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Lord Barlin's dilemma

Tags: Lorthrain,  Rowe,  Isobel,  Khillaure,  Brev,  Louse,  Barlin

Short Summary: It's wet outside and in as Rowe redecorates his tunic; the Fiery Flagon plays host to not one but two conversations regarding private matters ...
Date (real-life): 2011-07-24
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Fiery Flagon
Date (in-game): June 3053
Time of Day: Morning
Weather: Storm
Fiery Flagon

The Fiery Flagon has long been a nexus for gossip and comradary in Esgaroth. The room is still scattered with evenly placed tables, each piece of furniture well smoothed and ready to provide a comfortable seat and a place for a mug to the inn's patrons. Against one wall, a large brick fireplace stands proudly, a number of iron tools and an extra pile of wood huddled on the hearth. To the side of the fireplace there is a large window with thick glass which looks out onto Bowman Street, the words "The Fiery Flagon" painted in common across the pane so they might be read from the road.

The bar occupies another wall of the room, standing as a stout guard before the neat rows of bottles, glasses, boxes and kegs. It is perhaps this piece of heavy, dark wood that shows the most evidence of a recent fire. The base of the bar still shows the scorchmarks from the flames, although the entire bar has been polished so much that it will neither chip nor flake ever again. Carved deeply into the center of the bar is the tavern's sigil: a mug overflowing with flame.

Behind the bar a doorway vanishes into a kitchen area, whee rumour has it a small courtyard can be found.

Obvious exits: Up the stairwell leads to Sleeping Quarters. Swinging Door leads to Center of Bowman Street. Back Door leads to The Market Square.

Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service
Real Time: Sun Jul 24 14:55:22 2011 MST

Dale-Lands Time: Sunday, late morning on a stormy summer's day, July 1 of 3053

Morning comes to the fabled town of Esgaroth, but no cheerful sun greets those who walk upon the wooden streets this day. Stormclouds have long gathered overhead during the night, and now their seal is broken as rain pours down heavily. With a mighty wind tossing the deluge this way and that, it is small wonder that the streets are all but empty, for even the vendors of the Market Square take cover in weather such as this.

And, invariably, they end up in the tavern instead, where the air is warm and dry, and the pall of merry smoke lingers near the rafters. The common room of the Fiery Flagon is full this morning, and the chatter of the usually busy tradesmen drowns out the drum of rain upon the roof above them; more than a few raucous laughs echoing forth from voices whose owners may have siped too much ale already this morn. Brue the innkeeper hustles and bustles about the place, aided by his servers, and together they attempt to keep up with the orders from each an every figure that steps, dripping, in from the storm outside.

And leaning against the bar, watching the townsfolk mingle, is a more stately gentleman than most. Lorthrain of Girion has a tankard in hand and a grin upon his lips as the minutes slip by suring his survey.

The size and clamor of the early-morning throng must be something of a surprise to him.

As clumsy steps bring a tall, lanky male down the stairwell near the rear of the tavern, he squints at the crowd through tired eyes and brushes a hand through the disheveled mop of hair on his head. Once he reaches the bottom of the steps, he pauses to stretch sinewy arms above his head, only to be interupted mid-yawn when a harried server collides with him on her way back to the bar.

"I'm so sorry!" she exclaims, gesturing wildly at the splash of ale that now covers the front of the man's tunic. "N-no, it's OK, really, I uhm ... I shouldn't have been standing there," he replies, but it's too late - the maid has already rushed off to fill another mug.

The storm drives another person in through the door; looking harried and windblown, Isobel Taurdain comes in from Bowman Street and stops just inside as the door bangs shut behind her. Her cloak lets no little amount of rainwater drip onto the wooden floor of the Flagon, the bottom of her dress a much darker shade of red than the rest. With a forceful gesture she pushes the hood back and gives her hair a quick pat.

Satisfied that the braid on each side of her head is still pinned back up, the displeasure shown on her face eases up somewhat. Isobel scans the room quickly, and upon spotting Lorthrain directs her step tither, slowly. She does see the collision, however, raising her eyebrows in surprise and giving the ale-covered man a lingering glance.

A chuckle sounds from the Girion lord at the bar as the youth pats himself down, and stirring from his place Lorthrain approaches the stair-well casually. "Taverns can be a hazardous place, against all expectations, it seems, eh?" he greets Rowe, raising his tankard amiably. "Are you quite alright, sir?"

