August 14-15, 3019, Third Age

All was in readiness when Arien first cast her light of dawn upon Nurn, and Shakh Baggins' entourage set out for the south. Leading the procession are the herald and colorguard; then the wain bearing the Shakh, his servant Ceolwulf, and his private physician, Sador. The second wain carries Rían, Elfhild and Elffled, and behind follows a third wain bearing necessary food for the journey and personal belongings of the shakh's household. Each wain is pulled by four dark horses, the leatherwork on their harnesses embellished with gold and ringing bells. Vartang rides along beside the wain carrying the three maids. The drivers crack their whips and the procession sets off with much tingling of the bells and trumpeting from the heralds. Vartang's two orc body guards do not accompany him today and their places have been taken by two swarthy horsemen, one on either side, obviously officers of the Army of Mordor and probably drinking friends of Vartang.

As Frodo rides in his wain, he can hear the raucous laughter and jesting from the three riders along the side. Ceolwulf looks over at Frodo and says ruefully, "It appears it will be another long journey again, and this time a loud and unpleasant one." Catching snatches of the words outside the wain, Sador occasionally laughs uproariously, his gold tooth flashing in the sunlight that shines through the window.

By midday, they cross the bridge over the western river that feeds the Sea of Nurnen and Vartang calls a halt. The procession comes to a halt so all can take rest and refreshment. Vartang and his friends leave Shakh Baggins and his group and soon the strains of a loud song in some unknown tongue can be heard coming from a nearby grove. The three maidens bring food to Frodo, Ceolwulf and Sador and they eat in the wain. After an hour of waiting, Vartang and his companions, smelling of wine, finally ride up and demand that they be served food at once. When the entourage finally begins its southward journey again, two hours have passed. The trip during the afternoon is punctuated by the rowdy singing of Vartang and his two companions as they ride along and pass a flask amongst themselves.

At late afternoon, Vartang calls a halt for the night at a grove of cedar trees with a small brook running through it. The serving maidens prepare a supper of bread, cheese, dried meat, fruit and wine. The drivers unhitch the teams from the wains, water them and tether them for the night. Frodo, Ceolwulf and Sador get out of the wains and stretch their legs. After the serving girls have brought the food to Vartang and his companions, they serve Frodo, then Ceolwulf and Sador, then take food to the wain drivers and then they themselves eat last of all. By twilight, the drivers build a fire for Frodo's party and the camp settles down for the night. Vartang takes a torch from one of the drivers, and his companion move off to themselves in the cedars. Soon, the smell of wood wafts across on the air, and snatches of drinking songs and loud laughter can be heard from the trees.

The next day's journey is much the same as the previous day, and by mid-afternoon, they reach the keep of Shakh Lorthang. Frodo, Ceolwulf and Vartang are ushered into Lorthang's hall by the doorman and the other servants are escorted to the slave quarters.

Tapestries done in vibrant colors showing scenes of dolphins playing in the sea, the sun shining on Mt. Meneltarma, and boats in the harbor of Rómenna, along with standards, swords and armor adorn the walls of the hall. Ceolwulf looks at the tapestries and a look of wonder comes over his face. He whispers to Frodo, "I would daresay that what the Mead Hall in Edoras lacked in ostentation and splendor, it made up for in honor. I wonder if Medusled still stands."

Lord Lorthang sits upon a large, high-backed chair on a platform in the end of the hall and he waits for them. He is lord of his own domain, the Southern Province, and he sits in this chair only when he is conducting official business of the province. After they enter the room, Ceolwulf and Sador bow and then retreat to the sides of the walls where they will wait until called upon. Vartang and Frodo go forward. The Lord, an exuberant smile lighting his corpulent face, rises from his chair and walks forward to greet them. Vartang and Frodo halt in front of him. "Hail Lord!" Vartang says.

Lord Lorthang steps up to Vartang, extends his right arm, clasps Vartang's forearm as Vartang clasps his in a symbolic gesture of greeting. "Shakh Baggins!" Lorthang exclaims, "I am highly honored. Your fame has spread before you, until now all have heard of you."

Vartang's mouth twists in a wry smile but his dark eyes do not his amusement. "Nay, lord, I am not he. The great Shakh, the true Friend of Sauron, stands beside me!"

The Lord steps back as though struck by a blow, and before he can stop himself, he exclaims, "You mean the dwarf?"

"Nay, lord," Vartang says with a smug smile. "This is a Halfling of the Shire, a land to the far northwest, a vassal state of Mordor."

Lorthang's mind is almost numb with shock. He thinks, "I am to have a dwarf for a son-in-law? Curse the Valar! Curse them all to destruction for this fate!" Lorthang tries to regain his composure, then bends down and reaches for Frodo's hand to shake it. "Welcome to my hall, Shakh. Come, let us go into the antechamber yonder," he points nearby. "There, after we have refreshment, we will discuss the marriage contract, and if all is agreeable to you, the wedding will be performed tonight before the dance."


Frodo played by Hobbitness
Sirana played by FreeFall
Lord Lorthang, Servants of Lorthang, Lorthang's Serving Wench and Lorthang's Musicians played by Eowyn
Narrator, Vartang, Ceolwulf and Angwin the Bard played by Wraith

