A COLD NIGHT
November 3, 3019
Frodo portrayed by Hobbitness
Lilandra portrayed by FreeFall
Finduilas and Rian portrayed by Eowyn
Narrator, Aldir and Vardamir portrayed by Wraith
Narrator: *It is November 3. Since early
afternoon, fierce clouds had gathered in the North. The morning
had started with a pleasant breeze from the West but soon the
icy gales from the North had frozen the droplets.*
Narrator: *By mid afternoon, the rain turned to sleet, and then to snow and outside Frodo's house on the third level of the City, snow begins to mound up*
Narrator: *Aldir and his wife Lilandra, Vardamir, Finduilas and Rian sit in the kitchen that evening as Finduilas bakes bread. Other servants busy about preparing food for all the keep*
Narrator: *Aldir's work is done for the day and his detested master is reading in his room*
Narrator: *The evening before, Lilandra had not felt well, and so Finduilas had excused her from laboring in the kitchen. Aldir and Lilandra sit on a bench near the hearth*
Finduilas: *a blast from the oven hits Finduilas' face as she opens the door to the oven on the hearth and reaches in a long hook, pulling out a tray of freshly baked bread.*
Aldir: *he turns to his wife Lilandra* The smell of the bread reminds me of the ones you used to cook when we lived on our farm
Lilandra: *she inhales deeply and smiles and looks to him* you can read my mind love
Lilandra: you have always been able to *calls to Finduilas* smells wonderful
Finduilas: *she informs the other servants* This must wait a while, ere it can be sliced.
Vardamir: How long must we wait, Mistress Finduilas?
Vardamir: I am eager to sample the bread
Frodo: *During the past weeks since Ceolwulf was put in solitary confinement, Frodo has kept to himself, staying in his room.*
Finduilas: *she looks to Vardamir, smiling* It will be a while yet, Vardamir. It must cool first before I can take it out of the pans.
Frodo: *He has not felt up to seeing the servants. With all of them, but especially the Gondorians, he feels he must act a part that he does not wish to fill*
Vardamir: Then Mistress Finduilas, I suppose I will have to content myself with the smell
Vardamir: *he busies himself with fetching a pail of fresh water from the well*
Frodo: *They beleive him to be someone he is not, and even if he explained his story, they would not believe it. So he must always try to understand their positions*
Aldir: Lilandra, perhaps you would like some of the bread when it is ready?
Lilandra: yes Aldir..i have been wanting it since i saw her kneading the dough *she chuckles*
Frodo: *But he himself has no one left who knows who he truly is, or what he has done--or tried to do.*
Finduilas: *Finduilas goes to a seat near the closed window and sits down, fanning herself, for the oven was very hot.*
Lilandra: perhaps i should help her now though
Aldir: Lilandra, if you are quite sure you feel up to it
Aldir: I will go out into the shed to bring in more wood for the fire
Lilandra: *walks over to Finduilas*
Frodo: *Frodo has spent the past weeks pondering the Quest, his capture and torment, and their time in Nurn...and what he can do for Ceolwulf now, if anything*
Lilandra: is there anything i can do to help?
Aldir: *Taking a cloak from a hook by the door, he puts it on, then opens the door and steps out into the cold night*
Frodo: *Losing Ceolwulf is like losing Sam again, only this time he has time to grieve. For many days he has not left his room. But all such fits must pass, and he is returning to his usual self*
Finduilas: *she looks up to Lilandra and smiles* You could put some butter on the bread while it is cooling. The butter hangs in the well above the water in a muslin bag to keep it cool.
Lilandra: *she beams at a chance to help and smiles and touches her shoulder*
Frodo: *He sits at his desk before a parchment, and a few bottles of ink, holding a quill. He frowns in concentration as he writes on the parchment*
Aldir: *The winds driving the storm have picked up and soon Aldir's cloak is covered with snowflakes. He goes to the shed, takes an armload of firewood and then turns and moves back to the house*
Aldir: *as he opens the door, the raging wind howls into the room and drives snow before it*
Aldir: It is a wicked storm tonight!
