More Beautiful Than Zircons Ch.03



Byli woke with a start.
He was disorientated and thirsty
He must have been asleep all day...

He busted for a pee.
Oh goodness where was he... this must be the town jail???
He leaned against the bars and the door creaked open.
What... I am not even constrained???

Byli left his cell and surveyed his predicament

The cell block was comprised of five cells... all had their doors open...no one was here
He looked to the outer door... Locked! no one was here... no one was able to talk to him or let him out!
He gratefully drank from the bucket by the door, at least he would not die of thirst.

He saw a bucket by one door... like it or not he had to go... he was busting for a pee.
Aaaah Blissful relief!
Ablutions taken care of he assessed his situation.
Hmmm... locked in a dungeon... no resources... no chance of rescue
Byli sat on his bunk and shivered... Damn it was cold down here

Byli went around all five cells collecting the thin blankets... At least he might be warm for his stay

He gingerly touched his eye "Oh boy that Kandrnln sure has a demon punch!

As he checked out the space he could access he noticed an old and battered lute in the corner of the guards cell.
OMG they serenaded the prisoners with lute music... Duh?

He picked up the lute and taking it back to his cell he tried it out
Nothing else to do Eh??? Duh stupid!!!
He randomly plucked the strings and was surprised by the beautiful tone of the old instrument..
Byli had never considered himself musical but what else was he supposed to do?

============

Wrapped in the five blankets Byli felt at least comfortable, if not cozy. 
He decided a snooze was in order before anything else... his head felt woozy and his eye throbbed.
Man that Dwarf hit hard!!!
Byli drifted off... No daylight disturbed his slumber and the sleep would restore his vigour.
===========

Byli awoke to a thin watery light illuminating his predicament.

He was locked in the cells... No one was here??? 
Ah of course it must be the weekend!
None of the town guard was so dedicated as to overstep his contract... Five days per week, seven hours a day.
Nothing more, nothing less.

Damn... He was stuck here for at least two days with no food and little water.
He checked out his clothing... Pouch gone, Backpack gone, Secret knife, gone. He patted the small pouch on his belt... Pemmican present!!! with a sigh of relief he took out a small stick of pemmican and gnawed on it... Trail food, but better than nothing.

=============

Byli was bored!
Twelve hours he thought he had been incarcerated now... Not a dwarf to be seen... No food, Little water remaining in the bucket.
He looked around the cell... Fu** all to do and nothing to relieve him of the daunting thought of what might happen on Monday.

He paced up and down the cell... Mahal this was boring!

He remembered the Lute

Settling himself on his pallet he wrapped the blankets around him and picked up the old instrument.
He gently thrummed his fingers against the strings What a beautiful tone!
Byli plucked each string in turn... My Thrandi made me a song... My turn now he thought.

Thrandili... What rhymes?
Byli, willi, Silly, HA!!!

“Silly Byli loves his Thrandili”

He could do better than that!

He set out to make his Thrandi a song... If she can make me a song I must in turn make her one to show her my love!

===================

Rogvier walked up the steps of Frerin's court toward the large doors that lead to Thorin's hall. It had been some time since he had been home, having been travelling middle earth and working as a sell-sword in the realms abroad. 

He thought a while of the scuffle he had seen between two dwarves both around his own age he guessed. It had happened in Frerin's court just as he was leaving his mount at the stable. Probably over some lass he thought to himself. It always was at that age.

Turning his thoughts from the fight... well more of a beating. He trudged up into Thorin's hall, and towards the spice emporium, looking forward to seeing his father. Though he had never approved of Rogvier's choice to become a warrior, Skegrym had given him a fine axe as a parting gift when he left on his journey.

Now he returned, a far stronger and wiser dwarf than had left. His wanderlust quenched by the great rivers of middle earth. Rogvier now looked forward to seeing his family once more.