Narrator: *The entourage of Shakh Baggins arrived at Lord Lorthang's keep on the afternoon of August 15. Upon the arrival at the keep, Vartang and Frodo were ushered in to meet Lord Lorthang in his hall*
Narrator: *After an exchange of greetings, Lorthang asked Frodo and Vartang to go with him to a room to the side, to discuss the marriage contract. Frodo was not to meet his prospective bride until later in the day*
Lord Lorthang: My boy, look at the generous dowry I have provided. *He points to a document on the table*
Lord Lorthang: Although even if there were no dowry, you should be more than eager to marry my daughter, for she is beautiful beyond description
Frodo: *Since Lord Lorthang's aghast reaction to meeting him, Frodo feels acutely embarassed of his appearance, more so than ever before.*
Frodo: *It is an incredibly awkward situation to begin with--here he is acting his forced role as a lord of Mordor. He considers it to be treason that is forced upon him*
Frodo: *Though Ceolwulf has done his best to make him presentable, Frodo still feels he must be a sight. He can't change his dwarvish height, or his salt and pepper hair, or his sickly complexion*
Frodo: *and the scars from being hung in irons from the ceiling of his cell in the Dark Tower are glaringly prominent on his neck and wrists.*
Frodo: *The right side of his face is also scarred from when the Nazgul Khamul's gauntlet backhanded him.*
Lord Lorthang: *Lord Lorthang looks at his prospective son-in-law. He thinks: This is what my daughter will marry? It looks like a dwarf, but no matter, she will do as I tell her*
Frodo: *He shifts uneasily in his chair as Lord Lorthang points to the dowry and tries to think up a polite way out of this mess*
Lord Lorthang: *He thinks.... If I told her to marry a troll, she would do as I commanded*
Lord Lorthang: My boy, you see how ample the settlement is
Frodo: My Lord Lorthang, I do not doubt your daughter's beauty or your generosity...
Lord Lorthang: The bride is most eager
Lord Lorthang: The wedding can be performed tonight if you decide
Frodo: *Valar save us, Frodo thinks, her face will be quite a sight when she sees me. He almost has to smile at the absurdity of all this*
Lord Lorthang: And why not? You are not getting any younger *he slaps him on the back and laughs at the joke*
Frodo: *Frodo's small, thin frame almost topples out of the chair, but he laughs awkwardly out of politeness*
Narrator: *Vartang stands watching with an amused smile on his face*
Vartang: Shakh, I urge you to accept the Lord's very generous proposal
Frodo: My lord...*coughs*...I regret to tell you this, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding
Lord Lorthang: My boy, before you decide, perhaps you should see my daughter. The very sight of her will persuade you more than any marriage contract
Lord Lorthang: A misunderstanding? The misunderstanding was on my part. I assumed that your friend, Shakh Vartang here, was you. It was an honest mistake, for there was no portrait available of you
Lord Lorthang: It is all decided now. You will see my daughter before you sign anything *bends over, picks up the parchment, hands it to a servant, who begins rolling it up in a scroll holder*
Lord Lorthang: *slaps him on the back again* Now, take some refreshment. The party will begin at 6 o'clock
Lord Lorthang: I will see you then. The servants will escort you to your room
Frodo: *smiling, but he feels his face is frozen into this tense awkward grin* Thank you
Lord Lorthang: My boy, I am ready to welcome you to the family, and that is a high honor in itself, for we are descended from the Numenoreans, and are of a proud bloodline
Frodo: I appreciate your generosity, my lord, but...
Lord Lorthang: She is my only daughter, one lily among my strong sons
Frodo: but...well, I would wish a better husband for her then.
Frodo: One who could be her match in strength and beauty.
Frodo: *hopes this will work*
Lord Lorthang: Nonsense, my boy. This marriage will suit. If you want to sign now, you can. If you are that eager *he laughs*
Frodo: Oh no! *curbs the intensity of his reaction* No, no I will wait, thank you
Lord Lorthang: Ah.... a shy bridegroom. I understand *gives him a knowing look and slaps him on the back again*
Frodo: *If he keeps doing that, Frodo thinks, he will find the scars on my back too, and they are even worse. I wish this were over*
Narrator: *After Frodo and Vartang have been shown to their rooms, they rest until it is time for the banquet at 6 o'clock*
Narrator: *Then they are escorted outside to the lawn where the party is to be held. Pavilions have been prepared, and are lit by torches*
Narrator: *Frodo is taken to the pavilion of Lord Lorthang. He is seated beside Lorthang, with Sirana to Frodo's left and Vartang beside her. Ceolwulf takes his accustomed place behind Frodo's chair*
Narrator: *Frodo is very tense, because he is not sure even yet who is his prospective bride, but Lord Lorthang soon makes it clear*
Frodo: *furtively wrings his hands under the table, the tense smile still frozen onto his face*
Lord Lorthang: *Lord Lorthang stands up and holding his tankard high in the air, he calls out in a booming voice* Silence everyone!
Frodo: *stifles the urge to cover his eyes with his hand and groan*
Lord Lorthang: *all of the guests immediately stop talking, and an anticipative silence falls over the group*
Sirana: *Sirana swallows nervously and looks over the others..she presses her hands over her dress. Her head is held high*
Lord Lorthang: This is a proud moment for me. i want to introduce all of you to my prospective son-in-law, the great and famous Friend of Sauron, Lord Frodo Baggins... originally hailing from the Shire, a far and distant land to the northwest, which has always paid tribute to Mordor.
Frodo: *his head snaps up in spite of himself and he bites back a vehement protest*
Lord Lorthang: *the crowd of nobles and ladies at the table rise to their feet, and cheer* hail Lord Frodo! Hail the Friend of Sauron!
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang whispers over to frodo* stand up, shakh, and let them see you. it is a most joyous occasion!
Frodo: *an almost expressionless mask comes over his face. He will not allow Vartang the satisfaction of seeing the distress this causes him. He stands up with a small, polite smile*
Frodo: *which is held in place with immense effort*
Sirana: *Sirana's heart beats at this display. Such a high title this man has. She smiles as she waits in anticipation. Her eyes roam over the others and spot the tall beared man with a smug smile. he does not stand, rahter she sees the smaller figure stand and her smile fades. She looks over to her father nervously*
Vartang: *Vartang rises up and shouts* To the Great Lord! Mordor owes him an undying debt of gratitude!
Frodo: *Friend of Sauron indeed. The ring on his finger that binds his life to Sauron's will pulsates and he hears the Dark Lord's mocking laughter in his mind.*
Sirana: *She exhales a puff of exasperated air as she looks to her father then to*
Lord Lorthang: *he looks across to Sirana and smiles, then raises his tankerd higher, and proposes a toast*
Sirana: *her palms begin to perspire and she wipes them on her velvet gown*
Lord Lorthang: To the proposed union of my draughter and the great Shakh baggins, friend of Sauron, may their marriage belong and fruitful!
Sirana: *This is the man with such position of power?*
Lord Lorthang: *all of the other nobles raise their glasses and join in the toast* To lady Sirana and shakh Frodo! may their union find bliss
Sirana: *she breathes harder and looks over the others and forces a smile*
Lord Lorthang: *lorthang drinks from his tankard and the nobles do so as well*
Frodo: *Frodo sees Lorthang smile at the dark haired lady in the velvet gown. So this is the daughter. She is beautiful, he can't deny that.*
Vartang: *Vartang drinks deeply from the tankard*
Frodo: *He finds it sad that a girl with such beauty, almost elvish, should instead have to live in Mordor*
Vartang: *An amused expression is on his eyes. He looks over to the lady at his left and smiles*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang cries out again* now let the feast begin! *he sits down, followed by the rest of the nobles*
Frodo: *He sees her exasperation when she recognizes him and he flushes in embarassment in spite of himself. I don't even want to marry her, he reminds himself*
Sirana: *She should be honored greatly. She looked over and down to the small and haggard man and smiles innocently, but sadly*
Lord Lorthang: *a thought comes to his mind* oh, shakh Baggins, i have not introduced you yet to my daughter, have i...??
Frodo: *The expressionless mask breaks and Frodo returns the smile, just as sadly*
Frodo: *turns to Lorthang* Ah...I believe not