Lilandra: *she goes over to the well and pull out the bag and moves over to the surface where the bread cools and takes a knife and places pats of butter on the top*
Frodo: *When he is finished, he places the parchment on top of a stack of other papers, and binds them together with a satisfied smile*
Finduilas: *she looks to Aldir as he comes in* Aye, it sounds it! The wind howls like some fell creature.
Aldir: *He walks to the hearth and puts the wood to the side. Then he bends down, picks up some wood and places it in the fire. Standing there, he briefly warms himself by the flames that have been stirred up*
Frodo: *Taking the bundle of his writings, he goes to the door, opens it, and walks out of his room and down the hall*
Lilandra: *she looks at the bread hungrily and cleans the knife but leave it by the pan for it will be used soon to cut the slices and she goes and put the butter back in the bag and in the well*
Aldir: Indeed, Mistress Finduilas, the wind screams like a raging beast
Lilandra: *she walks over to Finduilas* is that all?
Finduilas: Thank you, Lilandra. You can help me slice it when it cools. Soon all the servants will be coming in and wanting supper, and feeding them is quite a task.
Lilandra: *she smiles sweetly to the woman who she has grown to like so very much*
Lilandra: indeed i will be glad to help
Aldir: *he takes off his cloak and walks over to the door, hanging the cloak upon a peg*
Frodo: *Frodo walks down the length of the Great Hall, impressive by any standards, but especially to a hobbit, and approaches the kitchen door*
Finduilas: Soon, we will have to set the tables in the eating hall for the host of the hungry who will soon come in to eat their fill.
Frodo: *He knocks on the door*
Aldir: *he walks to the window and looks outside at the darking sky*
Lilandra: *her reply is interrupted by the knock and she looks to the door*
Frodo: Hello? May I come in? *calls through the door*
Finduilas: *she hears the knock at the door* Come in, hungry one, the food will soon be done
Frodo: *pulls the Edain-sized door open, walks through it, then pushes it closed*
Finduilas: *the serving girls rush about putting last minute seasonings in the many pots*
Frodo: *looks around at the servants. His face is weary and careworn, but he smiles warmly at them*
Finduilas: *she rises when she sees Frodo and bows to him* Ah, my lord, I did not expect you.
Lilandra: *she smiles to Frodo as she looks down to him*
Lilandra: Good evening
Frodo: Please, Finduilas, don't bow when Vartang isn't here to make you *smiles*
Frodo: Good evening Lilandra
Finduilas: Lilandra and everyone else, take the plates to the dining hall just beyond the kitchen.
Frodo: *walks over to join their group, carrying the parchments under his arm*
Frodo: Wait a moment. I have something for you all.
Aldir: *Aldir hears Frodo's voice and turns away from the window* The good master comes to the kitchen, does he? *he asks*
Frodo: *to Finduilas* Is this a bad time?
Finduilas: Well, we are a bit busy, preparing supper.
Lilandra: *she moves with haste and gathers up a stack of plates and moves to leave but halts and looks to Frodo*
Frodo: *his smile vanishes at Aldir's words...he tries to remind himself that Aldir doesn't have reason to believe him anything but a lord of Mordor*
Aldir: And what are your wishes, Master? *he asks as he stands with his back to the window*
Frodo: *flushes* Well...back in September it was my birthday. And in the Shire, our custom is to give presents away on our birthdays. But I never got the chance to even make my presents back then
Frodo: But they are finished now.
Frodo: *begins untying the string around the parchments*
Finduilas: *the servants, carrying many platters of food, move past Frodo to the other side of the kitchen, where the servants' eating hall is.*
Lilandra: *the plates become heavy and seeing he means to keep them here for a bit she moves to the table and places them down*
Aldir: A parchment? Why?
Frodo: These are the presents I was to give all of you on my birthday. They are very late...
Frodo: but better late than never!
Frodo: *He begins passing out the parchments. Each one bears an ornate copy of an Elvish prayer to Elbereth, in both Elvish and Common Tongue*
Aldir: What use have servants for parchments? *he asks, almost reproachfully*
Lilandra: *she looks to Aldir then to the parchment she holds*
Frodo: *They are decorated with elaborate borders of tree branches and stars--a reference to the White Tree of Gondor. It is an attempt by Frodo to win over the Gondorians*
Frodo: *softly* I thought you might enjoy them.
