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  1. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Barracks & Stables

    Army of Minas Tirith – Barracks & Stables







    THE MINAS TIRITH ARMY BARRACKS

    Across the courtyard from the headquarters of the Gondorian Military are the Barracks - a sturdy four-storey building. It is mainly used by the soldiers of the Minas Tirith Army, although visiting Rangers and Swan Knights will also find a good meal and a temporary room here (subject to availability).
    The front door opens into an entrance hall.
    To the right is the Common Room, to the left – the Mess Hall. Two long stairways lead upstairs. Right in front is the Barracks Master's office. The Barracks Master, Lieutenant Brian is a strict man and strict soldier. His uniform is always freshly pressed, his boots shining, his brow creased in a permanent frown. It is better not to cross him. But Brian is also an efficient servant of Gondor: it is no mean thing to run Barracks housing over 800 soldiers, ensure all of them are warm in winter, cool in summer, have food to eat and a quiet place to sleep.


    Common Room

    The ground floor of the North Wing is taken by the common room, meant for the soldiers to rest in and enjoy each other's company or solitude - at times. It is spacious and has many large windows letting in the light. Several fireplaces have been built along the inner wall, and some armchairs have been placed before each. There are more armchairs, sofas and low tables around the room. Along one of the walls runs a bookcase filled with books for those who enjoy reading. It has a wide variety of literature beginning with some historical records and books on weaponry and ending with some volumes of poetry and fascinating stories. After 23:00, the common room must be kept quiet, so as not to disturb the soldiers sleeping on the upper floors.

    Mess Hall

    The mess may be entered both from the entrance hall of the Barracks, and directly from the courtyard. Long tables with the benches run down the middle of the room. The mess can seat 600 soldiers. The officers' long table is at the head of the hall, but not all officers keep to strict discipline at mealtimes, preferring sometimes to sit with their soldiers. Along the outside wall are large windows providing more natural light for the large hall. On the inside wall there is are big fireplaces. All along the outer wall, under the windows, is a long buffet carved of hardwood. The soldiers can find the available drinks and food set there by the cooks. At both its ends are pumps providing fresh water from a natural spring.

    Meal times are as follows:

    Breakfast 6:00-7:00
    Lunch (first serving) 11:45-12:45
    Lunch (Second serving) 13:15-14:15
    Dinner 18:00-19:00
    Supper 21:00-22:00

    There are also special meals for forces returning from or setting out on a mission.
    There is a smaller room outside the mess, sometimes referred to as the “little mess”. Here too there is a buffet, and a water pump. This buffet only serves fresh fruit, nuts, bread, honey and similar snacks. However, it remains open all day long.

    Kitchens

    Every soldier in the barracks knows the kitchens: all soldiers are required to do shifts there, helping with the washing and the cleaning, the unloading of merchandise brought early in the morning, and the bringing of items from the cellar, though never with the cooking. The kitchens take half the ground floor of the South Wing. Pies are baked in many ovens, stew boils in huge cauldrons, pots and pans stand on the stoves. The bakery provides fresh bread and pastries, in the salad area fresh fruit and vegetables are cut, providing the soldiers with much-needed vitamins. Four big fireplaces are equipped for spit-roasting, but those are only used on special occasions. In the cooler cellars bellow, there are stores of cheeses, sausages, smoked meats and fish, apples, potatoes, as well as barrels of ale, mead, cider and wine. There's also a cellar filled with pre-packed field rations, ready in case a big force of the military needs to march with no time for preparation. It's said that even the rats avoid this cellar.

    Chief of the kitchen staff is Sergeant Pete. He is a burly man with a mop of grey hair and merry grey eyes, who has been in the service to the army for many years. He runs a tight kitchen and is very proud of the standard of the food he serves. Despite clear orders to the contrary, Sergeant Pete may sometimes allow soldiers into his kingdom to prepare their own food, if they stay out of his way and clean up any mess they make. However, he likes to remind them that this time is an exception and he would kick them out the next time.

    Living Quarters

    Two stairways lead off from the entrance hall of the barracks: one to the South Wing, and one to the North. In the South Wing live the women of the Army of Minas Tirith, in the North – the men. Crossing between the wings is strictly prohibited. The construction of both wings is similar: four floors. On each floor, a long hallway dotted with numerous doors lead away from the stairway. This is where the soldiers have their rooms and may find some necessary rest in between their duties. Each room has four beds, all made ready to take a weary soldier into their embrace. There are heavy oaken chests at the foot of each bed for the storage of the personal belongings. Two wardrobes stand on each side of the door, supplying an ample room to store garments and even armour. Also there is a desk by the window and a couple of simple chairs. But surely each occupant of the room adds his or her own personal touch to the room by how they arrange the things they bring along.
    The officers live in the central wing, in private rooms a bit more spacious than those of the soldiers.

    (Room numbers and assignments will be re-assigned during/after the Roll Call process!)

    Officers Quarters
    Room # 1 Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Room # 2 Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Room # 5 Lieutenant Brian, Barracks Master (NPC)
    Room # 6 Sergeant Pete, Barracks Chef (NPC)


    North Wing
    Room # 102 Soldier Mourgan Alarion
    Room # 104
    Room # 106 Recruit Gilhend
    Recruit Elugail
    Recruit Nardunālo
    Recruit Abrazimir
    Room # 108



    South Wing
    Room # 101
    Room # 103
    Room # 105
    Room # 107


    Married Housing

    Not, strictly speaking, within the Barracks, but falling nonetheless under the Barracks Master's jurisdiction, are the Min Thalyn Cirbann, the married housing. A quiet neighbourhood in the sixth circle, houses with well-cared gardens, clean streets, five minutes at most from the Barracks and the Headquarters. Here many married soldiers live with their spouses and children. The rent is relatively small. The location could hardly be better. The neighbours are friendly, there's a strong sense of community. The houses themselves are rather small, and though they are well-kept, their architecture is dated. For a considerable number of soldiers, however, the advantages of living in Min Thalyn Cirbann outweigh the disadvantages.
    Married soldiers of rank Man of Arms or higher, and married rangers or rank Initiate or higher may apply for housing in Min Thalyn Cirbann. Lieutenant Brian reviews all applications. Priority is given by rank.

    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    House # Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr & Master at Arms Kaylin




    THE MINAS TIRITH ARMY STABLES

    The smell of hay, oats and dark cedar meets anyone entering the stables of the Minas Tirith Army. Even though there is a long line of stalls meant for the four-legged companions of the humans, not too many of those are occupied. The swift steeds of the Lord Denethor's errand riders were kept there, along with a number of ready-kept horses should the Army require them, as well as the horses of the high guests visiting the Steward. There was also enough room to accommodate for the horses any individual soldier had brought along with them to the City, though few had any, since the horses were not of much use in the cobbled streets of Minas Tirith.

    Adjacent to the stables was a barn with the stacks of hay and stubble, and the sacks of grain for the horses. There were also tools for any necessary stable work to be performed: wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes, and an assortment of smaller tools for the purposes of grooming the animals. There was a neat stack of the blankets - for the horses, not for lazy stable-hands - and a great many saddles and other equipment needed to prepare the mounts for riding.
    Soldiers and employees come here to tend to their own horses, to perform stable duties, or simply to come pay a visit to these noble animals.


    Guidelines

    Stay In Character
    If you must have an OOC comment, white it out

    Only members of the Gondorian Military and employees who work there are allowed inside of the Barracks and Stables

    Always indicate your name, military rank and location (from the list above) at the top of your post

    Lieutenant Brian (NPC) can be played by any officer of the Minas Tirith Army. His color in this thread is the Army Color
    Requests involving rooms may be made IC to Lieutenant Brian, or by PM to Arnyn

    All other RPG rules apply here

    Follow your own renown score in the Gondorian Military Roster & Renown thread in the main Shadowed Lands forum.


    *** Previous Barracks thread ***
    (All storylines from the previous thread may continue in this thread.)

    *** Previous Stables thread ***


    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 18/Jul/2017 at 05:58 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  2. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #2
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    It was still rather early, however the first rays of sun were already making the white walls of the city blush, when Pele returned from the early morning ride just so that Misty would not stand around in the stables for days on end. Having dismounted by the gate of the sixth circle to chat with the guards there, she now led her horse into the stables and into a free stall.

    Humming a merry tune Pele went about unsaddling Misty and then going through the grooming process. No one was here yet, and aware of the fact, she soon switched her humming into singing. It made the necessary work seem easier, and improved the mood, or so she thought. Eventually though Misty's grey coat was clean and shiny, her hooves picked, so the Sergeant stopped her singing session to speak softly to the horse for a few moments.

    Now only a couple of trips to the barn remained in order to fetch some grain and water for the mare, and also some hay. While the first part of the process went smoothly, the other one was not so. Having gathered a wheelbarrow of hay, Pele wheeled it off to Misty's stall and then set about unloading it. She gathered an armful and spread it on the floor of the stall. But as she reached for the second armload a sudden sharp pain shot through the palm of her left hand. A gash ran across it and was bleeding rather badly.

    "What the heck!" she exclaimed and then pressed a handkerchief over the cut in an attempt to stop the bleeding. However, she wanted to know the reason she cut her hand in the first place. Thus she made a fist to keep the handkerchief in place as best she could and then carefully moved the hay in the wheelbarrow until her eyes fell on a dagger.

    Lifting it up she inspected it carefully, and her eyes narrowed. "If I find out whose this is..." she growled, as vengeful thoughts appeared in her mind. She would make that soldier clean all the chamber pots in the Houses of Healing! She would make them clean the stables with a tooth brush! Peel millions of potatoes in Pete's kitchens!
    My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?
    ~~~

    Dryhtguma of the Eastmark


  3. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Stables


    She was in a weird kind of mood. Preparing herself, thinking about the past year and what lay ahead now. Thinking baout the past months and all the things which had happened, with Hazel, Warren, everything - and she wondered when all of that would draw to its inevitable conclusion. It made her veritably thoughtful. Not a state she particularly fancied being in, since she despised speculation because of its uselessness.

    It had caused her to roam about in the City's Sixth Circle. It was the Circle that felt the most like home, which only made sense, given that the Army had most of its buildings there. The wound in her leg was starting to heal up, though that would still take its time, and it was annoying that she frequently forgot it was there.

    As her random walk led her into the stables, she greeted one of the horses with a little smile. "Heya, Chestnut," she spoke softly. She knew this horse, though he wasn't hers, and she wouldn't mind spending some time here, with the animal. A shriek suddenly pulled her from her thoughts.
    "What the heck!"

    Not knowing what it was about, she grinned as she immediately placed the voice. "Looks like the Sergeant is in," she told Chestnut conspiratorially, before giving him a last pat and heading for the direction of the noise. Not suspecting anything, she whistled as she approached Pele. "Sup, Sarge?" Kaylin asked merrily, though her jaw dropped a bit at the sight of Pele staring angrily at a wheelbarrow filled with hay, some blood running down her wrist and hand.
    "Ummm..." She wasn't sure what to say or ask.

    Then again... she had basically already asked what was going on.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  4. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    It was rather surprising that Pele could keep her cool in the midst of ferocious battle and yet be totally taken aback by such a small thing as this; but then again here she was all by herself and many lives were not depending on her decisions. Besides, something like this had not happened before: who on earth would leave their dagger somewhere in the hay stack?

    The approach of Kaylin did little to calm her anger, and she snatched up the dagger to show her friend. "This! In the hay, no less," she growled angrily. "Is this yours?" she demanded. Now, she imagined that the person who left it would soon discover the loss and come looking for their dagger. At the same time, she had to know better and realise that Kaylin would not leave her weapons somewhere unattended, and most likely would not forget them anywhere either, not at this point in her career.

    "A person just can't grab the hay without cutting the hand these days!" Pele continued her tirade. "What a place to leave a dagger, of all places!" She threw the dagger in the door of the opposing stall with a thud; anyone wanting to get it out would have to put some effort in it. Then she fumbled with her good hand in her bag in search of a bandage - she kept at least two with her at all times. "Mind helping me, Kaylin? Can't do this properly with one hand," she said grouchily.
    My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?
    ~~~

    Dryhtguma of the Eastmark


  5. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Stables


    She did not have to wait long for Pele to explain what had happened. Really, the angry look on the Sergeant's face, along with the bleeding hand and the dagger held up with no small amount of hesitation, told Kaylin all she needed to know.

    "Of course it is not mine," she told Pele, wondering for a moment whether the woman thought her an idiot, or a clutz. Kaylin might be many things, but she was neither of those.
    She watched somewhat ruefully as the woman threw the dagger into one of the stable doors.

    Pele started fumbling around in her bag then, one-handedly, And Kaylin wasn't sure whether Pele would accept her help or not. Yet, the next moment, her friend asked for it herself. Despite the displeasure on Pele's face, and despite the grouchy tone to her voice, Kaylin just nodded. With only the smallest hint of a smile.

    "Of course." She took the bag and found one of the bandages. "You were looking for this, I assume? Alright. Just tell me what I do best." She was already trying to locate something to wash the blood away with as she spoke.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  6. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables


    "There should be a flask of water somewhere in the bag, that would do for the time being," Pele said, noticing that Kaylin was looking around. "It's just a superficial cut, and the main thing is to get the bleeding to stop," she said and then added, still somewhat angrily, "Doesn't make it any less painful, though."

    Now that she had had the possibility to vent a little, the anger was slowly fading, yet she still had a fair amount left so that she felt vengeful. Giving Kaylin a sidelong glance, she considered the options, and if it was even worth pursuing 'justice' in this case.

    "And then just fold the bandage at one end a few times, so that it is thicker above the cut, and then secure it. Should be fine," she first made sure that her friend would know for sure what to do, and then cleared her voice before continuing. "You know... I really feel like this is not something I should easily forgive. I'm sure the soldier who lost their dagger would come looking for it soon. Maybe it's worth setting up an ambush of sorts, what do you say?"

    It was a clear invitation to mischief, but Pele was sure that no officers would have done this, and any silly soldier who went dropping their weapons like that would have to learn their lesson, lest they make a deadly mistake on the field. That, and she did want to pay back for the trouble; and she wasn't sure what motivated her more.

  7. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Stables

    "Ahh, alright," Kaylin said, "That's convenient." Locating the bottle, she pulled it out and used some of the water to wash her own hands first. Using the water to get the blood off of Pele's hand next, she then poured some over the cut. Kaylin cut a small part of the bandage off to soak it through with the water and dab at the wound with it, making sure it was as clean as Kaylin knew how to get it. She used another part of the bandage, which she would only be using to wrap around Pele's hand anyway as a ways of securing it, she then used that to dab around the area, making sure the area around the cut was dry. Taking Pele's instructions to heart, she then folded the bandage at one end over a few times and then tightly secured it (though not too tightly) around the Sergeant's hand. "There," Kaylin stated, somewhat pleased with her work now that she was done.

    At Pele's last words, Kaylin froze up slightly, and her eyes slowly moved from Pele's now bandaged hand to the woman's eyes. Had she heard this correctly? Had Pele just... suggested... mischief... herself...? The redhead didn't blink as her eyes stared at Pele. Well. Well! This was new! Pele really had to be annoyed at whoever had left the weapon in the hay - understandable so, but still! Kaylin's surprise, and yes, even slight shock, then slowly evolved into an overwhelming sense of enthusiasm. Her mind started racing. Did Pele realize that she had just created an opening for something that could go terribly wrong? An ambush could ambush anyone! It was indiscriminate! If Lord Denethor himself came into the stables, then HE would be the one to get it! The redhead's eyes started sparkling. Ohhh. Ooooohhhhhh. This could be the crowning jewel on her prank history.

    Almost bouncing up and down, Kaylin grinned broadly at the Sergeant. "I am so in. Did you have anything in mind?"
    Unable to keep the questions and the ideas from coming, the Master at Arms tapped a finger at her chin as she looked around the Stables. "So, you would venture to do it here. Since the person would return looking for their dagger." Anyone could walk in, though. The thoughtful look largely dissapated in exchange for a grin at the notion. "How bad do you want it to be, Pele? An ambush could range from something as simple as a cold water bucket, to something as nasty as a nice bucket of horse..." She cleared her throat. "Droppings."
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  8. Ercassie's Avatar
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    Lady Isys Azrubźl and Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    Seeking temporary lodgings - Approaching the Stables


    Some very few hours ago, her garb had been the toast of splendour and, even now the colour was not muted by the wilting of hours it had spent beneath the golden sun. The fit remained sublime, as each leaf of so extravagant fabric had been tailor-made to match her perfect measurement. Her dark hair however had long since then tumbled loose from the foundations of the once exquisite coiffure. But if the soft, unspoiled, cerulean blue of her garb had not given her away, the gold embossed trim did just that; turning heads as she orbited the circles of the grand city. Her unmarred poise was matched by the glory of a dignified silver bangle, dressed in prideful diamonds, which circled one wrist in lazy radiance.

    "One of those from Dol Amroth,", folk said, knowingly. And they were not wrong.

    Lady Isys walked afore a horse of enviable breeding, which was evident as much in it's equally prestigious attire, as in the near dressage it performed across the courtyard. She was either unaware or unconcerned of the folk who had leant together in whisper to see them pass. She had taken her time and several wrong turns, quite on purpose, for there was simply too much in the fair city to absorb all at once, that she feared to miss a single thread of interest. Argent grey eyes surveyed the scene about her and missed he who she knew without checking would be not too far behind her.

    "I am fair certain we have taken with a wrong turn, my lady," Warder dropped a finger on the open page and screwed up his brow as he slowly haunted his employer's more jaunty progression. "The Undertaker was very sure in his directions. If we seek the livery, we are on the wrong circle entirely. I have not seen any of the landmarks that he .."

    Isys arrested her step completely, twirled in place that she might double back on herself and duely placate her escort. Without a word, she closed the book that he was openly perusing, liberated it completely from his hands, and idly tossed it away. Grasping Warder's stunned expression between her fair hands, she drew him close and kissed his brow, then made back merrily to where her horse awaited.

    "We are lost and we are going to be most terribly late," he called after her, compelling the noblewoman to at least consider their situation..

    "We are not expected," Isys corrected him, calmly. "Therefore we can not be late. Look ! There is a stable !"

    "Anyone would think she knew exactly what she is doing .." Warder shrugged, stooped to retrieve the book before anybody accused them of littering, and then hastened to catch up his Lady. Released from his meticulous study of the scenery, he took time to actually look about him and marvelled to realise that they were come nigh back to where they had begun. The Military Headquarters ...

    "What better place for military horses ?" Isys trilled, demonstrating all the lack of inhibitions which her escort craved. Hastily, he did his best to stow the banners of the silver swan and ship, lest they give off all the wrong impressions. Of course, everything else about the pair, and their horses included, was not terribly subtle. "We shall stay here," the lady decided. "I like it."

    What in fact the Headquarters might think of them, for even the short time they would be in the city, Warder did not guess, not aloud. "Let's find somebody to ask," he suggested, calmly. It was a better option than the lady's first choice of sleeping curled beneath the White Tree of the Seventh Circle, ... and that had taken some persuasion. But they would require a right place to put their, and their horses', heads down before invading the Training Grounds, come dawn.

    Isys was already pushing open the door to the stables.



    *Permission to post here obtained before the fact.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:02 AM. Reason: corrected broken image link

  9. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #9
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    She glanced at the bandage rather carelessly; it was a small cut only, and she didn't feel like picking apart Kaylin's work to find small faults in application of it. The job was done well enough, she deemed, and this was no healer training.

    Neither was this training grounds where Pele considered herself to have enough freedom to do near unimaginable things to people who ventured there to train and ended up in her hands. Well, she did not really do anything that could be called unimaginable, but still... Doing something like that here in the stables was a different matter. She tilted her head, as she looked at Kaylin.

    "A bucket? That is no big amount of... stuff to walk into," she said, her voice dropping almost to whisper. "A hill of droppings right at the door, maybe. Let them walk straight into it if they are not careful. However... I'd rather not be caught in plain view of the person entering."

    She handed Kaylin the hay-fork she had used not long ago, and then went in search of a tool for herself. There was a shovel in the nearby stall, so she armed herself with it, and immediately set about cleaning out the stall, gathering the droppings in a bucket, and then emptying it right before the door.
    My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?
    ~~~

    Dryhtguma of the Eastmark


  10. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Stables

    "A hill?" Kaylin's voice dropped as well, automatically almost after Pele's did. A hill? A hill?! She wanted to whisper her friend's rank in confusion and awe, but kept herself from doing so. Kaylin would find it a great shame if she were to be responsible for Pele sobering up before she actually got the chance to partake in such shenanigans as the Sergeant was suggesting.

