Wedding Blues II

Master Anredson,

I hate to contact you on such short notice, but my beloved Colsappa simply must have a proper tiara to match a ring she’s had for a while but wants to wear for the wedding. I know that it is such short notice for such a commission, but I simply must have a tiara! I’ll pay double your going rate for this rush delivery. Come to my Manor when you get this message so you may see the ring and begin work right away.

-Lord Brunrmirian

* * *

Anricwulf rapped on the ornate wooden door. The house seemed oddly quiet this time. During Anricwulf’s last visit the Barding could hear the Lady of the house barking orders at the staff even through the front door of the Manor. He glanced at the sky, rubbing his darkened and tear-raw eyes. Graying clouds covered what remained of the last pink hues of dawn. Perhaps he had come too early? He could go back to bed, not like it would help any. Not after…

The door squeaked and it slowly swung open. “Ah, Master Anredson.” Fenfiren’s face lit up as he gave a bow of his head; what few strands of white hair the doorman had left combed back to try and cover a bald spot brought about from age. “My Lord and Lady will be pleased to know that you have come. I trust the letter he sent you reached you with little-”

“Fenfiren!” Colsappa’s voice shrieked from the second floor. “Who are you talking to?”

Fenfiren cleared his throat before calling back. “Master Anredson has come about your tiara.” The doorman turned a fearful eye to the Barding, his voice now barely above a whisper. “You are here about the tiara, yes?”

Anric gave a wary nod and as convincing of a smile as he could muster.

“Well it’s about time he got here! Bring him into the sitting room! I’m not ready for guests yet!”

Fenfiren gave a slow nod of his head. “At once My Lady.” The doorman swung the door wide and motioned Anric inside. “The past day has been somewhat…tense, what with My Lady deciding on a new ring to wear for the wedding. My Lord’s usual tailor had to be woken up in the middle of the night to begin work on a third dress purposefully for the occasion. The courier will be pleased to know his letter did make it to you, though that will not remove the bruise My Lady left on his cheek when she found out you had been left sleeping.”

Anricwulf paled. “Well if I had known it had been that…serious…is Lady Colsappa going to need a new necklace as well?”

Fenfiren shook his head as he pulled out a mahogany chair for the Barding to sit on. Gold leaf covered only the outer edge of the legs and back of the chair; the plainest piece in the baby-blue room. “My Lady is still quite enamored with that necklace. I suspect she will keep it with this new ensemble. May I get you some tea?”

Anricwulf’s heart leapt into his throat over the thought of something that hot around Colsappa. “Thank you, no.”

Fenfiren nodded and turned just in time to have Lady Colsappa strut into sitting room. “Master Anredson, I’m so glad you’ve arrived.” She sunk into a lounging couch, gold cushion contrasting her silvery white dress. A smile clearly practiced many times grew on her lips. “When the courier told me he had dropped the letter off at the inn you were staying at as opposed to handing you the letter personally I was dreadfully worried you wouldn’t get it.”

Anricwulf rubbed his cheek. “No, no, it got to me just fine. The innkeeper has always been quite punctual about getting me any messages I have.”

Colsappa gave a satisfied nod before rising. “Good to hear. Now, onto business.” The Lady strutted forward and thrust her hand into Anric’s face, palm pointing at her wrist. “I want you to make a tiara to match this ring. It’s an Elven-styled ring, so only the finest karat of gold will do. I also want those same green emeralds that you used in my necklace, but add some white diamonds to them as well.”

Anricwulf looked closely at the ring, his face paling again. He’d seen that style of ring before, placed on the hand of another…

* * *

Anric’s jaw drops as he stares down at the ring; a wedding ring. Berianreth tries to smile, but her lips refuse. He turns to look at Hallamacr. He remembers Berianreth crying on his shoulder, terrified at the threats that man made against his beloved’s life over their speedy courtship. Now, the hand of his lover intertwines her fingers with that of her would-be assassin.

