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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 24th, 2018, 11:11 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Halvarin swallowed hard as he looked upon Amarwen before him. Though they have been friends for so long, Halvarin always kept a thought hidden away in his mind that they could be together in life. It was something he considered in recent years, but it always seemed out of reach. Now with her betrothal to Aldamir, it had nearly disappeared from sight. But here they were, together, in a moment that was not seen coming nor will be again.

Halvarin wavered between stepping back from his royally betrothed friend and stepping forward and wrapping his arms around her. His fingers were the only part of him that could move as they slightly and gently caressed her hips where they rested. The silvery light from the window danced upon them as Halvarin drew closer. He slid his arms around her and hugged her tight. His mind was a jumble of thoughts, with one wanting to make love to her here and now, for it may their last chance ever to do so, steeling away with her and escape to Arthedain far to the north, or stepping back and allow Ami to be consumed by political expediency of the realm.

No, Halvarin was not going to do that. He whispered to her,

”Come away with me Ami! The arm of Gondor reaches far, and only in the northwest in Arthedain will we be free. It is far and wrought with many dangers, but I will go there with you….”

He grew quiet, for even if they could make the Fords of Isen or come to the lands of Rhovania, Gondor’s arm would still reach them. And they could take no ship downriver and flee, for they would be surely caught. It was a fool’s thought.

Halvarin found himself leaning in to Amarwen and her lips came to his. He slid his hands over her back, pressing her tighter to him, wanting this to never end. If it had to be, he would be her lover whenever they could find the moments as his father has done with Lady Farien. If it had to be so, that that road had already been set upon, and now was the time with the woman he loved in his arms.

His hand slid up and his fingers combed through her hair as he broke their kiss.

"I love thee Amarwen of Edhellond, no fate of mine or yours will ever change that."

He drew her away from the window into the shadows of the chamber before he kissed her again.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 25th, 2018, 5:57 pm 
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Rie-Zunic stood motionless for a long time, then turned his back on both women and sighed heavily. He walked over and fiddled with a few small trinkets on a crudely built wooden dresser.

"This is Almara," he finally said, motioning towards her. "Almara, this is Helda." He looked to Helda, then. "Almara was undercover in the mercenary camp... Trying to find out what they were planning."
But this needs to remain unknown . As to the happen ins of the day... I am troubled by them as well."

"What happened?" Almara asked. "I heard you mention Amarwen was being forced to Mary?"

"Yes..." Rie-Zunic answered. "To Mary Aldamir..." He wanted to add "Your father" but he left the subject alone. He still wasn't sure if he believed the story. Almara's response to the man's name gave away that there was something... Though one could only guess as to what.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 26th, 2018, 12:04 am 
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Helda's eyes narrowed at the sound of Almara's name. Now that she had a moment to observe more closely, the mercenary Rie-Zunic introduced looked familiar…and then it came to her. Almara had competed in the archery along side Amarwen. Helda had watched the two women herself, somewhat amused by the frivolity of such an event. What quarry stood still long enough to be shot in the first place?

And then there was the matter of Almara's loyalties. Rie-Zunic described her as a decoy, planted within. To what end, and by whose authority, had this been done. It was the first Helda had heard of such a ploy. Could Rie-Zunic be the one masquerading as something he was not, she wondered. An officer of the royal guard, whose sympathies lay elsewhere entirely?

As Rie-Zunic set out what Almara had overheard, Helda straightened from her crouch. Her distaste for such chicanery was evident in her expression. These men of Gondor were as deceptive as any Easterlings she had ever encountered…and they, at least, made a pretence at honour.

Almara addressed a question to her, "Why is this being done?"

Shield now dangling from one arm, Helda shrugged. She'd not disclose the inner workings of the royal court's machinations even if she did know of them. Not to this woman. Mind you, she could guess if she were so inclined. Snippets of conversations and discussions. So many treated the Rhovanions as if they were invisible. The lofty Lords and Ladies of the court often passed, muttering of this and that. The Shieldmaiden shifted her weight as she considered of this and finally, a terse and ill-pleased Rie-Zunic spoke his mind.

"Why have you come here?" he pressed.

Why indeed, Helda reflected. What was any of this supposed to accomplish? As she eyed the officer and mercenary, Helda realised that what she sought could not be found here. Not with these people. These people would never look at Helda or those like her as companions. Someone to reach out to…

"This cannot be allowed to stand," Almara insisted even as Helda turned away. It was getting late. She really should not be in this quarter of the city after dark.

"And what would you have done about it?" Rie-Zunic threw back at Almara.

Helda's hand was on the door latch, but his question made her pause. Her head bowed.

"It is sad day when something wrong cannot be put to rights," she replied and pushed out of the door and into the gloaming dusk.

As the door swung to at her heels, Almara pointed at the kitchen table. It was littered with the shieldmaiden's various weapons. Quite the collection indeed, and one that Helda had just walked away from. A declaration of the shieldmaiden's disillusionment?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~


No fate would change this…oh, how she wanted to believe in that. Particularly there, in that moment, Halvarin's arms around her in the darkness. Amarwen felt as though she had been set afire and in the darkness he kissed her again.

"Halvarin," she whispered against his lips, a siren song calling in her blood, "My love…"

And just like that, they tumbled beyond friendship into something wilder, deeper oh so very perilous. She never wanted this to end. She wanted the world beyond to fade away and for a while it did. There was only now. Halvarin. This. She wound herself around him and gloried in the wonder of this moment.

Sleep stole over them in time and she drifted in half realised dreams of a life they might share. Far to the north. It would have to be simple and quiet. Tucked against Halvarin's chest and listening to the thrum of his heart, Amarwen knew they could make it work. They would have only themselves but what else did they require? And once she was gone, the crisis that gripped Edhellond would pass. If no one knew where she was, if she vanished…yes, Halvarin's clever mind had found a way for them out of this.

For a few hours they drifted until Halvarin stirred. Amarwen felt him move against her as he lifted his head.

"Someone approaches," he whispered as he sat up.

"Then we must go now, my love" she said, rising with him.

"Ami, no, it would not-"

"We must! If we are clever and quick, we can do this! I know we can!"


In the darkness he drew up to her once more and she leaned into him. Halvarin kissed her so soundly that it made her head swim. As his lips withdrew from hers she reached for him.

Halvarin had pulled back and the footsteps were coming closer.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Helda was not sure what had led her to the Dome of Stars. It was a pretty, sparkly thing to be sure but not to her taste. Give her the rolling swell of open plains and the roar of the wind past her ears as she rode over this. Still, it was a quiet place and in the small hours of the night she needed its solitude if she was to master her divided thoughts.

