The Inn of the Prancing Pony

The fair valley of Rivendell, upon whose house the stars of heaven most brightly shone.
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

Gladhron grinned as she said that she'd love to hear it. But before he could begin, the appearance of the waiter made him pause. "I'll have more of this, thanks," He decided, raising his lemonade, which was nearly gone by now. He had thought it was quite good, and not the sort of thing he usually had a chance to try.

With a nod, the waiter looked at Gwestion next. Slightly put on the spot, he hesitated. Briefly, he considered asking what options were available, since he had no idea, but then decided not to take up that much time. "Water is fine for me too, thank you." He answered quietly.

"Gwestion, you should try the lemonade, it's very good." Gladhron suggested.

Shaking his head slightly, Gwestion informed the waiter he would stick with water for now, while Gladhron shrugged as if wondering why he didn't even want to try it.

Once the waiter had confirmed their orders and walked away, Gladhron finished off what little was left of his drink and set the glass down. "Right then, the story." He smiled, clearing his throat before he began, launching into the exciting tale as he had heard it told to him. It had been a few years since he had told it, but it was too good a story to forget and he had always liked it.

Gwestion quietly folded his hands in front of him on the table and glanced around the room as he listened. He had a feeling that they would soon have an audience gathered, which wasn't exactly his preference. But in a place like this, to hear someone telling an exciting story.. especially one that involved Hobbits, of which there were some present, he figured the locals would be eager to hear such a tale. And Gladhron wasn't shy about speaking up to be heard, either.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Éowyn
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Celumë
Common Room
Third Age - before the War of the Ring

Celumë frowned curiously when Gladhron gave his order, seemingly not at all remembering she'd asked him to order water along with her food. She sort of wondered whether he had put in their food order at all, but given the waiter's words, she felt like it was safe to assume that he had. Probably.

She was mildly surprised that neither of the brothers ordered something like a light ale, but it was a pleasant surprise. As Gladhron delved into the story, a smile appeared on her face, and she glanced at Gwestion to see what the man's response would be to his older brother's animated storytelling. Instead of enjoying the retelling, though, Gwestion seemed to be concerned about something. He was looking around the inn's common room as if trying to gauge who might start listening in. If anyone did, Celumë couldn't blame them. Gladhron had a good voice and applied excellent timing and tone variation.

Instead of watching the room, Celumë watched Gladhron. She hadn't really been able to do that in the woods, since they had been tasked with guarding the wagon and keeping a look out for trouble. Now, she could. She watched the play of animation on his face as he told the story, and the way he used his hands to support the tale as he used different voices whenever he needed to. He was more than quite good, she noted. He was excellent. She nodded absently to the waiter when he brought over their drinks.

From time to time, she looked over at Gwestion, but never for very long, because Gladhron was as entertaining to watch as he was to listen to as he was spinning his story. Celumë's smile hardly faded from her face the whole time. He was just wrapping up when the waiter returned, carrying all three of their orders. She pointed out the chicken pie was for Gwestion, so the waiter would know the two same dishes were for Gladhron and herself.

"That was a captivating rendition!" she commented spontaneously when Gladhron finished up the story. She clapped her hands a few times, not caring whether it would make anyone look their way. "I do believe I will be asking you for more stories in the future." She lifted her fork. "But now... food?" Her dark eyes were smiling as she looked between the brothers, curious as to what Gwestion might say about the chicken pie.
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

He really didn't know how Gladhron could enjoy being the center of attention, in the midst of a crowded room like this. Gwestion couldn't help noticing every pair of eyes that turned their way. While he felt as if every person in the room must be listening, he tried to console himself by counting each of those who appeared to be absorbed in something else, or weren't looking their way. How could Gladhron seem so at ease about this, in a public place, drawing so much attention to himself? But then, he always had had a habit of making up tales, and exaggerating. Gwestion half wished he had brought his cloak from the room, so he could pull up the hood and feel somewhat hidden in its shadows. When their drinks arrived, he murmured a soft 'thank you' to the waiter, and quietly took a sip of his water now and then.

Throughout the tale, he kept his gaze turned away from the others at his table, partly so he could observe the other folks in the room, but mainly because he just couldn't look toward them, right now. Celume, in particular. He couldn't quite explain how he felt about it all, because it was difficult, and he was somewhat conflicted. On the one hand, it was a good story. And Gladhron told it quite well. He always told stories well. But on the other hand.. hearing Gladhron telling their sister's favorite story.. it made him miss her all the more. She ought to be there to hear it. And the fact there was another young woman there, instead, listening to Gladhron tell it.. well, he didn't think that Celume shouldn't be hearing the tale. No, it wasn't that. It was more that.. as Gladhron went through the story, a tiny part of him half-expected to look over and see Gwilithiel sitting there, listening eagerly with a smile on her face. And that made it all the harder for him, knowing that he would not see her there if he did look that way. So, he was careful to avoid looking in that direction, which also served to keep his companions from seeing his face too well, in case there might be a little mist rise up in his eyes.


Gladhron couldn't help but enjoy telling the story, and he got really into it. It was fun, seeing not only Celume, but even some strangers getting drawn into the tale, as he recounted the story of how a group of bedraggled dwarves showed up one day in Laketown, making great claims about who they were and what they were going to do. And then how the great dragon Smaug was flushed out of his lair, fire blazing as he scorched the entire mountain into ashes, how he was eventually felled by one single arrow. It was indeed a great story, though there would be certain hobbits who knew it better from another point of view. By the time he came to an end, he was a bit thirsty and was beyond glad to see their food had arrived. While he wouldn't mind telling another, he was quite hungry by now, and any other stories would wait until after he had eaten.

He was mildly baffled that Gwestion had kept his gaze out toward the room the entire time, and so he had no idea whether he had enjoyed the story or not. While it made him a little frustrated at his younger brother, he wasn't unused to Gwestion being like that. Always keeping to himself, being obstinant and refusing to enjoy things like a normal person. A bit exasperating, really, and he decided not to let his brother get him annoyed today. Instead, he tried to be content with the fact that Celume's eager listening made up for Gwestion's refusal to even look toward him. Plus, plenty of others had gotten drawn in, as well! His grin widened upon hearing some of their other 'audience members' applauding as well.


When the food finally arrived, Gwestion quickly reminded himself that he was not supposed to know about the chicken pie. The smell was delicious, though. As the waiter set it down, Gwestion looked down at it with feigned curiosity. After a couple of blinks, he glanced up at Gladhron. "I didn't see this on the menu," He mentioned quietly, with a slightly raised eyebrow.


Gladhron grinned. "Nope. Made by special request." He informed him, perhaps with a touch of smugness about having successfully pulled off doing something so sneaky and yet also nice. It was nice though, seeing that Gwestion looked pleased. He hoped that might make a start toward cheering him up a little.


Although he already knew that Gladhron had made this request, Gwestion was careful not to let on. He smiled slightly at him, as if this news was quite unexpected. "Really?" He looked back down at the pie and breathed slowly in, enjoying how wonderful it smelled. And the crust looked beautifully golden and flaky. "Thank you, Gladhron," He added quietly, but with sincerity. "That was quite thoughtful of you," He added. Despite pretending as if he had not been expecting it, he found it slightly amusing that Gladhron didn't seem to have noticed that Gwestion had purposely refrained from making any food order.. as if he already knew something had been ordered for him. But he didn't comment on that.


Smiling, Gladhron nodded. "Hope you like it." He glanced at Celume and smiled slightly, then turned his attention fully toward his own plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes. It wasn't beef stew, but if the smell was anything to go by, it promised to be quite delicious.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Éowyn
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Celumë
Common Room
Third Age - before the War of the Ring

Celumë had only looked over at Gwestion a few times during the story, and her glances had always been brief. Even so, she wondered what was going on with him, this time? Concern for garnering too much attention? Something else? Honestly, most of her attention had been on the storyteller. And so she had not noticed the possible glaziness to Gwestion's gaze or the way he was actively trying to avoid any eye contact.

With the food now in front of them and after her indication that she was quite ready to dive into her plate, curiosity demanded she wait. She had ruined Gladhron's surprise earlier, but she had also asked Gwestion to pretend like she had not - because she thought it would make Gladhron happy. She still found it difficult to get an idea of Gwestion's possible responses, and she had no clue how he would handle this one. Stating in that quiet manner that he hadn't seen chicken pie on the menu, made Celumë smile amusedly. It was not a lie. But it sure gave the impression that he hadn't known.

As she watched the interaction between the two brothers, her smile softened. Things like these were what made her happy. People caring and looking out for one another. Slowly, she reached for her water to have a drink. Meeting Gladhron's glance and quick smile with that same contented expression on her face, Celumë decided this would be a good evening. All the two men at her table had to do, was manage not to start bickering for a few hours.

She mostly focused on the meal rather than conversation, at least until her plate was basically empty. "This is good," she did comment, when there were only a few bites left. "The gravy was an excellent idea," she complimented Gladhron. Looking at Gwestion, she asked: "How is your dish?"

