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Wanderer Lost III

Daranavo

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Denath nodded in understanding as he looked at the soft white buds upon the vine. From a distance, brooding eyes watched them as they moved deeper into the gardens. The Prince whispered something to Fargon who leaned in to hear him. With cold eyes he watched them. After the Prince pulled away, he straightend and nodded to the Prince's words before he marched off.

The gardens opened up into a blossoming orchard. Most of the trees were in bloom and white and pink petals coated the deep green grass that could barely be seen beneath them. The three of them walked and Daelin and Anna took turns telling him what they knew about the various flowers, trees and plants that populated the castle grounds. He listened well and spoke very little. At one moment, he had stopped them and decided to play a little game. He had them close their eyes as he moved around them and quieted his footfalls. With his throat, he made a gutteral growl sound. It was strikingly similar to that of a large tiger. The growl was so convincing that Anna became startled and yelped in fear. Denath almost fell over to the laughter at her reaction.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Daelin had been about to open her eyes anyway, the sound of a deep growl sending a sudden chill down her spine. Large eyes shot open as Anna grabbed her arm. Fear quickly brushed aside, a relieved and rather amused smile spread across her blushed face; her heart still pounding even as she saw Daneth nearly bent over in laughter. Glancing at Anna, she leaned in to whisper something to her, only in part to calm the startled woman. Now it was Anna's gaze that darted between her lady's face and that of the man; a spark of mischief touching both woman's eyes as they soundlessly agreed.

"Are you always so bold, my lord? Frightening women simply to see them jump?" Daelin tried to make her voice sound disapproving, the light in his deep brown eyes making it no easy task as he looked back at her.
 

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He tilted his head at them and smiled slightly. He was not entirely sure he had captured the humor that he wished for by their expressions. "Forgive me mylady, I have not had much opportunity for such games as of late. I forget my place." His words flowed with a certain sincerity that mixed well with the slight hint of sarcasm that he included in his tone. He leaned up against the tree and crossed his arms in front of him. He took on a more comfortable stance and listened to the stream that ran just behind them. Yes, he much enjoyed this place, far more pleasent then the dark cavern that promised him death each day he awoke. The ladies whispered among themselves yet he shifted from his thoughts just late enough to miss what was said.

Though he knew it was wrong to continue this cherade, he could not bring himself to end it right at this moment. The soothing scents of the garden relaxed him as well as the sound of the stream. He drank it all in as he stole a look or two at the women when they were not looking at him directly. Yes, for now, he would play this Lord Lamosa and see what becomes of it, he decided.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Daelin stepped away from her handmaid, her face showing a calm mask that had come in to use many times and for many reasons. "Games, my lord? Isn't it only children that have time to play at such things?" Daelin pushed aside a brief memory of her brother as a little boy; his tricks rarely meant for any other purpose then to hurt or draw attention even then. She had hoped he would out grow it and thought that maybe he still would. Standing only a little way from Daneth, the princess looked over at Anna who seemed to be trying to point at something.

The man's attention now going to the branches that were said to hide a songbird, he almost missed the quick step as Daelin came at him. Shoving him backwards, a laughing smile flashed across her face as he started to fall towards the clear water. Anna gasped and watched the scene unfold. It looked like their plan to repay his action was working quite well.
 

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His eyes opened with a start as he felt his balance give way. Haplessly he slipped away from the tree and fell backward. His arms flailed but did little good to direct his movement toward the moving water. *Splash* Daneth fell into the cold stream. The water was quite deep enough for him to be submerged completely for just a moment. As he struggled against the slight current and slippery rocks that covered its bottom, an old, grim voice spoke up from behind Anna and the Princess.

"Whats this then!? Daelin...Anna, what are you doing!?" Without seeing him at first, Daneth lept to his feet. COmpletely drenched he started to speak but seeing the King standing there, he held his tongue unsure of what to do. The King raised an annoyed brow as he observed the soaked man for a moment. Daelin's and Anna's faces grew several shades of pink as they both saw the Kings expression. "Father...I..." He held up his hand and Daelin hushed immediately. "Leave us." He said in a commanding tone. Daneth took hold of his shirt and began to wring water from it. His boots were filled with water and they made a squishing sound as he stepped up onto the bank. "It was just..." The King snapped at her and flashed an angry look. "Do as I say child!" As if in unison, Anna and the Princess both silently and quickly curtsied then briskly stepped away. The King turned to face Daneth with a stern face. Daelin slowed for a moment and turned back to them with a troubled look. She thought the better of it and hurried after Anna. She wondered if it would be the last time she would ever see Lamosa.
 