Aldamir had told her that he would put this to rights but he had not. Or would not. Helda did not know which and she remained profoundly discomfited by it. What had stopped her prince? What had changed his mind so that he would agree to force a woman into a marriage she did not want? Helda had seen the wistful, admiring and outright hungry glances Amarwen left in her wake, like so much dust kicked up at her heels. Surely, though, her prince was a better man than that. A better man than his reprobate of a brother.

As she wondered the halls trying to reconcile herself with what she had seen, Helda's quick hearing picked up the sound of voices. Voices trying not to be heard. Frowning, the Shieldmaiden closed in warily.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~


"Hal, please?! We must fly!"

Though Amarwen dared not lift her voice, it quivered with urgency all the same.

"No," Halvarin reached for her and caught, by chance, her elbow. He bowed his head to murmur in her ear, "I will find you again, Ami. This…this is not an end to us!"

She made to turn into him but instead he pushed her towards the chamber door. As it swung open, Halvarin sank back into the shadows.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Helda squinted at the darkness within, certain she voices she had heard came from here. A man and a woman's. Perhaps a tryst and if so then how fortunate for them but perhaps not! Only as she reached a slow hand for her sword did she realise it was not there. All she had was her shield! She was more vulnerable than she had imagined and it made her flesh crawl.

Within, she heard someone catch their breath.

"Who goes there?" the Shieldmaiden demanded, tensed to spring at whatever or whomever lurked within. "Show yourself at once!"

Reaching for her shield as she stepped back from the doorway, Helda noticed a shimmering in the darkness. She squinted at that until she realised it was the hem of a very fine gown. A very expensive, richly appointed gown. The sort courtesans could never afford. Helda backed up warily to a spot where a window let in a shaft of night less dense and thick as the shadows within. A woman, she concluded.

"Your name!" Helda barked, ready to fling the deadly weight of her shield should this woman prove an assassin.

"Am…Amarwen."

So surprised was the Shieldmaident that she almost dropped her shield. What was Amarwen of Edhollend doing here? Helda peered past the noblewoman and into the chamber.

"Who else is with you?" she asked and then, "How did you get out?"

"Vinyarion."


Amarwen's reply made Helda suck in a startled breath, "He's not here too, is he?"

"No."


Vinyarion's reputation was almost as notorious as his uncles but Helda thought the youth would draw a line when it came to the woman betrothed to his father. Would he not?

"Does Aldamir know you are here?"

"No,"
Amarwen replied.

Still peering at the chamber, which was now still, Helda had to decide which was more pressing…ascertain who was within, for she was certain there was someone in there. She had heard two voices, one definitely masculine. She also needed to return Amarwen to the palace before her absence was noted. Her debate was only a momentary one until she found her answer. Whoever he was, provided it brought no harm to Aldamir she was more than happy to allow Amarwen what respite she might find. A woman, even those of noble birth, ought to be able to choose for themselves who warms their beds.

"Come," the shieldmaiden said with a nod to herself, "I know how to get you back."

Re-slinging her shield, Helda accompanied Amarwen towards the stairs, "Whoever he is, is he worth it?" she inquired as they descended, well aware of the consequences should this liaison be discovered.

"Without question," Amarwen replied without hesitation.

"Good," Helda said emphatically, "Now, draw that cowl of yours up and let's be about this."

Watching on from the uppermost level, Halvarin could make out the dim shapes made by the shieldmaiden and Amarwen as they crossed the threshold and were lost to the city once more. He could still taste Amarwen upon his lips and he closed his eyes to inhale deeply. As he opened them again, he wondered how Helda might be able to assist them. For he would find her again. He had to. He needed her once more even now and that dull ache would only grow in time. Perhaps it might be time to speak with his father.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 27th, 2018, 11:18 pm 
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Rie-Zunic sighed and shook his head. "It's late," he said, more calmly than he felt. "We should get some sleep."

Almara glared at him. She hated it when he did that. She decided not to press it this time. He was right after all. It was late. She followed him to the bed and lay down beside him. Rie-Zunic wanted to protest. She could tell that he did. He didn't, though, so she stayed.

"I'll find the shieldmaiden in the morning," he finally spoke once.more. "I can return her things then."

"And say what?" Almara asked, propping herself up on her elbow. "That she followed you to your house?"

"Perhaps I will catch her privately," he said, tone growing more agitated.

Almara sighed and closed her eyes as she flipped her head back down. "Fine..." A moment of silence passed, then she added. "I'll be out and about tomorrow. The mercenary camp will expect to see me around."

"Naturally," Rie-Zunic said, and he could take no more. He rose from the bed and walked over to a half fallen apart chair in the far corner. He sat down and closed his eyes. "Good night, Almara." He continued just as Almara began to ask. "And yes... I still love you. That is why it hurts so much."

"I love you too," Almara whispered.

The two fell asleep sometime late that night. Minds full of trouble, and eyes wet with silent tears cried out of sight in the dark.


Last edited by Jax Nova on March 29th, 2018, 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 29th, 2018, 9:00 pm 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Still breathing Amarwen’s scent, he remained in the high room long after only silence accompanied him. Amarwen had been escorted away by a Rhovanion shieldmaiden of Aldamir’s, and from what he heard, it sounded like she was unconcerned with the tryst Amarwen was having.

Is this how it would be? The times they would by chance be in the same city at the same time they would try to steal away for a moment alone? Halvarin was silent but for the sound of his boots on the stone steps as he came back down to the fountain under the dome. He looked up and could see the stars pushing their shafts of light down around him and knew that the stars would have to change for he and Amarwen to be together.

Halvarin sat on the edge of the fountain and he watched the water as its sound echoed through the dome. The water sparkled with the glint of the stars, reflecting their dim beams back up and around the chamber, and Halvarin wished only that his childhood friend, and the woman he had loved since he began to understand what love was, could be here with him now. He could feel his throat tighten as it tried to push its way up to his mouth as he knew he was for the most part helpless to do anything about Amarwen’s predicament here and now. The thought of running away north was a fleeting one without hope. Was there any hope but for their moment alone this night?

A faint sound was heard from the door, and Halvarin turned and looked. He could see a shadow moving just outside. Did Amarwen find a way to slip back? No, she wouldn’t be so careless to have her boot make such noise. The door creaked open ands a silhouette stepped in and closed it. Halvarin sat motionless in the silvery shadowy star light. He heard a gasp of wonderment as delicate feet clicked their way across the marble floor. Halvarin could see the woman stop at the edge of the fountain opposite him. He watched her as she looked in awe at the sparkling waters and up to the dome. Halvarin turned his mouth up toward the dome and he said in a deep resonating voice,

“It is a wonder to behold!”

