Lemuel catches a break
Lemuel is injured while Malorie and Brandebras look on.
Sort Date: no date set
Location: North Market - Bree
Game Date: 21 December 1448
IC Time: Just before dawn
Weather: Icy cold but clear
The sun has not yet come up over Bree - the thin crescent moon remains high in the sky, although the eastern sky is a pale yellow colour - sunrise is not too far away. The marketplace is deserted. A chill wind blows through, chasing all but the bravest or most determined early risers into corners and homes to evade its biting fingers.
One of those brave few is Lemuel, the carpenter. He is leading a donkey, which is pulling a large cart, stacked with planks of wood, towards his shop. He is bound up in a heavy coat, with a thick woolly hat and scarf, and rabbit-fur gloves.
Brandebras Bywater certainly has enough layers on. Knitted jersey (the too-long cuffs are visible below the sleeves of his jacket), heavy brown wool jacket, nice bright yellow hat and gloves and a cosy red muffler which is pulled up over his nose and mouth so that a pair of bright eyes are the only visible part of his face. As he trots along with his head down, moving quickly to stave off the cold, he is muttering to himself: "Milk for Ma, Flour for Mister Nob. Milk for .. no, wait. Was it the other way round?"
Given the way he's bundled up, it's little surprise he can't see where he's going. Lemuel seems destined for a hobbit head-butt unless he's a fast mover.
From the direction of the Prancing Pony, another shifting of movement can be seen. Steps--not taken too quickly--bring Malorie Blackroot from her post at the gate towards the market. In a cursory glance upwards does the Breeguard see Lemuel and Brandebras--and the impending collision.
Still too far away to prevent the unfortunate meeting, the young woman decides to sneeze, instead.
Lemuel is rather too huddled to see the hobbit scuttling towards him - and the wind prevents what little chance he had of hearing him. So it is that the predicted collision happens. Stiff and aching from the cold, and taken so unawares, Lemuel trips and falls. His free hand is deep within his pocket, so it is the hand which holds the donkey's bridle which quickly goes down to cushion Lemuels fall, and it isn't a gentle fall either. His wrist hits the cobbles awkwardly, and the man cries out in pain. Malorie's entrance thus goes entirely unnoticed by Lemuel.
Brandebras, well-used to collisions (and well-padded into the bargain), lets out a squeal, quickly followed by a flustered, "Sorry!" as he backpedals, flailing his arms for balance. He manages to avoid Lemuel's falling body, but the man's movements have placed the donkey's nose uncomfortably close and his own are making the beast curious. "Don't let it eat me!" he blurts out as the beast's head comes forward.
And Malorie? Like Lemuel, he is a little too preoccupied to notice a Breeguard at the scene.
"Bless me!" Malorie says following her sneeze, a brow upraised as Lemuel collides with the Hobbit and stumbles unceremoniously to the ground. She winces as he cries out in pain.
"And bless you, too, I suppose," she adds, her pace now a little quicker as she approaches the two. "Hobbits are quite a bit like cats underfoot," she observes with a sidelong glance to Brandebras. "You need to watch where you're going or they get in the way."
So maybe compassion isn't her strongest suit--especially after ending a shift on watch at the gate. But then, the young woman seem to reconsider. "How badly are you hurt?"
She grabs for the bridle of the donkey, and glares at Brandebras. "Silly thing...it's not going to eat you!"
"Aie!" moans Lemuel as he turns to sit carefully on the cold ground. He gently attempts to move the hurt hand, but winces and draws breath sharply as he does. As he looks at the wrist, he notices a strangely shaped lump that wasn't there before, which he touches gingerly, but winces again. He ignores Brandebras's pleas regarding the donkey, but does manage to ask, "You all right?" He looks up at Malorie, and says, "Oh, morning Blackroot. I'm all right, thanks. I reckon this joint's cracked though. That's bad."
"Then why is it sniffing at me?" Brandebras demands of Malorie, taking advantage of her distraction to shuffle worriedly back. Lemuel's question sends his head tilting to the side in consideration. "I think so. My hat didn't lose its pompom, did it? Ma knitted it, she'd be so cross ..." The words trail off as he belatedly seems to realize he's supposed to help. "You shouldn't sit on the cold ground like that, you'll get a chill," he informs Lemuel knowledgeably. "Do you need a hand up?" He thrusts one woolly-mittened hand towards the carpenter.
