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PELARGIR: A Knight and a Squire on the Quays of War

Tags: squire,  pelarglir,  knight,  gwendion,  conalmir,  virtues

Short Summary: The Knight-Captain Gwendion and the Blue Squire Conalmir make a negotiation for ship repairs, and perhaps learn a lesson.
Date (real-life): 2014-03-02
Scene Location: Pelargir: The Havens - War Quays(#18873)
Date (in-game): May 1st, 3061
Time of Day: Day
Weather: Clear

[19:15:57] Pelargir: The Havens - War Quays(#18873Rto)
[19:15:57] Pressed between the tall, black-granite walls of Pelargir to the north, and the broad curving swathe of Anduin the Great on the east and south as the river curves southwest--these are the Havens proper of Pelargir-upon-Anduin, where vessels of war find refuge and weal.
[19:15:57] Daylight falls upon a veritable forest of mast and rigging, sailcloth and hull. In stone channels cut into the bank of the river and anchored there by stonecraft lost for years uncounted rest broad-hulled Palanrist vessels--the deep-chested warships that are the backbone of Gondor's navy. Too, there are small, swift-running galleons, their oars for the moment quiescent and rising out of the water like the quills of some monstrous porcupine. Everywhere scurry sailors, and the air is thick with the scent of pitch and turpentine as shipwrights and carpenters see to their injured wards.
[19:15:57] To the north rise the black-rock walls of the city; atop them pennons snap in the wind. Far to the east, as the river curves on its course, the edge of the man-made breakwater that softens Anduin's current round Pelargir lies dark against the shining water; southeast is an enormous double-bowed bridge arches across the river, and southwest stands the great gate of Isildur that leads inside the city.
[19:15:57] Contents:
[19:15:57] Conalmir
[19:15:57] The Alcarondas
[19:15:57] Obvious exits:
[19:15:57]  River Anduin leads to River Anduin.
[19:15:57] Before the Gate <SW>
[19:31:59] Gulls cries, the hammer of smith's ring, and the succession of hooves on the boardwalk sound as teamsters drive ponies pulling small carts of produce freshly come from up river bound for the bellies of the ships of Pelarlgir and its soldiers. Three sailors loiter near a man performing slight of hand, their leathery skin crinkling in laughter at the deft movements of the street magician. Further on, several dry docks loom over the walk, scaffolding and what seems like a mount of men crawling upon it like ants, making such a ruckus of hammer and nail, of line and pitch, to wake even the most cold of the dead.
[19:31:59] It is here that the crest of the Swan, stamped upon a tabard of white, stands out in the crowd. Gwendion Bragollach, rubs sleep from his eye with the tip of his finger, speaking as he does, "And there is one of our ships now," he says of one of the longships of Dol Amroth, sitting in the arms of the dry dock, barnacles clinging to its underside, "That one nearly sank on the way over, if my eye guesses correct. As watertight as a Hostman caught in a tavern, which is to say, not very."
[19:37:52] [Conalmir(#31396)] Conalmir, standing near the knight captain, nods, giving the ship a careful look. "They'll be able to fix her?" he asks. "She looks well-built; it'd be a shame to lose another."
[19:47:04] The Knight-Captain hesitates as he considers the ship and the question. Finally, he nods as they turn into the Shipwright door, a brass bell chiming against its small lead clapper shaped as an anchor, he decids, "The spine is strong yet." Inside the room is a maze of maps and ledgers. A few curios sit in glass boxes, an ancient sextant and compass, maps of lands well beyond the seas nearest Gondor, and the such. A man, unpalatable in years, stands nearest a writing table, peppered hair and browned skin disguising with age large strong hands and a barreled chest.
[19:47:04] At first he frowns at the pair, settling eventually into a look of tired resignation that the Swans are not in the wrong place. "'ere about yer ships?"
[19:47:04] At the question, Gwendion turns to Conalmir and whispers into his eye, pushing a small bag into his hand, "Set the date the one in dry dock will be finished and the coin for it, Squire." Then takes a step back from the young man.
[19:49:43] [Conalmir(#31396)] Conalmir gives Gwendion a swift, startled glance, but takes the bag and steps forward. "Yes, that's right. Can you tell me how it's going? We saw the Sea Eagle dry-docked. How long until that one can be finished?"