A slight chirp came from the woman as she jumped at the sudden realisation she was not there alone. Halvarin stood up and stepped up on the edge of the fountain and started to walk around toward her. He said,

”Welcome Lady Liswyn.”

“Halvarin? I looked for you at the palace!”


She said as she regained her breath. Halvarin stepped down and stood before her and said,

”I wasn’t invited, as you saw.”

Liswyn frowned and looked down, but when she again looked into his eyes, he held her gaze and said,

”Do not waste these moments you have here looking down Lady Liswyn. The starlight intensifies as the moon westers. You may never see this place like this again.”

Liswyn remained frozen in his gaze until Halvarin looked up to the dome. Her gaze followed his and she said quietly,

”It is beautiful!”

Halvarin turned and sat down on the edge of the fountain, and Liswyn sat beside him. Halvarin asked,

“It is well into the morning hours and you are wandering the streets of Osgiliath?”

“It was late and I went for a walk.”


Halvarin nodded. He said,

”I should escort you back. Your father will worry…”

“Yes, please, escort me to the inn… after we enjoy the stars under the dome for awhile.”


Halvarin sighed as he looked at her looking up at the dome. His sense of duty had him once again watching over Lady Liswyn. He looked back up at the dome and thought of his Love and wondered what she was doing now... What was he doing now...

Liswyn and her curiosity took Halvarin’s mind off of the thoughts of Lady Amarwen marrying Prince Aldamir and he started pointing out the various stars and giving their names. They talked long of stars and ships and Gondor, and after a short walk through the Library, they came to the open balcony that ringed the dome. The stars looked quite different from outside, and the view of the city and the lands was quite stunning in the feint silvery haze. By the time they left, the moon had sunk low in the west. Halvarin walked Liswyn back over the bridge to the inn, and he paused outside. She sighed as he stood there with his hands behind his back. Before she could say anything, Halvarin said,

”And I now must bid you goodnight, or good morning as it were. Daylight will come shortly, and rest will be short before the day calls.”

He bowed to her, and Liswyn curtsied as she sighed. She knew better than to try and coax him inside, even if the thought ran through her like water.

”Good morning to you kind sir, and thank you for your company. May this day be well for you.”

Before he could see her eyes, she turned and quickly walked into the inn. Halvarin watched her until the door closed, then turned to head to his father’s quarters. As he walked over the bridge to the west, he considered collecting his bags and returning to the easy quay to take the first ship downriver, unsure if he could remain knowing that his beloved Amarwen was now betrothed to the younger son of Eldacar.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 29th, 2018, 10:08 pm 
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The Palace - earlier that evening


First Aldamir had absented himself from the evening and now the announcement that Lady Amarwen had taken unwell. Eldacar was utterly unsurprised , considering what he had learned across the afternoon, but still perturbed. The betrothal could not be formally announced and he had to wonder whether this was in part the purpose. Certainly, Aldamir had not been well pleased…and this sort of quiet condemnation was precisely within his youngest son's nature.

King Valacar said in response to the tidings, "I trust the Lady is not too poorly."

Beside Eldacar, Lady Farien answered the aged king, "A passing fugue, Sire. I expect she will recover swiftly."

Valacar nodded at this, ill inclined to pursue the matter further and thereby delay the evening's events. As age advanced, he became ever more rigid when it came to matters such as punctuality. As if he knew time was fast running out and he was still determined to do as much as he could with what he had left. The king waved a hand and the servers came forward bearing steaming food.

Light conversation took up amongst the lords and ladies gathered, including a talented ship wright up from Pelargir and his young daughter, Liswyn. The newly presented pair sat with Lord Therald. Therald, for his measure, looked uncomfortable as he attempted to attend to the conversation around him. Eldacar imagined he could guess why that was.

The rumors of the palace held that Lady Amarwen had been unmoved and ill pleased with her father's entreaties. Therald had led him to believe that his daughter was not wholly opposed to the notion. Untrue, as most in the palace now knew. Therald looked up and met Eldacar's gaze at that moment. What he saw was a man grappling with his conscience.

"Did he know" Farien mururmed in his ear and Eldacar pushed out a sigh.

"I cannot say," he answered as a trencher of freshly baked bread was set before him, "Whatever the case, whilst matters are perforce more difficult than anticipated, I do not see how we cannot proceed."

"This could do more harm than good,"
Farien reached for her wine and sipped.

His wife, pressed to wed him in her time although in very difficult circumstances, likely had a deeper insight on this than he.

Eldacar glanced to her, "Is it, then, best to annul the contracts and be done with it?"

"It will require a very delicate hand…but all is not yet lost,"
Farien studied her wine and then glanced thoughtfully to where Lord Canimir sat, "We must see this through."

Eldacar inclined his head, grateful for his wife's counsel and considered what lay ahead. Amarwen would require a great deal of preparation. Unlike Aldamir, she had not been raised with an understanding of the responsibilities and duties of a princess of the realm. The trampled tulip bed was testament to that! The heavy burden she was to take on was one she had not been prepared for. Still, Amarwen showed a great deal of promise. If this could be developed further, she'd prove quite the asset to the royal court.

"She will require guidance," he finally said at which Farien faintly smiled.

"I agree, though it remains to be seen whether she will accept mine," came her knowing answer and Eldacar nodded. He should have known his wife will have already commenced.

"If not, other arrangements will be made," Farien continued, "I'll see to it that she is not thrown to the wolves."

This, then, was the best they could do. Prepare Amarwen for what awaited her, soften the blow as best they could. The rest lay with Aldamir, for if she could not yield what they so sorely required, all of this unpleasantness would be for naught.




~ ~ ~ ~ ~


The Palace - after midnight


Amarwen gripped the covers as she stared at the canopy over the bed. It felt strange to be lying here. She far preferred the intractable stone and Halvarin's warmth of scarcely an hour ago. Her body was electric with remembered sensation. Awash. She could scarcely believe what had happened and yet she could smell him upon her skin. He had said this was not all. This was not an end. Just how that might be accomplished she did not know. Was she foolish to allow herself to think there was a future for them?

She rolled to her side, closed her eyes and there he was. Amarwen pulled a pillow against her and tightly wrapped her arms around it. She buried her face in it and imagined that it was not a pillow at all. Her waking dream became a sleeping one before she knew it and once again she was lost in the sweet fire of Halvarin's embrace.