Aldir: *he walks away from the window and goes to the table where Frodo has spread the parchments*
Finduilas: *Finduilas, too, walks over and looks down at the parchments that Frodo has spread upon the table*
Frodo: They are not all the same--see, the branches are a little different, and the very bright star is in a different position on this one *gestures* so pick which ones you would like
Aldir: *he looks down at the intricate calligraphy and drawings and turns and looks at Frodo, dumbfounded*
Frodo: *smiles* I know I have kept to myself lately, but I have not been idle
Aldir: By Elbereth! The emblem of Gondor!
Finduilas: *she looks admiringly at the parchments, then looks to Frodo* Why, what a wonderful surprise!
Frodo: *nods respectfully to Aldir, then grins at Finduilas*
Lilandra: *she sighs heavily and runs her fingertips along over the emblem*
Aldir: And you, master, you did this? *he asks, his face overcome with awe and dismay*
Frodo: *nods* Yes, I have been planning this since we were in Nurn
Frodo: But they took a long time to make
Aldir: Yes, such fine work as this would take time! *he exclaims, his heart now rising with emotion*
Lilandra: *she looks and stares in wonder to the little one of whom she was so curious..she looks to her husband and tears well in her eyes*
Frodo: *his smile widens as hope grows in his heart...maybe now they will believe he is loyal to the West*
Aldir: Lilandra, see the White Tree, and the stars and the prayer?
Lilandra: *she looks to him with tears and nods* i know
Aldir: Master *he says as he looks* this is a strange gift from a lord of Mordor
Frodo: *earnestly* I am not truly a lord of Mordor. I am from the West, from the Shire
Finduilas: Thank you, lord! *she says as she picks out a parchment* It is a wonderful gift!
Frodo: I was...sent on a mission from Lord Elrond of Rivendell, but I was captured, and held in Barad Dur for three months. Then I was placed in Nurn, where all this was forced on me just as on you all
Frodo: I am truly sorry for your plights
Frodo: and the fall of your city
Lilandra: *she moves away from the table and next to Aldir and looks to Frodo* Thank you..Frodo..for this reminder
Vardamir: *He walks over to the table and looks* Tis a marvelous thing you have done and one truly to be commended!
Lilandra: though none of us can forget
Frodo: *It is a bittersweet moment*
Vardamir: *His word say one thing but his thoughts say another... tis not but a trick he uses to deceive us*
Vardamir: *But I will feign my gratitude, he thinks as he steps back from the table and bows deeply to Frodo*
Frodo: *bows to Vardamir and Aldir*
Vardamir: Now my stomach tells me that it aches with hunger, so if you will excuse me, I will go and eat my fill with the others *he walks out of the room and into the servants hall*
Frodo: *nods and watches Vardamir leave*
Finduilas: *Finduilas nods and smiles at Vardamir and then Frodo* Aye, and I am quite hungry too, so please excuse me. Thank you again for the parchment! You did an outstanding job, my lord!
Frodo: Thank you! Is there anything I can help with?
Frodo: I've kept you from preparing dinner
Lilandra: i only needed to bring out some plates
Finduilas: Oh, no, everything is fine, but thank you for your offer! *smiling, she takes one of the parchments, bows to frodo and then leaves the room*
Aldir: Master, my wife and I thank you for your generous gift. It will be remembered
Frodo: *He cannot help but think of the three parchments that are still in his room whose borders are decorated with horses and designs of tall wild grass*
Lilandra: *she smiles to Frodo* thank you Master
Frodo: *smiles back at them* You're very welcome
Frodo: *thinks of Bilbo's birthday parties, and his own old celebrations with Sam, Merry, and Pippin*
Rian: *coming into the kitchen, Rian notices Frodo, Lilandra and Aldir standing around a table looking at something. Curious, she approaches, bowing to Frodo*
Lilandra: *she looks to Aldir as her stomach growls* darling i am quite hungry
Aldir: Rian, Master Frodo has given us each a wonderous gift
Frodo: Hullo Rian! *his old habits from the Shire are coming out now that they are not being watched*
Aldir: Then Lilandra, if Master will excuse us, we shall take our supper
Frodo: Of course, good evening
Lilandra: Thank you again
Rian: *she smiles at him* Hello, milord. what is that upon the table? *she takes a few steps forward, looking*
Lilandra: *she holds onto Aldir's arm*
Aldir: *He bows to Frodo, then says* Will you need anything before you retire, Master?
