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Kill or cure?

Tags: Bledrann,  Bedwyne

Short Summary: The stranger Bedwyne comes to Redvyrne Keep with promise of a cure for the pestilence that holds Dunland in its grip. Opinions are varied on who is most deserving of the aid he offers ...
Date (real-life): 2010-06-03
Scene Location: Dunland: Redvyrne Keep
Date (in-game): February 3050
Time of Day: Morning
Weather: Snow
Courtyard <<Redvyrne Keep>>

    After lying in a state of disrepair for some time, the walls of Redvyrne Keep have been repaired anew with solidly mortared stone, and stand tall all around the Courtyard. A temporary perimeter of crude sod and earth mixed with fire-blackened rocks yet remains within that stronger protection as a reminder that this place has fallen in the past and been restored. Smaller buildings have arisen near the inner Keep's bulk for those who provide valuable services to the Chieftain. In the center, a covered well with a winched bucket maintains a constant water supply for the residents. Warriors on guard duty stand constant vigil over the fortified gates to the north which give access to the Keep proper.

    Torches flare inside the walls, shining dim light into the courtyard's shadows. To the south, the Keep's dark bulk blots out the night sky. It is relatively quiet with little of the foot traffic found during daylight hours. Men on watch call out periodically from far points of the wall, or stop briefly on their rounds to exchange a few words in passing.

Obvious exits:
 Apothecary <A> leads to Apothecary <<Redvyrne Keep>>.
 Gates <OUT> leads to Highlands - Dunland <<Redvyrne County>>.
 Stables <ST> leads to Stable <<Redvyrne Keep>>.
 Keep <K> leads to Wulf Hall <<Redvyrne Keep>>.

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                      Dunland Time and Weather Forecast
===============================================================================

Real Time is:       Thu Jun 03 14:47:17 2010
IC weather is:      Wind: gale - Clouds: dense - Snow: powdery
IC Moon is:         Last quarter
IC time is:         Late Night <about 3 AM>
IC date is:         Hevensday, Day 2 of February in the year 3050.

===============================================================================

A new day is here, yet the late winter dawn has brought little of hope with it. Redvyrne Keep is once more assailed by snow - fat white flakes that eddy this way and that in whirling sheets of whites, making it hard for the guards to see much of the road outside. Many of those guards are in no fit state to do their duty in any case - some lean listlessly against the wall, shivering and white-faced, another is bent double in a fit of coughing - and the most alert of the group is far too young. A lad who cannot be much more than thirteen peers bright-eyed into the sky, clutching a borrowed spear.

In the courtyard below, a figure is making his way out of the stables. Bledrann Faol has his cloak to his mouth to muffle any coughing, and his right hand rests on his sword in a gesture of no doubt designed to suggest confident arrogance - but he keeps to the wall, his steps halting, and half-way along he stumbles.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] The gates are guarded, by sick men, but these sick men can still see and speak. Dropping from his mount, a rider leads the horse by its bridle forward. "Well met," he says, his hunched back making him appear shorter than he probably is. He looks from side to side, noticing the coughing and wheezing. "It appears I am in the right place." There is a pause, "Your Fian, or Ceann, are they here?" It seems like a bold question from a complete stranger.

Cries of alarm greet the stranger's appearance - 'out of the very belly of the snowstorm', as one of the less vigilant of the guards mutters hoarsely. The young lad starts and, trembling, points his spear at the stranger. One of his elders knocks it aside. "The Ceann is-" he begins slowly.

He is interrupted. Bledrann, straightening, makes his way swiftly to the gates, and if the breath rattles harshly in his chest at the exertion, what of that? "Who wish-" the words dissolve into a fit of coughing. "Who wishes to know?" he manages to gasp out at last, glaring fiercely at the newcomer.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] With a strange bow, as if just continuing an already bowed posture, the man stands as tall as he can afterward. "I am called Bedwyne, of Isengard. The White Wizard of Orthnac has heard of the plights of sickness in these lands." He looks to both guards, "From what I can tell, even within a few moments, it appears these rumors are in fact truth." Bedwyne takes a short breath, "I am here to render what aid I can in your plight against this disease."