When she woke again, she found the morning had largely passed. Her mouth was thick with the wine she had drunk last night to steady her nerves. There was a dull throb at the base of her skull. The door to her bedroom opened as a maid bustled through to pull back the curtains.

"Good morning to you, my Lady. Did you enjoy your evening?" the woman asked, moving to the other window to pull the curtains away.

Amarwen winced at the sunlight as she pushed herself upright. The pillow she had been wrapped around fell to atop the covers as she did so. The maid turned from the window and glanced over to the silver gown Amarwen had left thrown over an open door of her wardrobe.

"Would you like to wear that today, my lady?"

"No,"
Amarwen replied, blushing only a little, "It requires airing."

The maid nodded, "The Prince has sent gift. Shall I bring it to you?"

The swift replacement of recollections of Halvarin with the looming reality of Aldamir left Amarwen momentarily numb. She managed to nod and soon she found herself peering at a song bird. It was a beautiful creature, perched in a finely wrought cage chased in gold. The bird's head tilted this way and that briefly before it burst into song. Amarwen winced, for whilst the liquid sound was marvellous it was also far too loud.

"There is a message," the maid said as she set the cage down.

The bird trilled on as she brought the message to Amarwen and with effort, she read the script upon it: This shall not be your fate.

Amarwen looked up from the careless scrawl that was Aldamir's signature to the bird again. It was magnificent to behold.

"Shall you keep it?" the maid inquired and Amarwen nodded slowly.

"I will," she said as she pushed back the covers and rose from her bed, "And I will send the Prince a reply."

"Very good, my lady."


It read: Unlike this beautiful creature, I will not starve when released from captivity.

The maid's eyes widened as she read it herself, "Are you certain this is what-"

"Yes,"
Amarwen replied steadily and the maid inclined her head.

She took her leave and hastened from Lady Amarwen's quarters with the reply folded in her hand. But, she did not take it to Prince Aldamir.

Princess Farien read the response and then looked up to the maid that had brought it to her, "You have done well to bring this to me."

The maid nodded, nervous still and Prince Farien dispatched her back to her duties with the bidding, "I will see to this."

Princess Farien sat, considering her various options carefully. She could turn a blind eye, of course. Amarwen was angry now but with time the relentless reality that surrounded her would likely crush that anger out of her. If she were clever, and Farien rather thought that she was in the main, Amarwen would bend with her fate rather than set herself resolutely against it. But, then, there was the matter of last night. Though no one seemed willing, yet, to divulge where Amarwen had absented herself to, it was clear that she did not remain within the palace walls for the entire evening.

Farien's mind turned the feast not so very long ago. Canimir's son…if she did not miss her guess, and Farien rarely did, she was reasonably confident just who Amarwen had sought out. She pressed out a sigh at that. The timing was all wrong. Such endeavours could be tolerated, if done discretely, but not at this point. She had been rather explicit with the young woman only yesterday and still Amarwen had pursued this course. It could not be left unaddressed and so the Princess rose and set out.

"Lady Amarwen," she said crisply as she pushed through the young noblewoman's doors, "Might I have a moment of your time?"

Though posed as a question, the withering coolness of Farien's tone made it clear it was not a request at all. Amarwen froze momentarily, still in her nightclothes, but recovered herself with admirable speed. A fine asset to the court once her unruliness was dealt with, Farien thought. She watched the young woman drop into a faultless curtsy and flicked an eyebrow at the two maids, nervously clutching at their skirts. The two young women wasted no time in absenting themselves and the doors were closing as Amarwen rose.

"You quit the palace grounds last night," Farien charged as Amarwen clasped her hands before her. The younger woman studied her back for a moment before she offered her response.

"Are the stars and moon forbidden to me now, your Highness?"

Farien resisted the urge to smile for to offer such an answer took a great measure of daring and no small store of cold tempered steel. However, the young woman before her needed correction.

Princess Farien ensured her expression remained stark, "What is forbidden to you, child, is treason!"

Amarwen lifted her chin before she knew what she was doing, such was the anger coursing through her. Farien watched her catch herself and pull back.

"If you do not have a care, you will bring great harm to those you love," Farien noted the flaring of Amarwen's eyes, "Him most particularly. Is that what you want?"

She did not wait for a reply. The Princess departed in much the same manner she had arrived, without leave or announcement, leaving Amarwen to sort through for herself their exchange.

For a few moments Amarwen stood where she was, staring at the spot recently vacated by the Princess. Only yesterday Farien had been advocating this and today she denounced it as treason. Admittedly, Farien had suggested an entirely different timing but Amarwen could not countenance enduring through the three or four years it would take to produce heirs without Halvarin knowing the truth. He knew that now but had she condemned him all the same? Even now, the business of providing heirs made her stomach knot and heave.

To take what she had shared with Halvarin and turn it into something to be endured, borne for the good of the realm and her people. It felt foul to her. Her skin pebbled at the thought and she shivered with dread. She had to warn Halvarin. She had to see him one more time for if she brought him to harm she would never be able to live with herself.


Last edited by Elora Starsong on March 30th, 2018, 3:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 29th, 2018, 11:29 pm 
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That morning Rie-Zunic made his way back to the palace for his duties. It seemed an ordinary day on the outside, but everyone was tense. No doubt due to the young woman being held captive, he guessed. It was a nasty business, that. He sighed, and shook the thought away. He had better things to think about, so he told himself. He could not help it, though, it bothered him.

Meanwhile Almara returned to her tent in the mercenary camps where she was critically grilled by Girdean. The man insisted on knowing where she had been.

"With him," Almara shot back, eyes full of fire. "You asked me to approach him. To draw him over to our side! I did as you asked."

Girdean calmed and set a two fingered clench on his jaw in a thoughtful manner. "Yes... yes I did." He stood in silence for a while, then pulled a paper out of his vest pocket. "This is for you. Written and sealed by Lord Calimir. I was told to deliver it to you."

Almara took the papers and stuffed them in her pocket, eyeing Girdean scornfully.

"Very well," Girdean said with staunch glare. "Have it your way. I will take my leave."

Almara waited until Girdean was gone and opened the folded paper. According to this letter Calamir had been impressed with her performance at the tournaments and wished for her to join his personal guard? She had placed well, yes... but this?

"Unless..." Almara whispered to herself. "Unless he has plans for me through my parentage."

