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Lord Alphros' Wooing

Short Summary: Alphros comes to speak with his prospective bride, Farielle of Gondor.
Date (real-life): 2011-01-04
Scene Location: Harad

Afternoon sun slants towards evening and Farielle still sits on the bench, staring into the jungly growth with a slight frown on her face. The guard shifts his weight, bored, and coughs; the girl glances over at him and says exceedingly politely, "If you are bored, you may go." She looks away again at once, knowing very well he won't go anywhere. A finger of light slides through an opening in the canopy and turns her blue silk dress a brilliant sapphire; then lowers into shadow, and still she sits there. It is plenty warm yet, for one raised in the cooler climes of Gondor.


There is the sound of activity from beyond the garden, towards Seaward's great gates; voices and heavy footsteps and other such commotion. After a while, the source of the hubbub becomes clearer. A procession of individuals -- Corsairs, attendants, and others -- files into the Garden under the watchful eyes of the Seaward guards. They bear not the sigil of one of the other Towers of Umbar, however, but rather are clad in hues of black, gold, and white. And at their fore walks the veiled man who most in the city can now recognised as the King-Claimant of Gondor, the ones the Gondorians call the Pretender.

Farielle ignores the noises for a while - after all, very little that happens in this place has anything to do with her, and she is busy. But it goes on. And on. And grows louder and closer. She turns to look, her eyes widening at the procession, and scoots back a little on her bench as if she might hide in the green fronds about. Then a clear second thought - she shifts back to her original spot and watches the on-comers without apology; and with no little curiosity.


Alphros gestures to his companions, who fall back. For all that he has brought a small crowd into Seaward Tower, one might note that the procession is not the grandest: half a dozen Corsairs and several courtiers, but not the grandest of displays, whether out of modesty or necessity.

"Ahhh. Lady Farielle," he greets her from across the garden, speaking the Sindarin syllables with no small measure of distaste for the language, though seemingly not the person. "You seem... more comfortable than when I last saw you."

The girl watches him intently as if she is trying to find something, or perhaps, trying to decide something. In the same languages, she replies, "It is more pleasant to be able to move, yes, thank you." A pause. "I understand I must also thank you for this dress... and its color."


"Well, I hope they are satisfactory... I thought Uzma's choices were beyond compare, but the chief of my guard likes to meddle in such affairs behind my back," the would-be King of Gondor answers, seemingly complicating that situation. But he waves the matter aside. "I trust you are not over-exposing yourself to this Southern sun, too?" he adds conversationally, waving in the general direction of the heavens. "Pale northern skin has little defense against its burning wiles."

"Then I shall thank your guard. I look terrible in the colors she picked," Farielle says flatly. Her tone is not impolite, but neither does she seem inclined to mince her words. She glances up as he gestures, and nods. "I take care. I burn terribly, even at - home, if I am out in the sun too much." There is the tiniest hesitation in her voice at that word, and something - determination or defiance or anger - hardens in her eyes. She hesitates again, then asks, "Why did you give me these dresses?" The words could be thought blunt, but her expression is that of someone who earnestly, sincerely wishes to know.


Alphros tilts his head up in a slightly petulant manner as she insults his preference for colour, but he is not angry; more intrigued at the presence of a strong personality. "I am glad you have not yet wilted in the ancient and oppressive airlessness of these towers," is all he says in answer to that.

Then he waves another hand, and several of the courtiers come forward. One bears a large hanging object in one hand, completely concealed by black cloth. Another bears a small chest. Two others carry nothing, though their presence seems deliberate. "You are a lady of noble birth, and contrary to the horror stories told by your kin, you will find that not all Southrons are sand-eating barbarians. Indeed, you and I share the same lineage cast off from the lost shores of Numenor."

The girl relaxes a small amount, though she watches him as if she still isn't quite certain he has answered correctly. "The heat is uncomfortable," she says, slightly less aggressively; a conversation perhaps - no longer someone itching to start a fight but  too well-mannered to actively do so. "Is it never cool here?" 

