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Intruder at the feast?

Tags: Haruven,  Gloin

Short Summary: Gloin braves the Elven embassy - during a feast, no less - to speak to one of the Woodland folk. Happily the result differs from past experience ...
Date (real-life): 2013-06-02
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Elven Embassy
Date (in-game): January 3059
Time of Day: Evening
Weather: Clear
Elven Embassy: Front Hall
    The front hall of the embassy is a majestically airy affair, with double-height ceilings and a great staircase of dark mahogany that sweeps upwards directly opposite the beech panelled doors that lead to the street. Along two walls, windows arching halfway to the ceiling and opening out to the street and the house next door are draped with curtains of gold-edged green, and along the third hang fine paintings of greenwood the great. An elf stands at the bottom of the stairs, ready to answer questions as to the Ambassador's whereabouts, even whilst guarding the stairway and double doors beside it.
Layed out for the occasion is a long table stocked with fresh fruits, breads, and cheeses, as well as various other delicacies from across the area. An elf in formal garb also moves among the crowd, pushing a cart laden with various wines and other drinks, offering them to the various peoples present.
Obvious exits:
 Double Doors leads to Elven Embassy: Meeting Room.
 Upstairs leads to Elven Embassy: Second Floor.
 Beech Door leads to Bowman Street and Merchant's Way.
Erebor Time & Weather Service
** Real time is: Sun Jun 02 14:41:45 2013, GMT -8 **
Elendor time is: Nighttime (2200) on Sunday, Day 29 of January 3059.
In the Winter sky, The last quarter moon drifts across the sky like a gleaming ship.
The slight influx of Elven visitors to Laketown has merited an informal 'open house' of sorts, food and drink for those who would partake of it, and an open invitation for those who have peaceful business with the Elves to come eat, drink, and speak of it. Men and women of noble houses are here, Guild representatives, and the elves who treat with them in the matters of the Woodland Realm. Haruven is here, with wine in hand of course, nodding politely as a red-faced man drones on and on about whose responsibility it is to look after the state of the riverbanks near the lake.
It's a clear, cold night with the stars all a-prickle. Through the winter's cold trudge three Dwarves: two are in the dusty black of the Barak Zirak (one of them bearing a wooden box), whilst between them walks someone who is clearly a Person of Status. The hood of Gloin's snow-white cloak has been thrown back to reveal gems sparkling in his beard fit to rival the stars above, and silver glints at his neck. His lips are moving soundlessly as he walks: rehearsing some speech perhaps? He certainly does not look entirely comfortable with his current destination.
As the aromas of food and drink waft out one guard, the younger, perks up hopefully, though his companion is eyeing their spokesman with a faintly worried look. Gloin's craggy face remains set in a scowl that might have been chiselled in stone; no doubt that is what occasions the Elven sentry's displeasure. After a heartbeat or so he offers a stiff little half-bow and announces himself: "Gloin son of Groin I am. Here to speak with one of the Elvenking's representatives." Straight and to the point.
[Haruven(#15070)] No doubt to everyone's relief, the elves do not freak out, plunge everyone into pitch blackness, vanish, enchant anyone, or make accusations about who's attacking whom at their merrymaking. There are some raised brows and surprised murmurs among both the Men and Elves here, no doubt, but that's about as far as reactions go, on account of everyone is just that civilized. Haru excuses himself from the man so deeply concerned about riverbanks, losing his wine goblet to an attentive she-elf who spirits it away as he steps forward to deal with the unexpected dwarf. Gloin's half-bow is elegantly returned, and the diplomat regards him with courtesy, curiosity, and a smudge of wariness. "Well-met and welcome, Gloin son of Groin," he returns. "I am Haruven of the Woodland Realm, and it is my honor to offer you both the Elvenking's hospitality and his attention toward such matters as may concern you."
Gloin stares straight ahead, affecting not to notice the looks directed his way. The elder of his guards continues to watch his master with the wariness one might afford a venomous snake; the younger, in contrast, looks about him in some curiosity, no doubt noting the faces present as well as that rather fine array of food.
"It appears the Woodland Realm's hospitality has improved somewhat of late," remarks Gloin frostily, his bushy eyebrows quivering. He ploughs on, however: "And yes, there are matters that concern me. Perhaps you can spare time from your feasting for a quiet word?" He eyes the feasters uneasily.
Behind him the Dwarf with the box (the elder of his guards) clears his throat gruffly as though trying to remind Gloin he's there.
[Haruven(#15070)] "Has it?" Haruven asks with polite interest, as though Gloin just told him the weather's looking up lately. "You and your people are ever welcome to partake of it, of course." The request for a less public area is met with an eloquent gesture, a beckon to follow, and Haru exchanges brief words in Elvish with the blonde maiden who stole his wine earlier. She nods and scurries off -- whether she set the table in the meeting room or someone else did, by the time they arrive there, a smaller version of the banquet is waiting. Breads and cheeses and fruits and wine, all arranged just-so, like the food is waiting for a still life painter to happen along and commit it to artistry. When the door has closed, Haru gestures for his guests to be seated, waiting until they choose places before sitting himself.
As they are escorted to a smaller room Gloin looks relieved, the younger of his companions disappointed and the elder simply weary.
Gloin claims his seat by dint of throwing his white cloak carelessly across the back of it (was he supposed to have left it in the lobby? Perhaps noone quite dared take it off him), thus revealing the fine garments beneath and the silver chain of office around his neck. "That's better," he grunts. "Never did have time for all that socializing nonsense."
