Prancing Pony, Bree: A Strange Meeting
[+TIME] Middle-earth time is:
Daytime on Hevensday, Day 19 of April.
Execute the +TIMEFRAME command for year information.
Real time is: 13:12:53 MDT on Sat Feb 16 2008.
This large and rectangular room serves the purpose of Common Room for the Prancing Pony. Large windows along the western end of the room peek out over the Great East Road which runs outside the Inn. There are long tables with bench seats for the patrons in the centre of the room. Nestled into the wall is a large fireplace with several bundles of wood piled next to it. Sunlight streams through the windows to mingle with the smoke that floats above the ceiling beams, and provide an odd sort of illumination that, even in daylight, doesn't quite reach the corners. The lamps which hang down are presently unlit.
<OOC> Type PHELP for help using the menu at the Pony.
Wyr is IC
Before you is a man who's height is something over 6 feet. He is fairly broad of chest, perhaps aging into his early middle years. Shoulder length black hair is drawn back and tied loosely at his nape. Strange, faded lines and dots make a tattoo pattern across his cheeks on either side of his nose, drifting down each side of his throat.
This man's face has the bone structure of a man descended of Numenor, beardless and well formed. The man's eyes are a pale grey. Hints of scars mar his face giving tale to past strife.
Currently he wears a long sleeved light brown shirt beneath a studded leather jerkin. Patterns similar to those upon his face grace the back of his calloused hands, and his wrists are now bound with short leather bracers. A wide banded golden ring is worn upon the smallest finger of his left hand. Set flush into the ring is a smooth, tear shaped rich blue stone. Grey pants are tucked into plain dark brown leather boots that rise to about mid-calf in height. A once fine black cloak has been lightened of it's lining and is showing hard wear. A finely wrought, heavy silver clasp formed into the likeness of a great tree overlays a starburst secures the cloak.
Rhifaroth just looked at you.
Anor has already risen over the eastern horizon and now illuminates all that is within her reach. The warm light of Spring causes many to be outdoors and few to still reside within the confines of walls and a roof. For this reason, the Common Room of the Prancing Pony is almost completely vacant, the only din coming from the kitchen were pots and pans are cleaned after breakfast and preparing for lunch.
Yet, within the peaceful room resides one of the Rangers, Neal as he is called in the town. Seated in a wooden chair, he leans forward resting his elbows on upper legs with his ashen gaze looking out the set of windows towards the Great East Road and all those whom travel it.
Indeed, few are about the Common Room at this hour... but the smells coming from the kitchen already suggest preparations well under way for the mid-day meal rush, as well as the sounds of washing up from the morning's business.
Amid this rhythm of pleasant scents and background of soft noises, a man has come down the stairs from a floor above. He carries a pair of saddle bags and his winter bedroll, which he sets down on the floor, against the bar. Rhifaroth's gaze travels the room, seeking someone he does not see here. His attention however, does linger a moment on a familiar man who is seated alone and looking out one of the Pony's views onto the road outside.
Without further pause, the Southerner steps around to put his head into the kitchen and makes an inquiry there for Nob - who is apparently out at the moment. He then asks about stowing some things behind the bar for Nob's return, which Hazel within apparently agrees to.
A moment later, the tattooed man has put his saddle bags and bedroll behind the bar, then begins to walk into the room proper. He has a bow and quiver case thrown over his shoulder.
As weather wears away rock so has struggle worn away at the tall Man before you. His straggly black hair shows no sense of taiming done by its master, the visage only visible beneath low bangs. Faint creases line forehead and cheeks as well as lips and chin. Yet within the eyes of the Second Born, a light of youth still burns unceasingly. Wisdom and knowledge ignited by days gone past can be drawn from the ashen gaze.
The raiment of the Man is simple, primitive. A cloak of an interesting material that appears to show no aging adorns his shoulders drawn together by a small broach, engraved with a sword and lantern, clasped at the neck. From that able to be seen of the garments underneath, a dark green vest overlaps a draw long-sleeved shirt showing the same need for mending as that of the brown pants and black boots worn below the torso. Around his waist a belt is drawn from which hang small pouches and at his side a longsword. To match such weaponry a longbow and quiver hangs from his back possibly depicting the Man to be a skilled warrior.
