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(Archive) RATH ARAN: Interception

Tags: Menelglir,  Fencrist,  Fuinlos,  sul,  Lominzil,  Lanthiron,  Suliell,  Tavor,  Ssamori,  Rukhet,  Aragorn

Short Summary: Trials upon the road for the Gondorian plague-party. A patient is added to their company. (partial log)
Date (real-life): 2014-01-14
Scene Location: Rath Aran, Belfalas
in media res log - soldiers have intercepted some civilians and their families in carts (temps)

Belfalas: Rath Aran - Grasslands of Dor-en-Ernil

        The road, hard packed earth raised above the ground, cuts like a grey ribbon through the verdant green of the lush grasslands here in the Land of the Prince. The land, pristine in condition, owes its fertility and vibrant life to not only the high mountains to the west, but also to the River Gilrain, which can be seen winding its way from the distant north, to join with the Serni to the east. To the south of the mighty confluence of these two rivers, is a great stone bridge at the western end of which lies the town of Linhir. The rich fields of growing things continues to the southwest, and the lands to the north, while no less green, lack their cultivation.
        The road continues to stretch its girth to the northwest, cutting through land that grows ever more filled with hills and high reaches. The southern spur of the White Mountains is merely rolling foothills there, though to both the north and south of that spot the ground is again rocky and high.

From the direction of Pelarglir comes hoofbeats approaching, not at the slow gate of travel, but quickly, hurriedly and with purpose. The rider, clad in the white of the Citadel's men, weaves between the travelers. His colt's powerful hooves digging into the mud, unfortunately splashing his fair share of mud upon those he passes.

Seeing others of his ilk, he slows to a trot, Lanthiron's eyes running over the hostmen, watching Fencrist and Fuinlos pass him by, giving each a nod in turn as he rides up alongside the small column.

"No need to threaten the locals, Fencrist," Menelglir says with something of exasperation in his voice. "A polite inquiry will serve you better. These people are not the enemy."

[Aragorn(#12758)] Alawen smiles faintly back towards Suliel, though the expression is dessicated. And though she does stop the wagon when Fencrist so demands, the woman merely looks down at the knight, a sort of resigned and disgusted expression on her face. "All night my family spent packing our best wares so we might flee this plague of recent rumor," she explains. "And now we are detained for no cause at all. Examine what you will, sir knight. But know we are no thieves, if that is your belief."


The fisherwoman, Ranel, smiles back wearily at Suliell. "What're all the fine folk doin' out in *this?*" The rain's running in rivulets off the long rear brim of her southwester, to drip off the skirts of her oilcloth coat behind her. The tattoo of the rain is too loud to let her much beyond a dozen paces.

Fencrist glances over over his shoulder at Menelglir and then turns to look up a the woman, hand staying right where it is on the hilt of his sword. "You say are running from a plague and the plead I have no cause to stop you? Stolen goods are not my concern, woman. My concern are ... plague-carriers, taking the sickness you flee from far and wide. I want to have a look at you and any who ride in your wagon."

Shaking her head slowly as she watches the way they've brough the woman's wargon to a halt to question her, Suliell turns to the fisherwoman with a snort, "They're investigating those rumors that've been coming out of the Northwest, about that plague and all." Nodding towards Alawen's wagon, Suliell adds, "Seems as if things might be more than rumors now. Have you heard any news from the Northwest, or have you been at sea too much for such whisperings?"


The fisherwoman answers, "Plague? Oh, curse it. I've heard nothing. We've been out." She straightens, and then grimaces at the cart full of fish. "I was going to sell this lot and visit the chandlery. We need oil. We couldn't reef in time, and the jib blew out. We need sailcloth." She closes her eyes. "I wonder if it's true."

As this unlooked-for rider approaches, Menelglir is flanked by a black-clad horseman, the squire of his retinue, who stares coldly down the slick road and says nothing.

The other men of the Silver Ship Company remain in line, though they remain alert for orders as they huddle in their cloaks.


Lanthiron pulls along side one of the soliders at random, "Your commander. Is the Knight?" And though he addresses the soldier, his eye stays on the back of the knight and squire, squinting.

The soldier recognizes the garb of the Citadel and salutes with great vigor and solemnity. He looks to Fencrist and answers, "Captain Indoron put us under his son Fencrist, but the knight yonder leads the party... more or less."


"More or less? Is that not how all Knights lead?" Lanthiron says with a grin and kicks his horse ahead.

"Sir knight..." he calls ahead.

"See what the guardsman requires," Menelglir says to Lominzil as he dismounts and then trudges over toward Fencrist and the bedraggled peasant woman. He frowns, considering the situation a moment, then turns to Fencrist. "See to her wagon and make sure it is not stuck and then see to the fisherwoman's wagon," he says testily.

