A Flight Down Bree Hill
[Frarin(#31050)] It is supper time in the town of Bree and the streets are quiet with it, most folk having taken to the warm indoors for a well-earned (and perhaps not so well-earned) meal. Certainly the air has a bite to it, especially up here at the very summit of Bree Hill, but for once there is no precipitation in the air, promising for a cold night and a hard frost in the morning.
A lone rock sits at the very top of the hill, smoothed by the ages and as chill as the air that cools it this eve. But wrapped in a heavy travelling cloak, Frarin does not seem overly uncomfortable as he sits upon the solitary stone with a long pipe between his teeth. The silver merchant is seated hunched forward, arms crossed, facing to the east, and his dark gaze drifts far beyond the simple village of Staddle below. Indeed, were the light not fading with the approach of night, it might be fair to say that he searches the distant horizon for some glimpse of those distant mountains he knows he cannot see.
[Frarin(#31050)] Thari has not wandered from her companions since the scare at the Chetwood. She has stayed in the town unless a dwarf went somewhere, which wasn't very often. So today, as Frarin sits atop Bree Hill, she has disappeared for some time into the ruins to the north and the east, never far enough that she could not rouse him with a cry if needed. Rustlings in the bushes and small thunks now and then mark her place.
As the evening descends, the lady emerges. There is a twig in her pretty beard she is tucking her axe back into her belt as she approaches him, limping only a little, whistling cheerfully.
[Frarin(#31050)] A lazy smoke ring glides away from Frarin's mouth as he continues his vigilant watch to the east, keeping his distant stare as the sky over the plains of Breeland darken with a receding golden glow. And as Thari's rustling foretells of the healer dwarf's approach, Frarin replaces the stem of his pipe between his teeth and smiles at the other.
"I was wondering when you might return," he chuckles at Thari, pulling on his pipe. "Dreadful bad form, you know, waltzing up and down Bree Hill with a limp. What would you healer say?" But his tone is teasing, indeed unusually joking for those who only know Frarin as a solemn, solitary dwarf. He budges over on his seat, waving for Thari to join him. "Well then? Find anything interesting, O Wanderer?"
Keldean approaches from the dark side of the hill, the long gray shadow cast by the setting sun offering him what he assumes is adequate concealment. The two figures atop the hill are unmistakably dwarven and the boy has a strange desire to know what's really going on. He slowly climbs with a determined expression, trying to stay low in the snow as he attempts to close enough distance to eavesdrop on the pair. His worn heavy gray coat blends in remarkably well with the snow and winter-touched grass.. his hair however, that auburn shade.. the hint of red contrasts quite well with with the bright landscape behind him.
[Thari(#31038)] "There are several trees down yon hill who will not soon forget to respect the wrath fo the dwarves," answers Thari in an overly-solemn tone. She seats herself beside Frarin on the stone and sweeps the end of her cloak to cover her lap and one of his knees. She does not glance down the hill toward the boy, and so does not notice that they are being approached.
"I'm getting a good feel for the balance of the new axe, and my leg," she says in a more serious tone. She looks up at the slightly taller dwarf with a frown. "I don't like how yours is still paining you-- and I know it does! If it shows then that must mean it's a terrible burden! It has eased, I hope, and it's not just your pride keeping you upright?"
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin smiles again as Thari relates her exploits, coming to seat herself and lean against him. "I'm sure they will not," he chuckles lightly, in reference to the trees with their lesson taught. But as the healer voices her concern for his sore hip, the silver merchant brushes off the comment with a snort, throwing his right hand into the air. "Oh do not worry so," he rumbles, smiling with a look of long suffering. "I am quite fine, I have said already. It was sore after my spar only." He adds somehat casually, "Besides, it is hardly pain that causes me to limp." As if.
His gaze no longer towards the east, Frarin too misses the approach of a potential eavesdropper, for he looks instead to Thari, still with his small smile.