Studded Leather Helmet
Studded Leather Armor
As new melodies resound in the room from the movement of goods and people, the Ranger appears drawn out of his trance. His grey eyes then turn towards the noise espying the foreigner. A small grin curves the lips of the Man as he says, "Good morning. Preparing for another hunt?" The weaponry is apparently noticed as the inquiry of the intention is made.
The Ranger's greeting is returned with the inclination of the Southerner's head politely, "Of sorts, yes." Rhifaroth had looked as though he would find another place to sit, but instead draws out a chair with a booted foot, at a table next to Neal's, close enough that they might speak easily but not actually sit together.
Rhifaroth doesn't sit however until he has taken his dark grey leather bow-case and quiver off to lay them onto his chosen table. The bow gleams dark grey-black and is not made of wood, but some other material. Only four of the arrows in the quiver are black fletched, the others are plain shafts that are not yet feathered.
Taking his seat, the Southerner adds in his foreign lilt, voice low, "Still some things to finish, first."
The small change in the Common Room's morning rhythm has also gained the attention of someone who was out in the Parlor. From that direction the morning shift's barkeep comes in, glancing over the room to see who is here. The young man goes first to the kitchen to make inquiry if orders have yet been placed.
"Such as breakfast?" asks the Ranger before he gaze turns towards the quiver and the featherless arrows. "Or fletching?" Yet, the bow is what holds the gaze of the Man the longest as the material appears to intrigue him. As a result, a third question is then asked, "And what do you use to send your arrows airborne, nothing made from these forests I assume?"
Having also brought a smallish leather bag with him, Rhifaroth unties that from his belt and opens it, spilling out an assortment of materials... Thin strips of dried sinew, feather sections already split and trimmed - but not black, just hawk's brown on one side, grey underneath.
Absently, the Southerner nods, "Both - meal and fletching." His tattooed hands reach to draw out some of the seasoned, dried but recently straightened and trimmed shafts from the quiver case. They have no steel points mounted yet, either. The man gestures to the bow, "It's horn and sinew... you are welcome to look at it. Fletcher didn't mind my seeing his." Rhifaroth seems a little more relaxed now, or more comfortable around Neal's ilk than before, perhaps.
<OOC> You say, "If Nauth will have a look at it, it's notably shorter and thicker than your yew longbows, better suited for riding, or use other constricted space use. The surface is also waxed to keep out moisture, and it has a black leather central grip, but is otherwise plain and well cared for. The string is thinly braided gut, and slack of course as it has been slid up one end to release the tension. The bow itself is made of at least five layers of dark horn material inter-layered with sinew strips. A pretty good draw weight for the size. Uses a shorter shaft than your bow, of course."
As the offer is given to study the weapon, the Ranger reaches out and picks up the horn-constructed bow. His eyes analyze the make of it, turning it slowly in his hands. "From what beast did you obtain the horn? I have never seen any creature who's extremities could be used in this way." No other comments are made yet the item is continued to be studied a little while longer before it is returned to the table gently. "Is it traditional for those from Gondor to make bows like these?"
The barkeep wanders over in the direction of where the two men are seated just as Neal picks up the bow to have a look at it. Rhifaroth gives the young Breeman a glance as he selects one of the cherry-wood arrow shafts to work with. He quietly gives his order for dark ale, Hazel's stew with bread and cheese, then goes back to checking his selection.
The barkeep looks to Neal, "Ya want anythang?"
For the moment, Rhifaroth does not answer the grey clad man, but waits for the server to depart.
As the server inquires as to his order, Neal replies politely, "I am good, thank you." He then turns his gaze back to the foreigner as the fletching begins, studying the manner in which the man creates the darts.
When the server has gone back to pass on the order to the kitchen, and to fetch the ale requested, Rhifaroth glances up from looking at the wooden shafts. His own grey eyes skim the room before he picks up a sliver of the dried sinew, tucking it into one side of his mouth to soften. His fingers sort through the feathers until he finds a small yellowish nob of some material which he spits a bit of saliva onto, likewise to soften.