    Upon being handed the hay-fork, Kaylin watched Pele for a moment longer, until the Sergeant actually began shoveling droppings into a bucket. Springing into action herself, the redhead joined in, matching her friend's pace. It weirdly went much faster than it usually did, cleaning out the stables... Maybe it was the goal they had in mind, helping them along. For if anyone were to walk in on them doing this, there would be trouble indeed. They were in the last stables, the furthest ones removed from the door (and so the pile had actually turned into a bit of a hill), when someone opened the door to the stables. Kaylin was just on her way out of one of the boxes when she saw a sliver of blue air above their little hill. She instantly withdrew into the box again, heavily signalling Pele.

    Part of her wondered whether it would be the same person who'd left the dagger behind.
    But mostly, she was just wondering what in Middle-Earth would happen next. If the person entering wasn't watching where they were going, they'd definitely get... dirty. And even if they were paying attention, and didn't walk into it... They would still have to get past the... blockade... somehow.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  11. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #11
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    Pele had to admit that somehow she found herself super excited to do a duty usually shirked by everyone; though technically this was not really much of a cleaning - they only removed the dung to a spot near the door. However, almost all the rest of the stables would be clean. She chuckled to herself. Perhaps pranks like these would motivate people to work here in the stables, but then again the same pranks over and over again would lose their attractiveness and become boring. Besides, people entering in would already know what to expect.

    And speaking of people entering... the Sergeant was about to carry yet another bucket off towards the door, when she caught sight of Kaylin and her excited display of signs. Swiftly Pele got back into the stall, waiting quietly to hear what would happen. She hoped it was that someone who had left the dagger behind, but then again it was a very slim chance indeed, now that she actually thought of it.

    Her mind began working on possible scenarios to get herself out of trouble, should it be someone of higher rank, or someone who would go off to complain of the prank. She surely hoped she would not face demotion for something like this, if it was found out that she actually did this. It was just a pile of droppings, after all... And nothing too horrible would happen to the person even if they ended up on their face in that heap. Or at least she thought so.

  12. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #12


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl and Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    Seeking temporary lodgings - Entering the Stables


    Convention dictated that a lady should glance never at her feet, but glide or gambol (depending on whether dancing was called for) from where she was to where she would be. Being that the Lady Isys was of the fair gender, and yet also a knight, it was clear she did not pander to all long-established traditions. Some constraints of refined education though, were difficult to revoke. And a childhood spent in conquering grand staircases, with a book balanced precariously over her high brow, meant that her stately posture was beyond reproach; excepting of course in circumstances such as this. The sort of occasion for which her governess and lady's maid would never have imagined rise to face their noble charge.

    So it was that the golden sun forsook her to the dim lit stables, where ebony eyelashes trembled like raven's wings, adjusting to the sudden shadow. The heat of the day yet beat down relentless upon the roof and slowly baked a musty smell inherant with most stables she had ever frequented. It stampeded her senses, and she gazed up about the rafters, striving for fresher air, and entranced easily as dust spun like a sky of diamonds in the thin shafts of light that had broke in. She smiled to observe them. She clicked her tongue to bade her fine horse follow. And she met the cloying mound of muck with her best foot thrust forward, .. all too soon embedded in thick, pungent, dung.

    With a tiny shriek of surprise, Isys found that balance fails (despite all practice to the contrary) in light of soupy, viscous terrain. Her feet stuck fast, her body folded over to right gravity, and both her white hands plunged into the rank dune. The sudden descent took her face first into the crest of the foul little hill.

    Warder worked his way around the checked horse, and arrested, the very mirror of the startled beast. A moment passed in some amazement before instinct kicked in, and he grasped the first hand which ever extracted itself from the slick trap, towing his employer to sit back upon her knees. The Lady wore a mask of 'mud' that smothered any expression, but opened and closed her mouth a time, either to express the shock, or else seek out more wholesome air. Planting one hand against the floor, she manouvred herself slowly upright, staggering some small amount against her aide, and losing one elegant, knee-high grey boot to the dungheap. The young man swiftly tore his cloak from clasp and proferred it to clean the lady's face. But Isys seemed not to notice. She grasped his hands and stained them by the slick new 'gloves' of grime that coated her arms to the elbow.

    "The Lord-Commander is a wily trainer,"she whispered, from one side of her mouth. "He tests us from the outset !" Isys waved off Warder's efforts to remove her mud-mask, with the water he had hastily located in a wooden trough. She cupped her fellow's jaw in dirtied, fetid grasp and would have him believe her. Glancing one finger recklessly before her lips, the lady signalled silence then, and scrutinised their scene.

    Warder wordlessly turned to pluck the abandoned footwear from the dung heap. Holding it askance, the lady liberated it from his grasp, and brandished it in one hand, as she motioned toward their approaching the stalls, with her other hand.

    One foot booted, one now not, Isys walked a sodden trail of squalid prints across the floor. Her esquire was not sure why she was bothering to come all stealthy, in her hunt for their presumed judge. It seemed clear to anyone with nostrils that anyone would sense her approach.

    Turning to calm the two horses, where they patiently (and wisely) elected to stay outside, the aide of Lond Col reasoned that the mounts would indicate any arrivals from outside, by due reaction. Thus he might afford all his attention to cover the entrance/exit, his smoky eyes high, lest some crazed assailant swing down from the hay loft, as his mistress deftly kicked open the first stall, wielding her boot in both hands.

    "Behold !" she declared, slender tendrils of her dark hair straggling about her face, both caked in ... dirt, as she worked her way along the line of hiding places. "Ahah !" she told the second. And "We have you now !" she triumphed over the third. Sooner or later she would locate the perpetrator, no doubt a now rather frightened stableboy ! Or else to just conclude that here in Minas Tirith, they hold to a different logic in mucking out their stables.


    [COLOR]
    <Arnyn edit: Hi-la-ri-ous...>[/B][/FONT][/COLOR]
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:04 AM. Reason: fixing broken image links

  13. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #13
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    For a while Pele listened intently, trying to guess what was going on at the door, but then she decided there was no time to waste. She would make use of what resources were available to her to play innocence. The horse in the stall she had hidden in would just have to go along with her intentions. Perhaps the saddle hung on the partition could indicate that she had been out for a ride... And then she proceeded to splash the water on the horse and around it on the floor, and snatched up the brush, pretending to be busy in grooming the horse, when she heard the calls (and the odour) coming closer.

    Thus when Lady Isys looking into her stall, Pele stopped brushing the horse and stared at the sight before her in disbelief. It was a rather true emotion, since she found that the person suffering the consequences of their ambush was not the one deserving it; besides, the sight was just... beyond imagination. The next moment the Sergeant felt the fit of uncontrollable laughter approaching, so she hastily decided to do something to turn her attention elsewhere and prevent it.

    "Oh no, my lady!" She exclaimed, recognising beyond the mask of nature something resembling a Knight. "Did he dare attack you?..." She paused, and then yelled out the name that came into her mind first in relation to absolute nonsense: "CAAAAAAAADIIIIL!"

    "I truly apologise," she then told Isys. "I had a young lad cleaning the stables while I took care of my horse. The lad is a complete rascal... He had forgotten his dagger in the hay, and I accidentally cut my hand on it, so I gave him a piece of my mind and work to do. I bet this..." here Pele motioned her bandaged hand at the soiled appearance of the woman. "I bet this was probably meant for me rather than you. This is so not going to go well for him," her voice changed to a low threatening growl. "Better find him before he finds a way to escape! I reckon you did not encounter him yet?"

  14. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #14

    Master at Arms
    Stables

    Hiding in a stable stall turned out to be WAY more fun than Kaylin had ever imagined. She had to force herself not to peek - but she ended up losing that battle. Duh.

    The top of her head popped up over one of the stall's walls, and a set of blue-grey eyes cautiously watched the entrance. The pile of dung did block things somewhat, though, so she only caught a minimal view of what was going on, really...
    And yet... be that as it may... The minimal view was quite enough...

    What little she had seen would have already been enough to break down laughing, but it were the sounds which really made it difficult for Kaylin not to betray her position by bursting out with all-out laughter. Kaylin covered her mouth with both hands to stifle any careless huffs and puffs which might escape her (against her will, of course) - and it kept her safe for the moment, but she didn't trust herself at all at this point. Naturally, the actual dung pile and running in to it (by the Valar, it was SO difficult not to burst out in tears laughing) did manage to distract their victims somewhat...

    When the lady who had run into the little pile which Pele and Kaylin had fashioned, appeared from behind the heap and revealed her... caked... self... , with one - also caked - boot in her hands as if it were a weapon, Kaylin turned around, putting her back against the wall and slowly sliding down to the floor, squeezing her eyes closed and really clamping her hands tightly against her mouth and nose. Must not laugh, must not laugh, she kept telling herself, over and over, until she calmed down somewhat and was confident she could remove her hands from her face without giving herself away by succumbing to a fit of, well, the giggles.

    It was only when she heard Pele's voice that the Master at Arms realized that the poor woman they had pranked had gotten to Pele's stall. And Pele's was opposite to the one Kaylin was in, so the redhead used everything she had to get up from the stable floor, and dust herself off somewhat. She knew she had little in the ways of an alibi - the stall she was in was empty, to boot, but she'd just have to go off the cuff. Pretending to be drawn out of the stall by the commotion, Kaylin used a questioning tone. "Pele, what are you yelling about?" Kaylin asked, as if somewhat dismayed at the Sergeant's sudden exclamations.
    Yet when Isys turned slightly at the redhead's words, the latter caught her second view of their... enterprise..., and while she did manage (to her credit, really) a flabbergasted expression for the full duration of just about three seconds, something irrevocably tugged at Kaylin's lips, and soon she was grinning from ear to ear and laughing out loud. "I'm sorry!" she was able to exclaim in between fits of laughter, "But just look at you! What in the world happened there?!"

    Too... Freaking... Funny...
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  15. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #15


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl and Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    The Stables

    Isys circled the woman, orbiting her like a moon as one slender hand pulled at a loosened coil of ebony/splattered hair. The mess further slicked her caked skin but her almost vacant grey eyes gazed past, rather than into the eyes of Pele So much so she startled like a rabbit when the sergeant suddenly bellowed. But the lady's step back saw her high brow wrinkle more so in bewilderment than fear. The name, or war cry, of 'Cadil' did not register any meaning to the lady and when she glanced back toward Warder, all he could offer was a shrug in support. When he stepped forth, to flank his employer, she surrendered her boot, wordlessly. Pele meantime was embellishing her alibi.

    "We saw noone departing the stables as we approached," the Squire observed quietly, as he handed his wet cloth to Isys. She did not clasp it, and he dropped instinctively to see it was retrieved from the floor thus, nonetheless. "I expect he stayed close by," Warder ventured an opinion and raised one eyebrow, inquisitive. "To witness his game play out."

    Isys broke into a waterfall of her own laughter then, joining with Kaylin who had chosen to embark from her own stall upon the scene. The knight fell silent suddenly and tilted her head, belatedly investigating the newcomer. "You are not a vengeful stable boy," she deduced of the striking red-haired woman. She span then, to compare the other. "Pele," the lady tested aloud the name that had been given. "Your hand was not cut by accident," she decided. "Children do not misplace weapons that they have no business to own in the first. It was placed in the straw with a purpose. Have you considered your life may be in danger ?"

    "The manner of intended 'retribution' seems far from life-threatening, my lady," Warder made a loyal effort to draw Isys out of what seemed a new paranoid episode. It was normal for her to behave less than normal. But this trip, there was something she was not saying, he knew her well enough to observe that. All the questions she had thrown at him with apparent random ambition the last twenty four hours had provided no answers to his own growing curiosity. When she did not stir, he added, "Still, might be we should find some place else to rest your horses ?" Holding out a hand, he gave her opening to exit.

    "Yes," she idled, dreamily, poking at the hard ground with one pointed toe. "Let's do walk back through the city in this state .." she glanced back, with a half smile, a challenge. And then turned to Kaylin "He is my Warder, my stalwart. He is very protective. Almost as protective of me as of the horses. I wonder," she toyed pensively, tumbling from one train of thought to the next seamlessly, "who can we send him off to speak with, in order to make arrangements for our spending the night ?"

    Her intention to persevere with mischief in his absense was not subtle in the least. Recognising this, the squire sighed, and handed her the cloth, closing her fingers around it this time until she took it. "Behind this .. 'cunning desguise' my Lady is Isys, of House Azrubźl," he introduced to Pele and Kaylin, a little stiffly. He eyed the two female soldiers warily, not utterly sure that their demeanour would keep his lady's own brand of crazy in it's cage. Isys made a tremble the line of her bare toes, and then realised her other foot was booted. Warder placed the boot he had been scrubbing at meanwhile beside her, as though bidden to do so. "Should I make report of this wily and dangerous 'Cadil' that we are counting responsible ?" he asked, pausing in the motion of half-reluctant departure.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:04 AM. Reason: icon correction

  16. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #16
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    The whole situation amused Pele to no end, but she only allowed a soft chuckle to escape her instead of fully joining in with the laugh Kaylin (having reappeared from her hiding) and Lady Isys had. The sergeant had decided that if there was any way of pretending that she surely did not have a hand in this mess, she better act her part well, so she soon replaced the somewhat amused look on her face with a dismayed frown at the news that no one was seen escaping the stables.

    However, the suggestion that the weapon might have been left in the straw for a purpose made Pele thoughtful. That she had not considered at all. First of all, the idea that someone might stage a purposeful attack right in the premises of the army campus itself just did not occur to her. Why, that might not be an easy way to get to someone with all the soldiers around. Besides, what could a blade left in the straw do? The worst thing was a slight cut like the one she had received. Unless it was laced with poison, of course. For a moment Pele did not have to pretend that she was frowning, as she pondered this. But then again, if it was so, she would have felt it almost immediately. Thus, while she did not know whose the weapon was, she did not assume it was meant to harm someone this way. Besides, she had not had any recent arguments with people who might want to get a revenge on her...

    Eventually she simply waved her hand dismissively, and when the Warder suggested finding a different place for the horses, she objected to it: "Oh no, sir. The horses would be safe here and well taken care of. What had transpired is just a very messy, though not very harmful prank, I suppose. Nothing that can't be cured by a few shifts of kitchen duties or some additional physical training." Not that she really believed it herself... Of course, it did help to tone down the extent and frequency of pranks, but supposedly it would be impossible to make sure no pranks happened at all. Not if she ended up being the one to actually engage in the said pranks.

    "It is good to have someone protect you so, Lady Isys," Pele said, a sincere smile appearing in her blue eyes. "And I don't think you should entertain the city folk by walking around like this. I'm sure the barracks master will not deny you the comfort of the barracks rooms, baths, and a hot meal or two in the mess hall; unless you do fancy something more exquisite, like one of the upper class guest houses. Though I doubt they would gladly let you in at this point, even if they knew who you were."

    She paused for a while, her glance travelling from one guest to another, and occasionally resting on Kaylin. "I think it would be worthwhile to talk to Lt. Brian, our barracks master regarding the rooms and such," she added. "However, I would like to deal with Cadil myself. Wouldn't want to lose the opportunity to have him chastised properly for the mischief... If you know what I mean."

  17. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #17

    Master at Arms
    Stables

    "Indeed, I am most certainly no boy, nor am I of the stable," Kaylin smirked at the lady knight. She raised her brows when the woman explained that the man was her protector. Wait, what? Kaylin had done a mental double take. What did she need protecting for? Or warding? The woman looked rather capable of protecting herself, no? Underneath all of that... erm.. dung.. and then the fine silks and such... there looked to be a young and fit woman... Then again, there was a lot of dung, so...

    The man revealed that the female knight was Lady Isys of house Azrubźl. "Well, that's a mouthful!" Kaylin commented cheerily. "And what, sir, might your name be?" she asked the man in an equally chipper tone. "I'm not about to call you sir protector, or sir warder, if you don't mind all too terribly."

    Even as the words had left her mouth, she realized they might be inappropriate. So Kaylin merely scraped her throat as if she had said nothing wrong, and offered everyone in the stables one of her most genuine smiles. Meanwhile, she listened to Pele's words, once in a while adding a reassuring nod of her own. "Pranks are rather ubiquitous in the Barracks, and I suppose they have now extended themselves to the Stables," she explained to the Dol Amrothians. Then the Master at Arms blinked at Pele (after wincing slightly at hearing the words 'Lieutenant Brian' - they did not get along all that well, for obvious reasons). "Upper class guest houses?" she mumbled. "We have upper class guest houses?"

  18. Gilhend of Anorien - Recruit
    Seeking Room Assignment

    He had traveled far, from Anorien, to join the army of Gondor. He had sworn in and received his new clothing, dark grey clothes that all new recruits wore, but still had to be assigned a room and proceed to the training grounds. His nervousness had been coming and going in short waves, causing him to feel uneasy and less sure of his decision. He could not go back on his decision, nor did he wish to, but the feeling would not leave him. Surely others feel this as well, he thought. Other recruits must question if this is the right idea. To leave their homes and their families only to fight and die. The cause is noble, yes, but how can someone fully convince themselves and know that this is what is right for them? I believe that it is right for me and that I am doing something good for my people, but how can I know? When will I know? He shook his head as he left the armoury and made his way to the barracks. He was told that he needed to find a Lieutenant Brian, who would show him where he would be sleeping and then send him on to the training grounds. But of course he wasn't told where to find him, only that he would be in the barracks somewhere.

    He opened the heavy door to the barracks and entered the front room, where various soldiers and recruits were moving around, creating a veritable confusing mess for a new recruit looking for the Lieutenant. He saw someone that looked like an officer walking past and said to them, "Excuse me, sir. I am Recruit Gilhend. I am looking for Lieutenant Brian. Do you think you could point him out to me?​"

  19. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #19


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl and Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    The Stables

    The notion of these two women proving to be some wild trouble seemed to diminish with time, or else with practised feints of innocense. Warder thus departed not, and was coaxed to lower guard. "It does appear that the horses themselves are immune from mischief," he allowed, at Pele's insistence.

    "Might be he was purposely hiding the dagger within the straw," Isys was bent low, and inspecting the suspected 'crime scene'. "But why for .. ?" the lady puzzled, as much to herself as any other.

    "The only one my lady requires protecting from, is herself," Warder assured both of their company, even if he added, in a half-audible mutter, "Demonstrably." Rolling eyes he took up the discarded boot again, and tugged his lady's focus to it, placed in both hands, "But please," he mentioned in response to Kaylin, "I am not a sort of sir at all. Folk have called me Warder since .. the longest time."

    "Your family do not," sang out the noblewoman, helpfully.

    "But these ladies are not my family, my lady," he grimaced politely through forced teeth.

    "Am I not as good as family ?" she sprang upon him, abruptly.

    "Lady Pele, is it ?" the Squire sought confirmation, turning from the need to answer. "And, with respect, how should we speak of you ?" he meant thus to ask second lady her name.

    "She is Kaylin" the lady knight supposed, matter-of-fact, "And no stable boy for certain," Isys smiled at the redhead, with a small nod of acknowedgement. "The Captain-General said as much during rollcall," Isys halted her friend's sheer bewilderment of how she might be so informed. "We are expected for some physical training already," she trailed onward, "but if our accepting kitchen duties is the only means available that shall halt folk from throwing dung at my feet, .." she shrugged, misinterpreting Pele's earlier remark.

    "I wonder, is there any way we might sneak my Lady inside to find a bath, before she encounters this Lieutenant Brian ?" Warder dared the native pair. "I doubt we either one resemble anything fitting of 'exquisite', after ... well, such a long trek. I might settle the horses meanwhile, and speak to this barracks master for .."

    "Horses first. Always with the horses first." Isys shook her head, although smiled. "Do you fear to be found in the ladies dormitories ?" she teased her shadow. "Come, where is your sense of adventure ?"

    "Seriously regretting the pursuit of your own, my lady, as ever." He met her eye and held it, though with a gleam of amusement.

    "His name is Anardil," the lady admitted, suddenly, pausing at the point of sucking one strand of dark hair, on tthinking better of it. "I am Isys. Do cease with all that appellation now," she begged of her companion. "They mind not, I am sure. Is there some clandestine tunnel, or do we scale the rooftops and drop in through the sky light ?" she supposed, once more in haphazard stream of subject, before starting confidently toward the stabledoor.

    "No !" Warder called out in the very moment that Isys approached the dung heap, seemingly distracted as was her custom. But there was little need, as she sidestepped it at the last possible moment, and then leant a glinting grin over one shoulder.

    "We go now ?" she assumed, airily
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:05 AM. Reason: icon correction

  20. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #20
    Barracks
    With Gilhend

    The soldier sort of gave Gilhend a questioning look. "You mean... the Barracks Master?" Then the soldier sort of moved out of the way, and pointing straight ahead of Gilhend, to a broad door that read "BARRACKS MASTER OFFICE". Right beneath it, a little sign was nailed to the door, reading "Lieutenant Brian". The soldier gave Gilhend a little grin, slapped him on the shoulder, and then went on his way.

    Atfer Gilhend had appraoched and knocked on the office door, a strict-sounding voice came from the other side. "Come in!" The voice sounded like that of a middle aged man, and a very authoratitive one, at that.