By now his fellows have entered also: catching sight of the box, Gloin gestures for its bearer to set it on the table and says stiffly, "A token of goodwill between Mountain and Greenwood." Inside, should Haruven choose to open it, he'll find a set of finely crafted silver goblets set with gemstones. Well, if these frivolous Elves will insist on throwing parties, surely it doesn't hurt to have spares?
The 'token' is perhaps spoilt a little by the elderly Dwarf's next confession: "I must warn you, Haruven of the Woodland Realm, that I do not generally have to deal with your folk. Such things are usually left to others." One hand lifts to stroke his neatly plaited beard. "But in light of recent reports ..."
Haruven does indeed inspect the contents of the box -- everyone in the room is from a culture with at least some appreciation for and desire of shiny things. The diplomat is obviously in a mood to be circumspect, but he does not seem to find the token wanting. "We are honored by your gift," Haru replies, "Fine and subtle workmanship, no less than could be expected from the most skilled craftsmen in these parts of the world." He gently closes the lid of the box again, continuing, "Your gift shall be presented to the Elvenking in such haste as can be arranged to bring it before his majesty, but I am confident in speaking for both his gratitude and his praise." Party King Thranduil can always use more cups. This business settled, Haruven arches a brow just a little at the mention that Gloin doesn't generally deal with the elves. "Indeed, this is an unexpected honor," he agrees. "Please, go on."
"Hmmph," Gloin murmurs in response to that last compliment, clearly suspicious of Haruven's motives. The elderly Dwarf continues to stroke his beard thoughtfully while speaking. "There has been," he states, choosing his words carefully, "some trouble with wolves. A number of attacks on the old logging road, and out in the wilds north and west of the Mountain. I hear our Barding neighbours have also suffered." The beard-stroking stops. "Of course, we of Durin's folk are skilled in slaying of vermin," a brief pause, "but more of their kind take their place. The beasts are laired somewhere, out beyond our borders." Suddenly the old Dwarf looks up, blue eyes glittering as he fixed Haruven with a keen gaze. "Somewhere like the marges of the Forest, perhaps? What do the Elvenking's folk know of such things?"
[Haruven(#15070)] "The wolves of Mirkwood are wicked beyond the usual ken of such creatures, and long have been," Haruven replies. "The Shadow darkens them as it has the bats, the trees, and the rest of the wild wood." It seems almost on the verge of a dismissal, wolves will be wolves, but he falls quiet again, fingers steepled and looking at the goblet-box or somewhere far beyond it.
It takes a few moments, before Haruven speaks up again. "It would be a strange journey for wolves of the wood to travel so far as your territory. Wicked beasts without question, but I think they have not crept out of the woods, and I certainly doubt that they would have left the woods in such numbers and destruction without the knowledge of the elves. I know not the source from whence your wolves have come."
 Again, it seems to be teetering on the brink of a 'not my problem' conclusion, but Haruven glances at the gift box, then back to Gloin. "The King's hunters are much occupied with the defense of our realm from near and present danger, but I will send word to Amon Thranduil and make request that some scouts may be spared to look into the source of the wolves and the welfare of our neighbors."
"The spiders?" mutters Gloin, adding his own contribution to the list of foul things that make Mirkwood their home (whether one might count the Elves among the latter is a matter that is, mercifully, not raised today. "And wolves would leave if they were driven."
His bushy brows draw down in a frown before they snap up again suddenly, his expression clearing to their usual weathered and world-weary look. "I thank you for your concern. We must all keep our neighbours' welfare in mind." And he has done - he's sitting here, enduring the company of one of those who imprison innocent dwarven travellers and keep spiders as pets! What must that have cost? "The Dwarves will continue to patrol our borders. look into it - and the Bardings, I think. Yes." He nods, the white beard brushing the table.
Haruven nods once at the mention of spiders. "Among other evil. I would not darken this company with the discussion of foulness in dark places." There is unmistakeable weariness in that tone, a sorrow diplomatic blandness can't quite hide, and Haru eyes a cheese without seeing it for a moment before he recovers his composure and gracefully stands, no doubt a signal that he's had enough of disreputable persons who are liable to so around stirring up spiders and dragons and disrupting you Thrice At Your Merrymaking. "I will send word to your embassy should news come to us of the foul creatures making themselves unwelcome in the north. I invite you to partake of our banquet outside, should you wish to stay, and if you cannot," or will not! "stay, I wish you good fortune on those endeavors which unfortunately call you elsewhere."
The younger of Gloin's two silent attendants looks hopeful at that final offer; his fellow glances across at him and gives a subtle shake of the head. 'Don't expect miracles," his look seems to imply.
Gloin shoots to his feet an instant after Haruven, his chair scraping across the floor in most ear-torturing fashion. "And I wish you a happy evening, Haruven of the Woodland Realm," he offers in turn, accompanied by another of those stiff little half-bows (is it that he cannot bend further or that pride forbids it? Who knows). "I will delay you from important matters no further." With a jerk of his head he commands the attention of his companions and the three of them stomp out.
So will they sample that Elven banquet? Gloin clearly has unfortunate memories of a certain previous occasion ... They do not linger long in the main Hall, but once they are gone those tasked with keeping plates full might notice that someone has been making significant inroads on the cheese.

Date added: 2013-06-04 03:49:51    Hits: 91
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