Once this is started, his speech not the least impaired by the bit of sinew in his cheek, Rhifaroth finally answers Neal in his habitually low voice, "It comes from the lands of South Ithilien and the northern and western Haradwaith." He watches the Ranger a moment as he leans back in his chair and waits for his materials to be ready to use, "A certain tribe of people I have worked long with there, against certain shared enemies of my country, herd a few strange dry-land cattle with very large, long horns. Their bows are made from those."
Absently the Southerner adds as he picks up a different cherry shaft to glance at it, "Bows in Gondor are made of yew, or lemon wood, as yours are."
"Very interesting," replies Neal as his gaze travels over the bow once again before returning to the man. "And what do you plan to hunt with these newly crafted darts? Rabbit, deer, wild turkeys?" The question is innocent enough as they grey eyes do not shift from the foreigner.
Checking the dried bit of glue-ball to see if it is ready, the tattooed man selects a well matched trio of feather and then leans over to his right to draw out his boot knife. This is used to prick up the bit of glue to begin rubbing a bit of it onto the end of the shaft to stick one end of the first feather into place, on the knock end of the shaft.
Rhifaroth glances over the room once more, then nods to Neal to just slide the bow back into its case since his own hands are busy. The man's question though makes the Southerner smile, very faintly, "Mostly."
Drawing the piece of sinew he's been idly wetting and even chewing on between words, Rhifaroth lays it upon the table and uses his fingernail to split off a very thin bit of its fiber. Shifting the shaft to hold it with his knees, the Southerner bends over his work to wrap the sinew thread about to secure the fletching into place. The second and third are carefully placed, then secured in turn.
With occasional glances up from his work, Rhifaroth looks to Neal, "So how is it one of your own is called 'Fletcher' when he doesn't even make his own arrows?"
"The fletching does not speak of his craft but of his skills with a bow. He has trained extensively in order to be a good marksman," answers Neal as he speaks familiarly about his kin. "And how it is that you have come about the skill of fletching? Is it a family trade, or one that all warriors in your great cities knows?"
After Neal's reply the server returns. Bringing out a tray with ale, stew-bowl, bread and cheese, the barkeep sets them upon Rhifaroth's table, careful not to disturb the man's work or materials - very careful, "On ya tab, 's'usual, sir."
Rhifaroth gives the barkeep a nod, not saying anything again until the other has left them. His left hand snags an extra chair and drags it near so that he may very carefully lay the half-fletched shaft down upon it to dry, before he will later go back and bind the other ends of the fletching.
Selecting another bare shaft, the Southerner then leans over to pick up his ale and take a sip of it before making a reply himself, taking a moment to look again upon Neal.
"Neither - just … necessity." Setting the tankard aside and ignoring his hot food for the moment, Rhifaroth prepares the second shaft with practiced economy, "Though I was an officer in the Guard, I was rarely in Gondor proper - but out, a field." His voice is very low, dividing his concentration between his work, the man near to him, and keeping tabs on the room in general.
"And it is necessity that calls for many things, many trades to be learned out of need," remarks the Ranger as he reflects for a moment. "Yet, I would have assume that being a part of a large army there would be those of the Crafters who would make such things for you. However, as you have seen, there are no great military powers around here to compare to the legendary tales of Gondor."
The second shaft is carefully set beside the first on the chair to dry, then the Southerner takes a momentary break to clean his knife and lean over to slice the bread and cheese, "I could get them a plenty in Minas Tirith, as you say... but the men of Ithilien use long bows, like yourselves. Arrows are too long for my use."
Watching the grey clad man, who is in so many ways like the men he oft worked with in Ithilien, Rhifaroth comments, "Who ever makes yours, or at least Fletcher's supply, makes among the finest I have ever laid eyes upon."
"Indeed, your folk have your own crafters of great skill." The Southerner pauses, then asks as he watches Neal, "Despite the fact that your folk claim to be drifting wanders, such skill level does not usually come of nomadic peoples, wouldn't you agree?" This last is said very low, but perhaps with a hint of humor in the Southerner's eye, fishing perhaps.
