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Did Someone Say Song?

Tags: Hraefengar,  Nurenhir,  Mirodhel,  Gidon,  Sulgirion

Short Summary: Nurenhir cooks late night pancakes for Elf, Eagle, and Rohir. It leads into songs of the Elder Days, and of the Riddermark.
Date (real-life): 2010-04-14
Scene Location: Shepherding Village

Shepherding Village
This is the home of a small, proud, and independent people who live primarily by herding sheep in the open lands south of the Great East Road. Once driven from this region by troll depredations, they have returned and appear to be prospering, perhaps because they can also profit by trade on the Great East Road.

Or rather.... we should say it /was/ the home of these people. The many sturdy houses and smaller huts clustered on a hill here have mostly been burned. Some are yet standing, more are nothing more than charred timbers. Once, they were safely ensconced behind a deep ditch and wall. The ditch is filled with the ashy ghosts of thorn bushes ... and the gate hangs crookedly, black as charcoal.

But a stone wall is being built by a group of industrious dwarves, and many of the buildings that were still standing have been repaired. The village is now a mixture of the charred, skeletons of houses, and shiny new ones.

A long, low, smoke-stained building, sprawling along the hillside below the caravanserai, appears to the south. Its thatched roof has miraculously escaped burning - though there are black patches across it. Thick lead-paned windows are dark. A group of industrious men and dwarves and a few elves are camped in the open area.
Ered-Luin Encampment
Large Ballista
Finest Herd
Obvious exits:
Gathering House, Caravanserai, and Great East Road

============== Lord of the Rings Calendar <in English> ==============
IC time is:    Late Night < About 4:33 AM >
IC day is:     Monday
IC date is:    September 5
Moon phase:    Waning Gibbous <HIDDEN>
Earendil:      Gil-Estel is not visible.
IC year is:    Third Age 3049
RL time:        Wed Apr 14 17:31:09 2010

It is well past midnight; in the half-rebuilt village, the scaffolds and sites of construction stand empty and tall above the various camps; raucous snoring arises like a chorus above the steady crackle of small fires. The autumn night is quite cold.

A most peculiar aroma arises from the few Elven tents gathered in a corner of the village green: that of fresh berries being baked in some kind of sweet pan bread. From beside the center fire, upon which a heavy iron pan is set, comes an industrious hummed tune and the quiet clank of metal utensils. Nurenhir, steward of Imladris, carries out his duties when away from the Valley.

A chilly night wind sighs over the tops of the distant trees, and ripples the grass gently. The evening is quiet, aside from the snoring of the workers and the drifting of the elven tune.

The sky darkens; something passes in front of the moon.

A pale figure moves through the village, almost ghostlike. It is the Rohir Hraefengar, clad in a long creamy tunic and pale leggings. His eyes are open, catching the dim light from the fires, flickering, yet he seems not to see, and shuffles along, barefoot. Beside him pads his wolfhound, grey and ghostlike. His breath comes in short little clouds, and as the shape passes, he shivers. He murmurs softly to himself and keeps walking, seeming half in dream.

It is something large: the Elf's dark eyes glitter as they stare up at the veiled moon. A smile warms his pale face, and he waves to that shadow.

Returning shortly to his work, Nurenhir's attention falls upon something closer, yet perhaps this one is less aware ... "Master Rohir?" he ventures quietly, not willing to wake nearby sleepers. "Would you ..."

Mirodhel walks briskly through the village, lured by the scent of pancakes. But his eagle-eye Elf eyes notice an avian far above and he watches despite the darkness.

The shadow in the sky descends, coming closer to the ground and making a slow circle above. Now the moonlight flashes off of bronze feathers; it is the avian form of Sulgirion drawing nigh. Tilting wings and tail, the great bird directs his path for the Elven camps, from where the smell of food comes. But there are sleepers in the vacinity, and the eagle does not call out in greeting as of yet. Only the bright eyes peer down through the dark to espy Quendi, and Rohir.

[Hraefengar(#30729)] The Rohir stops, though he does not turn his head towards Nurenhir, and the other elf he does not seem to notice at all. He lifts his right hand, palm up, towards the sky, just for a few moments, then lets his hand fall limp at his side. His thin frame, clad only in night-clothes, shivers in the cold. "Are there any to hear the messages they bring?" he asks, his voice slow, soft, sad. But the words are not in Rohirric, nor in Westron, but in clear Sindarin.

