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Anything but a song?

Tags: Bardur,  Baldruin

Short Summary: Dwarven ale merchant Baldruin arrives in Iach Celduin. Bardur is eager to regale him with tales of recent events ... Baldruin is equally eager to avoid the Skald's singing.
Date (real-life): 2013-03-05
Scene Location: Iach Celduin
Date (in-game): May 3058
Time of Day: Early Evening
Iach Celduin

The old trading town shows signs of wholesome life at last. The refuse and debris left from the occupying orcs has been cleared away. New buildings in various stages of completion dot the town, some of stone and brick, others of wood.

The town's heart and soul stands complete. A freshly painted sign, depicting a dancing ox gaily playing a fiddle, hangs near its front door. Made of sturdy stone and mortar, the inn is open for business and a haven for the weary men and dwarves who rebuild the ruined town. Behind it, a large structure is emerging, as of yet merely a skeleton of wood. A small number of horses stand hobbled nearby, awaiting the completion of their new home.

The bridge over the river Celduin has yet to be rebuilt, but a ferry has been put into service for the odd traveler or patrol who needs to cross the river. Indeed, amidst all these signs of vigorous industry are signs that the troubles have yet to pass. Three armies camp upon the edges of the town and their patrols frequent the western perimeter on both sides of the river - ever vigilant against the enemy's return.

Obvious exits:

Tunnel, Inn, Into the River, SouthEast, and West over Bridge

Dale-Lands Time and Weather Service

Real Time: Tue Mar 05 04:46:34 2013 MST

Dale-Lands Time:
Sterday, dusk on a rainy spring's day, May 6 of 3058


Rain drips down on Iach Celduin: it is as though the elements themselves are trying to wash this land free of all traces of orcish incursion. What had been welcomed at first as a fortuitous means to put out the smouldering fires on the western marges of Mirkwood has now become a nuisance and many's the voice - both Mannish and Dwarven - heard raised grumbling.

Bardur's is not one of them, however. The Dwarves have set up their wagons next to the encampment of the Barding's King's Men so that some facilities (such as the healers tents) can be shared. The young Skald (who has abandoned his studded leather armour to return to his more familiar mode of dress - fancy), perhaps hoping to take advantage of a potential audience, has ensconced himself beneath a sagging tarpaulin stretched across that invisible boundary between 'ours' and 'theirs' and currently has his head bent over pear-shaped instrument in his lap, plucking disconsolately at its strings as though trying to tune the recalcitrant instrument. Oddly, noone has yet come to listen.

Time does not stand still, immobile like the ancient stone of the Blue Mountains - those mighty bowels of the earth, which have brought forth the seasoned dwarf whose own wagon appears now over the rolling dales, which (were it not for the dreadful weather) would make the town that calls this locale its home quite scenic and, well, homely.

As the wagon and its occupant draws closer to the bifurcated encampment, what light still contributes to the clarity of this early evening, betrays the rather disgruntled appearance of a dwarf, hunched and covered in a tattered - and soaked - cloak. He pulls over as he nears the tarpaulin, surveying the ensemble that, in perhaps lighter and dryer times, would certainly have been less desolate than it is at its current state.
"By the beards of my ancestors," grumbles Baldruin (for it is none other than he) in the direction of the musician, "I feared for a moment this was an elven troupe, with all this gay music slicing through the rain like a pick through chalk."

The rumble of the wagon does not draw Bardur's attention at first, hunched over his instrument as he is. "That fourth peg just won't hold," he grumbles under his breath. "Wretched weather, wretched-" He breaks off, blinking, as Baldruin's words finally penetrate. "Elven?" he exclaims in huffy shock. "Elven? Cousin, any Dwarven ear should be able to tell the difference. None of those frothy fulminations! Our songs are sung with dignity. Determination. Gravitas ... and a good mug of ale or two. Are you bringing in supplies?" He sets the instrument (something akin to a small rebec) aside and rises to his feet to sneak a look at Baldruin's wagon.

At the risk of betraying his elderly status, the newcomer takes ample time to descend from the wagon. The final distance of about a foot from the soaked ground he lets go and jumps right into a puddle, sending spatters everywhere. His cloak, which at one time might have consisted of green material is now of a predominantly brown hue and shows evidence here and there of a patch up with different materials, some seeming to contain hair of a dead animal or other.

When Baldruin finally turns to gaze upon his kinsman, a harsh grin peeks out from underneath the white-hairs that crown his upper lip.

"Sodding rain and sodding sky," are his first words. "And thank you for your careful" - he stops for a moment and a low gutteral sound emerges from his digestive tract - "analysis of contemporary cross-boundary music. If I thought you would be an elf, do you really think I would have stopped? By the Stone!"

He clasps Bardur by the shoulder and says "Supplies aplenty, although I might not be the one you were looking for. Baldruin is the name and belching is my game. That, and I brew ale, which you probably have gathered by these massive vats behind me" (indeed, it is hard to miss them perched in the bag of the wagon).
Before the other can reply, Baldruin bulders on "You seem to be in a miserable state here... what happened? One of you dusters fell into the sky, or what?"

Bardur looks suitably awed by Baldruin's alliteration. The shoulder-clap takes the Skald somewhat by surprise, but he recovers quickly. Saying nothing about the wet handprint left behind, he bows most politely, hand on beard, and announces, "Bardur son of Mardur at your service. Which, today it would seem comes in the form of supplying information. Why, cousin, these have been exciting times! We have been battling orcs! Doughty Dwarves and bold Bardings ... " here he lowers his voice to add confidentially, "The Menfolk couldn't handle it, you know. When Lord Dain heard of our situation, he sent some Warders to help. Only it's not diplomatic to say so. Anyway," his deep tones resume their more usual level, "we have driven them back across the river and those left in the forest fastnesses have fled. It was a breathtaking battle - so I'm told. I was guarding the camp that night." The whiskers on Bardur's upper lip droop in disappointment and he frowns fiercely at the dripping rain.