Sirana: *looks to her left to the one she thought was the man. He was handsome she looks back over to Frodo*
Sirana: *But he did hold power. His title was high. To be his wife would bring a spoiled life*
Lord Lorthang: The Lady Sirana to your left is my daughter, whom i trust that you will marry...
Vartang: *Vartang shakes his head and thinks what a pity, to waste something like that on the Shire scum*
Frodo: My lord, about that misunderstanding...we really must talk about that....later...*he doesn't want to offend the lady*
Vartang: *She needs a man, a real man, not this shriveled little runt*
Sirana: *she nods to Frodo*
Lord Lorthang: *he waves his hand absentmindedly* yes, yes, later. whatever it is can wait until after the marriage !!! *he slaps him on the back*
Frodo: *nods back to her, his heart pounding in his throat*
Sirana: *She looks to her father who was all too happy*
Lord Lorthang: Now... let the servants bring the first course!
Frodo: *coughs a little as he is slapped on the back again, pressisng his napkin to his mouth*
Frodo: *He stops the coughing within seconds, even redder with embarassment now. He wishes the earth would swallow him up*
Sirana: *she looks down to her lap and bites her lower lip*
Servants of Lorthang: *Servants dressed in lorthang's livery of black and gold, come out bringing steaming patters of hot soups and broth... trays there are of light meats, cheese and bread... as well as much ale to replentish that on the table. Salads of greens and herbs are placed upon the table, as well as fresh fruit, such as juicy peaches*
Servants of Lorthang: *Soon, food is before everyone.... this is the first course of the feast, there being three in all.*
Vartang: *Vartang takes his knife and spears a piece of meat, puts in his mouth, his elbow accidentally touching Sirana's arm as he does so*
Sirana: *She thinks of her giggling handmaidens and how they primped her to be perfect and they all smiled as they looked to her beautiful gown and hair. She looked to all the food being brought but was not hungry. She felt the touch of the man to the left and looked over*
Frodo: *He can't help but enjoy such a feast--he is a hobbit, after all. But he eats slowly and casts many glances toward Lorthang, Sirana, and Vartang*
Vartang: *His dark eyes, hooded beneath their lids, look over at her* My pardon, my lady
Sirana: you are excused Sir
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang begins to devour his food, washing it down with heavy swallows of ale*
Vartang: *Having finished the meat, he takes a bowl of soup, puts it up to his mouth and begins to drink it*
Sirana: *she takes a very small bite of food yet the delicious morsel is hard to swallow*
Vartang: *He looks over at Sirana and winks at her*
Sirana: *she smiles lightly*
Vartang: This is the way we take soup in the East
Vartang: *Puts the bowl back on the table, then takes a drink of ale*
Sirana: *looks over to Frodo. Friend of Sauron. An honor. Spolied life. She had to think of these things*
Frodo: *meets Vartang's eyes as he looks up. Frodo glares at first--Vartang caused this whole situation--but then raises his eyebrows in a silent question*
Frodo: *"Why don't you marry her then?"*
Sirana: *The corner of her mouth goes into a small smile to Frodo*
Frodo: *notices Sirana's smile and returns it warmly*
Lord Lorthang: *lorthang, after dipping a piece of his bread into the soup and taking a bite, drinks his soup the same way as vartang... a little trickle runs down his beard... he wipes it with his napkin*
Vartang: *Vartang picks up a peach, and eats it, then pushes his plates back, and concentrates on the ale*
Sirana: *she clears her throat and raises her chin a bit*
Frodo: *He wants to try to like this woman, even if she is from Mordor, and even if he has no intention of marrying her. But...if he does grow to like her, how could he wish her to Vartang?*
Lord Lorthang: *pausing for a moment, he turns to frodo* shakh, i do not know if you know the customs of the Southern province of Nurn. at our feasts, we have three courses, interspersed with entertainment
Frodo: No, I did not know that
Vartang: *He turns to the lady, his voice low* Your father provides a fine table
Vartang: *his voice becomes lower* And a fine daughter *he smiles at her*
Sirana: *She looks over to her father who is in total joy.* Indeed he does. He is most...happy
Sirana: *looks over to the man*
Sirana: And just who are you?
Lord Lorthang: *he continues talking to his prospective son-in-law.... trying to force himself to get used to the idea of his daughter marrying this....dwarf* And at the end of the feast, there will be a dance
Vartang: My lady, allow me to introduce myself to you. I am Captain Vartang, third son of the King of Khand.
Sirana: *raises her eyebrow to him..her nose turned up*
Vartang: And I know you to be Sirana, most fair daughter of Lord Lorthang
Vartang: *He calls over to Lord Lorthang* My lord, perhaps I can come back in a few days. I understand you are fond of falconing
Lord Lorthang: Aye, that i am shakh. my birds are most skilled at the hunt.
Sirana: Well Captain Vartang, son of King of Khand. Enjoy the feast *looks to her father*
Frodo: *bites his lip, knowing Vartang would do this and enjoy it even more if Frodo really did intend to marry the lady*
Vartang: *He looks to her* My lady, I am enjoying it very much so far. The company is exceptional, beyond compare
Sirana: *she smiles and looks down and then takes a bite of food*
Vartang: Your beauty graces your father's table well
Frodo: *wonders if Vartang will come away from this feast engaged or married to Sirana*
Servants of Lorthang: *Soon all are finished eating, and the servants begin to clear the tables, in preparation for the second course. but first there is to be entertainment... allowing some time to pass for the food to
Servants of Lorthang: digest*
Vartang: *Vartang signals to a passing servant* More ale!
Sirana: *Looks back over to Frodo. To be connected with Friend of Sauron in such a way would give her much respect. Far than being Lord Lorthang's daughter*
Servants of Lorthang: *the servant nods and soon comes back with another tankard of ale. the tankards upon the table are quickly refilled, refreshments for those attending the party*
Sirana: *looks to her father who did not much care who she wed, just so long as it was beneficial*
Sirana: *perhaps she should think the same*
Narrator: *As soon as the table is clear, a young man carrying a lute comes into the room*
Frodo: *Frodo automatically feels he should be polite and sociable in a gathering such as this, but in the deeper parts of his mind, he knows what lies under the surface here*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang stands up and announces to the crowd* This is Angwin, my bard. he shall provide the entertainment for this course.
Sirana: *nods to Angwin*
Frodo: *These people are not like the prisoners from Rohan and Gondor who live in his house as servants. These are true people of Mordor. If Lorthang knew the true state of the Shire...*
Frodo: *...he would not hesitate to destroy the hobbits' homeland to bring it under Sauron's dominion*
Angwin the Bard: *He stands before the table* My Lords and Ladies, I come before you to make you laugh, or to make you cry, and sometimes I do things that make you wonder why
Angwin the Bard: *He bows to the crowd* But now, I shall sing you a song. *He begins to strum on the lute*
Sirana: *she smiles at the familiar wit and talent of Angwin*
Frodo: *This wealth, by its tribute, helps to keep and strengthen the Dark Lord's power. The brand of the One Ring on Frodo's shoulder begins to burn*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang smiles and beams* he is also my jester! A merry lad is he. *chuckles, then resumes his seat... smiling at frodo, then at sirana*
Sirana: *her mouth turns up only slightly to her father*
Frodo: *He watches the bard, trying to decide how to act among these people. He instinctively smiles back at Lorthang*
Angwin the Bard: *The beginning strains of the lute are soft and slow as he sings*
Frodo: *then feels guilty immediately for being so sociable with them*
Angwin the Bard: Zigûr, the Wizard came, bringing light
But the house of Nimruzîr would not heed,
Angwin the Bard: *His eyes glance across the crowd as he sings*
Angwin the Bard: And so fell into darkness
His son took a sprout from Nimloth,
Sirana: *during the entertainment she looks over Frodo. Her heart sinks a bit*
Angwin the Bard: *He strums the strings of the lute, and they begin to sound mournful, melancholy*
Angwin the Bard: The Tree of Evil in the Garden of Death,
its seeds bearing shadow wherever they went
Angwin the Bard: *Then the tune picks up and his tenor voice rises*
Angwin the Bard: To purge the land from evil, Ar-Pharazôn the King