"My good woman," he says to the woman. "I do apologize for this man's behavior."

"Aye. I went South to Pelargir to get supplies. Everything was pretty picked over when I left Linhir a bit past." Suliell rolls her eyes as she half keeps her gaze on Alawen's wagon. 

Lowering her voice to a near whisper as she adds to Ranel, "Opened my mouth a bit too wide, and ended up saddled with this lot on my way back to my farm, and I can't understand why, and now this weather. I'm going to be in for a rough winter between delays and the mutterings about plague. I'd head right back out to sea as soon as you're resupplied if I were you. Perhaps head for a southern port."

[Aragorn(#12758)] "There is but rumor of plague, good sir," answers Alawen, observing Fencrist for a moment and then bowing her head gratefully towards the arriving Menelglir. She sighs, gesturing towards the rear of her wagon. "If it pleases you, sirs, look if you must as well." Her voice is weary and resigned.

But fortunately it appears that the wagon is not stuck in the mud or otherwise damaged from its encounter with the rock.

"Her wagon?" Fencrist begins to protest, but thinks better of arguing with Menelglir. After the slightest of bows of submission, the man-at-arms turns to have a look at the wagon and it's constitution. After deciding all is well as best a non-wainwright can, Fencrist moves on towards Suliell and the fisherwoman.

One of the soldiers down the line hears this about mere rumors and he cracks a joke, saying to his fellow next to him with a grin, "The folk of these southern fiefs aren't very doughty if they flee from mere rumor. Gads! Half of Minas Tirith'd be gone by now if its folk picked up and fled rumors of invasion! Ha!"

The other fellow chuckles.

"Keep the order," says the Squire curtly to the Knight. Lominzil's gaze slides like ice-water over the roadblock of soldiers and civilians, and he nudges his horse over to meet the rider of the Citadel.

"Hir Menelglir of the Swans, and I, Lominzil of the same, at your service," he intones to Lanthiron.


"Lominzil... Girithlin, yes? I think we have met some months ago, or perhaps not. You are known to me in any case." Lanthiron pulls up short and beside the Squire, "I am Lanthiron, Errand Rider for the Steward. I figure you are headed back home, but with a party of the Guard? Are you under any orders? May I be of some aid?"

Ranel says to Suliell, "Out to sea, forsooth. -- If you've lard or tallow to spare, I'd trade you the fish for it, and forgo the city. Salted or dried, this catch could tide a few folk over till spling. And for us ... ve could sail with the main alone till we made landfall elsewhere, I'm thinkin'."

"Rumor of plague?" Menelglir says, ignoring the joking of the men of the Silver Ship Company. "Yet you abandon your home? Just what are the rumors saying and how is it that you flee from rumors?" 

"When you are done," he calls to Fencrist, " you may check this wagon. But not under threat of violence to these people."
[Aragorn(#12758)] "Rumor it may be, sir knight," begins Alawen soberly. "But those who have seen it speak of a disease that starts as the normal winter illness yet ends with a fever and...insanity." Her sons in the back start to speak louder and she looks back at them, shaking her head. Attention returning to Menelglir, she nods. "Two sons and a husband with poor health. Would you not avoid such a malady if you could?"

"Just like my father... Here you!" Fencrist calls out to Ranel and Suliell as he comes up to them. "Did I hear you're a woman of the sea who has brought her catch in? And what of this wagon? Looks about as sure as Suliell's poor mare."

Nodding her head at the offer Ranel makes, Suliell smiles slowly, "That's a fair trade. Since my winter preparations were interrupted, I have need of extra meat, and I also have a smokehouse to prep them in. I have plenty of lard as well, and if we're a bit short for trade, I was planning to butcher a hog when I got back to my land anyhow."

Reaching out a hand to pat her elderly mare's neck at Fencrists words, Suliell clicks her tongue softly at his words, "Now, don't you be taking those words to heart, girl."

"No, I see your plight," Menelglir nods to the peasant woman. "Tell me what you heard of this plague? Anything else?"
"I am honored," says the Girithlin, and gestures with his spear to the wagons.

"From Pelargir we came west and north, seeking insight on the rumors of a plague in the mountains. So you witness: we hear that which we seek to see."

[Rukhet(#24527)] Ranel answers Frencrist, 
"Yes, sir, that's our catch. 'Tis mostly bass. We docked early this morning -- not that you could see the sun. The cart ... well. 'Tis the last thing we repair, since we needn't worry about it takin' on water."

She says to Suleil, "I'll take that deal, if you will."

[Aragorn(#12758)] Alawan nods slowly. "It is said to be in the north west. With my husband's health these days, I do some of the bargaining with the merchants in Linhir and it is from them that I learned this news. They are usually well-informed, so..." She seems to shrink with exhaustion. "Who can tell what this tiding means beyond trouble to those who do not flee?"

