Came Crashing Down

Mead Night in Edoras. Every week, locals and visitors leave the tavern much as they found it, content with mead and merry company. None, save maybe one, expected this night to be different...

Syaven shrunk back against the pillar under the weight of Brynleigh's concern, and then began to look everywhere else, faltering like a foal and ready to bolt. "You know," she pressed her hand tight around her cup, "I will claw and bite before I let you fuss over me." She planted her feet and almost grinned.

Brynleigh shifts her gaze to Waelden, offering him a quick, tight smile. Returning her attention to the woman before her, a little furrow of hurt creases between her eyes. "Why would you do that?" she asks softly. "When all I want to do is listen?"

Aescwold halted, an armfull of mostly empty cups pressed against his chest. "Evening lady, you look dressed for what's beating at our door and driving all these good folk inside." He nodded to the group by the fire. "Ale or mead to warm the bones, folks seem to have taken to the stew as well."

Waelden scrapes the bowl clean with the spoon so nothing goes to waste. He puts it down on the platter again, and goes for the bread now, putting butter and cheese on it. He takes a large bite off it, chews and swallows it down with some ale. After that, he throws a few more logs on the fire, to keep it going warm and keeping the cold out.

Syaven tilted her head, grinning warmly now, but looking ready to scold her. She opened her fingers from around her mug, and spread it in a wide circle, as though offering it to everyone with none to notice. "Every tongue here could tell you a sorry tale," she said, knowing her avoidance was weak and almost childish. "If that is what you are after. Come," she added her tone changing. "Stay by my side. It is all I need."

Dytha shook the show that had somehow crept under her layers of fur and wool. "Ah, thank you," she said and shook off a glove to take the offered mug. "Syaven is usually the one to greet folk with drink and good cheer..." She said, downy brow furrowing as she looked about for the mead-maid.

Brynleigh begins to deepen her frown, her expression shifting into something almost maternal in its disapproval. But when the woman makes a clear request, the look vanishes, and she gives a single, firm nod. "I shall. And anything else you need, you have only to ask it of me." She steps close, resting her hip against the post. Another swallow of mead follows and she is willing to turn her eyes elsehwere, finding Waelden again and smiling at him.

Aescwold laughed at that, casting a look back to the woman his father had pointed out earlier. "Syaven is to relax and enjoy her time here my father tells me, and it's his tavern so I suppose it's me who's filling cups with mead and cheer."

Waelden smiles back to Brynleigh, and raises his mug of ale to the ladies in acknowledgement, before taking a deep sip from it, almost draining it and leaving only a few drops in the bottom.

Dytha 's brows lifted nearer the fluff of her wind-swept hair. "Huh...I do not know why I had assumed this tavern belonged to that lovely young woman. Thank you for correcting my assumption." She removed her other glove and pressed her bare hand to the blazon on her Rider's Tunic. "I am Lady Dytha, of Carwic."

Syaven bit into the last morsel of bread, and before she had swallowed, her free hand reached suddenly for Brynleigh's. She moved to a chair and dragged at its back, bidding her friend sit beside Waelden with a commanding nod.

Derakoth |Open, enter, shut; the traveller stepped inside unceremoniously. He had no intention of making his presence known, and in fact, unless watching the door, one could easily miss his arrival. His step was equally light as his presence was muted. He had stepped on these boards before. He knew which ones creaked. The bare necessities were exchanged with the innkeeper. A nod. A greeting. An order. A payment. With uncaring eyes, he surveyed the tavern as he awaited.

Brynleigh has a mouthful of mead when the fingers wrap around hers, making her look up in surprise with cheeks bulging. Swallowing loudly in haste, she allows herself to be tugged, but keeps her feet at first. "I will sit only if *you* sit," she says to Syaven, brows quirked defiantly.

Aescwold bowed his head as she gave the title, a flash of recognition lighting in his pale blues as he did so. "Lady, a pleasure, I am Aescwold, son of Raedwold." He nodded to the Inn Keeper. "Can I fetch you a drink, food?" His eyes did flicker to the door then, unmissable as it was in his line of sight. The man looked like a stranger to these lands, but that was not uncommon in these times. Quite so many weapons draped about him was a little more so however.

Waelden is still chewing on the bread while he follows Brynleigh and Syaven's shenanigans. He shakes his head and chuckles as he drinks up the last ale from his mug. He puts it down and takes out his pipe instead, and carefully packs the bowl with pipeweed.