After finishing up her own plate while they responded, she drank the rest of her water and then leaned back against the chair, a rather pleased expression on her face. The food had greatly contributed to the evening. And the portions had not been small by any means! "I think I'll wait just a bit before ordering dessert," she told Gladhron with a little smile, but she waved the waiter over all the same. "Though I do feel like some coffee. Would you two like anything else?"
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

The food was quite delicious, and more than welcome. Though they had enjoyed some meal, around midday, it felt like ages ago by now, to Gladhron. He was not used to walking so much, preferring to ride, especially since they'd been somewhat dormant for a few months. At least this had been a short trip, getting to Bree, and it would help to get them re-accustomed to traveling as they had been for the past few years.

After the three had eaten in silence for a while, Celume eventually spoke up. "Mhmm," Gladhron agreed, refraining from replying with words due to his mouth being full. He was nearly done though, so it wouldn't be long before he was talking again.

While Gwestion was perhaps just as hungry as his brother, he took more time with eating, so as to enjoy each bite. Plus, it was hot. The crust over the top of the pie had held the heat in a bit more than their food which was laid out on the plates. When Celume asked him about his, he swallowed what was in his mouth. "Excellent," He replied with a little nod. It really was, and the rarity of having a dish like this made him all the more appreciative of having it, now.

Shaking his head, Gwestion declined anything else, while he was still finishing up.

"Mm, I think I'm fine, until dessert." Gladhron answered, using a piece of bread to sop up the leftover gravy and therefore, clean his plate quite well once he was finished with the rest. "That was delicious." He declared, sitting back with a happy sigh.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Éowyn
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Celumë
Common Room
Third Age - before the War of the Ring

Since neither of the brothers wanted anything, she only ordered her coffee. Wondering how she'd manage to get her hands on some chocolate soon, she watched the other patrons attentively. "Yes, it was," she agreed with Gladhron absent-mindedly when he called the roast beef, potatoes and gravy delicious.

Some of the people in the inn she dismissed outright. It might very well be incorrect, for it was based on nothing more than their appearance - but she had to start somewhere. And chocolate was not cheap. It would be more expensive this far north too. She needed to find someone with the money as well as the possibility that they might be carrying some... Suddenly, she wondered whether this was a hopeless endeavour. What were the odds, after all, of one of the patrons bringing chocolate to an inn?

Her coffee arrived, and after thanking the waiter, Celumë sipped it with a frown. The more she thought about it, the more unlikely she felt it would be for someone here to have any chocolate on them in the first place. Would she embark on a fool's errand if she even tried asking around? Then again, after announcing so cheerfully to Gwestion and Gladhron that there might be a chance for hot chocolate - small as it was - would it even be acceptable for her not to try?

"How is your cut?" she suddenly asked Gwestion, though she still sounded a bit distracted. "Did you check it over before you came down here?"
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

The inquiry about his cut was quite unexpected, and in fact, for about half a second, Gwestion wasn't even sure what she was talking about, but quickly recalled the scratch on his cheek. "Oh, it's fine. In fact, I forgot about it," He admitted, absently touching the spot lightly. Although, that did remind him.. he was going to ask for a little honey to dab on it to keep out infection. He wished he had remembered that sooner. After a moment's thought, he decided it might seem odd to the server to ask for honey, all by itself. "I think I will have some tea, actually," He decided after a moment, figuring that would seem like a good enough excuse to ask for honey. Once he spotted the waiter, he tried to catch his attention. But he wasn't quite loud enough, or persistent enough, and the guy didn't see or hear him, and instead went to check on a table across the room.

"Which kind?" Gladhron asked.

"Uh.." Gwestion paused, realizing he wasn't even sure what sorts they had. "Doesn't matter.. I guess. I just wanted ask for some honey, mostly.."

Nodding, Gladhron got up and went to speak to the waiter. After a moment, he returned with a smile. "There, your tea is coming." He declared, sitting back with a little grin.

"Thank you... What kind am I getting?" Gwestion wondered, raising an eyebrow slightly. Perhaps, a little suspiciously.

"Thingol Grey. It sounded intriguing." Gladhron shrugged. "No pranks, I promise. The guy said it's very good."

"Alright." He nodded slowly. "With honey on the side?"

"Oh. Shoot, I forgot to ask for that." Gladhron answered, with a straight face.

Gwestion sighed and sat back, arms folded as he looked at Gladhron like 'really?'.

"I'm kidding!" Gladhron laughed. "I asked him to bring honey, as well as a bit of milk, in case either of you wanted to add some to your tea or coffee." He added with a smile toward Celume, recalling how she had seemed eager to have milk for her coffee when they reached town.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
Common Room

When Gwestion decided on tea all of a sudden, Celumë raised an eyebrow. Guess he'd changed his mind. After failing to get the waiter's attention, Gladhron seemed to take up the big brother mantle. Celumë smiled faintly as he asked Gwestion what kind of tea he wanted. His response made her realize Gwestion hadn't really been wanting tea but rather the honey. For the cut on his cheek. Gladhron didn't have to ask what the honey was about either - so either he'd figured it out or he'd decided not to ask if he hadn't - and then just approached the waiter rather than letting Gwestion try and get the man's attention again.

She raised an eyebrow when Gladhron claimed he'd forgotten about the honey upon his return. It seemed plausible. He had forgotten about her water, too, after all. Gwestion's expression in response was, however, pretty funny. Soon enough, Gladhron revealed it was a joke, which drew a chuckle from Celumë. "Incorrigible," she muttered - though with a smile.

About halfway through her coffee, she figured it was time to at least try and see about the chocolate. "Well," she said, her tone rather serious as she rose to her feet. "Wish me luck on my quest." She flashed the two a smile. "I'll be back," she promised, not wanting Gwestion or Gladhron to think she was no longer interested in their company.
Picking up her cup of coffee, Celumë started weaving her way through the different groups of people, stopping here and there. Several times, she started a conversation with a few people, but she was too far away from Gladhron and Celumë for them to overhear. Most conversations were brief, and even though they ended in smiles and nods, she didn't seem to have any success on the chocolate front.

To be honest - and despite her smiles - this wasn't something Celumë particularly enjoyed. Striking up conversation with random people, just because she wanted something from them if they happened to have it...

Finally, someone pointed her to the one person in the inn who was most likely to have what she was looking for: a hobbit called Doderick Brandybuck. "He's always got all kinds of exotic things in his pockets when he's around," one of the men joked. Celumë raised an eyebrow at him. "I am assuming you are a fan?" The man laughed and waved her off. "Go on, lady. But even if he has it, there's no guarantee he'll hand it over. Just so you know."

The man wasn't wrong. The hobbit seemed nice enough, but his eyes spoke of mischief as well as him being used to getting what he wanted. After she'd offered polite greetings and introduced herself, Celumë told Doderick she was really enjoying the inn's coffee but that she felt like some chocolate would really 'elevate the experience'.

"Chocolate, hmm?" he asked with a grin. "It's true, it's an excellent pairing with coffee. Or tea. Or milk."

"Someone told me you might have some," she explained. "I would of course pay you for it if you were willing to make the transaction. I wouldn't ask you to just give it to me for free."

Doderick narrowed his eyes even as a little grin appeared on his face. "You want chocolate. And you want to pay for it. But I want the chocolate too, and I do not particularly want any more coin."

"Ah," Celumë said, disappointed.

The hobbit raised a finger into the air. "However! There are other things I may want, Lady of the Golden Hair!"

Celumë looked like she was suspicious ahead of time, as if something was telling her that, whatever it was, she wouldn't like it. "Celumë," she corrected him. "And is there anything you'd be willing to trade your chocolate for?" she inquired, her voice now neutral.

"Oh, careful -" the hobbit said, "I liked the previous tone of your voice much better than this deadpan version. Because - yes! There is! You want chocolate. I want song. At present, neither of us have either. But you're nice on the eyes, I dare say, and I liked your voice before you got all... careful. You need someone to give you the chocolate. That someone could be me. I need someone to sing us all a song or two. That someone could be you."

Celumë just stared at him.

Doderick shrugged. "It's a transaction I would readily agree to."

"I don't sing in public," Celumë said, though she was clearly on the fence.

"Ahaa!" the hobbit exclaimed, getting excited at the prospect he might actually get to hear a song. "But you do sing!"

"Not really. Only when I'm alone," she emphasized.

The conversation continued a while, as Doderick tried to convince Celumë that she should agree. How, even if she was off key from time to time, he would still give her the chocolate. How there was a lutist over there, and he could provide the necessary music to whatever song of her choosing. He asked whether she knew too many people here and was embarrassed? No? She wasn't even from around here? Then what risk did she think she was taking?