    When Gilhend was to enter, he'd see a man sitting behind a desk with discerning eyes, though he could perhaps do with a bit more time on the Training Grounds. Lieutenant Brian mostly either had an impatient or a disappointed look to him - and today it was difficult to say which one he was wearing.



    Master at Arms
    Stables

    Kaylin
    smirked openly at the man's suggestion that the lady knight really only needed protection from herself. He was funny, despite his much too formay way of speech...

    The exchange between the two Dol Amrothians was rather entertaining as well. It seemed like Isys knew which of Warder's buttons to push, and the latter kept struggling to remain polite and uphold whatever etiquette he thought was necessary.

    When Warder sought confirmation with Pele, and called her Lady Pele, Kaylin grinned. Lady Pele. Now that was something. Though when the man turned to her and asked how he should call her, Kaylin was terrified of hearing the words Lady Kaylin coming out of his mouth. That would simply not do... No, that would not do at all. So when Isys simply called her by her first name, Kaylin nodded gratefully at the lady knight. It looked like the woman paid attention to what was being said around her.

    When the man asked them if they could sneak Isys inside somehow for a bath, before meeting with the Barracks Master, Kaylin's eyes lit, and she shrugged. "There are always ways to be found," she commented happily, not shying away from breaking any kind of procedure. She had never taken the rules too strictly, and wasn't about to start doing so now. It would only be a kindness, really, to get the woman into a bath before having her meet the Lieutenant.

    Kaylin was once more amused at the interaction between the two, and at the slight revenge the woman seemed to take upon the man by giving out his name. Kaylin laughed out loud when the man called out to stop Isys from walking into the dung pile again, and the latter simply avoided it craftily. That little grin... Kaylin wondered... Perhaps she would get along with this lady knight rather well, actually...

    The Master at Arms tilted her head, the decision made. She made to follow Isys, and when she passed by the man - Warder, or Anardil - she slowed slightly. "I must admit... I find it curious how you insist on calling us lady this and lady that, but you choose a name for yourself that is much more informal," the redhead noted, though her voice was friendly now, and soft, without any trace of mockery. She gave the man a smile, followed by a slow nod. "I am glad to know your given name - but, if you promise to simply call me Kaylin, I can promise to simply call you Warder."

    Her blue-grey eyes travelled over to Isys again after that. "Speaking of the ladies dormitories... I'm all for bending the rules, but if the Barracks Master were to find you in the South Wing, you can be sure he will deny you a room," she told Warder. "I can accompany Isys and lead her to the female baths. You can take care of the horses, if you like, and meet us in the Common Room later. It is easy to find after entering the Barracks, I promise you. It's right on the ground floor." Kaylin glanced at Pele, wondering if the Sergeant would be surprised at how the redhead was actually following the gender rules...
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 31/Jul/2016 at 07:32 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  21. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #21
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    The interactions between Lady Isys and Warder left a quiet smile on Pele's face; whatever she had imagined the Swan Knights to be, this was not it. She had formed an idea of haughty people looking down on everyone else, though she could not really tell why, perhaps because most of them were probably of noble people? Sure enough, the language used by the Warder was rather formal, but that was about the only truly formal part she could find about them.

    "Don't call me lady either," she objected, the smile still playing on her lips. "Pele will do; or Drill Sergeant if you want to be more formal."

    She came out of the stall, following them almost to the dung heap. "Ah, the baths are easy enough to access, especially if you are with Kaylin," she told Isys. "And as long as you pass through the common areas unnoticed, I doubt you will run into Lt. Brian in the south wing." Her eyebrow went up meaningfully, as she looked at Kaylin. "I think I might remain here and finish dealing with my own horse, and perhaps lend a hand with yours. Though things are..."

    Before she could finish explaining that all the items needed to take care of horses were easy to find, her eyes fell on Cadil whose mess of disobedient hair popped up from behind the corner.

    "Hi there, ladies!" the young soldier greeted Kaylin and Isys happily as soon as he saw them, and flashed at them his cheerful smile as he headed straight for the dung hill. When he spotted it, it was already too late, and he landed on all fours in it, luckily keeping his face out of it. "Ooof!" he breathed out his surprise as he got back up to his feet, standing awkwardly. It was then that he noticed that Isys too obviously had had the same luck. But before he could open his mouth to say anything about it, Pele intervened.

    Her hand reached across to grab Cadil's shirt, and she pulled him over, causing him to stumble through the 'hill' again in order to keep his balance. Having forgotten all about the story she had recently invented, Pele was solely focused on the lad and finding out if the dagger was his. Pulling him along she came to stand by the weapon that still remained stuck in the door of the stall. "Is this yours, soldier?" she demanded, pulling the dagger out of the boards with her other hand and holding it almost against the lad's nose.

    "Mine, ma'am. I set it aside when doing stable duties and forgot it," his frightened brown eyes stared into Pele's as he admitted.

    "Never ever forget your weapons anywhere! Do you hear me?" her voice sounded throughout the stables, as she half yelled at the soldier. "You have half an hour to clean up that mess by the door, if you want your dagger back. Go! Go!"

    As Cadil scurried off to find a shovel and a wheelbarrow, Pele turned back to the others who she had momentarily forgotten were still right there. "Umm..." she shrugged and smiled sheepishly. "Sometimes you have to be yelling." She said no word about the discrepancies about what had just happened and her invented story. She hadn't called the young soldier by name, had she?

  22. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #22


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl and Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    The Stables

    No colour arose about the Squire's cheek, when Kaylin said her piece. His eyes though, like slate, stiffened, almost stammered soundlessly, on learning he had misjudged etiquette as it stood, where they stood today. Pele offered her gentle correction in terms of her preference also. He relaxed somewhat as it became clear that they were not angered, and of course, the Lady Isys was not shamed by his error, for surely she was now whispering something unheard to her horse. As though she had forgot the rest of them stood there at all.

    "With respect," the Man dropped his head before these kind strangers, "I have scarce known a woman to object before, at being named a 'lady'." The Man struggled to restrain from custom and not add 'My lady' to his sentence. "Whereas I have encountered many women who would object, were I to forego with the courtesy, at least in the city. That is, in Dol Amroth," he made an effort to explain.

    "We stand in a city," Isys noted the barely concealed smiles of both of their hostesses, and answered by emitting a girlish laugh all of her own as she tugged at a small pack from her horse. "Indeed .." she added, convinced. As though the animal had made a joke only she had heard. Kaylin and Pele meanwhile walked Warder through their helpful insight of how best to proceed.

    "I thank you however, for your frankness," Warder managed, without adding any unwanted niceties. "Honestly, I had no say in either of the names that others have made mine," he .. almost .. smiled.

    The arrival of another, this time a young lad, distracted everyone from their plan of action. Everyone apart from Isys, who had already seemed only half engaged and now began to drag a once pristine haircomb, made of what might have been gleaming pearl, out from the dark knotted braids which happily then tumbled free about her head. As Cadil bore the brunt of the Drill Sergeant's command, the mud knight apparent drew her dirtied fingers along her high cheekbones, distorting the worst of her 'fresh' face pack into what might be construed as deliberate war paint. Or camouflage. She beamed keenly, like a proud infant, at her countryman, who managed a sly nod of bemused approval.

    "I am sure Cadil can help me find anything I may need here, Drill Sergeant, Ma'am," Warder then assured Pele, taking Cadil's appellations as example with the woman's rank. He glanced after the lad who had fled to gather tools and accomplish his task. "I will see soon after to matters of your lodging and locate this Lieutenant Brian within," the Man assured his lady then, almost eager to be free from manners none had asked of him.

    "Be sure you do," Isys employed a firm tone, which then softened as she added, "A room also for yourself. I don't want to hear you have stayed all the night in the stables !" A knowing glance from her saw the Man retreat behind his dark hair, and quickly turn toward checking a stall door as an alibi.

    "We recently had a villain of Umbar pose as a servant in my Uncle's estate," the Lady decided to declare, as though this warranted or else excused her creative suspicions about the dagger in the straw. "You are going to require a good nights sleep," she flipped back to the channel of her companion, without even blinking. "Recall that you face me on the field, come the morn,". She showed him perfect teeth, then plucked her second foot out high from its boot and readied to walk without either boot but with her guides, so she would leave no trail after them. "I would not put it past him to be cast out on purpose, just so he can guard the steeds," she sighed.

    "She's all yours," the Man shook his head and watched the three ready to leave.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:06 AM. Reason: correcting icon link

  23. Gilhend of Anorien
    Seeking Room Assignment - Part Two

    He felt a wave of embarrassment wash over him as the soldier revealed that the man he was looking for, Lieutenant Brian, was not only extremely close by but was indeed the Barracks Master himself. The soldier had a good-nature about it though, smiling and patting him on the back as he waved his hand towards the office in which the Barracks Master resided. "Thank you," said Gilhend, "I appreciate it. There, not far from him, was a heavy and broad wooden door upon which the name and rank of the Lieutenant was emblazoned. He made his way through the front of the barracks office, picking a route that avoided bumping into any of the other soldiers. His hand reached up and loudly knocked on the door, and moved back quickly as a loud and commanding voice shouted from inside, "Come in!" Gilhend grasped the handle of the door and lifted the latch, opening it and stepping into a well lit and large office.

    Behind a desk that he thought must be made of oak sat the Lieutenant. His face seemed to convey disappointment at seeing the young recruit, but perhaps it was due to something or someone else as Gilhend had yet to even speak.

    "Good morning, sir. Recruit Gilhend of Anorien reporting to Lieutenant Brian, seeking his room assignment and further orders."



  24. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Stables & Headquarters


    Kaylin had decided she rather liked this Isys. She could see the two becoming friends, actually. Something she had not expected when seeing her and Warder at roll call. It was, by all means, a pleasant surprise.

    As for Warder, part of her felt some sympathy. He clearly just wanted to be polite and friendly - she supposed he had been raised that way. It surprised her that he had had no say in the name 'Warder'. If it was a nickname, it would make sense for him not to have chosen it himself, of course, but still... "If you are displeased by either name," she told him, "Feel free to suggest a different one. We have only just met - you can pick the name by which you want to be known for once. You're not in Dol Amroth, after all. Introduce yourself how you will, and I will do you the courtesy of repeating your chosen appellation."
    To make him feel somewhat more comfortable, Kaylin was attempting to adapt her speech slightly, although she wasn't sure how it was coming across. Ridiculous, probably. She was sure her husband would be grinning at her broadly, if he were here, utterly amused. "Meanwhile," she then added, "You can count on my frankness, any day." She gave him a good-natured wink.

    Cadil's arrival made Kaylin's jaw drop slightly, and soon she was half-smiling, half-taken aback at Pele's reaction to the young recruit. LEarning that the dagger had been Cadil's made Kaylin quite litterally facepalm herself. With the heel of her hand against her forehead, she shook her head and sighed as Pele yelled at the youngster.

    In a softer tone of voice, as Pele continued to scold Cadil, Kaylin tried to reassure Warder. "No need to guard the steeds here. There are always soldiers around. We take good care of our horses. Of course, we can't avoid the occasional... act of idiocy..." Kaylin scraped her throat, and then turned to Isys. "Shall we?" Her eyes then fell on Pele. "Joining us, then, Sergeant?"


    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office


    "Room assignment, is it?" The Lieutenant looked Gilhend over carefully, as if looking for a reason to berate him. "In general, recruits tend to make my life more difficult," he said, the distrust obvious in his voice. "They are young. They are impetuous. They get up to all kinds of trouble within my barracks." Brian rose from his chair, and leaned over his desk menacingly. "Is this what I will get from you, recruit Gilhend? Trouble?"

    While most of the recruits grew out of it, the Lieutenant had also seen cases where the disruption of order never ended. If he could scare this young man into never starting it in the first place, he would be much better off.

    "You can start by using my rank and properly saluting me when you see me, recruit," he barked. "Unless they teach you nothing at headquarters anymore, I do believe that is part of the training!"

    Brian sat back down. Shaking his head, he pulled a piece of parchment out of one of his desk drawers, and dipped his quil into the ink bottle that was emptying quickly. "Gilhend, was it?" he mumbled questioningly, meanwhile already writing down the name on the list.

    "I'll assign you to room 106 for now. There's no one else in there at the moment, but if additional recruits show up, they will join you there. Depending on what branch of the military you opt for once the choice is presented to you, you will be reassigned a room or will move out entirely." Taking a tiny slip of parchment, he wrote '106' on it and held it to to Gilhend, almost as if he couldn't remember a number... But Lieutenant Brian wasn't one to take chances. He wanted things to be in order. Period.

    "You'll find a chest by the bed and a wardrobe. Should fit any and all of your belongings. If you have more, I suggest you get rid of them or stash them elsewhere, with friends or relatives, perhaps. The baths are at the end of your floor. You're in the North Wing," the Lieutenant informed him, and his voice got hard when he mentioned the last bit. "No venturing into the South Wing. Got it?"

    "In the case of problems, you can find me here. If I''m not here, and you can write, you are free to leave me a message by sliding a piece of paper under my office door." He eyed Gilhend. "Questions, recruit?"


    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  25. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Stables

    For a while longer she watched Cadil just to make sure he would not make ready to escape, and then turned to Warder. "Hmm. The lad is still young and rather silly, but perhaps he could be of use to you. Now, if I may ask," Pele offered him Cadil's dagger. "Keep this safe and return it to the owner when he is done with cleaning up here?" For a moment she had thought of taking the dagger with her and perhaps even leaving it with Lieutenant Brian, thus adding emphasis to the lesson she was trying to teach the young soldier, but then she took pity on him. Perhaps he'll learn without additional punishment from the Lieutenant.

    Turning to Cadil who had already set about shovelling the dung, she said, "Cadil!" When she had his attention, she added, "Not as a compulsory duty, but once you're done with this, be so kind and help sir Anardil to settle in the horses. Unless you have something urgent to tend to." The youth shook his head and spoke, "Yes, Drill Sergeant. No... No, I don't, not till late evening. Kitchen clean up duty," the last bit he muttered unhappily.

    Satisfied that things would work out well, and that perhaps the youngster would learn something valuable from the Warder, Pele joined the other two women.

    "Sure. Coming," she just said, careful not to step into the dung hill that she herself had made sure to create. "Though who knows if there's any hot water in the baths at the moment," she added rather seriously, though her blue eyes held a twinkle of laughter betraying her intent to tease the very dirty Dol Amrothian. "Just in case... Would a cold bath do for you?"

  26. Recruit Gilhend of Anorien
    Seeking a Room Assignment - Part Three

    Gilhend was seething as he listened to the Barracks Master speak, though he tried not to let it show. No, he had not been told to salute all officers, though he wanted to kick himself for forgetting to do so. He should have known, but his mind had lapsed in that respect. But he had used the Lieutenant's rank, and greeted him as formally and politely as he knew how. The Lieutenant's arrogant attitude and tone enraged him, but he stood silent, hands at his side, and continued to listen. When the Barracks Master wrote down his room assignment on a slip of paper and handed it to him, Gilhend took it and remained still, before finally getting a chance to speak.

    "No, sir. You won't receive any trouble from me. I apologize for not saluting you, but I did use your name and rank. I just want that out there, to clear the air. If you were offended I accept responsibility, but I don't like being accused of doing something or not doing something, when the opposite is true. I have no questions for you, sir. I'll head out to my room now, if you'll excuse me. You can keep the slip of paper though, I'm able enough to remember a number."

    He raised his left hand and saluted the Lieutenant, then nodded slightly before waiting to be excused. But something in his mind told him to leave, and though he knew he shouldn't, he turned away and left the Barracks Master's office. He knew deep down he would likely get in trouble and be reprimanded for this, but it was the only way he knew to get back at the Lieutenant as a recruit.

  27. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    Brian
    observed Gilhend in silence, not reacting to the recruit's obvious displeasure (perhaps even anger) at his words. The Lieutenant was trying to gauge the recruit, to see just how much trouble Gilhend would end up being. In truth, Brian did not like what he saw. Sure, he said there would be no trouble, and he apologized. It was the but which made Brian frown. It wasn't about being offended, or about what the recruit had done. It was about what he had forsaken to do - salute! And if this boy did not salute, as he should know he had to, then what else would he not dowhich he knew he would? Or what would he do which he knew he should not?

    The Lieutenant had grown weary of young and eager recruits throughout his many years of service. Some called it prejudice. He himself called it realistic expectations... Here this recruit was. Pretending he had in fact saluted, all of a sudden? This was ridiculous. The piece of paper was returned to his desk, and Gilhend took his leave.

    Granted, the boy had saluted this time. Yet he had also taken action when he should have waited. With a heavy sigh, Brian dropped back into his desk chair. "Recruits," he grumbled, pulling a piece of paper towards him and continuing his work.


    Master at Arms
    Barracks

    They had left the stables, the three of them. Isys, Pele and Kaylin. Kaylin entered the barracks first, and saw someone (Gilhend) just leaving the Lieutenant's office. The door was shut behind him, though, and it didn't look like the Lieutenant was coming out. Good. If he were to see them sneaking a dung-plastered Isys through the barracks halls, there would be hell to pay. Kaylin ushered Pele and Isys inside, and she allowed Pele to lead the way to the South Wing, while Kaylin kept an eye on the Lieutenant's door and on anyone giving them any looks. She was a Master of Arms, after all. A stern glance from her did have some effect. She quite liked that it did, and ended up smirking after dishing out the first one. She never really was good at seeming serious or strict around her brothers and sisters in arms.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  28. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #28
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    South Wing

    It seemed that there would not be any danger forthcoming right away as they entered the barracks, it seemed. And South Wing would surely provide a safe zone, since the Lieutenant would not prowl in there in keeping with the standards he himself imposed and upheld. Thus, while Kaylinwatched his door, Pele took a hold of a cleaner spot on Isys' sleeve to urge her on.

    "Come. Let's get you out of the common areas," she said, marching towards the baths of the South Wing in a hasty step.

    "I suppose, I'll have to procure a towel and a set of clean clothes for you," she talked on. "I'm sure you have some of your own, but probably it would not do to keep you sitting in the bath while we go looking for your belongings."

    Meanwhile they had arrived at the baths, and Pele pushed the door open and peered inside, listening for a while. It seemed that no one was there at the moment. Even though it might not make a big difference if someone was, she was mindful of the lady knight's dignity. Perhaps the reputation of being that woman arriving in the City with dung all over her might not be the best one.

    "Right," Pele then set about business. "Here's some soap - nothing fancy, though. Usual army stuff. It seems there's even some hot water available, so you want have to enjoy a cold bath. What else..." She stood a while, looking around the room and then glancing at Isys with a grin.

  29. Ercassie's Avatar
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    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    Entering the Barracks - South Wing Baths

    It was something akin to second nature for Isys to gather an entourage about her, wheresoever she might go and, not always by design or desire. Strange folk do inspire startled onlookers after all. And in fact she would be hard pressed to recount the last time that she had ventured anywhere alone. But being escorted now toward comfort and clean bathing was so much a habit of her upbringing that the kindness made her feel especially at home. The two women of Minas Tirith seemed kind if rather curious and the Dol Amrothian was similarly intrigued by their idiosyncrasies. Pele in particular seemed rather anxious at the threat of cold bath water, which Isys felt obliged to answer. In her own particular fashion of course.

    "Once I leapt from the deck of my Father's flag ship. Warder bade me not to but he soon came after," she disclosed, rather randomly. As though this information should somehow clarify quite how familiar she was with the often very cold ocean water. "You have a fountain here," she put in, as though this were also somehow relevant or that she planned to bathe there, in absence of other options. But she allowed her wary escorts regardless to guide her toward far more conventional means of recovery.

    The lady swung her knee-high, stinking, boots in one hand, as though they were wild flowers and she were a carefree child. She strode without seeming concern that any passerby might stare at her caked complexion. People always stared at her and she had become accustomed to it. The route that they took through the warren of corridors reminded Isys very much of the barracks back in Dol Amroth; save for the shade of decor, the accents.

    Kaylin had easily adopted the role of look-out during their brave passage through the more populated areas of the barracks. And Isys may have seemed quite impervious to the potential peril - Lieutenant Brian - but she did not miss the attention that her guides paid to their task, nor the pattern of cooperation that immersed them both. They had done this before, she estimated, and it was more than Ranger training. This was practiced perfection .. The knowing of which floorboards were creaky and how best to avoid them. The corners where they were most vulnerable for undesired discovery. The lady smiled beneath her mask of filth.

    By the time they had filed into the bathroom she was quite sorry the challenge was accomplished. She had not brought a towel with her of course. "I tend to lie upon the apron of my Uncle's coastal estate. To dry out," she recalled, as though this was in any way helpful to their present predicament. And as soap was suggested, Isys demonstrated quite how comfortable she felt, in removing her clothes, without qualm or hesitation for the sake of company. She turned to find some of the hot water which Pele had indicated, and easily raised a heavy, copper kettle, from nearby the fireplace which heated the long room. It took little to empty its steaming contents into one of the bathtubs. She glanced back, jubilant at Pele and Kaylin, as nothing untoward occurred (of course) but still the lady looked as though surprised by the fact she could run her own bath.