Took up his sword and shield
Angwin the Bard: And set a great fleet to go against the Demon Lords
And their pawns, the Nimîr
Frodo: *notices Sirana looking at him forlornly again. Well, he thinks, she has been brought up to this; it is not her fault. He tries to smile reassuringly at her*
Angwin the Bard: *He strums the strings and they sound louder*
Angwin the Bard: The Demon Lords broke the Earth with the consent of the Evil One
And brought Ar-Pharazôn's righteousness to naught
Sirana: *her eyes are wide and innocent as he catches her stare*
Angwin the Bard: *Then they fall to a mournful, slow melody*
Angwin the Bard: Now bound and captive, the great King waits
Until the Mighty One returns in His day
Angwin the Bard: The seas gushed into the chasm
And Númenor - the beloved - she fell down
Angwin the Bard: *His eyes seem to be on all in the crowd at once as he sings*
Angwin the Bard: The winds were black when the traitors set sail
Eastward their seven ships flew,
Angwin the Bard: The lands knowing not of the blight that was coming,
The Fell doom that the sons of Nimruzîr brought
Angwin the Bard: *Then, he plays the lute and the strings seem to mourn and howl*
Angwin the Bard: Far away now is Anadûnê, the Land of Gift
Far, far away now is Akallabêth, She-That-Hath-Fallen
Sirana: *Her mind whines in superficial protest as she looks him over. Yet spoiled in her way already she wanted this honored title*
Angwin the Bard: *Then finished with the song, he strums the lute one more time, and says* To Atalantë!
Angwin the Bard: *The crowd rises to their feet and applaudes him wildly*
Frodo: *Anger boils in him at the song that paints the Valar as demons, the Faithful as traitors, and Melkor as the rightful king!*
Frodo: *Frodo coughs into his napkin to avoid having to applaud*
Sirana: *her hands slap together hard as Angwin finishes*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang rises too, clapping his hands vigorously, a tear in his eye, he sniffs slightly* Excellent, excellent! May the Valar drown in their own blood!
Sirana: *she looks over to Frodo.... reminded... Friend of Sauron*
Frodo: *Frodo is pale and his eyes are wide*
Lord Lorthang: *he sits back down, taking his napkin to his eye* alas for Númenor of old!
Sirana: *Looks to Vartang and smiles*
Angwin the Bard: *He bows to the crowd again as they applaud* This is An-Akallabêth *he says* Or the Black Númenorean's Lament
Vartang: *Vartang smiles back at the lady* Outstanding singer, isn't he?
Frodo: *quietly to Lorthang* My lord, I really must speak to you in private. We must discuss this marriage.
Sirana: yes he is *looks to Frodo and smiles sweetly*
Lord Lorthang: *putting his napkin on the table, he turns to frodo, saying* But my boy, surely it can wait until later...??
Sirana: *her long dark hair spills over her shoulders*
Angwin the Bard: *He bows again and leaves the room*
Frodo: Well...*smiles back again at Sirana* perhaps after the feast *sighs softly*
Sirana: *She knows he must be wanting to speak to her father about the time when they are to wed. She is also curious and nervous*
Sirana: *She knew nothing of him. Impressed with who he was indeed. However, in no way attracted. Yet marriage was not often a circumstance built on love or attraction. If it came in time, then very well, but it was not a given. It was a union. She looks to those around her, the food, and she swallows hard*
Servants of Lorthang: *At the conclusion of the song, lorthang's servants return, bearing more trays and platters of food. the dishes are much larger this time, some covered by large metal domes*
Servants of Lorthang: *This is the second course, foods that are considered heavier and harder to digest. Some of the dishes beef, ham or chicken, bowls there are of pears and chesnuts*
Servants of Lorthang: *And much more exotic fare is brought out by the servants in their black and gold livery. a stork marrinated in orange and lemon sauce there is, as well as eel, pheasant, partridge, grouse, strange and unusual fish unknown to the hobbit. A servant brings a round tray filled with small birds.... their heads cut off, their tiny feet protruding into the air. their breasts are ripped asunder and stuffed with spiced bread crumbs. sparrows, these are. Two of the tiny birds are put upon frodos plate*
Servants of Lorthang: *soon the servants finish putting the food before all sitting around the table... and all of the glasses of ale are refilled. the second course of the feast begins*
Vartang: *Vartang accepts some of everything. He cuts some meat with his knife, and then spears it with the knife and puts in his mouth. Swallowing that, he then munches upon a sparrow*
Vartang: Shakh, I recommend the sparrows. They are quite tasty
Frodo: *Frodo stares at the headless birds with their feet sticking up off his plate*
Frodo: *He tries not to grimace. This is definitely not how we eat birds in the Shire, he thinks*
Sirana: *she processes the events as best she can. This moment was to happen at some point, she knew, but she was not expecting someone....looks over.....who seemed so...disinterested? Small?*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang once again rises from his chair and holds his newly-filled tankard aloft....* Let the Second course begin! A toast to the health and happiness of my Daughter and Lord Baggins and the joy of all at my table!
Sirana: *He did not seem to eminate his title well*
Lord Lorthang: *he drinks from the tankard, the other nobles doing so from theirs. he resumes his seat*
Vartang: *Vartang looks over at Lord Lorthang* My lord, your food is outstanding with a great variety. My compliments!
Frodo: *He can think of nothing to do but the endless awkward smiling he has been doing all evening*
Sirana: *looks over to her proud father*
Frodo: Yes, thank you, it is very good
Vartang: *Looks over to Frodo* Shakh, I also recommend the eels. They are quite tasty. The stork too is quite good
Sirana: *her eyes were a bit sad. Was she to leave him? She became pensive*
Frodo: *manages a bite of the sparrow. It is good...but he tries not to look at the feet*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang, after swallowing a bite of the stork marrinated in orange and lemon sauce, turns to his daughter and smiles*
Sirana: *stares back to him. The smallest smile is returned*
Lord Lorthang: *he says softly to her in a whisper* My dear, though he is small, he is still a friend of the Great Eye, a powerful position he has, and shall make a good husband
Sirana: yes father. I know
Lord Lorthang: *He turns back to frodo* My boy, it is good to see you enjoying the food of Nurn so well. You shall love it here, and love being married to my lovely daughter!
Sirana: *sits up straight. I know*
Frodo: *He feels his face growing hot. These people are of Mordor, he reminds himself! But they seem so well intentioned here, he quails at the thought of humiliating Lorthang and Sirana with his refusal*
Sirana: *she tries to put it out of her mind a while to eat*
Vartang: *A low chuckle escapes Vartang's throat, then he turns back to his food*
Frodo: *...but he must do it anyway, for he certainly cannot marry her*
Frodo: *smiles weakly at Lorthang* Thank you...your table is excellent, as Vartang said.
Sirana: *Her eyes move to her left just a moment than back to her plate*
Vartang: *He quickly finishes his food and then hoists his empty tankard* More ale *he says to a passing servant*
Lord Lorthang: thank you my boy! many of my kitchen servants shall be given to you as part of my daughter's dowry
Frodo: Well...let us speak of that when we talk in private
Servants of Lorthang: *one of lorthang's servants refills vartang's tankard with more ale*
Vartang: *Vartang takes the tankard and smiles*
Lord Lorthang: Indeed, the servants did a most wonderous job of cooking the meal, my boy. the stork is most excellent, as well as these pheasants stuffed with fish and onions
Sirana: *daugters were bargains. This would have to be one of the best deals to a father. Should it be best for her? indeed. she supposed*
Frodo: Yes, they are, quite excellent.
Vartang: *Vartang says* I much enjoyed the pheasant stuffed with liver and the kidney pie
Vartang: *He stifles the urge to burp*
Sirana: *her utensil pushed her food around a bit. She drank and took small bites only*
Servants of Lorthang: *after everyone is finished with their food, the servants of Lorthang return and begin to clear the tables once more.*
Frodo: *Frodo does not realize he has started to fidget nervously. Ceolwulf, who has stood quietly behind his chair all this time, furtively touches his arm to stop him*
Servants of Lorthang: *after the tables are cleared, jugglers come out and do their tricks. Several large men bring out a trained bear on a chain, and coax the animal to perform tricks for the amusement of all*