He cannot help glancing toward the wagon again. "I don't suppose you would have any samples?" the young Skald enquires hopefully. "I could sing you some of my epic poem, 'The Death of Azaghal'. Or perhaps something lighter ..."

The old brewer makes his way towards the back of the wagon, quite certainly oblivious to any discomfort by the Erebor dwarf. Even with the more seasoned dwarf out of sight, a muted eructation makes guessing his exact position child's play. He emerges with two old tin mugs (solid in composition, however, and not completely devoid of dwarven embellishments) in his massive fist, both filled to the brim with foam white as the snow that bedecks the peaks of the Ered-Luin.

"It seems you have earned it," Baldruin says in his usual voice, which suggests the khazad's bedside manners might be a bit lacking. He holds out the mugs towards the other and adds, "Trusting you have fought well... or" he squints, "wait! Please do not say you stayed here only to compose songs of the whole affair and missed all the slaughter? I am only an old ale's craftsman, but my fingers are twitching even now. Brandish thy axes, and march forth against the spawn of darkness and filth... and nay, I speak not of Esgaroth's Fiery Flagon. HERE! Drink up, and tell me of th4 dreadful affair that took place here!"

Bardur's blue eyes brighten noticeably at the sight of that ale. Eagerly he reaches to take one - only for Baldruin's next words to cause him to twitch in outrage, spilling a few drops of the precious brew to the ground below. "Certainly not!" he exclaims huffily. "I may have been wounded in the initial skirmish, but not before I'd loosed a well-placed arrow or two. And when orcs attacked us while scouting, I matched one of the foul beasts blow for blow! I'd have felled the filth for sure, if Skorri had not required my aid." Which should give Baldruin a fair impression of the Skald's enthusiasm - and his greenness.

He raises the mug in salute and intones gravely, "To pursuit of profit and to stirring songs!" A long slow pull is taken; when the mug is lowered Bardur begins to declaim:

    "The chill of winter wrapped the dales,
    The dawning day was wan and pale,
    Yet wagons rolled and rumbling feet
    Made ground resound with steady beat.
    The Dwarves have come! Our caravan
    Treks tireless through the lands of Man."

It seems a Skald can't simply give a straight answer.

"Arghahaar!" (or a sound quiet similar to this) emerges from Baldruin's lips as he hears the initial shock and then the tale of his kinsman. "Indeed, may they perish in the dirt which brought forth their foul ilk!" the brewer emits, although it certainly is not easy to understand all of the words, what with him trying to drink simultaneously. "Hahaar! When from the blood of battle the Stone has fed, let the heroes prevail and the blighters lie dead, you said it. Blood, malt liquor and great tales... it is just like home! Except for the sky of course."

Baldruin empties his mug and tosses it in the back of the wagon. "Now who is this Snor-shor-shnorri you speak of and how long till that King of yours - long may he live - sends relief? I mean..." he grabs the Skald by the shoulder again, and leans in amicably "how are the business prospects at this dreary place?"

Bardur, by contrast, still has fully half of his mug left - more, perhaps, for he's seemingly lost in a poetic trance. He blinks dazedly at Baldruin when his shoulder is grabbed again and his mug sloshes - this time, at least, he manages to save the remainder of the precious liquid. He wriggles uncomfortably under the pressure of that 'friendly' arm. "Do you mind? That's my sore shoulder. And didn't you listen? Dain /did/ send reinforcements. We've been hunting down bands of goblins ever since. Only," for a moment he gazes sheepishly down into his beard, "I've not put that bit into verse yet. I'm working on it, you know."

He lifts the mug to his lips and takes another pull, this one shorter, before remembering that there was a question. Lets see ... "Business prospects? I heard Master Brerin say that those Bardings have no sense of fair pricing. One of them told him we should give away supplies at cost just because we're allies!" He chuckles at that and lifts the mug again, murmuring round its sides, "This /really/ is very good, you know."

"Well," considers the soaked, older merchant, as he rubs the mass of hair below his chin. "At cost is a bit of a stretch, but then again, I am no ally to the Bardings like you or some of those frothing tree climbers of Mirkwood are. So if those pot-bellied pickle juice drinkers of Esgaroth think they can cheat me out of my coin, they have another thing coming"
He leans against the steps of his wagon and looks up at the other. "If you would stop being a girl and drink your ale, you can refill from the first cask in the back, and then sing me a song before we call it a day. And we will examine business prospects in the morning!"

Needless to say, a challenge like that cannot be ignored! Blue eyes flashing, Bardur takes a deep breath, tilts the mug and chugs. Silence ensues - a rather glassy-eyed silence - and then the young Skald murmurs, this time somewhat more indistinctly, "Really is /very/ good. Of course I'll song you - sing you -" There's a pause for him to regain that decorum and gravitas he'd been prating of earlier and then he amends, anunciating carefully, "sing you a song. I just need to .. you know," here he eyes the bushes near the edge of camp. "Back in a moment." Balancing the empty mug with great care on the wagon's rim, he wanders off. Perhaps he'll be back, perhaps not ...

Date added: 2013-03-06 02:41:01    Hits: 127
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