The problem with sneaking through the snow is that not only does it form crunchy crusts that crumble to pieces noisily with each step.. but it always serves as a blanket to hide a great many things. He creeps closer, certain that with the way the two are leaning so close together that there will soon be whispered things between them. There's some sort of dwarven conspiracy going on and the teen is going to get to the bottom of it.
As he inches closer he cringes everytime the snow yeilds beneath his step, the ensuing crunch sounding deafening to his ears. Nothing compares to the snapping sound that cracks through the air as his boot lands on a hidden stick. He freezes, silently cursing. Maybe he'll get lucky.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari gives Frarin a long look, lips pressed together as he smiles at her. "Well," she finally says in the manner of one handing down wise judgement, "It's good that you're sparring, I say. It gives you the--" Here a twig snaps, and memory might suddenly alert one to the crunching snow sounds preceding it.
Thari is on her feet with axe drawn all in one motion. The axe is small-- much smaller than anything carried by any of the other dwarves-- but it looks sharp, and its bearer looks strong and solid. She is looking toward where Keldean is but her eyes do not alight on him.
[Frarin(#31050)] The high snap of a twig likewise brings Frarin's attention around and his first instinct brings the flap of his cloak back as a hand goes to the blue war hammer looped into his belt. He does not rise as quickly as Thari, nor does he draw his weapon. Instead, keen gaze proding both directions of the path that runs across Bree Hill, the silver merchant stands slowly, listening.
Frarin reaches out, gently touching Thari's wrist so as to urge her to lower her axe. "Thari, we are in Bree," he rumbles quietly, as if to remind her of the small likelihood of her needing the blade. He looks the same direction as the healer, but seems to wait for the appearance of an innocent visitor to the hill. Keldean crouches motionless, staring in shock at the quick reaction of the dwarf. Other than the spar the other day he's not actually seen any real combat, and the way that Thari draws that axe so quickly, so efficiently.. it sends a chill through his spine that isn't from the cold weather. He makes no move, not about to reveal himself and voluntarily become Diced Keldean. His brown eyes are wide as he watches them, a frightened expression on his face.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari gives a nervous, slightly embarrassed laugh at Frarin's touch. "Of course, of course." The shorter dwarf lowers the axe, then returns it to her belt. She looks over to the other dwarf. "After the murder, and those months of trailing the army, a la... dwarf will become a bit jumpy I suppose."
Thari looks back down the hill but still does not see the hidden boy in the darkness. "Probably naught but a rabbit."
[Frarin(#31050)] The sinking sun in the west paints the western side of Bree Hill in a golden yellow, but over the crest of the hill, where Keldean crouches, the slope is an inky black. Not even the youth's red hair shows up well in the shadow of the falling sun. Frarin's keen gaze pries the darkness awhile longer, but it fails even to linger in the exact direction that Keldean lies. He clears his throat, taking Thari's hand and pulling her back towards the smooth stone.
"Understandable," he says quietly. "Especially if our murderer lingers still in the town. But we are not in the wilds anymore. That does not necessarily mean safety, I will grant you, but you can set your mind at ease for a time, at least. Come, sit down. I had thought to ask you about something, in fact, which I did not wish to speak with the town's healers about."
Some of their rumbling words roll down to his ears and as they ease their awareness and relax the boy slowly begins climbing foward again. More talk of the murder, and secrets kept from the healers? This must be important. He buries any shame that spikes his conscious as he lessens the distance between himself and the two dwarves, more curious than guilty about his spying. They're -outsiders- and he has his suspicions about the true intentions of the dwarves here, wild as they may be.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari's eyes linger toward the dark hillside as Frarin pulls her away, but soon enough she glances to the other dwarf. "What is it?" Her deep voice is kind and gentle while speaking to her companion. She seats herself atop the smooth stone and settles her cloak across her lap again. Her hand stays linked to Frarin's.
[Frarin(#31050)] Whether that annoying rabbit has grown more cautious in its movement through the old snow or has indeed gone on its way (no doubt spotting the gleam of Thari's keen-edged axe), Frarin gives no indication of hearing anything further. But he does not accompany Thari as the healer reseats herself. Instead, he releases her hand and clears his throat again, almost as if self-conscious. He turns his back to the east side of Bree Hill, facing Thari, and clasps his hands behind his back.