"As much as I like taking Manfred's surname for my own, my first name is Malorie," the young woman protests, her voice a soft grumble beneath a narrowed glance. She peers down at Lemuel's slightly-misshapen wrist and shakes her head. "Not good at all..." With a firm tug, she guides the donkey away from the flustered hobbit. And as Brandebras speaks, she listens in silence, quirking a grin as he mentions his hat, and lifting her gaze overhead for a moment.
"I think calling upon the healers is probably a good idea...?" she says at last, glancing doubtfully between the two.
Lemuel finally becomes aware once more, and says irritably, "Oh leave it out, little 'un. She's only a donkey, and and a gentle one at that." As often after these irritable outbursts though, Lemuel softens and repents. "Sorry," he says, taking the offered hand with his remaining good hand, but putting no weight on it. He nods at Malorie, and says, "Oh yeah, sorry, Malorie." He says the name rather awkwardly, as if he is not used to being on first name terms with many. Finally, he responds, "Nah, I don't think that'd be necessary, Malorie. They'd only give me some root to rub on it and a herb to sniff. I'd rather take my chances with a mug of something hot and a seat by the fire, thanks."
Brandebras meets Malorie's doubtful glance with one of his own. "They don't like being called out at this time of morning," he says. "I'm not sure I could get anyone to come this time." He's so wrapped up it's impossible to tell whether he's blushing, but the way he hangs his head certainly suggests embarrassment.
When Lemuel takes his hand the hobbit braces himself against the ground and pulls with all his might, trying to get the man up.
Malorie sniffs as Lemuel refuses the idea of seeing a healer. She folds her arms before her and her shoulders roll in a nonchalant shrug. "As you wish," she says. "Though a wrist joint like that...not properly mended, mind you...can be a world of hurt for a long time after. And you working with your hands as you do?" The *tsk-tsk* that follows is no less than a sullen rebuke, and possibly includes the hobbit's naysaying that causes Malorie to step back a pace.
"Be careful!" she warns under her breath as Brandebras attempts to pull Lemuel to his feet.
"Come on, what would the healers do anyway?" asks Lemuel, contemptuously, "No herb or root is going to fix this, and neither is time in bed, and that's all I ever saw them healers doing, anyway. No, all I need to do is get someone to fix it straight, and then I just won't use it for a while." Lemuel grips the hobbit's hand, but carefully avoids actually trusting his weight to Brandebras, instead awkwardly using his legs to lift himself. "Thanks," he says, then, "Here, don't I know you from somewhere, young man?"
Brandebras seems not to realize that Malorie is backing off. Her warning certainly isn't acknowledged he continues both to pull and talk. "When Mrs Featherstone broke her leg they-"
The words cut off with a sudden grunt as Lemuel rises without the expected pressure on his arm. His feet skid from under him on the icy cobbles and he yelps, hanging on to Lemuel's arm with all his weight. The man's question is not answered yet - keeping his balance seems more important.
"Elven healers could fix it right the first time," Malorie murmurs as Lemuel gathers his legs under him and tries to get up. It's doubtful that the others hear this, however, chattering as the hobbit is about Mrs. Featherstone's broken leg.
The donkey brays as both hobbit and human start to lose balance in the attempt to help each other out--
Lemuel does hear Malorie, and says, "I've no doubt they could, if they would, but when was the last time you saw an elf in Bree? And even when they're here they just sit in their huddles and never talk to anyone." As Brandebras slips, he cries out "Woah there!" and rather unheroicly lets his grip on the poor hobbit's hand slide.
Brandebras lets out a wordless yelp, followed by a thud. Unlike Lemuel, he does not try to use his hands to break his fall and so it is his jacket-and-oversized-jersey covered posterior that bears the brunt of the impact. He lies there, looking dazed, and says nothing at all to anyone (surely an improvement?)
Malorie raises an eyebrow as Lemuel mutters something about Elves in Bree, though she has no time to reply as Lemuel's grasp upon Brandebras' hand slips, and the latter falls squarely upon his backside!
The Breeguard cannot help but laugh, though quickly unfolds her arms and reaches a hand out to steady Lemuel and hand him the bridle of the ear-twitching donkey.
"Stay there," she cautions the hobbit. "I'll help you up."
"Oh goodness!" cries Lemuel, "I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to drop you! You are all right, aren't you lad?" He offers his right hand, but looks at the wrist and quickly swaps for his left. "That is," he continues to Malorie, "Unless you know of anyone who knows where to find them. I s'pose it's just occurring to me how bad this really is. If it don't set properly I'll never be hefting wood without it hurting, and I'll be lucky if I can hammer again at all."
Brandebras peers blearily up at Malorie, and then at the interested-looking donkey behind her. He makes a small inarticulate noise.