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Soft pillows folded around her as the princess collapsed on her bed. Daelin’s face still looked flushed and she felt as though she was on the verge of crying. “It’s alright, mylady, he’ll be fine.” Anna tried to whisper.

“I’m such a fool.” Daelin mumbled heatedly into a pillow. “Why did he... It was just a foolish trick!” Her shoulders shook as she recalled the look on the King’s face when he saw what had been done. She didn’t even want to think how long he had been there nor why he had been there at all. “If I ever see that boy again, I swear I’ll....” She cut her words short, hiding her face deeply in the abused pillow and pulling another over her head as she thought of many other things that could have happened. All but a dreamer's wish now if her father's expression had anything to say about it.

Anna shook her head almost sadly. Saying something about fetching a warm drink, she slipped from the room and returned a short time later with a tray in her hands.
 
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The King looked at the drenched man sharply. Two of his guards lingered just to his rear dressed in light armor. Their hands rested upon their sword hilts. Daneth sumized that they could get to him very quickly if he moved against the King. Regally, he bowed to the King as best as he could manage sopped as he was. "Mylord..." The King raised his hand for silence. "I think now you shall just listen sir. I do not know who you are but you are certainly not a Lord lest you take me for a fool. Know now that Daelin is a prize not for the likes of you. I give you a moment to tell me who you truely are. If you lie, you will die." As he finished, the two guards behind him drew their swords but stood in place. Daneth sized them up and decided that perhaps honesty was the best, the only coarse here. He wiped his face of moisture and did what he could. Slowly, he unbuckled his blade. The guards flinched but saw what he was about to do and remained where they were. He grasped the scabbard just under the hilt and removed it from his waist. Slowly, he handed it to the King. A guard came forward and crossly removed the blade and scabbard from his hand then stapped back.

"Mylord, My name is Daneth. I have been held captive by the orcs of the Blue mountains for many years. I managed to escape with my skin and little else and headed south. In truth, I happened upon this Lord. He was beset by several men. Much was done in his defense however his wounds were mortal. He told me who he was and pleaded with me to complete his mission to hand deliver his message to the Princess. I gave him my word that it would be done and I buried him among the trees. I felt the only way I could complete it was to lie and take on the guise of the Lord Lamosa. I saw your daughters face when she read the letter. It troubled her deeply however I do not know exactly what it said nor who sent it. I can say that the men that attacked him were not common thugs or bandits. I was not close enough to spy their heraldry but I do remember the horse that their leader rode upon." He sighed and looked down a moment. He shook his head and decided to tell him everything. "I can tell you that I am indeed a Lord but from a land long forgotten. After my long absence I returned to the place which I called home to find it raized. Forever will I spend my days and seek out my people. If it is your wish for me to leave and never return, I shall abide by your word." His tone never changed throughout his confession and he looked the King directly in his eyes when he spoke. Several moments passed and the King moved about the garden. Finally, he came to face Daneth once more.

"Mylord..." He stopped and turned his head aside. "Leave us." he commanded. His two guards nodded, turned and moved off. He continued in a softer tone. "I believe you...come....walk with me" He said with a gesture.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Daelin’s face had become a weary blank as a cup of tea was finished and carefully refilled. Anna had said nothing about the princess’ choice to stay where she was, only sitting up on the coverings and turning her back to the window instead of going to the little table.

“Anna? Would you...” The pause was long enough that Anna looked up at her. “Would I what, mylady?” Daelin’s attention drifted back to what she had been thinking, her mind changing about what she had been going to ask; rephrasing it before it was spoken. “Do you think there's a chance of seeing him again?” She shook her head as soon as she had said it though. Not only did she think there was a small chance, but what would she do? Sorry now that she had pushed him in, she wished she hadn't even thought of it.

They were quiet for a while longer. Evening slowly starting to come in on a soft breeze. What would her father do? The thought of the young lord being sent away -or worse- made something in her began to ache. She had only just meet him. She knew almost nothing about him. Why did she feel like this?...
 
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Nearly an hour passed as the two talked as the sun faded behind the horizon. Daneth spoke of his people and their long and deadly persecution nearly to the point of extinction. The King spoke of his lands, its people, and his long and illustrous lineage. Hard words were spoken and grim faces alluded to the seriousness of the subject at hand.