A familiar tongue falls upon the steward's ears, and Nurenhir sets down the long cooking-knife in surprise. "There are those who still are called friends of the Great Eagles," the Sinda replies softly, giving a brief nod to Mirodhel. "But I wonder if that one brings any messages at all."

Mirodhel nods in return to Nurenhir and glances at the Man before looking up again at the eagle. "Pancakes? Is there syrup and butter?" The Elf sniffs the air and adds, "No bacon?"

Down the raptor moves to land, and for a moment it looks as if he might do so upon the top of one of the tents. But, a final angling of the massive feathered arms brings Sulgirion to a stand on the grass nearby the steward's tent and the others who approach. The eagle folds his wings against his sides, and turns his head, observing those around; if he has heard the Sindarin, he appears to not understand what it means. "You are cooking at this late hour, Master Elf?" Words come in the Common tongue.

Hraefengar turns his head towards the eagle, but there is neither surprise nor fear in his eyes. Instead there is a vague sorrow, distant, detatched. He shivers, then goes still, swaying a little. The dog whimpers softly, then places herself between the bird and her master, her hackles raised. "The wind is never silent," he murmurs, again in Sindarin. Then his head droops some, and he sways again.

Nurenhir smiles gently to the massive eagle and the Noldo lord. "Pancakes, my lords, with some of the berries that were found last afternoon. I had wanted to try preparing them ere the men were hungry for their morning meal. If you would like some..." With a deft flip of the knife, the steward arranges a few of the flat, sweet cakes upon a metal plate, the berries pressed into them in elaborate patterns.

The Elf's eyebrows raise at Hraefengar's words, and he stoops, sweeping up a dark cloak that has lain by the fire. "Is there aught that troubles you?" he queries, moving cautiously toward the Man (and his hound) to set the cloth upon his shoulders...

Mirodhel eyes the pancakes with berries with a piercing gaze before turning to the eagle and bowing. "O Great Messenger of the Winds, has your sense of smell brought you here? I doubt we have mutton to satisfy you?"

Sulgirion watches the protective stance of the wolfhound with a large amber eye, but speaks naught. The creatures of the sky do not possess the range of expressions that more human countenances can portray, and the eagle seems to not discern Hraefengar's sorrowful mien for what it is.

Rather, the head turns then as the Noldorin Elf speaks. "No, alas, and what sheep there were here, are now gone. I have, however, been given the honor of tasting elven cakes. They were delicious, if not messy." If the smell has indeed brought Sulgirion hither, he does not admit it.

The man does not move, does not flinch when the cloak is placed around his shoulders, but his shivering lessens and the dog wags her tail a little. She still remains between Hraefengar and the eagle, as if she could somehow protect him against so formiddable a creature. Hraefengar tilts his head slightly, then nods. "It is dark," he says quietly. "And the dark is hungry. And I cannot see the dawn." His eyes close, then blink, then blink again, then open. He looks about him with surprise, staring for a moment at the eagle. Then he speaks again to Nurenhir, seeming to keep the thread of the conversation, but he speaks in Westron now, though oddly accented, still holding the lilt of his former words. "And I do not know why I hear the wind."

And it is a slender thread of conversation, for Nurenhir tilts his head in question. "Dawn is yet to come, and a cold wind is blowing. But you are not walking alone," he says, following in Westron. The Elf's eyes flicker to the pancakes, still steaming. "If a less elaborate sweet would satisfy either of your tastes, I beg that you taste them," he says to Eagle and other Elf, "for they will be cold ere morning comes."

Mirodhel spears one with a quickly produced jeweled dagger. In the Common Speech, he remarks casually as he surveys the cake, "What is this talk of the dark?"

The transition into Common catches the avian's attention, and Sulgirion cants his gold-tipped head the other way, speaking in like tongue. "The wind is the melody of the heavens, though it is not always light and comforting in its voices."

Just as Mirodhel spears one of the pancakes, so too does the mighty bird, although with curved beak instead of metal tip. The sweet is gone, swallowed whole with no difficulty, and for now Sulgirion returns to listening. His eyes however, are directed toward the forest beyond, a gaze piercing and watchful.

