Morning of October 9, 3019

(Written by Wraith)
Disliking his middle son, Randir, intensely, Lord Lorthang has come upon a plan to rid himself of his ill-favored son. Bafowel, the eldest; Balwin the youngest; and Sirana, their sister, have traveled from Newburg to the Citadel in Minas Artano, where Lord Lorthang intends to present his son for service in the Mordorian army.

The King, Varyon I, having drunk too much the night before and rendered thoroughly besotted, is indisposed that morning and stays in his own quarters. His brother, Maugoth Vartang, the new Steward of Forogondor, sits upon the Steward's chair in the stead of the king to accept audiences and to act as judge in some matters.

After being allowed entrance to the Citadel, Lord Lorthang and his family are now before the Steward, where Lord Lorthang has just presented Randir. Vartang is angered at him because he dared come in by the front door rather than through the back way where the King's scribes have permission to enter.

When being told of the offering of Randir to the Army, Vartang is unimpressed and says that if Lorthang will offer one son, he should be willing to offer all three. At these words, Lord Lorthang's face blanches, for he is loath to give up his other two sons.

Vartang now sits and looks at them with a cold, smug stare, pleased that he has discomfited Lord Lorthang once again. Vartang's only interest in the family besides bringing rebuke to Lord Lorthang is his daughter, Sirana, whom he desires.

Lord Lorthang portrayed by Eowyn
Sirana portrayed by FreeFall
Bafowel and Balwin portrayed by Hobbitness
Narrator, Randir and Vartang portrayed by Wraith

Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin and Bafowel stare abashed between Vartang and their father. Balwin, still dazed from his hangover, suddenly falls over from shock. Bafowel catches him and gets an idea*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel* We cannot serve in the army, Lord Vartang! We are not fit to fight! Look, my brother is ill!
Lord Lorthang: *Lord Lorthang looks at the limp form of his beloved youngest son, and then turns back to Vartang, exclaiming* Yes! They suffer from horrible maladies, prone to illnesses, and are not fit to fight!
Lord Lorthang: Alas! My only healthy son is Randir *he grabs Radnir's arm and pulls him up to stand beside him*
Sirana: *She is pleased with Vartang's idea of having both brothers introduced into the army, but she the matter remains of Randir, her most beloved brother... who she wants with her and not to find a fate of possible death in the army. On this matter..she is not pleased and she is still nervous and thinking how she can remedy this*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin, on the floor leaning against Bafowel, mutters incoherently*
Randir: *He keeps his head bowed in embarrassment at the shame that his father and brothers bring him. He looks to his father and pulls his arm away* Father, you do not have to tug me as though you were pulling a small child!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin* Oooh...yes....sick....Randir not....going to be sick....oooh. *holds his head*
Vartang: *He looks to all of them* Silence!
Sirana: *is disgusted at the spectacle they make in front of Vartang*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin moans at Vartang's shout. Bafowel tries to shush him*
Vartang: Lord Lorthang, you say that your eldest and youngest are weak and sickly? Is this true? *he asks*
Lord Lorthang: Of course it is! *he cries indignantly and points at Balwin* My beloved son lies there on the floor moaning in pain - is that not proof enough?
Vartang: I see *he says and strokes his chin* Since they are such invalids, why have you brought them with you today? This is not a house of healing
Sirana: *she shifts on her feet and runs her perspiring palms on the front of her gown and keeps her intense eyes on Vartang as she tilts her head*
Lord Lorthang: I thought the fresh air would do them good. They have been bedfast most of the late summer and early autumn. Their health has improved but they will become ill again... alas... tis the way it has gone all their lives.