"We have friends in many places who help us craft what it is we need and we have learned from them," answers Neal to the inquiry. "Just because we are wanderers does not mean that we are dim-witted as the citizens here believe us to be. Do you perceive the same dullness in our intellect as them?" The grey eyes return the stare, a faint sense of intrigue as to the answer.
Yes, there is definitely a touch of humor in Rhifaroth's own eyes as he takes a moment to eat some of his meal. He wipes his mouth with the cloth provided and takes a sip of his ale to clear his mouth before he gives answer, picking up a third shaft to start on, voice still low, "No, certainly not."
The last part of his answer almost sounds like it should mean more than it does, but the man does not elaborate. He shifts his attention for a moment to his work, rewetting the sinew and glue before setting the next fletching.
Silence falls between the two Men though the background noise keeps the situation from becoming awkward. After some time, the Ranger ask, "So how many animals to be plan on skewering? Or do you anticipate that your skill has decreased since settling in this small town for some time?" The words are spoken jokingly in ring lighten the air.
His hands still busy with his fletching, Rhifaroth glances back up at the other man as a fourth shaft is set aside to dry. He picks up a fifth, easily ten more to complete after it, "Well, the latter I fear." The man frowns, glancing up at Neal though his hands still work to split a bit more of the wetted sinew, "Broke my left arm this winter, if you recall. It lacks strength, yet. My bow requires more of a push with the left, and less draw with the right, than yours."
Neal nods to the explanation given by the man as he states, "Ah, yes, I remember now. You seem to have healed well though or you would not be hunting, I suppose. Did the healing here match that of which is given in Gondor? I can imagine in a great city that everything is better."
The entry-way to the Prancing Pony is long and winding, and few apparently make the trek successfully this morning. One among the brave and daring number who survive the long approach is the one called Fletcher: his cloak of grey rests 'round his shoulders and his boots track mud still-drying into the Pony's common room.
Grey eyes, free of a hood's shadow, flicker about the room and land sooner, rather than later, on the forms of Neal and Rhifaroth. But there is no greeting smile for either man.
With a glance over the room as before, the Southerner pauses in his work on the fifth shaft, thinking upon Neal's question for a moment, trying to remember something. Rhifaroth frowns vaguely, then at length says, "I've been injured several times, but I can't recall ever having been laid up in the Healing Houses in Minas Tirith - always out, a field."
So he shrugs, looking back at the sinew piece that needs more softening to continue to be useful, "Acelen's method with my arm was crude at best, but he knows bones." Rhifaroth glances at Neal as he adds the last, "There were others who checked it and re-splinted, judging it done well enough." The Southerner's glance about the room was just before Fletcher's arrival, so his attention has dropped to setting the fifth arrow shaft aside to dry upon the chair with the others.
A stout man, tall and weathered, grim of face and worn of feature. His nose is curved, his cheekbones high, and raven hair brushes at his shoulders. And his eyes -- his eyes are a rich silver-grey, that dance with star- and moon-light.
His dark, dull garb and weathered buckskin seem suited to the wildlands; at his side, a longsword hangs in a plain, dark scabbard. No gleam of stone or gold, nor badge or token shines upon his person: alone, a rayed star pins a dark grey cloak about his shoulders.
Neal nods slowly to the explanation, listening. Yet, the faint tap of leather on wood attracts the Ranger and causes him to turn towards the entrance to the room as Halbarad enters. The grey eyes of the Constant study his kinsman before a brow is raised in inquiry to the stern expression. Thus, there are no words spoken by the Man as his attention is diverted.
Neal's arched brow elicits a subtle shake of Fletcher's head; but it does not draw out an explanation. Not yet. His light steps carry him toward that table, and as he approaches -- and without invitation -- a gloved hand lands on a chair's back and draws it out with the gentle scrape of wood on rush-covered floor.
But he does not sit.
"Neal," he greets that man briefly, his tone crisp as the spring morning. "Rhifaroth."
Neal's diverted attention and silence catch the Southerner's attention. Rhifaroth's eyes flicker up even as he belatedly notices the sounds of someone else entering into the room. He has spent enough time around Fletcher of late to pick up as well, that something perhaps is amiss.