The two other hobbits who were in Doderick's company joined in then, and started talking so loudly that a few of the other nearby patrons started encouraging her as well. One waved over the lutist. "Maybe she needs to hear what you can do, sir!" someone called out to the lute player. He gave a shrug and turned to Celumë. "If you say no, I can still play some songs and sing myself."

Doderick Brandybuck cleared his throat. He shrugged his shoulders when Celumë looked at him. "But no chocolate for you then, m'lady."

Celumë glanced at the table where Gwestion and Gladhron were sitting. A small chance, she had told them. And here it was. She only had to reach out. And take it.

They did not know who she was, she reminded herself. They did not even know her real first name. They lived in Eriador. Everyone she knew was back in Gondor. Maybe... maybe it really did not matter.

"Fine," she said. A small but hearty cheer rose from the hobbits, and the lute player smiled happily. Celumë turned to him and they spoke quietly between them. Then he started playing a slow little intro, that soon changed to something more cheerful. At the same time, Celumë started singing along with it.

Dragons in the sky, the fighting has begun
Shadow versus light, and who will stand when it is done?
Magisters and fright, his destiny it calls
Inquisitor your hand will reprimand before he falls!

Now are the days of wine and gilded arms
Now are the days when magic is reborn
Seal up the breach, the evil is no more
Once and for all, we close the darkened door

Peril in their eyes, the battle has begun
Death becomes the ashes of the evils yet to come
Inquisitor's delight, a destiny it shines
Magister your ancient hand is broken in the light

Now are the days of wine and gilded arms
Now are the days when magic is reborn
Seal up the breach, the evil is no more
Once and for all, victory is ours!

Darkness never ever rise again
Darkness never ever rise again

Dragons in the sky, the fighting has begun
Shadow versus light, and who will stand when it is done?
Magisters and fright, his destiny it calls
Inquisitor your hand will reprimand before he falls!

Now are the days of wine and gilded arms
Now are the days when magic is reborn
Seal up the breach, the evil is no more
Once and for all, we close the darkened door

Darkness never ever rise again
Darkness never ever rise again

[Song: Fall of the Magister from Dragon Age Inquisition]
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

Incorrigible seemed like a very good description of Gladhron, Gwestion thought. Sometimes he wondered if he had somehow gotten stuck at the mental level of about thirteen or so. He refrained from rolling his eyes, and took his time sipping the rest of his water while he waited.

When Celume requested well-wishes on her 'quest', Gladhron looked after her with curiosity. "What's she doing?" He wondered out loud, watching as she began approaching random people.

"I don't know," Gwestion answered. He was also curious but he saw no point in asking each other what neither knew the answer to. He glanced up as the waiter returned with a tray of things for tea. "Ah, thank you." He gave a small nod in gratitude as the waiter set the tray down by him. There was a pot with hot water, the tea in a small sachet, a small dishes with honey and cream. "You're lucky, sir. We just got a fresh batch of honey," The waiter informed him. "Just got a few new jars from Ms Fae yesterday, but before that, we were out. And I'll bet that's the best honey you've ever had," he declared, with some pride in their local beekeeper. "A real nice lady, Fae is, though how she tames them bees is beyond me," He shook his head as if in wonder.

Gwestion gave a small nod. "I'm very grateful that you have it." He replied. "And to this 'Ms. Fae', for her part in it." While he had never done anything involving bees, himself, he did know a little about it and knew that it was no easy task to harvest the honey and wax and get it prepared. He remembered his father telling them, before, about how he used to help his grandfather and his aunt with such work. After the waiter left, Gwestion subtly smeared a dab of honey along the scratch on his cheek, enough that it would coat the wound, but not so much it would show obviously.

Meanwhile, Gladhron watched Celume's progress around the room, intrigued. And then, unexpectedly, she began to sing! His eyes widened in surprise at this. She had not really struck him as the type to do a lot of singing, and it was a pleasant surprise. "Well, that's unexpected," He mumbled, leaning forward curiously as he listened. He enjoyed the song, and it was one he had never heard before.

Listening interestedly, Gwestion took a small sip and found that the tea was quite good. As was the song, which was indeed unexpected. He had not heard the interaction between Celume and the hobbit, but he had observed her expression and some of the body language. And the way she began, he thought it seemed almost as if she were uncomfortable. Mostly, he felt as if he recognized the way that he would feel if it were him in such a situation. But it seemed to pass, or else he had imagined it to begin with. Soon she seemed to be smiling more, and he settled back in the seat to quietly enjoy the song.
Last edited by Rillewen on Tue Jan 23, 2024 7:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

Éowyn
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Celumë
Common Room

She felt very self-conscious through the first few lines, not daring to meet anyone's eyes. But as the hobbits started clapping along with the tune, at least she knew they didn't hate it, and their encouraging smiles led her to look over at the lute player, who smiled in return and gave her a small nod.

Well, alright. That meant she was not absolute rubbish. Right?

She still avoided looking over to the table where the brothers were seated, because she was not sure what she would prefer their response to be. Honestly, she would have preferred for them not to have heard or seen any of this. Then she would never have to acknowledge having done this. However, it had been her choice to accept the hobbit's suggestion for the trade. She would simply have to live with it. And since the damage was done either way... she may as well try and enjoy it herself. It was as the hobbit had said... Other than Gwestion and Gladhron, she probably wouldn't see anyone else who was here more than a few more evenings, depending on how long she stayed here. What did it matter?

About halfway through, she started loosening up, and feeling more comfortable with the situation. While Celumë didn't think she'd ever be truly comfortable singing in anyone's presence, she adapted to the entirely new experience. When the final notes died away, Doderick Brandybuck grinned and clapped, and his friends clapped as well, even cheered.
"Stop!" she laughed quietly, but they would have none of it. "One more, m'lady!" one of them pleaded, and the one next to him nodded eagerly. But Doderick simply gave her a mischievous grin. "I can give you the chocolate now. An agreement is an agreement."

The lute player drew closer to speak to her without anyone else would overhear. "You've a good voice for songs like this. If you have another, no one here will hate you for it." He smiled. "To the contrary."

Celumë smiled in disbelief and shook her head. The lutist nodded toward the bar, where the barkeep was clearly looking their way. "Might earn you some favour from one of the most important people in any inn's common room." That gave her pause. While he had said he would make the hot chocolate for her if they had any chocolate to begin with, and she soon would, perhaps the barkeep wouldn't be inclined to make a larger portion. She would be asking for three mugs, after all. Frowning thoughtfully as she considered that, she noticed the barkeer giving her a big smile while he clapped his hands together quietly two times, as if to say he'd enjoyed it. Manwë's breath.

She turned to the hobbits, raising a finger into the air as if she were their mother. "The last one!" she warned them emphatically. "Then I'm done." Focusing back on the lute player, she asked him if he knew a certain song. The first song had come to mind because of the dragons and Gladhron's story just before their food had arrived. This next one was a bit more tongue in cheek, but rather suitable for an evening like this in an inn, she thought. And all these men could always use a reminder not to underestimate women.

Sera was never an agreeable girl
Her tongue tells tales of rebellion
But she was so fast
And quick with her bow
No one quite knew where she came from

Sera was never quite the quietest girl
Her attacks are loud and they’re joyful
But she knew the ways of nobler men
And she knew how to enrage them

She would always like to say
“Why change the past
when you can own this day?”
Today she will fight
To keep her way
She’s a rogue and a thief
And she’ll tempt your fate

Sera was never quite the wealthiest girl
Some say she lives in a tavern
But she was so sharp
and quick with bow
Arrows strike like a dragon

Sera was never quite the gentlest girl
Her eyes were sharp like a razor
But she knew the ways of commoner men
And she knew just how to use them

She would always like to say
“Why change the past
when you can own this day?”
Today she will fight
To keep her way
She’s a rogue and a thief
And she’ll tempt your fate


[Song: Sera was never from Dragon Age Inquisition]

When she'd finished, she grinned at the laughing and clapping hobbits and gave them a deep bow. The lute player joined in with the clapping and Doderick Brandybuck pulled out several bars of chocolate and held them out for Celumë with a bow of his own. "A bargain well struck!" he stated. "Will you be here again tomorrow?"

Celumë laughed. "Probably. But this will not be a regular thing, Master Brandybuck." She accepted the chocolate.
"Well," he said, eyes twinkling. "You never know!"
She said her goodbyes to the group and headed straight for the barkeep. With a raised eyebrow and a smile as she leaned forward on the bar, she held out the bars to him. "How about that hot chocolate?"
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

As several people had begun clapping along with the song that Celume was singing, Gladhron was among them. He was grinning, enjoying the song as well as the singing; she did have a nice voice and he was pleasantly surprised when she had begun singing. He had not been expecting it, but thought she did very well at it. As she launched into a second song, he was even more surprised. "She's very good!" He commented to Gwestion, smiling as he enjoyed the catchy tune she had chosen.

