A Ranger in the Attic
Keldean is sitting on his bed when he hears the knock. That's a first. No one ever knocks before climbing the stairs up to the attic. He wanders over to the top of the steps and calls down, "Come in.." but there's a questioning tone in his voice.
The teen is wearing only his pants, stripped down to the waste in what had been an attempt to see how bad the bruising is on his back with a mirror he snagged from the healing house a few days ago.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ There is a creaking upon the steps leading up - who ever comes weights a fair bit so it's definitely no hobbit. And indeed the dark, tossled hair that shows first is Seeker's, his hood thrown back from his face. A face and hair freshly washed and cleaner than Keldean has seen on this man. Coming up, the Dunadan's other clothes are the same as usual but he's washed them too as best he may, and he is wearing a different, nicer shirt. But still not a new shirt - someone else's hand me down perhaps.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Coming into the attic, the tall man has to duck his head a bit to keep from bashing it against the sloped roof above. Grey eyes skim over the enclosure before settling upon the young man, "So this is where you hide out?" There might be a touch of amusement.
Seeker?? Why is he here? The teen backs up to the bed, eying him warily. "It's my room. If you're looking for Cordelia, she's not here." Keldean glances in the direction of the partition where her section of the attic is hidden away. She's always up earlier than him. There's a dark bruise on the boy's back where Rolph struck him last night, but otherwise the teen appears unscathed. He grabs his shirt and pulls it on, feeling rather self-conscious in front of the grown man.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ A black brow arches and the man's gaze slips to the partition that the youth indicates, "I see." but the man's attention has come back to Keldean, watching him put his shirt on and noting the bruise.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "I hear there was a bit of a ruckus here last night. I also hear you ... assisted in some manner and were no coward."
Keldean nods, reaching for the dark overshirt that he usually wears since he's always going outside for most of his tasks. "Yes..I helped. Frarin did most of the fighting, though. I wish I knew where I could get a sword.. or a warhammer like Frarin has. Then maybe I could have gotten that other man before he got away."
ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The older man considers this, "You are not too young for it. Indeed, by your age I'd been learning the blade for some years. But obtaining a sword would be difficult around here - not to mention someone to teach you how to use it. You might consider a staff. It can be a formidable weapon itself, and master Acelen might be able to help you there. Nor does it require a considerable investment in funds." Which of course, Keldean does lack.
Keldean looks less enthused at the thought of a staff. "Maybe an axe. They aren't hard to find. I use one to chop wood all the time." He stuffs his hands into his pockets, "How hard can it be to fight? You swing at a person.. right? How old were you when you started learning?"
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Seeker nods, "If you can find someone who can teach you how to use one, yes that could do. But a fighting man's axe is not like a wood chopping axe, Keldean. Ask Frarin about that. But one would be expensive to get made or to buy. Balanced differently. And I know of none besides the dwarves who use them around here. Soon they will depart."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ A pause to consider, thinking back, "Hrm... I think I was practicing with a wooden blade when I was four or five. Didn't have a real sword of my own until I was ... 16. But I didn't buy it. Good blades cost easily more than a 100 gold florins. Mine was issued to my care."
Keldean brightens when Seeker mentions Frarin, though now certainly isn't the best time to be asking the dwarf about anything that isn't directly related to finding Thari. When the man mentions how much a blade is worth, his brown eyes widen in surprise, and he tilts his head to take a closer look at the sword sheathed at Seeker's side. "A hundred?!"
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The Dunadan shrugs, "For an inexpensive but descent quality one, easily. Ten times that and more if it's well made by a noted craftsmen, with fancy work put into it, aye." The blade he wears has a fancy pomel, with a black leather hilt wrapped with a thin bit of gold wire. But the visible crossguard looks plain and even a bit knicked.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Of course, if you kill a man, you can get a weapon that way, if you live through it. But often what brigands will carry is of poor quailty, soft steel. Low carbon." Apparently, the man knows something about swords. "A good oak staff though can just as easily kill a man, and is more effective against say ... a troll, than a sword. If you know how to use it."