Dytha stepped out of the way of the stranger who entered quickly after her, glancing and catching her attention quick, like a bird swapped out of the air by the vicious paw of a cat. Her brow plummeted into a heated frown. "Aescwold," she forced herself to repeat as she turned away from the gloom the winter wind had pushed in. She suppressed a shiver. "I had thought my Mother mention you were in Aldburg..."

Nuovis enters the tavern, joining her lady, quickly gets behind her.

Aescwold blinked a little, then his expression went from it's surprised cast to a friendly one once more. "I was, but my mother and father live here in Edoras." He gestured about the tavern which had become his home. "I was staying with my mother's folk." He offered a smile over Dytha's shoulder to Nuovis, bright and cheerful as spring sunshine.

Syaven shook her head, looking over her friend to chase some phantom thought for a moment. "No. I would stand," she insisted, and nodded again down to the seat, offering a polite grin to Waelden as her glance passed near.

Brynleigh looks at Syaven evenly for a moment, then extends her hand to plunk her cup on the table. "So then shall I." She adjusts her feet to remain thus. "Never was a woman so gentle yet so stubborn as Syaven of Eaworth! What say you, Waelden?" she chuckles as she looks to the man seated near.

Waelden nods in agreement with Brynleigh.

Dytha was tense as she turned to the door as if to see a second Crow, but she smiled when Nuovis joined her. "This is Nuovis, my lady's maid. This is Aescwold, son of Raedwold," she introduced, moving so she could keep both in her eyesight, which had the added effect of managing to keep an eye on the dark-haired intruder.

Waelden says, 'I do agree, but to my knowledge, every good woman I've ever known, have a sound and stubborn mind, and knows what they want.'

Waelden says, 'So let her stand if she so choose, none of us will ever be able to change her mind on that matter now.'

Brynleigh chortles softly, nodding her head. "Aye, that was well said!"

Nuovis nods but goes by Dytha's side again as she is shy.

Waelden raises his empty mug in a mock toast.

Waelden says, 'A toast to willful ladies; stubborn, bold and beautiful all the same!'

Dytha lay a hand on the young woman's shoulder and lowered her voice to a gentle pitch. "It's alright. Edoras Tavern is the best place for one to feel at ease." Her gaze crept to the southerner again. "Usually..."

Aescwold bowed once more, using the manners taught, berated and beaten into him at a young age. "My pleasure." He grinned up at her before straightening, all youthful kindness. "So, can I fetch either of you food or drink, both maybe?" He gestured toward the fireplace. "Warmest fire in Edoras, or so I'm told, and I'll not go out into the cold to find out."

Brynleigh grabs up her mug once more, still laughing lightly as she lifts it towards Waelden, and then Syaven. "A more perfect example you will not find anywhere in the Mark!"

Derakoth | A familiar face. A familiar scene. The seeking stranger exhaled lengthily as he ceded expectations. His drink was served -a lifeline. Somehow, the balcony appeared inviting. He remembered the second stair from the top, that squealed whiningly. He did not miss it on his way upstairs.

Nuovis looks at Dytha. She'd like to have some food but she doesn't want to ask for it without permission- As Dytha pays for it..

Syaven rolled her eyes with a sparkling laugh, and surrendered to the toast, but humoured it no more than a sip. "Rivaled by none," she added to her own judgement, "If not the fair friend by her side, refusing to rest. What herd of horses could move them?"

Dytha |"You do not have to." The suspicion that had misted her expression burnt away under the heat of her sudden smile. "I will vouch for its coldness myself. I have my drink," she said with a lift of her mug, "Nuovis, what would you like?"

Waelden says, 'Agreed! And that's why I enjoy your company so much, both of you.'

Nuovis thinks for a moment. "some.. bread.. If I may, please.."

Brynleigh grins toothily at Syaven's pronouncement, then wheezes out another giggle, the end tones ringing like a little bell. "You are gracious and kind, dear Waelden!" She falls into a thoughtful silence for a minute or two, before lightly pressing her arm against Syaven's. "If you will not bare your soul to your best friend, at least bare a little of your time since we last spoke."

Dytha prodded the young woman with a soft elbow and a tilt to her grin. "You can ask for more than bread, Nuo. It is Mead Night after all."

Aescwold nodded with another grin for the Lady's maid. "Bread it is." He did not have to go far. Sweeping the curtain aside he returned moments later with a plate bearing bread, hard cheese and a soft slab of butter to go with it.

Derakoth |He leaned against the balustrade lightly, elbows resting on the fine wood, as his goblet hanged loosely in his grip. It felt better, up here. Natural. Safe. Removed. The wine wet his lips. Lengthily, he allowed his tired, sunken gaze to glide freely across the hall below; the sole spectator of the latest play.