Sirana: *nods slightly to servants who clear her place*
Frodo: *Frodo starts, then is visibly relieved when he sees Ceolwulf. He had forgotten the Rohirrim was there*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf bends down and whispers* I have never seen such strange food!
Ceolwulf: Some of it, I do not even know what it is
Frodo: *whispers back* I confess I hardly know what most of it is at all
Frodo: But more importantly, I don't know what I will do...later tonight
Ceolwulf: Well, Master, at least you ate some of it. That was good to see
Sirana: *Her big eyes constantly scanning the strangers around her*
Frodo: Will they give you any?
Ceolwulf: I will eat in the servants quarters later
Frodo: *nods*
Ceolwulf: Whatever is left over from the meal, they tell me
Servants of Lorthang: *Soon, the entertainers disperse, and the third and last course is brought. the servants bring platters of cakes and sweet fruit, as well as spiced wine*
Frodo: It looks like the poor lady will have plenty of leftovers
Frodo: she is hardly eating at all
Frodo: *continues whispering to Ceolwulf*
Servants of Lorthang: *they put the food down on the table, and set down goblets for everyone, filling them, replacing the tankards of ale*
Vartang: *Vartang finishes his tankard of ale and takes a goblet of wine when a servant comes by*
Vartang: *He settles down for a night of drinking*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang, who has had much ale so far, rises to his feet, a little unsteadily. he bellows out* And now for the third and final course of tonight's feast!
Sirana: *Looks again to Frodo. Powerful? He did not show this Perhaps he was silent in his way. But she can be thankful in any event that he was not obnoxious on first meeting*
Vartang: *Vartang raises his goblet* To the Host! To the feast! To the bridegroom and to the beautiful bride to be!
Sirana: *Looks to Vartang immediately at his toast*
Lord Lorthang: Aye! a toast! *he raises his goblet and participates in vartang's toast.... the rest of the nobles following suit*
Sirana: *She looks out to everyone and smiles and nods*
Vartang: *He thinks.... what a waste. This beauty wed to such as that! I would like her for myself, if I could*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang sits back down, and begins to eat a small cake.... sweet and nutty it is, tasting of dried fruit. He takes a sip of the spiced wine*
Sirana: *Perhaps, he was even dreadful in his power...looks to Frodo*
Frodo: *beginning to feel sorry for Sirana, he takes a pear from a bowl and offers it to her* My lady, you have not been eating much. Perhaps you will like this
Sirana: *she extends her delicate hand and smiles lightly*
Vartang: *When a servant comes by with a tray of cakes, he motions the servant to go by. He is content now with his wine and plans that before dawn, he will be roaring drunk*
Sirana: Thank you.
Frodo: *Valar, what would Gandalf have said, if he could have seen me now? Frodo thinks, guilt lying heavily on his heart*
Sirana: *takes the pear from his smaller hand*
Frodo: *but he smiles warmly and nods to her* You are most welcome
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang notices that frodo passes his daughter a pear. he beams at frodo and then at his daughter.... frodos wretched form is a bit blurry now, at least that eases his mind somewhat*
Vartang: *Vartang quickly finishes a goblet of wine and calls to a servant girl* Wench, bring me more wine!
Sirana: *she rolls the pear in her hand and takes a bite from it and smiles again. Perhaps not so dreadful. She raises the goblet of wine to her lips*
Sirana: *Looks over to Vartang*
Vartang: *He meets her eyes and smiles again at Sirana*
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *the serving girl nods to vartang, then soon returns, refilling his goblet with more of lorthang's spiced wine - made from his own vinyards*
Sirana: Enjoying yourself Captain Vartang?
Vartang: Aye, my lady. I am enjoying myself quite well. The ale was of the highest quality and the wine is superb
Sirana: *she smirks knowing he is finding satisfaction in the food and drink*
Vartang: *He takes the goblet, his hand brushing against the serving girl's arm as he does so. He winks at her*
Sirana: *she clears her throat and looks away and back to Frodo*
Frodo: *Ah, now Vartang has shown that he flirts with every pretty wench. Frodo wonders how Sirana will react. Will she still wish she were marrying Vartang?*
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *she smiles at vartang* do you find the food and drink to your taste?
Vartang: *His voice is low and his mouth curls into a lazy smile* I find everything to my taste! *under his breath he says* ...Including you!
Sirana: *she drinks deeply of her wine*
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *her smile becomes wider* Good, good! the wine is made from the Lord's own vineyard. His own special brew.
Frodo: *tries to think of something to say* My lady, I have heard that you are an accomplished singer. What sort of songs do you sing?
Vartang: I see your Master has many special brews, not the least of which are his serving wenches
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *she giggles, and blushes slightly* thank you my Lord!
Vartang: Good drink and good food must be appreciated, and I do, I assure you, appreciate them all
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *she nods* i shall tell the head cook of your satisfaction.
Lorthang's Serving Wench: *she bows and disappears into the crowd, refilling yet more goblets of wine*
Sirana: *to Frodo she says* Songs in praises to the The Dark Lord *smiles to him this should please him*
Frodo: *Frodo's eyes widen briefly, then he attempts a pained smile and feigns enthusiasm*...Ah!
Frodo: Do you also play the lute?
Sirana: I play the harp
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang stands up, a bit more unsteady, having had two glasses of spiced wine, not to mention much ale. He announces* The dance is about to begin!
Lord Lorthang: *He turns to Frodo and Sirana* You are lord of the Dance and my daughter, the most lovely Sirana, is Lady of the dance!
Lord Lorthang: The dance is to be held upon my green, and special thrones have been prepared for you and set upon a dias at the end of the dancing field.
Sirana: *looks to her father and clenches her teeth*
Lord Lorthang: servants will escort you to your places where you shall watch the dance and participate as you wish.
Lord Lorthang: The rest of you may dance, or sit at my table and drink. I know that is what i intend to do! drink to the joyous couple and to their future!
Servants of Lorthang: *Lorthangs servants return once again, to clear the tables of the remnants of the third and final meal.*
Frodo: *Frodo sways a little and Ceolwulf furtively squeezes his arm again to bring him out of the dizziness*
Sirana: *she finishes her wine in a last gulp*
Vartang: *Vartang ponders over his third goblet of wine, whether to dance or to drink himself drunk*
Sirana: *She wonders if Frodo would dance. It was a favored activity of hers when it was possible, she did so*
Sirana: *But how to dance with him?*
Frodo: *turns to Lorthang and Sirana* My lord, I do not think I will dance tonight, for I am ill...but if my lady would like to dance with another partner I will not mind *smiles at Sirana*
Sirana: *she felt relief in his answer and smiled*
Servants of Lorthang: *Frodo and Sirana are escorted to high thrones upon a dias under a coloful pavilion. musicians are on the other side of the dancing greens*
Servants of Lorthang: *The musicians begin to play as frodo and sirana take their seats*
Ceolwulf: Master, what do you want me to do?
Ceolwulf: Servants are not allowed to dance with these nobles
Sirana: *she smoothes her gown as she sits and looks to Frodo*
Sirana: pity you are not well
Sirana: *she looks him over and he did not look well either*
Lord Lorthang: *lord lorthang sits at the table, joking with his nobles, drinking profusely and telling ribald stories about weddings... the laughter is uproarous*
Frodo: *Frodo is standing uncertainly in front of the throne. He smiles wryly at Ceolwulf* Well, this chair is too high. You can put me in it, and then do what you wish.
Frodo: *finishes to Ceolwulf* Maybe Elfhild, Elffled or Rian will dance with you
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf puts Frodo in the chair and takes his position behind Frodo's chair and prepares to spend another night standing on his feet*
Ceolwulf: Nay, lord, servants cannot dance in the same places as do the nobles. They are our "betters"
Ceolwulf: And they do not let us forget our places. I will stand here, in case you need your medicine