Absently, Rhifaroth puts out his left hand to warn the new arrival not to disturb the chair he has his drying arrow shafts laid so carefully upon, the glue and sinew bindings upon the new fletching now sticky, but fragile. Without saying anything to Fletcher, Rhifaroth inclines his head to the other man and his hands have stopped their work, his focus upon the other.
Grey eyes flicker to the Gondorian's movement -- to his warning hand, and to the arrow shafts so carefully laid upon the chair -- and for a moment his demeanor softens with interest.
But he does not give voice to it.
"Will you walk with me?" he asks, looking from one to the other; and the request is polite, but only just intoned as a question.
Fletcher's request elicits a thinning of Rhifaroth's mouth as he glances down at his still drying work, if not his unfinished meal. But, without hesitation he sets the unfinished sixth shaft aside and begins to gather up his assortment of loose fletching materials, scooping them into the small bag they had come from. The bit of wet sinew and glue are wrapped up in a small piece of stained parchment just for that purpose. The as yet unfletched cherry-wood shafts are put back into his quiver case.
With that quick clean up, the Southerner stands and slips his bow-quiver case over his head and left shoulder, settling it. It looks as though he'll leave his meal and drying work and hope to come back to it later, if undisturbed, "Of course."
In having nothing to clean up or finish, the Ranger stands immediately with a nod. "By all means. I sense that fresh air is needed for this discussion?" Neal's voice is calm as he asks the question, turning his gaze for a moment to the foreigner as he cleans up his things before looking back at his kinsman.
"Most discussions are best had in sunlight than shadow," replies Fletcher, and his manner eases a little as the others agree to join him so readily -- eases enough, in fact, that the corner of his lips twitch upward in the faint first fruits of a smile.
"Are there others near," he asks then of Neal, his voice quiet -- but not beyond the other's hearing, "Who might benefit from fresh air?"
His clean up completed in only a moment, and with Fletcher making inquiry of Neal, Rhifaroth quietly excuses himself from the two to walk over towards the bar. He speaks with Arnold, the morning barkeep and juts a thumb back in the direction of his left meal to be cleared, and the drying arrow shafts to be watched, then motions to include the things he left behind the bar earlier for Nob.
The young Breeman nods to Rhifaroth and makes some low reply in agreement, then the Southerner turns back as though to rejoin the other two men.
"There are no others who dwell here, yet I had recently seen the Sparrow in the area," answers Nauthcel before he asks in a lower voice while Rhifaroth is away, "Is there need for a gathering, for a need that I have not yet heard about?" Once the man is on his way back, the tone of the Ranger resumes its normal volume as he asks, "So where shall we wander to?"
"...yes," is the answer that reaches Rhifaroth's ears as he rejoins the pair, and as Fletcher gives a single, solemn nod to Nauthcel's query. Grey eyes settle on one, then the other, and he tilts his head toward the door ere following his own motion and -- without a proper answer -- leaving the Pony.
Having returned to the other two men, Rhifaroth passes a glance to Neal, but otherwise says nothing. He waits a moment for Fletcher the lead the way, and then Neal, then falls in step to accompany them.
---------------------------- RP Log Edit to Reconvene at IC New Location ----------------------
Above the Prancing Pony
A small path climbs along Bree-hill, above the Prancing Pony. A stone thrown could easily hit the building from this path. The path meanders along in a more or less straight line as it cuts across Bree-hill. To the north the Hobbit Smials are visible, while the holes of South Row can be seen in the opposite direction.
Path leads to Dirt Path.
South leads to South Row.
North leads to Smial Rise - At the Smials.
Nautchel has arrived.
Halbarad has arrived.
His steps are light and sure and long as Fletcher passes through the hallway and up the path to the to the hill above the Pony. And he keeps his grim silence until reaching that point -- and there, his gaze turns easterly.
"Are you near-ready to leave, friend?" he asks after a moment, gaze flickering aside to Rhifaroth.
Halbarad is followed to the area that is above the Prancy Pony, overlooking the small town. Nauthcel lets his gaze pass over the surrounding area, particularly the road, before his eyes turn to his kinsman as he speaks. Yet, the stare quickly changes focus as it turns towards the foreigner before returning to the Captain.