***************

Kandral was pacing like a trapped bear, mumbling to himself. His wife knew now was not the time to approach him. He was clearly in his can-go-mad-any-minute-mode. Between the squeaking sound of his boots on the polished floor she could make out such mumbled phrases as: "how could I have been so blind", "why does she defy me", "let us hope they haven't held hands yet... oh the horror", "I'll kill that boy!", "Byl, I'll hold him responsible for this!", "what will the Hall think... what will Lord Dwalin say? ... they will demand I step down.... oh the horror!"

Buhni rolled her eyes at Kandral. Not even daring to tell him that their daughter was in love, the kind of love only dwarves feel. A deep jealous love for just that one dwarf, bound forever. She thanked Mahal; he knew not that she had even been kissed by Byli. She thought he wouldn't survive that news. Byl was on his way here no doubt, the post in Ulfirth was quick. "Out for a bit", she said, but Kandral didn't hear it. She was determined to stop Byl at the door and warn him of Kandral's state of mind.

==================

The market was bustling this morning, loud with hammers ringing on metal, the roar of the forge, voices calling cheerful greetings. And today there was something new - Skegrym's Spice Emporium had thrown open its great front door, letting out the mingled scents of exotica from far and wide across the land. 

Stone jars full of fragrant oils sat squatly beside marble tables crowded with overflowing burlap bags, while behind the lebethron counter stood tiers of shelves upon which orderly rows of perfume vials sparkled in all the colours that crystal could give. The air was thick with flowers and spice - sandalwood and frankincense, cinnamon and nutmeg, lavender, marigold, rose and jasmine. 

Even in the darkest corners of the shop, muted colours shone like jewels - orange saffron, golden amber, darkest indigo and moonlight pearls. And there was much, much more - mounds of bark and seeds, balls of resin, boxes of candles, jars of strange honey and animal musks. Surely, there was something here for every customer.

Skegrym stood at the door, pipe in hand, and nodded to passersby. 

Many entered, curious after reading all the advertisements in the Tablets. Here was assembled all his stock, gathered from every known trade route and from a vast variety of peoples in distant lands. It represented a fortune. 

Dwarves had died bringing it here. The last caravan had arrived just today and he waited eagerly to see what new delights it might have brought.

Oh, that Dwarf swinging along the high road looked so much like his son, Rogvier. Skegrym smiled, a bit wistfully, at the memory of when he'd last seen the lad. Headstrong to the end, he'd gone off to be a warrior, completely uninterested in the family business. Of course, eight years ago his uncle had managed the spice emporium in the White Mountains, but now it was Skegrym's. He wondered if his son even knew.

"Sir, could you come tell this gentledwarrow about the provenance of a perfume?" 

Skegrym tore himself away from his memories and followed his perfumer back inside. "Yes, madam, oh yes, this perfume is very special! It seems expensive, but understand that it will last on your skin for 2 days and nights. Now how did we manage this? By using stag musk! Over here, we have a few -"

But he didn't get any further, for there in the door of the shop stood Rogvier, his son, grimacing as the combined scents assaulted his nostrils. Skegrym inhaled sharply. He'd come back!

***************

"What do you think?" Hilfar waited eagerly for his father to respond. 

Ullfar inspected the geode again "Hold on, son"

Bowed over his jeweler's table he held the crystals against the candlelight "You found this, here?". Hilfar smiled from ear to ear "Aye, someone must have lost it I reckon". Ullfar put the geode down gently "This is one fine geode, that can be sold for a steep price I tell ye"

Hilfar rubbed his hands "What are we waiting for then!"

Ullfar rubbed his beard "We should not sell it here, its former master may stumble upon it and try to reclaim it..."

Hilfar started to walk in circles, something he usually did when pondering things over "You may be right. Who would have the coin and interest to buy such a geode? Surely not Bree folk. It’s more likely they’d pick our pockets for it. Neither the Shirefolk. Maybe the elves of the grey havens?"

Ullfar nearly choked "ELVES! Bah! Lets keep this conversation a bit serious!" Then he saw his son was not joking. "Don't tell me you consider going to the elves with that stone.." Hilfar did not respond but his wide grin said enough. Ullfar buried his face in his hand "Where did we go wrong with you?"