Bledrann's lip curls in a sneer. "Oh, very charmi-" Another bout of coughing takes him, this one lesser. When he is done he doubles over and hawks up a gobbet of mucus, in unconscious parody of the bow.

"Aid!" the murmur spreads round the guards, and already others have begun to gather in the courtyard below. "Did you hear?" "He's going to bring us a cure!" cries one of the more hopeful. The young lad, who'd only a moment ago been so ready to drive a spear through the 'enemy', listens to the and his lip wobbles. "C-can you - help my mam?" he blurts out.

Bledrann snorts, something that may or may not be due to the sickness. "And what, pray tell," by keeping his voice even, barely above a harsh whisper, he is able to continue, "is this White Wizard's price?"

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Bedwyne looks confused, his brows furrow and head turns sidelong. "Price? Saruman has no price, friend, there is nothing he desires other than the health of his neighbors." The man looks toward the mob inside, knowing they will likely grow into a frenzy with what he has heard. "I shall enter, and do what I can," he tells Bledrann, "But I cannot cure. Only Saruman the White can do that."

Bledrann laughs, the sound ending as a wheeze. "Enter here, and you meet death," he tells Bedwyne. "Every day there are more ..." The words trail off into a whisper, and he lifts a shaking hand to mop sweat from his brow. All this talk is wearisome - unobtrusively he edges toward the solid stone-and-turf of the wall.

The boy's lip is still quivering. "But what /can/ you do? Can you help my mam?" He makes as though to follow Bedwyne, but the hand of the older guardsman retrains him. "Guard never leaves his post, laddie."

The door to the main keep is open now, and those of Redvyrne's inhabitants still able to walk are coming to see what the hubbub is. Creeping, staggering, they converge on the stranger, some with hands outstretched - to cling to, or to assail, who can say?

[Bedwyne(#6174)] "Perhaps," Bedwyne agrees, "But I believe, that if I were to fall ill, the White Wizard shall see me safe." His eyes flicker to the boy asking him about his 'mam'. Stone faced, he asks, "Where is she, I shall see what I can do. If she were taken to Isengard, surely she would be healed of all her ailments." He smiles slightly, but seems forced to Bledrann's eyes.

Bedwyne looks back to Bledrann finally, "So, sir, shall you join his mam in an herbal remedy? It shall make you feel better, at least for awhile, and stave off the more permanent end this plague seems to carry to conclusion."

Bledrann scowls at Bedwyne's first words. "Will you listen to that?" a quavering female voice remarks into the silence that followed. "He must be charmed! Always did say red in the hair was lucky ..."

"She's in-" the eager young guardling begins, only to be cut off.

"Come to Isengard?" Bledrann repeats incredulously, his voice cracking. He swallows hard, coughs once or twice and his lungs are clear enough to continue. "Leaving Redvyrne wide open for Bear's" he breaks off for another cough, "taking? I don't think so. Who are you really working for, stranger." Leaning against the wall as he is now, he manages to be quite verbose.

"Don't listen!" one of the guards, straightened after a bout of retching, cries out. "He's the one who brought it here!"

"Curse all Fianni to the Flaming Pit!" shouts a deep, hoarse voice from within the crowd, and an elderly fellow who must have been quite the warrior once reaches out to shove at Bledrann.

There is the rasp of steel as Bledrann's sword is drawn from its sheath - unsteadily, aye, and his arm is shaking, but his glare is fierce as any hawks. "I'll die on my feet with a sword in my hand, not in some sickroom," he barks out hoarsely.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Bedwyne throws up his hands, "Let us speak, there is no need for violence." He pats the young man on the shoulder. "Let me show you," the man explains, "One leaf in boiled water will sooth your fears." The man sighs, "I have told you, I serve the White Wizard, Saruman the White." He pauses, "I have lived in Isengard the whole of my life, and have no political motivations here in Dunland."