Dytha 's eyes lifted from the plate to the mead-man's offering and smiled gratefully. "You have a rare generosity, good Man."

Syaven nodded, shifting over to Waelden's table to make it their own. She leaned back once more, making the table her support and taking another drink. A palm and pale fingers gripping the edge of the dark, worn wood.

Nuovis looks at the food with hungry look. And takes it if it is handed to her..

Waelden takes out his pipe, and carefully packs the bowl with pipeweed.

Aescwold handed it over, grin twisting in a wry smile. "If you want anything else Nuovis, just ask." He looked about the tavern with a small sigh. "I'll be finishing up soon but I'll have a cup myself before retiring."

Brynleigh hovers in place briefly, before trailing Syaven and placing herself between the woman and Waelden, where it somehow felt the most comfortable. "Have either of you happened to see Beorggar here in the capital recently?" she asks in a forced, casual tone.

Nuovis takes the plate. "Thank you.. "

Waelden says, 'No, I haven't. Have I met him? Name isn't familiar.'

Waelden goes over to the fireplace to find a suitable stick. He sets the aflame and uses it to light his pipe.

Waelden begins to smoke.

Dytha managed at last to undo the gold broach that kept her mantle and cloak pinned to her Rider's gear and shed the heavy, melted-snow-laden thing. "I would not mind getting off my feet myself. It's been a long road, and we have a longer one ahead."

Syaven finally let some candle in her eyes snuff out, all inquisitive gazes finally letting her pass out of their sight. She had no answer for Brynleigh. She snapped instead into the same sour scowl she'd worn earlier, and burning eyes on the floor before her tried to set the stray straw on fire.

Brynleigh regards Waelden with a quizzical little frown. "I am not sure, dear Waelden. He is the jailkeeper in Snowbourn, but he is somewhat reclusive. Months may go by where I don't see him at all." She turns to Syaven for her own answer, and blinks in surprise at the expression on her friend's face. "...Syaven?" Poor woman.

Waelden says, 'Oh, the jailkeeper! Yes, I know him, had just forgotten the name.'

Aescwold took that as the pair wanting to settle in, and turned, whistling a tune as he fetched the cups he had set down and took then into the back room.

Dytha watched him with a slight bend in her brow. She'd hope he returned with his own mug, and sought some free seats for the three of them. She lay her cloak on a chair against the wall so it would not take a seat nearer the center of the room.

Nuovis follows Dytha

Syaven twisted a half-hearted grin up at the sudden return of concern. The shining eyes of her friend stung more than comforted, and the wince in her face betrayed it. She sat, at last, defeated again, taking the chair's uncaring arms to console her without questions.

Derakoth |The build quality, strength, and structural integrity of the metal chain holding the ornate chandelier in place became an increasingly loud thought. A moment of self-consciousness, as he caught himself fixated on it; its light swaying having entranced him like a lethal pendulum. As he gazed beneath it, he felt his throat suddenly dry.

Waelden glances to Syaven too. His eyes are still worried and concerned about her, though he says nothing of it. Instead he gives Syaven a quiet, caring smile and a nod as she finally sits down.

Brynleigh watches Syaven with fresh concern brewing behind her dark blue eyes, noted in the downturned corners of her mouth. At her silence, she turns slowly back towards Waelden. "Yes. He, ah...I spoke with him lately, he seems to have concern of something coming this way. Some sort of trouble, though he would not elaborate on it."

Waelden says, 'Hm. Troubles seems to be a common thing these days. Do you think there's something we could do to help him?'

Dytha unbuckled her sword and set the gold-hilted treasure against the column beside her, and tried to relax as best she could in her travel-gear. This was not one of her extended visits. She was quiet a moment, as her and her companion often were on the snow-packed roads, but she smiled again when Aescwold returned. "I thought the kitchen might swallow you, but here you are."

Aescwold returned with his own cup soon enough. Pulling a chair aside for himself he sat, sighing as he did so. "Told my father I'd wash up tomorrow morning, I think he's as tired as I am." He cast a look to the old man, chatting to one of his regulars. "Often does, but our cook's a good one, and probably doesn't want me meddling beyond peeling potatoes."

Brynleigh drains the last of her nearly cooled mead, setting the mug down on the table behind her. "I'm not sure, Waelden. There was a strange horse found wandering near Snowbourn. Not a horse of the Mark, and no rider in sight. I heard nothing for months after it was discovered until meeting Beorggar a few days ago. He seems to know something, or suspect something, and will be coming to Edoras soon, and was asking for my father's aid, of all things."