    Which, to be fair, she never had known any need to do before today.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:07 AM. Reason: fixed broken image links

  30. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #30


    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    South Wing - Baths

    It was true that Pele and Kaylin had... prior experience. Evading Lieutenant Brian had become somewhat of an art - especially since he made quite the point of it that nothing happened in his domain without him knowing about it. Unfortunately for the Lieutenant, his own rule about no men in the South Wing, gave the ladies quite the free play there. It had always amused Kaylin upon entering the South Wing when she still had a room here. And it still amused her now she was guiding through a dung-covered Swan Knight.

    Actually... Guiding a dung-covered Swan Knight through the Barracks amused her for other - obvious - reasons, as well. But that was besides the point.

    Kaylin didn't think much of it when Isys started to disrobe. If anything, she was happy that the clothes would soon be far away. And Kaylin had never thought much of disrobing herself - not until she had gotten involved with Thūllir, anyway.
    Looking at the pile of dirty clothes, though, Kaylin frowned and looked to Pele. "Do you have some clothes for her? I would, but I no longer have a room here. I could get some from the house, though." Of course, Pele's things were much closer. Or one of them could go back to Warder and get some from Isys' pack.

    When Isys looked at Pele and Kaylin with a rather proud and enthused look, the redhead gave the Swan Knight a thumbs up and a genuine grin.
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 31/Aug/2016 at 08:41 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  31. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #31
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    South Wing - Baths

    Pele found the lady knight's comments rather amusing, but for a while she responded nothing, more preoccupied with making sure the practical details were sorted, such as the quality of the water. She placed her hand in it to find it was nicely hot and nodded contentedly, and then she decided it was a good time to say something to those comments Isys had made.

    "Well... I suggest you make use of this excellent water here instead of attempting the approach to the fountain. I don't suppose the guards there would appreciate you testing the water of the fountain and might get you sent off to the dungeons," she said half seriously and half jokingly, casting a glance at Kaylin with her eyebrow raised and a grin playing on her lips. "And suppose there are no aprons in the vicinity either."

    Looking back at Isys who stood there, partly covered in dung and partly perfectly clean (where the clothing had protected her), she nodded towards the bath. "Hop in there and have some soaking. Think I'll go to my room then and fetch you a towel and some clothing. I have at least a few other garments hidden away, except for my uniform, and let's hope the things will be neither too small nor too big for you." Having said that she left the baths to go and get the promised items, as a thought entered her mind that perhaps she also might need a bath, since she had been handling the dung to build that hill. Not that she was too aware if any stench was clinging to her or not.

  32. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #32


    Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    The Stables

    Warder was rendered rather beside himself by Kaylin's kindness. It was not that he tended to be treated unkindly as a rule. Rather that he never would expect such open acceptance from a stranger. The notion of her calling him however he should like to be called, appealed, naturally, and he teetered upon the brink of admitting that his kin affectionately called him 'Nar'.

    When they each were younger and he had made visit, Warder had carried his young cousin, Unalmis high upon his shoulders, so the youth could learn what it was like to ride a horse their family could not afford. They had picked the best apples off trees during this afternoon of allegiance, and he had taught the younger how to 'tilt', in some respect of pointing a house broom held aloft and directed toward apples, all still atop Warder's shoulders. The incredible adventures of Nal and Nar; they had dubbed that fun afternoon. He almost spoke of it, now, for Kaylin had clearly made efforts on his behalf, and he did desire to put her at ease likewise. To know that his behaviour whilst in the escort of his lady was his duty. And he took his duty very seriously. He hoped he might meet this soldier of Minas Tirith if he were off duty, though he could not see how. And in that case, she maybe would not recognise him. He scarcely recognised himself beyond all that he had been shaped into. But he enjoyed acquainting with his stranger as much as with these two.

    Kaylin did her greatest work in reassuring Warder of the safety that was awarded to horses in the city. Despite the mayhem alluded to, he took the Master-at-arms for one who did not lie. His instinct had first assumed these two officers knew more than they said about the incident of dung, but it was, he was happy to conclude now, no doubt just his being so on edge. After the problems with safety and security that they had known recently in Lond Col ... Trust was slow in returning, but the kindness of Minas Tirith was accelerating that speed with each moment passed.

    He decided to believe her. And so nodded silent but politely as his fears were set aside. Pele then chose to demonstrate their faith in him, by handing him the dagger of Cadil. The drill-sergeant elevated her own kind voice to direct the wayward youth, and their guests smiled.

    "We were all young once," he assured Pele, and tried to soften his own view of the boy. Now he could believe that he owed no harm to any here. "I am certain you shall not be dissatisfied," he bowed slightly before Pele and accepted the task with as little argument as did the lad accept his own. It did not escape the squire's thinking that they two may have been left alone to learn of each other. For responsibility should be taken neither too seriously, or too little.

    As the three departed, and the two 'Men' were left alone in the Stables, Warder carefully set the dagger on a large wooden crate where he could spy it. And then led his horse, and that of his mistress, to safely orbit the borders of the dung. The greater of the two beasts tossed her head and so he laid hands soft and calm upon her.

    "This is Duvain, he introduced the midnight destrier to Cadil, "and this, my dearest Sultal," he relaxed, the slighter courser nosing her head at the new lodgings. The Squire conceived a vain ambition that he might learn much of the garrison and its alien culture from the young boy. 'Just imagine it is Unalmis', he told himself. And rallied to relax.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:08 AM. Reason: corrected broken image link

  33. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    South Wing - Baths

    As Pele headed out of the baths, looking for clothes and a towel in her quarters, Kaylin slanted her head with a slight frown. "But..." she mumbled, turning her grey-blue eyes to the open closet right across from her. It was filled with towels. Whatever she had wanted to say, however, it was too late. Pele had already left for her room. Kaylin shrugged and glanced at Isys, who was still looking rather proud. "Well, get in then!" Kaylin urged on the woman, a grin mastering her face again.

    She went to look whether one of the other kettles was still full. Aye... there was one. Her work in the stables had left her rather sweaty, this was true. And a bath sounded pretty good. It had been quite a while since she'd been in the barracks for a bath; she'd been cleaning at at home, of course... Yet she had always thought the baths were kind of cosy.

    Kaylin knew several, if not many, of the other soldiers disliked the baths. They weren't exactly private, and if you were ashamed or somewhat prudish, then it surely wasn't very relaxing. Kaylin couldn't care less, however. They were all women here, weren't they? They all had the same parts. Whistling, Kaylin started preparing a bath of her own. "You don't mind, right?" she asked Isys, even as she was pouring some of the hot water into one of the other tubs. Clearly, Kaylin was expecting no issues from the Dol Amrothian. Meanwhile, she started flinging her clothes onto a haphazard pile. "So," the redhead continued, not seeing a single reason to shy away from conversation. "How are you liking Minas Tirith? I'm afraid I've never been to Dol Amroth myself."
    Lowering herself into the tub, a smile spread across her face. Ah yes. This was the stuff.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  34. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #34
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Room 2

    Having stepped inside her room, Pele headed straight for the mirror and looked herself over. Ever so slightly dishevelled... And her uniform was soiled here and there; not much but enough to spoil the essence of being immaculate. Besides, there was this smell... And she had not even spent a proper day at the training grounds that would be a good reason for not looking her best. She frowned and then stuck a tongue out at her own image in the mirror.

    Turning away from the mirror, she set about rummaging through her closet in search of appropriate apparel. From the available collection she chose a pair of black leggings, a green tunic, and a simple grey dress that was comfy and big enough, if Isys could not fit in the aforementioned pieces of clothing, or rather preferred something feminine. For herself, she chose her uniform trousers and grey long-sleeved shirt. It would be a waste of time to stand around and wait while the Dol Amrothian bathed, so she might just as well join in and get herself cleaned up. At any rate, Pele hoped that the woman was not so much in need of privacy as to privatise the whole baths for herself alone.

    She was about to head back to the baths, when a thought entered her mind, and she reached back into her closet to fish out a jar with small round balls. Having come upon a book that explained how to make some beauty products, she had set about experimenting with a few recipes described in there, and this was a result.

    South Wing, Baths

    Whistling merrily Pele headed back to the baths, carrying an armful of garments, and a jar on top of it. So she ended up basically kicking open the door and then pushing it shut again with her shoulder. As soon as she did so, she remembered that she had forgotten the towel. "Oh..." she held back the exclamation, as she turned and then saw the towels. Well, at least she would not have to go back again to fetch one or two.

    "Here, Isys, maybe at least something of this will fit you!" she said, placing the clothes on one of the stools near the bath the woman had chosen. "And I hope you two have not used up all of the water. Or else..." Pele could not think of a suitable threat to go with this, as she placed her clean uniform and the jar she had brought by one of the empty baths. Heading over to the hearth, she found that luckily there was still some water left for her as well, so she hastened to fill up the tub with the steaming water.

    "Do you want lavender bath bombs? I made them myself," she said, and proceeded to open the jar and drop a couple of the small balls into her own bath and without waiting for answer, tossed two balls in the tubs of the other ladies. "Very relaxing, and I'm sure it will do away with any of that stable smell. Ah, and the towels..." One for each of them, within easy reach. And then Pele thought she had finally finished the preparations, quickly got out of her clothing and hid into her tub. For a moment she closed her eyes in contentment, as the hot water and the scent of lavender enveloped her. "So, what's the topic of conversation at the bath party today?" she asked, opening one eye.

    Cadil
    Stables

    He had looked all busy, until the ladies were out of sight, but as soon as he was left alone with Warder, the lad let out a sigh, and his movement became rather slow and lackadaisical. He looked at the older man for a few moments, deep thought written all over his face: Cadil was not so sure if he could trust this stranger enough not to tell the Sergeant if he did not do everything hastily as well as perfectly. And then a glance at the dagger. Technically he could just grab it and run off as fast as he could, but that would land him in even more trouble, it would.

    The youngster watched with some curiosity, as the man brought in the horses, introducing them to him, and then beamed a smile. "Nice to meet you all!" he told the horses, and then turned his attention back to Warder, deciding that he was safe. "I can find empty stalls for them, before I get to my own task," he offered, already hastening to do as promised. "Do you want them side by side? There are not too many horses here at the moment, so that can be arranged," he added.

    And then the curiosity got better of him, and he continued talking away, forgetting that his mouth had landed him in trouble every so often. "Dol Amroth is quite far. Did you come by water or by land? And what was a reason for such a visit anyway?" Cadil had seen a knight here and there lately, but he had not connected it in his mind with the roll call. He had assumed that it was only for the folk serving at Minas Tirith.

  35. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #35


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl
    Undergoing Swan Knight Assessment Visit
    South Wing Baths


    The water brewed a bath which gathered steam, and the two ladies of the city concerned over practicalities which Isys had honestly never considered. She glanced idly at the pile of clothes which she had discarded, and wondered at the whereabouts of those fair smiling fairies who tended to swoop in and enchant such things away. But this was not her home, nor an inn where she was attended to. She supposed she would clean her things herself though she had no clear inclination how. Truthfully, her mind was lost about the thought that Pele had inspired. Of lending those fountain guards one less monotonous turn of their honoured duty. To have them chase a skyclad young woman from performing water ballet around that which they guard ...

    Kaylin's admission attracted notice, that the red-head did not reside at the barracks, although clearly she knew her way about the place. Pele however, was clearly the better prescibed to locate their requirements. Isys though was quite relieved when at least Kaylin proposed to join the cleansing ritual. She was very used to reams of people about her while she bathed; whether throwing rose petals into the water, or washing the young lady's long hair, .. Lotte would sing to her upon occasion. She doubted either of these women would do any of these things. it was refreshing in new degrees.
    "I do not mind as much as I insist," she assured a bold de-robing Kaylin, and then thoughtfully she added, "You must have been very hard at work in the stables before we arrived."

    Climbing into her adjacent tub was no effort, and the water embraced her skin in acceptance as soon as come into contact. Slipping dreamily under the surface, the Dol Amrothian blinked to observe the ceiling through the bathwater, massaging with soap about her contours as foul dung began to fall apart and away from the soft skin unearthed aneath. Emerging about the water's surface, Isys smoothed each cheek with either hand, and found no residue remaining. Small clods of muck however bobbed about the bathwater, and she sat up, poking at them like a cat who has cornered a mouse or more than one.

    Someone had made words for her, and Isys paused in her game to ponder at a response.

    "The ocean never kisses your streets here, and the chorus of seahawks is unheard of", she admitted, rather woefully. "Still, the vast heights of Minas Tirith reach into the heavens," she brightened to recount. "I am tempted to ride horse from tallest tier to the great gate, gathering such speed to soar as though a bird myself in that whirling descent ..."

    Pele made a reappearance, as did custom of fine things, offered before ever requested. Isys was pleased to see that the drill sergeant would join them. Still the lady startled at the splash and gathered one of the strange, already crumbling gifts. Turning it carefully over and over in one hand, Isys marvelled as it came to nothing but fine grains of delightful fragrance. Slowly recall of her pungent trial was entirely overcome.

    "Your city seems to me an embrace of activity", she admitted, to enquiring minds. "I have been here, once, twice before. So I am told. Though it never feels I have seen but a sliver of what is available to explore. Everywhere to look there is quite everything a mind can think to see, and more so, all occurring at once. In fact the longer that I loiter here, I feel the longer I should loiter here .."

    Isys raised one foot from the depths of her bath, and wiggled small pale toes as she leant back, and contemplated staying ever in this tub, in this city.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:09 AM. Reason: corrected broken image link

  36. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #36
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    South Wing - Baths

    "Ah, I doubt you could see too much of the city if you only stayed for a day or two at a time," Pele picked up on the topic suggested by Isys. She paused for a few moments right afterwards, as she thought back on how she herself had found a home in Minas Tirith. A smile played on her lips, as she made small waves in the tub with her hands.

    "Of course, there are the pretty buildings, ancient architecture and all; little gardens hidden away out of sight, as if they did not quite belong among the white stone, but perfectly fitted for catching your breath and enjoying a moment a rest. Then there's the marketplace, almost a small city within the city. And the inns and pubs," the Sergeant went on, and her voice obtained a slightly dreamy tone, as it softened just a little. "And you should see the beautiful colours as the rising morning sun uses the white walls of the city as the canvas for painting."

    She turned her head to glance at Kaylin and grinned slightly. "And then there is the whole layer of things that is not that obvious. Like silly pranks under the strict discipline of the army," she said, and then added, "What do you think, Kaylin? Isn't this just the best place to experience diversity and all such things?"

    Pele supposed she sounded much like she was trying to sell Minas Tirith to Isys, but why not? Perhaps the woman would consider lingering on for a while to experience some other good things that would make up for that dung silliness she had walked into right upon her arrival.

  37. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #37

    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    South Wing - Baths

    Forced to chuckle at Isys' statements, Kaylin nodded with her eyes closed as she enjoyed simply lying in the hot water. For sure, they had no water in the streets, nor seahawks in the city proper. Sometimes you could spot one or two at Harlond harbour, though. Kaylin tucked that away for later, possibly, to bring up again if any Dol Amrothians might mention feeling homesick, or something. At Isys' comment about riding a horse from the highest circle down to the gates, Kaylin grinned. Broadly. "Hahaha, now that we need to do sometime," she eagerly replied, not picking up on the - likely, because you couldn't be sure with Isys - non-serious tone which the Dol Amrothian had used.

    She wasn't sure why she hadn't thought of it before, actually. "Howcome I've never done this?" she mumbled, thinking out loud, and shrugging in her tub of relaxation. "If you're in town for long enough, I'm sure I could get someone to distract your Warder, so you and I can race down the Circles," Kaylin mused, in all seriousness half-planning the activity already.

    At the sound of the door being kicked open, Kaylin opened one eye, raising an eyebrow along with it. Seeing it was Pele, with her hands full of stuff, Kaylin relaxed again. At the sight of her friend looking at the closet of towels, Kaylin couldn't help but snicker. She allowed her head and all of her hair to slide down under the water, and when she re-emerged, looked quite happy. Soon, something splashed into her tub. Delighted, Kaylin grinned at Pele. "Wonderful!" she exclaimed, even as Pele placed a towel near her tub. "Hey, thanks!"
    Her friend's question made Kaylin smile again. Who had known this day would turn out so lovely?

    Isys' answer did surprise her. She had gotten the idea that the lady quite missed Dol Amroth, but perhaps that was not at all the case? Her surprise increased as Pele started with... selling Minas Tirith to Isys? Well. That, Kaylin could definitely join in on. She also had to laugh at Pele's hint about the pranks. "Well, yes," the bathing Master at Arms chuckled. "I have to agree with Pele. If you feel like you want to stay, why not, right? Minas Tirith is a beautiful place, you'd be hard pressed to deny it. We have our little harbour at Harlond, if you ever want to see boats or ships, or a sea bird - they do visit there from time to time. The architecture here is... indeed... amazing. It is big, yet organized... And the play of the sunlight and the moonlight do different things to the white stone every day and night." Mischievously, Kaylin peered over the edge of her tub. "Plus, you know, you can't beat the view at the big bad," she said lightly, meaning Mordor. A strange delight to mention, perhaps, but Kaylin didn't mind being able to keep an eye on the enemy.

    "Of course, what really sets this place apart is the activity and the people," she then continued, with a little shrug. Then, giving Pele a look, Kaylin displayed an obviously feigned offense. "What are you saying, Sergeant? I would never pull pranks!" She closed her eyes again, a rather pleased smile on her face. "I deny everything. I am a perfectly proper soldier who never gets in trouble..."

    Not that she was fooling anyone.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  38. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
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    #38
    Elugail
    A Young Accepted Unassigned Recruit
    Outside the Barracks Office

    The sound of metal wheels creaked along the hallway as Elugail, who did not have a uniform yet and technically did not break Captain Karis' orders, stopped outside of the Barracks Master's Office. His walk had turned into a slow drawl as he wiped the sweat off his brow, his legs feeling sore. Every other soldier he passed (that gave pointed looks at his red wagon and himself) were not even breaking a sweat walking to and fro. Some were even in full armor and they walked as if it were no more than ordinary clothing!

    Meanwhile, Elugail's legs were already sore. He looked around for a bench or two to sit on to gain some energy back but did not see any.

    Oh well, he thought, gulping. His hands unconsciously shook, vibrating in nervousness as he knocked on the outside of the Barracks Office.

    For he was supposed report to get a room assignment, and he knew he needed to be careful in case the Barracks Master was strict and sensitive. Therefore, he was nervous. He waited for Barracks Master Brian (a name flatly labelled outside in strict MINAS TIRITH font) to let Elugail in to recieve a room assignment.


  39. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #39
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    The knock on his door made the Lieutenant sigh. You know what would make the perfect army barracks? he thought to himself. No soldiers.

    No soldiers to mess up the common areas. No soldiers to pull pranks and disrupt order. No soldiers to interrupt his work...

    Then again, without soldiers, he supposed he'd be quite out of work.

    Not used to such philosophical thoughts, the Lieutenant did something he usually never did: he rose from his chair and walked to the door to his office. Usually, he grunted and ordered for whoever was on the other side, to just come in... But now, he had thrown himself off a bit. He opened the door and with a frown, looked at the youngling in front of it (Elugail), and the wagon behind him. The boy looked completely out of place.

    "What is the matter?" Lieutenant Brian asked, a hint of impatience shining through his tone of voice. "Are you lost?"
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  40. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
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    #40
    Elugail
    A Young Accepted Unassigned Recruit
    Outside the Barracks Office

    Elugail
    saw what seemed like a towering man in front of him. Gulping in momentary fear, he gave a Gondorian salute with a twitching hand, his other hand dropping the handle of the red wagon as the handle clanged, colliding with the floor.

    "Um, I'm a recruit, Mr. Barracks Master, Sir. I am Elugail, and I was accepted as a new recruit by a Captain. They told me to receive a room assignment, and then get my uniforms."

    A momentary fear then swept through him. What if he mixed his orders up or if there were multiple barracks? It was his first time in the army after all.

    "This is where I receive a room assignment, right sir?" he asked Lieutenant Brian.
    Last edited by Rivvy Elf; 10/Oct/2016 at 07:43 PM.


  41. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #41
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    His brow knitted in confusion. "You?" he asked Elugail, unable to keep it in. "How old are you?"

    After listening for the answer, Lieutenant Brian sighed and waved the youngster into his office. He gestured at the boy not to leave the cart in the hallway. With a deepening frown at the cart Elugail had been dragging after him, Brian fell into a long moment of silence. The recruits got crazier every year!! But at least this one seemed polite. That was a nice change of pace. That Gilhend brat might do well learning a bit of his manners. Moving back to his desk, Brian nodded to himself even as he made up his mind. Yes. He would put this youngster in with Gilhend.