That would make more sense, indeed. Either way, she was summoned to him later that evening.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 31st, 2018, 6:33 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Halvarin gathered his duffle bag and left his dad’s quarters without a word. His father wasn’t there, and Halvarin didn’t give that much thought as he walked back to the east quay that morning. He checked with the dockmaster and found out he had missed an early ship that left port for Pelargir, with another ship leaving for Harlond in the early afternoon. So Halvarin was left to ponder his thoughts of the day before. He took a room at the Bridge Inn and went to it and dropped his bag and lay down on the bed. Staring at the beams of the ceiling, he was left to ponder his thoughts of the day before.

What life would they have if he and Amarwen did try to flee to the north? They could blend in as farmers or merchants and not have such dealings with the royal line. Yet, word such as it was came that there was much troubles there as well, with a devastating war only ending around twenty years ago. The fact that Halvarin was giving this thought now told him that he was most serious about it.

Halvarin was soon asleep and his dreams were vivid and strange. Visions of scenes from beautiful waters on an unfamiliar coast where he and Amarwen ran free in the sand, to endless sailing aboard a might ship, to fighting among their own. When the visions subsided, Halvarin slept long through the day, and awoke to find he missed the ship to Minas Anor. Rather than returning to the Bridge Inn, he went to the north end of the east quay and found a stool at the bar of the Old Tavern, a sailor’s haunt of old.

Halvarin remained silent as he drank his ales, but he kept a slow pace so as to not lose his senses. He listened intently to the conversations that were going on, and Halvarin realised that the talk he heard some of in Pelargir had come north. The sailors were angry and were quite against the crown being passed to Eldacar. He had heard talk in Pelargir of this, but he ignored it, thinking that Gondorians was much better than to challenge a hereditary secession. But these were the working hands, not the Guild officers. No, there was going to be troubles when Valacar dies. Halvarin hoped it would not happen, but he needed to think about where he would stand should it come. He also knew he could not leave Amarwen entwined with the royal Rhovanions. Should she marry Aldamir, he would be nearby. He could not leave her here now.

Halvarin ordered another ale and planned their route and logistics in his head. He was not sure how, but at least he thought he at least needed to try. He felt so helpless in his desire to free Amarwen of her betrothal to Aldamir that he turned his thought again to the brewing unrest around him as the sun westered abd the shadows of the city in the west threw their long shadows over the river and the east.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: March 31st, 2018, 7:49 am 
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Where was that wretched Vinyarion, Amarwen wondered as she turned another corner. She need to get word to Halvarin, to warn him that Princess Farien knew. Vinyarion was her only means, such as he was, to do that but she'd not seen him all day. Ahead there was movement and Amarwen paused only to frown. What was Halvarin's father doing here?

Lord Calimir closed the doors after him discretely and glanced first down the hall and then towards where Amarwen stood. He froze for a moment, gathered himself and came towards her. The temptation to turn heel was undeniable but, then, if Vinyarion was absent then perhaps Calimir might be able to get word to his son. If she could trust him with that.

"Lady Amarwen, congratulations are in order I hear," he rubbed his hands together and smiled.

Though she knew she should be cautious of this man, she could not help but shudder. His smile widened for he had not missed her reaction. This, she realised, was a mistake. There was nothing she could trust Lord Calimir with. Nothing. Most especially not his son.

"Are you lost? Is there something I can assist you with?"

She shook her head from side to side but still she hesitated. Calimir studied her, "You are troubled."

Troubled?! Amarwen bit down on an answer and turned away from the man. Calimir let her get a couple of steps.

"It need not be this way, Lady Amarwen."

She should have kept walking but she came to a halt. His footsteps were steady, unhurried behind her.

"There are those who sorrow at what is unfolding. At the depths our people, our court, has sunk to."

"And there are those who would usurp the throne,"
Amarwen replied, finding her voice at last.

Lord Calimir sighed at that, "You have your whole life ahead of you, Lady Amarwen. Is it any wonder that some grieve that it is spent so cruelly?"

Amarwen closed her eyes for she did not trust herself. Calimir's answer was too neatly packaged, too polished. As if he had been preparing it for just this. Shegathered her skirts in her hands, "I take your leave, Lord Calimir."

His hand on her elbow checked her and shocked, Amarwen found herself gazing directly into the eyes of Halvarin's father.

"I have known you since you were a child, my Lady, and yet you mistrust me."

"I mistrust your master,"
Amarwen replied, discomforted, and Calimir released her arm.

"But not my son," he stated, knowingly, "If you will not accept my aid, will you deign to accept his?"

She swallowed thickly at the question and drew a deep breath, "I need to get word to Halvarin. It is urgent."

Calimir smiled anew, "Oh, I can do better than that. I can have you speak with him yourself."

She didn't trust him and she knew Halvarin had his difficulties with this man. Often he had shared his troubles with her over the years, pointing to the vastly different relationship between herself and her own father. But, then, just look at what had come to pass from that? Her father, and her mother, had deceived her. She understood why they had done so but she could not deny the sting of betrayal all the same. And now, here she was, shackled to a fate not of her choosing, alone in a palace that was her cage no matter what the Prince might claim.

She was alone here, her allies thin if they existed at all. And here was Calimir, promising that which she desired about all else. Her stomach knotted, Amarwen found herself slowly nodding at Halvarin's father. She did not trust Calimir or the man he served, the treacherous Master of Ships, but Halvarin was another matter entirely. Him she trusted with her life.

"I will send my personal guard for you," Calimir said as he gathered himself, no mention of when they might arrive or how she might know it to be them.

"How will I-"

"You will know her when you see her,"
he answered and ambled away as if the halls of this palace were his own.

Amarwen drew a deep breath now that her course was set, and turned for her rooms. Her cell, more like. Whoever this personal guard was, whenever she might arrive, Amarwen would be ready to quit Osgiliath once and for all, her life such as it was with it. She would be free, the man she loved at her side. And, once they were wed, then she could no longer be bartered about.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 3rd, 2018, 10:30 am 
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Almara sat patiently in the back room of the building. She had been told to meet Calimir here. It was a dock storage building, it seemed. A strange place to meet, but she could only imagine he wished the utmost privacy for their meeting. Quite some time after she had arrived, Calimir finally showed.

"My apologies for keeping you," he said, walking up to her with a strange smile.

"What is it you want?" Almara asked bluntly.

Calimir's smile shifted, though did not fade. "To the point, good," he stated. "I have little desire for small talk. As the letter informed you, I would like to offer you a position on my personal guard. There are several members whom I keep... close. They are those who carry out my most sensitive tasks. I am in need of such assistance now."