The third man up follows Halbarad's easterly glance, and Rhifaroth doesn't like that... he vaguely frowns, it being an ill omen to him, perhaps. With a further glance around them himself, the Southerner nods to Fletcher's question.
"Aye, more than ready - and healed enough. Just stowing a few things with Nob, then I was setting out in the morning."
"For the Downs?" queries the one called Fletcher quietly, a brow arching as he holds his glance aside toward the Southerner. "I've found a friend or two willing to join such a venture, but--"
His lips press then, and his gaze goes to Neal. "I'll not know for certain until tomorrow."
"You might wish to wait for us."
Neal nods slowly to the words that are directed towards him but does not speak. He continues to wait for any other information that the kinsman or foreigner will solicit - appearing to be clueless as to the mention of the Downs.
First there is a flicker of his gaze to the man called Neal, though Fletcher surely wouldn't broach the subject before the other if he was not to know about it.
Rhifaroth makes what could possibly be a negative hand gesture without being conscious of using the Narakshi silent-speak, "No, to the east first... it's north of the Midgewater, I'm told - or at least the part he spoke about." Then the tattooed man adds, still addressing Halbarad in his low voice, "Then to the Forsaken Inn, before I returned here, to seek you." The Southerner's eyes narrow, looking past the man towards the east, "I gather there were several involved, and there's a elf to be looked for. If it's still alive."
"...to the east first," murmurs the one called Fletcher, and his own gaze follows the other's in that direction. Silence follows -- a long and contemplative silence.
"I would not go that way alone, either."
Fletcher's long gaze, then his comment, make the Southern Dunadan's face tighten very slightly. But Rhifaroth says nothing himself for the moment. His own attention surveys the area around them before he returns his gaze to Fletcher, "And you'll know more soon? I can wait, a little."
"I will know more soon, but will be long returning to Bree with the knowledge," is Fletcher's answer, and though a brow arches faintly at Rhifaroth's attention to the area, his own is not still either.
And his voice is soft.
A moment's contemplation -- a thought, no doubt, over every word -- and he speaks then to Nauthcel: "One of ours friends sent word along the east road. He says there will be trouble, and asks our aid. I hope this one--" He tilts his head at Rhifaroth, "Might offer his sword. I hear he is no friend to orcs."
With the last word, his eyes swing back to Rhifaroth, seeking to pin the other's -- and gauge his reaction.
"Then should we begin our trek down the road to meet whatever awaits us or are we to wait?" asks the Ranger as he is addressed. Neal turns his own gaze to Rhifaroth in awaiting the reply that the man will give to the indirect question while adding, "I have heard the same...."
Hearing Fletcher's words, those last pointed to Neal rather than himself, Rhifaroth's eyes narrow and he likes the news not. The man's mouth becomes a hard line before he makes any answer, "I ... am only friendly to them in so far as my eagerness to show them out of this world." There is no humor, but cold truth for such ilk.
"You'll have it, gladly - but more, this is not all together unexpected news."
Passing a glance to Neal, Rhifaroth then asks of both men, "Do you know of a woman called Uannve? A pale, sickly looking Dunlender?"
Approval touches Fletcher's features, solemn though they be at sharing news such as this, and his approval is equally solemn. He casts a glance back to Neal. "I do not know her," he answers quietly. "Do you, Neal?"
"I may have seen here though I do not know the name. Where does she live within the town?" asks the Man as his eyes turn from his kinsman to the foreigner. "I assume she was not the one whom had taken care of you the night you were injured?"
Nautchel's last comment makes Rhifaroth's mouth start to twist into a scowl, "No, not Muirgheal - the blonde. Though, she's always born watching too - especially now that she has gone from Bree." For the moment, at least, he does not elaborate on her, "This Uannve is dark haired, dark eyed, but otherwise similar - looks over thin, sickly like she's suffered some ailment. Nervous, likes to try and trail me - "
But then Rhifaroth smiles just a little ferally, "And I've trailed her a bit."
The humor is gone as quickly as it arrived, "Muirgheal said she originally split her association with this Uannve due to ... having overseen the latter in conference with an orc. In too friendly a fashion."