"I noticed something...unusual when I was practising with Thane Ovor," rumbles the silver merchant, frowning. "And it was more than simply my hip paining me. That can be dealt with. But...this affected how I moved. Do you notice anything amiss?" He straightens again, standing with weight equal between both legs. And yet...yes, there is a difference. Though he stands almost as if at attention and his left leg is straight, his right bends very slightly at the knee.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari looks up to the other dwarf in silence, then down, studying his legs. She leans forward and grips his hips, fingers digging in to feel the bones beneath. Up go her eyes again, as the sunset pulls threads of gold from her reddish hair and beard.
"Frarin," she sighs. She releases him. "My dear Frarin. It is as I have said before. Your hip did not set entirely right, but it did set well enough to be servicable to you." She stands, reaches for his face, then drops her hand to his shoulder again as if some part of her is wary of being watched.
"You will overcome this," she says stoutly. "It is only a matter of becoming used to your new stance and is no great burden to you. You have use of both of your legs still and are fortunate for that."
Keldean tries to sort out the meaning of everything. Frarin is recovering from an injury, a hip injury it seems. What does that have to do with the murder? .. Why would that be linked? His mind leaps to sudden conclusion that steals the breath from his lungs. What if?! He saw the dwarf practicing in the yard and he saw Frarin talking sourly to some other dwarf he called 'my lord'. The teen suddenly doesn't want to be listening in on this conversation anymore. Abruptly he tries to back down the hill again, his face drained of color and giving him an almost ghostly visage in the thickening darkness.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin does not look pleased at Thari's diagnosis, but neither does he look surprised. "I was not sure of it. Indeed, I was rather hoping the difference arose from my long lack of practise," he confesses, giving a small sigh. His hand goes to Thari's upon his shoulder and he gives the healer's hand a gentle squeeze as he smiles. "But you are right, of course. It did not prevent me from holding my own, nor will it."
He begins to take down Thari's hand and return to the stone to seat himself, but then...The silver merchant pauses, gaze again going to the east. There is an abrupt sound, again the slightest crunch of snow. Blinking in the darkness, Frarin releases Thari's hand and limps towards the east a few steps, clearing his throat as he listens.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari smiles up at Frarin as well. "Practice more, and soon it will seem..." her voice trails off as the other dwarf straightens. "What is it?" She follows his gaze toward the east. "Is someone... Here, I'll straighten this out."
Thari limps briskly toward Frarin and then past him. She begins descending the hill, right toward where Keldean is.
His eyes still locked on the dwarves, he steps back. Ultimately this is a bad decision. His heel catches on a stone hidden beneath the snow and the boy collapses backward, arms flailing before he lands awkwardly sprawled in the snowcover. He twists, trying to scramble over to his stomach so that he can claw to his feet again. He can feel the wet ice soaking through his breeches and shirt as he shoves his bare hands against the frozen ground and pushes up. He lifts his brown gaze and gasps in alarm when Thari is -right- in front of him.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin does not initially move after Thari as she brushes past him. In fact, he actually smiles at her back, perhaps some amusing thought striking him. But is it a small expression, and brief, and then he goes after the healer. Again his hand goes to the hammer at his side, but the weapon is not drawn as he limps after Thari. Certainly the reoccurance of crunching snow does not sound very much like a rabbit or an innocent wanderer.
"Hoy!" calls Frarin to the darkness on the east side of Bree Hill. "Be there any--" But there is no need for him to call to the dark any longer, for in his panic Keldean catches his foot and tumbles rather noticeably to the ground. "Aha! Stand your ground, stranger!" His voice is not raised overmuch from its usual rumble, but it is clearly an order nonetheless, sounding more accustomed to the battlefield than to Bree Hill.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari gasps and jumps backwards, slipping on the snow herself, one hand windmilling out. She regains her balance and steps backward again to be somewhat closer to Frarin, though not next to him. "What are you doing, listening?" she barks at Keldean. "What did you hear and what did you see?"