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel* And we insisted on coming, if only to honor the great Steward of Forogondor and bow before him!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin nods blearily*! *weak smile*
Sirana: *she eyes her loathed family members dangerously*
Vartang: I see *he says, and continues stroking his beard* I am quite impressed with your earnestness in appearing before me, sons of Lorthang. Considering the severity of your disability.... I am quite impressed that you have summoned the strength to appear here this day
Vartang: It is obvious that there is some problem with one of you, for he lies upon the floor in a fit, while the other, quite solicitous, attempts to care for him.... The other *he looks at Randir* a tall, gangly young man stands before me
Vartang: This is quite interesting and provokes much thought *he drinks from his goblet of wine and then smiles at all of them*
Sirana: *She looks over in the direction of Randir...her expression one of telling him...patience.....she keeps her composure and tells herself to be patient too...her mind ever running*
Lord Lorthang: So I trust that you will allow Randir to join the Army of Mordor? He would make a good fighter, I am sure of it! Always steadfast, always loyal. *he smiles at Randir and slaps him on the back*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel feels his face grow hot and his pulse quicken as he watches Vartang. His own hangover is giving him a tremendous headache, but someone in this family must possess some decorum!*
Bafowel and Balwin: *He looks down his nose at Randir and Sirana while continuing to hold Balwin up*
Randir: *Randir falls forward at the impact of his father's slap on his back and then catches himself and looks with hatred at his father* Father *he whispers* you are making a fool of yourself!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin struggles to keep his eyes open as waves of nausea wash over him. He tries to convince his body not to get sick in the Throne Room in front of the Steward*
Sirana: *she cannot help but let her countenance show her anger at her brothers and father and she almost moves to rush and aid Randir, but she doesn't. She does not want to further embarrass Randir*
Vartang: *Vartang looks at Lorthang* You are the sage sire of your family, I deem. Always wise in your ways *he says sarcastically*
Sirana: *she keeps her posture straight and looks Vartang up and down...remembering their time spent in Nurn...and their conversations and she smiles*
Lord Lorthang: *Not catching Vartang's sarcasm, Lorthang says with a broad grin* Aye, I am very proud of my family.
Vartang: And in your wisdom you saw fit to bring your two sick sons upon an outing to the Citadel, while you presented your second son for service to the army.
Vartang: I have heard much from you today, Lorthang. You have spoken of your loyalty, of your love for Mordor, and of your willingness to sacrifice.
Sirana: *she looks to her father with a smug smile*
Vartang: But I do not quite believe that your sons are quite the invalids that you would make of them *he says and then his mouth broadens to a wide grin, his teeth flashing*
Vartang: I see their sister before me and I wish to hear her words upon this matter, so be silent, my lord, if you value your tongue!
Sirana: *She sucks in a large breath and her grin widens*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang casts a stern glance at Sirana full of unspoken warnings...*
Vartang: Come before me, Lady Sirana, and tell me of your family. You may approach my throne
Sirana: *she bows her head to Vartang as she feels three stares of ice from her father and brothers as she moves ahead of them with raised head and approaches his throne*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel* But, my lord Steward! *aghast* She is only a woman! *his voice is full of scorn as he glares at her*
Bafowel and Balwin: Surely you would rather trust the word of his eldest son and heir!
Vartang: I will hear whom I wish for I am the steward and another outburst such as this and you will be gagged by the guards. Silence, son of Lorthang!
Sirana: *she shoots her glance in Bafowel's direction* I believe Maugoth Vartang gave his request full knowing what he has asked!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel bows his head and hoists the sagging Balwin back up to a sitting position*
Sirana: *she looks back to Vartang and smiles* May I start by saying that it is a pleasure to see you again Maugoth Vartang
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel rolls his eyes*
Vartang: *He takes another sip from his goblet and looks at her up and down and smiles* Perhaps not quite the pleasure as it was the last time, for serious matters have been brought before me. But to look upon you, my lady, is no less a delight as it has ever been *he looks at her and smiles*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang glares at Vartang, beginning to become angered. "First you take my my falcon," he thinks, "and next you shall try to take my daughter!"*
Sirana: *She fills with a feeling of wanting to show her brother of her influence..her father's real fear..she eyes her dear brother Randir and the rest of her family...looks back to Vartang* You ask me about my family. *she inhales and exhales deeply* ahh yes...where shall I start about my dear family? *she enjoys making them sweat*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel bores holes into her with his threatening scowl. "You had better not say the wrong thing!" his eyes seem to say*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang's glare shifts from Vartang to Sirana. "If you threaten my position or endanger my sons, so help me, I swear by Melkor I shall have you married to a swine herder!" he thinks to himself.*
Sirana: *her voice saturated with sarcasm, while sweet smile adorns her face* I have three wonderful brothers...and a powerful and respectful father *she shrugs and smiles* I cannot seem to say enough great things about them
Sirana: *she steps back and then halts and tilts her head* Maugoth Vartang.... *she smiles and looks him over* May I request a private audience with you?
Vartang: *He looks at her and the corners of his mouth turn up in a grin* Yes, my lady, your request is granted. *He stands to his feet* Guards! Clear the hall. Take Lord Lorthang and his three sons to an anteroom and keep them there until I call for them!
Narrator: *Quickly, eight guards are upon them, one at either side. They look at them all with distrust and brandish spears at them. They say* Come quietly. Do not disturb the Steward in his council!