"I wish you to continue your guise for a time. You see, I am very ill. It is time for me to select my successor." Daneth looked at him with an understanding expression. "My son expects me to turn over my crown to him as is the custom, however, I have long known that he is illsuited for such a post. My daughter, Daelin will become queen upon my death." He stopped and placed a hand upon Daneth's shoulder. His face grew even dimmer. "If you are indeed an honorable man, would you see to it that the good people here are taken care of properly by a rightful succession? This event of Lamosa's death does not come to me by itself. There have been other strange occurrances as well. Something is about to happen and I do not know what exactly. It has come to my attention, by her brother infact, that Daelin has taken a liking to you. She is young and impressionable. Will you act honorably and responsibly for her? There will be few she can trust. You are a stranger here and this is where your strength will be. If you do this for me, I will hold for you a sum in gold to help you fund your quest. If you agree to this, I will make you an advisor to the throne so that your time here will be warranted. Please do this for an old man who cares greatly for his daughter, and his people." Daneth was utterly shocked by his proposal. However what shocked him even more was his answer. "I give you my word, I will do what you ask, but not for gold."

The King and Daneth walked for several more minutes and discussed Daneth's proposal before heading back toward the courtyard. As they moved away from the garden, a dark, unseen figure moved out of the bushes along the stream.
 
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AraCelebEarwen

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It had proven to be a long and draining day; a tired sigh catching her unawares as Daelin finally turned to look out across the garden under the evening sky. There could still be hours tell dark, but already the first familiar breath of twilight air came up to her room; sweet and cool once more on her face.

Starting to clear away things from tea, it was Anna that that first took real notice of the time. Setting all else aside and picking up a brush, she slowly worked it through the soft waves of the princess' hair; the motion relaxing them both a little further as it continued. Half expecting to only see her shake her head, Anna quietly asked Daelin if they were to attend the evening meal.
 

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The trumpets sounded as dusk was announced. The evening meal was prepared. Upon the large, elegant, dark wood table sat several placings of silver flatware, cups, and hand polished crockery. Bottles of wine and bowls of fruit, nuts and cheeses were laid in groups about the table. White cloth napkins were shaped into pyramids upon the shining white plates. At the tables center, a large stuffed boar, the King's favorite. The aroma of soup and bread eminated from out of the kitchen as the procession moved down the great hall toward the grand dining room. Huge wrought Iron, candle lit chandeliers hung down form the ceiling above the long table. Large, fine tapestries in reds, blues, and golds lined the walls here. White and black marble served as its floor. At the front of the procession was the King. Several of the townsfolk were invited as usual, however The Prince, the Princess and their servants were beckoned as well. Apparently, the King had important business to discuss tonight and he requested everyone's ear. He wore his Gold and silver crown high upon his head. His grey and white beard was fashioned into a broad braid low upon his chin. His Broadsword gleamed at his side. A long, dark blue robe lined with white and silver furs covered him. He walked slowly toward the dining room with his daughters hand under his arm to his right. The Prince was opposite her. As they walked, the sound of violins were heard from within the dining room. A concerned Daelin leaned in and asked; "Father, what is this about?" The King turned his gaze to her and only smiled. He patted her hand as he returned his facing forward. As the procession entered the dining room the servants bowed regally as they stood in a straight line behind the several chairs around the tables. However Daelin noticed that one of them sat without a servant behind it. Everyone took their places and almost in unison sat down. Servants assisted the diners scoot their chairs inward to the table and unfold their napkins. A single chime from a small silver bell held by the steward rang and servers moved quickly from the kitchen with silver trays of soup bowls. At the same moment, the double doors that led them into the dining hall were closed. In turn, servants removed the bowls from the server's trays and placed them atop their Lord's or Ladies plates. Bread was broken and placed next to the bowls. When all was set, the Servants sat themselves next to their masters and the servers dissapeared back into the kitchens. As another chime was rang, everyone began to talk amongst themselves. Some thanked the King graciously and some hungrily began to eat the delightful and steaming soup. The King let the talk lower before he spoke.

" I thank you son and daughter...and good friends for coming tonight." As he spoke, all talk ceased and all spoons were set down. "I have important news to tell, however it is my wish for all to remain as it effects them as well." A few murmurs and gasps were heard among the patrons. "As you all know, in a months time I will be naming my successor. It has been long overdue and I will rest easy when it is done. However, there are forces form the east as you all well know that have crossed our borders without permission and have conducted raids there. I am very pleased with Captain Kaliak's attentions to these recent events and he has assured me that these brigands will be caught." The Captain nodded in appreciation to his words. "To this point, he will be far and away for some time. I trust that Lieutenant Fargon will perform his duties well in his absence. Fargon repeated the gesture to the remark.