The entrance of Isobel draws the nobleman's gaze for a moment, and he smiles anew, though as yet he turns back to Rowe to await the lad's reply.

"Uh, yes sir. I mean, I guess so," replies the red-head as he makes a largely futile effort to clean his tunic with a napkin procured from a nearby table. The cleanup mostly unsuccessful, he tosses the cloth back on the table and makes eye contact with Lorthrain for the first time. "This is ... uh, well, my only clean--" he begins, but stops abruptly upon noting Isobel's approach.

"Who's -she-?" he blurts out in a poor attempt at discretion.

The doors may as well be propped open, for no sooner has one person left than another arrives. The next to appear is not the typical patron, however in Esgaroth these days, it should come as no surprise that it would be an elf.

Raining though it may be, Khillaure appears nearly untouched by the precipitation, but for the faint drops that even now slide from her skin to fall upon her cloak where they bead and then disappear. A hand to her throat and the clasp is undone, and with measured movements the cloak is removed and placed carefully over her arm. A flush of her cheeks, then, as her eyes linger on the arm, and should anyone be watching her and paying attention, an uncharacteristic thing for one of the Firstborn, as she looks decidedly self-conscious.

Tentatively, her eyes rise and follow the crowd now gathered, but she makes to move.

Though Lorthrain leaves the bar, Isobel stays by it, leaning on the counter and speaking to the man behind it. That done, she twiddles her thumbs and looks at the crowd with a somewhat bored look on her face as she waits for him to finish her order.

And in the meanwhile Lorthrain follows ROwe's gaze to Iosbel once more, and his eyebrow arches as he sniffs thoughtfully. "She, young sir, is Ladyo Isobel, of Taurdain, unless my eyes deceive me. She is hardly a stranger within these walls, unless perhaps you yourself are new to our famous Flagon?"

And then it is that the Girion's gaze slips toward the entrance of the Firstborn, and while it seems ready to move in momentarily, it widens then of a sudden and lingers upon the Elf with interest. "Well now," says he, perhaps mostly to himself. "That that IS an interesting sight..."

Cheeks flush and eyes intensely focused on one of the floorboards directly in front of him, Rowe adjusts his gaze quickly at Lorthrain's suggestion. "New? Well, uhm, yes ... I mean, I, uh, only recently arrived in Lake-Town," he says, tone of voice a little too defensive, brows a little too creased with worry.

Of course, that all changes when he follows Lorthrain's gaze to the tavern's newest patron, and he nods enthusiastically along with the older man's assessment. "Y-yes sir! What a strange sight, indeed!"

"Not so strange, I meant," replies Lorthrain, "to see an Elf, my man, but this one seems out of place, unless my eyes deceive me. It is a curious thing for one of the Eldar as they name themselves to be out of sorts..."

With a further thoughtful sniff he glances back to the youth and grins. "But if you're new to the Lake-town, whence have you come, if I may? Surely the sight of the Elven-folk is not so raer in your town that you've never seen their ilk before?"

A breath is drawn and one foot is placed before the other, and so Khillaure begins to make her way towards the bar. She is aware, for how could she not be, of the looks and whispers as she passes, but most glance and then look away as she, herslef, looks to them. All but the pair by the stairs, and her attention is drawn to them in turn. But never does her pace slow, nor path falter. In moments she is at the bar, her order given, and then a drink in hand. But where to go? Most seats are taken, no empty tables, and the bar, itself, is nearly shoulder to shoulder.

"Oh, sure, I-I've seen them," Rowe stutters in reply, a forced smile pressed on his lips. "I, uh, I just meant it, uh ... well, like you said, it's strangee to see one so ... well, you know--"

The boy's rambling ends abruptly as Khillaure's gaze meets his, whereupon he quickly reverts the attention of his eyes to the floor in front of him. After a lengthy pause, he looks back up to Lorthrain cautiously.

Seeming to note the younger man's anxiety, Lorthrain smiles gently and shrugs a shoulder of dismissal. "Well, no time like the present to see if we might solve the riddle of this Elf's caution. Join me at the bar, perhaps, and at the least share your name? I am Lorthrain, of Girion, and I am pleased to be at your service."

And with that said he looks once more back to Khillaure, raising his tankard once more in greeting to the Firstborn ere he sips from it idly.