Frodo: *whispers to Ceolwulf* Oh come, my friend, surely you and the girls can find somewhere to enjoy yourselves unnoticed
Ceolwulf: No, the instructions were clear, "Stay away from your betters unless you are called to serve them." *Stands behind Frodo and hums a Rohirric tune softly under his breath*
Frodo: *smiles at Sirana* Thank you, my lady. It would have been a pleasure to dance with you
Sirana: Then you will excuse me while i do yes *smiles sweetly*
Sirana: *Perhaps this would better her mind*
Frodo: *nods to Sirana*
Vartang: *Vartang begins to talk to Lord Lorthang, adding his own risque stories to the already growing collection*
Vartang: And then, the peasant girl.... *The rest of the story is muffled by the guffaws of the nobles, as they drink more and more*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang has just finished his third glass of spiced wine. he starts in telling another tale, the words barely understandable for all the slurring and snickering*
Frodo: *notices that Lorthang is drunk. How will I be able to negotiate the cancellation of the marriage now? Frodo wonders*
Lord Lorthang: *he throws his head back and guffaws, sliding down in his chair, his belly wedged against the table preventing him from hitting the floor*
Sirana: *watches her father as he drank himself into another stupor*
Vartang: *Vartang laughs uproarously at the story and calls for another goblet of spiced wine*
Sirana: *looks over to Vartang as he laughs with her father*
Vartang: *Vartang rises to his feet, walks over to Lorthang* My lord, this was a most outstanding feast! My compliments to the food, the drink and the company
Vartang: Perhaps now I shall dance
Sirana: *looks over to Frodo and places her hand on his and swallows hard at his cold skin*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang struggles to get back into his chair.... feeling slow and sluggish like a massive turtle on its back. he hiccups* thank you, my boy! thank you! A toast to you! *he weakly picks up his goblet*
Vartang: *He puts his hand on Lorthang's shoulder, bends down* Perhaps we can talk about falconing on the morrow, my lord
Sirana: Please excuse me now my Lord
Lord Lorthang: *raises his arm and stirs his finger around in the air lazily* Aye! falconing, a good sport it is. and we behead any filthy poachers we catch on sight... *hiccup*
Vartang: *He laughs and walks away, takes a position on the edge of the green, listening to the music and watches the dancers*
Frodo: Of course, my lady, go ahead and enjoy yourself
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang slumps forward on the table, spilling the small remnant of his wine, falling asleep immediately and snoring loudly*
Sirana: *she stands from her throne and smiles. he was kind enough. She makes her way to the other dancers*
Frodo: *blanches when Lorthang passes out. Will he be forced to marry her now? What will he do? He silently prays to the Valar, if they will hear a traitor like him in this forsaken land*
Frodo: *He takes in the glad scene of the party all around him, but it seems surreal*
Lorthang's Musicians: *lorthangs musicians, already playing their instruments, begin to play tunes for the dance. A dance caller announces the first dance... a circle dance it is.*
Vartang: *Vartang stands and watches the dancers, then considers going back to the table, joining the lord and his nobles and finishing the night with drink*
Sirana: *she hears the announcement of the dance and moves into position*
Lorthang's Musicians: *all of the dancers are instructed to go to the centre of the field, join hands in a large circle.... then the dance is to begin, circling to the right and left, ladies to the center then men, trading
Lorthang's Musicians: partners on each round*
Vartang: *Vartang decides to join the dance and walks to the center of the field and joins the dancers*
Vartang: *He takes the hand of the ladies on either side of him in the circle*
Frodo: *The dancers vaguely remind him of Bilbo's and his shared birthday parties, and his face is briefly beautiful again as a genuine smile lights it*
Narrator: *Then the circle begins to go around, first to the right. After completing the circle, they go to the left and complete that circle. Then they stop, men to the center bowing to each other, then ladies to the center, bowing to each other*
Lorthang's Musicians: *after the ladies leave the center, they go to the man on the opposite side of the one they previously danced with*
Sirana: *she cups her hands in those on either side of her and listens to the lovely music and follows through with the dance...moving as always, effortlessly and graceful*
Vartang: *The next woman who comes from the center is Sirana. He takes her hand*
Sirana: *she slides her hand into his and looks to him a moment*
Lorthang's Musicians: *after everyone is in position... each man holding the hands of the two ladies beside him.... the caller announces for them to circle right again.*
Vartang: *As he takes her hand, he looks into her eyes and gives her hand a slight squeeze*
Sirana: *She feels his gaze heavy on hers and looks back into his eyes..then raises her head a bit*
Vartang: *He looks back to her as they begin to move. He whispers* You are lovely... but promised to another....
Lorthang's Musicians: *the large circle of dancers continue to circle to the right as vartang and sirana talk*
Sirana: *she straightens a bit, clearing her throat and finding her voice* Thank you Captain Vartang. Yes. Ineed...indeed i am
Lorthang's Musicians: *the circle is large so the dancers must walk slowly at first to keep from tripping or breaking the line*
Frodo: *Frodo watches the scene, his eyes lingering on Sirana's lithe and graceful form. He looks down to his lap when Vartang approaches her*
Sirana: *her velvet gown brushes over the floor as she moves*
Lorthang's Musicians: *the caller announces for the ring to circle left, and the dancers change their direction as quickly as they can*
Vartang: Yes, promised to another. What a pity!
Sirana: *she raises her eyebrow to Vartang*
Frodo: *He winces as he catches sight of his ugly scarred wrists and his feet dangling high above the ground. He looks back up to the scene and thinks again of Bilbo's parties...*
Lorthang's Musicians: *after the circle completes its leftward cycle, the caller announces that all of the men should go back to the center, bow to each other, then honor their partners, and return to their places*
Lorthang's Musicians: *the ladies are then instructed to go to the centre, bow to each other, then turn to the man on the opposite side of the one they previously danced with*
Frodo: *...if there were a hobbit lass like her at one of those parties, he thinks, if I ever returned to the Shire...but his thought trails off*
Vartang: *Vartang slowly lets loose of her hand, his fingertips lingering on her hand as he does*
Sirana: *she tilts her head and lowers it just slightly and lets her knees bend just a bit*
Vartang: *Then he goes to the center and does as the dance caller instructs. He goes back to Sirana's side, nods and smiles to her, and watches as she goes to the center*
Sirana: *she exhales completely and continues the dance*
Lorthang's Musicians: *as soon as the dancers are back in their positions, the dance begins again.... the circle going to the right once more. this time the caller instructs for the dancers to go faster*
Sirana: *her gaze moves to Frodo*
Sirana: *how would she ever dance with him as she did Vartang?*
Sirana: *and why did he looks so slumped and sad?*
Sirana: *a man of power should not be this way*
Lorthang's Musicians: *after everyone in the large circle has traded partners and there is no one left unnoticed, the dance is called to a halt. the dance had sped up to quite rapid speed during the middle, now all the dancers are tired and perspiration dots their foreheads. a refreshment table sits nearby for their comfort*
Lorthang's Musicians: *the crowd disperses for refreshment until the next dance is called*
Vartang: *When the dance is completed, Vartang walks to the lady's side*
Vartang: Would my lady like something to drink?
Sirana: *She inhales sharply when she hears him and holds it and looks to Frodo and then releases breath and turns head to Vartang*
Sirana: Yes Captain Vartang
Sirana: Thank you
Lord Lorthang: *Lord lorthang wakes up momentarly and mumbles* the whedding will be after the dance.... after the dance... ish complete.... *his head falls back to the table*
Vartang: *He puts his hand under her arm and escorts her to a chair at the side of the dancing green*
Frodo: *Frodo's sad expression is replaced by one of panic at Lorthang's garbled words*
Vartang: Sit now, Lady Sirana, and I will bring you a goblet of wine. We will celebrate the wedding to be *he smiles*
Sirana: *Her head snapped in the direction of her father*