"To assist me in this delicate transition, I have appointed someone as an advisor to the throne. A man who has traveled a long way and whom most of you have never met. It is as well that he knows none of you for he will do his job most fluently in this manner." Daelin caught a sidelong glance from Fargon to The Prince just then. For a moment she became even more concerned. Many of the patrons and servants murmured as well. The Steward Rang the bell again, however this time he rang it twice. Immediately all stood and servants helped with their chairs once again. The doors were opened and a now much dryer Lord Lamosa stood there at the entrance. Louder gasps and murmurs shifted around the room. To his rear, the visiting Gondorian soldier stood. "I present to you all, Advisor Lamosa." At the entrance, Lamosa and the Gondorian bowed low, then moved to the table. The Gondorian helped him with his chair and he stood in front of it and waited. Though he wanted to more then anything, he did not look at the Princess nor Anna once. He was clad in a long, black heavy wool coat. Under it was a white shirt, gold vest and black leather pants. As he had before, he had his boots and belt clasped with silver buckles. Several of the women patrons took far to long a glance at the young lord.
 
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AraCelebEarwen

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Daelin's eyes widened with shock and confusion as she watched a regal Lamosa enter the hall; an unavoidable blush touching the tops of her cheeks as she glanced briefly up at her father once they were again seated. Though he was not looking at her just then, she thought she could see the smallest of smiles hidden away in his eyes. Suddenly thinking she must look a fool, the princess brought her gaze to the dish before her. Had this been something her father had planed? She could agree that it was not unwise to appoint a trustworthy adviser. But... Her eyes haltingly drifted up to look at the young lord.
 

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The food was excellent, it had been a very long while since he had feasted like that. His appetite was voracious. It was not long into the second coarse before the Prince and Fargon left their company in a huff. Though no one really noticed, Lamosa never drank from his cup that night. He had smelled something...odd about it and so he never took one sip of the wine that was served to him. All to The Prince's dismay. He wanted to look into Daelins eyes and become lost in them as he did in the gardens earlier. However, he busied himself with talk from the host of people who enjoyed the dinner feast aside him. There was a moment when the Princess was in deep conversation with several of the wives and ladies nearest to her. When he saw her view turn to face them, he turned his gaze upon her. Her hair almost sparkled in the candle light. His look was cut short when Anna looked in hs direction and forced him to avert his gaze suddenly away. His cheeks reddenly slightly and he had hoped she did not see him but he was not sure of it.

He learned many names that evening. Already several of the gentlemen there pranced their names and fine lineage before him. Though he was all but completely dissinterested, he nodded and gave compliments when they were applicable.
 

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Daelin had little appetite for anything much this evening; her attention being pulled and pointed in enough directions that she had little time to eat between conversations anyway. The fact that she admitted to having met this Lord Lamosa was of grate enjoyment to the other women. Even as well practiced as she was at keeping her face calm, the Princess knew that she had blushed more then once at what some of them said.

Slowly things started to come to a quieter pace; the coming of night bringing a soft light from the lanterns and candles that had been kept burning brightly. Daelin skillfully covered a yawn as she set down her goblet. Anna smiled lightly as she looked up and around the plates and half empty dishes. She had only just caught a glimpse of Daneth's face as he had turned away; her attention mostly on appraising a tray of sweets that was being passed down the table just then. Even at that though, it had been enough to make the corner of her mouth twitch into a smile. Though she found she half wanted to, she didn't think it would be wise to say anything about it here.
 

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The days moved by quickly. It was not long before the young Lord learned the names and faces of many of Gorshven's citizens, guards, and shopkeepers. He was given access to most of the castle, the castle grounds, and the town. In the mornings, he moved through the streets and came to know the daily happenings among the townspeople. Before lunch, he practiced sword play in the gardens with the Gondorian soldier who was quite skilled. In the evenings he would speak to the guards and learn the names of any newcomers into the city. Once or twice, he even ventured into the dungeons and learned what he could from those who would speak to him.

Much suspicion fell upon the shoulders of Fargon, the newly appointed Lieutenent of the guard. On many late evening, Lamosa would follow his movements around the city and when he could not do it himself, he would pay someone to do it. It was The Princess who hardly ever could meet with him. Whenever she would see him, he seemed to always have something that he needed to do. He would never respond to her summons or requests for tea or a walk in the gardens. It seemed to her that it was almost if he was avoiding her.