Another enters, blown in by the wind and spattered by the rain: a tall, lean fellow with a mane of curling dark hair only partially restrained by a leather thong at the nape of the neck; remarkable mainly for his swarthy skin-tone, darker than most in these parts. He squints across the room, seemingly picking out acquaintances. At the sight of Isobel by the bar his features lighten and one side of his mouth curls up in a half-smile. He is already picking his way through the crowd when another catches his attention: the copper-haired Khillaure. He stops dead, cheek beginning to twitch.

"Oh, yes, of course! I'm called Rowe," the red-headed boy announces, offering an awkward hand to Lorthrain for shaking. "And uh, it's me who's at your, uhm, service," he adds, another thin smile gracing his cracked lips.

Yet the smile fades as quickly as it came when the older man suggests speaking to the Elf. "Y-You mean, go over there? To the bar?" he says with a hint of incredulity. A nearly imperceptible 'gulp,' and then, "Uhm, yes, of course.

Eyes drawn once more to the pair not too far away, Khillaure blushes to the tips of her ears as the one raises his drink in acknowledgement of her presence. She takes a few steps, almost unsure, but the arrival of another causes her to hesitate and look with concern at the man now openly staring. But a hesitation is all that it is, and she crosses to Lorthrain and Rowe.

Perhaps 'staring' would be the wrong word. Brev's lifts to Khillaure, darts quickly away, slides stealthily back - it is almost as though he fears to look the Elf full in the face. Eventually he speaks, one soft query that as like as not will be lost in the noise of the crowd. "Collwen?" Doubt creeps into the single word.

"Hail mellon! Mau govannen," greets Lorthrain in a cheerful yet quite likely embarrasing attempt at the Elven speech, but his smile is wide as he bows his head to the arrival of Khillaure. "Welcome to the Flagon, if you have not been before, and to the company of our fine, honest tradesmen. Come, remove your cloak and let the fire's warmth ease your limbs from the storm outside. My name is Lorthrain, friend, and this is young Master Rowe, who... well, pardon me, but what did you say you do again, Master Rowe?"

It is then that Lorthrain's eye roams the room once again, and the figure of Brev draws his gaze for a long moment. He seems about to raise his hand in greeting, when he catches sight of the Dun-man's reaction to Khillaure, and arches an eyebrow of interest.

Order finished, Isobel is served a cup of.. well, something, though who knows what, and upon turning back to the room appears slightly surprised to see Brev, and behaving so curiously to boot. She frowns slightly, and gives the man a small wave and a puzzled look, afore the lady takes herself over to the group which is forming by the stairs.

"Good morrow, Lord Girion!" she says with a broad smile, and shares it with the other two as well.

Rowe is in the middle of a poorly-executed attempt at quietly mimicing Lorthrain's Elvish greeting when the older man's mention of him draws the red-haired boy back into the conversation. "D-Do, sir? I'm uh, a soldier!" he says, noticeable pride creeping into his voice as it forms the final word. "Er, that is, I uh, I'm -going- to be."

The teen then directs his attentions to Khillaure, whose presence elicits a bow and a nod of recognition, but little in the way of speech.

The corner of her mouth tugs at the greeting, and with bolder voice than she might seem capable of, Khillaure responds. "Mae govannen, mellon. And thank you. I think you are the first in this town to attempt to greet me thusly." She nods to Rowe, and to Isobel, but the boys words seem to light a spark of interest in her. "A soldier? A noble profession, and one which I am very familiar. I applaud your good sense." What smile was there suddenly falters as she falls silent.

"Aye," agrees Lorthrain to this from Khillaure, his gaze dragged back from Brev to look the Elf up and down in brief survey. "It is a fine aim indeed, and one which I myself may speak on with experience. I am pleased to hear it, Master Rowe, and also from you, mellon," he adds to the Firstborn. "Though you say your welcome has been less than warm in our Lake-town? I am grieved to hear it, but here is one who may help remedy that further..."

"Lady Taurdain," he smiles warmly to Isobel's approach. "A pleasure to see you. How do you fare, other than perhaps a little damp?"

Brev is still not-quite staring. "Collwen?" he repeats again; but the doubt in those singsong tones is growing as /this/ Elf approaches the group by the stairs, speaks to them clearly and fluently. Unbidden, he trails after - silent as a shadow, his dark features brooding.

The sharp rapping of a stick announces the arrival of old patron of the Fiery Flagon; his face grim-set, Barlin Karath limps into the inn, a grimace tugging at his lips as he peers around. His hard eyes, as dark as night, find the figure of Lorthrain, and slowly he makes his way around the tables, towards his old drinking partner. Some greetings are called out along the way, in response to which he simply nods once and continues on, his pointed beard gleaming silver in the candle light.