Fencrist gives the cart an uninterested inspection. "Looks sure enough to me, not that I'm an expert." Finished, he steps away, puts a foot in a stirrup and mounts his horse.

"Alright, you can go," Fencrist says importantly.

"I'll take that deal." Suliell grins suddenly at Ranel, and then nods towards the North, "If you follow the Serni north, my farm is just outside Lafgobel. Just ask about for the Rhofel farm... it's not such a large place that you cannot find it. My sister Auri is there minding things. Just tell her that Suliell sent you."


"A plague? I've yet to hear of any news of that sort. In the north you say?" Lanthiron rubs his chin, "The Blackroot Vale?"

"Merchants in Linhir--all right." Menelglir nods to Alawen. "It is to Linhir we go, then. Maybe these merchants can tell us more." He turns to go back to his horse.

"Thank you, sir," she says to Fencrist. Her expression relieved, she nods to Suliell. "I'll head that way that, then. Fare you well for the nonce." She wrenches the cart around -- with effort, as the wheels stick in the mud -- and turns away from the town toward the north.

[Aragorn(#12758)] Watching Menelgir for a moment, Alawen seems lost in thought or perhaps worry. Then a yawn interrupts this reverie. "May we depart, sir? The cloth merchant, Lanadil, he is the one who told me this information. His shop is near the center of the town. That is all I know."
"Your many leagues have brought no word?" wonders Lominzil. His charger shakes its dripping mane politely.

"It is thought so - near the mad Erech. There are maps, if it would please you to join us in dry Linhir."

"Yes, go in peace," Menelglir says, waving Alawen's wagon on and then walking toward his horse. "Get this street cleared--without swords or harsh words, mind you," he calls to the men of their group, "or the lot of you will be scooping the horse droppings behind us for the rest of the trip. Let's go. Sir," he turns, finally, to Lanthiron, "you accompany us to Linhir?"

On the edge of sight in this weather, there's a man walking towards the gathered group. He's following the road, but not actually on the road, and he is wearing clothes that are entirely inappropriate for the weather. His arms are bare, dark hair is plastered to his forehead, and his skin is perhaps a little unusually pale. 

As he comes closer, he can be heard even from a distance, for he is talking rather loudly. However, the words don't seem to quite make sense, and pausing in the rain he bursts into hysterical laughter, staring up into the dripping skies above as he wavers unsteadily from side to side.


"Perhaps I shall, though not along this path," Lanthiron turns now to Menelglir, "I am, as my title suggests, riding on an rrrand and must take care of it before moving on. If time permits, I shall find you in the city. The men of Blackroot Vale are my fast friends, and if Lord Duinhir or his family are in danger, I am quite interested in attending to them. So, anticipate me, but wait not." He stirs his colt with his heels, the beast circling in anticipation to run once more, "Till then!" and then the rider darts ahead, towards the city.

[Aragorn(#12758)] Sighing once more, Alawen flicks the reins, and her wagon moves again, family and goods in tow. Slowly but surely they make progress away from the rumored threat, a plodding exhaustion apparently coming to dominate the vehicle.

Fencrist brings his horse up next to Fuinlos's. "Did you hear? That woman told the symptoms of the plague and then admitted her kin are ill in the back of that wagon. And they're allowed to pass. Plague-carriers! You heard, let's get this road cleared."

"Order," snaps Lominzil down the column, wheeling his mount after Lanthiron - but not following, for he has seen another.

"Halt!" he calls towards this disoriented fellow, standing in interception.

Fuinlos and the others frown and start to clear the road, but then the man in the distance draws attention and Fuinlos turns to his leader. "M'lord, we may be too late. That man seems to fit the description of the plague? Crazy being out in this weather dressed as he is, I'd say."

"He is dressed rather oddly," Menelglir says, his frown growing as he watches the man. "And yet, we are soldiers and sworn to protect Gondor. Not to gossip and whine and spread fear."

 "You there!" he calls to the man.
The man lowers his gaze from the dark sky, staring with eyes that don't quite focus at first Lominzil and Indoron. His lips part in a slow smile, and he begins to laugh in short, wheezing gasps that sound entirely unhealthy. Stumbling a few more steps forward and barely managing to keep upright, he turns that gaze fully on Lominzil.

In a voice that cracks dryly, he speaks loudly again, his words making no more sense than before, "Black. Twisted. Wings and woood..." Slowly his gaze shifts away from Lominzil as if he were watching something moving across the road at a parallel angle, but there is nothing there at all except mud. 

Taking a step backwards, the disoriented man's eyes widen, and he stumbles backwards a step, screaming in a high, ear piercing pitch at this nothingness.

