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Inn interlude

Tags: Gloin,  barmaid

Short Summary: The Dwarves have stopped for the evening in Iach Celduin. Gloin attempts to glean local gossip from the crooked-nosed barmaid, whilst Bardur provides a musical backdrop.
Date (real-life): 2014-01-26
Scene Location: Iach Celduin: The Ox and Fiddle
Date (in-game): January 3061
Time of Day: Evening
Weather: Clear
Ox and Fiddle

A large inn catering to travellers on the Old Forest Road. The Ox and Fiddle has a large common room with fireplaces at opposite ends, and a bar on the west wall between them. Stairs lead up to a balcony and private rooms that open up off of it. Long tables and benches fill out the center of the common room.

Obvious exits:
Out

----

Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Sun Jan 26 14:58:59 2014 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Mersday, nighttime on a clear winter's night, January 12 of 3061

----

Dark has settled on Iach Celduin. The stars dusted across bowl of sky above glitter hard and sharp as diamonds, save for a black smudge to the west. A mist lies above Mirkwood. Is it an omen, a sign of things to come? Perhaps, but it hasn't stopped a goodly number of that company of Dwarves currently camped at the town's perimeter from sampling the delights of the last Inn in the Dale-lands - well, for them at least.

The Ox and Fiddle is bustling, though from the surly looks on the faces of some locals, not everyone is happy about that. Dwarves make for rowdy customers, and whilst some disturbance is innocent - like that blue-eyed, black-bearded fellow scraping away on a small stringed instrument and intoning something about gold and jewels - some is less pleasant. A red-bearded Dwarf bristles with indignation as he bandies offers and counter-offers with one of the local traders. Just how much is one sack of oats worth? A few sullen customers set down their mugs and ready their fists in the expectation that things will escalate.

In that moment another of the Dwarven company - dressed in travel garb as they all are, but with a silver chain hung about his neck - steps forward to lay a heavy hand on the red-beard's shoulder and growl something in his ear, the implication being: leave it.

In the pause that follows, the Dwarven singer's mournful tones are the only sound:

    "-a diamond red
    as blood unshed;
    from earth's depths torn,
    a King to mourn ..."

[Isobel(#23796)] A young barmaid has kept an expert eye on the proceedings, and as the dwarf is convinced to stand down, she just happens to pass by the sullen customers. "Another round, lads?" she suggests brightly. "I think you'd find it better worth your time to have a drink rather than a fight." Having said her piece with a wink and a smile, she moves on, daring to approach the bristling dwarf.

"Anything for you, Master Dwarf?" Comely enough otherwise, the lass has the misfortune of having a somewhat crooked nose, perhaps the result of an old break. "We've got a lovely rasp ale," she tempts, "though we're down to the last barrel, I'll admit."

The white-haired Gloin has little leisure to witness the expert way in which the squint-nosed barmaid defuses the tension, preoccupied as he is with his own kinsman. A muttered retort is answered by a shake of the head, snowy locks bobbing, before Gloin returns, "Then we'll march without porridge. Given Oskar's cooking, some of us might be grateful for the lack." He winks. "Go and check Frori has fodder for the ponies."

Still muttering, no doubt now about the unfairness of his seniors, the red-bearded Dwarf makes for the door.

That leaves Gloin himself just enough time to catch the barmaid's suggestion. He jerks his chin up to stare at her, white whiskers quivering. "Rasp ale?" he echoes, craggy features tightening in a grimace of disgust. "Someone /drinks/ it?" He shakes his head then enquires hopefully, "Got any spirits? Engrin whisky, perhaps - or I'd settle for one of those Finney brandies, if it's from a good year." Mouth clamping shut again, he waits.

The Dwarven singer has paused. Scattered applause breaks out; alas, the clappers were over-hopeful, for a moment later the words and music break out anew, a notch or two faster in tempo.

    "Wildly wailed the whistling storm,
    Dark the doom that drove it on-"

Whistling winds and death stalking in shadows - such a cheery song for a winter's evening! Perhaps it's not Gloin who most needs a drink.

[Isobel(#23796)] "I drink it," she asserts with a grin, and then nods. "But a Finney brandy it is, Master Dwarf. Will you be wanting the special, the old superior, or something even finer? We've got an extra old, you know," she adds meaningfully. "Very good, that one. Aged six years. Course, we've got some that haven't been aged at all if /that's/ your fancy..."

"You do?" Gloin peers at the barmaid from beneath bushy brows. "No wonder you're on the scrawny side. You should try some decent stuff. Good spirits put grit in your belly and hairs in your beard." Even if it's a sad fact that human females are sadly lacking in that latter department. "The six-year-old will do," he adds as an afterthought, as though he'd been hoping for something of even rarer vintage. Reaching into his belt pouch, the Dwarf draws out some coins - enough for the drink and a hefty tip too. Maybe he wasn't entirely blind to this girl's assistance in soothing the ruffled feathers of her compatriots. "And when you bring it, maybe you can fill me in on the news from the lands about, as well."