With Isobel's approach, Rowe's demeanor becomes even more withdrawn, and he stares at the floor quietly even as the company praises his choice of profession. The boy remains quiet, busying himself by scratching at a piece of dried mud with his boot. His work is only occasionally interrupted by stolen glances in the lady's direction.

You say, "Well enough, Lord Girion, aside from being intolerably wet rather than damp." Replies Isobel and then cocks her head to the side, regarding the other two curiously. "I don't believe I know your two companions, however.." She smiles, sparing Rowe a kind but slightly quizzical glance. "I am Isobel Taurdain. Pleased to meet you both.""

"And let us speak of your desire, Master Rowe, once you have been furnished with an ale..." Lorthrain raps a friendly knuckle upon the bar, earning a nod of understanding form one of the servers, who rushes off to fetch the drink.

A bit of laughter escapes Khillaure's lips before she can stop it. "Less than warm... yes, yes that is one way to say it. The people are friendly enough, however distant. But, then, we do not do much to deter that." As Isobel is introduced, her eyebrows rise slightly, "Ah, we have not met, but I believe I have met one or two of your kin. You reside across the road from our Embassy, I believe?"

More arrivals, more departures. And yet, from the corner of her eye, the dark man is visible and noted.

The door has not ceased its opening and closing, and the room is getting fuller by the minute. The latest arrival would seem to be shorter than most, for the newcomer's presence is visible first as a gap in the press of bodies. Then a space clears, and any who looks that way can see a youngster in an overlarge Greenshirt standing on tiptoe and peering this way and that, one hand to cap-covered head. The child's passage through the room is seemingly random - a discared spare rib with some meat still on the bone provides an attraction, as does an abandoned mug of ale that's not quite empty.

Then Barlin is sighted, and the youngster's response is instantaneous - to duck out of sight. A moment later Isobel will feel a tug at her sleeve and hear a hissed, "Look, Missus. It's /him/!"

The swarthy-skinned figure that is Brev peers surreptitiously at Khillaure once more, then shakes his head. "Not her," he murmurs, seemingly to himself and then steps away, giving the group by the stairs a wide berth. Perhaps he is no longer in convivial mood.

"Uh, I- that's kind of you, sir, but-" Rowe begins, failing to form a complete sentence before Lorthrain's order is in and a server is offering him a mug. The boy's hands reach to a rather deflated coin purse hanging from his belt, from which he produces the appropriate amount of copper. The exchange is made and he takes a long drink, eyeing his company curiously from over the rim of the mug.

And Lorthrain eyes back, grinning to himself a little, ere he motions to catch the server's eyes. "Any more he has are on me, lass," he says, earning a fresh nod of understanding for the girl, ere he looks back to Khillaure and Isobel, smiling at their conversation. IN the bustle, he seems not to notice Louse or Barlin, but instead turns back to face the nwecomer.

"But let me ask, Master Rowe... what drives you to seek the life of the King's Men?"

Not very gracefully, Isobel starts in surprise and splashes some of the liquid in her cup on her sleeve when Louse tugs at her. Frowning in consternation she looks down at the disturbance, and the same frown immediately clears. “He is?” she answers quietly, immediately darting a look around the room. “Pray excuse me,” she says quickly to her company, and gives Louse a look before she sets off to hurriedly intercept Barlin.

Focussed on Isobel or no, Louse clearly does not miss Rowe's gesture with the coin purse, for the child pulls a face and mumbles, "'Ow come /'e's/ so flush?"

That question, however, will have to go without answer, for Isobel is off and Louse trots at her heels like an obedient dog. The youngster is clearly fidgety - an inordinate amount of scratching is going on - but still manages to pipe up as Barlin is neared, "Mister- uh. I mean 'Sir'." The child's cheeks redden and the cap-covered head droops. Not a good start.

The rapping stick falls still as Isobel approached, Barlin drawing to a halt. " Lady Isobel..." He nods once, a faint glow in his eyes perhaps betraying something which could be called affection, "... A pleasure to see you again. By the speed of your movement, I would deduct that you have something to tell me?" He speaks quietly, his voice tinged with the throaty pronunciation of a habitual smoker; on this eve, he wear thin clothes of deep black, which hang a little from the lean frame they dress. Barely any jewellery or finery is perceptible, except a single ring upon his right hand, embedded in which is a ruby. His silver beard, though, has the appearance of one that has been carefully groomed, to a sleek point.