"You've killed a lot of men?" The boy asks, his tone growing more serious as he abruptly shifts the topic of conversation. He pulls his hands free from his pockets to run through his tangled curls.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ A pause, and a wariness as Seeker watches the lad, "A few, aye." Obviously the deep scar bisecting the right side of his face wasn't pleasantly obtained by sparing for fun. The older man's eyes skim over the attic and then something catches his eye, stopping the sweep. Seeker pushes off from the ceiling support he was leaning against and he picks his way carefully through the attic a short distance to where a pair of very nicely made leather saddlebags sit on the floor. Lightly dusty. He bends and picks them up and then sets them on top of a box. Without asking, his hands begin to unbuckle the leather.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "What are you planning to do with yourself, Keldean? For a living?"
Keldean watches him quietly, sitting down on his bed as he struggles to comb out the auburn curls with his fingers. "Do? I don't know.. I want to go see the world. Traveling sounds exciting! I want to see Lonely Mountain, where the dragon was slain." A wild hope, but it's something to dream for. "Anything is better than farming."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ A soft chuckle, "Depends on what kind of farming. Traveling is dangerous. But if you got into trade, perhaps you could travel with the dwarves. Much safer, then."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ His own hands busy with the straps, the tall man opens up one of the pair of saddle bags and starts pulling things out. First thing he removes is a leather and steel helm, which he sets aside without hardly glancing at it. Then he rumages a bit more, seeing what is in the bag.
"I asked if I could go with them.. Ovor told me I couldn't. I guess I could ask Frarin." He considers that, filing the possiblilty away for later. "Is that yours?" Keldean stands, giving up on the tangled rat's nest that his hair has become, crossing to where Seeker is for a closer look.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Seeker glances up, having become vaguely absorbed in what he's doing, "Frarin will surely say no as well. But they will be back eventually. Or another dwarven caravan, later. Or get on locally with some farmer and help drive a wagon of goods out to places like the Shepherding village. That's dangerous work enough - if the Last Bridge gets repaired."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Keldean's question about the things he's looking through and the man hesitates, looking back at the lad, "Yes. I forgot that I had asked Nob to keep these things for me - last spring."
"Oh.. I didn't think there was anything in those.." A shame. Now he'll have to explore the attic more carefully. Keldean reaches for the helmet with the intent to try it on. "I bet I could talk him into it.. How do people fight with a -bucket- on their head?" The latter is asked as he looks around from beneath the helm.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ There is no objection to the young man trying on his helm. The Dunadan pauses to look at Keldean and there is amusement in his pale eyes, "I always hated wearing that thing."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ His hands move around various other things in the saddle bag, such as wax and woodshavings in a small oiled sack for starting fires, a small cloth with extra bow strings in it, and various other useful items. The man closes the flap and opens the other side, rummaging in there. A hand moves down towards the bottom and feels about for a hidden pocket which was empty in the first bag. The leather displays fine craftmanship and matches Elfaron's saddle tooling and design in the tackroom of the stables.
Keldean pulls off the helmet, studying it more carefully now. He twists it over in his hands, moving closer to the small window at the end of the room to examine it. "So.. where are you from? No one has stuff like this around here.."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The helm in Keldean's hands is well made but shows a good deal of past use. Thickly felted on the inside with dark grey wool felt that is much sweat stained ... and is that also old, dried blood? Seeker's own blood? It's crusty and flakes off on the fingers. The metal could use some cleaning but it's rusted. It seems coated with a sooty wax or dried oil to keep down glare. The leather is scuffed and cut in places from being hit about, but is thick, boiled, and otherwise plain. The steel straps and studs are not adorned.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Too many things are in the saddle bag so the man has to pull a few of them out - including something that barely fit along the back side of the second leather bag - a small round shield. A buckler. Also plain leather and sooted steel but with a bit of interlaced patternwork around the edge that vaguely looks like leaping horses.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ "Of course they do. Dwarves have gear not so different from mine. Brigands and cutthroats east of the river in the Shaws do. Local woodsmen, other Rangers you call them... and folk in the south of here in Dunland. In less tame places."
Keldean walks back, setting down the helmet as soon as he sees the shield. He quickly reaches to snatch that up instead, for a shield is far more interesting than a helm. "I've never seen anything like it." Because the farm that he grew up on and the limited time he's spent in Bree is a qualifier for what's ordinary. He shifts topics again, glancing up at Seeker, "You spend a lot of time with Cordelia.."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ His hand finally finding what he was looking for, the man looks relieved. He looks down into the saddle bag but does not draw out whatever it was, tucking it back down in there. Seeker glances distractedly at the shield, "That is Rohirric. Picked it up in Rohan many years ago. Other side of the Misty Mountains. Small, good for using while mounted."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Keldean's question about Cordelia gets a look, but no comment. Seeker begins to put things back into the saddle bag.