"Mm," Gwestion gave a somewhat neutral sort of reply. He agreed that she sang well, but he couldn't help wondering if she actually wanted to do this. Though, he wasn't quite sure why she was, if she didn't want to. What had been spoken between her and that hobbit guy, he wondered? He thoughtfully sipped his tea as he listened, trying to make a guess. Was the guy some influential hobbit, who could convince the staff to make the hot chocolate she wanted? Or, perhaps he was one of the staff.. someone who was in charge of such things? He felt sure it must have to do with the hot chocolate, since she had spoken of her 'quest' and that he knew of that she was interested in achieving at the moment.

As the song concluded, Gladhron applauded just as loudly as anyone else. Gwestion also applauded, but more quietly, as he was distracted, watching the hobbit hand something over to Celume. Interesting. His gaze followed her as she marched straight over to the bar.

"Think she might be willing to sing again tomorrow?" Gladhron asked, with a grin. "Maybe we could do some sort of joined act.. story telling with singing?" He suggested, trying to think of how they might implement such a thing. Maybe if they rehearsed...

"I wouldn't count on it," Gwestion told him, but figured he would ask her anyway. "I suspect she isn't as favorable about being center of attention, like you are."

"Or, she might be. She looked like she was having fun. I wonder if she knows that one song..." he trailed off as he tried to recall the name of one he thought would pair perfectly with a certain story he had thought of. To the side of him, Gwestion rolled his eyes and took another sip of tea. Incorrigible, indeed.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
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The barkeeper gave her a crooked smile as he accepted the chocolate. "How could I refuse?" he said with a small flourish and a flash of a grin before briefly retreating to the kitchen. Celumë looked after him, very pleased with the success of her self-imposed mission, but also still in a strange kind of disbelief at what she had just done for that success. In what world would she have ever dared sing in front of others - especially in the common room of an inn?? With wide eyes at herself, she rubbed a hand over the bottom half of her face.

There was no point in fretting over it, now, though, was there? She had gone and done it, and she could change nothing about it now. Besides, there were countless miles in between her regular life back in Gondor, and this place. She slowly nodded. As if she needed to reassure herself. Biting her lip, she glanced to the side as the lute player claimed the nearest bar stool. "You know," he said, "I've been doing this for a long time. You made it clear you never do this. But you've got the charisma for it. If you could allow yourself to get completely comfortable, you'd be a natural."

"Pass," she half-groaned, half-smiled.

"Fair enough," he conceded. "But why go to the trouble just for some chocolate?"

The barkeep returned then, with three steaming mugs of chocolate milk. Celumë's face brightened. "For the prize, of course." She smiled with gratitude to the bartender and slid over what she thought would be fair recompense for the milk and the effort of blending the chocolate. The man, however, shook his head and pushed the coins back toward her. "Nope," he said. She frowned. He shrugged. Her frown deepened. The bartender raised an eyebrow. "If you insist on paying, no prize, Songbird." Scowling, she reclaimed her coin, after which the barkeep carefully placed the mugs in front of her. "Can you manage?" he asked.

"Yes," she nodded, carefully picking them up so she could hold all three at once. "Well... thanks," she said.
He smiled. "You're welcome. My regards to your friends."

Somewhat awkwardly, Celumë smiled at the barkeep and the lute player before carefully turning around and making her way back to Gladhron and Gwestion, back at their table. After slowly setting down the mugs, and sliding one over to each of the brothers, she reclaimed her previous seat. She crossed her legs and lifted her own mug from the table to her lips to blow over the top. As if nothing in particular had happened.
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

"That was excellent!" Gladhron declared enthusiastically, as Celume returned to the table. "I've never heard those songs before, you're very good!" He smiled as he picked up the mug she had slid toward him. "Aha, you convinced them to do it after all?" He was quite impressed by this, after having been told they didn't even have the supplies to make it.

"Thank you," Gwestion's voice was far quieter than his brother's as he accepted the mug slid toward him. He paused, as Gladhron spoke his praises of her singing, and privately thought that, judging from her behavior, she probably would rather not speak of it. But since Gladhron had spoken of it, he quietly added his own comment. "You didn't have to do that, you know, if it made you uncomfortable." He wrapped his hands around the mug and raised it close to his nose, breathing in the delicious smell. He couldn't even quite remember the last time he'd had hot chocolate. "While the results are greatly appreciated," He added with a nod to the mug, "we probably would have survived without it." He glanced over the rim of his mug at her, curious how she would react to that comment. The mug mostly hid his mouth, so that if there was any hint of a smile, it would not be seen.

"Oh, yes, thank you," Gladhron added his own gratitude after being reminded he hadn't yet. He took a cautious sip of the hot drink and sat back with a smile and a quiet 'mmm' of enjoyment. "How did you convince them, anyway?" He asked, marveling. "You really are a woman of many talents, aren't you?" He joked, laughing a little.

Beside him, Gwestion glanced sideways at him, wondering where his focus had been, when the hobbit handed her the chocolate. It didn't take much for him to guess how she had acquired the chocolate, for Gwestion.. but apparently, Gladhron had not been paying much attention except to her singing. Wordlessly, he turned back to his own mug and barely refrained from shaking his head in amazement at his brother.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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She glanced at Gladhron with uncertainty when he first complimented her, though she hid it for the most part. Instead, she chose to comment on him never having heard the songs before. "I did not come up with them myself or anything," she smiled faintly. "If that is what you might be thinking - or wondering."

About to grin at how she had 'convinced them to do it after all', she was distracted by Gwestion's quiet response. "I know," she replied quietly, appreciating his attentiveness. Gwestion was a perceptive man. Gladhron, however...
"Probably," she agreed with Gwestion, one corner of her mouth curling up. "I wanted to be on the safe side, however." She sipped the warm beverage carefully, getting a bit more serious. "I had to at least try and turn that small chance - as I'd called it - into a reality. Trying involves action. Action got me these." She vaguely indicated all three of their mugs. "And here we are."

Another smile mastered her features at Gladhron's thanks. It faded a little as he asked how he'd convinced 'them' as she prepared to explain what Gwestion had apparently deduced without much difficulty, when it struck her that Gladhron was looking rather... impressed. Even though his comment about a woman of many talents sounded like he was jesting, she wasn't sure what to do with it. Especially not after the earlier compliments about her singing being excellent and very good.

Deciding that her best course of action was simply to explain what she had been about to explain before his comment had given her a brief pause, Celumë focused on that. "As you know, the inn didn't have any chocolate. After your inquiry, I made another - just to make sure they knew it was really in demand. The man seemed to take pity on my stricken expression and reassured me he would otherwise gladly accommodate." She shrugged one shoulder - and only slightly. "So I knew that there was a chance, as long as I managed to obtain the key ingredient. And while I am not exactly a natural extravert, I am rather result-driven, so..." She gestured toward the general crowd in the common room, glancing at Gwestion to see confirmed what she had already figured. None of this was going to be any news to him. "I started making the rounds, to see who here might have some available. And one of those Hobbits over there..." A nudge of her head to the company of Mr Brandybuck. "Well, he did. So, we came to an agreement. Which pleased him enough to give me the chocolate."
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

Gwestion gave a small nod. "Good thinking," He agreed quietly, when she responded that she'd thought it best to play it safe. That was usually best to do, in his opinion. It was also interesting to him to note that she seemed to have picked up on his 'joke', if it could be called that, and had responded in the same manner. "Well, that answers your question," He said to Gladhron, referring to him asking what she was doing earlier. He took a slow breath, breathing in the scent of the chocolate, before taking a small sip. He wanted to enjoy the drink for as long as he could before it was gone.

Nodding slightly as he listened to her explanation, as well as in reply to Gwestion's comment, Gladhron decided yet again that he was quite glad they had met Celume and become friends. He took a drink of his hot chocolate and sighed happily as he set the mug down. "I think the only thing missing now is pie," He mentioned, with a grin. He felt as if they had put dessert off for long enough. "They said they've got cherry, peach, and apple. Also, plum cobbler, and some sort of cinnamon things." He informed Gwestion, since he knew Celume already knew. She was the one who had told him the selections, earlier. "I think I'd like to try the cobbler." He had become intrigued with the idea, ever since hearing it earlier.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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"I'm going to try the cherry," Celumë decided, spur of the moment. She was rather pleased the brothers were content with their hot chocolate - not to mention that they seemed to have understood to let the singing business go and not grant it any undue focus! Her hands cupped around her own mug, as if she were warming them (unnecessary in the comfortable warmth of the inn's common room). When she looked around the room, she noticed a few people glancing her way from time to time. Figuring it was due to her earlier performance, she tended to avoid their gaze. Her attention returned fully to Gladhron and Gwestion.

"So. Plum. Cherry. What about you, Gwestion?" she asked with a soft smile. "Or have you had enough and would you consider pie a superfluous luxury?"
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

"What about you, Gwestion?"