Rowe shifts his weight between either foot uncomfortably, cheeks flush once again, and makes eye contact with no-one as he answers Lorthrain's query. "Well, I've always, uhm, since I was a boy, that is ... " he begins, trailing off for a long pause, during which he appears to be collecting his thoughts. With a newfound focus, he looks up and meets Lorthrain's gaze. "I want to lead a life of meaning, sir. That's what draws me to the guard."

Her question left unanswered, Khillaure watches the woman walk away, urchin at her heels. And so she turns back to the conversation between the men, her interest piqued. "There is no doubt you can find meaning in a life of service to your people and the land. I have done so for... well, let us say more time than I care to mention. And never have I regretted my decision, not even in light of recent events." "Lord Barlin," replies Isobel and bows her head deferentially. She sends a quick, hopefully quelling look Louse's way before turning back to the lord. "You surmise correctly, of course. I do have a matter of some import to speak with you of. Might you indulge me in this?" The lady flashes a winsome smile, or what she hopes passes for one, anyway. "Perhaps we could speak over there..?" With a nod of her head, Isobel indicates an empty table in a quiet corner.

Louse, going unnoticed by Isobel's side, manages to stand still despite the fact that something small and pale has emerged from under the cap and is crawling about the youngster's rather grubby neck. The child's sharp features flush a little more at Isobel's quelling look and Louse says nothing, though every now and then a pair of worried green eyes look up hopefully at the Taurdain woman, rather like a puppy that knows it's done something its master does not approve of.

"Recent events?" asks Lorthrain of Khillaure, arching his eyebrow anew and sniffing thoughtfully. "Has something happened to challenge your commitment, friend? And ah!" he exclaims, smiling to Rowe. "You mean perhaps to become a man of the Esgaroth Watch, instead? That is well, good sir, for while I need not share all the reasons why here, I have come to feel we have great need for such fellows. There is crime to fight, and it seems to be of late we need every pair of hands available..."

"Oh, I-I'd very much like to do, uh, either one," Rowe tells Lorthrain, his voice having lost a considerable amount of confidence from just moments before. Still, he turns his concern to Khillaure and stares expectantly, clearly interested in her description of any 'recent events' that might involve combat.

Khillaure turns her eyes downward to the cloak thrown over her arm. "Nothing could make me question my commitment." She places her drink on a bit of space at a nearby table, and uses the free hand to pull back the edge of the forest green material. At the end of her sleeve... there is nothing. "A newly acquired complication to my situation." She looks to the men and gives a soft smile. "Though I find it not to be a deterrant. Though I admit to some apprehension to returning to my Aran and explaining the matter... but I am sure he knows by now."

Lorthrain's gaze widens somewhat as the Elf displays her stump, and his head nods soberly ere he turns a grim smile her way. "It may seem a strange comparison to you, perhaps, but many of the soldiers of our King have suffered such wounds recently, and while their years do not stretch so long as that of your kin, I would yet wager the loss is felt just as sharply. I have spoken with such men, and my heart is with their plight even now. You too have my sympathies, mellon."

He quietens for a moment, stealing a glance ro Rowe and sipping at his ale, ere he asks: "Have you recently seen battle then? Has there been a threa in the Mirkwood?"

Khillaure's revelation inspires Rowe to take another long draught from his mug, draining every drop of ale from it before setting it aside on an unoccupied table. He says nothing for an impossibly long moment, then glances toward the door. "Well, I uh, I've enjoyed th-the company, sir and lady, but I, uh, I'm afraid I need to, uhm, get moving," he says, any attempt at appearing comfortable failing miserably. "G-Good day," he adds, and makes for the door.

The shadow of a frown flickers across Barlin's face; yet he gives a slow inclination of the head, a glint of curiosity clear in his eye. " Very well, lady..." He gestures towards the table, "... Lead the way. Will the young sir be joining us?" His gaze shifts to Louse, settling upon the lad's face, unblinkingly.

A relieved smile flits briefly across the lady's face, and she leads the way towards the table as instructed. Isobel throws a quick glance over her shoulder, and motions with her hand for Louse to follow. "Yes, for a little while, at least. We shall see how long he may stay, before duties call him away again." She sits down, smoothing her skirt nervously and setting the cup aside.