Moisture forms in the eyes of the Barding. “You…you two are…”

“Anric, I didn’t mean for it to happen like this.” Berianreth looks at Hallamacr, who tries to offer the half-elf a reassuring smile. Berianreth smiles back weakly before turning her attention back to her former lover. “I would have told you sooner, but you were gone on business here in Thorin’s Hall, and when Hal and I went into the fields of Bree-land…it all happened so fast.”

Anric’s lips waver. “But Beri…you and I were courting. And now…you and he…”

Hallamacr steps forward. “Don’t take it out on her. The wedding was my idea. I thought…”

“Please don’t be angry Anric.” Berianreth steps forward, offering up a hand. “I never meant to hurt you. It just…”

Anricwulf turns away. He swings himself into Fjall’s saddle and gives his goat a hard kick. Fjall bleats, rears up and bolts out of the Dwarven stable. He can hear Berianreth calling his name as he rides off.

Anric spurs his goat on again and again. His whole body shakes, tears streaming down his face. Nearing the river by Noglond, Fjall slows her pace. Ignoring her Master’s spurring, the goat trots onto a flat clearing by the water and plops herself down. Anric slumps out of the saddle before collapsing onto the gravel of the river bed. He sucks in a breath, squeaking slightly as the air filled his lungs.

The anguish cry of the Barding echoes amongst the Blue Mountains.

* * *

Colsappa snapped her fingers in Anric’s face. “Barding! Are you paying attention?”

Anricwulf rubbed at his eyes. “Oh. Oh, yes. I was…I was just thinking.” He bit his lip. “About what I can do for your tiara.”

Colsappa huffed. “Well just remember Master Anredson; with how much my husband is paying you for this tiara you better finish it on time.”

Anric rose to his feet; already he could feel the moisture returning to his eyes. “Don’t worry Lady Colsappa. I’ll…I’ll finish it in time.”

Colsappa folds her arms. “You’d better.”

* * *

Once the door shut behind the Anricwulf, the Barding slumped against the Manor. His body heaved, his breath shook alongside the rest of him. He put his face in his hands, tears once again streaming down his cheeks.

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Wolf: A Confession, An Invitation

Dear Lalaithien,

I write to you now as a means of getting my thoughts out there. I fear that with your duties and mine, our conversations have been occurring less frequently. It is this issue that I would like to address.

When we first encountered each other at the Docks, I could tell there was something special about you. Your compassion, your calm demeanor, your unyielding patience, you’re a special person anyone would be honored to be around. As much as the comment I made about the stars in Mirromere Lake may have been over the top at the time, the sentiments behind that attempted joke are no less true.

I have gotten to know more about you as this time building the addition to the Dining Hall has progressed. I know you don’t like any physical contact, and I’ve taken great efforts to avoid doing so. I also know you seem put off by the silver dining wares I typically have, something that continues to perplex the Dwarves each time I ask them about it (Dwanzil has suggested I use gold instead of silver, but I think that might actually make the situation worse). I also know and continue to admire your artistic talent; both with words and with designs. As much as some of my clients appreciate your designs, I assure you I appreciate them more.

Yet for all I have learned about you, for all the time I’ve spent at the Temple, I feel as if we’ve still just met. Your responses to my comments seem polite rather than honest, and a single misspoken word on my part shuts down the conversation. I feel as if I’m trying to cross a partially frozen Long Lake, carefully watching for any cracks with each step I take and hoping I don’t fall in. I truly do want to get to know you, and I’ll continue to brave my metaphorical ice walk to do so. But it would be nice to make a bit more progress in getting to know you.

In that regard, I’d like to extend an invitation. Through one of my clients, I’ve been invited to attend the wedding of Knight-Captain Carmanadh and Lady Mredothyn. I know not if you’ve received an invitation of your own, but even if you had I was hoping you might accompany me to this wedding. If you haven’t already been invited, I’m certain that Lord Brunrmirian and his <the next few lines have been hastily scribbled out> wife would be perfectly accepting in you joining in on my invitation.