    "Elugail, was it? You can join another recruit in room 106. We like to form bonds of comraderie and friendship in the Army." Even though that often results in pranks and mischief, he thought to himself grouchily. "Next time I see you in my office, I expect you to be in full official uniform. is that understood?"

    Lieutenant Brian made a note of Elugail's name in one os his ledgers. "We have rotating stable and kitchen shifts," he explained, as he had done countless times in the past. You are to check the message board in the entrance hall every night for your duties the following day, and you are to check every morning also, to see whether they have not changed."
    He peered at Elugail, trying to gauge the raw recruit. "I assume you will begin training soon. Sergeant Alarion?"
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 10/Oct/2016 at 08:06 PM.

  42. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
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    #42
    Elugail
    A Young Accepted Assigned Recruit
    Barracks Master Office


    "...yes," Elugail slowly responded, "I am fifteen y-. Err, I mean. I am a score minus five years." The adolescent thought that a more military-sounding expression for his age was more suitable in this situation.

    Unfortunately, judging by the sigh, the lieutenant did not show any preference to how he said the number. But thankfully he allowed Elugail to bring his red wagon in, gesturing towards it and looking at it with a concerned expression. Elugail didn't know the Barracks Master cared about the state and welfare of his books! This was good tidings, indeed! Master Brian then moved to his desk, assigning the young recruit room 106 with another recruit. It was expected to form camaraderie and friendship, which meant Elugail was going to have a study partner, hopefully.

    "Yes, sir. Understood, sir," Elugail responded, and then gave a salute a long second later, remembering to salute. He would hopefully remember coming into the office in his full uniform next time. Perhaps the Lieutenant could give insight on some of Elugail's future military treatises.

    After talking about stable, kitchen shifts, and message boards, Brian then said, "I assume you will begin training soon. Sergeant Alarion."

    "Erm," Elugail began, wondering whether the Barracks Master already forgot his name and confused him with a sergeant.

    "...I will be training with the Master at Arms, Kaylin, I believe?" Elugail guessed at the Barracks Master meaning, "may I ask what I should expect from the training?"


  43. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #43
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    He had been about to put down the quill he had used earlier to take his notes, when the new recruit mentioned who would be training him, and Lieutenant Brian froze. With a right eyebrow that was raising slowly with some unclear emotion, he slowly tilted his head to avert his eyes from his ledger and back to Elugail. As if he couldn't believe what he had just heard.

    "Master at Arms Kaylin!?" It slipped out before he realized it, almost as if the suggestion of her training anyone offended him - and it sort of did. That... troublemaker?! She had been a bottomless pit of pranks and ridiculous ideas during the time she had resided in the barracks. Lieutenant Brian was very grateful to the Ranger who had been mental enough to marry that one, for the singular reason that it meant that Kaylin had vacated the Barracks in return for a house at the Minn Thalyn Cirban.

    For a moment, the Lieutenant was even tempted to fly out of his office and find Captain Ziranphel; to ask her why it would not be Sergeant Alarion who would be training their latest recruit, and what made her think that the Master at Arms was at all qualified to train new recruits. The next moment, however, he knew that would be unwise. It had to be nepotism of some kind. Wasn't Kaylin's husband the Captain's nephew or something of the sort? Perhaps the man had asked the Captain to keep his wife busy while he was off in Ithilien or something... And knowing the Captain's temper... he would prefer not to ask her what she might construe as a comment on her leadership abilities.

    Lieutenant Brian straightened his back stiffly and narrowed his eyes at Elugail. "Well," he commented bitterly. "I hope you will not let yourself be tempted by her proclivity to rule-breaking. You are dismissed, recruit. Now go get your gear, since you haven't yet."
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 13/Oct/2016 at 05:09 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  44. Rivvy Elf's Avatar
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    #44
    "Umm... yes," Elugail responded, tempted to ask the Barracks Master whether there was another Master-at-Arms named Kaylin.

    Now even though he barely met Master Brian, he already could tell something was a little off with his response. Whether it be the slowly raised eyebrow or the question on confirmation of who was going to train Elugail.

    Then he mentioned about Kaylin being a rule breaker, and it made sense now. It appeared that the Barracks Master wanted to make sure everybody followed the rules, and whatever rules the Master-at-Arms broke, they seemed to offend the Barracks Master in some way.

    Maybe she forgot to file paperwork on time? Or maybe continuously broke curfew?

    Regardless, Elugail had an odd twist in his stomach, though he didn't know why, at the notion of training.

    "Yes sir, Barracks Master sir!" Elugail said, saluting. He then walked out of the office, leaving the door open as he walked towards the armoury...


  45. Nardunālo's Avatar
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    #45
    Nardunālo
    Recruit
    Barracks


    A four-storey building loomed ahead of him, directly across from the headquarters. He wandered over, and stepped through the already open front door. The entrance hall that greeted him smelled surprisingly clean, considering the fact that it would be used on a regular basis by many soldiers of Minas Tirith. Two more doors stood strongly on either side, but he could sense they were not the place to go, even if he could not read the Common Speech labels above them. Instead, straight ahead of him was an office-like room that looked rather promising, so he ambled over, his heavy footsteps dull and loud.

    The eager boy from earlier, Elugail, he remembered, made his way out, just after he stood outside the door. He could hear the conversation going on inside, and became a little self-conscious when he realised he didn't have his uniform on, as he had decided to get a room assigned first. His palms began to sweat. It also seemed the Barracks Master didn't think too kindly of his soon-to-be-trainer Master at Arms Kaylin.

    After Elugail's retreat from the office, Nardunālo knocked nervously, swallowing painfully. "Lieutenant, sir ..." he choked out. "I been told to report to you for ... room assignment. Name Nālo, sir."

    He stayed on the threshold, and hesitated. He didn't want to enter without permission and risk the Barracks Master's ire. That would not be a good idea on his first day. Even he knew that, and he was not exactly the smartest of men.

  46. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #46
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    With a discontented frown, Brian watched Elugail go. The Lieutenant was still standing behind his desk and in front of his chair, with that exact look on his face, when Nardunālo knocked at the still open door. His attention fixed upon the dark-skinned man, and the Barracks Master's frown deepened. Well, that had to be a first.

    Brian waved the man inside of his office. "Come in, come in, and speak up. Nālo?" he asked. That was an awefully short name. While it was entirely possible that there was no more to it, Brian had to ask. "That wouldn't be short for anything, would it?" He took in the man's height, the man's broad shoulders and general frame, the strong arms and hands, and nodded with some approval. This one looked much more suitable to enlisting than the scrawny youth who had just left his office. At least, the Lieutenant was assuming the man in front of him had just enlisted, judging from what he was wearing.

    "I will put you up in 106, as well," he already told the man. He was pleased that the room was filling up nicely. Now there would only be one empty bed in there, with already three recruits housed in it. "The room will provide your bed, mattress, pillow, sheets and blankets, as well as a large enough chest for any of your belongings. The room has a desk, which you share with your roommates, and two wardrobes, also to be shared. The Barracks provide you with bathing facilities and a mess hall, too." The Lieutenant halted, waiting for the man in front of him to speak, and ask questions, if he would, before the Lieutenant continued his short introduction to the Barracks.

    However, he could not help himself to ask this one about who would be training him. At least they would have assigned this one to someone else than that nail in his coffin?
    "Who did they assign as your trainer?"
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 16/Oct/2016 at 08:40 AM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  47. Nardunālo's Avatar
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    #47
    Recruit Nardunālo
    Barracks Master's Office


    He saw the Barracks Master's frown deepen even more. Was it something he had said? No, more likely to be due to the colour of his skin. Men of Harondor, especially mixed race, were never well-regarded. At the Lieutenant's command, Nālo entered the room, saluting the officer. "Um, yes, Lieutenant ..." he answered hesitantly. "Full name Nardunālo - mean 'shadow soldier'. You can guess why." Nālo gestured at his chest. He had been given the name Shadow by his bullies back home, as an insult to his colour, to his past. He had added 'soldier' to the Adūnaic name once he had made his decision to enlist in the Gondorian army. However, it was still a habit of his to use his shorter name. After all, he was never given a real name.

    He was surprised - very surprised - by the Barracks Master's nod. It looked almost ... content. Approving. As though he liked what he saw, or rather, didn't mind it all too much. It was most certainly not something he had expected.

    As the Barracks Master rambled on about his room assignment and told him about the room, and the other facilities in the Barracks. It sounded five score times better than the 'home' he had come from, and every 'home' he had stayed in since then. If he was right, then that room would be occupied at least by the young boy before him, Elugail. He was not entirely sure whether that was a good or a bad thing.

    Nālo decided to make use of the bathing facilities as soon as possible. He knew he probably didn't smell the freshest, and he planned not to wreck any of the uniform he tried. After all, no one wanted sweat-stained uniform on their first day.

    "Uh ... they make the Master at Arms my trainer as well, Lieutenant. The one called Kaylin," Nālo said, stuttering. "I not know if that good or bad Lieutenant. Heard you say she troublemaker? I don't want make any trouble. I had enough trouble before. Not want any here. Here is fresh start."

    "I do got two question, Lieutenant," he started slowly. "Where is Library? I need learn Common Speech better. I know mine not good." He smiled briefly. "And uh ... are bathing fas- fassile-" Nālo gave up trying to pronounce the complicated word. "- places open all day?"

  48. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #48
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master Office

    The Lieutenant sighed. Just hearing the confirmation that Kaylin was training a second recruit, was already tiring him out. The thought made him sit down in his chair as he wrote down Nardunālo's name in his ledger. He seemed to think things over for a moment as he took his time with the paperwork, and when he put down his quil, he gazed at Nardunālo thoughtfully. He did not comment on the man's name, nor on his explanation regarding it.

    "Do not misunderstand me, Nardunālo: the Master at Arms will train you well when it comes to battle, fighting, and technique. She had proven herself in that regard, and you will hear no bad word about her skill from me. She has, however, given me some grief when it came to... discipline, here at the Barracks." The Lieutenant rose from his chair again, even though he was not quite as tall as the dark-skinned man before him. "Butyou, perhaps, will have a strong enough backbone not to be influenced by her shenanigans, yes?"

    He didn't seem to stumble over the fact that Nardunālo's common speech wasn't all that fluent. "Indeed. The baths are open all day. You might need to heat up some hot water, is all. Everything is available in the bathing area, including towels. All you need to bring are the clothes you wish to wear after. You can find the baths for our male soldiers in the North Wing, up the stairs." The Lieutenant took a second look at Nardunālo's clothes. "You can get some extra basic recruit shirts and trousers at the armoury as well, if you need them. The Library can be found in the Fifth Circle. You would indeed do well to study it further, so you may understand the orders given to you without hesitation. It could mean the difference between life and death, after all, not just for you, but also for your comrades-in-arms."

    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  49. Nardunālo's Avatar
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    #49
    Recruit Nardunālo
    Barracks Master's Office


    The Lieutenant sighed, and scribbled something neatly on paper. Unable to read, let alone write, Nālo guessed it was his name, or something similar. He took his time, and there was a precision behind the movements that altogether annoyed Nālo. If only he himself could write like that. Unsurprisingly, the Lieutenant accepted his name, and the explanation. He hadn't expected any real reaction. Such dislike of Southrons and Easterlings was rife through Gondor, and this was well known in even the highest of places, both military and civil.

    As he stood unmoving, the Barracks Master spoke, and Nālo tried his best to sieve through the elegantly spoken words, listening as carefully as possible. When it came to it, he was glad to have a 'Master' at Arms as his trainer, even if they were prone to a little ... disciplinary issue ... now and then. Ultimately, it would be the fighting that he would learn under her tutelage that would see him prosper and uphold the cause. Her behaviour would be nothing more than her own business. He certainly had no objection to jokes and japes - in fact, he had seen that they could inspire men and women through the joy they brought. Often, in fact, he became the butt of such games, but he would not let it bother him. He had sworn to himself that it wouldn't get to him.

    As the Lieutenant stood, Nālo remarked that he had a slight height advantage over Brian, but the man's pure presence made him seem to tower. Yes, Nālo was muscle-bound and strong, but he did not have the confident air and menacing look of the officer. It was imposing, and he felt himself shrivel just a little, although he tried to keep his expression un-cowed. He nodded along, and laughed inwardly at the irony.

    Thankfully, it transpired that the baths were indeed open all day - a great relief as he knew that he was currently ... not the freshest. The location - North Wing, up the stairs, he stored away. North Wing, he thought. What sort of building would have wings?

    Nālo didn't miss the look that the Barracks Master threw his tattered and shabby clothes, and was grateful that he didn't mention anything entirely disparaging, as he had expected on arrival and come to expect throughout his travels. Courtesy was a rare thing.

    The Library - he would make sure to research common speech; perhaps he could even enlist the help of his fellow recruits. Either way, the information was very welcome, and Nālo agreed wholeheartedly with the Lieutenant. Besides, it might ease a little of the strain of interaction with the people of Gondor, civil and otherwise.

    "Yes, Lieutenant. Thank you, sir," he intoned. "I am dismiss?"

    It wouldn't cause much harm to act well and appropriately on his first day as a recruit, would it?
    Last edited by Nardunālo; 18/Oct/2016 at 09:55 PM.

  50. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #50
    Lieutenant Brian
    Barracks Master's Office


    The Barracks Master nodded. At least this Nardunālo was polite. He could work with polite. "Yes, you are dismissed, recruit," he acknowledged, not quite able to get over how polite the man was. What a welcome change, indeed! Someone who looked fit to be a soldier and who had proper manners!

    "Should you need anything or have questions concerning the barracks, you can come to me." He left out the bit about proper attire, figuring this man would know what was and wasn't fitting.

  51. Ercassie's Avatar
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    #51


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl
    South Wing - Baths

    A set of pale arms germinated upon either side of Isys, rising out of the bathtub and extended in a slow dance of some graceful surge and soar, as though the woman truly intended to elevate herself, lavender bath and all, unto a state of flight. The grey eyes did not darken when she failed to achieve this goal. Indeed, the curve of her soft smile furthered, as her two new friends described both sights and scenes of their enticing city.

    "We might speed so swiftly in a corkscrew race across the cobbles, that to halt us, anyone so bold would have to pursue us themselves, and there be judged as guilty just the same,"

    She was, not unlike Kaylin, already envisaging the ride. So long as there was no law written that would forbid it, then she could not be considered guilty of any wrong-doing. That was the fault of the peacekeepers, to not have considered such creative licence. Naturally Warder would disapprove. But there, .. "Put his head to a book and we shall be liberated .." she suggested, in a quiet, knowing tone, as her arms wearied of, or else merely forgot their game.

    Pele was the first to speak on behalf of Minas Tirith. But she was not alone. And the more that the pair raved, so passionately, ever more so seriously did the girl from Dol Amroth consider the very real opportunity. It was not that she did not love her homeland. It was not that her allegiance was not tied to a world equally as easy on the eye. It was rather more that she was lonely there. For all of the reserved courtly etiquette and the apparent rumours that her estate did in fact boast having neighbour's .... she had never met ... She could not recount the last time she had spent in company of other women who felt about things as she did.

    "Neither one of you regretted moving to Minas Tirith," she realised aloud. Taking from either granted or else intuition that neither Pele or Kaylin was a native of these white stone streets.

    The pair shared with her humorously as they spoke on pranks and fun, though Isys had an inkling that she understood their secret.

    "You never get caught," she decided of the Master-At-Arms, basing her judgement upon the Sergeant's expression. The stranger laid her arms now along the cool rim of the metal tub. "I wonder, though, have you ever been the subject of an entertaining prank ..." she mused.

    No warning else was given before the noblewoman sank low, disappearing beneath the surface of her bath water. Only two white knees protruded, like a pair of snow capped mountain tops to oversee the watery terrain. Isys held her breath as long as it amused her to do so, a life spent in jumping off cliffs and boats and piers ... All culminating in a talent to tease as though she had drowned. She never did.

    At length a raven hill of head broke through the calm skin of expectant water. Isys rediscovered the bathroom and all that awaited her return. Tossing her head, she escaped the wet curtain of long dark hair which swallowed her long face. She laughed girlishly as water splashed the floor to either side of her. Then raised one perfectly groomed and elegant eyebrow.

    "Diversity, as you say, must be encouraged," she agreed with Pele. "I shall stay. I should forewarn Warder that we may need to take visit to Headquarters instead of the Training grounds, come dawn. Your city can teach me to be a soldier instead of a Swan Knight. Every House in Dor-En-Ernil can boast a Swan Knight in the family, after all. Where is the diversity in that ?"

    Isys shrugged, as though she was inclined to make life-changing decisions in foreign bathrooms and the spur of the moment. Which of course, she was. There was of course the chance that they might think her 'decision' a prank itself.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:10 AM. Reason: corrected broken image link

  52. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #52
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    South Wing, Baths

    "Why, there's nothing to regret; the city makes for a great home," Pele replied to the realisation expressed by Isys, and then began wondering if she should start ready to get out of the bath. No matter how relaxing it was, the pleasant procedure should not take forever. A bar of soap in hand, she sat up in her tub and then laughed at the statement that Kaylin was never caught. It was almost true. Usually the redhead had to come forward and admit to it, if pressed.

    However, before she could come up with something witty to say in return, the Dol Amrothian disappeared in her bath-water and did not resurface for so long that Pele began seriously thinking that she should just march over and drag the woman up, even by the hair, if necessary. But then again it was not necessary, as she finally spotted Isys' head again.

    "Oh you..." she muttered under her breath and then took to applying soap to her arms in a leisurely manner and working it up to a lather in the process, so that her tub would eventually seem to be filled with foam. There were definitely positive aspects to being able to experiment with things like making her own soap.

    Then he glanced again at Isys, as she declared her intent to stay, and wondered if that was just a bit of silliness. After all you did not come up with such decisions on the spot, what with logistics and all included in it. However, she proceeded to support it: "Ah, there's always need for more soldiers, unless... you don't mind me chasing after you to make sure you are fit to fight. And if people back home won't come here to search for you and take you home." Having said that, she looked to seewhat Kaylin thought of this possible new comrade, though their ideas of riding down the circles at breakneck speed promised double trouble.

  53. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms Kaylin
    Barracks
    South Wing - Baths

    Neither of you regretted moving to Minas Tirith. Oh, by the Valar, no she did not regret it one bit! While initially, Kaylin hadn't really wanted to come, it had only taken a little while for her to settle in here and find great joy and comfort in the city's stone streets. Kaylin hummed in agreement to Pele's reaction. "A great home, yes," she confirmed, closing her eyes as she continued to relax in the water. With great friends. With great options for amusement.

    When Isys almost blamed Kaylin that she never got caught, the redhead huffed. "Of course I don't get caught," she said, just a bit too quickly and spontaneously, before she even realized the words were coming out of her mouth. Woops. Oh well... This Isys lady didn't seem like she was too stiff, nor did she have the look of a taddle-tale. Kaylin supposed it didn't matter much either way. The Barracks Master already carried quite the grudge against her, after all. That ship had sailed a looooong time ago. The thought made her grin, weirdly bringing her a great amount of pure joy.

    At the sound of a great splash, and some drops splashign over even all the way to her own tub, Kaylin opened an eye to see what was going on, only to hear Isys declare boldly that she would stay. Stay? In the city? The way Isys explained her decision, made Kaylin laugh out loud. "Well, that is wonderful!" she laughed, not worried that the lady might take it the wrong way. "If you need a guide to show you the inns and pubs with the good games, let me know!" Yes, Kaylin was quite savvy when it came to that kind of information. She chuckled. "Warder might not know how to protect you first, though."
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  54. Karis Ziranphel's Avatar
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    Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer’s quarters

    It was early evening, and Ziran had just returned to her own rooms after dinner at the mess. Stripping off her outer tunic with its marks of rank and hanging it over a chair in her room, she gave a tug at her shirt and rolled her shoulders before strolling back to the seating area in her small suite of rooms. She had set up a reading nook there several years ago, with cushioned chair and a thick mat on the floor that held throw pillows set beside her own bookshelves. There was the library and common room of course, but she often liked to have a place of her own to recharge and relax.
    Lowering herself to the mat to sit cross-legged against the wall, she sighed contentedly and picked up the book she had left yestereve. It had been a long day.
    Last edited by Karis Ziranphel; 13/Nov/2016 at 02:25 AM.
    Karis Ziranphel, Captain of Gondor Thūllir Bregedŷr of Ithilien
    Tirlyn Ithilphel of the Evendim hills

  55. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November
    With Thūllir

    It wasn't often that she ventured into the corridor leading to the Officer's Quarters. And even more rare that she would be here with Thūllir walking next to her. The last time she'd even been here was to try and cheer up Pele... and that had been a long time ago, and she had come alone. They weren't here to speak to Pele now, however. They were here to talk to the Captain. Kaylin wasn't looking forward to the conversation - in fact, it had been Thūllir who had gently reminded her of its necessity, despite knowing she did not want to hear it. She could have argued to wait, perhaps, but Karis was more than simply Kaylin's Captain... and while they could have perhaps chosen to postpone the inevitable, it probably wasn't the best of ideas to do so.