"No, sir," Khillaure shakes her head, "This is a new loss, one that I did not have when I left my home. It was here that this happened, and it is here that I will stay until I see the matter put to rest. The problem being that I do not quite know how to handle the situation from this point on."

Louse squirms under Barlin's intense gaze. "I - uh, s'about me the Missus 'ere were gonner speak ter yer," the youngster manages. "Seein' as I'm a Greenshirt an'-" The words fade as Louse fairly scuttles to the table and yanks out two chairs, which scrape harshly across the ground. So much for keeping this discreet.

"Fer youse, Sir an' Missus," the child mutters. From the longing glances toward the door it's clear that 'duty' may call sooner rather than later.

" Indeed." Barlin says curtly, accepting the chair with a slight nod. " And so I would assume the topic of the conversation is the Greenshirts? I have been meaning to check in on them. Forgive me... Other matters have been somewhat distracting..." A shadow flits across his gaze for a moment, before it lfits again to Isobel, an eyebrow quiring expectantly.

The eyes of the Girion lord grow stern at this, and he looks the Elf over once more, stiffening slightly. "This happened, in Lake-town, you say?" he asks, somewhat incredulously. "Whatever befell you, friend? Please, tell me all, if you will, for I do not take such maters lightly..."

"Again you assume correctly, Lord Barlin," says Isobel softly and hurries to add: "And we.. I am much grateful to you for sparing some time. I understand that there must be much weighing on your time presently."

Isobel bites her lower lip briefly, and then shrugs delicately. "I wish to speak of you of a person who has become a Greenshirt under, well, false premises, I suppose we shall have to call it. To be quite frank, well.. this young sir, here, is actually a young lady." However dubious this may sound when applied to Louse.

Khillaure tilts her head slightly, "We are not accustomed to divulging too much, but I think in this case the more that know, the better. Not long ago, a man came to our embassy and asked a favor of my people: the translation of a document he had found while... well, while infiltrating a band of thieves. He said he had been hired to do this, but by whom I am not aware. I swore to him that it would be done, and that we would aid him if necessary, though I was fearful of what this might mean to my people, what danger we may then be in." She picks up her glass and takes a drink before continuing. "It was a few days later that I found out that the man was missing, kidnapped, and that there was a girl that had witnessed the entire thing. I wasted no time in whisking her to the embassy, there to find out all she knew, and to offer her the protection I had been unable to supply the man."

Far across the room from the Elf, Louse looks a little relieved when the chairs are accepted, but still tense - and the youngster is starting to squirm a little. Perhaps it's stress.

When Isobel starts to speak, Louse straightens and listens in silence - until the last words, that is. At that point natural indignation takes over and he - or rather, she - burst out, "It ain't false pretences! I c'n 'it things jist as well as t'rest of 'em, an' I's bin workin' jist as 'ard. An' I'm a good quick runner. Ain't none o' my fault I ain't got dangly bits."

Barlin's eyes flit back to the Greenshirt; a faint glimmer of surprise can be seen there, as well as a certain spark which could be considered amusement. But both vanish as quickly as they appear, and the dark eyes become hard, inscrutable and considering once more. " I see." He says simply, before reaching up to stroke the end of his pointed beard thoughtfully, "... I wonder, lady, what attracted your attention to this apparent... Falsehood?"

Alarm enters Lorthrain's gaze at Khillaure's words, and he freezes in place. "This man... is dead? Pray, mellon, I urge you: what man was this?"

Closing her eyes briefly and blushing, Isobel clears her throat following Louse's declaration. "Yes, well.. hrm." She flounders and gives Barlin a grateful glance as he poses a question that might lead out of this thorny part of the conversation. "I saved the child from drowning," says the lady earnestly, "and, well, in the process I found out."

"Remo is what he told me his name was, but I came to find out that it was actually Alagnen." Khillaure narrows her eyes slightly at the man. "But yes, he has passed. I went looking for him in the Underdecks, a man named Slugger held him captive, and it was he that did this to me." She pauses, "Did you know the man?"

Louse is getting seriously worried now. And from the way the youngster is standing, dangly bits or no she'll clearly not last much longer before the lure of the doorway out becomes too great.