"Why?" Almara continued, not letting the man finish. "Why me?"

"You have showed yourself quite capable," Calimir answered. "But I will not lie... your genealogy leaves something to gain from your position under my hand. It may come of great use to our cause... and perhaps great gain to you."

"I'm not in this for gain," Almara told him. "I'm here because I don't agree with the decisions of the crown. They mix our blood. They weaken it."

"Yes," Calimir stated with an ambitious tone. "They do that and more. They seek to further that mingling of impure blood. Against the will of Amarwen of Edhelend they will forced her hand to marry prince Aldamir. It is this travesty I wish you to prevent."

"I heard," Almara said, looking to her feet. "I don't understand why they would do that."

"Reasons are inconsequential," Calimir insisted. "We know she does not wish to be forced into this life. I have spoken to her. She wants out, and I have offered to help her out. I would like you to go to the castle, help her escape. Do whatever is needed. Can I trust you to do that?"

"I do not agree with the young woman being forced," Almara told him. "But I would like to know... before I agree to all this, what is your plan for me? Beyond this?"

Calimir smiled as he turned to walk away. "All in good time."

Almara stood in contemplation for a long moment. Now was the time of decision. Would she side with Calimir and his handlers, or would she tell Rie-Zunic their plan? She found herself considering the two options all the way to the castle. She felt as thought fate would decide for her. Rie-Zunic was there, at the castle. If he saw her, she knew she could not bare to lie to his face. He would know she was lying. As chance would have it, she did not see him. She instead found herself wandering the halls secretly. She ducked around a corner and into a room as another set of guards passed, then continued on. The place was so large, she didn't know if she would ever find Amarwen. Then, as she disparaged in her mind, she opened the next door to peek in, and there the young woman was.


Last edited by Jax Nova on April 10th, 2018, 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 8th, 2018, 7:04 am 
Dunedain Ranger of Arnor
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Rhinnin lay awake in their barracks tossing and turning. She saw Vilmaith move, and she whispered to her,

”Vil, why do they hate us so?”

“Who does?”


Vilmaith mumbled without opening her eyes. Rhinnin sat up and said,

”Some of the Gondorians.”

“It’s the racist Mariners. They think we usurp their kingdom. Now go to sleep. We have duty in the morning.”


Vilmaith turned over and pulled the blanket up. Rhinnin went on,

”But one I met tonight was nice. They wouldn’t serve me at this inn, and he stepped in. He was no racist.”

Vilmaith didn’t respond, so Rhinnin lay back down and stared at the roof. She finally went to sleep, but she thought a lot about that bartender and the Guild officer.

~ ~ ~

The morning came, and the Rhovanion Royal Guard were called to the training ground in full gear. The commander did an equipment check, and after finding a few things wrong or missing on a few of the soldiers, they started to march out to the gate of the city.

Once they were outside the gate, they made a full turn to the right and came around and headed up the track to the north. After a mile they were called to quick march, and that went for two miles. When they reached about five miles, they were allowed a break. Rhinnin threw herself down on the grass and lay on her back. Vilmaith stood over her and said,

”Don’t fall asleep dreamer.”

“Hey, I did sleep some!”


Helda laughed, saying,

”You won’t find any of those soft Mariners out doing this Rhinnin. Now get up and move before you cramp up.”

Vidnavi and Vilna were walking by and heard Helda. Vidnavi said,

“She would love to cramp up after a night with her Mariner!”

Vilmaith came over and waved them off, saying,

”Give her a break. She will overcome this!”

Rhinnin sighed and said as she stood up,

“I had an ale and a late night and happened to meet a gentleman mariner.”

The others laughed as She took a few steps. She could already feel her calves getting tight. When the commander sounded the horn for them to fall in again, she took a deep breath and got ready.

Rhinnin thought about her being there. She was never as good as Vilmaith, or the twins Vilma and Vidnavi. Like a big sister, Vilmaith always had her back, just as Vilma and Vidnavi had each other’s back. But Rhinnin knew she struggled to uphold the standard the other shieldmaidens put forth. Still, she was one of six chosen, and she would uphold that honour Eldacar bestowed upon her. They all fell into the double line and set off along the river bank where there was no track. The brambles made progress slow, and it would take them until evening to return to Osgiliath.

~ ~ ~ ~

The evening had truly turned to a late night for Halvarin. He had managed to nurse his ales and ended up talking to the patrons and playing cards with some. Without really trying, he came away with a fair sum in his pocket. When he was leaving, he decided he would not leave Osgiliath yet. He didn’t know what he would do or how he would do it, but he needed to stay for Amarwen. He would not abandon her to the royals until the wedding ceremony was done. And even then, he would always be in the shadows.

As he walked along the quay, he wondered where she was and what she was doing right now. He climbed the stairs and pondered going back west to the library in the chance that she may be there or wander in during the night. He hoped Liswyn would not go there again. After standing and pondering his path this night, he turned and went to the Bridge Inn. He came to the bar and ordered a final ale, and the bartender tapped it and set it before him, saying,

”No Rhovanion bint with you tonight eh?”

Halvarin paused as he picked up his ale. He was torn between either punching him or throwing the ale in his face, but he did neither. He didn’t want to risk damaging his hand on his face and didn’t want to waste a good beer. He went outside and sat where he sat before, sipping his ale and looking at the Dome of the Stars in the moonlight.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 8th, 2018, 9:03 am 
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Almara said little as they moved and Amarwen's head was full of questions. She scarcely knew this woman but still she felt unsettled. She felt vulnerable, at a disadvantage. Had she of known that Almara was the personal guard of Calimir, she would have been far more circumspect. What had she disclosed, unwittingly? What purchase had she given away freely? Would it matter?

That they had no time for Amarwen to pose any of her questions was probably for the best. She had chosen the garb she had arrived at Osgiliath in. It was suitable for travel and such that no one's head would be turned. There was no fine trim or delicate fabrics. Well made, yes, and in excellent repair but not all that different to the clothing any number of townswomen wore. She could pass as a merchant's daughter easily, provided no one saw the length of her hair and no one would as her hair was tucked into her serviceable cloak. And though she wore Edhellond's gold trimmed in crimson, it was not the sort of colour limited solely to the nobility.

Her life, her future, lay in Almara's hands. A woman she did not know in the least. She looked to the city around them. They had used the path out of the palace Vinyarion had told her of but once clear of the palace grounds, Almara had steered them through the streets. Through the streets and towards the river. She could smell it. Hear it slapping against the hulls of the boats moored there.