The murderer is yelling at him to stand his ground, but it's panic that rushes through his veins. If he stays they'll butcher him with that sharp axe! He ignores the questions from Thari and turns about sharply, wildly jumping to quickly decend the hill. He's reckless with his haste, little regard for composure now. If he trips again he'll end up a human avalanche.
[Frarin(#31050)] "Aye, what did you hear?" Frarin repeats as Thari demands information of the eavesdropper. In the shadows of the evening, he does not appear to recognise Keldean. But if he had been expecting the youth to answer the questions rapidly put to him, the silver merchant is sorely disappointed, for Keldean quickly turns tail and begins jumping down the hill.
Frarin's lips part in disbelief for a moment, then he gives a cry. "Hoh! Oi, come back! We don't mean to hurt you, just answer the bloody question! Come back!" With a strange gait, made so by his limp, the slope of the hill, and the crunch of the snow, Frarin barrels down the hill after the teen's retreating back.
[Thari(#31038)] Now Frarin goes barrelling past Thari. The shorter dwarf follows after at a slower pace and calls, "Carefully, Frarin!"
Keldean has one thing going for him. He's young and spry! He's forced to slow his pace or he will end up a smear on the road at the bottom of the hill, but the sound of the pursuit behind him is enough to keep him moving. Things are clicking into place now. The dwarves don't want him to go along on their trip in the spring because they're -hiding- something. They've been speaking in secret, falling silent anytime a person enters a room. Frarin was angry because that other dwarf obviously knew something was going on and it probably holding his knowledge over his head. No wonder Frarin is so quiet and mysterious! He's hiding the fact that he killed someone!
Keldean skids to a stop as he reaches an icy patch, cutting horizontal to traverse around it and losing his valuable lead on them.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin pays no heed to Thari's call after him, slipping and sliding down the hill after Keldean, very much indeed as if pursuing the youth with the intent of covering up a secret, though who knows if the youth is correct in his guess as to the nature of that secret. The silver merchant moves unusually fast, but that is likely due in part to the fact that half of his steps end up unexpectedly sliding him forward as the snow shifts underfoot. "Stop! I'm not going to do you harm, wretch, just stay your ground!"
And on Frarin plunges through the snow. But about the time that Keldean skids across an icy patch, the merchant finds an icy patch of his own. Suddenly one heavy boot shoots out from under him and he slides ungracefully onto his back, the blue hammer at his side rattling in its iron loop. Snow clinging to his cloak and beard, Frarin struggles to come again to his feet. The sun flashes brightly on the horizon. Night gives way to morning.
Thari, still following along at a rather sedate pace when Frarin falls. She gives a deep cry and starts leaping down the snow-strewn hill as well, then rounds him and passes beyond without pausing. "STOP!" comes her deep bellow as she takes up the chase instead. "We just want to talk with you!" She, too, suddenly stops at the icy patch that Keldean circled. She picks her way carefully across it.
He's growing tired, his energy starting to fade as the need for endurance replaces adrenaline. Kel clambors up a high mound of white snow, thinking to lose them on the opposite side in the darkness. Alas, what seems an innocent drift proves in fact to be the awning on the porch of a hobbit hole. There is no gradual decline on the opposite side, just a sheer drop-off of a few feet to front walkway of the home below. He lands hard, grunting as the breath is knocked out of his lungs and he clips his head on flowerbox. The boy is stunned for the moment.
[Frarin(#31050)] Up again is Frarin, slightly more sodden now as snow falls from his cloak. It sticks to his long beard as it wags around his belt, but the silver merchant quickly takes off after Thari, skidding and slipping down the hill once again. Ah, good fortune at last! Or, is there? As Frarin plunges after Keldean again, he sights the teen scramble up a small slope and...disappear. As he slides along, Frarin's lips part suddenly as the eavesdropper vanishes from sight of a sudden.
