direction - though they are far ahead of him and disapearing from view.
"Blasted snow.. Makes it impossible to find anything." Ranol grumbles, feeling the icy stuff leaking in around the tops of his boots as he tromps through. He doesn't comment on Braldor's opinions of Frarin's clan, "He'll be locking her in her room after this.."
[Cordelia(#1394)] Thick snow has fallen again overnight, covering tracks of anyone who has passed this way the day before. The snow seems to continue on up ahead, unbroken, though those used to tracking or with exceptional sight might notice something.
[Frarin(#31050)] "He can try," Frarin grumbles dryly. "But he'll have more than Thari to contend with if he starts babying her." Dark brown eyes focus intensely on the ground, but while many years upon the road may have trained his eyes to shifts in dirt or dust or mud, a fresh, smooth layer of snow is every bit his match. On he trudges and gradually the two dwarves begins to come around the bend.
[Cordelia(#1394)] Once the group rounds the bend, there will be drops of blood leading into the woods on the now.
[Cordelia(#1394)] There are also fresh tracks in the new snow, in line with teh blood. Not dwarven-like.
Ranol follows Frarin's example, light blue eyes squinted against the bright light reflecting off the snow. He glances around occasionally, ever on his guard, and when he spots the man approach from behind them he pauses. "Frarin. That man from earlier is coming." He speaks in a low voice, alert, but not alarmed.
[Frarin(#31050)] At the clan-karl's alert, Frarin glances behind as well and spots the distant figure of Seeker. "Aye," he says simply with a satisfied nod. "He'll catch us up soon enough." Around the bend the slowly come, breaking the fresh snow with dogged steps. But Frarin's slows quite suddenly, his limp coming to a halt after the quick slowing. His lips part and his brows come together as he points ahead. "What's that? Do you see it? That snow's been fresh broken."
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] The man coming up from behind is gaining fairly rapidly. But he has some distance yet to cover as the dwarves trudge out of sight. And he's being careful not to miss things on the way.
"Who is he? Thari says he's a friend, yet seems aggrivated by the man." Ranol asks as he turns back to search more. When Frarin points out the broken snow the clan-karl moves closer to take a look. "Probably an animal.." He murmurs.
[Cordelia(#1394)] The trail leads off in a zigzag pattern into the woods. A step or two further into the woods, following the trail, would reveal one very clear, small human footprint. With blood in it.
[Frarin(#31050)] "He /is/ a friend," says Frarin absently, picking up his limping gait again now and plowing on eagerly. "He's saved my life. Twice." He glances back at Ranol at the last word as if to dispell any apprehension the karl may have. But then he is looking back towards the tracks and as he comes nearer them, he draws a breath. "There's blood..." Frarin's face is turned away from Ranol, which is perhaps fortunate, for it pales unusually quickly, despite the cold. Then, more eagerly now, he stoops and points at the one clear track. "No, look! That's human."
His face regains some of its colour. Without a word, he starts for the woods, following the tracks.
[Cordelia(#1394)] The woods get dark and dense very quickly, and it's easy to lose your way. Still, it shouldn't be too hard to follow those footsteps.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] Now boot steps can be softly heard as the Dunadan moves through the snow and comes up behind the dwarves. His own hooded head turns as his pale eyes scan the ground more than he pays attention to Frarin and Ranol, just ahead of himself. That is, until he hears Frarin's dim rumble saying something about blood. The man looks up and notices that the group has left the main track and are heading into the trees. Evidently, they have spotted something.
A short, easy jog, and the man with the long bow catches up. Just as Seeker was about to say something, Frarin has pointed and said something about human foot prints in the snow.
Stopping as the dwarves start to move off again, he squats down to look at the tracks carefully himself. Seeker puts out a finger to pry up a droplet of the bloody snow - perhaps to judge how old it seems to be.
[Cordelia(#1394)] The blood should be almost a day old at this point, as Cordelia got lost in the woods when she regained consciouness last night.
"As you say." Ranol nods when Frarin turns to look his way, no sign doubt on his face. The silver merchant points out blood and the karl's eyes widen in surprise as he hurries forward to see for himself. "Blood.." He repeats in a soft voice, his concern growing heavier by the moment.