Waelden says, 'I see. I can stay here for a while longer, if he will be here soon. Perhaps we could work together on this, and bring some light to whatever it is that troubles him. Lone and unknown horses are a rare sight.'

Nuovis is staring at the man who has joined them.

Brynleigh graces the man to her left with a warm and grateful smile. "That is kind of you! I can't tell you precisely when he might arrive. I will try to stay a few days longer myself." She looks back at Syaven, the worried flame igniting again. "I must be on my way, but I will not be far."

Waelden says, 'Of course. I'm not due back to the Wold for a few weeks, so I might as well stay here and see if there's anything I could lend my hand to.'

Syaven nodded to her friend, but her brow was knotted. "Waelden speaks true. A horse adrift is no good omen. Take heed what the other horses make of him. They will not love his scent if he has crossed over the river. And his rider may come looking for him." She took a hand to squeeze her arm gently, wishing her well with a warm smile.

Derakoth |The man shut his eyes, two gloved fingers pressing tightly against them and pinching his nosebridge. On opening them again, he sought for another spectacle to observe; but the chain was there. Frowning, he tried to tap a rhythm with his fingertips on the bannister; but it was out of meter.

Brynleigh rests a hand very lightly upon Syaven's shoulder, staring down at the woman for a few moments, before turning her head to give Waelden another smile. "I would be very happy to see you here again, then. I'll be staying at the guest house near the Golden Hall." She swivels her smile back to Syaven, seeming relieved to finally hear the woman speak. "Your wisdom is true as ever my friend." She leans down to give Syaven a quick kiss upon her cheek. "I'll see you again soon."

Waelden returns a smile to Brynleigh.

Dytha chuckled, knowing how a parent's patience often varied. "Well, I am sure you are very good at pealing potaties."

Syaven says, 'Goodnight, my friend. Rest well.'

Waelden says, 'I'll be at the barracks, I think. Old habits die hard!'

Waelden says, 'Be well until next time, Brynleigh.'

Brynleigh removes her hand slowly, bouncing the same warm grin between the pair on either side. "Both of you, be well and safe. Until we meet again." She steps away then, striding towards the door. Her eyes discover the familiar visage of Dytha on the way, and widen a little. She dips her head quickly in a respectful greeting.

Syaven | "Be sure to sit down ere the night is through," she teased.

Brynleigh is not giggling.

Brynleigh finds her gaze drawn upwards ere she reaches the door. A shadow on the balcony, like a vulture perched on a rocky ledge. Her expression falls grim at the sight, but not unpleasantly so.

Syaven says, 'Well, my lord. How long will I keep you from the soft beds of the barracks?'

Waelden says, 'Soft beds, in the barracks? I'll be happy if I find a bed that is not ridden with fleas and stones.'

Waelden says, 'I have no need to seek out such comforts just yet, so you may keep me for company for a while longer, unless you rather kick me out.'

Dytha raised her mug to the horse-healer as she passed, offering a warm smile and nod. "Good evening, if I don't see you."

Aescwold shrugged at that, drinking deeply of the mead in his cup. "My exploits with a peeling knife are legend in these parts, I expect a tapestry will be made and set hanging in the rafters of Meduseld." He toasted the notion, then drank once more.

Derakoth |The woman did not go unnoticed. He turned his gaze at her, if not his head, and for a brief second, locked his gaze with hers. A slow blink was the sole sign of acknowledgment.

Nuovis is looking around, wrapping her arms around her. Then she gets up and goes to the fireplace to warm up a bit

Dytha smiled wider to see Nuovis range further than her immediate shadow. She relaxed a little, but only enough the man nearest her might notice. "I know of a girl who would gladly make such a tapestry. I fear she is growing bored with stitching helms and bright swords."

Syaven feigned her surprise poorly, a smile of knowing full well what comfort a barracks could offer. "Beware, then," she smiled sharply, holding up the mug he'd brought her. "Time and drink enough, and your bed will be made here." What mirth she lacked had taken no toll on her desire for jest.

Brynleigh returns the smile to the lady at the table, bowing her chin with deference. "Good evening, Lady Dytha," she says quietly. Glancing up again, her sapphire gaze meets with the dark man above. Something passes from one to the other, something deep and nameless, so much so that the woman shivers as if cold, before hastening on to the door.