"Where'd he--" he begins, though he breaks off, focusing instead on staying upright. Instead of taking on the hill after Keldean, Frarin chooses to skirt around the base of the snow drift and thus discovers in a slightly less painful fashion that the drift is in fact the entrance to a hobbit hole. And there is the lad, stunned from his fall. "You!" says the silver merchant, recognising Keldean now at closer quarters. "By Durin, lad, I just want to talk to you." Be that as it may, Frarin comes quickly towards the youth, reaching for Keldean's collar.
[Nob(#16122)] The hobbit holes are dug deeply and well and most sounds from above cannot be heard. But when a herd of cows thunders across your porch roof, you might notice it! A few minutes after Keldean's fall, the round door slams open and an entire family of hobbits - napkins tucked under chins, knives and forks in hand, some still even chewing or holding a roll - are crowded in the entrance staring at him. "It's a boy," one of them says unnecessarily. "One of the Big Folk," agrees another. "Wonder what he's doing there?"
And then... the show continues! A dwarf appears! Agog with greedy delight, the hobbits settle in to watch.
[Braldor(#30149)] A loud chuckle comes from nearby... a gruff voice, loud and rocky. "Stay there, laddie!", says another dwarf, who happened to be sitting on a rck, overlooking Bree-town. "Mind yer step, else ye'll fall too!", it adds. If anyone turns towards the voice, a blue-cloaked dwarf will be seen, with a long black beard tucked inside his belt. A rich cloak it is, and gold glimmers slightly from his belt and the collar around his neck: this is a rich dwarf, for indeed this is Braldor, Thane Bundazanul. Even as Frarin manages to go for the Breefolk lad, the Thane stands, and with slow pace nears his two cousins.
Thari, less prudent, does follow directly after Keldean. The healer climbs up the snow drift but does look down, thus managing to stop barely at the top of the doorframe without falling over. A shower of snow pours down on the hobbit family. "Ho!" cries Thari happily upon espying the scene below. "Don't let him run off! He was spying on us!"
"Hey, watch it up there." "Careful!" "You're getting snow all over our dinners!" "Back off, back off, you'll come right through!"
There is a chorus of outraged voices from below.
Frari's strong hand closes around his collar just as he's struggling to his feet again to sprint away. He growls, pulling against the dwarf's grip. "I was not! Let go!" He demands, his voice sounding near breathless from his haphazard jaunt down the hillside.
[Braldor(#30149)] The Thane's pace quickens as he listens to Frarin, and soon he is beside his kinsfolk. "Well laddie, were ye spying on 'en two? And... what were they doing, pray, that was so important as to chase a lad down the hill?", he adds, eyeing Keldean first, and his gaze then going to Thari and Frarin.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin's hand clamps down on Keldean's collar just as the door to the hobbit hole opens,Thari shouts from above, and the Thane Bundazanul makes himself known. For a mere second, as all of this collides, time seems to pause as Frarin glances up to see an entire family of goggling hobbits eagerly peering out of their round doorway. The silver merchant's mouth falls open almost comically, his iron grip still holding fast to Keldean.
Frowning deeply, his face a collage of emotions, Frarin starts to drag Keldean away from the excited audience, trying valiantly to ignore the hobbit family. "You were too, lad! Be honest!" Frarin growls, trying to keep his voice low. "Now what did you hear? Come on, don't try my patience, what did you hear?"
[Frarin(#31050)] As if the family of hobbits were not enough, now the Thane Braldor is asking questions too. Frarin looks back at the richly-dressed dwarf, but says absolutely nothing, apparently at a loss for words. His eyes go instead to Thari, as if expecting her to speak up in response to her Thane.
[Nob(#16122)] "What d'you think he did, Dad?" asks one small hobbit, his round faced jammed down around the adult's knees. He must have gotten on hands and knees to be able to see out. "Did he ... /kill/ somebody?" "No, no," says an elder. "Nobody gets kilt round abouts Bree. Outside, mebbe. Probly he stole something." A young hobbit lad chews mechanically on a sweetroll as his round eyes take in every detail of the action.
[Thari(#31038)] "He--" Whatever Thari was about to say is abruptly cut off as Braldor's words are heard. The shorter dwarf opens and shuts mouth. And then-- CRACK! Thari has dropped a few inches all at once. Grey eyes go wide.