[Isobel(#23796)] Wordlessly (and deftly!) the barmaid pockets the coins, flashing a smile before she leaves. When she returns it is with a glass full of amber liquid, and a plate that has some chunks of cheese and slices of dark bread on it. "On the house," she says, putting it down in front of the dwarf.

"Now then, what else can I do you for? Some news, you said." She brushes a dark lock of hair back behind her ears, the corner of her mouth twitching as she adds: "Plenty of news here, we get so many strange folk passing through. But I suppose you don't want to hear about the recent trial, or how old Hadar the ferry-man fell in the drink the other night."

The Dwarven singer's recitative continues. His captive audience can be divided into two groups: those of his own kin, who listen intently and hum softly along, and the bulk of the clientele - that is, townsfolk and a few Mannish travellers - who do their best to ignore the noise entirely.

Oddly, Gloin seems to fall into the latter camp, for he's focusing on the barmaid. When his order - and side - arrives he grunts his thanks, raises the little glass in salute and then pushes the plate so that it sits between them. "Help yourself," he suggests gruffly.

He lifts the glass to his nose and pauses as though savouring the aroma before taking his first sip - clearly he fancies himself a connoisseur! A nod follows to indicate the vintage is acceptable. "Depends if I'll need to use yon ferryman's services," he returns to the barmaid's final words. "Last I heard the bridge was in good repair. But aye, I seek news of the roads - and the harvests. Supplies are hard to come by, of late." The words end in a bitten-off scowl.

[Isobel(#23796)] "My thanks." Not one to demur food, she snatches up a piece of the cheese and nibbles on it while the dwarf speaks. "You've heard right, there's naught wrong with the bridge. The roads are cold and snowy, is what I hear. You and your friends have chosen the wrong season to travel, Master Dwarf. Until you reach the hills of Finney, there's little round here to stop the wind from blowing through marrow and bone." She pauses and cocks her head to the side, studying Gloin thoughtfully. "But perhaps you wish to hire a ship? You'll be able to find passage both up and downriver here, if that's your fancy."

A decisive shake of the head greets that latter suggestion. "No ship." Gloin's deep Dwarven rumble is very emphatic about that point. "We are many. Besides, my folk trust to our legs, and to the stout wheels of our wagons.Our kind have long travelled, winter and summer alike." He lets the finality of that statement settle into silence (in the background, the Dwarven singer's words can be clearly heard - something about Dwarven pride turning the tide?) and then knocks back the rest of his drink before reaching absently for a piece of dark bread. This is swallowed without overmuch chewing. "And the news regarding foodstuffs? This place seems well-supplied." The Dwarf glances round the inn, somewhat mistrustfully.

[Isobel(#23796)] The barmaid merely shrugs. "If you prefer to walk, that is entirely your business, Master Dwarf. As for food, well, this /is/ a pub. We've made enogh connections over the years to keep it stocked. For now." She glances away, still chewing slowly on the cheese, and then looks back with a sigh. "Truth is, the whole town is right worried. I've no idea how much the rest of the land knows, but the Farmers' guild has its' headquarters here, and all the best farmland. Anyone who can would do well to scrimp and save, they say, and if the price I paid for a few turnips earlier is anything to go by.. A whole silver! Would you believe it?" She shakes her head, clicking her tongue. "'s not good. But so long as the river doesn't freeze I reckon we'll scrape by." All the same, the words are tinged with doubt.

By the time the barmaid looks back, Gloin has already inhaled another couple of chunks of bread. "The Lake-Men have little to spare this year, and little enough for their own, it's said," is Gloin's contribution to what is, presumably, old news. He shakes his head, white locks flying.

After a cautious silence, the elderly Dwarf volunteers, "It may be that the Beornings have had a good harvest. If there are supplies to be had, we will trade for them before we return." Ah, so he's headed west then?

Before the barmaid can take him to task for having the effrontery to travel through Mirkwood, for whatever purpose (surely not just on the off-chance there might be spare foodstuffs?), their conversation is interrupted by a burst of applause, louder than before. The Dwarven singer has finished his recitation on a plaintive note:

    The King lay cold upon his bier,
    His son beside; the time drew near
    The tomb to seal, with hearts unhealed -
    The bloodstone shed a crimson tear."

Hastily Gloin jumps up. "If you'll excuse me, Mistress-" Then, with no further ado, the Dwarf who does not seem to share his fellows' appreciation for music hurries over to his countryman to clap him on the shoulder. "Fine singing! But rest your voice now: we'll need your sharp eyes on watch tonight-"


Date added: 2014-01-27 02:34:17    Hits: 56
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