Waelden says, 'Well, even if so happened, it wouldn't be the first time my nights have ended upon a rug in front of a roaring fire, with naught but a cloak to drape around me as the fire fades.'

Aescwold cast a look toward the fire. "I'm not sure your maid is overly fond of me, Lady Dytha."

Nuovis was about to return to Dytha, but stops when she spots the weird man above. She stares at him..

Dytha glanced over, and her moment of comfort was hastily squashed when she recognize that fresh-triggered fear in her maid's eyes. "It is more that she is fond of so few, than fond of you in particular." She followed the girl's gaze and her brow flattened, spear-straight. "Nuovis," she called, turning back to the frail woman. "Come sit with me."

Waelden takes the pipe from his mouth as the pipeweed is all burned up, and nothing but ashes remains in the bowl. He knocks the bowl against his boot to get the ashes out, and then puts away the pipe for now.

Derakoth |The lack of tune was becoming overbearing. It had been some time now that he had noticed the rope attached to the chandelier; some time that he had traced it to the wall it was secured on. He tried the same rhythm one last time. Perfectly timed. The traveller faded away from his overlook, though his goblet remained on it.

Waelden sighs and sits down in his chair again. He stretches out his legs and looks with disappointment at his empty mug, but makes no attempt to go and get a refill.

Syaven regarded him with a narrowing eye above her grin, serious interest replacing her idle whims. "I can think of few better places to drift into a dream," she said, taking her cup to her lips as though sealing a wish.

Nuovis is staring at that man for long seconds after Dytha called her. Then she comes over to Dytha and takes a seat.

Waelden says, 'Oh, me too. Walking into a dreamworld from a place like this, is more likely to bring you nightmares than pleasant ones.'

Dytha leaned over and whispered something in Nuovis' ear for only her to hear, but the tone of her brow spoke enough of the stern warning.

Waelden says, 'If winter was not upon us, and my body would not complain as much as it does these days, I'd gladly lay down beneath a tree, and watch the stars through the branches. That always brought happy and warm dreams.'

Nuovis looks at Dytha with raised brow like she was asking why.

Dytha lay a hand on Nuovis' elbow and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "We will have the whole road North to talk about it."

Aescwold raised the cup with something of a sheepish smile, and drank more of it's contents. "Headed north eh?" He asked lightly. "How far north?"

Nuovis nods. She looks at Aescwold and smiles a little. Because she realizes, she was so cold to him

Syaven would not look at Waelden as she answered, but her blue eyes dove back into the fire, beckoning something new out of the flames. "Evil dreams find me faster than sweet. Tell me, what lovely sights do your warm visions bring?"

Derakoth |An undecided finger stroked the blades across his belt, rejecting one, after the other, after the other... Finally coming to rest on its chosen instrument of the day. One nick at the rope would be enough. There was no need for gluttony. One nick, and the patience of a burning candle underneath. Not two minutes passed until he would return to the parapet-electing to pull a chair

Waelden leans back in the chair and puts his hands together.

Dytha nodded to the corner of the tavern that faced north-east. "The Norcrofts in East Rohan. A friend's father's health is fading, and I should like to be there for him when fate eventually sends the man to our Halls of Rest."

Waelden says, 'My fondest dreams are those of my girl, from when she was little. I have this memory of her running barefeet over tall, green grass, and where dandelion seeds are blowing in the wind. The sky is a bright blue, and the sun is warm as ever, but not hot. I see her running across the field without a care in the world, and my heart has never been so warm.'

Waelden says, 'That's a dream I always wish to have again, and sometimes it comes back to me.'

Aescwold nodded, and with a solemn gesture drained the rest of his drink. "Then I'll have you in my thoughts, and hope that you both stop here once more on your return journey."

Syaven looked at him suddenly with a glimmer of surprise rising to surface in her grin, though it soon waned under a cloud of sorrow. "Your words are much like an old song," she said. "That I had scribed from memory just the night before last."

Dytha took a sip from her cup and realized it was empty. Before the tavern-man would notice she got up and returned swiftly with two fresh ones, offering one to Nuo as she took her seat. "We will. I am...too often in Edoras," she said with a heavy sigh as her shoulder thudded against the chair back, slipping into a weighted lean. "I do, however, welcome returning here with news, and of any I might pick up here when I do."

Syaven says, 'Remind me, and I will sing it on a night I have more voice.'

Waelden says, 'Oh, that would be lovely. I'm sure you have a great singing voice.'

Nuovis rubs her eyes. She is a bit tired. She takes an offered drink. "Thank you.." She whispers and takes a sip.