Gwestion had expected Gladhron to ask him that, but when he didn't, Gwestion wasn't terribly surprised when Celume did. He had not spoken up with his own thoughts concerning dessert, partly because he was quite content to enjoy his chocolate, but also because he had had plenty to eat and wasn't entirely sure if he wanted anything more. When Celume asked, he lowered his mug and prepared to answer. But before he had a chance to say anything, her other comment made him pause. What did she mean with that? Was she making fun of him? He wasn't quite sure how to take the comment.

"I'm.. not sure," He answered after a brief pause, feeling he ought to say something, at least. "I've had enough to eat, and I thought the chocolate seemed like enough for sweets." He added with a small shrug, while Gladhron called the server over. He was also keeping the cost in mind, since he knew he and Gladhron didn't have a fortune, and they still had to find out how much it would cost to replace their damaged gear, and buy new supplies before setting out again...

"Oh, come on, Gwestion," Gladhron looked at him in slight amazement. "You'd pass up the chance to have some delicious pie? We hardly ever get things like that!" As the server approached, he smiled. "Yes, I'll take a piece of plum cobbler," He informed the guy, then glanced at Gwestion. "You're just going to sit there with nothing, while we have dessert?" He asked, raising an eyebrow as if to imply that Gwestion would be missing out.

Gwestion held back a sigh, figuring his brother was going to pester him about it if he didn't get something, but he wasn't sure he wanted a whole slice of pie or cobbler, and he didn't know what 'some sort of cinnamon things' might be. He indicated for the server to take Celume's order, first, and once he had finished with her, he turned back to Gwestion, waiting. "Do you have anything small, in your dessert options?" He asked quietly. This prompted the server to list each of the desserts they had available, which Gwestion had already heard from Gladhron. Although the server mentioned an option which Gladhron had not.

"I'll take a small serving of fruit." Gwestion decided, after hearing that. Some fresh fruit would be nice, and not something they got to have often with all the traveling they did. The server nodded and went off to the kitchen after he had all of their orders.

"You could've had fruit.. baked into pie." Gladhron pointed out, rolling his eyes as he glanced at Celume like 'can you believe him?'.

"And you could have had fresh fruit." Gwestion replied in a tone that matched Gladhron's, then picked up his mug and took a small sip, trying to ignore Gladhron's eye-rolling.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Amused at Gwestion's reply, Celumë hid most of it, though she couldn't quite hide the amusement that followed at Gladhron's amazement. She didn't quite understand how Gladhron could be so baffled with his brother's reply. Celumë had only known Gwestion for a few days and she'd almost been able to predict he'd rather not have any additional dessert. Gladhron had been Gwestion's brother for however old Gwestion was, and he still hadn't been able to see this coming?

After she'd passed along her order, she took to watching the two brothers curiously. She was still trying to figure out the dynamic between them. While she had already seen that Gladhron liked to tease Gwestion and Gwestion hardly ever teased back and tended to end up a bit annoyed with his older brother, she knew a sibling relationship went much deeper than such superficial... symptoms.

The younger brother's choice - fresh fruit - made her chuckle quietly, and the following small exchange between them made her laugh - though not at all so loud as to draw attention from others in the common room. It was a clear laugh, clearly not meant in derision or mockery, but rather a laugh of joy and enjoyment. "You two," she grinned, before taking another sip of her hot chocolate. "While all you're doing is pointing out the differences between the pie and the fresh serving, you seem to forget that you both chose fruit. In one shape or another." She slanted her head at them, smiling. "Brothers indeed."
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

As Celume pointed out that they'd both chosen fruit in some form or another, Gladhron laughed. "Well, yes.. but pie and cobbler is so much more than just fruit." He grinned.

Gwestion shrugged slightly. He felt like asking if Gladhron even knew how much the cobbler was, and how much this one meal was going to end up costing them, but he decided against it. He glanced over as he watched the server return to the room carrying a tray. He watched his progress through the room, and after a moment his guess was proven correct; he was heading toward their table.

"Aha! Here it is!" Gladhron exclaimed happily, seeing the desserts arriving. The plum cobbler looked delicious. Celume's pie also looked delicious, but he thought the plum seemed a bit more unique, and he also figured if he was going to stay here for a day or two, he might have a chance to try each of the desserts over the course of his stay. Eagerly, he started on his cobbler.

A bowl of fruit was placed in front of Gwestion. He smiled faintly with a small thank you as the server took his leave, after checking if they needed anything else. He then turned to inspect what sort of fruit was in the bowl. Unsurprisingly, it was mostly berries and slices of apple and peaches and things which grew locally. But, there was also a small version of something he had only ever seen once before. Surprised, he picked up the little orange ball and sniffed it. It had the same smell as the large ones he had encountered during a past adventure, and a faint smile tugged at one corner of his lips. "How does one eat this?" He wondered quietly, as he had never attempted to actually consume one before.

"Hmm, what is it?" Gladhron asked, with part of a mouthful of partially chewed cobbler still in his mouth.

Gwestion gave a small shrug, thinking back briefly. "Flammable.. is all I know of it," He answered uncertainly. "Do you know?" He glanced at Celume.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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"I know," she told Glahdron pointedly when he said pie and cobbler were so much more than simply fruit. She had ordered the cherry pie, after all. It amused her how Gladhron had the cobbler in front of him, she had the pie, and then Gwestion had a bowl of fruit. As if the two of them were gluttons and he was being mister healthy.

She shook her head with a little smile and a mumbled 'thank you' at the waiter's question before the man took his leave to tend to other patrons. Celume watched Gwestion pick up a mandarine from his bowl. He seemed rather curious. She didn't immediately put two and two together, only realizing they had no clue what it was when they actually verbalized it. Her chewing slowed as it dawned on her, and she'd thankfully just swallowed her bite down right before Gwestion commented so weirdly that all he knew about it was that it was flammable.

"Yes," she answered to his question, emphatically, but then she raised her left hand just a little bit. "Hold on, though. What do you mean - 'you know it's flammable'?"
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

The brothers briefly exchanged a glance. Gladhron grinned, while an actual half smile, in some recollection of amusement, tugged at Gwestion's mouth. "Well, I wasn't actually involved in it," Gladhron began regretfully. "But it sounded like it must have been incredible to see.." He grinned and took another bite of cobbler, letting Gwestion explain what he would while he was eating his dessert.

Gwestion cleared his throat quietly. "A couple of years ago, me and a friend of ours were in a.. tricky situation, with a number of enemies around, and we were unable to get away without detection. So, in order to cause a distraction to the enemy, and thus enable us to escape to a safer distance.. he told me they were flammable, then demonstrated how these.. or, some larger than these, could be used to cause a diversion." He explained, with a little shrug. "He used his thumb to poke a hole through the skin of it, and then threw the entire thing into a bonfire about a stone's throw away. He told me to do the same, and when they hit the fire.. the fruit exploded with bright flashes of flame." He shrugged. "The enemy didn't know what was going on, we got away, and I have not seen a similar fruit since then.. until now." He frowned at the little thing. "It looks as if it hasn't finished growing, though, by comparison of the ones from that occasion."
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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The story drew a grin and a brief laugh from her. "How resourceful," she commented. Must be an interesting friend. "I think your friend must have used an orange," she guessed. "And you answered part of your own question, though these are easier to eat than oranges. For those, I'd recommend a knife." She held up a hand and wiggled her thumb whiel looking at Gwestion. "For these, though... Poke your thumb through the skin, and you can simply peel it off. Then you break the ball in half and pull out what white threading you can from the center. It's very easy to break off little slices then. As if it was made to pick off small pieces by hand."

She didn't rush in eating her cherry pie, and slowly took another bite. When she swallowed, she nodded her appreciation. "It's really good. How is the cobbler? Pretty good too I'd say, from the looks of it," she added in before Gladhron could reply. "Since you can't even manage to swallow before saying something?" She raised an eyebrow, letting the brothers fill in whether she was amused by Gladhron or whether she was reproaching him - or whether both were true.
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

As Celume explained about the fruit, Gwestion listened with some curiosity. He had not quite expected such an answer, but was glad that she seemed familiar with the fruit. He gave a small nod as she explained. "So, it is orange.. and it is also called an 'orange'." He commented thoughtfully, and couldn't help wondering what 'creative' person came up with the name for this fruit. "I meant to ask our friend about those fruits later, but.. other things came up." He shrugged slightly and then experimented with pulling the small orange apart, the way she had said. Sure enough, it opened up easily enough, and he saw what she meant about the white stuff inside. He commenced with picking as much of that off as he could.

While Gwestion worked on that project, Gladhron paused and took a moment to swallow the bite in his mouth before smiling a little sheepishly. "Sorry. It is good, yes." Some habits like that could be hard to break when one is used to being alone in the woods with only his brother around. He glanced sideways toward Gwestion, who was busy nibbling on a wedge of orange. But, was it his imagination, or did he have an amused look in his eyes? He suspected that Gwestion was privately amused about Celume commenting on what Gwestion was often complaining about, but he didn't say anything, so Gladhron didn't comment either, so not to encourage him to.