Frodo: No, I'll be fine
Aldir: Then, to be sure that you have need of nothing, I will come by your room before my wife and I retire
Aldir: *He takes her arm and together they walk into the servants dining hall*
Frodo: *turns to Rian* Well, Rian, remember how you all made me that tapestry on my birthday back in Nurn, and I had no presents to give you all?
Frodo: And it is the custom in the Shire to give presents to our friends on our birthdays
Rian: *she looks down to Frodo* aye, I remember your birthday party. We left Nurn shortly after.
Frodo: *nods* Well, I am very late but I have finally made your presents
Aldir: Lilandra *he says as they go into the hall* What do you make of this gift that he has given us?
Frodo: It is an Elvish prayer. *hands her the parchment that is left, for the others have taken the rest*
Rian: Oh! *she looks down to the parchments, then back to Frodo..saying softly* the White Tree, and a prayer to Elbereth. Thank you, my lord.
Lilandra: Oh Aldir...he has always seemed so sincere when he speaks...his face even looks pained...*she hesitates* either he is truely gifted in the craft of scheming.. or he is an innocent
Frodo: *looks up at Rian with an understanding smile*
Lilandra: the gift is lovely...but love we know the enemy at hand here
Aldir: Lilandra, words upon a parchment are easy enough to make but the proof of the thing will lie in the actions that come after
Lilandra: yes my love..that is certain
Rian: *she traces the scrollwork with her finger, murmuring softly* truly beautiful... you have quite a bit of talent as a scribe.
Frodo: Thank you! My Uncle Bilbo taught me.
Aldir: *he finds a place for them at the table, pulls out a chair for her and helps her sit down*
Lilandra: *she sits in the chair and looks to the food and her stomach growls more*
Aldir: *Then he sits down beside her, takes the scroll from his tunic and looks at it again briefly* This is fine work indeed
Rian: *a sad look crosses over her face but she looks up* Ah... so your uncle was a scribe, in your land?
Frodo: Yes, he loved to translate Elvish verse, and he wrote the story of his own adventures.
Lilandra: *she had already begun filling their plates and she stops and looks to him*
Lilandra: darling is is beautiful indeed
Aldir: *He rolls up the parchment and puts it back in his tunic* Wonderous indeed are the drawings
Frodo: May this gift honor your homeland, my dear. I wish we had won the war. I wish the White City had not fallen! I am...*shakes his head sadly* so sorry
Rian: Thank you my lord. *she smiles sadly* But do not be sorry. It was not your fault. You never caused this destruction, this war.
Frodo: *looks down, biting the insides of his cheeks. He sticks his hands in his pockets and breathes deeply, trying to quell the onrush of emotion Rian's words bring*
Frodo: *If only she knew! But she probably would not believe him if he told the story*
Vardamir: *Vardamir had gone to the table before many of the others and he soon finished eating. He pushes his chair from the table, grabs a few Nurn oranges, stuffs them in his tunic, then goes over to the side of the room*
Vardamir: *Then he takes them out of his tunic and starts juggling them to the amusement of all*
Vardamir: *then he walks back in the kitchen, still juggling as he walks*
Frodo: *his eyes widen and he grins as he sees Vardamir enter juggling the oranges*
Lilandra: *she was craving the bread since she buttered it and ate that first she savored it and she looked to Vardamir and smiled and chuckled as she watches him*
Vardamir: An orange perhaps, you wish, as payment for the parchment? *he says, teasing*
Rian: *the sight of vardamir juggling shakes her out of her thoughts and she looks to him, smiling in wonder and amusment*
Frodo: My friend, you have many talents. I didn't know you could juggle!
Vardamir: A fine feast the cooks have prepared for the weary stableboys
Vardamir: Aye, I learned to juggle as a lad in Dol Amroth
Vardamir: *He quickly tosses Frodo one of the oranges and continues balancing the other two*
Frodo: *catches the orange, smiles and begins to peel it*
Frodo: Where is Dol Amroth?