Aescwold stood, tapping his nose. "I'll be sure to save some news as well as the ale for you." He bowed then, to each of them. "But for now, good evening." With that he turned, making his way into the back rooms of the Inn.

Waelden says, 'I can neither sing nor compose poetry or songs, but I love to hear such. It would an honor to hear you sing one day, and especially so if it's such a tender subject.'

Syaven chuckled. "You will soon learn your mistake, my lord," she laughed.

Waelden says, '<quiet> It can't be any worse than that bard who's usually tainting this tavern with his songs.'

Dytha nodded to the stairs that descended down into the tavern's inn rooms. "There's a room for us already, Nuovis, if you want to retire. You don't have to stay up here if you don't want. Can take your mug and the food with you." She raised her cup and drank his health as he departed. "Good night," she added over her shoulder as she saw the cloth parting the kitchen from the main room envelop him.

Syaven says, 'Indeed, it is! Mine is a voice low and rough with ache and effort, and never as sweet as a woman's should ring. Yet all the better for this, perhaps, for it is an old and bitter lament.'

Nuovis nods and smiles a little. Her plate is empty already, so she finishes her drink and goes to return the dishes to the tavern keep. Then she wraps her arms around her and comes back to Dytha. "Good night.."

Waelden says, 'A sweet vocie has its place, though I do think I'd prefer yours anyhow. When I listen to songs and poetry, I wish to hear emotion and depth; not simple reciting, but someone who *feels* the words, and do their everything to express their feelings through it. And those voices are usually the darker, more raspier ones, for as you say, bitter and sad laments should not be sweet.'

Dytha smiled. "I'll be down shortly. We should take to the road early. Third room on the left, I believe. Whichever one Uthric put our bags in."

Syaven says, 'Very well. We must wait yet, until you see your daughter once more. Until then, it would be ill to sing a song of the grave with one yet living in mind.'

Waelden says, 'Aye, I can see why that would be a good thing.'

Waelden says, 'Perhaps there is another song you would let me ears delight in tonight? I am indeed very curious now.'

Nuovis nods and goes there

Syaven says, 'We have all learned how a careless step may meet a chasm. May your daughter know nothing but light for many long years. I think I may, but I fear I cannot find my voice. Speak or wait as you will, my lord. I will consider it.'

Dytha let her mind drift a bit, feeling relaxed now she was alone again. Her mind drifted to Syaven and Waelden, taking comfort in the chorus of their chatter. Only then did she remember the dark-haired man and her gaze snapped back up to the balcony to see only...shadow.

Waelden says, 'I will wait for a little while then, in hope that you find your voice good enough for my ears, though I am also willing to wait for another time, when you may feel better.'

Waelden says, 'Meanwhile, I'm trying to remember a song I've always loved; one that a bard from my town used to sing. If you will not indulge me tonight, then perhaps you'd allow me to sing something for you, as awful as it might be.'

Syaven says, 'What were you working with your knife earlier? Have you finished with it?'

Syaven says, 'And I would gladly hear you sing anything, if you would honour me. I could think of few better things I might hear tonight.'

Waelden says, 'Ah, no, it's not finished yet. It's just a little thing I've been working on since I left home last time. It makes for a good hobby away from home, and in quiet places.'

Dytha |It was quiet for a moment, now the room had been whittled to half its patrons. The gentle chatter near the fire barely overpowered the crackle of flames and the whistle of the winter air being pulled up through the hearth. Dytha set her mug down, still staring at the empty spot where a darker gloom had been. She rose, picked up her sheathed sword from its post against the column, when she heard a creak. Not a chair groaning on loose floorboards or a rusted door-hinge, but something different. She did not have time to think, though, when the large iron-chandelier, the size of an oxen-cart, was suddenly bigger. The crack of the rope that had secure falling, and then it impacted, shattering tables, chairs, and floorboards and scattering burning embers throughout the tavern like driftweeds on fire.

Waelden says, 'Hm... I'm trying to remember the words, and the tunes so I do not mess it up more than neccesary.'

Waelden says, 'Mind you, I'm not a singer and will never be, I cannot express well enough emotions through another bard's words, and I have yet to come up with something of my own. But maybe one day there will be.'

Waelden says, 'But aye, I think I can make the song a little justice tonight, if only for your ears.'

Syaven leapt up at the deafening crash, as the world split wide into a storm of sound and shock.

Waelden says, 'Oh my, what was that?'

Waelden rises from the chair and looks over towards the commotion

Derakoth |The man finished what little drink remained in his goblet. He remained seated; sated. From above, he observed the unfolding scene.