"It will be colder still, before dawn. And then the storm will break, and the rain wash the dark away." The man shakes himself, blinking again. He clears his throat, then rubs at his brow. "I..." For a moment he falters, and then sighs. The dog licks her muzzle at the pancakes. Hraefengar's stomach growls, but he says naught of it. ""Forgive me. Sometimes I... ermm..." Again he goes silent, looking away.

The steward startles, then laughs a little, moving away. "Pancakes?" he offers again, returning to a large basin full of batter and berries.

Mirodhel tears a bit of the cake away from the rest and places it in his mouth, sampling the berry taste. Apparently satisfied, he does it again, consuming the cake a bit more slowly than the eagle. Meanwhile, he remarks between bites, "At times, I prefer the night. Always a time of joy."

"The stars shine." Hraefengar's voice is soft, gentle, still sad. He sighs and looks to the pancakes, then lifts one from the plate, wincing a little at the heat on his chilled fingers. "Thank you," he says quietly, nodding his head. His hair is unbraided, hanging in long golden tangles. He nibbles at the pancake, then nods and smiles. The dog is dropped a bite, then another, as he shares the morsel with her.

"We awoke under the stars, and they are our first light." Nurenhir looks to the Man; a brief pause is punctuated by the sizzle of new batter upon the skillet. "But you, lord, are a child of the Sun. When day dawns it is a symbol of your kin's rising, and for that we must wane." The steward smiles a little, then stoops to add a few twigs to the fire.

Mirodhel finishes his pancake and seems content. "If there is no bacon, then I will be finished. A fine concoction that I'm sure the men will like when they awake." Talk of stars and dawn seem to pass him by as he cleans off his dagger and puts it away in its hidden sheath.

"Day and night," says the eagle at length. "Both are fair in their own way, yet it is day that I prefer. The updrafts are warmer then, and more pleasant to sail upon. Dark sees the prowling of creatures I would rather not catch sight of." Sulgirion's gaze is still fixated upon that gloomy border of trees, but currently he peers downward toward the Noldo.

"Bacon? If there are pigs nearby, would it please you if I brought you one?" It is difficult to tell with the wild-edged voice and avian expression if he is jesting or not.

"A child of the Sun. Aye. But more I am a child of song." Hraefengar shakes himself again, and then finishes the cake. He smiles at the taste, but does not take another. He closes his eyes a moment, then looks to the Eagle. "If you do hunt, Lord of Winds," he says respectfully to the bird, "good fortune to you." He rubs again at the back of his neck, shaking his head once more, as if dream-cobwebs still cling to his thoughts. "But my dreams are more of the wind and the stars."

Song? Did someone say song?!

"Lo, it was a time of great darkness, when evil swept the land.
But the bards now tell, how a hero raised his hand.
And the darkness lost all its pride
As the hero brushed it aside! Oh-oo!"

Mirodhel has suddenly produced a harp from beneath his cloak to accompany his song and as the words end, the melody lingers, soothing all who hear it.

"I am sure that the Dwarves enjoy their meat," replies the elven steward to the Eagle. "However, the boars of this place have been turned by the darkness." Glancing at the Eagle's formidable talons, Nurenhir seems assured that the predator is in no danger.

The massive form of the bird remains quite still, content to listen for a time to the smooth flow of the Eldarin song. "Indeed, I think I shall take my leave now; perhaps I may return with something for the workers to enjoy for a meal after brokefeast," Sulgirion's feathered brow furrows slightly, as he attempts to remember the correct word in Westron. "I thank you for the song, the pancakes, and the good fortune," the eagle bobs his head in acknowledgement to all, ere alighting to the winds once more. His shape fades into the dark, heading toward the forest.

The Eorling goes still at the song, and his eyes lift to watch the bird. There is wonderment there, though his lips quirk oddly. He shakes his head briefly, then looks to the Noldorin lord and bobs his head. "I thank you," he says gravely. "My name is Hraefengar son of Hrothgar. I am one of the court bards of Theoden Knigh of Rohan." He shakes his head again. "A fair song indeed. And thank you," he says to Nurenhir, "for the cakes. They are delicious."

The Sinda bows. "Rest well, Master Hraefengar." With a smile at the harp-playing Mirodhel, Nurenhir moves off among the tents, murmuring, "Now, where were the blackberries ..."

"Lo, Hurin the Steadfast, who stood beside Turgon at the Fen!
As he slew many an orc, he cried, 'Dawn will come again!'
He was taken by the Enemy, made to suffer for his bravery!
But Hurin proved dauntless, ever the steadfast in the face of Morgoth's knavery!"