You can send me your answer to my room at the Inn if you are busy with your duties, but I’d greatly like to hear from you in person. I’m certain that Mother Priestess would allow for some time for a private dinner. Or perhaps lunch? Maybe one where we don’t need to worry about getting food to the workers?

I eagerly await to hear your response, however you decide to get it to me.

-Anricwulf Anredson

Wolf: Wedding Blues I

Anric slammed his head against the desk. “A wedding. Of all the things to get coerced into it had to be a wedding.” He slammed his head again, his forehead sharp with pain. “It was bad enough having to go to the reception for one as a favor for one of my clients. Now I get to sit through the actual ceremony as a tip.” He slammed his head a third time. The pain dulled against his rage. “And for the record Lord Brunrmirian, your stick of a wife wouldn’t last a week in the Riddermark. And the Queen is dead you mud-haired self-centered Bikkja!”

Anric slumped his chin into his hands, thumbing at his barren ring finger. “A wedding. Like I really need the reminder…”

* * *

Anric’s cheeks flush, his deep sapphire eyes staring into Wyllawen’s. Already her eyes are watering up, framed between strands of crimson hair. His heart leaps into his throat, but he swallows it back down. Taking a few measured breaths, he recites the words he practiced every day for the past few weeks.

” Ever since I was a child, I’ve always yearned to travel roads unknown, never caring quite where those roads would take me. I’ve traveled roads of plenty, and roads of barren. But one road now holds precedence over all others: the road back to you. The road back to your glistening eyes and songbird voice. The road back to your firm resolve, your lighthearted dancing, your warm compassion. And no matter what road I take, I will always follow the road back home, to you.”

Hand trembling slightly, he reaches into the front pocket of his black vest and pulls a braided golden band out. After wiping away a tear escaping down his cheek, he slides the ring onto his beloved’s waiting finger. A beryl carved into the shape of a horse’s head framed by two musical notes glitter in the lamp light. A month’s of work, damp from tears of happiness of both maker and recipient.

* * *
Anric looked away, wiping the moisture gathered at the edge of his eyes. He slapped his cheek slightly and cleared his throat. “Get a hold of yourself. This is…this is going to be a business opportunity.” He grabbed a piece of paper sitting on the table. It was a curvy, vine pattern; one of Lalaith’s. “I’ll just take some of the goblets I have and do a quick engraving on them; perfect wedding gift. Plus it’ll show off my crafting talent. Who knows, I might be able to find another client.”
The sound of music wafts into the room through the opening in the bottom of the door. Anric herd steady thump of a drum, accompanied by the pounding of feet on floor. He saw Wyllawen, swaying to the music in garbs of green and gold. But it’s not him at her side. Another man, head shaved clean. He followed in step best he can, but his timing is off. She laughed at him, gave his shoulder a playful shove. Their eyes lock onto each other for a moment. Their fingers intertwined, heads leaned forward. Their foreheads touched, followed by a kiss.
Anric caught himself thumbing his ring finger. Snorting softly, he turned to his pack. He dug out a plan goblet at sat it next to the drawing. With a piece of chalk, he began to copy the design from the paper onto the goblet.
Soon, a singer’s voice joined the steady thumping of the drum. It’s Wyllawen’s voice Anric heard. A song; once would have been about him. Her voice, her compassion, her love, it once was all his.
Anric slapped his cheek again. “Get a hold of yourself Anric! It’s over. You and Wylla…she’s moved on. She’s gotten better from it. She’s…she’s found love. While you…”
He grits his teeth and continued the process of copying the design on the goblet. He wiped away a tear angrily. “It’s just a wedding Anric. Just another day. You can get through this. Just…just don’t think about it.”

Wolf: Another Satisfied Customer

“Lord Brunrmirian, Master Andredson is here to see you.”

The estate lord closed his book and slowly lifted himself from his study. “Thank you Fenfiren. Would you let Sappacol know that her jewelry has arrived?”