Vartang: *He goes to another pavilion where drinks are being offered, gets two goblets of wine and returns, giving her one and taking a seat beside her*
Sirana: *looks back to Vartang*
Frodo: *So much for what could have been if the Ring had not been found. Now, how to get out of this alliance to Mordor?*
Sirana: *she takes the goblet from him*
Sirana: Thank you
Sirana: *she wipes her forehead nervously*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang snores loudly...wakes up breifly* i have the authority to marry them myself, all my son in law has to do is sign the.... *drifts off again, wakes up* document.... *mumbles something*
Sirana: *she drinks fast and deeply*
Sirana: *She innocence in age started to show*
Lord Lorthang: daugher must sign.... to marry the.... what was he? dwarf.... *drifts off again*
Sirana: *she bites her lip. so soon. oh father!*
Frodo: *twists around to glance at Ceolwulf, then to the oblivious Lorthang*
Vartang: My lady, you must tremble in dread at this marriage, do you not? *he says, his voice low and deep*
Sirana: *looks to Vartang and then regains composure. She tries to anyway*
Frodo: *contemplates rising and trying to wake up Lorthang, but would that do any good?*
Sirana: Captain Vartang
Lord Lorthang: *he shakes his head back and forth, rubbing his forehead, he sits up and stretches* I shall wed them myself! ...and then they will be led to the honeymoon chambers...
Sirana: *she runs her fingers thorugh her hair*
Vartang: *Vartang winces at those words* By Melkor!
Sirana: *her eyes widen and her heart beats faster*
Vartang: *His voice lowers to almost a whisper* Had I only known! *Then he takes a drink from his goblet*
Frodo: *frowns, pales and flushes. He has to do something now, but what?*
Frodo: *He would rather not make a public spectacle*
Lord Lorthang: *lorthang struggles to his feet, goes to find frodo.* Where is the dwarf? *he mumbles*
Sirana: *her eyes roam the features of Vartang*
Lord Lorthang: *he goes to frodo's dias nearby and stands beside frodos chair* though the dance is not yet over, the marriage must begin!
Sirana: *her stare is torn by her father's words*
Vartang: *Vartang puts the goblet to his lips and does not stop drinking until the goblet is consumed* I need more wine. *He begins to perspire*
Frodo: *quietly, only to Lorthang* My lord, that was the misunderstanding. We should never have encroached upon your hospitality. Vartang replied for me while I was ill...we came to see you, but...
Lord Lorthang: *lorthlang blearily looks at his daughters empty chair* where is my daughter? you are to be wed, immediately! there is no time to waste.
Vartang: *Vartang goes back to the pavilion, gets another goblet, returns and sits down beside Lady Sirana*
Sirana: *she was reeling from the reality of the events*
Vartang: Should I drink to your impending wedding?
Frodo: ...I did not intend to take any wife at this time. *thinks fast* I am currently in favor with the Dark Lord but I am likely to lose favor soon, and your daughter would share that fate
Frodo: *pauses his whispering, waiting breathless for Lorthang's drunken reaction*
Lord Lorthang: Nonsense my boy. you must get married tonight, ere the dance is over. the wedding chambers are ready for you and your bride. i want another heir!
Sirana: *looks to Vartang* Captain Vartang...*but she has no words*
Frodo: No, my lord, truly I am worried for her. I have already fallen from favor once and been punished, see? *holds up his wrists* You would not want her to be in danger of this, would you?
Vartang: *He drinks from the goblet* My lady, you have my sympathies, but it can't be helped
Sirana: *she reminds herself of the position..the valued status. Friend of Sauron, and all the benefits*
Frodo: My "friendship" with Sauron is tenuous indeed
Vartang: Perhaps now you should go to your groom. *He drinks again from the goblet*
Vartang: Shall I escort you?
Sirana: *this was all happening so fast. A man who would have to look up into her eyes for all time*
Lord Lorthang: *does not really comprehend frodo's words... so eager is he to get his daughter married off, to the friend of sauron* Your friendship with the Lord is valued highly... now where is my daughter?
Frodo: My lord, I cannot marry your daughter!
Sirana: I must go to my father
Frodo: I...I am not worthy of her
Lord Lorthang: *there seems to be two.... or is it four? frodos sitting by his side. he blinks his eyes, and rubs his hand over them*
Vartang: *Vartang relaxes in his chair, takes another drink*
Sirana: *she places her hand on Vartangs arm to steady herself and rises*
Sirana: *she begins to move back to her father and Frodo*
Lord Lorthang: Nonsense, my boy. she has a bountiful dowry, as a dwarf that should impress you.
Vartang: *He finishes his wine and walks briskly and catches up with her*
Sirana: *her steps are rushed and her eyes are flashing..clenched fists and teeth as she walks to her father*
Frodo: Look...can't this be put off until later? You will not even be able to remember it
Sirana: *she reaches him and takes her father's arm in her hand*
Vartang: My lady, perhaps it is not so bad as that. You will be coming to live at the Shakh's keep. I might vis... *his voice trails off*
Sirana: *glances to Vartang*
Frodo: *glances rapidly from Lorthang to Sirana and Vartang, then back to Lorthang*
Lord Lorthang: *he smiles drunkenly at Sirana, swaying slightly at her sudden movement towards him* Ah, daughter! The wedding shall begin now that you have arrived.
Lord Lorthang: *he calls for a servant to bring the marriage contract*
Sirana: you are inebriated
Vartang: *Vartang stops in his tracks and looks at the retreating back of the lady*
Sirana: surely you cannot perform this ceremony tonight
Frodo: I cannot marry her, I have told you, I am sorry! My favor with the Dark Lord is all too tenuous! It would be too dangerous for her to marry me!
Frodo: Yes, yes, you are not well tonight *grateful look to Sirana*
Lord Lorthang: *he looks to sirana, and then to frodo, a confused look on his face. soon, the servant returns with the marriage contract*
Sirana: *she looks to Frodo..confused*
Vartang: *Vartang bows his head and then thinks to himself... By Melkor! This is my doing!*
Vartang: *Perhaps I have made a mistake, a grevious one! He fights this marriage too hard and will not sign his name to the marriage contract. This will ruin my plans*
Sirana: *her eyes wide at his words*
Frodo: *cringes inwardly at the thought of hurting the innocent lady who has been born into this evil society*
Sirana: you decline?
Lord Lorthang: *another servant brings a box with two golden rings... marriage bands*
Sirana: *looks to the servant then back to Frodo*
Frodo: My lady, I cannot deny your beauty and your worthiness as a wife for anyone...but it is I who am not worthy of you, and I fear it would be dangerous for you to marry me
Sirana: *sure he was not in favor with her wants in appearance. But how could he refuse her? Should she be happy? No*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang puts the parchment on a table between the chairs* all that is needed is both of your signatures. and then you shall exchange rings, and i shall pronounce you husand and wife
Sirana: *she releases her father's arm and moves over to Frodo*
Sirana: *leans over a bit*
Vartang: *Vartang walks up and stands in front of Frodo* Shakh, I implore you, you must let this wedding go through tonight! Much depends upon it. Sign the contract!
Lord Lorthang: *he holds a quill in his hand and hands it to frodo* sign your name on the line, my boy
Sirana: *this had turn to chaos. Her head was spinning*
Lord Lorthang: *he is oblivous to his daughters and frodos protests*
Sirana: *looks to her drunk, oblivious father*
Sirana: *rolls her eyes and looks back to Frodo*
Ceolwulf: *Ceolwulf gasps and steps back from Frodo's chair. He can't, he can't! He thinks. He just can't! It would not be right!*
Sirana: My Lord. Why do you speak this way? *To Frodo*
Sirana: *she winces at his sight*
Sirana: *maybe she shouldnt argue with him*
Ceolwulf: *He thinks to himself.... His uncle would never forgive him. This would be a disgrace to the whole family of Baggins. He thinks Don't do it, Frodo. Don't do it! He crosses his fingers. May the Valar protect you*
Lord Lorthang: *Meanwhile, upon the lords greens, music plays wildly and more dances are held... everyone joyous and happy, filled with more than a little ale or wine, oblivious to the crisis before Lorthang*
Ceolwulf: *He thinks again... Frodo, Frodo, don't do it! Don't join with these evil people! Please don't do it!*
Frodo: My lady, I am likely to fall out of favor with the Dark Lord
Frodo: I was never in favor with him to begin with
Sirana: i do not understand *her eyes wide with wonder*