After another sip of his hot chocolate, he saw that his mug was near empty. Sad. It didn't take long to finish off his cobbler, then the last of his hot chocolate soon followed. Gwestion was only just finishing the last slice of his mini-orange. "You're going to be here all night, aren't you?"

"I told you, I wasn't still hungry," Gwestion reminded him. "If you are, feel free." He nudged the bowl a little toward him, to allow him to take some if he wanted to. Eventually, though Gwestion took his time sipping his hot chocolate, making it last as long as he possibly could.. the group finally finished their meal and prepared to part ways for the night.

"Shall we meet again for breakfast?" Gladhron asked, hoping to continue the friendly company of their new ally.

"Not me," Gwestion said quietly. "I hope to find where the Greylakes live, and make inquiries about the man they sold the inn to," He added when Gladhron looked at him with a small frown.

"You should still eat, though." Gladhron told him. "And then, we could all go together." He glanced then at Celume. "Unless you'd rather not get involved, of course." He added, realizing she may not be interested in that, since he had not been there when she and Gwestion were talking about this. "The inn he's talking about-"

"She knows, Gladhron," Gwestion interjected quietly, to save him from a lengthy and unnecessary explanation. "What do you prefer, then?" He asked Celume. "Shall we all go together to find the former innkeeper, or would you rather enjoy a more leisurely breakfast here with Gladhron, while I seek the Greylakes?"
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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"No," she corrected gently. "The larger ones from your story - those would be oranges. These are... mandarines? Or nectarines? I never quite figured out the difference. They look and taste the same to me. These are easier to peel." Celumë smiled faintly, not wanting to seem like a know-it-all.

She half-rolled her eyes at Gladhron apologizing for speaking with his mouth full, and sipped her chocolate instead of replying. She was more surprised at Gladhron's sudden impatience with his brother, though. A light frown settled on her face. Wasn't Gladhron the one who wanted to have a fun evening? Had he decided he'd had enough, the second he was done with dessert? She'd met plenty of people who tended to disappear right as dinner was finished, but it had always seemed peculiar to her. Perhaps because, in her family home growing up, it had been so normal to linger at the table, to enjoy more drinks and conversation?

Resigning herself to the fact she would soon either be alone here or in her room, Celumë was starting to look forward to sleeping on a mattress and a pillow. Perhaps they had a few books here and she could read in bed until sleep claimed her? Gladhron's question about breakfast pulled her from her thoughts, but before she could offer any words in reply, even indeed before she had quite been able to make up her mind about it, Gwestion replied that he would not be partaking in breakfast. He was going to address the business they had here. Celumë watched him, intrigued by the way his mind worked, but also confounded by the way he had so easily declined his brother's friendly suggestion.

Blinking as Gladhron said Gwestion still needed to eat at least, her gaze flicked between the two brothers as Gladhron continued. The older brother offered a very reasonable middle-of-the-road solution, she thought, and he was gracious enough to offer her a way out - for she had not in the slightest committed herself to this particular errand.

Gwestion, however, then point-blank asked her what she preferred, out of two options. To all go together or for her to 'enjoy a more leisurely breakfast here with Gladhron'.

She really did not want to intrude on all of their business. And for Gwestion this seemed on the personal side. Which was exactly why she would expect him to be able to use his brother's presence. Instead, he almost seemed eager to have him stay behind. Did Gwestion think he would be more efficient without Gladhron, perhaps?

Her gaze dropped to the table. "Sounds like you are intending to leave to find the Greylakes rather early," she finally said, looking back up at the brothers. "I wasn't able to do my training this morning, so I was planning on doing that tomorrow morning at least. As not to miss a second day in a row. Add a washing up after that, and you'll probably have found the Greylakes by then. There is no point in me slowing you down for a task for which you have no need of me. I would be willing to help at a later stage, though, if you two think you have use for me."

Her chair moved back and Celumë rose to her feet. She made eye contact with Gwestion. "If you think you'll be faster on your own -" Her gaze shifted to Gladhron. "I'll see you for breakfast, then." Her brown eyes flicked between the two of them. "If you two go together, I'm sure we will catch up later in the day at some point." Despite the vagueness of her last statement, a genuine smile flashed across her features. "Thanks for a lovely evening, gentlemen. I really did enjoy it." On her way out of the common room, she gathered her long hair together, pulling it forward over one shoulder. When she passed the lute player, who raised a glass at her, she laughed quietly and flipped it all back again.
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

Celume's parting words left Gladhron a bit puzzled, as he watched her set off. "How does she train by herself?" He wondered out loud, but where only Gwestion would hear.

Gwestion didn't answer, growing thoughtful about that. As the brothers were rarely apart, they typically did all of their practicing together, when they were able to do that sort of thing. But, more often than not, they honed their skills by fighting bandits, orcs, or whatever happened to be a threat at the moment. They had not been able to do a great deal of that, over the past few months.. especially Gwestion. And the mention of training made him think a bit more about that. Perhaps they would not have had such difficulty in apprehending the bandit woman, between the two of them, if they had not been idle for so long.

After a brief moment's thought, he left Gladhron, walking briskly through the common room, and caught up to her at the hallway. "Celume?" He called in a quiet enough tone not to draw too much attetnion, yet enough that it should get her attention, from this distance. He continued toward her when she paused. He waited until he was near enough for a quieter conversation, before he spoke.

"I.. apologize, if I came off.. curt, or.." Well, he really wasn't sure how he may have seemed, nor what she might have thought, and decided not to pursue any further synonyms of what he suspected she might think. He hesitated slightly, and cleared his throat. "To be honest," He met her gaze with his. "Sometimes, I find it.. difficult.. to make clear what is in my mind," Possibly because he generally preferred to keep his thoughts to himself... "especially, with someone besides my brother." He explained, or at least hoping it might explain something.

"Actually, what I meant was.." He paused, trying to think of how to explain, and sighed softly. "I intend to go to the blacksmith's stall first, as soon as it is open. To take care of that business early. Then, go see what I can learn about the whereabouts of the Greylakes, and where they went after they sold the inn. But," He hesitated, a flicker of doubt crossing his face before he recovered, "I honestly don't even know where to begin that search. So, I thought it may take me some time before I located them.. it seems like a large city." He drew in a small breath before continuing. "I also know my brother quite well. He'll want to sleep late, tomorrow, after missing so much sleep last night. And then, he'll want to have a large breakfast, socialize, and linger for.. a while." He shrugged slightly. "So I thought, to be more considerate to him, I would have a quick, light breakfast, early. And then, perhaps I could be finishing with my errands by the time he is finished and ready to join me." He tried to explain it all as clearly as he could.

"Meanwhile, I also thought.. you seemed to enjoy his company, at least." He paused. "And Gladhron seemed to be hoping for company at breakfast, so there seemed no reason for me to delay either of you from enjoying a lengthy breakfast if that is what you wanted to do.." He felt a little strange, saying so much at once. And trying to explain the many thoughts going through his head. "Anyway. I am sorry if I assumed too much, by thinking you would join us in this matter." He paused, again, with a quick glance toward the hallway. He saw Gladhron coming now, probably curious about where Gwestion had gone.

He turned back to Celume. "Also, your comment just now reminded me that I have not had a chance to practice my own skills, in some time, and neither has Gladhron, that I know of." He mentioned with a small frown. "I would not ask to intrude on your training time, of course, but.. if you know of someplace around here where one can practice with weapons.." he paused to think how would be best to put this. "Well, it has been some time, for both of us, since we last tested our skills together." He mentioned quietly. He wasn't sure how she would know of someplace like that, since he recalled she had said she had never been to Bree, but she apparently planned to do her training somewhere. And he figured now, rather than in a real fighting situation, would be a far better time to test whether he was still as capable with a sword as he was before his injuries.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
Hallway

She'd just left the common room on her way to the stairs, when Gwestion's voice called out to her and halted her. Turning to look at him, she frowned slightly as he crossed most of the remaining distance until they could carry on a regular conversation.

He was apologising. Celumë's frown faded and even made way for a soft little smile when he shared he could find it challenging to explain his thoughts to someone other than Gladhron. Then a veritable current of speech fell from his lips. Celumë was impressed. Halfway through, she moved to rest one hand on the beginning of the bannister to the stairs while her eyes examined his facial expression and body language. Gwestion... he was really trying. So much so that it honestly surprised her.

The insight into the why behind his earlier words and suggestions, had her nodding slowly. What ended up surprising her the most, perhaps, was that the way his mind worked seemed so eerily similar to hers. And Gwestion had no idea.

"That's alright, Gwestion," she said quietly in reply to his apology, and decided to reach out a metaphorical hand. "We are still - all of us - getting to know each other. It is not as easy for introverts like you and I as it is for an extravert like your brother." She assessed his expression to see if that bit of information about herself would surprise him or not. "Honestly, it sounds to me like our minds work very similarly. We go by logic and other people's feelings. Rather than our own impulse or desire. But since I do not know you that well yet... and you don't tend to explain much of your conclusions... it can come across much colder or more stubborn than it is in reality." She sighed. "Even to someone who is familiar with that very pitfall, herself," she admitted. Which is why she could discern it and talk about it so easily, now. This was not a new concept to her. She'd stumbled into it enough times to recognize it swiftly in others.