When he looks up Frarin is already moving on and the younger dwarf calls quickly to his kin, "Wait! There might be danger, let me go first. We must be cautious." He glances back as Rhifaroth arrives, watching the man inspect the blood.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin does not slow his gait as he slow jogs through the snow, and he most certainly does wait. But he does seem to heed the clan-karl's warning, for one edge of his cloak is thrown back over a shoulder and his blue war hammer glints in the dim light of the wood as it is drawn. He glances back and notes how quickly Seeker has overtaken them, but he says nothing to the man.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] Seeker first studied the right boot print, then the left - and then he's sure. The man straightens up and starts a jog himself alongside the track, catching up very quickly now with the dwarves just ahead of him.
"Frarin! Those are not Thari's tracks. They are Cordelia's!" And how precisely the man knows that, he does not say as he passes the Khazad party. His long bow already strung, he need not make any further preparation. The man moves easily amid the thicker trees, bare of branch but choked here and there with low, leaveless, thorny scrub. Long legs hop over deadfall and in moments, the man is drawing out ahead...
And then suddenly, Seeker stops, looks to the side, jogs a few more steps looking off to his right as his eyes follow the trail... there is a hesitation for a bare moment, and then he moves towards a large, old dead tree that is still standing. There he kneels down, up ahead.
Ranol swears softly under his breath, then hustles to catch up to Frarin as he throws back his own cloak. The younger dwarf has little trouble closing the distance, not hindered by a limp as Frarin is. He'll reach to try and grab his kin by the shoulder, grumbling, "Do not run into what could be a trap!" Seeker races on ahead, and Ranol hisses in a quiet voice. "Remember what we spoke of before. The rumors might have already done their job all too well."
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin's eyes flick without stop from the tracks in the snow to the woods ahead to the dwarf and man behind, but his slow jog does not slow. And then Seeker is overtaking the silver merchant, his long strides easily outpacing Frarin's short ones. "I know they're not Thari's," says Frarin as he ploughs on. "But there's blood, isn't there? And how--" He's calling out to Seeker as Ranol's hand takes a hold of his shoulder.
With a disgruntled snort, Frarin brushes it off and continues his jog. "I've been in enough traps, lad. I can handle myself, for Durin's sake." Nearing where Seeker has knelt in the snow, Frarin tries again. "How do you know those are Cordelia's tracks?"
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] Edging forward a bit more, a hand goes out to start digging away windblow snow that partly blocks the hollow. The man says nothing. He is wary, and grey eyes glance up several times to scan the surrounding landscape. Something is in there and it's large enough to be a person.
With care a bit of Cordelia's cloak is uncovered, then a booted foot just further inside. Seeker sets his long bow to lean against the tree and gets down on his hands and knees, his own face peering into the dark hollow, "Cordy?" His hand jostles the lump inside but there is no response. Using both hands the man begins to pull at the woman's legs or hips to drag her out.
A glance over his shoulder, seeking Frarin's eye, "It's her." There is no explanation about his knowing it was her.
[Cordelia(#1394)] The woman is at least alive: The pull of hands on her legs brings a whimper. There's no response yet to her name--it's likely she's not fully conscious at the moment, but the small cove that the hollow tree and snow cover formed hide her upper body and face for the moment.
Should anything happen to Frarin, later, when all the dwarves are discussing the travesty of the merchant's death, young Ranol will only say, 'He insisted upon rushing in blindly ahead..'
The clan-karl has his hand on the grip of his sword, and when Seeker drops down to begin shoveling snow aside with his hands Ranol remains calm, stopping nearby and thoroughly looking around for any signs of danger. This is a bizarre situation. Why is a woman out here in the snow by herself? Already his mind is going through the possibilities.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] A quick glance for the dwarf who speaks to Frarin, but who's name he does not know. Seeker pulls on the woman's body again, carefully drawing her out from the hollow and scooting himself back to make room as needed. He jostles the woman as little as possible and shifts his own position to kneel over her, carefully checking the woman for wounds and the source of the blood.
The man's hood had fallen back when he had started to jog through the trees. His scarred and tattooed face is grim, eyes upon the girl.
[Frarin(#31050)] Interest there is upon Frarin's face, and perplexion, as Seeker pulls at the still form buried in the hollow of the tree. He glances at Ranol as the clan-karl immediately takes up his usual guard of the area, but says nothing to him. Instead, the silver merchant stoops without a word across from Seeker, not attempting to impede the man's careful movement of Cordelia.
[Cordelia(#1394)] It has not been a good 24 hours for the young woman. Her face is ashen and there's a large, bruised cut over one eye, the blood coagulated now. Her left arm is at a funny angle, and as the Dunadan moves her, she whimpers some more, then hoarsely mutters something incoherent. Her eyes flutter open, focusing with a bit of difficulty on the man looking down on her. "You?" Her voice is hoarse, but confused, not accusing.