"Where are we-"

"Hsst!"


Amarwen did not recognise the signal Almara directed at her but she understood the reply. Silence. They were pressed against the side of a warehouse. It was a narrow notch, already darkened. After a few moments, Amarwen could hear the tread of boots. Rhythmic. Orderly. Troops. The sound grew louder and Almara shrank back. Amarwen had a choice. Remain here, quiet and hidden, and trust or spring forward. She could push past Almara and out, identify herself.

But Halvarin…he needed to know the peril he was in. Amarwen's hands curled. Could she find some other way to tell him? Was he even still in the city? She'd not heard from him since last night. What if, despite his words in the undeniable heat of that moment, he had reconsidered in the cold light of day?

The sound of marching grew closer. She could hear the jingle of their harness - armour and weapons. Steel chiming and leather creaking and groaning. Past Almara's shoulder, Amarwen could see them. Then they were gone. The sound of marching faded and Almara turned her head slightly.

"Now," she whispered and again Amarwen knew she could hesitate. Force Almara to pull her forward.

Raise her voice and plead for help. Almara noted her hesitation and turned to her, "Do you want to be free or not?"

And so they were moving again, out from between the warehouses and then shortly onto the docks. Almara flitted over the timbers, more shadow than woman. Amarwen felt clumsy and cumbersome in comparison. The timber creaked under her feet, announcing her presence. On Almara pushed until they boarded a boat. It was a river sloop, well appointed from what Amarwen could glean in their haste.

Amarwen followed the woman below deck and into a spacious cabin. Someone had claimed it for themselves for she could see their belongings had been stowed. A pair of boots were pushed against the wall under the window. Was this Halvarin's quarters, she wondered as she looked about. Behind them the doors closed and she turned in time to hear the lock click. This had been a mistake.

As Almara tested the door again, Amarwen turned away with a shake of her head and found herself facing the windows. They could not be opened, but they could be broken. And then what? Leap overboard and into the Anduin, with its swift currents. She knew that she was a strong swimmer. She was a daughter of Edhellond and so she moved for the chair that was pulled under a desk. It was heavy as she dragged it free and to the windows.

"What are you doing?" Almara asked from the door she had been tugging on.

Amarwen gave no reply as she adjusted the chair, lifted it and found she needed to be closer still to the glass. She'd get perhaps two swings before those above heard and if she hadn't climbed through by then... Amarwen lifted the chair again and as Almara swiftly assembled what was unfolding.

"You will drown," Almara stated, leaving the door now to approach.

"If I do, it will not be as a traitor to my people," Amarwen adjusted her grasp to swing the chair only to find Almara gripped it. She tugged at it in a bid to wrest if from Amarwen's grasp. The two women eyed each other over it and then Amarwen released her hold. Almara lowered the chair and considered Amarwen.

"Calimir wishes to free you from your marriage to…the prince."

That Almara stumbled over Aldamir's name would have intrigued Amarwen had circumstances been different. They were not.

She shook her head, "I assure you, the question of my freedom has yet to enter that man's thoughts."

"Why trust him, then?"
Almara inquired, frowning.

Amarwen drew a breath to answer but thought better of it. She shook her head at herself. No. She would not implicate Halvarin further than she already had.

"If I am taken to Pelargir, I will never be free…" she instead said, "There may well be war...and I will not be the cause of it."

"We are not moving. You cannot be certain that we will go anywhere,"
Almara replied and then canted her head, "Why did you accompany me?"

"I...I needed to speak to...someone."


Almara's eyes narrowed, well aware that Amarwen was not entirely forthcoming. She pulled the chair back further and sat upon it, a leg balanced on one knee.

"Well then, we wait."

Amarwen eyed Almara a moment and decided against pulling the chair out from underneath her. The woman had a point. They weren't moving. She couldn't be sure that she had been duped by Calimir, yet. Of course, it may well turn out that by the time certainty arrived her opportunity to extricate herself from this mess had also passed. With a sigh, the noble woman freed her cloak and threw that on the bunk before she went to the desk. Might as well pass the time exploring the papers there.

As for Almara, she seemed content to allow her to rifle through drawers and shelves. There was nothing of note, aside from a few pieces of quotidian correspondence bearing the Guild's insignia. Amarwen knew that quite well. Time crawled and no one came to the door. It was difficult to say how much time passed. An hour. More? Almara fidgeted increasingly, her foot bouncing atop her knee. Fingers drumming on an arm. Increasingly frequent glances to the locked doors. A deepening frown furrowing her brow.

Perhaps Calimir was off locating Halvarin. Perhaps he would abide by his word. By now, tidings of her absence will have spread through the palace. She'd not taken the measures of the night before because she had expected to be back in time for the evening meal. The longer they waited, the worse this became and Amarwen struggled to remain composed as she sat on the edge of the bunk and kicked her heels together within her skirts.

"I did not know you worked for Lord Calimir," she said, more to broach the silence and distract her own thoughts.

Almara rolled a shoulder, "It is a recent arrangement."

Amarwen's brows rose. Recent? This was a very delicate matter they were about, and Calimir had assigned a new hire to it? Her stomach knotted anew...if her fears proved sound, Almara's fate would not be a happy one. Then her head lifted for she could hear orders issued above. They were too faint for her to make out but feet began to rush over the deck and then, the tell tale rattle of the anchor chain. Amarwen's stomach dropped. They were casting off, likely with the midnight tide.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire. How could she have been so stupid? She pushed off from the bunk, ill to her stomach. She had traded one cell for another and the enormity of what would follow turned her knees to water. The Master of Ships. She had played right into his hands and in doing so, betrayed the crown and her people. She had made of herself a traitor.

"Almara, I cannot go to Pelargir. I can wait no longer."

Almara slowly rose from the chair and looked to the door. It was still locked and if they pushed their way through it somehow, they'd have to take on the crew on the other side.

"It is the only way," Amarwen said, reaching for the laces at the back of her dress. If she could free herself of its weight, she had something of a chance, "And you can't stay either. Your fate will not be kind, Almara, no matter whether I remain or flee. They are using you just as they intend to use me."

Almara drew a knife and Amarwen's efforts to unlace her bodice froze.

"Turn around," the woman declared.

Amarwen drew back from Almara and her knife and the woman pressed out an irritated sigh, strode forward and set a hand on Amarwen's shoulder to spin her about. She heard a snick and her bodice sagged. Amarwen quickly shrugged free and stepped out to kick off her shoes. When she turned about, Almara had the chair in hand. The two women traded a long gaze before Almara gave the chair a mighty swing.