She wasn't sure exactly how to address his comment that she had 'seemed to enjoy Gladhron's company, at least', but his talk her knowing about a training area suitable for weapons training made her mind shift to that. A weapons training area? Why would she know of something like that here in Bree? By the time Gladhron stepped into the hallway, her expression had grown thoughtful.
"I... don't know of such a place," she admitted hesitantly. "I was just going to do my regular exercises in my room... You know.. mountain climber push ups or inverted push ups... And other exercises to maintain my strength... And then also go out for a high-speed run, to maintain my stamina... You know. It's basically a daily habit for me." Unsure of whether they would think it was ridiculous, Celumë cleared her throat. "But if either of you want to train with a different partner sometime, rather than just each other, I'd definitely be open to the idea. Sword forms only get me so far, and sparring has been a while." She smiled at both of them. "If we can find a place."
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Gwestion & Gladhron
Common room - with Celume

Celume's response to his words, made him nod slowly. He was mildly surprised to hear her speak of herself as being the same, but then, he recalled what he had observed of her when she was singing. She had not looked comfortable. He wasn't really sure that he would have been willing to do something of that sort.. not merely for chocolate, at least. If there was something more important to be gained by it, perhaps.

The explanation about what she had meant about training, however, cleared things up for him. As well as for Gladhron, who walked up about that time. "That isn't a bad idea," Gwestion acknowledged thoughtfully, thinking perhaps he would benefit from doing something similar. To rebuild his muscles after his long recovery. He pondered that for a moment.

"Oh, sparring?" Gladhron smiled at the thought of that. "That would be interesting! Fighting someone besides Gwestion, who isn't actually intent on killing me, for a change," He laughed. He had been quite impressed to watch how well she handled herself against those bandits the other day. "Do you think we could go out behind the inn and use the yard there?" He wondered, with a glance at Gwestion.

"Perhaps another time," Gwestion suggested, hesitating. "I am not sure the innkeeper would like us using the stable yard for such practice, as the sound or flashing of blades may spook any horses other than our own," He explained his thinking, though with a note of regret. He looked at Celume then. "If you join us for the investigation of the supplies, there may be such opportunities to arise, then?"

"Right, there's sure to be somewhere we could practice together!" Gladhron agreed cheerfully. "Even if it means waiting until the Forsaken Inn. There's plenty of space there, and Bel would surely not mind. Right?" He grinned slightly at Gwestion.

Ignoring what was clearly meant as a teasing comment, Gwestion held back a sigh and kept his gaze focused on Celume. "We'll let you go rest now, sorry to have kept you." He gave a faint smile and nod to her. "I'm sure that we will see one another at some point tomorrow."
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
The next morning

It had been mildly entertaining the night before, to hear how interested Gwestion and Gladhron had been in sparring together. If not here, then later, on the road. It did not seem like such a strange thing to do... not to someone who used to spar with different rangers multiple times a week. But it would be different for them, she knew. The brothers had each other, but that seemed to be it.
She'd been thinking about that on the way to her room, and found she hadn't been able to focus on the book she'd chosen from the limited shelf in her room while lying in bed. After a while, she'd let the book fall shut, had blown out the candle with a sigh and had simply went to sleep.

It was a dead sleep. A deep sleep. She awoke early - by the force of habit, rather than by any call she had requested from the inn's staff. After a good stretch, Celumë started on the rest of her training. Strength exercises in the room first, window open. Then she went for a run along the streets of the town. Upon returning to her room, she stretched again and then washed up.

Not having felt this good in days, she felt extremely relaxed as she headed to the common room for breakfast. The good night's sleep - on a feather mattress! - the way she still smelled of the inn's soap rather than the woods or sweat, the pleasant tiredness of her muscles... She was humming quietly under her breath, her dark eyes shining, her mood stellar. Celumë greeted the man behind the bar and went to lean her forearms on it as she looked at what was written down as their breakfast selection.

"Sleep well?" the man behind the counter asked while he was cleaning a glass.

"Exceptionally," she confirmed in a pleasant tone of voice. "And despite my very filling meal last evening - I'm starving."

He grinned. "You've been up for a while, I take it. Saw you out running while I was returning with supplies," he added.

She hummed her reply, still perusing her options. "You know what?" she finally said, smiling up at the man. "Surprise me! I'd like juice and coffee - but you can bring me a plate filled with your own favorites. Just don't choose only your most expensive stuff?" she added with a laugh. "I'll know if you do..."

He inclined his head. "You got it, m'lady. Go pick out any table you like. I will bring it over shortly."

Celumë did just that, and soon enough she had her juice in front of her. The waiter had told her the food would arrive along with the coffee. "Oh -" she said, stopping him before he could walk away. "Maybe you could bring the coffee in a pot. And bring... three mugs." You never knew. "Please?" After a nod, the man left, and Celumë was sipping her juice, watching the few people who had already come down for breakfast.
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Gladhron
Common room - with Celumë
Again

The common room was not as full as it had been in the evening, yet it seemed there were still either plenty of guests staying at the inn, having breakfast, or there were locals who came to enjoy eating in the inn's common room so not to cook their meals themselves. Gladhron had taken some extra time to trim and tidy his appearance and clean up more than he had the night before, before he ventured down to find food to tame his growling stomach.

Upon entering, he took a look around and lit up into a smile upon spotting Celume, just taking a seat at one of the tables. He was alone today, since Gwestion had taken off to do his errands, but at least he could have some company. He headed toward the table, but paused to speak briefly with a server on the way. After learning what he wished to know, he nodded and continued onward, smiling brightly upon reaching Celume's table.

"Good morning!" He greeted her. "How was your workout and other things?" He asked, and then gestured to one of the empty seats. "May I?"
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
Common Room - with Gladhron

"You may," she said graciously, finding it easy to smile this morning, even more so with Gladhron's own bright smile now being directed at her. "Good morning to you, too!" Celumë sighed happily. "It was great," she said emphatically. The comforts of a bed, that good kind of burn after a good training session, and the clean feeling of water and soap - all things she had been so used to back in Minas Tirith, but were now a luxurious combination. She appreciated it all the more now.

She mimicked scissors with two fingers and pretend-cut the air next to her juice. "Trim?" she asked before taking a good, long drink of her juice. They brought over a pot of coffee, mugs and some milk, then. Celumë thanked the waited and reached for the pot right away, wordlessly giving the man permission to leave without him needing to feel unhelpful about not pouring the first cups. "Coffee?" she asked as she put down her glass with one hand and picked up the pot with another. She started pouring one cup already. If Gladhron declined, she would drink it. If he accepted, it was his.

"Did you sleep as well as I did?" she asked with a mildly amused smile. "Which one of you snores?" She didn't quite hold back a grin at that.
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Gladhron
Common room - with Celumë
breakfast

"No thanks, already had one," Gladhron replied with a teasing smile to the question about the trim, as he claimed one of the empty seats. He ran a hand over his recently trimmed facial hair absently. "I will take some coffee though," He added with a grin. "Thank you," he added as she poured the first cup. He accepted the cup when it was handed to him, and picked up the milk as she began pouring the second cup. "Milk?" He offered it to her first, and then after she had taken what she wanted of it, he poured some in his own cup.

"Well, I don't know how well you slept," He answered, "But I slept extremely well." He declared, but laughed lightly at her other question. "Well, Gwestion says that I snore, but I've never heard any proof of that," He joked. "I like to tell him he does too," He added with a little amusement. "Even though he doesn't." He took a sip of his coffee once he'd prepared it the way he liked it. "I haven't seen him this morning, but the server says he stopped for a quick breakfast a few hours ago and then left." He mentioned, in case she was curious.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
Common Room - with Gladhron

She huffed out a syllable of laughter when he declined a trim. With a grin, she finished pouring a cup of coffee for him. Whilst pouring her own, he offered the milk to her first. With a smile, she took it off his hands when her cup was nearly full, added some milk until the coffee had turned the right shade and then handed it back to his waiting hand. "I didn't realize you also took milk in your coffee," she noted. "Or is it just a try-out?"

After picking up her cup with both hands, Celumë put her elbows on the table and rested some weight on them as she smelled the cup. It would be very hot. Best to wait for another moment or so. Her grin widened at the comments about snoring. "I didn't hear you snoring when I was on watch, on the road," she mused. "Nor did I hear your brother snoring. But if I am to join you on the road again, I can make a better assessment after we've all spent some more time together."