He looks to Bledrann again, "Sir, I beg you, see the help I can bring before passing judgement."

The youth turns bright, hopeful eyes on Bedwyne. "Please, Lord," he begs - anyone that powerful must be at least a Fian, mustn't they?

The old fellow who'd been reaching toward Bledrann jumps back with a nimbleness at odds with his age, a growl in his throat. "Bring me my axe, Mhairi" he demands. "Mhairi?" And then the shadow of remembrance crosses his features and he dashes a filthy sleeve across his brow, his wrath stayed for now.

Bledrann, arm raised to hew, hesitates and then that arm drops trembling back to his side. "Heal the harridan then," he rasps out to Bedwyne. "I care not. But you can't-" another coughing fit takes him, and the sword briefly becomes a support, "can't deny what I said of Redvyrne is true. If your White Wizard cares, have him bring his cure here."

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Bedwyne shakes his head, "I am sorry, sir," he starts, "This plague is more placed than here. The White Wizard must have eyes many places at once, and he cannot travel." Bedwyne looks to no one in particular, "Someone, boiling water, bring it to me, and the one you wish treated." He pulls a pouch off his side, its contents a mystery, while waiting for someone to approach.

At that, the youngest guardsman can contain himself no longer. Pushing his spear at the nearest person, he dashes off into the Keep. One of the woman, a shawl across her face to muffle her hacking coughs, stumbles across the courtyard to fetch some water.

Bedwyne does not have to wait long for 'someone' to approach. The crowd now gathered round him starts pushing and shoving, and hands reach out to grab at the pouch he's holding. "Me! Save me, wizard!" Adversity does not always bring out the best in mankind.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] "Stand back friends, only I know how to brew this here." Bedwyne could have expected such a reaction, "Stand back and I shall treat you in turn. Do not, and you shall all meet an undesirable fate. Think, react wisely, and you shall live!" The man hopes this gives them the restraint they might need to keep them from mobbing him and taking the pouch. His face is less calm than it was before, holding a slight frown as he must deal with the mob directly.

The words cow some of the crowd; the pressure lessens and the cries become wheezing murmurs. "Not right," someone mutters. "Lies and trickery!" calls another. "Seize the herb!" And some do not cease their pushing at all. "Heal me," comes a desperate whine. "Not her!"

"Enough!" That single throaty word is not followed by a cough, though Bledrann's breath is rasping in his throat. His bright blade flashes up, and one of the men tumbles back clutching at his arm. Red pools on the cobbles. "Mongrel curs," the Fian hisses, sending a gobbet of mucus flying into the crowd.

The young guardling, who has emerged from the Keep with a limp burden in his arms, falters in his steps, his eyes very wide.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Bedwyne looks concerned, seemingly near the point to draw his own blade which rests on his back, and retreat. But Bledrann's words cut them off. The man's eyes turn to the young man, once again, and the limp body in his hands.

"Should you not help your kinsmen?" he asks of them, "Aid him, and your healing shall come!" Bedwyne does not look as though he will go further into the keep, fearing for his own safety, and remains outside awaiting the guard and his mother.

Aid him? More angry words follow Bedwyne's suggestion - but some, at least move toward the fallen man, to aide him as they may. Bledrann, the attacker, receives many a hate-filled glance - there's no telling how long his bright blade will keep the common folk at bay.

The woman with the water pushes her way through, spilling some as she goes; steam rises up hissing from the frozen ground.

The bundle in the youth's arms is limp, and at first glance one might think his mother already dead, for her eyes are closed, her haggard features peaceful. Then the rise and fall of her chest can be seen - aye, and the specks of blood spattering the shoulders and cuffs of her dress. Healing her will not be easy. "Lord," the lad falters, words failing him, and swallows hard.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] The man suddenly seems to ignore everything. He kneels, placing a hand upon the woman's forehead, a frown locked on his face. "She is very sick. She would not have lasted the day." He looks up to the boy, then to the water. He grabs the dumps some of it out, more steam rising off the melting snow, and then opens the pouch. He produces a lone leaf, withered and dried. Placing his pouch back onto his belt, he drops the leaf into the bowl, securing it with one hand. With the other Bedwyne sticks his fingers in, grimacing at the head, and breaks up the leaf. In a few moments the liquid is a brown color instead of that of water. "Tilt her head. She must drink it," he says, and begins to pour the concoction down her throat.