Glass shattered.

Amarwen stared at the night dark waters. Then she leapt and the shock of the cold water drove the air from her lungs. Which way was Osgiliath? Did that even matter as the current pulled at her? Any shore would do. From the boat she could hear men shouting. If they put a dinghy overboard, she'd have no chance of eluding them. She struck out unaware of whether Almara had followed her or remained behind.


Last edited by Elora Starsong on April 11th, 2018, 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 10th, 2018, 11:43 pm 
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Rie-Zunic made his way home that evening not knowing where Almara was. He had heard that Amarwen was missing, however. Though it made him sick to his stomach to assume such a thing, he couldn't shake the feeling that the absence of the two women were related.

Either way, double duty was called for. He had just enough time to grab a bite to eat before heading back out to join the others who were already searching the city. He knew of Calimir's major role in the recent events, so he made straight way for the docks.

He arrived sometime around midnight. He was walking past the ships for the second time, looking for any unusual activity when he heard shouting. He raced over towards the commotion just in time to see someone jump out of the window of a ship!

"What in middle Earth is going on here?!" He wondered silently.

He hurried down to the waters edge and found a small ship. He stayed in the shadows of the dock as far as he could, trying to see who was in the water. There, out by the ship he could see now. Not one, but two people swimming.

Up on the ship he could see the men readying a small boat of their own. It looked like a ship from Pelargirim. In the split second that he had to decide what to do, he concluded he should sit and watch. To wait and see how things played out. That was, until he heard a voice... Almara's voice.

"Swim! They will be coming!"

Rie-Zunic threw caution to the wind and rowed out to meet the two swimmers as quickly as he could.

"In the boat, quickly!" He hollered as he drew up beside them. He reached out, grabbing the hand of the first woman, not being able to tell who it was in the dark of the night.


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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 20th, 2018, 7:03 am 
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There was a persistent clacking. Distracting, were it not for the way she shivered. Amarwen tried to tense there in the belly of the small dinghy she found herself in. If she tensed she could not shiver quite so badly. Or so she thought.

She could hear the gurgle of water as oars plied the water. Amarwen could feel another pressing against her. Almara, she presumed. Her ears were blocked with river water but she could hear a drone. She shifted in an attempt to see who manned the oars. In the darkness, torch light shifting uncertainly, she could not make out features. A man, she thought, judging by the size and shape of him though which one was beyond her.

Why had that clacking not stopped? What produced that infuriating racket?

Then it occurred to her. The clacking was her teeth. Amarwen's jaw clenched and the water drained from her ears in time to hear the discussion underway within the boat.

"out of here!" she heard Almara demand, her tone strident.

"And then what?" snapped a man in response.

Amarwen struggled to push herself up against Almara's weight, "Halvarin of Pelargir. I need to find-"

"Down!"
barked the man and Amarwen caught a glimpse of his face. His features were vaguely familiar to her. His eyes gleamed in the dancing light, meeting her own only briefly.

It was then she realised that she was clad only in a water soaked shift - likely rendered transparent by the river. Her shoulders hunched by instinct.

"Just row," Almara demanded and then Amarwen heard the man softly grunt as the oars groaned and water swished.


Last edited by Elora Starsong on April 21st, 2018, 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 20th, 2018, 10:00 pm 
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Rie-Zunic rowed them as quickly, yet as silently as he was able. He aimed for a close landing, but somewhere that would put them far enough away from the ship that they could escape without notice. He aimed to put a few docks between them and the large ship. His smaller boat could slide between the support pillars of the docks and float onward under them. So far, so good. They made it to the shore and he nudged the boat up to the mud. He looked around cautiously, trying to be sure no watchful eyes were around. Once he was convinced they were safe he stepped out of the boat and offered a hand to the young women.

"Hurry. They will be looking for you," Rie-Zunic whispered.

"Where are you taking us?" Almara asked, more for Amarwen's sake than her own.

"Away from here," was Rie-Zunic's only answer.


Last edited by Jax Nova on April 25th, 2018, 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Waning Days of King Valacar
PostPosted: April 23rd, 2018, 8:22 pm 
Ent
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Away? Where? What sort of answer was that? And what sort of position was in to be considering such matters? Almara was not well pleased with the vagueness of the reply but she clambered out of the dinghy all the same, grumbling softly. The guard released her once the woman was ashore and turned back to where Amarwen sat contemplating the precariousness of her situation.

She could not make out the man's features as he extended a hand towards her. Hesitant, Amarwen accepted his aid and soon her bare feet sank into the cold sucking mud of the shore. Above, she could hear the tread of boots on the docks overhead. As the man moved to conceal the boat, Amarwen looked up to see guards walking the dock.

Her head turned to the man and then Almara, "Do you know him?"

"Yes,"
Almara replied, eyes on the same guards and docks.

Amarwen made to ask whether Almara thought him trustworthy when she heard one of the guards hail a vessel preparing to cast off for the midnight tide. Almara and Amarwen both stood in silence as the vessel was halted. The captain was not best pleased at the delay and soon an argument was underway as to why he had to miss the tide for a needless inspection of his hold and manifests.

"I've never heard of this Amarwen, much less seen the wench!" the captain retorted to the guard and down below, in the darkness between docks, Amarwen's stomach knotted.

They were searching for her, right down to the docks! Amarwen's stomach twisted at all that meant and her fists bunched in her sodden shift. The palace would be in an uproar and if Princess Farien knew about Halvarin, she might well decide he was implicated in her disappearance. What was she to do? She shifted her weight, pulling her feet from the clinging hold of the mud as she considered her options. Should she return, if only to prove Halvarin's innocence?

"Steady," Almara whispered, her fingers closing on Amarwen's arm.

Amarwen shook her hand off, "You do not understand!"

Almara did not reach for Amarwen's arm again. Instead she turned to where the man had been under the dock.

"Come," she said and set off, sliding uncertainly over the mud. Amarwen looked up, frowning, and turned about to follow Almara into the darkness.

She found the other woman whispering to the man, "-and she's on bare feet...won't be able to get far."

Almara broke off at Amarwen's arrival, which was indeed slower given the fact her shoes had been left behind in her escape from the boat. Her mind was settled on her course of action. Once they had left the muddy, treacherous shore behind and regained the city streets, Amarwen would not need to run very far at all on her bare feet for those streets were crawling with guards searching for her.

"Ready," the man softly inquired and Amarwen nodded in the darkness.

"Yes," she replied, voice steady and low. She knew what she had to do.


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