Several weeks had passed. Folks would wave to him when he walked by their shops. The afternoon practice soon had a following. Mainly of the local women who fancied the young lord or wished their daughters to be seen by him in hopes that he might cort them. However several of the men, and off-duty guards as well. One evening was unusally hot and the men who practiced had removed their shirts save for one, Lamosa. Much to the dissapointment of the onlooking ladies who fluttered their fans in the heat. Whenever the Gondorian would score a good hit upon him, it would always be trailed by a chorus of boos. During one of their sparring sessions, Lamosa was hit in the temple by the wooden practice swords. He was laid out unconscious and brought to Hrothar. He was visited by the Gondorian, and even the King. Not being able to get away, Daelin also payed him a visit. She found him asleep and decided to wait for him to wake.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Pacing softly around the chamber, her eyes would go from one of the windows to the young lord's face; pausing only momentarily on the colorful bruise on the side of his face. She had cringed a little at seeing what had happened but couldn't help but think him lucky. A blow like that could have done much more damage then a blackened eye.

Daelin had been watching almost blankly out the closest window, thoughts on many things. Katrina's letter and what she was trying to tell her; the King's choice in adviser to the throne and the Prince's face at hearing it. So much had happened since that day, and yet, somehow... Nothing seemed to have changed... The Princess' winding thoughts were brought back to where she was as she heard something behind her and turned back from the window to face the room; a small smile hiding in the corner of her mouth as all thought now turned on their own to Lamosa.
 

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Silently, he had awoken as the soft sunlight that shined through the open window was no longer upon his face. He looked at her for several minutes as she gazed out upon the castle grounds. A soft scent of plums from the nearby orchard found its way into the room which did much to cover the stale smell of dust and sweat that nodmally filled the room. Her golden curls flowed back lightly when a slight breeze blew to her face. The sun highlighted them and golden light filled the room. She had worn a much simpler dress then he was used to seeing her in today. It was a lighter blue with gold and white lace all around it. His head still was very groggy as he tried to recount what had happened to put him here. Yet, words flowed almost by themselves from his dry lips as she turned and faced him. "Though I know that I have not yet gone to the ever after and that I am still in the here and now, is this an angel that stands before me?...It is good to see you mylady Daelin." His thoughts lingered a moment on the fact that he had indeed intentionally been avoiding her. The task had not been at all a simple one. He wondered if she would be angry or upset with him as he knew her hardly as a simple girl.
 

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Olheri had been far and away from Gorshven for many weeks. Still, the memories lingered of Boradon and the man that she barely had a chance to know. Her horse walked slowly as she took a moment and eased back into a restful walk upon the silent and lonely road. A smile rose upon her face as the memory of a warm and pleasant moment stole into her head. Boradon's beard tickled her face as they kissed and a small fire silhouetted two forms mingled together in the darkness of the forest. The thought drove away the piercing lonliness she felt and once again the urge to run swelled within her. "It was not far now." Her own voice echoed within her mind. The amulet that bounced upon her chest glowed a dull green now. A sure sign that the place that she once called home was very near. Still though, she knew she had to be careful for orcs lingered closely and had almost free reign in these lands. She was not altogether sure what exactly she would find but she did know something or someone was leading her there.
 

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A light blush started to color her cheeks at his words. Shaking her head lightly, Daelin stepped away from the window and towards the little table that was pushed up next to his bed. Pouring a cup of water, her eyes stayed on the simple goblet while she spoke. "It is good to see you doing well so soon mylord." She lifted the cup and held it out for him. "I had started to think there was little chance of seeing you at all." He noticed that her gaze had not yet come to his face; always seeming to be on something else. "Anna and I should never have... It was my doing though and I am truly sorry." Daelin's words were neither too quiet nor said too quickly even though they came as they did. They had been playing repeatedly on her mind as she had long wondered if what was done had something to do with why he had been avoiding her. He could simply be doing too many things to have the time, but even then... Even if it served only to do a little good by being said, she hoped her apology would not also be turned away as so many invitations had been. Maybe she should try to start over, if he would allow it. But she found that her mouth wouldn't cooperate when she tried to say any more. Deciding it better to let Lamosa be the one to move, the Princess kept her face lowered and voice stilled.
 

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He leaned forward to accept the glass from her. His head swelled with pain and his left eye closed of its own volition. "Thank you." He said weakly. However she did not notice that his open eye was set upon her. "I had it coming I suppose." He added and leaned back upon the white pillows behind him. He sipped the water and let it glide down his dry throat. He did not know exactly what to tell her. She had him at a disadvantage now. He could not just get away or make an excuse. Perhaps...he could offer...something.

"I can imagine that you have questions yes? Ofcourse they are warranted. Much is happening. It is a difficult thing to go against ones own heart, but I respect your fathers concerns for his daughter. He loves you very much." He smiled at her and watched her as she moved around his bedside. He raised his hand to his face and lightly touched the black and blue bruise that covered his eye and forehead. He wondered how bad it really was and how long Hrothar would force him to stay in bed.
 

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