The melody rises up at the words describing the high deeds of Men as the chords of the harp surge and Mirodhel's voice calls all to hear.

[Hraefengar(#30729)] Hraefengar goes still again, shivering a little under the cloak, and finally he sits upon the ground, listening to the elf much like a child listens to a loremaster: rapt and half-awed. His eyes shine, though the dreamlike distance returns to them, and his right hand flickers, the fingers moving as if they, too, strike the chords of a harp. He nods to Nurenhir, but doesn't speak.

Mirodhel continues strumming as he thinks of more verses off the cuff...

"Tuor of the Swan-wing, who lived in the wild of his home!
Ever vigilant was the son of Huor, as he evaded the snares of the gloam!
Then one day, he found his way by the Rainbow Cleft!
By the Gate of the Noldor, his homeland he left and found his destiny! Oh-oooh!"

Rare indeed are these names, scribed in the dusty archives of the Stondingland, but the Man's eyes flicker, and he nods his head. "Before... before the world was changed?" he asks, his voice softer still, not quite steady, remembering, shaken.

Mirodhel nods as he plays a few more chords and then his voices rises again.

Beren son of Barahir, of all his kin he alone survived!
He wandered south in search of succor and thus was he revived.

In a nameless sylvan glade, he saw her 'neath the eaves:
The ageless beauty of Tinuviel as she danced under the leaves! Ooooh-ooh."

[Ollie(#15066)] Drawn by the sound, a boy comes towards elf and man. He hesitates, stopping a little ways away, then sits down on the ground and props his chin in his hands, and listens.

Hraefengar nods as well, then whispers softly in his dog's ear. She rises quickly, then trots off, coming back carrying a wrapped bundle -- the strap is about her neck. She sits down beside the Rohir and he un-slings the bundle, but he does not open it... yet. He sits and listens closely, rapt, not noticing the boy.

"Oooh! When Earendil crossed the sea, stood with him was his bride.
They carried with them the holy jewel, the Silmaril born of great pride.
Through the dark they crossed the seas and came unto the West.
And there they made their plea on high, to fulfill their great quest."

Mirodhel ignores the boy as he keeps singing.

[Ollie(#15066)] Gidon glances at the dog as she leaves, but barely notices her return. He too is entranced by the music.

[Ollie(#15066)] A shimmering seems to spread across the grass, and they move like waves; something like the ghost of a star shines in the midst of it - or so it seems to Gidon's wondering eyes.

As Hraefengar listens, he begins to unwrap his bundle: a lyre-harp, six-stringed, after the fashion of the oldest days of the Mark. He sighs, then shivers, his eyes glazing over as he catches more then just the music. He gives a soft gasp, not of fear or surprise so much as recognition. The sorrow returns to his eyes, and yet something else, a gleam of bright hope, of pride, of strength. His breath quickens, and he shivers again.

Creeping after the wolfhound comes her gangling pup, but he does not take a place beside her. Instead he goes to the boy and settles himself, wagging his tail eagerly.

"The gods came out of the West to cast down the Enemy!
Mo more would they accept his treachery!
After great battle and sinking of the land,
The Morgoth was cast into the outer Dark, banished 'til the end! Ohhh-ooo!"

Mirodhel's song concludes.

[Ollie(#15066)] Absently, Gidon pats the puppy, but he doesn't look at it; but watches something that isn't there. A ship, a westering sea, and then something almost too great to look at, even in such a pale image as this. The sea rises up, obscuring sun and stars alike, and Gidon cowers down beneath it, raising his good arm over his face. He seems surprised when the song ends, and he is not drowned...

Hraefengar does not cower. He sits very still, his eyes flickering, his swift breaths shallow. "They made the music that is in the wind and the water," he murmurs. "And the starlight singing too. Singing..." He swallows, seeming almost overwhelmed himself. Without thinking why, he is speaking in Sindarin once again, but he shakes himself. When he next speaks, his eyes are clearer, and the words are Westron. "But in the Dark, his will lives on, doesn't it. In Mordor." He sighs softly, then gives a sad laugh. "Lord... I do not know your name. But I thank you. These tales... are older than the land of the Sea Kings, no? And they far older than my folk. I have studied their lore, some. Thank you for the song... and the wisdom. They make my dreams... some the clearer. I... could sing for you... but I cannot promise songs of such power. I have not that skill."