Dwarves are not light, even smallish ones, crafted as they were by their maker from the earth. The roof of the hobbits' entryway bulges downward and rains frozen chunks of earth. Thari's eyes are on Frarin and gingerly, this dwarf tries to crawl off the side of the hobbit hole without even breathing.
The actual collapse of the roof somehow seems quieter. An tumbling of snow and dirt pours into the entryway as Thari disappears down the hole.
The thane's way of questioning the two dwarves only further fires his suspicions. Keldean is hauled away by Frarin, still trying to extricate himself from the clenched grip but he can't. "Nothing! I just forgot that I had to be working at the Pony!" He spits out quickly, grabbing the first excuse that comes to mind. Luckily the following silence is broken by Thari's sudden collapse of the porch roof. Keldean cringes at the sound, watching the snow and earth crumble all over the place.
[Nob(#16122)] Horrified and shocked, the hobbits' collective gaze lifts to their roof. Then there is a mad scramble as they all try to move at once mostly back into the hole where they won't be squashed. The silence after the fall is broken fairly swiftly by muted and unintelligible shouts from inside the blocked doorway.
[Braldor(#30149)] "Perhaps it'd be better if I take the lad back to Bree", Braldor says, as he watches Frarin... a queer look is in his eyes, and his dark eyes flash, "tis better if he goes back home and..." Whatever else the Thane was going to say is muffled by the loud, cracking noise of the hobbit-hole's roof giving way. He truns quickly, only to see the top of Thari's head disappear. "Thari! Are ye alright!?", he asks, as he nears the now gaping hole, making sure that he won't follow Thari into the now ruined hobbit-hole.
[Frarin(#31050)] "Oh a likely story," Frarin rumbles, lowering his voice still more as he drags the lad further away from the prying hobbit eyes and, notably, away from Braldor as well. "Listen, I just need to know what you heard, lad, it's--" But if Frarin had been moving towards taking a calmer tone in questioning Keldean, he does not get the chance, for then the Thane Bundazanul is speaking again. And with this assault of claims upon Frarin's attention, the silver merchant snaps back rather quickly.
"With all due respect, my lord--" And again! Frarin once more gets no more than a few words into his reply when the sound of Thari's...tumble, earthquake rather, calls for his focus, and this time it outweighs all other focuses. Keldean's collar is released as Frarin gives a cry. "Thari!" Keldean is forgotten as the silver merchant jumps towards the collapsed entryway.
Keldean stares for a moment, startled at the collapse. Then he realizes that Frarin has released him. He tries to slink away, slowly backing away from the scene. They're all distracted and maybe he can simply slip away in the confusion and arguing. The boy glances around, trying to find a good place to hide, and begins creeping towards a row of hedges.
[Thari(#31038)] The rockfall settles. Occasional drifts of snow still come down. The entryway is nearly filled to the brim with rubble, and hobbits are hollering within.
There is a cough, and then, "Lads?" It's Thari's voice, sounding very cautious. "I-- " another cough. "Not really hurt, bit buried here." The rockpile shifts and then collapses further inwards. The trapped dwarf gives an alarmed grunt.
[Nob(#16122)] The shouting from within intensifies as Thari moves and the pile of rubble shifts.
[Braldor(#30149)] Braldor turns, and notices the Breefolk yo9ungster trying to slink away. "Hey there, lad!", he calls, "come! Nothing will happen to ye, I just need a favor... and I shall pay handsomely for it!", he calls as he shows a silver penny to Keldean.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin's mouth opens as Thari calls from beneath her prison and relief spreads across his face, though it is short-lived, for then the pile of rubbish shifts again and only a grunt comes from Thari. The silver merchant gives another cry, though this one is not really any real word, just a cry of shock and surprise. He immediately sets upon the pile, throwing his cloak aside as rough hands pull at broken timbers and drifts of snow.