[20:59:16] The man's lips harden into flat line when he sees the younger man step forward, but he answers him nonetheless, "It goes. Well enough if ye have eyes on ye." As to the second part, he rubs his chin, the stubble grating across the thick pads of his fingers, "As to the timing of it all. It's in the dock. That's well and good. The men though are busy and split too thin among the jobs. Lots of requests out there for ship repairs with the raids picking up now for Spring."
[21:03:45] [Conalmir(#31396)] Politely, Conalmir says, "Yes, I see that. Your men do a good job. Could you move some off of another project to finish that one? Then you could send them all back to the other, and one ship would be finished, instead of two but half-done." He shifts his weight a little, moving the pouch Gwendion gave him to his other hand.
[21:09:54] "But then, what do I tell the man who's ship will be delayed a month?" asks the man, crossing his burly arms, covered in thick, course grey hairs. "You have several ships in the line, but others need their livelihoods as well. What do I tell the fisherman that can't work because you want the ship faster?"
[21:12:09] [Conalmir(#31396)] "Move the men from one of our other ships," Conalmir suggests. "We need them available to fight, not all sitting in dock."
[21:16:09] "If that I could. That's your only one up now. The others wait in the bay. Don't worry, son, we'll have your boat up and ready soon enough," and with that he takes a step towards the squire, standing a bit straighter.
[21:20:33] [Conalmir(#31396)] "How soon?" Conalmir persists. He bounces the bag a little, so that the coins clink. "And we've yet to settle on a price; can we get the ship sooner by paying more?"
[21:28:49] "Aye I could. But you've given me little reason to. The man who's boat lays idle will just ask why it is so and when I answer it will be, 'Well, I'm a greedy sort and you ain't have the coin.'." He snorts, "Have ye better than that for me, boy?"
[21:31:36] [Conalmir(#31396)] "How about," Conalmir says, sounding a little grim, "If you were to tell that man that his boat lies idle so that the ships who keep these shores safe for his children, and these waters clear of raiders that he can fish to feed them, can be repaired to continue that job?"
[21:32:26] "Aye better. Have ye more?"
[21:35:11] [Conalmir(#31396)] "And you could tell him further that if our ships are left idle in dock, instead of out prowling the seas to keep the Haradrim mewed up in their harbor, it is likely that no shipyard will remain to repair his fishing boat. And beyond that, there is a man who claims he is the king, who has sullied our shores. We have beaten him back, but if we are to keep him from returning to burn more of the land, we must have ships to do it with."
[21:35:33] [Conalmir(#31396)] Says Conalmir.
[21:37:57] "Aye, I get the protecting the shores thing. That's a fair point and I can bring it to him. You have coin, certainly we will talk price. And you have a duty, that's fair as well," the man says, his cold demeanor seemingly to defrost a bit, "Is that all a boy from Amroth has? Duty and coin?"
[21:44:03] [Conalmir(#31396)] "Honor!" Conalmir flashes out, his eyes sparking. "But perhaps your fisherman is too befouled with scales to know the word. With these ships, we shall take the battle to the enemy, driving them from Tolcrist in Gondor's name, and cleansing the stain on her honor!"
[21:50:16] "Aye, honor."
[21:50:16] "You made your case boy. I'll move a few men over to speed your ship along, but not all of them. Not even most. And for each I move over, I'll expect half as much more as they are paid now." He nods satisfied, "Is that amenable with m'lord?"
[21:52:08] [Conalmir(#31396)] The flush fades from Conalmir's cheeks and he looks down at the pouch in his hand as if only now remembering he has no idea how much coin is there. But he nods. "Yes, that will do."
[21:56:20] The fees are counted, a bill of sale drawn and handed to the squire to make his mark upon it. "We will put the amount on your account, as usual. The terms are as we agreed, it's all there and correct. Feel free to look it over."
[21:56:20] Meanwhile, Gwendion leans back against the window pane, watching the sailors outside, still before the street performer.
[22:00:41] [Conalmir(#31396)] Conalmir bends over the bill and reads it carefully before taking the pen, but as he begins to write, he stops and looks back at Gwendion. Then he looks back at the document, takes a breath, and signs his name. "When can we expect her to be finished?" he asks as he lays the pen back down, and eyes the document uneasily.
[22:06:08] "This one? Three weeks, give or take." The man answers, not looking up from the bill as he examines the mark. "But she'll be as good as new on that day. My thanks, m'lord for ye business. Is there aught any else?" he says.