Vardamir: Do not eat the pealings *he laughs*
Frodo: *His eyes sting for a moment as he remembers how Ceolwulf once tried to eat an orange with the peel still on*
Vardamir: *he looks at Frodo in amazement, and almost drops the oranges*
Vardamir: You do not know where....you do not know......
Vardamir: What man is there in all of Middle Earth who does not know where the City by the Sea is?
Frodo: We have little knowledge of the outside world in the Shire
Frodo: Please tell me about it
Vardamir: *he looks over to Rian and with a skillful movement, he throws an orange behind his back in her direction*
Vardamir: The oranges are done, except this one, and it shall soon be in my belly
Rian: *she catches the orange, laughing* Why, Vardamir, you could be with a travelling group of mummers and minstrels!
Aldir: *When they finish eating, he looks to Lilandra* Do you wish to go back into the kitchen a while and talk with the others or retire early?
Lilandra: *she sits back in her chair and exhales deeply and looks over to him* oh....love i think i can manage to go back to the kitchen, but only for a bit
Lilandra: then i really would love to feel the the softness of our bed
Aldir: *he rises from his chair and helps her from hers* Then back to the kitchen it shall be
Lilandra: *she stands and with him moves into the kitchen*
Aldir: *they walk out of the eating hall. He helps her sit at the table* We are back for a bit
Frodo: Ah welcome back! Vardamir is doing a juggling act!
Vardamir: *he pulls out a bench and sits down upon it, crossing his legs in front of him and pealing his orange*
Vardamir: Truly, I am amazed that a traveler such as yourself has never heard of the City by the Sea in Dor-en-Ernil, the Land of the Prince
Frodo: *places the peels in a pile on the table, separates a piece of his orange, and begins eating it while listening to Vardamir*
Vardamir: Now perhaps if I still had my harp, which woe undying has befallen! I would play you a tune about the City by the Sea
Vardamir: Alas, the harp is no more, and I know not about the City by the Sea
Lilandra: *she looks over to Frodo, wondering what they had been talking about since her interest had risen in hearing what Vardamir's speaks*
Vardamir: The strings are unstrung and the harp long broken, and no song can come to my lips
Frodo: Perhaps we can find a new harp in this city for you
Frodo: There must be merchants of all kinds, and musicians
Frodo: But tell us of the city by the sea!
Vardamir: There are no such harps that now remain that can equal the harp made from trees in the wooded hills of Tarnost
Frodo: ah *nods*
Vardamir: And have you not heard of the Prince of Dol Amroth?
Frodo: *thinks for a while, then shakes his head*
Frodo: As I said, we do not know much of the outside world in the Shire. Though I have traveled long, I have not yet heard of your land
Vardamir: *he finishes pealing the orange and tosses the peeling across the room and directly into the fireplace*
Frodo: Good throw!
Vardamir: The Lord of Dol Amroth brought his horsemen to Pelennor, where they fought valliantly, though futily
Vardamir: Thank you, good master. You should see my skill with knives *he says and laughs*
Frodo: *laughs, his curiosity growing*
Vardamir: His name is Imrahil, Prince. I do not know what has become of him, nor what has become of his horsemen
Vardamir: Perhaps then, if the kitchen can spare a few knives, I will show you
Vardamir: But *he says and looks around* I need an assistant
Lilandra: *she lifts her head up from where she had been looking down again at the parchment*
Rian: *Rian had always been quiet.... she hopes no one notices her now...*
Vardamir: *He looks to Rian* Perhaps you would like to be my assistant?
Frodo: *laughs nervously* Oh...that's all right, Vardamir...perhaps outside...you have not finished your story of Dol Amroth!
Rian: *she looks up to him and her eyes widen* Oh! I.. I do not know! *thinking quickly* How good is your aim?
Frodo: *He is very worried for the assistant, and the sight of Vardamir's knife act would be far too similar to his memories of Lugburz for his liking*
Vardamir: We can only see by trying *he says to her, laughing*
Frodo: Vardamir...please!...Tell us of the Prince Imrahil
Vardamir: It is a simple matter enough *he says as he looks at her* All you have to do is stand against yonder wall
Vardamir: I will do the real work!
Rian: I do not know... *her face flushes slightly* It would be much better if I were wearing mail perhaps....