Keldean stops dead at the word 'pay'. He looks over at the dwarf as two very strong desires fight against each other. Braldor can lightly see how torn the teen is. Keldean is dressed in worn, old clothes without gloves or hat and a lean figure. He isn't very wealthy by all appearances. He brown eyes flick over towards Frarin and where Thari was just buried. They're definitely distracted. He inclines his head slightly, not approaching and asking in a cautious tone. "What kind of favor?"
[Braldor(#30149)] "Nothing that will tax ye overmuch, laddie", the Thane says. "Just to help us get our cousin out from there... and perhaps then helping me down the hill? This seems to be a mighty dangerous place for a dwarf who doesn't know the land... or where hobbit-holes lie! As said", he adds, as he winks to Keldean, "I shall pay ye handsomely", he repeats, as he also nears and starts to carefully remove the rubble.
[Nob(#16122)] On the inside, careful hands are moving bits of rock and wood to one side, freeing up what can be seen of Thari's legs. The children have been banished to the end of the hall, where they still watch, wide-eyed and the adults are taking it in turns to try and clear out their entryway.
[Thari(#31038)] It doesn't take long before a dirty hank of hair is uncovered, followed by a shoulder, and at last a bit of Thari's head. The trapped turns toward the opening, taking a deep, almost shaky breath, and smiles at Frarin. "Hello my lad."
Thari then shifts her shoulder, trying to free an arm, but this causes a small rockslide toward the face and so the healer stops. The next moment, however, her legs are free enough for feet to brace against the floor. Thari struggles to stand, throwing rock and dirt everywhere.
[Nob(#16122)] "HEY!" come the words from within. "Hold up there, are you trying to bury us all?" "WILL YOU HOLD STILL?"
[Nob(#16122)] "Sit on its feets, Brillo, maybe that'll keep it still! Bad enough it's got to go and wreck our porch, now it's trying to take down all the entry too!"
Keldean listens carefully, but his reaction almost immediately isn't favorable to the request. His gaze drags over to Frarin and there's an honest fear on his face. He shifts his eyes back to Braldor and quickly shakes his head. As much as he wants the money, he isn't going any closer to Frarin. He turns and starts hurrying off, following the lane that leads along the hill.
[Braldor(#30149)] Braldor doesn't watch the young one leave, as he tries to free Thari. "Ye think we can pull Thari up!?", he calls to the hobbits underneath, "or do ye think it'll cause a slide?"
[Frarin(#31050)] All composure is forgotten by Frarin as Thari's head at last comes into the light and she smiles at him. A broad, relieved smile splits the merchant's face, completely oblivious to the fear espoused by Keldean only a short distance behind him. "Hello, Thari," he says, managing at least to retain some semblence of public formality. "Come on now, up you come. Carefully."
Without a word to the hobbits or Braldor, Frarin gently begins to remove some of the snow around Thari's head as they work to free the rest of the trapped dwarf's body and save the entryway in one go.
[Nob(#16122)] There is a moment of considering silence. Then, "Wait until we clear a bit more up," comes the answer. Then, lower, "You all get back a good ways. Don't need no one hit on the head by rocks or anything."
[Thari(#31038)] "Hey!" Thari struggles to lift her head. "Someone's sitting on my legs! Ah!" As the voices within seem to indicate that hobbits are moving away, the trapped dwarf gives a great stretch and manages to pull arms free. Thari reaches for Braldor and Frarin.
[Braldor(#30149)] "Alright the", the Thane calls, "let me know when ye all are ready!". Turning to Thari and, specially, to Frarin, he adds, "We shall get one of Thari's arm each, and when the hobbits signal, we shall pull... hopefully we'll get Thari free easily", he says, as he removes some more of the rubbish around the trapped dwarf.
[Nob(#16122)] Slowly rocks and rubble are cleared from below, though the weight on Thari's feet doesn't budge. Then there is a call. "Right then! Give it a try!" And at the same time, the hobbit holding the dwarf fast below scrambles for safety.
[Braldor(#30149)] "Alright lad", Braldor says to Frarin, as he takes hold of one of Thari's arms, "ready?"