At Lemuel's query he blinks for a few more moments, then says in a small voice, "I'm not quite sure. My bottom hurts." Suddenly he gasps. "My messages! Ma'll skin me if I don't get back with her groceries, and that'd hurt worse. I hope everything's all right, Mister Miller. It can't be that bad, can it?" Some things are best not speculated on. "Good day to you, Missus Blackroot."
With that he manages to roll over onto all fours. Ignoring Malorie's command, he pushes himself to his feet and staggers off, one hand to his tender behind.
The hobbit's fluster and bluster quells any further comment from Malorie for the moment, and she stands away as young Brandebras pushes himself to his feet and hurries away.
The Breeguard watches after him quizzically for a moment, then turns back to Lemuel. "So you do have some sense after all," Malorie notes smugly as the young man reconsiders having someone see to his injured wrist.
She looks towards the eastern sky--now awash in golden tones of the brimming morn. "I imagine, now that the sun is rising, that you might simply go to the healer's cottage and inquire for yourself?"
Lemuel watches after Brandebras, shaking his head at the troubles this morning's chance encounter is likely to cause. "You reckon they'd know?" he says, forlornly, "I always thought they were a bit, y'know..." He trails off, apparently hoping that Malorie does indeed know.
And then Malorie laughs. Nothing so proper and ladylike, but a well-knowing laugh that seeks to express more than words might alone. Her glance darts for a brief moment to Lemuel, then she lowers her gaze to the ground, chuckling quietly. "Aye, Lemuel," she says at last. "I do believe I understand. However..." And the Breeguard looks to the other solemnly. "What other choice do you have, other than bind it for yourself? You could always wait a day or two and then see the healers?" The Breeguard then shakes her head, raising her gaze southward--as if to see beyond the stands of tidy houses and rolling hills. "One day I might tell you a tale that makes you think more kindly of the healers here."
She reconsiders and shrugs. "Maybe...."
Lemuel looks heavenward, with obvious exasperation. "No," he says, with resignation in his voice, "I'll go when I've got this lot in me shop. Though how I'll get it unloaded now I don't know." He looks towards the east at the ever brightening sky, as the sun begins its first peek over the horizon, and shivers.
"What'd it take to get your lips moving, anyhow, Malorie?" He asks, intrigued. "You strike me as hardly the normal sort - y'know, get married, looking after the husband while he goes out and works in the orchards or the fields. I hope you don't mind my saying that mind. But y'know, it seemed to me like that wasn't your first time round creatures like that big beast in the Barrow Downs, to boot."
"So," Malorie says, eyeing Lemuel ruefully, "if you want help, why not ask for it? I can't read your mind."
"And what exactly do you mean by my not being the normal sort?" She raises a hand to scratch at her head. "Because I have an axe, know how to use it, work as a Breeguard, and know what a troll is?" Once more she laughs--obviously amused.
"Were I still Miss Malorie Foxglove, I'd still not be 'the normal sort.' She shrugs. "Never was. With Mallin Foxglove for a father and three selfish brothers..." She lets the rest trail off and looks to the half-asleep donkey.
"So," she says, looking back to Lemuel. "Do you want help or not?"
"That" Lemuel says with emphasis, "is what I mean by it. You talk of using an axe as a weapon and running into trolls the same way I talk of using a chisel as a tool and running into drunkards in alleyways, it's just - if I'm not overstepping my bounds - well, it's different." He listens, then says, "I don't think I've ever met your father, and if I met your brothers, I'm afraid I don't know it." He shakes his head at the offer, "No, that's all right. You've just come off night duty, haven't you? But thanks though."
"It's what I know," Malorie says with another shrug as Lemuel speaks of axes and trolls. "And though not given to skirts and pinafores," she muses with a grin, "I am come from Archet, before Bree."
She slides a hand over her shoulder--as if to make certain that the axe is still cradled in its holder at her back. But the beginnings of a frown tug at the corners of her mouth at mention of her father and brothers.
"Count yourself lucky that you have never met them," she says, looking towards the Prancing Pony as patrons begin to enter in--looking herself, as if she might follow soon after.
She glances over her shoulder at Lemuel. "And pray that you never do."
Lemuel nods, seeming unsatisfied. "Fair enough." he offers though. "Sounds like I'd best not ask about your family then, eh?" he says. He takes up his donkey's bridle, and makes a clicking sound. "I'd best be on my way, anyway. Thanks for your help, and, you know, the advice." He begins walking, but only gets a few paces away when he turns and with a cheeky grin, says, "I'll get you talking yet, wait and see!"
Located in: Breefolk