Ranol looks back towards the others, a hundred questions filling his head as he takes in her state. He remains quiet, though, and there's sympathy on his face from what he sees. His gaze doesn't linger. The guard keeps his attention on trees around them, eyes wandering up occasionally as well.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] A faint smile for Cordelia's laconic comment, "Yeah, me." but Seeker's attention is for carefully prodding the woman's ribs with both of his hands to see if there is any sharp, painful response. There is! Mindful of what may be damaged ribs, and not touching the obviously broken or dislocated arm, the Dunadan glances up to Frarin, "Ribs, arm... I'm going to take her to the Healing House in Bree. She can be questioned there, not here. Or you can keep searching for Thari."
Carefully, the tall man begins to shift Cordelia's shoulders, getting an arm under them, and his other going under her knees to lift her.
[Cordelia(#1394)] "Thari..." Cordelia shuts her eyes against a wave of pain as the man moves to pick her up, but she gets that word out. "Attacked..."
[Frarin(#31050)] War hammer is set to Frarin's side in the snow as Cordelia's pitiful state becomes obviously apparent. The silver merchant's eyes widen and he heaves a heavy breath, shaking his head with a dark, confused look. His beard is tossed over one shoulder to prevent it from hanging over the woman and he looks up to Seeker as the man states his intentions. Frarin gives a nod without argument. "Aye, do. I can look for Thari after--" He breaks off at Cordelia' pained utterance, mouth falling open, face draining of colour.
"Thari, attacked?" he says sharply, forgetting Seeker's decision to question her at the Healing House in his shock. "Thari was attacked? When? Where? Is he alive?" Sudden and unmistakable fear enters Frarin's tone. The sun flashes brightly on the horizon. Night gives way to morning.
Ranol feels a cold chill run through him as well. He looks back towards Cordelia, studying her state more carefully. A broken arm.. her ribs.. He waits to see if the woman answers Frarin's questions.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] For just an instant Seeker freezes his movement as Cordelia speaks. But he frowns and carefully lifts her anyway. Grey eyes slip from her to the silver merchant, "Frarin, she's cold. Just now she needs to get warm quickly. Shock and exposure will kill her." His tone is firm as though the man does not wish to waste time arguing with his friend.
"Unless you are coming back to town and would bring it, leave my bow - I'll come back for it." for his own hands are quite full and the 6 foot length of yew is awkward to carry upon the back even when not otherwise encumbered. Turning as though he would go, right now with the woman back towards town, Seeker turns his head to add over his shoulder, "If you want to find Thari all the faster friend, back track Cordy's tracks. I'll come back as soon as she's settled at the Houses to do the same."
[Cordelia(#1394)] It's unlikely that Cordelia even hears the dwarf's questions or the urgency in his voice. She shudders from cold or pain or both as Rhifaroth lifts her, her good hand clutching at his chest to try to pull herself into his warmth. Maybe she /is/ sweet on him after all? Or probably just cold and hurt, as shivering sets up now--and she mutters something incoherent again, hoarseley and to herself, but over and over.
[Frarin(#31050)] The initial shock passes quickly from the silver merchant's face, though his cheeks regain none of their colour. He nods briefly with a dark, worried expression towards Seeker and retrieves his hammer from the snow. "I can track well enough," he says absently, with a forced calmness to his voice that is not really calm at all. "But return as swiftly as possible, my friend, for I am not trained in the art."
Frarin stands, dusting snow from his knees and it is to Ranol that he looks next. "Ranol, return to Braldor and tell him of this. See how many of our brethren he can round up, but I will not wait."
Ranol nods sharply, "Aye, what I was thinking as well. I will lead them back to where the tracks begin." He looks over towards Seeker. "I hope that your friend will be okay." He's not heartless, but his focus is on finding Thari now. Without another word the dwarf heads off. Seeker will probably overtake him, but Ranol is more worried about his cousin than some woman he doesn't know.
[Rhifaroth(#27282)] There is nothing much else to say. It's been said and time is only growing colder as the sun lowers further into the west. Clouds are also moving in and perhaps promise of more snow to fall.
Not looking back, momentarily passed by Ranol as the dwarf hurries by, the Dunadan begins to make his way back carrying Cordelia with ease. He walks quickly, but does not jog - no need to overly jostle the woman further. In a few moments, Frarin is left quite alone in the wood. It is very quiet.