    Besides, no matter when it happened, it had to happen. Might as well get it over with, right? Grumbling mentally, but mostly looking uncomfortable rather than anything else, Kaylin walked along with her Ranger until they reached Karis' door. They had had an arm around each other on the way to the Barracks, but had 'de-coupled' upon entering the buildings. Now they were walking together, in stride, but not linked. Kaylin gave Thūllir a look. "Well here we go." They hadn't really talked about how they'd go about this, but she supposed they would figure it out along the way. After taking a deep breath and rolling back her shoulders, she knocked on the door to Karis' quarters.
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 12/Nov/2016 at 02:49 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  56. Karis Ziranphel's Avatar
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    Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr / Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer's Quarters


    Thūllir figured there were certain things that just couldn't be avoided, and were best when faced head-on. Battle was one of them. Fights just tended to go better if you engaged them after some planning, but without running away. Tending to relationships by sharing important news in person was another. Those things didn't tend to go quiteas well relayed through third parties. So, they found themselves at his cousin's door now in the quiet of the evening.

    In the pause before the door opened, Thūllir gave Kaylin a reassuring smile. It was more difficult for her than it was for him. He was somewhat nervous and excited, but also rather matter of fact.

    Ziran had heard the knock with some surprise, but rose after a brief moment and crossed to the door. She ran her fingers through her short hair, ruffling it rather than smoothing it back, and then opened the door. "Kaylin and Thūllir? Do come in." Her surprise was genuine, but she was none the less pleased to see them, and it showed on her face. Individually they had each visited here before over the years, but never together. She stepped back with a smile, and motioned them in. There were chairs, although a few books would need shifting.

    Thūllir placed his hand on Kaylin's back lightly indicate he would follow her as they entered Ziran's living area. "Good evening Cousin."
    "Good evening to you both. You are very welcome! I was just about to have heat water for a cup of tea while I read. Would you like some?" The Captain might not be used to entertaining often, but she could do a decent amount using the small brazer in her rooms. She moved to light the coals and give them a moment to settle in if they wished. Putting water on, she turned to face them once more. "To what do I owe the unique pleasure of having both of you here at once?" She could see that things had settled between the two. They had talked in the intervening month since returning from Ithilien, but it was still good to see that Kaylin and Thūllir were communicating better than they had in the woods.
    Karis Ziranphel, Captain of Gondor Thūllir Bregedŷr of Ithilien
    Tirlyn Ithilphel of the Evendim hills

  57. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November

    Thūllir's smile had been reassuring, yes, and perhaps it made things a little easier. Having him here was a plus more than anything else. Maybe she could ride his wave of excitement. She was mostly nervous herself.
    When the door opened, Ziran looked surprised to see them, but it seemed like pleasant surprise, and Kaylin couldn't help but give the woman a genuine smile in responde. "Thank you," Kaylin said at her invitation, yet Thūllir knew her well. It was almost as if his hand on her back was a way for him to say "go on - don't back out now", and so she entered first, with him following close behind. "Good evening," she added, light in tone, but already more nervous than she wanted to be.

    "Sure," was the reply to the Captain's offer for a cup of tea. Kaylin undid the clasp of her coak and put it over a chair, before taking the couple of books that were on the seat in her hands, and sitting down. She crossed her legs, and told herself to get it together. She wasn't like this! Kaylin was not lacking in confidence! Kaylin was not nervous when something had to be discussed! Kaylin was not afraid to be direct! She never had been, and she shouldn't start now. Her grey-blue eyes went from Ziran to Thūllir, and back. Cousins, they called each other, even though they were not related by blood. Yet they were alike in many things. Thūllir appreciated her direct approach, or he wouldn't have fallen for her in the first place. And Ziran also appreciated not beating around the bush, Kaylin knew from experience. Perhaps the news should wait a while, though, until the Captain was actially sitting down.
    She almost flashed a smile when Ziran asked what had prompted their visit. Unannounced visit, one might even add. Kaylin frowned slightly, giving Thūllir a look. Whether his cousin was a fan of being direct or not, throwing it out now might be pushing things.

    "Well, we wanted to talk to you about something, so here we are. But first, how are you? Things running smoothly?"
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 13/Nov/2016 at 11:53 AM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  58. Karis Ziranphel's Avatar
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    #58
    Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr and Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer's Quarters


    Mid November

    Thūllir joined Kaylin in the seating area, choosing a high-backed one angled next to hers and covered in dark brown leather. He shifted a couple books to a side table and sat, although he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees right away. "Tea would be good." He seconded the assent to the drink offer. He caught Kaylin's slight frown before she spoke, and finally sat back. He could wait. They had waited this long.

    Ziran lifted an eyebrow at Kaylin's comment. Aye, it would make sense that they would come together then, but she couldn't guess at what they wanted to talk about. She turned to pull mugs out and got the tea pot ready as she replied. "Well, things are going alright. Smoothly enough. Our wounded are recovering decently well for those whose injuries will allow them to return to active duty, and we are back in the normal schedules." She paused and measured out tea into the pot. The water heated quickly, and she poured the steaming liquid over the tea leaves. "As for me...well it has just been a long day of work. But it is nice to see the two of you."

    Collecting everything on a tray, she brought it over to the alcove and set it down on a side table. It would take a minute to steep. She propped hands on her hips and looked at each of them in turn with an assessing gaze. Her dark brown eyes showed her curiosity. "So what is it that you wanted to talk about?"

    Thūllir shifted slightly and then leaned forward after a glance at Kaylin and reached to take his wife's hand as he cleared his throat. "Ahh. Well...we wanted to share some news with you actually." He looked back at his dark-haired cousin. He knew Kaylin's reluctance to talk about it, more because of her dread of being treated differently. Perhaps it would help if he brought it up. "Umm...we realized..recently...that we will be adding to our family in a few months, and wanted to let you know."

    Ziran just stared at him a moment as she processed what he said, and then a small smile appeared and slowly grew into a grin. "Well! You have the most round about way of saying things Thūllir. Congratulations!" Stepping forward, she punched him in the shoulder solidly and then turned to Kaylin even as he rubbed at the sore spot with a smiling wince. This explained the uncertainty on Kaylin's face when she came to the door. Realizing that a different reaction might be needed with her, Ziran crouched in front of Kaylin's chair. The broad grin gentled to a genuine smile, and her voice was pitched lower when she spoke again and reached out to put a hand on Kaylin's knee. "I am happy for you Kaylin." She wasn't sure if her Master at Arms was, however.
    Karis Ziranphel, Captain of Gondor Thūllir Bregedŷr of Ithilien
    Tirlyn Ithilphel of the Evendim hills

  59. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #59

    Master at Arms
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    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November

    She listened intently to Ziran as the latter responded to her question, and nodded slowly. A long day... Kaylin almost snorted her understanding. It seemed like every day was a long day, lately. She was always exhausted once evening came near, whether her day had been busy or not. At Ziran"s question, Kaylin's eyes flicked over at Thūllir, and they made eye contact for a moment. Kaylin accepted his hand and leaned back slightly even as Thūllir leaned forward. He would take the lead here, then. She had no objections. Odds were he wouldn't be so blunt as she might be.

    At his chosen words, Kaylin raised her right eyebrow slightly. It was well put, and yes, she would have definitely been more blunt. The way Thūllir said it didn't sound all that ridiculous. Kaylin watched her Captain closely as the woman processed the news, but was careful not to be relieved too quickly when she saw Ziran's smile, and then her grin. Kaylin was still cautious, even when Ziran hit Thūllir's shoulder - although Kaylin would later admit she thought her husband's facial expression rather amusing - and congratulated them heartily. Being Thūllir's cousin, and having gotten to know Kaylin outside of the military as well, it seemed like Ziran had a pretty good idea of Kaylin's possible dubious feelings about the news, however. Kaylin appreciated the way the Captain spoke to her now, so different a reaction than the one she had given Thūllir, but that did not yet change anything. Kaylin was perhaps more paranoid than she should be, but she knew it would happen sooner or later, and to her mind, it would always be too soon.

    "Thank you," she said in a careful tone of voice, meanwhile putting her free hand over Ziran's on her knee. She felt the need to add to Thullir's estimate, to give the Captain a better idea of what 'in a few months' even meant. "A few months meaning early summer. So quite a while yet."
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  60. Karis Ziranphel's Avatar
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    Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr and Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November

    Thūllir
    tried to hide his smile when Kaylin clarified his statement regarding timing, and knew his silence would be best. He knew her concern about being treated differently. It was too new a thing as yet in his opinion, but others might react differently than he.

    Ziran noted Kaylin's careful tone when she replied and placed her hand over Ziran's. She tilted her head to the side when Kaylin continued, and watched her face as much as she listened to the words. There seemed to be more behind saying when the child was due than mere clarification. Yes, the quite a while clued her in. Ziran nodded slowly and narrowed her eyes slightly.

    It took her a moment to reply after some brief thought. "Are you afraid I'll stick you behind a desk and make you sit on pillows for the duration? Master at Arms Kaylin?" She placed her free hand over Kaylin's as well. "I will do my best to listen to you about what you can and cannot do...although some advice from Aunt Nesta later in the game would likely be appropriate as well wouldn't you say?"
    Karis Ziranphel, Captain of Gondor Thūllir Bregedŷr of Ithilien
    Tirlyn Ithilphel of the Evendim hills

  61. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #61

    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November

    Kaylin was watching Ziran closely, listening for any hidden tones as the woman spoke. Her first question sounded terrible, despite its wry tone. Kaylin was glad it amused someone, but Ziran had placed on finger right on one of her biggest fears, she supposed. She frowned slightly when the Captain followed up by saying she would do her best to listen, and added a gentle warning about heeding advice from Thūllir's mother. Well yes, Kaylin thought, mentally grumbling. Like she would be a choice there...

    Her tone was deadpan as she replied, quite seriously. "That is exactly what I am afraid of, Captain." She tilted her chin up slightly. "I would prefer not to be coddled by you or any of my ranking officers." She might allow Thūllir to coddle her some - but that was it! She glanced at him briefly before fixing her eyes on Ziran again. "I don't know who you are supposed to inform, but I should mention we still need to inform my parents. We invited them for midwinter, but that is still over a month away." She was just mentioning it to avoid having the news all over the place before she'd had a chance to tell her own folks. "Nesta and Brennyn already know, obviously," Kaylin added. Her eyes fell on both of her hands in turn. "Now how about everyone lets go of my hands and we have some of that tea? It's not like I'm going to burst out in tears or anything." She scraped her throat involuntarily.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  62. Karis Ziranphel's Avatar
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    Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr and Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer’s Quarters


    Mid November

    Ziran nodded and adopted a more serious expression at Kaylin's tone. She understood not wanting to be coddled. Female soldiers generally had a drive to not be treated differently than their male counterparts. She listened carefully to the underlying tone that Kaylin was using and watched her with clear eyes. The glance at Thūllir made her lips lift slightly. He probably would have to step carefully regarding coddling as well.

    She laughed when Kaylin said they could let go of her hands. She had been about to get up and offer tea anyway, but Kaylin’s phrasing was quite amusing to her. "No coddling. Got it." She gave Kaylin’s hand a pat and then rose to step over and pour the tea.

    After pouring all three mugs full, she offered one to Kaylin first. "I will make note of things for my own records, but no one else needs to know at this point in my opinion. You may be satisfied that I will leave the news to you to share as you see fit. Later I may claim the prerogative to notify others in the command, but only if it directly is concerned with your safety, and by then I suspect you may be showing." They may not be the words Kaylin wished to hear, but as an officer they were what she could offer. The disposition of her soldiers was always a concern to be weighed with operational necessities. "As your friend rather than your commander, I am excited for you, although I know this will mean some changes in life."
    Handing Thūllir his mug and then taking one for herself, Ziran sat down across from them and leaned back to take a sip. "Is there anything specific that I can help with?"

    - - - Updated - - -

    Ranger Thūllir Bregedyr and Captain Karis Ziranphel
    Officer’s Quarters


    Mid November

    Ziran nodded and adopted a more serious expression at Kaylin's tone. She understood not wanting to be coddled. Female soldiers generally had a drive to not be treated differently than their male counterparts. She listened carefully to the underlying tone that Kaylin was using and watched her with clear eyes. The glance at Thūllir made her lips lift slightly. He probably would have to step carefully regarding coddling as well.

    She laughed when Kaylin said they could let go of her hands. She had been about to get up and offer tea anyway, but Kaylin’s phrasing was quite amusing to her. "No coddling. Got it." She gave Kaylin’s hand a pat and then rose to step over and pour the tea.

    After pouring all three mugs full, she offered one to Kaylin first. "I will make note of things for my own records, but no one else needs to know at this point in my opinion. You may be satisfied that I will leave the news to you to share as you see fit. Later I may claim the prerogative to notify others in the command, but only if it directly is concerned with your safety, and by then I suspect you may be showing." They may not be the words Kaylin wished to hear, but as an officer they were what she could offer. The disposition of her soldiers was always a concern to be weighed with operational necessities. "As your friend rather than your commander, I am excited for you, although I know this will mean some changes in life."
    Handing Thūllir his mug and then taking one for herself, Ziran sat down across from them and leaned back to take a sip. "Is there anything specific that I can help with?"
    Karis Ziranphel, Captain of Gondor Thūllir Bregedŷr of Ithilien
    Tirlyn Ithilphel of the Evendim hills

  63. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
    Barracks
    Officer's Quarters

    Mid November

    Ziran was amused. Amused! Well. Kaylin might have been amused too, if someone else had been in her stead. She realized that. She could place Ziran's amusement. She accepted the cup the woman gave her with a thoughtful expression on her face as she listened to what Ziran had to say. What she said, didn't sound too bad... until she mentioned 'showing'. A scowl formed on Kaylin's face, as she dryly responded with a: "Right."

    She actually really appreciated what Ziran had said about no one else needing to know for the moment. What she said after, only made sense. Kaylin just hadn't wanted to think that far ahead. Oh by the Valar. I'm gonna be huge at some point. There was comfort in that it would be temporary, of course. Kaylin was pretty sure she'd feel like a bull in a porselain store. Still scowling some, she blew softly on her tea. Gah. Tea. And I can't really take the edge off with alcohol, either. This is gonna be a long pregnancy.

    When Ziran said she was happy for her, for them - Kaylin's scowl softened some. Perhaps she wasn't giving off the best impression. It wasn't that she felt terrible about it herself. Not exactly. But yes, there would be plenty of changes. At the Captain's question, whether there was anything specific she could do, Kaylin could only give her a blank stare. She didn't think so. After a long moment of silence, she turned her head slightly to look at Thūllir.
    Last edited by Arnyn Dealedwen; 14/Nov/2016 at 11:11 PM.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  64. Nardunālo's Avatar
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    Recruit Nardunālo
    Barracks Master's Office


    Nālo nodded at the imposing Lieutenant and breathed an internal sigh of relief. It looked like he had finally managed to not only be enlisted, but to not show himself up in front of his superiors - yet. "Thank you, Lieutenant."

    He snapped his fist into another (albeit slightly clumsy) salute and turned on his heel, ambling over to the door and out, pulling it shut slowly and carefully as he went. He didn't want to slam the door after all. That would not have been a good thing to do. Once outside, he exhaled sharply, and set off towards the Armoury. Now that he was a soldier, and would sleep and eat like a soldier, he'd best look like a soldier too.

    This in mind, he strode out of the Barracks with a slight bounce to his step, the noise of his paces loud and heavy.

  65. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Early January


    Master at Arms
    Officers' Quarters
    Outside of Pele's room


    Now that the inner circle was in the know, and she wouldn't be able to hide certain things for much longer (as in, any day now someone might notice), Kaylin had decided there was one friend in particular to start with. Someone mature, someone old enough to understand (unlike Hazel), yet also someone who would recognize the difficulties of the situation, considering their shared profession.

    Pele would have already noticed the fatigue the past months, and had asked a few times why Kaylin had gone so pale - even more so than was usual. It had happened on a few occasions that the Master at Arms had gotten morning sickness during an early duty shift, but somehow she had always managed not to gather too much attention and to ward off any more obvious signs. But now that the first three months were good and well behind her... She wouldn't be able to hide anything for much longer.

    It just had to be Pele who she told next.

    Kaylin knocked on her friend's and Sergeant's door with a resigned sort of expression on her face.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  66. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #66
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    Doing nothing could be a curse at some times, and a blessing at others; currently Pele found it to be a blessing. Her mind was at ease and did not roam towards any troublesome matters, and she was simply immersing herself in observing the play of sun spots on that piece of outdoors she could see from her comfortable spot. And comfortable she was, sitting in her chair with outstretched legs and feet propped up on the desk; her fingers playing with a bookmark she had removed from the book she had recently finished reading.

    However, the room itself left something to be desired; pieces of equipment and uniform left here and there in a rather careless manner. Pele knew that she should get up and actually make sure everything was neatly put away, but she just couldn't bring herself to move just because of a few items that needed to be picked up. Surely it could wait.

    Then the knock came at the door, and for a split second the Sergeant wondered if she should pretend that she wasn't inside, but then again maybe it was something important.

    "Come on in, the door's not locked!" she raised her voice enough for it to be heard on the other side of the door, but otherwise didn't move from her position. At that moment, it didn't occur to her that it might have been some superior officer, and in that case she might receive scolding for the lack of protocol and probably for the disorderly room as well.

  67. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    Slightly surprised, but rather amused about the Sergeant's called out words, Kaylin opened the door with a grin on her face. Entering the room and closing the door behind her, she gave Pele a look. "What was that, Pele? What if it had been Karis at the door?" Well, she might have been amused rather than anything else. "Or what if it had been Lieutenant Brian?" He was the absolute stickler for protocol around here, after all.

    Unable to keep her eyes from scanning the room, Kaylin's grin grew a little. "I don't mind you taking it easy, mind you." As far as Kaylin was concerned, this room was Pele's domain, and she decided how tidy (or not) it should look. "I really wanted to talk to you as one friend to another, instead of a master at arms to a sergeant. Got a minute?"
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  68. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    Hearing Kaylin's voice, she turned her head just enough to see her friend with the corner of her eye.

    "Eh. Whatever. I don't mind a bit of embarrassment, if it must be. If it were either of them. I don't get too many opportunities to sit around just like this," Pele answered, not in the least concerned. However, this was not such a good position to keep if a good conversation was to be had, so she removed her feet from the table and ran her hand over it to brush off any dust.

    "I have more than a minute for you, as you might have noticed," she said with a smile, as she pushed the few things that were on the floor in a small pile, snatched them up and tossed them into the closet to be sorted out later. "Make yourself comfy, Kaylin. The bed or the chair is all yours. Tea or something to nibble on?" She looked at the collection of snacks stashed away in the box on the shelf. "I have various nuts and dried fruit, and some candies, and... whatever that thing is..." She said and then placed the box on the table to be reached in case of necessity.

    Then she turned to face Kaylin and said: "So, what's on your mind?"

  69. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    She smiled half gratefully, half hesitantly, when Pele said she had more than a minute, and grinned when her friend gathered a pile of things and threw it unceremoniously into the closet. That's a chore that'll get postponed time and time again, Kaylin thought to herself. With a nod, she chose the chair to take a seat on, and even though she shook her head when Pele first offered something to drink and/or eat, Kaylin frowned thoughtfully and finally raised a finger. "Maybe I would like some tea. I'll pass on the nibbled for now, though, thanks."

    Scratching her chin as Pele focussed her full attention on her, the redhead wondered how to go about things. "Well... I'm not sure where to begin, really. You remember the sudden alarm, back in the fall, when we were called to arms by the Captain and were immediately sent out to the edge of Ithilien?" She waited for Pele to give a sign of acknowledgement before nodding and continuing. "You might also remember I hadn't seen Thūllir for a while, and I wasn't in the best of places at the time... With the battle, and the victory, and what not..."

    Her voice trailed away momentarily, but after a little shrug, it came back loud and clear again. None of that was important. "But all of that doesn't really matter, I guess - the thing is... We hadn't exactly planned for it, but it turns out Thūllir and I are having a kid later this year. Probably early summerish." Kaylin was carefully watching her friend's face while trying to talk in a light-hearted tone and seeming aloof. Even though she would not admit it, she was hoping for some kind of a positive reaction, so that she might be reassured herself... but of what she needed reassuring, she wasn't exactly certain.
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  70. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    Pele threw a couple of raisins into her mouth almost by habit, since she never really set her snack-box down without taking something from it. "Tea it is then," she replied simply and reached for the teapot that had been covered by the towel. "Peppermint. It's still nicely warm, though not hot as if just taken off the stove." She poured tea in two cups, set one down near Kaylin and held the other in hand as she sat in her bed, cross-legged.

