Resignation, Irritation and Despair within the Strangeness of an Inn



In the back foyer of the Prancing Pony, Isulril sat, nursing a pathetic goblet of wine. It had been her third, and she was feeling more than a little tipsy, as she had imbibed so little since her arrival to Bree-land all those months ago. She hoarded the stuff, hopeful, perhaps, of guests. But she had been used, for some time, to taking tea. 

She thought of what had transpired the day before, of the humiliations she had faced, and her irritation and altogether anxiety over the plant which had been removed from the physician's garden. It had been bad enough that she--that other woman--had done it, but to add insult to injury, Isulril had been out in the rain for too long. The thought of what happened after caused her to grip the stem of her goblet all the harder and toss back the majority of its contents.

As she paused to reflect upon the indignities she had suffered under the plant-puller's careful gaze, of the accusations thrown her way by the physician himself, a man strolled by, stopping.

He was of a swarthy complexion, and his dark brown eyes met hers with an intent gaze. His beard and beautiful hair (his best feature) were of a similar shade of brown, and he was tall and well-dressed to boot. He stopped at her chair, then, regarding her curiously.

"Good evening. I know a Gondorian when I see one," he said to her. She found similar in him, she had to admit, in his way of dress and his manner of speaking. She kept her gaze fixated upon his.

"I am sure you see them so often in Bree-town," she snapped back moodily. "A copper a dozen, no doubt."

"Come, there is no need to be so very harsh, mistress," he replied in a rather good natured way. "May I rest my bones near you?"

She narrowed her eyes, looking the man up and down in a rather demeaning way. 

"Must you?" she asked merely, turning back to the fire and her drink, which she proceeded to nearly guzzle. She felt his hand upon her wrist, then. His grip was gentle yet firm.

"Now, now," he said. "Is there need to bathe in wine tonight? I think not." She cursed him from stopping her. She wanted it all to the dregs, and even then, until the cup was empty.

"Do you think I look like a threat to any Man or Woman?" asked Isulril, allowing the man to take the goblet from her.

"You? I hardly know you, but I could imagine it. You are beautiful," the stranger replied, sitting down against her former wishes. She scowled in his direction.

"Oh I know," she grumbled. "But I am not even the proper height for a woman of my country. I may as well be a hobbit." She scowled to herself, as the thought did not amuse her. "I've little else but my beauty to intimidate another."

"Why do you ask this?" the man asked, setting his head in his palm thoughtfully, his thick locks partially obscuring his face.

"Because I....I feel I have been seen as a threat to some of my employer's friends. They have both been spiteful to me, and I do not believe I have done anything deserving of it. I cannot imagine what I could possibly have that would make them behave in such a way." She reached for the goblet, but he had pulled it from her reach, and she pouted her red lips.

"Whyever would you be a threat to them, if they have known your employer so long and you are merely and simply another worker? I am sure you do nothing but work. What do you do for work, madam?"

"I am a gardener now," Isulril replied, with some self-loathing. "I tend to plants. It is charming." There was little more she wished to say to the man. She desired only to wallow in her grief and displeasure at the moment, and not have to deal with his encroaching presence.

The man sat back in his chair, eyeing her with interest, his fingers tapping along the arm of the chair. There was something, she thought idly, roguish but pleasing about him. Yet she had no desire to speak. But suddenly this changed.

"They believe me to have some sort of romantic designs on the man, I think," she said, and it felt as though he were pulling teeth from her to say it, but in the end, it was cathartic.

"And do you?" the stranger asked her, his curiosity certainly peaked.

"N-no!" she exclaimed. "He is my employer, the source of my livelihood! I've nothing...nothing to even want in regards to him. I just...do my work and leave."

"But you clearly cannot stop thinking about it--about him. I can see it in what you do not say," replied the man, leaning forward now. "I know the look of a woman in love. I have seen it many times before."

"I am not in love with him!" cried Isulril, rising to her feet and nearly towering over him in his seat, though her body began to sway a little. "I do not want to think of him--I cannot help that I do, and if I do, it is only because he..." She trailed off, and as she did so, the strange man rose as well, drawing nearer her.

"I can help you to forget him," he whispered. How did his lips get so near her ear? she wondered to herself.

"Please do," she replied, her tone one of resignation. He held her unsteady form as they both made their way to his room.