Curiously, she watches the men who come forward, then looking at Alphros inquiringly. But there is nothing to be seen save the veil - her eyebrows crease in a faint frown and she looks away from him.


"The breeze is pleasant in the winter," Alphros answers, "Of course you will not feel it while you are locked up here behind the walls, unless you should climb to the upper reaches of Seaward."

The reason for the other burdenless courtiers might now be explained... Various Seaward cats, responding to Alphros's presence just as in rumour, have started to meander down to the small gathering in the garden. They seem particularly drawn not only to the King-Claimant, but to the hanging cloth-covered burden. As the felines encroach, the two other courtiers get to shoo'ing them away... That would seem to be their job.

"As the finest genealogists and historians in Umbar have been able to confirm that you are who you say we are, I thought that we might proceed to the next stage of this possible transaction," Alphros says, matter-of-factly.

In the winter. Farielle's nose wrinkles in distaste. Then her eyebrows raise at the sight of the cats - and the shooers - and almost, she laughs, her face relaxing and the small muscles by her eyes crinkling. She doesn't however, composing herself - at least until Alphros speaks again, bringing both fine dark eyebrows snapping together. "I am not a transaction," she says, each word clipped out in an edged voice.


"No, you are not," Alphros answers, "Though I am afraid you are the key object of note in the transaction between Lady Eruphel and myself. And I would like to make sure that you are worth it, as I have promised a fairly hefty reward for a Queen and would not like to disappoint either of us."

"Now," he gestures to the attendant bearing the smaller chest, who comes forward and kneels before Farielle, proffering his burden so that she might open it. "This is for your own good as well as well as my peace of mind. Though my physicians have assured us of your good health and suitability, and I would dare not risk incurring Lady Eruphel's offense should I seem untrusting of her security, but... I am a man who does not take many risks." He says this without a hint of irony.

Farielle ignores the chest, for glaring at Alphros. His agreement has blunted her anger - but only for a moment, as he goes on to fan it further. "Yes," she says, dangerously. "I do hope neither of you are disappointed by your /transaction/! And what of myself? Is there any room in these proceedings for /my/ disappointment?" Having to scowl at someone whose face she cannot see seems to make her still angrier, and she adds with irritable impatience, "Must you wear that thing?"


"I can have Uzma make you one, if you like. It does an adequate job of preventing pale skin from burning," Alphros answers innocently, before glancing behind him at a sudden yowl. A particularly brave cat has leapt at the cloth-covered burden that's so attractive to them, and in answer one of the attendants has sprayed the cat with some liquid in a perfume bottle... Obviously the sciences of feline defense are progressing adequately.

Turning back to Farielle, Alphros gestures to the attendant, who opens the small chest, revealing a chastity belt of fine silver and gold. "I should not like you to seduce one of your defenseless Seaward guards and thus bear a fair-skinned bastard who might think to parade around claiming that he is the Prince of Gondor."

The girl stares at the chest and its contents, lifts her eyes - furious now - to the man who has just insulted her beyond bearing, and stands up. "If that is the opinion you have of me," she says, her voice shaking with rage, "I am surprised you have any desire whatsoever to wed me. Perhaps someday, you will find a woman whose honor you can rely upon, for I will NEVER marry you." She turns her shoulder to him, stalking away down the path towards the tower, her entire body tense and quivering with outrage.


Alphros seems genuinely surprised by Farielle's reaction. Perhaps he spoke in jest? Perhaps he is not accustomed to women unlike his Southron sisters, unmodest with the power of their womanliness? Or perhaps he was testing her? He lifts a hand to call, but at that moment is interrupted by a loud metal clanging-- one of the cats has eluded its shooer and leapt for the large cloth-covered object. The attendant goes down with a yelp, and in an instant the area has become a seething mass of yowling cats, scrambling attendants, and a large object that hits the ground. The cloth is pulled back a frantic cat's claws to reveal a large birdcage, whose doors fly open in the tumult to release a large black heron.

The cats' immediate response is to leap en mass for the bird, which takes to flight with a royal shriek and nearly decapitates Alphros in the process. The King-Claimant duck, and the heron flies right over him to land in front of Farielle, blocking her most convenient route of escape.