Dytha leapt back as she realized the iron ring was not getting bigger, but nearer. She shielded herself as the crash thrust rubble into the air. Through the shouts of the few inn-keepers left at this hour she was quiet, tense as a nocked bowstring, and stared at the scene long enough to make sure no one had been crushed by its weight before she turned and bound up the stairs, clutching her gold-sheathed sword in her hand.

Brynleigh reappears after a time, pressing the door open, her shadowed eyes belying an inability to rest, perhaps. The scene that is laid out immediately upon entry freezes her in place, hand on the door, door wide open, cold air blustering in. Not even registering the figure of Dytha flashing by.

Brynleigh looks dumbly about, trying to take in everything and everyone at once. The door is still wide open, her limbs stuck in place, her mouth slightly agape. A few blinks twitch over her eyes, and she is frantically seeking for Syaven with her gaze.

Syaven flickered a horrified look over the scene, and a quick glance back at Waelden, searching with an open mouth for any word or answer in the few heartbeats that passed before she rushed forward to look for any nearby, anything that could be done.

Derakoth |"Lady Luck favours you." The man peered up slightly to get a better look below. "That could have been bad."

Brynleigh finally has the wherewithal to unglue her feet, slowly moving aside to allow the door to close. Spying the two familiar figures by the hearth, her pulse stutters and then resumes beating in relief. She turns her eyes to the shattered chandelier, and then follows the trail of the snapped cord to the ceiling.

Syaven | "Brynleigh!" she cried, though the sound did not rise above the clamour swimming around her. She fled at once to her friend.

Brynleigh reflexively reaches out to grab for Syaven, pulling her close. "You're not hurt?" she demands, though it was clear the woman was unharmed. She stares at Syaven, and then Waelden, her eyes bulging. "What on earth happened?"

Dytha pulled free her folded steel and tossed the gold and garnet-laid sheath aside. The treasure skid across the floor as she pointed the reeve-gifted blade at him. “You made sure of that, didn’t you?” Her tone was even despite the breath pumping through her.

Derakoth furrowed a brow. He rose up, slowly, and turned to face his accuser. "No," he proclaimed with an icy calm tone. "No, I did not." His gaze pointed at her naked sword. "Put your toy away."

Waelden scratches his beard and looks at the debris scattered all about the floor. He kicks some splinters and other pieces out of the way.

Dytha took a step towards him at the insult, but she knew better than to bite at his bait. “The Man named Crow, I am arresting you in the name of Reeve Aelle of the West-march for the murder of Hadric, son of Hedde, in the Fréashold. Now, will you come quietly, or do I have to make this a matter of both the Wolf of the West-March and Edoras’ king?”

Waelden says, 'Ugfh. Such a fine evening ruined. And what's the shouting about upstairs? Did someone cut the damn rope?'

Syaven jolted sharply again, as the giant iron ring settled crooked with a new shattering crack, splitting the last subborn table beam to bear its weight. She returned Brynleigh's instinctive touch of concern, and looked to Waelden once more. "What is this?" she said, striving not to shudder. "What -" she began, but her eyes trailed Dytha's swift flight up the stair.

Derakoth "Dytha," he elongated her name pointedly. "What would your mother say.." The look he gave her said more than any words would.

Brynleigh threw her arm around Syaven protectively at the unexpected rattle from the settling debris. She looks swiftly at Waelden and then, like Syaven, hurries her gaze along the path of the stairs. "Where is Crow?" she demands in a bleak, flat voice.

Waelden says, 'Who?'

Brynleigh doesn't reply right away, only staring on at the upper level with vivid, grim eyes.

Dytha did take a step towards him at that, raising her blade to her shoulder's height. "She would say..." she muttered in a tone that would not reach downstairs. "That you have made ruin of the tavern of a new ally, one who could have helped both her efforts and yours. I imagine she would want to talk to you, in Fréasburg, rather than try and reach you in Edoras' jail. It is messy, trying to reach one of the king's prisoners, unless you yourself are one."

Syaven lingered by Waelden's side, as some shadow of understanding crept over her brow and she replied with a grim murmur. "You will wish you had not asked."

Brynleigh keeps her arm hooked around Syaven's waist, finally breaking the stare to regard Waelden again. "I cannot believe he would do such a thing," she murmurs.

Adriellyn slips in past some departing, suddenly-sober folks, and looks about in confusion before spying the changes.