[22:31:17] [Conalmir(#31396)] "Three weeks," Conalmir repeats. "Ah. No. Not right now. Thank you." He turns away, looking at the knight captain. "Three weeks, sir," he tells the older man.
[22:32:21] "Indeed?" Gwendion asks, holding open the door for the Squire back onto the boardwalk, "At what cost?"
[22:33:50] [Conalmir(#31396)] Conalmir tells him, holding out the pouch that Gwendion had given him. "I didn't use this, sir. He said he would put it on account. That that was usual."
[22:35:09] "Indeed," Gwendion repeats, taking the pouch, "The coins were for a bribe."
[22:35:09] He bounces them in his hand and then replaces them in his belt, "Now that the pressure is not on. What did you think of the encounter, looking back?"
[22:38:36] [Conalmir(#31396)] "He didn't want to be bribed," Conalmir answers. "I thought of it, but he said he didn't want to tell the fishermen he was greedy. What did I think, sir? I don't know enough. I don't know what cost is fair, or how long it ought to take to repair the damage to Sea Eagle." A few steps on, he adds, "I think men can be inspired yet, by what Gondor stands for, if someone shows it to them again."
[22:43:30] "A worthy reason for your actions. The bargain you struck was middling. Indeed we will get the ship quicker, but at a cost. Could he have been persuaded for more, perhaps, perhaps not." Gwendion shrugs, "I would say, fine. You did fine. Of course, I had a motive in it all. Do Knight not always have such?" He smiles.
[22:43:30] "I offer two thoughts. Take them as wisdom or opinion. The first is to consider what a Knight has. I would offer what a Knight has that no other man of Gondor owns is a Knight's Reputation."
[22:47:01] [Conalmir(#31396)] "Yes, sir," Conalmir answers. He brightens a little, and gives Gwendion a sly smile. "A reputation for being mysterious, sir?"
[22:54:06] He laughs. "Perhaps some that you know. But I would hope to the common man, Knights are the virtues. We are loyal, you may offer a favor at another date, we are true, you spoke of our fight and perhaps could regale him with more stories of the trials of Amroth. We are Just. Instead of offering money to the shipwright, perhaps it could have been offered to the fisherman, some just amount to aid his family. Compassion plays into this as well. Of course, be humble. A shopkeep is king behind his doors. Winning an argument on that land is made of treacherous stuff. Gratitude for any bend of his will is often welcomed with discounts." The Knight-Captain then glances across to the squire, "The poorest Knight can still be quite rich. You understand my meaning?"
[22:56:23] [Conalmir(#31396)] Conalmir follows this intently, a small frown of thought creasing between his eyebrows. "Yes," he says slowly. "I had never thought of it that way. And I didn't think to offer the money for the fisherman; I should have."
[23:00:16] "It is well. You were put to the task unawares. You will do better on the next."
[23:00:16] "The other is more difficult to learn and harder still to execute and in this case, again, I know not if it would have served you. But, not as a Knight, but as a man, subtly is paramount, especially if it is a thing done in public," Gwendion begins, "The shopkeep was there, but knew I was there as well and had sent the younger for a reason. He was 'going to let any boy get one over on him'. At least not aloud. He would not take a coin, bribe or no, in front of others, but perhaps a coin in the palm with an earnest request for some leeway; diverting the talk away from the poor fisherman perhaps to his other ships. You can shout honor and duty, but that may imply to him that he has none. Better to bring him to the thought, that you have a great duty and much honor, than to plead your case that you have these things. Again, a thought. Wisdom or no. Take this lesson as you will. I think it will serve, but there is little wrong with being forthright."
[23:05:42] [Conalmir(#31396)] The squire nods, considering what Gwendion has said as he walks silently onward. "I am not good at seeing subtle things," he admits after a while. "I don't know how to ask for what I want, except to just ask. But I will try to remember this."
[23:07:29] "Think perhaps more then on what the other person also wants. And in that, find the compromise. The shipwright wanted the business, and more coin, but also to save face, for his a man with his own honor like any other. But it is done now."
[23:07:29] "Come," the Knight-Captain, says quickening his pace somewhat, "I have heard that the Navy may send ships to Belfalas to strength their numbers in the mean. Let us go and learn of that news firsthand."

Date added: 2014-03-05 14:48:27    Hits: 87
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