At Isobel's words Louse nods fervently, the shapeless cloth cap nearly sliding off at thhe motion. One grubby hand retrieves it at the last minute and it is pushed back, though not before both Barlin and Isobel will have caught a glimpse of the long, tow-coloured hair and its resident crawlers. "She did, too," the child asserts. Then it's time to square up to Barlin. "I - Everyone says as t'Greenshirts is only for boys. Only - I wanted ter join, see. So's I dressed up, an' noone ever asked nuffin'," Louse mutters, head ducking until she stares at her feet. "That's 'ow it was, sir. Are ye - are ye gonner sack me?" The young voice that had seemed so full of confidence now is muted by dread.

A long moment passes by then at the bar as Lorthrain's gaze hardens all the more; a melancholy caught within a sudden ice as he weathers the news. At length his eyes melt somewhat, though they are far from merry, and he places his tankard upon the bar, not apparently caring to finish what was left.

"I think, mellon," he says softly, "that you and I should retire some place more private, and discuss this further. Aye, the man was known to me, and this is grave news indeed to my heart. If you will trust a kinsman of King Brand, my House's halls are not far from here..."

The aging soldier falls silent, leaning back in his chair. His eyes remain fixed upon the young Greenshirt, his fingers automatically stroking his beard as his mind calculates. Eventually, after a long moment, he speaks:

" She says she can work as hard as the rest..." He addresses the Lady of Taurdain without glancing away from Louse, "... Is this true?"

Flickering a brief glance at the Greenshirt, Isobel gains a look of determination and fixes Barlin with a steady gaze. “I don’t feel that it is my opinion which should be sought on that question, for I am not the one in charge of observing the Greenshirt. Yet if you are unsure, my lord, then why not let her continue for a little while and observe her yourself? I do believe you won’t be disappointed.”

"Can, too work 'ard," Louse claims in a squeak as quickly as she can get the words out. "An'," a brief pause for a gulp of air, "an' I've gotter go /now/, or Serge'll 'ave me 'ide. I'm a good worker, honest I am, sir!" Panicked green eyes lift to Barlin, then the child's gaze flicks to Isobel. "Thank yer, missus, fer tryin' ter 'elp," Louse gets out, swallowing. Piece spoken, Louse fairly dashes from the tavern, swiping a sleeve across her face as she goes. Thus it is that she spares Girion lord and Elf no more than a single glance before she is past and out, quicker than a cork from a bottle.

Khillaure nods slowly. "I may be a fool to do so, and there is one that would mock me greatly for this, but I will trust you. I watched the man fall, and he did so to save my life... I owe him for that, and I will do whatever I can to avenge his wrongful death. Let us away, then?"

"Aye," agrees Lorthrain, "let us do just that." And this said he leads the Elf to the door, slipping out into the storm without another word to the room.

Barlin watches the young girl dart off with a look of mild interest; before his eyes flicker back to the Taurdain. " Have you grown affectionate for the girl, Lady Isobel? You seem quite partisan to her staying on as a Greenshirt."

Isobel shrugs anew. “Affectionate is a little strong, I think, but I found that when you’ve saved someone’s life, you start to feel responsible for them. Or perhaps that’s just me. Either way I might not be so committed to having her stay with the Greenshirts, but if that is her wish I surely don’t intend to hinder it. I seek only to beg your pardon for her.”

" Pardon. It is not quite as simple as that..." The aging soldier gives a short sigh, drawing a pipe from the depths of his shirt and stuffing dry weed into it, "... She can pass as a boy now, but it will not always be so. She will change. And when she does... That environment will no longer suit her. Besides, the Greenshirts was designed to give young lads a chance at, perhaps, earning enough respect to make it into the King's army; what good will it do her? War is not the province of woman, if you will excuse me for saying so, Lady."

Isobel nods eagerly, however. "I quite agree, Lord Barlin! War is not for women, and I myself have questioned the, well, propriety of her remaining with the Greenshirts once she is older. And yet.." she worries her lower lip again, looking at the soldier beseechingly. "And yet it is not for me to decide her fate. It is not as though I can take her on myself, and as improper as it might be, it could still be infinitely better than simply setting her adrift down in the Decks."

Barlin nods once, striking a match and setting it to the pot of his pipe. " This is true, Lady Isobel. Perhaps, there /are/ other duties that would be better suiting Louse; that would better suit the girls of the Underdecks as a whole. The Greenshirts, I believe, have been involved in the infirmary project? Healing does not require the strength of men. Nor does cooking, or sowing, or counting and learning. Perhaps, this is an issue that needs to be addressed with greater consideration."

Date added: 2011-07-27 09:06:56    Hits: 75
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