Lord Lorthang: *His face growing red with fury, Lorthang points at Vartang, shaking his finger at him* This is an OUTRAGE, Vartang! I am one of the king's scribes and a loyal subject of Mordor, not some brigand of the hills! *he bellows, but goes along with the guards, mumbling curses under his breath*
Vartang: *Still standing, he extends his hand and points to Lorthang* Have this man bound and gagged!
Narrator: Aye, Maugoth, he will be silent when we have finished with him *the guards say*
Lord Lorthang: *He struggles with the guards, cursing them, and screaming incoherently in his anger* This is abominable treatment for a lord of Mordor! This is a disgrace!
Sirana: *she hopes Randir does not do anything to get himself into trouble...and hopes that Randir is pleased with the treatment of their father who is full of threats within his own family*
Vartang: *Vartang waits until the guards have taken Lorthang and his three sons from the hall. Then he sits back upon the throne and looks at Sirana* My lady, tell me all about your brothers and father
Sirana: *She sighs and rolls her eyes and walks forward to his throne in front of him* Maugoth Vartang, you remember well of our conversations in the garden *smiles*...and there is no point in being false with you, when you well know as much as I do about my father and his ways.. I only like to make them ill with suspense
Vartang: My lady, I remember our talks in the garden very fondly and indeed I know about your father and brothers and I would sooner take all four of them into the army if your father were not so fat and aged that he would slow his company down
Vartang: He would cause the Enemy to laugh at us as he dragged his ponderous bulk under the lashes of guards. But what I want to know is *he leans forward, supporting his chin on his hand* do you favor any of the brothers above the other or do you care?
Sirana: *her smile is sweet and she extends her hands to him*
Vartang: *He takes her hands in his and smiles at her* My lady, you look as lovely as you did in the garden that night
Sirana: *she blushes slightly and runs her fingertips over his knuckles* The matter of my brothers, Maugoth indeed what I wanted to speak to you about
Sirana: While Bafowel and Balwin are exactly like my father...and their manners even brother quite different. Above that...he is the only one who treats me well...and with respect I think i deserve. Also, he is my protector...and I his *she says seriously*
Vartang: My lady, *he grins* your hands are as soft as they ever were. I see they have not fared ill in your journey here... and you wish me not to accept your brother, Randir, into the army?
Sirana: *she nods and her fingers never stop stroking his and smiles* That is what I wish...for very good reasons of course. He is very much like me..Randir. Smart...but over the years he has been tormented so much by my father and brothers *he can see the intensity in her eyes and resentment*
Vartang: What then of the other two? Do you wish me to accept or reject them for the army? *he asks*
Sirana: *she takes another step closer to him and grins* Though I think you already know as you brothers are indeed healthy. I do not think you needed me to tell you that though, did you?
Vartang: Nay, Lady Sirana, I saw much of them when I visited at your father's estate and found them to be loud mouthed braggarts, worthless young men, who wished for leisure rather than labor
Vartang: However, I thought all three of them though stout enough to serve on the field. I understand that your brother has been your protector but Mordor and its vassal states need protection too *he says, a sly grin upon his face*
Vartang: So, then, perhaps I should still take all three unless, perhaps.... you would care to dine with me tonight? *he asks*
Sirana: *she moves closer still and smiles* Were you not my most favorite to talk and sit with at dinners in the past?
Vartang: Sirana *he says and smiles* I know of all your family, you are by far the most cunning, and I know your lovely lips will say whatever you tell them to get your way
Vartang: You are much alike me in that respect, my lady.... so you will dine with me tonight? *he asks*
Sirana: You are not easy to keep up with *smirks then becomes serious* I have been sincere with you in the past Maugoth Vartang. And I have taken much pleasure indeed in our times together. And yes.. I would like to dine with you
Sirana: You remember in the garden that night. I said I would do what I must to see my safety and to make sure my father kept out of trouble... *shakes head* it seems nothing I do can stop him from getting him into two brothers too..but I did not tell you then that i wish my brother, Randir safety too. But I let you know this now
Vartang: Then, my lady, you have bought your brother out of the army by your agreement to dine with me tonight... Tis much too cold to walk in the garden tonight, but perhaps you will tarry with me a while after the dinner has passed
Sirana: Maugoth would be my pleasure
Vartang: Your brother's safety has now been assured and both he and you are under my protection. I look forward to taking my meal with you in the evening. Now I will have your father and brothers brought again before me to proclaim what I have ruled
Vartang: *He stands up again* Guards! Bring those detained forth and have them stand before me!