The butler nods his head before scurrying into one of the back rooms. Lord Brunrmirian pulled a bright red housecoat over his thick frame, seams already stretching along the arms. “Master Anredson! Come here boy, come here!”

The red-haired Barding entered the study, put a hand to his shoulder and bowed slightly. “Lord Brunrmirian, it is always a pleasure to meet you. I trust your wife is doing well?”

Lord Brunrmirian chuckled, his whole body jiggling. “Yes, yes, she has been eagerly awaiting your return. I trust you have the necklace?”

Anric nodded and pulled out a small cloth-wrapped parcel. From the cloth he pulled out a glittering gold chain. Seven emeralds dangling like droplets swayed beneath the chain. “It’s based off a design I happened to catch once from the wife of a Reeve; though with more jewels on it per your request.”

“Oh how wonderful! I thought it would never get it here!”

The two men turned to the doorway. Leaning against the frame was a willowy woman, easily fifteen years the junior of the Lord. A green dress clung tight to pale and well-oiled skin. Brunette hair pulled tight into a bun strewn with gem hairclips bounced as the woman approached, her eyes keen on the necklace.

“Of course it would get here my sweet!” Lord Brunrmirian snatched the necklace from Anric’s hands. Lady Sappacol craned her neck and head up, waiting for her husband to drape the fine jewelry on her. Once Lord Brunrmirian pulled back, Lady Sappacol gave a twirl.

“I look just like a Rohirric Queen, don’t I?”

Lord Brunrmirian nodded eagerly. “You certainly do! Isn’t that right Master Anredson?” The Lord elbows Anric, narrowing his beady brown eyes at the Barding.

Anric blinked a few times, then pipes in. “Oh! Of, of course you do Lady Sappacol! And I should know, I’ve visited Edoras a few times.” Anric offered a wary smile to the Lord; Brunrmirian nodded approving.

Lady Sappacol gave a peck on the cheek to her husband. “Finer I’d say than the queen there. How fortunate for my husband I am with him.”

“And how fortunate I am for your love indeed!” Lord Brunrmirian wrapped his arms around his wife and gave her a squeeze. Lady Sappacol gave her husband another peck on the cheek and he let go. “And I’m sure she will look just as radiant in her new necklace along with a new dress for the wedding.”

“A wedding?” Anric cocked his head to the side. “I had no idea. Who’s the lucky couple?”

Lady Sappacol toyed with one of the emeralds. “Knight-Captain Carmanadh and Lady Mredothyn. A cute couple, by some standards.”

“Certainly not as cute as us my beloved.” The Lord moved in to kiss his wife on the lips; her attention remained on the emerald.

Anric nods. “Well, I hope you two have fun. I, on the other hand, will likely be spending my time in the Library.”

“Nonesense!” Lord Brunrmirian wheeled around to Anric. “You should be there when I tell others about my wife’s necklace!” He slapped Anric on the back. “What could be more fun that being there at the wedding?”

Anric muttered under his breath in Khuzdul. “<Trying to bathe an Orc…>”

The Lord blinked. “What was that?”

“I said I wouldn’t want to impose on such a lovely time for such a lovely couple.”

“Think nothing of it!” Lord Brunrmirian slapped Anric on the back again. “Consider it my tip for the lovely job you did on my wife’s necklace!”

“Oh.” Anric wilted. “…thank you. You’re too generous.”

The Lord beamed. “Anything for such a talented silversmith as yourself. Now I won’t keep you any longer; you’ve likely got to get ready for the wedding. These things come up far sooner than you might expect. And do be sure to bring a wedding gift for the Bride and Groom! Don’t want to be rude or anything.”

Anric perked up. “Oh yes! That’s a good idea. I should be going and getting ready for the wedding you two have fun and I’m glad you enjoy the necklace see you later!”

Lord Brunrmirian said something to Anric, but he’s already out with the front door closed behind him.