Mirodhel smiles. "I would be delighted, sir." He sets aside his harp and composes himself to listen to whatever the Man may sing.

[Ollie(#15066)] Gidon blinks, coming back from a long ways away. His eyes dart towards Hraefengar, whose voice seems strangely harsh in comparison to the elf; and then he shivers at that name.

Hraefengar nods his head, and he gives a gentle smile. "I could sing of horses or heroes... in the mode of my own folk, if you wish to hear a song of the Riddermark, of Rohan. Or I could sings something of another fashion. A song of... the songs on the wind or in my dreams... I do not know which you should like. I do not normally sing for your folk, my lord." He settles his harp on his lap, canted against hisleft arm, moving the crippled hand with his right to set it in position. He turns the carven wooden pegs, plucks the striungs to test the tuning, then waits.

Mirodhel shrugs. "The tales of your folk would suit me fine. Tell me of Eorl or Helm Hammerhand? Or of the doughty warrior who slew the Worm?"

[Ollie(#15066)] Gidon is silent, his eyes moving from man to elf and back again. Eorl? Helm? Rohan.. this word he knows, though only from Brev's curses. He pets the puppy, waiting. Wait - worm??

[Ollie(#15066)] Was that.. ? He looks over his shoulder, shivering with a sudden chill, and his eyes are wide and fearful.

He hugs the puppy close to him, and edges a little closer to the other two.

"Of Eorl, perhaps," says Hraefengar. "Yes..." He strikes a few more notes, nodding his head. "Though I apologize beforehand if it is inexact... it is a song in my own tongue and it is perhaps some awkward in the Westron." With that the Rohir starts the tune, a steady beat, heartbeat, hoofbeat, and begins to sing.

What was the word the wind did speak?
Naming the nameless, naming the land
Long before legends, long before tales
Hands on the harpstrings in halls not yet built
Songs in the silence, soft on the plains.

On mere-dappled meadows, mountains surrounding
Wind-dancers walk here, wild manes flowing
Foaled on the green fields, free-hearted, bold
Swifter than swallows, swifter than streams
Ribbons of rainfall that ripple and shine.

Mirodhel listens, appreciating the imagery and the skill of the poet.

The harp has no large range, only six notes, plucked alone, strung into chords, yet they weave in and out of the melody like the wind through the grasses. Hraefengar's eyes gleam, and his voice swells. It has not the power of the elf, but it is strong, filled with his will, filled with the memories passed down, filled with his own dreaming. A rich resonant tenor, singing.
Hearken the horncall now heard over fields
Deep through the dales dance echoes of gold
Clarion calling, "Come now to me."
Who shall come hither? Who now shall answer?
Bravehearted bold ones, borne on the breeze.

What is the true word the wind did call them?
Name we the nameless now in our tales?
Whose is the horse, and who is the rider?
Sing, be not silent, sing of them now
All are, Eorlingas, ours is the tale!

Mirodhel is no Eorlinga, but even he can feel the wind in his hair as he gallops forward.

Hard over herd-lands heavy lies darkness
Glory escaping, gathering gloom.
Sons of the Southlands scarred and war-torn
Black and bloodthirsty, the Balchoth our foe
Hearken the hoofbeats, hearken the horn.

Red stains the river risen in wrath,
Wild blows the war-wind, white horse on green:
Bold flies the banner. Brave friends and true
Have courage to answer Cirion's call--
Eoreds under Eorl's lead, the Eotheod rides.

Hraefengar's head lifts, and his expression is proud. Battle-maimed, still his left hand strikes true and holds the harp steady. Though he sings in the Westron, Rohirric accents his voice, earthy, lilting.

A sword-day, a spear-day, unsheathed now our blades,
Fear takes the foe-men, they fly from the field
Defeated and driven, as day ends the night.
Grass on the green fields is grimed with their blood,
Storm passes swiftly, clouds scatter away.

Old pledges honor, oath-bound to fight,
To bear arms as brothers, battles to share:
Fealty's friendship, firm through the years.
Tales this have told us: truth did we swear.
We hearken your hardships, now hearken our horns.

The scop plucks one last note, high and clear, and lets it linger, like the fading echo of a distant horn. He closes his eyes and sighs softly.


Date added: 2010-04-15 11:11:55    Hits: 156
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