Derakoth did not manage to stifle a chuckle at those words. Theatrically, he held his hands out. "Is this where you disarm me, then? Be gentle, please."

Waelden says, 'Right.. then there's no need to tell me any more, and I'll keep my ignorance on the matter. I'm guessing it's the man upstairs, so let's leave it at that for now.'

Dytha held the blade steady. There was no performance, no tilting of it to catch the firelight in its thousand folds. “I expect you to disarm yourself, and choose to answer for the murder of Hadric, than for me to call for Syaven to fetch the King’s Guard. Do you prefer to take them on and make widows of this town’s women tonight? Is that the crime for which you wish to answer?”

Brynleigh blinks at the appearance of the young woman whom she immediately recognizes, and then the man immediately behind. "Dear Bema..." is all she can manage to mutter. Presumably the bar area would be a fresh heap of rubble.

Adriellyn looks around a bit more, finally starting to notice people really, rather than as obstacles. She tries not to look up enough to be recognised, but she's hard to mistake. Her eyes red and her face is streaked visibly, even over her scars.

Derakoth gestured in front of her. "Lead me on, then. You would excuse me if I did not elect to leave all of my panoply behind. And you cannot carry it all."

Beorggar steps in, quietly, having no intention to make his entry known. There are some familiar faces around him, but some bits and pieces of the words coming from upstairs are the ones to catch his attention. He proceeds to the counter keeping an eye at the staircase.

Dytha stepped back, giving him enough room to round the railing and reach the stairs as she backed to where she’d thrown her sheath on the floor. She picked it up, her sword level on him the whole while. “Slowly,” she said as she followed him down the stairs.

Syaven had by now seen the severed rope, and clicked her tongue in dismay. "What was won by this," she mused aloud, "Nothing, thank Bema, save to stifle our merry songs and shock us sober."

Brynleigh trails Beorggar with her eyes, though her attention is quick to return up the steps. "Indeed," she breathes out, spying Dytha's movements and carefully stepping back to stand slightly behind Waelden, trying to tug Syaven along.

Derakoth smirked, taking an exceedingly slow step. "Like so?" he joked, before picking up his pace and calmly descending the stairs. Noticing all the people on the ground floor, he offered an apologetic, bewildered shrug, and an awkward, somewhat embarrased smile. "Someone should be doing maintenance on the building more often, really."

Waelden says, 'Aye, like I said, a fine evening ruined'

Brynleigh studies Crow with one brow crooked. Grimly inquisitive, but not accusatory. Not quite.

Adriellyn ponders the strangeness of what little she's seen, and doesn't know enough of what happened, having just entered. She just stays quiet and keeps trying to hold her face away from the light.

Syaven released Bryn's hold with a gentle touch of her other hand, and stared a moment at Crow, before she stepped forward to open the door for Dytha's prisoner, noting the blade that did not leave his back.

Beorggar looks between the man and the shieldmaiden. He casts an inquiring look at the later, but says nothing else.

Brynleigh lightly takes and holds and Waelden's arm, as if seeking something to steady herself in Syaven's absence.

Dytha |“Syaven,” she trusted in a stern tone. “Tell Nuovis I will be returning for her, and Aescwold that I will have words with his father when I do.” She didn’t take her eyes off the man’s back as she guided it at the tip of her blade out the door. Her cloak was still drying on the chair, but she’d a feeling her heated blood would keep her warm enough as they stepped out into the frigid night.

Derakoth "Syaven," he would speak up after Dytha had finished, in a far less stern tone. "Could I leave my horse in your care, until I return to collect her?"

Syaven heard Dytha's every word, with attention in all but her eyes. They did not leave Crow as he passed out the door, a shadow unclear to her as anything but a threat of harm. "Of course," she said, to Dytha, or both.

Syaven | "And if you do not?" she added at last, her eyes still locked on the shadow.

Derakoth "If I do not, keep her." He shrugged a shoulder casually. "She's the ebony mare that listens to Tempest. Consider it compensation."

Syaven nearly laughed, and hardly contained it. "For the work of your hand," she answered in a low voice, dropping out of all her surroundings to carve a path into him, the words aimed to sharpen the sword at his back. "You will pay more, by the end."

Derakoth smiled, lowering his head. "Words truer than you know, miss." He turned slightly to catch her with the corner of his eye, this stranger that spoke truer truths than most. "I would hope so."

Syaven flinched in her resolve. His final remark unexpected, her pale face flickered but refused to bare any fear. She turned from him, and let Dytha lead her new burden, while she drifted off to tend the tempest in the stables.

Chat Log: General 01/24