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin nods silently to Braldor and chucks away a few balls of snow until he manages to get a good grip on one of Thari's arms. "There we go, hold on now, Thari," he assures the healer. Then comes the go ahead from the hobbits below. Another glance at the Thane and a nod.
[Thari(#31038)] Thari's hands grip both of the dwarves' shirtsleeves and as they begin to pull, so too does this trapped one pull at them with strong arms. The mound of detritus spills around Frarin's and Braldor's legs.
[Braldor(#30149)] "One... two... three... NOW!", the Thane calls, and he heaves mightily, trying to get Thari out from the hole.
[Nob(#16122)] Rocks and dirt and snow spill down below as well, tumbling down into the hole that Thari is leaving behind. But the hobbits have safely moved themselves (and some treasured belongings: there is a jumbled heap of pictures, tables and nicknacks at the end of the hall) out of the way.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin hauls on Thari's arm at the Thane's command, pulling with all of his strength, though not moving sharply, so as to keep the sudden stretching of muscles from harming the healer trapped below. Snow piles over the tips of Frarin's boots and, even though he steps back as Thari's emerges, it soon rolls up to his ankles and shins. The silver merchant grunts with the exertion, limping back on his left leg.
Thari is lifted up and out by the two strong dwarves. Legs emerge and are swung forward to set on the ground. The healer is grinning broadly and, once standing, shakes free from the grip they hold.
Thari grins and places hands on the backs of the heads of both of the rescuers. "Thank you, lads!" comes a merry and relieved voice. Thari is covered from head to toe in dirt, and a horrible mound of the stuff is left behind.
[Braldor(#30149)] "There's a good lad!", Braldor calls, as Thari gets freed from her rocky prison. "Everyone good down there!?", he calls then to the hobbits.
[Frarin(#31050)] As Thari comes to stand on her own two feet, Frarin gives another relieved smile, stomping snow and dirt from his boots and trousers. He reaches up to the healer, but gives her a comradly clap on the shoulder. "Thought we'd lost you, reckless wretch," he chuckles. But that seems to jog the merchant's memory and with a quick intake of breath, he rounds suddenly, attempting to keep some semblence of composure as he looks around frantically for sight of Keldean. But the youth is gone and with a deliberately steady breathing, Frarin looks back to Thari and Braldor. To the Thane especially does Frarin give a forced casual look.
Clearing his throat, Frarin starts forward towards the buried hobbit hole. "Let's see about getting these poor hobbits out then, mm?"
[Nob(#16122)] There is a cheer from below as the dwarf vanishes upwards. It seems answer enough to Braldor's question, for there is no other reply. Instead, a babble of excited chattering bursts out, not quite intelligible.
[<#31038>] 'Yes, let's do.' Thari brushes off hands and turns, reaching back. She pulls a great rock from the doorway with both hands while muttering and looking down, "..., ... lad ... ... ... secret. ... ... ... ... ... he knows."
[Braldor(#30149)] "I shall seek that lad and see how much he knows", Braldor whispers to Thari and Frarin. To the hobbits he calls, "Good! I shall leave my cousin Frarin here to agree with you on repairing this mess, while I take our cousin here to be checked by the healers!", he adds, as he turns to Thari. "Well, let us go then", he says, in a tone that leave little room for dissent. "Master Frarin, please join us after dealing with the hobbits on getting their fine house repaired", he adds, as he starts going down the hill, not even looking back to see if his orders are followed or not... it seems he expects them to be, in any case.
[Frarin(#31050)] Frarin's mouth falls open before he can stop himself and his brows come together at Braldor's orders. His fists clench and unclench, but he snatches up his disgarded cloak without a word to the Thane, nods sharply at Thari, and turns back to the hobbit hole with a glare that might melt the very snow holding the rest of the comfy little hole together.
[Nob(#16122)] And so the work goes on the dwarf, aided from without by such of the neighbors who have heard the commotion the hobbits from within. And when the hole is finally cleared, Frarin is invited inside for the remains of the interrupted dinner... and a session of "How Much Do You Owe Me."