Sirana: *he can see the happiness on her face* Oh Maugoth Vartang! Thank you! *sighs* it is a shame it has to be this way
Sirana: It was not my wish...but surely they would rather see Randir dead than above them and I just cannot have that *smiles to herself* I want him to finally be able to raise his head
Vartang: *He sits back down on the throne* Lady, come and stand beside me. I wish to have you near *he says as he looks at her*
Sirana: *she fills with a sense of worth and power...she is proud of herself and happy for Randir..and hope he is just as pleased...he will be. She smiles as she moves to stand next to Vartang*
Narrator: *A guard brings news to the ones guarding Lorthang and his three sons in the anteroom that they are to bring them back into the throne room. Roughly, they pull them along and if they see any unwillingness, they threaten them with their spears.*
Narrator: *When Lorthang had first been taken to the anteroom, the guards had gagged him and then bound him to a chair. Now they release him and tell him* Come along!
Lord Lorthang: *His hands now free, Lorthang tears the gag from his mouth and bellows* This is an outrage! You cannot do this to me, one of your betters! You should all be flogged for this!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel joins his father's protests at this insult to their dignity. Balwin, angry and still feeling sick, utters a string of obscenities at the guards*
Randir: *Randir smiles smugly and says* At least this time, father, you were at a loss for words
Lord Lorthang: *He turns his angry gaze to Randir* Silence, Randir! This is no time for your impertinent talk!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel* I hope you end up in the lowest ranks of the army, in the filthiest trenches of battle for this!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin spits at Randir as he is led past him*
Randir: At least I would not have to listen to your abuse, brother! Finally, I would be free of all of you! The only one of you I would miss is my sister!
Lord Lorthang: *Randir's words enrage Lorthang more* You may think you are better than all of us with your high and mighty airs, but you are a disgrace to the family, Randir!
Lord Lorthang: *They are led out by the guards, bickering and squabbling*
Randir: Not as much a disgrace as you and my brothers, father! *He looks at all of them with hatred in his eyes*
Vartang: *He rises to his feet as he sees them come into the room* Be silent! All of you! Or I will have your tongues cut out and thrown to the dogs!
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang silently fumes and seethes like a large cauldron of boiling water upon a fire. His face is bright crimson and his breath comes in wheezing gasps*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel and Balwin, terrified of Vartang's impending decision, try unsuccessfully to hide their anger and bow humbly*
Vartang: I have patiently listened to the words of all of you and now I have made my decision *He looks to the side where a scribe sits at a small table, writing instruments at hand*
Vartang: Let it be known thus *he says* Write down the names of Bafowel and Balwin, sons of Lorthang, upon the records of enlistment in the army of Mordor!
Vartang: Let it be known that they are to be sent to the boundary between Rohan and Forogondor and there, it is hoped, they will serve their liegelord well!
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel and Balwin shout simultaneously* WHAT? *They stand there with their mouths hanging open*
Bafowel and Balwin: *They cringe and bow their heads*
Vartang: Guards! Restrain these men!
Narrator: *The guards hold Lorthang, Bafowel and Balwin by the arms*
Bafowel and Balwin: *They are furious, but afraid to say anything*
Vartang: And my word now concerning Randir son of Lorthang..... in the past I have found him to be a young man of high thought bearing and manner, with a mind that delves deeply into all matters. For him, I proclaim, an honor to serve this court as second scribe!
Vartang: *He looks to the scribes* Let this be recorded in the official records. Now, guards, take these two cringing louts to the fortress at Newburg and there let them be inducted into the army!
Sirana: *she looks to them with slight sympathy as she thinks they have brought this on themselves. Their past treatment of her and Randir...their words and actions of the past making her feel no regret now.. but her eyes shine and she places one hand on her heart as she smiles tenderly to Randir*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel stifles and angry outburst and raises his eyebrows to Balwin who is on the verge of lashing out at Vartang, his father, and Randir*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Once he is sure Balwin will be quiet, Bafowel narrows his eyes at his traitorous sister in white hot anger*
Randir: *He straightens his shoulders out and looks at Vartang, pleased and proud. Now his position with the court is higher than his father's.*
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang glares at Vartang with hatred, and puffs in his fury with little breaths. He refuses even to look at Sirana. He casts a sympathetic look to Bafowel and Balwin, his eyes pleading with them not to be wroth with him, for he had no choice and no power in this matter.*
Narrator: *The guards scowl at Bafowel and Balwin* Come, lads, tis a long walk to the fortress, but the journey will toughen you up some for the army
Bafowel and Balwin: *Bafowel and Balwin are furious at all of them. Everyone has betrayed them, and now they have no hope for a future, for they will surely be killed! Why can their father not free them from this doom?*
Sirana: *She can feel the total hate directed towards her..seeping from their eyes to her core...but this was all there before but buried by their obnoxiousness and facades*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Why have they been cursed with such a wicked sister and brother? They will spend many hours bemoaning their fate to the unseen great Master, questioning his justice*
Sirana: *Now they are exposed...let them hate her openly now. She always knew it anyway*
Vartang: *Vartang, still standing, speaks again* Now, hear my word concerning Lord Lorthang *he looks at him* For his insolence and arrogance and open defiance of my word in this court, his punishment shall be a few hours hanging from the grate over a brazier of coals. Perhaps this will render some of the fat upon his bones and make even him fit to join the army!