    "Mmm..." the Sergeant murmured a sort of affirmative response, though her brow furrowed in thought, as she tried to figure out where exactly her friend was headed by mentioning that Ithilien fight. They had settled the strange disagreement that had estranged them before that, and she could think of nothing else that could be linked to that time. Soon the questions were answered - but the answers were not what she had expected. However, the news brought an immediate look of satisfaction to Pele's face, and then a slow grin formed on her lips.

    "Why, that's a bit of a roundabout way to say it!" she then laughed, and then continued rather happily: "I did have suspicions, but then again you were rather professional at disguising any sure hints that would prove my suspicions were correct. But that is excellent news indeed!" Quite impulsively Pele then got up and gave Kaylin a sudden and hearty, though brief hug.

    As she settled back down again, she thought of another aspect that would come with this bit of news. "Hmm. I don't think you should be allowed to meet any orcs from now on," she said half-seriously and half-jokingly. "Besides, even though they say that we always need more soldiers, I don't think Gondor will fall just because you'll take it easy for some time." Pele paused for a while, and then said with great confidence: "You know, if you find that you need some thing or other, I'll give you all the support I can."

  71. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    It was, by all means, a good reaction. She wondered at the satisfaction that spread across Pele's expression, but it was soon replaced by a grin, laughter, and an enthusiastic hug. Kaylin couldn't not grin in return! Really, the reaction was better than Kaylin had expected, perhaps, but then again... It was always a problem for her when people assumed they knew what was best and told her what they thought she should NOT do... Following orders was all good and well, but when it came to what she might or might not be able to handle, what she shouldn't do for a sense of safety, and all things related to it - something automatically bristled within the redhead.

    And so her eyes narrowed at her friend, and her arms crossed in front of her chest. It's not that she was an idiot and didn't know that meeting orcs was a risk that was probably too dangerous to take right now. It was more that she wished to make that decision known herself, and she did not automatically want to be cast aside. Illogical as her natural response was, Kaylin could not help it, and she had to work hard to tell herself mentally - over and over - that Pele's words were coming from a place of caring, and that she only meant the very best... With a great deal of effort, Kaylin slightly relaxed, and her arms uncrossed reluctantly.

    "Thank you," she finally said, somewhat tersely, in response to the last words her friend uttered. Pele was really only trying to help, but... "You know, I can keep up most of my activities and even a lot of my exercise during this time. I won't exactly be useless, and I'm needed for whatever reason, I will refuse to hide behind..." she wasn't sure how to finish that, so she left it unsaid. "But yes, I won't go signing up for any patrols or expeditions, and I expect the Captain will no longer allow me into battle for a good while."

    Something she hadn't considered, suddenly hit her. "Oh no," she breathed, her eyes going wide. "Does that mean they'll go and give me all of the paperwork?"
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  72. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    Kaylin's reaction to the last statement she made did not baffle Pele, and in fact she found it rather amusing, since it somewhat reminded her the attitude she had displayed when forced to obey the orders of the healers, even when she thought the precautions were way too exaggerated. So she only chuckled and raised her hands as if to ward of an invisible attack.

    "I did not mention activities or exercise, did I? Only orcs, because... you know, I'd still like to have you around and be able to babysit your kid at times, perhaps," she said, merriment dancing in her blue eyes as she added somewhat teasingly: "And it wouldn't do if you became a couch potato well before you... started waddling instead of running briskly."

    Upon the mention of paperwork, Pele's left eyebrow rose slightly and shesaid a bit more seriously: "Well, I suppose that is a possibility that they might make a desk your partner for a while, but who knows. Don't think you should be too scared of it anyway, as I'm sure you'd find a way to amuse yourself a bit no matter what you do."

  73. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    Mixed emotions there! Kaylin was first thinking how sweet it was of Pele to mention babysitting, but then her warm thoughts were brutally interrupted by one single word.

    Waddling.

    Horrified, Kaylin silently regarded her friend. By the Valar. That was a thing, wasn't it? I'll look like a bloody idiot. Waddling from one place to the next. Hardly comfortable. Not very attractive either, she thought, thinking of Thūllir. "Oh, don't you worry," Kaylin finally told Pele. "You can babysit, alright." She spread her hands as if announcing something wonderful. "Auntie Pele! Won't that be something?"

    "Just as a warning, you are right, I would find a way to amuse myself, even with paperwork - but then that might lead to somewhat funnier documents than is the norm... Just saying..." Now it was Kaylin's turn to raise her hands. Perhaps Pele could exert some influence and keep her away from paperwork, or at least a lot of it. "Sergeants might suddenly become Chargeants, Captains might turn into Slaptains, that sort of thing. Or I might get a lifetime supply of potato chips sent to the house."

    Quite content, she drank from the cup of tea. "Hmm!" she smiled. "Peppermint is rather good!"
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  74. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    "Well, being an auntie doesn't sound all that bad, I say!" Pele said enthusiastically, but then she couldn't help but wonder if she would ever have any children of her own. This far she hadn't been able to let go of Maldir, and thus had not been willing to consider allowing any other man into her life, and by now she felt that she might never be ready to trust someone again on such a deep level. But then again she had so many other things going on that maybe it wasn't that important. Or so she tried to convince herself. Such thoughts caused her gaze to darken slightly, but she didn't allow herself to dwell on it for longer than a moment, and so smiled again soon afterwards.

    She found the whole idea of Kaylin messing up the papers very funny, and commented on it: "Why, receiving a slightly strange document would probably make my day, since mostly everything is so proper that I can hardly find a single mistake to fix my gaze on." Not that Pele was consciously playing an editor, but she did have a tendency to spot every little thing that was out of place. "But I doubt Lt. Brian would be in awe of it. But will see if it's possible to find something more to your taste than staring at heaps of papers all day long."

    She emptied her cup of tea in one long drink, sat the cup on the table and proceeded to stretch like a lazy cat in the sunshine, before tucking her feet under her again. "Yeah, I find peppermint rather refreshing, so I've used up almost half of the big stash I had collected this summer. But suppose I could try and get some from the kitchens, if I run out of mine. Or the Houses."

    "So..." Pele then said thoughtfully after a while and glanced at Kaylin. "What other plans have you made for today?"

  75. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    "I don't care what Lieutenant Brian would or would not be in awe of," Kaylin said in a perhaps surprisingly level tone of voice. She did not much care for the man, and she had found that the longer she was here, the less she thought of him. A dangerous slope, yet it was what it was. She did not really speak of it to others, mostly keeping her thoughts about him to herself, but now this particular comment had slipped through. It wasn't the worst of comments, yet it did give an indication of what she thought of one officer to another - and Kaylin was usually much more prudent, but perhaps the hormones were getting to her, because she saw no need to correct herself even once the words had slipped out.

    "Finding something else to do other than paper pushing would be preferable, aye," she just added, before drinking some more of the tea and nodding at Pele when her friend brought up getting more somewhere. At Pele's question, though, Kaylin frowned. "Plans?" She realized she hadn't exactly been the most sociable in a long time - first with her moods, and then being so tired all the time after duties - and when Thūllir was home, she spent most of her free time alone with him these days, or with family. "I guess I have none," she said pensively, reflecting on how much her life had changed already, and wondering whether she liked it. A little frown settled upon her brow. "So if you have any suggestions, I am all ears." Now that she once again had more energy, she would have to rectify this.

    "Tell me, has anything funny or interesting been going on in the barracks lately? Anyone who's filled the vacancy of resident prankster yet? Or just any kind of mild troublemaking abound?" Her eyes sparkled as she searched Pele's. "Or have you been the most mischievous person here, lately?"
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  76. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    "You don't, hmm," Pele muttered, though Kaylin's statement regarding Lt. Brian did not come to her as a surprise; after all it could be observed even without expressly saying it. However, Pele herself was more cautious, though she did not always approve of his ways of maintaining discipline in the barracks. And then a random thought sneaked into the Sergeant's mind, and she wondered if there was some not too flattering thing or other that Kaylin possibly thought of her; at the same time she knew that even if there was something it was likely that her friend would rather sooner than later tell it to her face and not hide it.

    As for the plans, she hadn't had any up to this point either, but perhaps that could be remedied. "I was actually planning to be lazy and do nothing, but come to think of it, maybe a game of darts could be useful. Or something other competitive. Unless you have a mind to join me in laziness?" Pele grinned and then shrugged lightly. "In other words, I've no idea what else to do."

    "And you know what... you should grab Thullir and move back in here," she said rather seriously and then laughed almost right afterwards. "There's surprisingly little trouble, and maybe pranks of only very local scale. So the position of the resident prankster is still vacant. And what do you mean - me the most mischievous person?" she blinked innocently. "I've always been very appropriate, as you know. Or suppose I have no idea what exactly I have been doing lately. At any rate, there hasn't been too much fun."

  77. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    "Darts!" Kaylin interjected enthusiastically. Perhaps that might be fun. If they did it at a pub or at the common room... And involved random people. That was almost the most fun, really. "No, I don't think I'll join you in laziness, Pele..." she said with a little grin. "Nor will I be grabbing Thūllir and moving back in here, hilarious as that might turn out to be in a number of months..." Although it would amuse her to no end to watch Lieutenant Brian be driven crazy by a crying baby. Or a mischievouw toddler. Or a terrible two-year-old. Kaylin chuckled.
    The fact that no one had taken over her position, did make Kaylin frown. "What?" she demanded. "No one?! Really?!" That was baffling. "I mean, of course, as you say, you are always highly appropriate - nothing but respectful and correct behaviour, yes yes..." She scraped her throat, and after a moment of silence, leaned forward slightly to question Pele further. "Not even a recruit? A new member who wants to test some boundaries? No one at all?!"
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  78. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    The idea of Lieutenant Brian ending up surrounded by a flock of small children, if a number of families moved into the barracks made Pele laugh aloud, suddenly. "Why, it's a pity you don't want to teach our barracks master the role of a babysitter," she managed to say between a few more laughs, and then added more seriously after having calmed down some: "In fact, I don't even know if he has any family, kids, or maybe grandchildren. It has always been just business with him." While she had tried to go after Lothar in an attempt to make him ever that little more sociable, it had never occurred to her that she should talk non-military things with the Lieutenant. Maybe it had something to do with his higher rank, and that business-like attitude at all times.

    "Anyway," she said, a small smile still playing on her lips, as she looked at Kaylin. "There really isn't that much to tell you. Unless it is Cadil with his awfully silly actions now and again, though I doubt he means them as a prank. Though he too has become slightly more serious these days," Pele looked ponderously at her friend. "Maybe I should do something a bit crazy here. For the purposes of training, as always," she added, though she did not really know how something like that could look practically.

    Reaching for some more raisins from her stash of treats, she then asked: "So, darts then? I suppose we could go out somewhere to play, unless your hubby expects you to be home any moment." She looked at her feet clad in comfortable woollen socks and thought that if they headed out into the town somewhere, she'd have to put on something more appropriate for a social setting.

  79. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Master at Arms
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    Still severely unimpressed (and downright disappointed) that no one had been pulling pranks since she had left her room at the barracks, Kaylin was partially making a face when Pele explained the lack of mischief further. "That's terrible," the redhead mumbled. "Army barracks aren't proper barracks without some trouble now and then, everyone knows that." Even Cadil got more serious? What was this world coming to??

    "Yes, perhaps you should do something crazy here! It seems like the place can use it, Pele, come on!" Not that she was trying to incite bad behaviour or anything. Aherm. "You could start a good food fight, that's been a while too, then. Or put piles of random stuff in front of Lieutenant Brian's room, so he can hardly get out. That'll make him go proper insane." She nodded, as if she had much knowledge on the matter.

    Then again, she did know how to push the LT's buttons.

    "Darts, it is!" she agreed, trying to forget about the lack of pranks. (It really would be best not to think on it too much, it was really killing her enthusiasm.) "I don't think he's expecting me home any minute. For dinner, probably but that's a way off." The more she thought about it, the more excited she was getting about the whole darts idea. She was already imagining the hustle and bustle of the pub or inn, and the people she'd see and the silliness that would inevitably follow. Kaylin followed Pele's gaze to her feet. "Those look nice and warm," she said. "Now take them off and get ready!" she added cheerfully.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  80. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    "Ah, never fear, I'm sure a prankster or two will arrive soon enough, and things will be back to normal," Pele said, being quite sure that it would not be possible to have everyone 100 percent disciplined all the time. However, she herself did not feel too inclined to come up with something silly for the time being, no matter how much she'd like to have a hearty laugh.

    Now it seemed that her friend had taken a hold of the darts idea, and it meant no more being lazy all day long. "Fine, fine," Pele mumbled and gave Kaylin a grin, as she moved off to the closet. "I'll just put on something slightly less comfortable, and I'll be ready to go," she added, looking through the collection of clothes she had. Perhaps a different tunic and something warm, like a sweater, under her cloak. Without too much ado she quickly changed, put on her boots and reached for her cloak.

    "Well, I'm ready then," she announced, and then remembered to grab also a pouch with some coins - it would probably be nice to eat and drink something, just in case darts proved to be a hunger-inducing activity. Marching over to the door she pushed it open and nodded to Kaylin: "Shall we then?"

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    #81


    Lady Ilisys Azrubźl
    With Pele and Kaylin
    South Wing Baths, the Barracks >> The Stables

    (a few months ago now)

    The bath water, for all it’s fragrant offering, now threatened to wrinkle. Isys looked as though she might once again delve beneath the surface, yet stopped short, and merely breathed in deep of the lavender aroma. A shield to recover senses, or merely good scent.

    You .. chase .. ? ” she teased Pele, slow and seemingly in idle interest although she drew her words forth as though a choice of toys that she might elect to play with. The Sergeant’s reaction was encouraging, which was most .. encouraging. The question of her kin though making a chase of their own to trek her home, now that did breed an interesting thought. She could well conceive of the idea that her mother might send an ‘escort’ to see her back to Dol Amroth. The insinuation saw the young woman to duck her head a second time. Almost modestly now. Else to conceal entertainment at the prospect. It would for certain not be the first time ..

    Oh, that was only that they imagined we were eloping ..” she shrugged, in a half explanation, over one pale shoulder, as she abruptly stood tall and carefree in the tub. If this was a shocking revelation to impart, it’s impact was muted by Kaylin’s accidental admission. Her sly interrogator wove a smile across a disarmingly slender jawline. That active eyebrow took flight once again, with silence making suggestion of mirth and also a degree of admiration.

    Life in Minas Tirith promised certain to be interesting. Patting herself scarcely dry, the visitor then sifted through what clothing Pele had kindly proffered. She held each piece up before her in it’s turn, as though contemplating how best to invade it’s embrace. Or else she awaited the aide of a lady’s maid. Or else she awaited to see if they might expect she would fall to this latter ..

    I heard oftentimes my father speak of Minas Tirith's Silver Cellar,Isys finally thrust her sable mane of damp hair through a soft neckline and back out into the light. She smoothed down the borrowed attire, and swayed slightly where she yet stood, rising on each toe in doing so, that she might judge the lines of how the cloth fell about her. “He considered it a worthy rival to Dol Amroth's House of Tables, which does lend it fair intrigue.” she mentioned, before falling dumb in the sight that a nearby mirror offered. Girlishly, she extended a lengthy observation of the unusual image.

    Warder ” her lips made lazily with the ruse of bewilderment, when that Man was mentioned, before his long-time associate had clearly recalled who the name referred to. Suddenly then she gathered up the small nest of ruined clothes from the floor, those which she had escaped from so recently. Now expertly crumpled in addition to their dung-stench, she tossed the entire little heap out of the window, as though this was utterly normal, and turned back unexpectant to her kind guides.

    I will see you again,” she stopped short of departing long enough to bestow this belated promise, or else threat. There should by rights have followed some vow of returning the lent garb to it’s owner, in an impeccable state, and soon. But Isys had been taught to leave a room in great anticipation of more yet that she might offer. Elseways she had forgotten the sentiment until a future point in time where the subject would seem quite randomly recalled to memory.






    Anardil "Warder" Thavron
    With Cadil.
    Stables

    Those reclining in the barracks’ baths were not alone in embarking upon a little luxury. In the Stables, Warder had taken to his usual tendency, pampering each of the spoilt horses as though they were indeed queens of Numenor. Duvain and Sultal were swiftly put at ease, regardless of the delicate mood that had been aired not long before. Young Cadil, the Squire had allowed with a polite nod, to play host in this, his homeground. Not only did custom dictate that it was correct and proper manners, but the elder Man deemed that it should put the youth more at ease to take up this confidence.

    He had not missed the nervous darting glances of the stablehand, and could begin to imagine the embarrassment of recent revelations. The stalls allowed him enough privacy though that he would not be blatantly watching over Cadil’s chores. Still, the dagger was not ignored for any long period of time. Warder had given his word to take up a duty, however briefly, and his word was not only his bond but also a sure place to demonstrate respect for the folk of this whole establishment.

    He perused to himself some many avenues of possible conversation, meaning with the best intentions to partake of friendly conversation with Cadil, howsoever alien it was for him to speak to those outside of needing to. It was something of a blessing that the lad spoke up first therefore. It was right and good to respond when addressed, and the fact of his not taking a bold approach might be more accommodating anyway. Cadil spoke freely, which might mean that he was seeking to try out what sort of ‘guard’ he had been left with, or else he was demonstrating just the sort of amiable cheer which had seen him compromise his professionalism.

    Boys will be boys after all.

    We are expected to arrive at Minas Tirith in some timely fashion, even from so far as Dol Amroth, in times of war,” he recited, his focus upon his task as much as keeping his tone steady and calm. “It does no harm to practice this journey upon occasion. Next time might be that we should come by sea, to compare the speed in altered fashion”.

    You have been employed in military service a time yet ?” the Squire had begun to lose himself in the familiarity of his well-practiced task. Time spent with the horses of home made strange lands feel somewhat lesser so, and with each moment passing, he was slowly ebbing toward deeming Cadil as approachable. “We have a lad but eight years at home, in training to be a herald ..



    Where this courageous line of thought may even have led to the emission of memories, growing up a page and squire from a young age himself on a great lord’s estate .. potential was never realised. For sooner than time might suggest as plausible for how long she had spent in bathing (by contrast), Isys made a striking entrance by swinging door open. She dragged behind her the trail of ruined clothes, which Warder harried to salvage.

    I had great suspicion you would forsake me for our four-footed ladies,” the noblewoman addressed her aide, unconcerned, even as she drew to Duvain’s side. “I am never wrong ..

    I shall break words with Lieutenant Brian and without delay, my ladyWarder assured his employer, having recognised a failure in his attention to one duty over the other.

    Isys though was already examining the dagger which Pele had left for Cadil. “There is not a need,” she mused, entranced by the item in her hands more so than the words which she gifted sound. Having walked straight past Lieutenant Brian’s office, in her search for her assistant, the lady had walked in, irrespective of the closed door, glanced about the place and departed with just as little thought for decorum. She had expected to find her friend there, and yet here he was stood, still in the Stables. She had not stayed long enough a time to gauge the Lieutenant’s opinion on her very brief visit .. That would have to wait ..

    We shall have more time with the Lieutenant upon another occasion, I am sureIsys kindled a smile in the hearth of her fair lips. She handed the dagger to Cadil with a reverence of grand address. “This is a fine thing,” she whispered at his ear. “I would not leave it out of your possession were I you .. We are to business ..

    And so having redirected her subject rather without warning, Isys waited for the jump to action. Warder stared, expectant at his friend and employer the both, but did not demand explanation. There was little point. Isys had her reasons for all that she did, but these rarely came to light until after he had already recognised their worth, after the fact.
    Last edited by Ercassie; 03/Sep/2017 at 10:11 AM. Reason: corrected broken image links

  82. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #82
    Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    It was almost midday, and Pele had just returned from the morning session at the training grounds; she was still in full gear, except for the helm which she had deposited on the desk. She did not hurry, well aware that she still had a plenty of free time until the city patrol duty around the midnight. The plan was to get rid of all the armour, head out into the city for a meal and perhaps some good company, do some shopping in the market and such things.

    But whilst busy with her own plans and thoughts she had not paid too much attention to the man who had been following her for a while as she made her way to the barracks - she had assumed that he was simply going to his own room. However, the knock came at the door, and as she replied with permission to enter, the same man now stood in her room, closing the door behind him.

    Her arms crossed, she regarded the man none too gently and asked in a somewhat annoyed voice: "Am I needed somewhere? What's the problem?" She half expected to be asked to take on some duty or other, perhaps someone needed a healer, or one of the commanders wanted her to do something.

    The man seemed to hesitate for a while, left Pele's irritation without a response and proceeded to say the few words he had prepared in advance: "Unfortunately I have brought you very sad news." He produced a small package and held it out for Pele to take. "Maldir, your husband, is dead." The words came out rather abruptly, but he was a man of few words and did not know how to make the message less harsh, if the message of someone's passing could even be made less harsh as such.