Frodo: Yes...maybe another time!
Vardamir: *bends his head down, a disappointed look on his face*
Vardamir: Is no one willing to see if I truly have skill with a knife, or if I merely boast?
Lilandra: *she smirks to Vardamir and looks back down at the parchment*
Vardamir: How can you test if my aim is true if you hear only my words?
Frodo: I'm sure you have skill with a knife, Vardamir! It's just...the kitchen, and the end of the day....this is not the best place to do it!
Narrator: *No volunteers can be found in the kitchen, and Vardamir sighs in disappointment*
Frodo: *No matter how good his aim is, mistakes happen! It's too dangerous!*
Vardamir: What better place is there? There are plenty of knives hanging about on the walls, easy for the taking
Frodo: Yes, but they would end up in the wall
Lilandra: *she smiles as she looks to Aldir who shakes his head ever so slightly to her and she laughs*
Vardamir: So since no one wishes to see if my words are true or false, then the words will stand with the proof untested*
Frodo: Perhaps another time
Frodo: *or perhaps he will forget about it, Valar willing!*
Frodo: Is there another skill you'd like to demonstrate for us?
Vardamir: But as to where Prince Imrahil is and what is his fate, I do not know
Frodo: Who are the people of the City by the Sea?
Vardamir: I know no more than I was captured at Pelennor
Frodo: Ah *sadly*
Vardamir: Ah, the people of the City by the Sea. Some say we are part Elvish
Frodo: *excited* Really?!
Vardamir: Some say that Nimrodel, pining for Amroth, journeyed to Dol Amroth
Vardamir: And others say another thing
Vardamir: But if any man has Elvish blood coursing through his veins, it is Prince Imrahil, and I am a distant kinsman of his
Narrator: *Outside, the early winter storm begins to rage as the servants finish their meals, some going to bed and others going to the kitchen to help with the cleaning of the many dishes, pots and pans*
Narrator: *Others go to their unheated rooms to pile the covers about themselves to ward the chill of the night*
Vardamir: *Vardamir yawns profusely* Another day and another tale, if the good master ever returns to the kitchen
Frodo: I will!
Frodo: I'd like to hear the rest of the tale
Frodo: But it is late, so good night
Vardamir: *he rises from the chair, bows to all, says his goodnights and walks from the room, whistling some vague tune.*
Aldir: *Aldir looks to Lilandra* My dear, you look tired and perhaps you should rest. The day has been a long one, the chores many
Lilandra: *she rubs her neck and stretches slightly* yes my dear.*tomorrow is another day*
Aldir: By your leave, Master Frodo, we shall say our goodnights and retire
Frodo: *feels a pang again that these people are slaves because of his failed quest, and in what is now his house...in a way*
Frodo: *nods* Good night!
Aldir: *He helps her rise from the chair*
Frodo: I hope to talk with you all like this again soon
Frodo: Sleep well
Lilandra: *she smiles to Frodo and holds his arm*
Lilandra: thank you
Lilandra: You as well
Aldir: *he looks to Frodo and grins for the first time* If you can keep Vardamir from killing someone
Lilandra: *she laughs lightly*
Frodo: *grins back, his eyes sparkling*
Aldir: *he bows to all and taking his wife's arm, they walk out of the kitchen*
Frodo: Good night! *practically runs to the door in his excitement at his newfound friends*
Frodo: *He crosses the Great Hall and goes back to his room*
Frodo: *He looks one last time at the rest of the parchments before going to bed*
Frodo: *There are four parchments left. Three have the same Elvish prayer that he gave to the Gondorians, but their borders speak of Rohan, with horses and wild meadows*
Frodo: *The other has an old walking song of Bilbo's, with a decorative border that is beautiful but does not symbolize anything. This one is for Arnasa*
Frodo: *Frodo sighs as he puts them away, wondering if he will have the chance to give them to his old friends*
Frodo: *But he is happy that he is getting along better with the servants who remain. He plans to spend more evenings in the kitchen, Frodo: *There are two beds in Frodo's room. The second was meant for Ceolwulf, when he was still Frodo's attendant. Ceolwulf spent a few nights in it.*
Frodo: *Frodo sits on this bed to think for a while, but falls asleep quickly, and spends the night curled up on it*
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