Lord Lorthang: *Lorthang glowers at Vartang in a mixture of fury and fear. He mutters under his breath* May the great Lord Melkor heap everlasting curses of fire and brimstone upon your head, Vartang the Abominable!
Sirana: *She looks away from the face of her father, begging herself not to feel sorry for him. For he has said and done awful things to her and Randir...she dwells on those things to make her feel better*
Bafowel and Balwin: *Balwin and Bafowel gasp in horror, wanting to cry out in protest at their father's treatment, but if they say anything the same thing will probably happen to them*
Bafowel and Balwin: *They stare wide-eyed at their father, unable to say anything, then Bafowel puts his arm around Balwin's shoulders and they despondently follow the guards*
Vartang: Twill not be my head that feels the heat of fire and brimstone, Lord Lorthang. Guards! Take him to his fate!
Sirana: *she looks at her pitiful brothers. She tells herself how they never liked her. Thinks of the beating they both laid upon Randir for years. They and her father..numerous years of torment and pain..physically and mentally to break him down. So she did not feel bad for this. It was due punishment for years of hurt and neglect*
Lord Lorthang: A thousand curses upon thee, Vartang! *Lorthang bellows, pointing a shaking finger at him* May Melkor, Sauron and the Valar smite thee down, and thou diest a long, slow and painful death and suffer condemnation eternal!
Vartang: *Infuriated, Vartang shakes his fist* Double the hours he is to cook over the coals and for his insolence, keep him in my dungeon! Until I say he is to be released! He is also to be dismissed as his position as scribe! Guards! Take him out of my sight!
Narrator: *The guards grab Lorthang by the arms and haul him out to the dungeon. Vartang remains alone with Sirana and Randir*
Vartang: *He looks to Randir* I trust that you will serve this court well. Now I give you leave to go back to your lodgings at the inn and remain there until I summon you forth again. Your sister, after she has dined with me, will be escorted back later.
Sirana: *she gives her brother a smile. She wishes she could take him in her arms and embrace him*
Randir: *He bows to Vartang* Thank you for your graciousness, Lord Vartang. I will serve this court faithfully. Now, dear sister, I must take my leave of you and fetch my father and brother's horses and my own
Randir: And sister *he says and smiles at her* enjoy your meal *He bows and leaves*
Sirana: *she places her hand over her heart again and watches him leave*
Vartang: Sirana, your father will not perish during his roasting. Twill be done merely to teach him a lesson, but he will stay in my dungeon, and perhaps neither you nor your brother will object to that overmuch
Vartang: Of course *he turns and looks at her* you might use your persuasive ways with me to grant him an early pardon
Sirana: *she smiles to him and raises her chin* Maugoth Vartang, I understand your ways of teaching them a lesson. I cannot say that they do not deserve it...because they do. They have brought much torment to me and my brother...and early pardon....perhaps, perhaps not. I would like to enjoy peace with my brother for the first time
Vartang: *He resumes his seat on the throne* And lady, there is a house down the hill from here that would be quite close for your brother and you. It is in my charge.... the inn is not a suitable place for such a high born lady as yourself nor for your brother. I grant you its use, if you will have it. You will find it most comfortable and spacious. Twill be closer for both your brother and you when I ask you to dine with me
Sirana: *her smile widens...a suitable room...peace for her and Randir...feeling of respect and high honor. She clasps her hands together in joy*
Vartang: Now, Sirana, since your father and brothers are occupied, perhaps you would like to go with me and tour the Citadel
Sirana: I would like that very much, Maugoth Vartang *she bows her head*
Vartang: There is little to do the rest of the afternoon and since the hall has already been cleared, it shall be cleared for the rest of the day. *he turns to an advisor* You will find us in the tower
Vartang: Now, Sirana *he says and gets up, extending his arm to her* Let us tour the Citadel.

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