The large bird eyes the Gondorian curiously, cocking a brilliantly-plumed head to one side and croaking in greeting.

The Gondorian girl wouldn't look around at the clanging if it was heralding the end of the world, but perforce she must stop when the bird lands in front of her; the cats in hot pursuit. It is the lucky recipient of her smoldering glare, and she tries to push past or around it. A cat races between her feet, two more follow it, throwing Farielle off-balance. She throws out her hands, trying to catch anything to keep herself from falling...


Unfortunately, Alphros is unable to assist the falling Gondorian lady, for it would seem he has problems of his own... A small army of cats, no longer held back by the attentions of the shooers, have pounced upon the would-be King of Gondor, purring and clawing at him affectionally as he tries to rise back to his feet.

And the heron? Where before it fled, now its manner changes... specifically as the rushing cats unseat the lady. It turns on the felines, flapping its wings and squawking menacingly, driving the Seaward cats away from the Gondorian woman until there are none around Farielle, almost as if it were trained to behave as her guard (even though the object of his guardianship might now be upon the ground).

Falling onto her rear, dragging a fistful of vines down with her - these are not things designed to improve a lady's temper. And her guard - her Seaward guard - helps matters not at all: he is leaning against a tree trunk, nearly helpless with laughter. Farielle sits still a moment, then painfully pushes herself to her feet again, to resume her interrupted leave-taking.


"Wait, Farielle..." comes Alphros' voice from where the King-Claimant has just managed to push off enough of the cats to sit up, one hand now extended in her direction. The attendants seem to have recovered enough from the chaos to begin restoring order, and chasing off the felines.

As an added incentive, the heron now trots after the Gondorian woman like a well-trained dog, occasionally nipping at the hem of her skirt.

"Stop it!" Farielle scolds the bird, half-turning to try and shoo it away. Alphros' call brings an extremely unfriendly gaze to his face. "What?"


As she stops, so does the bird. It watches her, cock-eyed.

And Alphros? He restores a little dignity to his position by rising to his feet and brushing down his front. "I can see that when they teach you young ladies of Gondor, they go into propriety at great length but neglect such things as humour," he says simply. It does not seem that the would-be King of Gondor would ever grovel, or apologise, but there is a shift in his manner that suggests his actions have not come from a callous place.

Farielle crosses her arms. There is the faintest shifting in her eyes - uncertainty? "It wasn't funny," she says flatly, and now she is shaking perhaps from a different cause than sheer unadulterated rage. Reaction, maybe.


"No, but it was telling," Alphros answers simply. "Whilst I understand that you might still be dealing with a strange situation, I hope that you may one day find the strength to... measure yourself more carefully. Still, a bit of fire in the blood is not always a bad thing," he adds, more to himself than her. "Perhaps there is more Bragollach blood in you than the genealogies record."

Alphros clears his throat. "I think that I have my answer for Lady Eruphel. In the meantime, I thought that you might enjoy some... sympathetic company," he gestures at the heron.

"Telling what?" Farielle asks warily. Yet another person calls her weak in the space of but a few days, and the glower returns, but not at full force. A fiery temper rarely lends its power for long, and hers is fading rapidly. Though the feelings left behind might not be so swift to be banished. She follows his gesture to the heron, and after a moment, grudgingly, says, "Thank you."


"You should expect to hear of your fate soon, Lady, if not from me, then from another," is all Aphros says in answer, inclining his head to her. Turning on his heels, he beats a hasty retreat, followed by a procession that does its best to clean up the mess created in the meantime. Farielle is left alone with her guard... or, rather, her guards. The heron squawks at her.

Farielle, left alone - more or less - watches Alphros leave, still glowering. Then she begins to walk along the path herself, back towards the tower - but more slowly than coming. She is looking for something, apparently, for after a while, she stops and breaks off a branch from a shrub; and carries the spray of flowers back with her to her room.

Date added: 2011-01-05 20:45:00    Hits: 114
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