Fencrist wheels his horse around with a jerk on his reins as the man screams. This time, the man-at-arms grips his sword and means it, half pulling the blade free from its sheath. "Steady, men."

The scream drops through the clammy air, like thunder in stormcloud, among the shorn wheat-plains.

The grey horse's nostrils flare in alarm, but the rider astride sits still and straight, chin lifted imperiously, blue eyes chill.

"Speak your name and purpose," Lominzil says, his banner-staff levelled at the man's chest.

"STAND DOWN." The words, from Menelglir, are sharp, loud, and barked at Fencrist and the rest of the men at arms. "Fencrist, put that damn sword away and take another man-at-arms and wrap this man in a blanket. The rest of you fools--you are not to so much as to lift a hand without my say so."

Ranel, when she sees the fellow acting bizarrely, leans forward into the wind and hauls the cart out of the mud the wheels have sunken into with a jerk. She begins to plod steadily northward.

She pauses to look back once, at the scream.

Maybe the rumor is true after all.

The guards can do something for him. They must be able to call on cunningfolk who will know what to do. One thing's for certain -- she doesn't know.
It feels a bit cowardly to walk away. But she has a duty to her family before all others. She will not knowingly bring plague back to her children.
So she continues northward, with her boots leaving deep prints in the soft wet earth at every step.

Staring at the banner-staff that's suddenly appeared before him, the dark haired man opens and closes his mouth like a fish out of water, but his eyes still seem to follow something that only he can see.

A shudder rolls through his body, his teeth chattering so loudly that they can be heard from several feet away, and he begins to claw at his face, gasping for air.

All at once, his eyes roll backwards until only the whites are visible, and this obviously troubled fellow fall backwards with a great splatter of mud all about before growing utterly still.

As the sick man flops backwards into the mud, Fencrist sheaths his sword. "Do you still want me to give that man a blanket, sir?"

"Put cloths over your mouths, and touch him as little as you can directly--but roll him in a blanket and fashion a sled to pull him behind a horse. We are taking him to the healers, such as they are here," Menelglir nods.

"Bind his eyes," says Lominzil, without looking up, focused on the sick man's gaze. And as he tosses the shaft of the longspear at Indoron's son, his free hand goes to his arm, holding it tightly as he might a wound.

Having edged herself as far away from this man as she's able, Suliell has watched the entire proceedings with increasing discomfort. She watches the fisherwoman depart, and her epxression certainly doesn't hide the fact that the young woman would rather be following after that cart full of fish than remaining here.

Fencrist catches the spear out of the air. Dismounting again, he retrieves his bedroll from his saddle. "Fuinlos, me and you together will get his man ready to travel. I'll buy you an extra skin of win when we get into town. The rest of you, stay back."

Fuinlos frowns, but calls, "My mama didn't raise no shirker." He goes over to give Fencrist a hand.

"Mistress Suliell," the Squire says gravely, riding back, "tell me, does this match what you have heard?"

"Fencrist," Menelglir calls as he watches the men work, "you and I will have a talk tomorrow."

Pulling her eyes away from the collapsed man as her name is spoken, the young woman nods gravely at Lominzil's words. "It certainly matches the description. I ... I would be most cautious handling him."

'Then stay a distance, and witness your words become true. We have found the beginning of our answer, and the Tree and the Swan shall tend to him till our question is done.'

In low, calm voice, Lominzil queries: "What is the time of onset?"

Fencrist makes sure his gloves are pulled well up his wrists as he grabs the feverman's arms to lift him up onto a makeshift litter tied to his horse. Taking heed of Lominzil's words, Indoron's son cover's the man's eyes with a stip of cloth and carefully ties it secure.

Finished, he remounts his horse and looks at Menelglir. "Sir, I would be glad to have a word with you tomorrow. I, we, are ready to go."

"Move out." Menelglir gives the order and the group starts down the road.

Fuinlos is now back in line. His comrades give him a wide berth as if he is now catching. The hostman accepts this with a fatalistic stoicism befitting his profession of death dealing and receiving.

Shaking her head slowly at his question, Suliell frowns, "I'm not certain. No one spoke of how long it would take. A week, perhaps more. If someone so much as sneezes..." Her eyes flick upwards to glances at Fencrist before she returns her gaze with a nod for Lominzil, "I would quarantine that person until I was certain it was just a sniffle. Perhaps someone in Linhir would know more about the life of the disease."

Fencrist hears Suliell's advice and nods. He looks over his shoulder, trying to catch a glimpse of the wagon they let pass.
"How unfortunate for us all, who are unafraid to face death," intones Lominzil, smiling, but his attention speeds to the road. "I defer to my lady sister, who is the healer of this party. Perhaps we shall find suitable housing for a quarantine."

And he spurs his horse on.

Date added: 2014-02-26 01:23:59    Hits: 67
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