The lad obediently tilts his mother's head, though it is clear he has no skill in such matters. Some of the liquid trickles into the woman's mouth, more of it down her front. She coughs, feebly. "Hush, mam," the youth murmurs. "It will make you well."

Bledrann watches without comment, till another flurry of coughing seizes him and the sword-blade he's holding must needs fall back to earth. "Now what?" he asks when he can draw breath. Even the crowd has ceased its muttering - watching, waiting and reserving judgment ...

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Reaching forward, Bedwyne grabs the woman's face and clamps her jaw shut. "Easy now," he says, his eyes wide and full of wonder. Then, nothing, nothing happens at all. Bedwyne nods to himself, seeming satisfied. He looks at the contents of the bowl. "There is one more dose left, someone as sick, or nearly so should take it."

Nothing happens to the old woman. She appears just as sick as she was before ...

"But-" The young guardsman's lip is wobbling again, and his eyes are suspiciously moist.

"Nothing's happened!" one of the onlookers shouts. "Liar!" "Charlatan!" "Told ye, a curse on the heads of all Fianni! Drive 'em out ..." Some of the men and women surge forward, seeking to lay hands on the stranger and overset the bowl, their motion fuelled by those behind who have not seen and still cry out, "Heal me! Heal /me/!"

[Bedwyne(#6174)] "Wait!" the man screams, jumping backward again. "Wait!"

Perhaps unbenounced to those clammoring and screaming, the old woman's eyes open, and slowly she sits up a bit, looking at her son weakly. She does not appear the picture of health, but she is no longer on death's door as she was. Bedwyne continues to attempt to calm the crowd as their roar.

"Oh, Mam." The young lad's tears fall openly now as he clutches the old woman to him, rocking her back and forth as though his heart would break.

"Back," growls Bledrann in a cracked voice as the crowd surges at them. "If it's gone you wan-" he gasps and coughs, the sword-blade he'd lifted up waving wildly (and clearing the space in front of himself quite effectively) "want us, you'll have your wish soon enough. Now - choose one from you to drink," another pause while he catches his breath, "the brew. Who's least expendable?" Almost, his old sneer is back, though his features are drawn and white.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] "I shall give out to whomever needs it," Bedwyne says, "But know this, it is not your saving grace, only Saruman the White can fully heal you." He pauses, raising his voice, "This is only a stay! Only a respite to your lives. To Isengard you must go for your lives to be returned to you!"

An uproar erupts at Bledrann's question. Soon the crowd is pushing and shoving, not at the stranger, nor yet the quick-tempered Fian, but at each other. Someone retches. Someone is trampled. Someone screams. It is easy to mark who has heard Bedwyne's question, for those are the ones who detach themselves from the fringes of the scrum, slipping quietly away to gather belongings or bring word to sick. To Isengard they will come, whether the Fianni will it or no - some at least.

And Bledrann? He eyes the stranger and his brew oddly, then leans in close to ask one hoarse question: "How long will it give me?"

[Bedwyne(#6174)] "Months, weeks," Bedwyne shrugs, "It depends on how sick you are," he says.

In that case," Bledrann's words are interrupted by that relentless cough, and he steps back to allow the stranger at least /some/ breathing space, "quite long enough." With a gleam in his eye, he reaches out for the bowl. Most sick? Clearly no. Least expendable? Hardly. But ambitious - aye, maybe.

[Bedwyne(#6174)] Bedwyne allows the bowl to be taken and Bledrann to drink of it. He says nothing as he begins to make more doses.


Date added: 2010-06-03 18:07:11    Hits: 70
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