Frowning, the Southerner adds, his voice still low pitched, "I did not obtain further detail into that matter - but if either of them are seen, they should be watched." And to Neal he adds, "Uannve has never lodged in town that I could tell."
"That news is ill," marks Fletcher as he hears it, and it does nothing to bring good-humor to his own demeanor. "Though Grey--" his eyes skip to Nauthcel, "Mentioned sight of a woman skulking in the wood not long past. If it's the same..."
He does not follow the thought to conclusion. "I wait word tomorrow of their place. Perhaps we can run this errand above the Midgewater, friend, when it's finished."
"My hope is that all those who are near shall get the message in time. Do we know where the one who shall give the word shall be coming from? Mayhap we could intercept him on the way," suggests Neal as he ponders the evil to the East that seems to not be fully spoken of.
A nod of his head in agreement is the tattooed man's answer, but then he adds, looking to Fletcher, "I don't know ... if you got over to speak to the man at the Healing House, or... how much faith can be put into a mad man's babbling, but.."
Reluctantly Rhifaroth adds, "If there are captives, elvin and possibly a woman too, this business which may be linked to the Forsaken Inn may be time sensitive - if the trail is not already too cold."
That -- that draws a frown from Fletcher. "Captives at the Forsaken Inn? You keep your thoughts close, Rhifaroth," he notes almost dryly, but there's a touch of annoyance in his tone -- if not in his gaze. "But that's a thought better shared sooner than later. I'll join you for this, and we'll -- let us leave come morning." No request, that, but a decision; and he softens it toward the end.
Toward Nauthcel, then, he looks and his words are short. "Grey is here; the Hare and Sparrow also. Find them, brother, and go eastward. The one who sent word gives me hope you'll hear more along the way."
Neal nods at the request replying, "I shall do so and, if I see any others on the way, I shall have them join us." The Ranger then says no more in awaiting the decision of the foreigner to the words of Fletcher.
Rhifaroth lances about to be sure they are still alone and keeps his voice low, raising his left hand to still Halbarad's jump to conclusions, "-Might- be captives... and there may or may not be a link to the Inn. But, I have a hunch - so it bears checking out."
To the other man's comment about his closeness, Rhifaroth just barely smiles, "You are pretty close yourself, Fletcher." But then the Southerner looses any hint of humor, and touches his left side under the rib, "I told you, when I was down recently from that knife wound, that I thought this ... required more than one or two men to deal with."
"It's as I tell you, friend: a man with secrets lives a long life," is Halbarad's rueful reply. Some hint of humor has broken his solemnity now -- or, if not humor, at least something akin to it in form and energy. "This is the thing? Let us look into it with one and two; I cannot promise more, now."
"...and the Mouse," Fletcher adds to Nauthcel, and after a moment, his brow furrowing. "I always forget the Mouse."
"They shall all receive word if I am able to find them. And, while the day is still new, I shall begin my journey. We shall see each other again shortly," says the Ranger as he makes for his departure to the road. "Until then," are his final words as his voice trails off after him.
The Southerner inclines his head to Neal as that man excuses himself to start off to do his part in the matter. Rhifaroth looks back to this man called Fletcher and there is a return of his own humor, "I've already told you about that long life I expect -not- to have to suffer," And his smile softens the subject, this time.
Then he adds, "I don't know this 'Mouse' though I think I've met the rest - but there's another just in town, I gather. Strider he calls himself." There is, this time, no sarcastic comment about the names Fletcher's folk use, but there is that sarcasm in his tone.
Starting to turn away himself to go back to his arrow making, Rhifaroth pauses to glance back to the other man, "Where to meet you in the morning, and when?"
That draws upward Fletcher's brow, but otherwise -- otherwise, he gives only a studied, disinterested look. "Tell him too," he adds to the departing Nauthcel, though his eyes remain on Rhifaroth -- and there's faint humor dancing in them now.
"At the east gate. At dawn. I'll await."
Having turned away just as Halbarad made his first comment, Rhifaroth didn't see the man's face anyway. To the Fletcher's last though, Rhifaroth nods his head once, then turns and starts on his way back down to the Pony to return to his previously interrupted task - to finish what he may of his own departure preparations this night.
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