She nodded at what he said about Gwestion's early breakfast and departure. "As he'd said he would," she said quietly. Then she nodded toward the bar. "I already ordered." She watched the man disappear into the kitchen right about then. "A surprise breakfast," she added. "I wonder what he'll choose." She turned her gaze back to Gladhron and finally sipped her coffee. "What are you in the mood for?"
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Gladhron
Common room - with Celumë, joined by Gwestion
breakfast

Gladhron laughed lightly at her question about the milk. "I do, when it's available," he answered. "And sugar," he added. "I have to admit, I like a lot of that, but when we run out of sugar.. I suffer through as well as I can." He shrugged and took a cautious sip of his drink, though it was still hot, he couldn't wait. "Mm," he smiled happily. They'd been out of sugar for a very long while, so it was nice to have it again at last.

His smile widened when she mentioned not hearing him snore. "Well, good," He said happily. "We'll just go with that, and next time he says I snore, I'll tell him you said otherwise." He grinned, deciding this seemed like proof enough. No need to assess further. He didn't want Gwestion to be proven right about this.

His eyebrows rose when Celume said she'd ordered a surprise breakfast. "Oh?" He couldn't resist a tiny bit of teasing, "What if they bring you something really gross and weird?" He wondered. "I've heard rumors of some very.. unusual foods that some places serve.." he mentioned, trying to hide a grin. But not very well. It soon broke through. "I'm joking, obviously. I'm sure whatever they bring will be great. As for me," he thought for a moment. "I wonder if they have biscuits.. the soft kind, not those hard ones Gwestion makes," he made a face at those. Sure, they were meant to be hard so they kept longer for travel, but he got so very tired of those. "I'd love to have some biscuits and gravy.. and eggs.." A little smile lingered on his face as he daydreamed about a nice big breakfast with all of the most delicious things.

"Oh, if you've already ordered, maybe I should put in my order so maybe they'll get done about the same time," He realized, and started to stand up, but a server came by just about then, asking what the gentleman would like. Soon, Gladhron's breakfast preference was being delivered to the kitchen with the promise that it would be out shortly.

About the time the server had left, Gladhron spotted Gwestion step into the common room, looking as if he had just come from the forest, with his hood pulled up, with his bow and quiver. "Ha, what timing, looks like he finished his errands already." he commented, and waved an arm up in the air, to catch his brother's eye.

Once Gwestion had spotted him, which didn't take long, he made his way over. "Good morning, Celume," He greeted her first. "Gladhron," he added, mildly surprised to see his brother had trimmed up his beard as he had. Was he hoping it would impress their lady companion, Gwestion wondered briefly? He wouldn't put it past Gladhron, but didn't comment on it.

"Come on, sit down and join us, we just ordered breakfast. Do you want anything?" Gladhron asked, waving toward the empty seats to encourage his brother to take one of them and actually relax for a bit. "Why the bow?" he wondered, curious.

"I've eaten already," Gwestion replied, but noticed the third cup on the table, as he picked one of the two remaining seats at the table and leaned his bow against the remaining chair. "Perhaps some coffee, if there is enough?" He asked, with a glance at Celume. He looked at Gladhron. "I went to see Ms. Moss, after my visit with the blacksmith." He explained quietly. "I thought it best not to venture into the Chetwood unarmed," he shrugged. "Also, I brought her some meat. It seemed the least I could do to repay her for all that she did for me," He added.

"Ah," Gladhron sat back, somewhat impressed, yet not surprised. "So, you took care of your damaged gear, went hunting, checked in with the healer, and.. what else? all before ten o'clock?" He shook his head slightly in amusement. "You're way too productive, you know that?" He laughed.

Gwestion shrugged. "I see you managed to trim your beard.. also before ten o'clock." He commented drily, then turned toward Celume. "And how was your workout?" He asked curiously, assuming she had done a workout, since she had said she was going to.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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Celumë
Common Room - with Gladhron

"Sugar," Celumë mused. "Right." She did not take sugar in her coffee herself. "You can have as much as you like of the sugar," she told him with the clear hint that she would not be having any. Gladhron's happy smile at his coffee with milk and sugar, though, made her smile right back at him. It was almost irresistible not to; he looked so genuinely joyful at such a simple pleasure... It reminded Celumë that there was much more beauty in the world than most people actually took the time to appreciate. Gladhron did not seem to have that problem at all, she thought to herself, both amused by and appreciative of that fact.

She flashed him a grin when he was quick to accept that she had not heard him snoring, and how willing he was to generalize it and to possibly use it to counter Gwestion's future claims. Remaining unperturbed and confident as he tried to tease her about getting a terrible surprise breakfast, Celumë sipped her coffee. Gladhron didn't need any assistance or input at all when it came to his breakfast order. Despite his aloud wondering, he had soon put in his order all by himself. Mentally, Celumë sighed, contented. It was nice to get a bit of a mental break, sometimes. Even with something as small as this.

Upon Gwestion's entrance, Celumë slowly lowered her cup to the table and leaned back against her chair. That was quick. "Good morning," she repeated back to him with a genuine smile, noting the slight surpise on the ranger's face as he greeted and looked at his brother. Surprised to see him at breakfast already, perhaps?

She listened to their back-and-forth, quite comfortable with a background role. She nodded at Gwestion's question about the coffee and slowly slid the third and unused cup over to his side of the table as he took a seat. Having just reclaimed her cup, she was taking a sip when Gladhron voiced how impressed he was with Gwestion's productivity. Truth be told, so was Celumë.

In the midst of a second sip when Gwestion offered his reply, Celumë couldn't help but want to laugh out loud. Some of the coffee went down wrong, though, given she'd just been drinking it, and she half-coughed half-laughed her way through the following question about her workout. She quickly lowered the coffee to the table with one hand and covered her mouth with the other. Once the coffee had been set down, she raised her hand to the two brothers, as if asking for their patience. "I'm sorry," she finally managed, still coughing a little, but laughing more now and even allowing herself a giggle. "That was impeccable timing," she laughed, both complimenting Gwestion and mocking herself in one go.

Drawing in a deep breath when she'd recovered in full, she grinned at them. "Sorry. But yes." Her eyes settled on Gwestion. "It was great," she told him. "Felt great. It gets sort of addictive if you do it every day," she admitted. For her, at least, it did. "It makes me feel good." She paused, considering. "Capable. Confident. Cheerful." She smiled at them both once more. "I can only recommend it, really."
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Gladhron & Gwestion
Common room - with Celumë
breakfast

Glancing in surprise at Celume when she began coughing, Gladhron hesitated and wondered if she needed some help, but it soon became evident that she was merely suffering from one of those most annoying 'drink went down the wrong pipe' moments. He always hated it when that happened, and offered a sympathetic smile her way. She seemed to be laughing though, even through the coughing fit, so that was a good sign. His sympathetic smile shifted into a little grin as her laughter seemed a little contagious. "What? It wasn't that funny," He protested, though with a laugh as he said it.

"Are you alright?" Gwestion asked, when she began coughing and choking on her drink. He had been in the midst of pouring some coffee in his own mug, which she had slid toward him, but paused until he could see that she was alright. He finished, after seeing that she had begun laughing, even giggling a little, and then set the pot down. "I was not intending to cause you to choke," He assured her, after she mentioned the 'impeccable timing'.

Once she had finally regained control of her respiratory system, and answered about her workout, Gwestion nodded slightly. "As did the healer lady, of whom I spoke a moment ago," He answered to the part about 'recommending it', and smiled faintly. "She said I ought to be doing some things of that sort, to re-strengthen my muscles," He added in further explanation.

"So, you do these workouts every day?" Gladhron asked, sipping his coffee. "I tried to practice some stuff on my own," He mentioned. "While Gwestion was recovering. It's not as much fun as training with someone," he added with a little sigh. "Very boring, training alone."

"You weren't always alone," Gwestion pointed out, recalling a few occasions that Bel had mentioned, when Gladhron had taught her a little bit. And on the first, there had been a couple of other people at the inn to keep Gladhron company, though they had left after a point.

"It's not the same when you're having to teach a beginner," Gladhron rolled his eyes, and refrained from mentioning that he missed having their sister to spar with at times. "Bel asked to learn," He then added, for Celume's benefit. "So, I taught her a little bit, while Gwestion was stuck indoors recovering. I think she would have preferred him teaching her, though." He added with a little glance toward his brother. His smile widened as he spotted the server coming with a tray of food that just had to be theirs, and indeed, he was heading toward their table.

Gwestion focused his gaze on his coffee and made no remark at the reference to her by name.. which told him that Gladhron had already mentioned the young lady's name to Celume, before. "She ought to have a smaller sword," He mentioned softly, recalling that the one she tried using was too long for her to wield properly. Although, really, he couldn't blame her for wanting to be able to use her father's sword. He considered that for a moment before looking at Celume. "Was it difficult for you to learn to use a longsword? Or did you begin learning with something less lengthy?" Of course, Celume was also taller than Bel, so he wasn't sure if it really mattered about Celume's experience, as it would surely be different than Bel's.
"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve."

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