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(Archive) A visitor from the Mountain

Tags: Bernar,  Bardur

Short Summary: Bernar greets Bardur son of Mardur at the Docks.
Date (real-life): 2013-01-01
Scene Location: Esgaroth: Docks
Date (in-game): October 3057
Time of Day: Evening
Weather: Clear

Wonderful ships by the scores stretch out for hundreds of feet along the docks of the town on the Lake, Esgaroth. This area is at the lake level, overlooked by the promenade at the town level about twelve feet higher. Built right into the space under the town are many warehouses, with doors which face both the docks and the ships. Much traffic flows up the rampway to the west that leads into Cargo Lane and eventually pass the Market Square, and to the east are a series of offices that serve the various business integreated into the quayside. For those who can afford the price, a wide channel at the center of the docks receives barge traffic for delivery directly to the market pool. There are walkways that lead both into the channel itself, and over the opening, to eventually pass out of sight around the eastern edge of Esgaroth.

 The people about are a mix of dockhands, shipwrights, crewmen, and, most notably, Members of the Guard watching for smugglers.

 [Bernar]It is the evening of Sunday, and ships are still lining up to unload and load goods. There is no shortage of deckhands to help, though the Watch is having a difficult time monitoring it all. As ever, staying ahead of smuggling would slow down the flow of commerce, and commerce is Laketown's lifeblood, so that isn't going to happen.There is also a certain social rank those carrying heavy objects are accorded. Thus it is that Bernar Karath finds himself dodging a crew of strong-looking men carrying an exceptionally large box. What could be in that, anyway? The Lord accustomed to war looks utterly out of place in this mercantile district, and though he scans the crowd and occasionally glances at the ships, his purpose in coming is not immediately clear.

[Bardur(#29188)] One of those ships currently docked is a squat, pot-bellied barge that surely must have come down from North-Port, for the unloading of crates, boxes and even the occasional small cask is being overseen by a pair of sullen-looking Dwarves, their scowling faces as alike to one another as two peas from the same pod - though don't all Dwarf-kind look the same?

The dockhands responsible for the unloading are all good Laketown citizens by their looks, but now a third shorter figure steps from the gently rocking barge - hooded and cloaked in tawny wool and at first sight oddly hunched. No sooner has he set foot on the docks than he halts with a heartfelt sigh of relief - clearly no seasoned boat-traveller this - only to find himself in the path of two stout fellows bearing another of those heavy boxes. A rather undignified scuttle sends him in Bernar's direction.

Spotting the ship from the North-Port, Bernar begins to head in that direction. House Karath's close ties to the folk of the Mountain are well-known, so that is no surprise. He too is forced to step aside from the hurly-burly of unloading, and finds himself next to Bardur. He looks the dwarf over for a moment and smiles. "The dock is hazardous, but the city is welcoming, I promise - and I welcome you. I am Bernar, Lord of House Karath." He offers a small bow - a cautious one, as he does not know the other's station.

He glances for a moment back to the vessel, but the moment is brief. Hospitality is more important than whatever brought him here. "Remember that Karath Manor is always open to you while you are here. Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing, and what brings you to Laketown?"

[Bardur(#29188)] The Dwarf's scuttle is brought up short as the unnamed giant addresses him. He glances up to Bernar, his stony features quite inscrutable. However, when the man's speech is done he performs a creditably deep bow. "Bardur son of Mardur at your service, Bernar Lord of Karath." The deep voice is sonorous, bell-like. "I have walked in the halls of Karath once before, it was ... most interesting." The neatly plaited black beard quivers a moment. "I am here to visit my kin in the Embassy and to learn more of the songs of Men." Clearly if 'visiting his kin' has some deeper purpose, he intends to keep it quiet.

Interesting? "If you have visited the Karath abode, you have been here before, but I should be pleased to guide you to the Embassy if you would like, Bardur son of Mardur," Bernar says smoothly, despite the decidedly-neutral review of his family's abode and hospitality. "My sword is but the least of the gifts my family owes to the Mountain-folk's generosity, and we do what honor demands, though in this case, it is no burden whatsoever."

"I do regret that I know little of our music to share with you," he adds, "but I have no doubt that you shall find what you seek among our bards."

[Bardur(#29188)] "Your sword?" The studied neutrality of the previous speech is gone, replaced by a note of genuine interest. "It is of Dwarven craft? That I would be most interested to see - though my own clan-kin seldom make such artifacts, I have no less respect for their value. I need no guide," oh, proud he is, that's for sure, "but I would welcome the company of a Dwarf-friend as I walk. Perhaps I may share some of my own music in turn, if the ears of Laketown are willing?" At those final words, the Dwarf reaches round to tug at something under his cloak - the 'hunch' falls away as a leather case swings round to his side. "I have brought my viol," he announces gravely, as though conferring a great honour on Bernar.

"Then see it you shall," Bernar promises, "though in a place less crowded." He surveys the still-bustling docks, which promise to be busy even after nightfall: even if no ships come in after dark, there will still be just-arrived ships to unload. "My own ears, at least, are willing. Let us away from this place, ere we are run down again." He gestures to the ramp.

[Bardur(#29188)] Is the Dwarf disappointed or relieved that he will not be called upon to perform an impromptu concert at this moment? Probably the latter, given the amount of shoving and yelling going on all around him. At Bernar's words he bows his head, tucks the viol hastily away again and turns toward the ramp with stiff, stumpy strides.

He peers around himself with some curiosity; after a pause he enquires, puzzled, "Where do they do go with such haste? Your King's Halls are not in this place."

"Much is sold here, but much also simply passes through," answers Bernar, as they make their way up the ramp. "To the elves, to Erebor, to Dale itself, to the towns further south. Esgaroth is quite the center of commerce; fortune passes everywhere." He glances back down at his shorter companion. "Profit drives them to their warehouses, and then beyond."

[Bardur(#29188)] "Profit." Somehow despite its gravity, the deep sonorous voice manages to imbue that single word with contempt. Perhaps it's the fact that the Dwarf pauses a moment to flick dust from his clothing as he speaks. "Such are the ways of men, I see. In the Lonely Mountain, it is esteem that brings wealth to the feet of the King beneath the Mountain."

"Indeed. A nobler way," agrees the burly man. "But it is difficult for Laketown to escape its roots. The King's Men are the beacon for esteeming the King in Dale, in my estimation." He continues up the ramp onto Cargo Way. "And in the end, the taxes on commerce serve the King. In roundabout fashion, it squares."

[Bardur(#29188)] The Dwarf shakes his head. "Truly it is said that the ways of Men are beyond understanding," he mutters - then catches himself and temporizes, perhaps showing the first flash of a bard's clever tongue "That is, all is strange and wondrous to me. I will be glad to visit the Halls of Karath and correct my ignorance." A stiff bow follows. "But first I will need to settle in at the Embassy ..."

"Of course." A period of quiet walking follows, as they escape the bustle of the docks. Then as they approach the Embassy, Bernar breaks the silence. "I look forward to arranging a time to hear you play, Bardur son of Mardur. For now, I wish you good rest to recover from your travel. Convey my greetings to your kinsmen within." He bows again, and waits for the dwarf to enter the Embassy before turning and heading off.

Date added: 2014-11-28 09:25:34    Hits: 82
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