    Almost every day Pele had feared that such news would reach her, and she had tried to prepare herself; however, now that the frightful words were actually spoken she refused to believe them.

    "Are you sure?" she asked in a rather level tone, as if the content of the message did not affect her, and reached out to take the offered package.

    "Aye, Sergeant," the man replied. "I can provide a few details only, though." Which he proceeded to give; however, Pele did not hear even half of it, as she stood, outwardly almost like a statue of stone, while her mind struggled to keep control over the dangerously rising storm in her heart so she would not fall apart. Apparently handling the internal conflict took all the attention and she had forgotten all about the messenger, even though she stared right at him. When he shifted uncomfortably and cleared his throat, Pele realised that he was possibly waiting for her to react to what he had said.

    "Sorry," she muttered. "I think you will have to explain it later once more. I need time. You may leave."

    "Are you sure?" it was now the man's turn to ask, though he did not know what use he would be in providing any consolation. He had learned soldiering, not handling people's grief.

    "Leave me alone," Pele's blue eyes narrowed, warning the man that pressing the issue more would result in trouble. "Get out already," she added almost in a growl, when the messenger hesitated with his hand on the door handle.

    He stepped outside, but still suggested over the shoulder: "Perhaps I could ask someone else to join you?..."

    "If you dare send someone into danger of getting beaten into dust. Told you leave me alone!"
    she slammed the door almost in the man's face, turned around and marched over to the window. "Just breathe... get a hold of yourself," she whispered, holding the package close to her heart, though still standing tall and staring out the window. She had learned to suppress the pain, whether physical or emotional, and move on, so that only few people ever saw her vulnerable, if she could help it. Even now, alone and away from every eye, she put up a strong facade, fighting against the grief and pain with all her might. A thought occurred to her that she should lock the door, but she was afraid that moving even one inch would cause her to lose carefully maintained control.

    Somehow she had managed to keep the hope alive this far that Maldir would eventually return, no matter how unreasonable it had seemed in face of what people told her, and now every last bit of this hope was shattered into shambles. Robbed of the carefully cultivated dreams, she now felt despair rising in her heart, and a feeling of indescribable loneliness overtook her.

    "You're not allowed to be weak," her soldier's mind insisted. "You still have a late shift to attend to." She clenched her teeth, determined not to let the ever growing mixture of long subdued pain and emotions be expressed. No self-pity parties. No tears. However, soon she felt the tension transform into a lump in her throat, as well as occasional shiver. This did not do at all.
    Last edited by Pele Alarion; 10/Apr/2017 at 10:48 PM.

  83. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #83
    'Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    For a long time she stood by the window, trying to fight off the onslaught of grief and remain composed somehow. She should not have cherished the hope of seeing him again; she should have known that this would happen. But still... how could she not have hoped against all hope that he would return? Such internal debate only made her condition worse.

    Moving away from the window, Pele slid down on the floor, armour and all, supporting her back against the bed and pulling up her knees, hugging them close to her and resting her forehead on them. The memories came all flooding in, and she finally was unable to hold back the tears. She did not care to wipe them away and let them soak into her trousers, as she sobbed quietly, still somewhat aware that if she allowed her pain full control everyone in the barracks would hear it.

    She thought of the first time she saw Maldir at the Headquarters; and that silly wink of his, which she had thought rather inappropriate at the time in the military setting.

    She thought of the time on a snowy hill when she had enjoyed sledding in a very childish manner, and he had joined in the fun.

    And then there was that ball, when they had danced together. The memory of that look deep into his eyes by the end of a particular dance... It still was so alive in her mind, as if it has happened just yesterday. It must have been the very first time she had properly looked at him and maybe accepted the fact that he was a very likeable person.

    Also that time when they had been out training, and she had fallen over, scared from his blurry image behind the curtain of the waterfall, and the long time she had spent sitting up in the tree until he found her. And Maldir had all but gifted the victory in the quarterstaff sparring to her, only because he had seemed so taken aback by the light graze of his staff against her cheek.

    And the picnic when he had proposed to her, and read her that lovely verse of his... and the wedding itself. Suddenly and quite unexpectedly Pele felt resentment join the storm of her emotions. He had promised not to leave her! Even though she had managed to live without him for years, she missed his presence in her life, she needed him here and now.

    Lost in the labyrinth of her emotions, Pele wept until all the tears seemed to be gone, and only pain remained, like a deep wound still bleeding and left untreated. She felt lost and lonely in her grief, and quite unsure of how she should continue from now on. She had seen many a loss of life and had been able to handle it and console others, but somehow this was... different.

    She had been sitting on the floor for what seemed countless hours, almost without moving at all and undisturbed. The messenger must have made sure that nobody troubled her, though perhaps she actually needed people now more than ever. However, now was not the time because it was late and she had to get ready for the guard duty. But getting ready consisted only of a bit of cold water on her face and grabbing her helmet from where she had left it. Slowly and hesitantly she left the hiding place of her room to attend to pending duty.

  84. Isolde's Avatar
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    #84
    Unexpected visitor
    Barracks


    AUNTIE PELE!!! A childs voice rang down the hall of the Ladies corridor. "AUNTIE PELEEE!" He called again. A young boy, aged 7, with light blonde hair that hung straight down to his shoulders stepped from door to door. Peeking in and seeing no one he moved on to the next door. For one so young he carried himself with a light step, barely making a sound as he moved through the hall. He was slight of build but there was strength in the lithe limbs already. Keen blue eyes moved in search of one in particular.

    "Auntie!! Peleee!!" He was sure he heard his Mother speak of her being in the barracks. He just had to find her, how else was he going to see Gondors magnificent horses. He loved horses. He should, being half Rohir he had been around them all his life and although Rohan had alot of pretty horses he'd heard stories of horses of such beauty it would make a man weep. He wasn't sure if he would cry but...he was willing to risk it if he could see one.

    He moved to the next door and now becoming frustrated he took a deep breath. "AUNTIEEEEEE PELEEEEE!!!" Now, that should get someones attention he reasoned.
    Mourgan Alarion Soldier Army of Gondor

  85. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #85
    'Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    Tired from a bit of boring paperwork and warmed by the sunlight streaming in through the window, Pele had drifted off into a short catnap. Leaning back into the chair and feet propped on the table, the papers shifted to the far corner, she enjoyed these sweet moments of rest; that is, until a shrill voice in the hallway shattered it.

    Still under the spell of drowsiness and recognising only her name and the urgency in the call and disregarding the title which was rather unusual to be used for her in the barracks, and the obvious sign that the voice was a child's, she sprang to her feet, snatched up the sword and hurried into the hallway.

    "Here!" she responded just as urgently, and then realised that it was not a soldier she was looking at. Startled and somewhat confused she stared at the lad for a few moments, looking rather sheepish. Lowering her sword, she motioned for him to enter the room.

    "Now, what is this all about, Orlin? You made it sound like the house was on fire or something!" Pele said, as she stowed away her weapon in a safe place out of the reach of his little hands, and then scooped him up in a greeting, lifting him almost to the very ceiling. "Wow, you've grown quite a lot! A fine young man indeed."

    According to her last words she set him back down, put her hands on her hips and regarded him rather seriously with a raised eyebrow: "Well? Report! What is the matter then!" Now that she was fully awake, she began to wonder if there really was an urgent situation, since normally Orlin would not have gotten too far beyond the entrance without being called to order by someone. He must have used some sneaky tactics to get this far at any rate.

  86. Isolde's Avatar
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    #86
    Orlin
    Sneaky Sneak
    Officers Quarters, Rm 2
    w/ Pele


    A quick satisfied grin slipped over his young features as he seen his Auntie emerge from a room, he tilted his head as he followed her instruction and entered her room. "I'm sorry Auntie if I scared you but I had to find you." He sounded slightly repentant but smiled and giggled when she scooped him up. "Wooahh!!" He laughed as his hands reached for the ceiling before being put back on his feet. Seeing her stance he swallowed hard. "Well..I." He stood straight. "You know I love horses Auntie. Well, you see...I read a book and it said that Gondors horses are so beautiful that it will make a man weep." He placed his index finger on his chin and looked thoughtful. "I thought only Rohan had pretty horses but then Mama told me she'd seen alot of beautiful horses here. "

    "So I asked Mama to bring me to see them but she said only Army pepo can see them. You're in the Army." He pointed out. "Can you take me to see them?" He asked looking up at her with big blue eyes full of hope.
    Mourgan Alarion Soldier Army of Gondor

  87. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    #87
    'Drill Sergeant Pele Alarion
    Officers' Quarters, Room 2

    As she listened to Orlin's explanations for appearing into the barracks just like this, a smile found its way to Pele's blue eyes no matter how stern she tried to look. "What all the books say..." she chuckled softly and added, "I would think most horses are beautiful, and I have no idea if any men cry at the sight of them." However, she found it hard to resist the boy's look and did not want to dash his hopes and send him away without any chance to check things out himself.

    "Well, perhaps I could let you have a peek in the stables then," she said. "There are not too many horses there today, but some of them you will meet. And then I think we will have to go and look for you mum, lest she becomes frightened that you have been lost somewhere."

    Then she nodded towards the table. "Want a cookie, Orlin? Before we go and see how true the books are?"

    ~~~~~

    Min Thalyn Cirbann

    Next morning after the 1st circle guard duty

    Knowledge that perhaps Kaylin knew something that would explain why she was attacked and how Shamara was involved in it made the remaining bit of the shift difficult to complete; and since she felt everything had to be documented in as detailed way as possible, she spent hours afterwards writing up a report and trying to remember the specific details and sequence of how the events unfolded. Writing appeared not to be the easiest task, as her thoughts refused to submit to any organised pattern. However, finally she came to a point where everything she had written seemed to be more or less acceptable.

    It was almost mere moments before the dawn when Pele finally got back to her barracks room. As she got rid of the weight of all the armour and weapons, she wondered if it was too early to visit Kaylin and see if she had any useful information. Only too much aware that she would not be able to rest until she had found out everything there was to be found, even if Thullir and Kaylin would slam the door in her face for waking them up. Still in her uniform and choosing from her equipment a dagger and two throwing knives, she set out to do just as she had intended.

    The street was still quiet, as was the house, so her knock on the door seemed to be so loud that Pele thought the whole city might have heard it. Perhaps she was too eager for information and it had affected the power behind the knock. But in combination with her pale and weary look, dark shadows under her eyes and low grumbles coming from her hungry stomach now and again, any neighbours who might have been woken up along with the residents of the house the door belonged to might think that she had arrived from far away with some awful news.

  88. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #88

    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    The Dawn after Pele and Lothar's First Circle Guard Duty
    (and still in the last month of her pregnancy)

    After the attack on a citizen of the City, and subsequently on Pele, the night before; Kaylin and Thūllir had been happy to escape the dread of paperwork. They hadn't been on duty, after all, and so had been free to go after Sergeant Pele's nod.

    Kaylin had been in doubt as to whether her sergeant and friend would let her be - after all, she could shed some more light on Shamara. Aditionally, part of Kaylin really wanted to talk to Pele to see what was going on with her. It was still obvious to the redhead that Pele hadn't been her usual self, and she had told Thūllir as much on the way home. She had also mentioned one more time, with a special kind of sparkle in her eyes, that he had made an excellent return to the city by taking those ruffians down. Kaylin appreciated a good bit of violence from time to time - when warranted, of course.

    Despite the lateness of the hour when they had finally gotten to sleep, Kaylin had been up before dawn again. Nearing the end of her pregnancy, the child was pressing down on her bladder, and she needed all too frequent bathroom breaks.
    Therefore, she heard the knock on the front door easily enough, as she was having a drink and a bite in the kitchen. Thūllir was still asleep upstairs, although the knock might have woken him as well. Kaylin noticed he didn't sleep quite as deeply as he once had. Almost like he was subconsciously keeping a vigil. He had acknowledged her leaving the bed earlier, with a touch of his hand and a low hum. But odds were he had drifted right off again. He'd only just arrived from Ithilien, after all.

    She moved to open the door with one hand, a sandwich with ham and cheese in the other. When she saw Pele, and the woman's dark circles and inevitable look at the food in Kaylin's hand, the redhead needn't ask why her friend was there.
    "Come in. Go ahead to the kitchen. There's more food. And you're having some."
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  89. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    Next morning after the 1st circle guard duty

    Pele's knock received a rather swift answer, and she took half a step backwards as Kaylin appeared in the doorway. Now, at that moment she found herself wondering whether she was more hungry for information or more hungry for real, proper food. The sight of that sandwich definitely seemed like a sort of revenge for her refusal to acknowledge her body's needs for such a long time. And from Kaylin's words she gathered that she must have been staring with intensity of a starving person. "Had to put first things first," Pele muttered apologetically, as she stepped inside.

    Half sitting, half falling into one of the chairs, she stifled a yawn and then glanced at her friend. "I'm happy to find you awake at this hour, at least I might not feel too guilty for barging in just like this," she said, though wondering if she would be keeping Kaylin from going back to bed. However, the leisurely way the redhead was enjoying that sandwich showed that she was not in a hurry.

    "Just wondered if you might now why would Shamara be pursuing me - it's not that I have paid any attention to her at all, except for that dart competition we had. I don't exactly feel like letting this go that easily..." Pele then got straight to what was bothering her, trying to ignore the ever increasing pains of hunger at the sight and smell of food.

  90. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    The Dawn after Pele and Lothar's First Circle Guard Duty
    (and still in the last month of her pregnancy)

    She just nodded at Pele's words about putting first things first, and allowed the woman to come in. Kaylin took another bite from her sandwich as she took a look outside before closing the door. The street was quiet as of yet.

    Coming into the kitchen herself and watching Pele basically sag into a chair, Kaylin shook her head. "Hold on," she mumbled, putting down her sandwich on the counter. She started on prepping another, which didn't take long. "First things first, as you say." Shortly after, she pushed a sandwich on a plate toward Pele along with a glass of water. The redhead also put a pot of tea on.

    Only then did she take a seat of her own. "Eat," she told Pele. She shrugged at Pele's sort of apology. "I am awake every few hours, honestly. So don't worry about it." She studied Pele for a long moment. With every passing second, she knew something had to be terribly off. She'd never seen that look in the Sergeant's eyes. That particular set to her shoulders.

    Kaylin frowned when Pele broached the whole Shamara subject. "I can tell you a bit, but not much, I'm afraid. I know what she does. I know where she's from. Shamara is one of the Umbarian slave traders, you could say. She is out here scouting for lucrative business. People. To take back home, and to hand over to her boss. Probably to sell on, and work for or entertain others. You seem to have become a target, for what reason I don't know. Do you have any ideas? Any trouble with people in Umbar? Someone who might give up your name? If not, of course it can all be at random, too."

    She was being very direct, she knew. But how could you sugarcoat any of that?

    "Pele." Kaylin was quieter now. "Don't worry. Now we have actual proof and witnesses to her schemes, we can find Shamara and take her into custody."
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  91. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    Next morning after the 1st circle guard duty

    Apparently she had forgotten all about hydration too, and feeling thirsty, she emptied the offered glass of water in one go; however, Pele forced herself not to behave like a savage with the food, as she slowly took a few bites of the sandwich, listening to the bit of information Kaylin could offer. It was not much, but yet it explained why the attacker was not too intent in harming her as he would if it were just a matter of seeking revenge for arrested members of the gang.

    "Umbar... have never been there or met..." she said thoughtfully, while trying to remember anything that could provide some clues. "Oh wait. We did have a run in with a woman who had attacked one of the villages in search of slaves. But I thought she was taken care of properly. Relic. Though not sure there is a connection..."

    Now that she thought of it, Pele's mind began to conjure up all sorts of ideas of what could have happened. "She, that Relic, got me and Maldir locked up on one of her ships and was intent on harming him just to get me to submit," she explained, and then suddenly sat up straight. "What if it was her..." This far she had not thought of linking Maldir's passing to this woman, but now in the light of the night's events it appeared rather possible that she could have been involved.

    "If only I could get my hands on her..." pure anger seemed like a reasonable outlet for all the pain and grief, and now she had found someone to blame it all on. "I'd make her pay for everything! And I'd be willing to do anything to get information out of Shamara!" Her hands clenched into tight fists, and she looked about ready to leave her sandwich half-eaten and dash away in order to act according to the last statement she made.

  92. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    #92

    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    The Dawn after Pele and Lothar's First Circle Guard Duty
    (and still in the last month of her pregnancy)

    She listened attentively as Pele explained about a woman named Relic. Apparently Pele had had some adventures with Maldir which Kaylin was enitrely unaware of... Before his disappearance, of course. That meant Kaylin hadn't even come to Minas Tirith at that time. That also meant that this Relic would have waited quite a while before sending someone after Pele. That made the idea seem less likely to the redhead, but she supposed anything was possible.

    Suddenly, Pele went into some kind of rage, albeit still controlled. Kaylin recognized it all too well, and remained weirdly calm now it was someone else who was a victim of the anger. Kaylin wondered if Thūllir had heard Pele all the way upstairs. It was likely.

    "Pele," Kaylin said calmly, "You don't know where the woman is right now, and neither do I. It's been a while since she's been sighted, too, so you wouldn't know where to start." She poured Pele another glass of water from the pitcher on the table. "Drink," she said. "And eat. You obviously need it." She wondered if it was exhaustion that was driving Pele so mad.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  93. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    Next morning after the 1st circle guard duty

    "Starting from the bottom of the city to the top would work; I'd even would go as far as looking into every corner of every house," Pele said, trying to adjust her temper to Kaylin's calmness at least a little. "If Shamara or Relic have had a part in Maldir's death, they are going to pay dearly." Then she realised that in all probability her friend had no idea about the news she had received.

    She took a deep breath, sipped some more water and explained: "I received news yesterday that Maldir has been found... think the soldier said something about weather in the mountains, but for all I know the folk of Umbar might just as well be to blame."

    Pele paused and fiddled with the glass, trying hard not to let any other emotions take over; however, she felt that perhaps Kaylin deserved to know a bit more of why she was behaving like a madwoman - using her own words.

    "I don't know how I will go on without him, Kaylin," she admitted quietly, the little pause having provided her a bit of time to compose herself. "I lived with a hope... Too bad some criminals have chosen the worst time to come at me. Especially if there is some connection. You know?" Her blue eyes looked at her friend, mirroring a great deal of despair that easily pushed her towards anger at the smallest opportunity. Suddenly uncertain of what should be the next step, she did what was obvious - eating the sandwich.

  94. Arnyn Dealedwen's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    The Dawn after Pele and Lothar's First Circle Guard Duty
    (and still in the last month of her pregnancy)

    A faint smile was on her lips as she listened to Pele's stubborn words about starting at the bottom of the City and working her way up, house by house if need be. Ahhh, what a familiar way of thinking. A frown took over however, as she studied Pele more closely at her next words. What did her friend mean by 'Maldir's death'? Had she at long length taken that step of presuming her husband dead, after years of absence? Or...

    When Pele filled in the blanks, Kaylin leaned her back against her chair with a stunned expression. She hadn't known Maldir well at all, and had maybe had two conversations with the man - it would be farfetched to grieve for him. Pele, however, she was close to. Pele, she cared for. Knowing now better than she would have known years ago how you could really share your life with someone, and able to imagine how losing that person would feel, made Kaylin's heart break. Pele's earlier behavior suddenly made perfect sense. Pele actually kept a pretty firm grip on her sanity, considering.

    For a woman who was rarely at a loss for words, she couldn't think of what to say as Pele ate her sandwich.

    Finally, Kaylin managed one soft-spoken sentence. "I'm so sorry, Pele." She reached over with one hand, to place it over Pele's arm on the table.
    Arnyn Axinecelume ~ Always Hyandaner


  95. Pele Alarion's Avatar
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    Min Thalyn Cirbann
    Next morning after the 1st circle guard duty

    Hunger and thirst more or less satisfied, and with that also anger gradually subsiding, Pele felt that now sorrow and pain became more intense again, especially at the soft approach Kaylin took. She briefly touched her hand and simply said: "Thank you!" Though the look in her eyes expressed much more gratitude that actually words.

    With her sleeve she wiped off a tear that spitefully insisted on appearing in the corner of her eye. Pele would have wanted was to pour out her heart, share the hurt; however, she felt that it would not be right to burden her friend so, considering her family situation and the little one soon to come into the world. So she bravely tried to lock up her emotions and not let them run wild here and now. It was her own battle to fight anyway; though she was torn between wanting to isolate herself as much as possible and searching for people and some support.

    She had comforted several people herself, and she had faced loss before either on the battle field or in the Houses of Healing, yet none of that had been this bad. Besides, if only she could simply apply the principles she used in other situations and for other people to herself. But nothing seemed helpful or even remotely relevant at the moment.

    "Suppose I should go sleep," she finally said with a sigh. "If I'm not going to go Shamara-hunting this very moment, at any rate... I wouldn't want to drag you down with this all, Kaylin. Not now at least..."

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