Vartang: Nay, Shakh, you will never be out of favor with the Great Lord. Sign the contract and wed her now!
Frodo: I did not back willingly. You can see what he did to me, when I was out of favor. It is likely that it will happen again, and I do not want you to be in danger when it happens
Sirana: *looks to Vartang*
Vartang: Let me help you guide your hand as you sign your name! Take the quill and sign the contract!
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang looks to sirana and then to frodo, taps his foot impatiently and waits for frodo and his daughter to sign the parchment*
Frodo: *pulls his hand away from Vartang's*
Vartang: *He thinks.... May Melkor curse me for doing this, but I must!*
Vartang: Just sign it, shakh! Don't think about it. It will all be over soon!
Sirana: *Wonders why he speaks this way. So weak. So against what she thuoght*
Frodo: *slides off the chair and stands next to Ceolwulf, away from the contract table*
Sirana: *looks to this man of power?*
Vartang: Marry her tonight and think about it tomorrow. That is always been my motto
Sirana: *shoots glance to Vartang*
Vartang: *He bends his head down and puts it on his hands... I failed*
Sirana: *her wide eyes blazing as she looks to Frodo*
Sirana: You say these things because you do not find favor with me
Sirana: *her expression turns sad*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang taps his foot more and gives a loud sigh... notices frodo stood up* Shakh Dwarf, why the wait?
Sirana: *surely he was true to Sauron*
Vartang: *Vartang turns and walks away, back to the pavilion with wine*
Frodo: My lady, believe me when I say it has nothing to do with you. I am old, and what I do now comes from a long history
Vartang: *He takes a whole bottle of wine from the pavilion, looks for a tree, walks over and sits under it*
Sirana: *She is beyond perplexed and slumps into her throne beside him*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthangs thoughts are jumbled and scattered..... why does the dwarf hesitate?*
Sirana: *looks over to Vartang. She thought she was to marry him at first glance. Would be easier. He was stronger, attractive and he wanted her as well*
Sirana: *but he was not friend of the Great Eye. And now Frodo says he isn't. She was confused and hurting*
Lord Lorthang: *he speaks in a loud voice* all this useless talk vexes me! Will you not marry my daughter?
Sirana: *looks to her father now*
Frodo: *blanches* I am sorry. I cannot marry your daughter
Vartang: *Under the tree, Vartang slings the bottle of wine in the air up to his lips and takes a long drink*
Sirana: *disgraced in front of all by this small, sickly man*
Lord Lorthang: *bellows, understanding something about cannot marry* WHAT do you mean, cannot marry?
Sirana: *her hands grabs fistfuls of velvet*
Frodo: *if only, if only he had been able to do this in private!*
Lord Lorthang: *He hesitates.... staggers, almost falls on frodo* But..... *his voice becomes softer* maybe this was a bit rushed tonight, no?
Sirana: *she stares blankly ahead. Not knowing what to make of any of this night*
Frodo: I mean I cannot marry her. It is too dangerous. *looks down*
Lord Lorthang: *deciding more flies can be won by honey than by vinegar, he sweetens his tongue, and tries to speak diplomatically (as well as he can)*
Sirana: *Not so long ago she and her handmaidens were giggling as they primped with her. Fussing over her. Her cheeks were rosy with delight and anticipation*
Sirana: *now they were pink with embarassment*
Frodo: *Ceolwulf catches Frodo as he sways again*
Lord Lorthang: Ah, but my boy, there is tomorrow afternoon! We can talk more of this then.... you will be spending the next few days here, at my lovely keep!
Lord Lorthang: In the morrow we shall go falconing..... then a slave fight in the pit in the late afternoon.
Sirana: *amazed her father spoke understandable sentences*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorhtang slurs all his words, and speaks slowly, rolling them about in his mind, seeing if they sound pleasing to his befuddled mind*
Vartang: *Vartang continues drinking, then sets the wine bottle down beside him under the tree, begins singing a song in the tongue of Khand*
Frodo: My lord, your keep is lovely and so is your daughter, and your hospitality is generous, but I cannot marry your daughter nor anyone in Mordor
Sirana: *her eyes focus on Vartang as her fathers words fade from her hearing*
Frodo: I am sorry for the grief this causes you *he feels guilty for it, but he truly is*
Lord Lorthang: *Once again he ignores everything frodo says* ...we shall talk of this after the slave fight tomorrow. you will be in a better mood then. They fight to the death!
Sirana: *her pride was crushed by someone she could pick up in her arms*
Frodo: *steps closer to Ceolwulf protectively*
Vartang: *Vartang hears the words and says out loud* AH, a slave fight, and to the death! The afternoon will be most enjoyable
Vartang: *he picks the bottle up and drinks again... thinks of the beautiful woman and how he would like to talk to her more*
Vartang: *But he consoles himself with the wine bottle and the anticipation of the blood that will be spilt on the sand in the pit the next afternoon*
Frodo: *leans against the arm of the chair and his eyelids flutter* I am not well. I do not think I will be able to go to the slave fight
Sirana: *Her empty eyes look to Frodo*
Lord Lorthang: *he looks at frodo and laughs loudly, swaying a bit* you'll like it, my boy! the event of the season here! Slaves from gondor fight each other to the death
Sirana: *why was he so dispirited at everything offered?*
Sirana: *it is not possible she can offend him that much. For who was he to be offended by anyone?*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang calls for servants...* Take the dwarf back to his room! he says he is unwell. *to frodo he says* i shall keep the contract and the rings, for tomorrow! Perhaps you shall wed her tomorrow night!
Frodo: *struggles against the darkness that presses at the corners of his vision and bursts out in frustration* Do you really wish your daughter to be married to a mutilated dwarf like me!
Frodo: I cannot marry her, today or tomorrow
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, I can take you back to your room. Dwarf indeed!
Sirana: *she felt like excusing herself and forgetting this night altogether*
Lord Lorthang: *he slaps frodo on the back, almost falling on top of him again* her dowry has much jewels and gold, a dwarf would like that, my boy!
Frodo: *This time he knocks Frodo to the ground*
Ceolwulf: *Disgusted with the whole thing, he mutters to himself*
Sirana: *gasps and looks to Frodo*
Sirana: *she reaches down to him*
Ceolwulf: *He quickly picks up Frodo, first mantaining a defensive stance in case another servant tries to wrest him from his grasp*
Ceolwulf: *He holds Frodo in his arms as he would a small child*
Frodo: *looks sadly to Sirana as she reaches to him and whispers* I am sorry
Ceolwulf: *He looks at the woman* My lady, can you not see that he cannot take any more tonight? Let him rest in peace
Sirana: *she looks to the servant with Frodo in his arms*
Sirana: I..I *looks away*
Ceolwulf: *He spits out the words* Or do you wish to kill him?
Sirana: *She had not done anything and now she becomes angry with the servant*
Sirana: Mind your tongue!
Sirana: Servant! You will speak to me with kindness!
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang chuckles joyfully* Well i bid you well, my beloved daughter and soon to be son-in-law! farewell! *he stumbles back to the table, to have some more spiced wine*
Ceolwulf: My lady, my appologies to you. But Master Frodo is in my care and I take it you will understand my words
Ceolwulf: He can bear no more this night *he says defiantly*
Sirana: *she fights back the tears welling in her eyes*
Lord Lorthang: *lorthang soon reaches the table, the nobles rising unsteadily to greet him cheerfully. some lie upon the table sleeping, others on the floor, passed out.*
Sirana: *She looks to her father*
Ceolwulf: *He looks into the woman's eyes* Now let him sleep. Can't you see he is weak and weary?
Sirana: *her breathes are scatters and she whsipers* Very Well
Sirana: *slumps into her seat*
Ceolwulf: *Without another word, he walks away from the green, carrying Frodo*
Ceolwulf: Master Frodo, this has been a nasty night. Now don't start another coughing spell
Ceolwulf: I will have you back, quick as a wink
Sirana: *places her fingertips over her lips and presses hard*
Sirana: *finds no comfort in her drunk father*
Frodo: *buries his face in Ceolwulf's shoulder and moans* Oh Elbereth! Ceolwulf, take me out of here!
Ceolwulf: *He does not look back at any of them, but walks rapidly, carrying his small burden into the keep*

Return to Index