Keldean traces his fingers along the patternwork in the buckler, studying it curiously. "Is Rohan farther than Lonely Mountain?" He asks, carefully looking over the surface of the shield for scars of battle. He's interested in the armor, but not nearly so obsessed as some young men might be.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The shield has seen plenty of use judging from gouges, past mending, and some of the steel binding around the edges is dented - even cut in places as though a sword had come down upon the edge more than a few times. But it's well made, like to the helm in quality but slightly different style and no felt backing. Two leather straps on the back that are not original, newer.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Seeker finishes putting his things back including the helm but allows Keldean to look at his buckler, "About the same, depending on where in Rohan you wanted to go. Big country. Good, hearty folk. But I haven't been up to Dale or the Lonely Mountain myself. Just seen the placement on maps. It's a long way from here, lad." A bit of a smile, "Especially if you don't have a good horse."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Then a question of his own, "What happened last night, Kel?"
"I bet a horse is really expensive, too.." Keldean sighs heavily, thinking that he'll never achieve the means to travel the world. If he took the time to look at his life, he might appreciate everything Nob has done for him, but the teen rarely looks at things so objectively. He hands the shield back, looking up at the ranger with a calculating expression on his face now. "Some men broke in and attacked, Frarin caught one.." An innocent shrug.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Accepting the shield back, the Dunadan tries it on his left forarm, the arm that was cut and bloodied the other night at the Healing Houses with the other night attack - but his bandage and stitches are covered by the 'new' shirt, "He wouldn't be a large fellow would he? Dark, scar on his face, dirty clothes, club, named Tom. Would he?"
[Combat(#13388)] Rhifaroth puts on Studded Leather Shield.
Keldean's brows lift in reaction, but he's carefully turning away, his brown eyes shifting to the window. "You know.. everyone keeps telling me about how I'm not supposed to talk about things, and that gossip can get someone hurt.." He keeps his tone light and innocent.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The man stops checking the condition of the leather straps on the small shield and actually smiles at the young man, "Good lad. No reason at all why you should trust me. I shall ask Frarin. But in this case, you could tell me, it's all right." but he removes the shield and dismisses it with an absent wave of his hand, "You should be careful with whom you share information. Your life, or others, could depend on it some day."
[Combat(#13388)] Rhifaroth takes off Studded Leather Shield.
"You think it was this 'Tom' man? Is it someone that you know?" The teen looks back, giving the ranger a wary look again. He doesn't trust Seeker, that much is obvious. Keldean stuffs his hands into his pockets again and leans against a stack of crates.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The saddle bags are dogged back down and buckled, all but the shield returned into them, "That is the name and description given by the other man we caught at the Houses who attacked Cordelia. He's in the Breeguard jail." Grey eyes flick back to the young man, "And my telling you is only because you are in this now, up to your own neck, Kel. But don't go babbling that to everyone in town, please. You may discuss it with Frarin - He already knows."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Shifting the saddle bags to his shoulder, his long bow and quiver not on his person, the Dunadan smiles thinly, "Not somone I know. But I hope to make his ... aquaintance." That, somehow, isn't a friendly sort of aquaintance he intends.
Keldean nods slowly, the description matching up perfectly. That may or may not be enough confirmation for the ranger. "In this? What do you mean? I haven't done anything. Frarin was the one that did everything, I just hit him when he grabbed me.. The other one got away." An uneasy feeling begins to spread through him that is reflected on the boy's face.
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Moving to depart, the tall man ducks his head and steps to the door that will take him to the steps below. Seeker pauses to look back at Keldean, "Just be careful of Cordelia, lad. You are a smart young man if you don't trust too easily. Me, or anyone else. Just be sure those you come to trust -earn it- from you. I think there is more to this than meets the eye. And you are in it more than you know. Just be careful."
ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ The man eyes Keldean, not wishing to see the young man come to harm. Then a polite nod of his head (his manners are always a little over formal) and then the Dunadan opens the door and starts to decend to the floor below.
Always the warnings about Cordelia. Keldean frowns, giving the ranger a dark look again. But there's doubt in that expression that Rhifaroth may pick up on. There are things that Cordelia's said and asked.. Keldean might have pressed the ranger for more information, but Seeker is leaving and the teen isn't so curious as to ask the man to -stay-. "I'll be careful.." He mutters quietly to no one in particular.