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Author Topic: New Experience All Around  (Read 419 times)


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New Experience All Around
« on: April 29, 2020, 12:37:54 AM »
From where she sat, in the small clump of trees, a good ways along her journey away from home and Fate (though she still didn't have a clear idea where she was going, just knew West seemed best as there was little to the East), but still in the 'starting' stages, perhaps, in that she wasn't out of Rhovanion even yet, Líknví considered the red apple her mother had sent her off with in her hasty flight from Ered Mithrin and the brothel of the Scarlet Streets.

The cheese sandwich that had been part of the emergency package had been disposed of weeks ago, but had also been since replaced by scavenged items from the caravans Líknví had secretly hitched rides with. Planning all of it out was hard when she didn't know how long of a journey she was really planning for.

Lí didn't even really know if Hope truly awaited at the end of it all. The Forty-Seven-year-old young Dwarf maiden had just known she'd had to fly from the toxic atmosphere, and before the other women's patience with her living among them but not contributing grew thinner than it already was.

She still had the green apple with her also...and both would also not keep too long.

With this logic, Líknví bit through the skin and munched the sweet bite of fruit as she glanced at the canopy about her; partly on the look out for any other fruit she could add to her stock. Of course this didn't take her attention fully from her surroundings. Being deaf she didn't have the luxury of hearing trouble coming, and so had to spot it, for the most part. Though she'd thankfully not come across Orcs, she'd been told you could smell them a mile off!

Orcs were a vague sort of threat, still on her list of potential trouble for her along her journey, but not the primary one. No, being caught by the leaders of any of the caravans she stowed aboard to make her way along, for the most part, was a bigger concern to her! Unfortunately Líknví's experiences, and just the atmosphere she grew up in, even with a loving mother and brother, had taught her to expect trouble over compassion.

And to especially distrust all males who were not her brother; and him unfortunately being dead now (she assumed).

Líknví's visual scouting of the branches didn't yield anything, except that unique feeling of only dappled bits of sunlight hitting her face in the way only a tree canopy could execute; not all at once, as the open sky provided, nor completely blocked out and foreign as was so familiar to Dwarves in their caves. Days and Weeks on end Outside, with only the cloth coverings of wagons, or an occasionally found cave, but one never ventured too far into, to shield from the weather had been another entirely new experience.

Unfortunately her haste had hindered a gradual exposure, though she'd before been Outside with Kvasir and Rian when she was a young Dwarfling. Yet she went from one visit once, to the next time she stepped out being final and, so far, constant!

Not all bad, just...different.

Finishing up her apple, Líknví tossed the core to the benefit of any of the wildlife about and stood, dusting off her skirts and walking to the other end of the tree cover. There she paused as she spotted a caravan on the other side of the clearing. Making sure she was shielded behind a tree, the young Dwarf watched, trying to get a sense of what kind it was. It seemed mostly made up of Men, or she spotted quite a few taller than a Dwarf among the ranks. Understandable, and she'd stowed aboard quite a few caravans run by Men since leaving the Grey Mountains further behind.

Dwarves, Men...even an Elvish caravan, if they had such things; the important part wasn't so much who ran it as remaining unseen and not spending enough time with one caravan as to press her luck, but covering enough ground that the risk she ran was worth it.

It wasn't a formula she had down perfectly, still very much guessing, but she was doing well enough, Líknví supposed.

Her size could have granted her the ability to slip past undetected where Men were concerned, except that children of Men of an age to run from home or circumstances themselves were typically about her size, so Caravan Managers knew to check containers and crevices that could accommodate. Still Men tended to carry bigger trunks and cargo, providing more hiding room.

Peering at the bustle as the caravan, no doubt prepared to continue on, Líknví quickly made up her mind. The grey cloak that she used, which had once been Kvasir's before the soldiers returned it with the news of his death, was no longer held by the bird pin their mother had given him; that probably becoming lost either in the scuffle that was explained to have killed him or somewhere else along the transfer, so Líknví held it closed with her own hand, hood drawn up to hide her face and help if she was discovered, and, when she saw her shot, darted for one of the wagons at the back to get up and in before she was detected.

<<Alvelin can catch her now if you want, or if you want to assume and leave room for Li making it, I'll have her be caught later on down the road :)>>

Sig made by wonderful Cass ~



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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2020, 09:56:11 AM »
Seated atop her horse, Alvelin peered to the side, counting the number of heads and wagons in front of her before it would be her turn to pay up at the toll station.  She had all the patience in the world to wait in line.  Her horse, however, was a little more restless, stamping its hooves in boredom. 

She had hooked up with a caravan heading West, not that Alvelin had any final destination in mind, simply in it for the company and sightseeing, though most folks took it as odd when the Elf told them she was only doing it for pleasure, not so much financial gain or…any gain at all, really.  Maybe emotional or spiritual gain, learning new skills and so on, but only through great hardship and sacrifice that came with fending for herself on the road, mostly in the wild.  Even after 150 years a nomad, she still felt…empty. What had she accomplished? Was all this wandering worth it?  If there was an end or "destiny", something out there for her, perhaps she just hadn't reached it yet, though in her heart, Alvelin felt she was on the right track.

Steadily, the line moved forward. The main delay being the toll guards' and their sniffer dogs' thorough search of the wagons, checking the inventory and making sure no stowaways were on board. The fee was per person. Merchant goods were another charge. Those who refused or were unable to pay would be dealt with accordingly. In handcuffs or with a swift kick to the hiney, most likely.

Some would grumble at the 'unfair' price and invasion of privacy.  Alvelin shrugged her shoulders and accepted life for what it was.  Someone had to pay the taxes around here.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2020, 10:01:41 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya


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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 03:40:27 PM »
She made it up into the cart. Líknví breathed a sigh of relief, and settled in as comfortably as she could amidst the trunks and other containers. if she stuck with this caravan for a few miles, she could hop back out maybe a day or two down the road...she would see how it went and how risky it seemed. Lí was still getting a feel for this process she had been utilizing, and was most likely going to have to the most of any, to make her way across, and hopping aboard caravans and carts going in the right direction.

Risky, but also the safest bet, and to use their safety in numbers even if they didn't know it and so long as she wasn't discovered doing such.

The cart she'd picked moved slowly, even for a caravan following along in a line and at a steady pace behind another. It was her first check-point experience, the first major thoroughfare crossed, her prior other hops being across the wilderness of Ered Mithrin. Even without her sense of hearing, Líknví sensed something was up, or that foreboding dropped in upon her all through the starting and stopping motion.

Her limitations, and being deaf, robbed her of the first line of defense she had, and ability to hear out the dogs as they sniffed out her even as her cart was still a few paces back. One of them paused, giving a low noise that wasn't quite a growl, but was an indication nonetheless. He tugged at his lead , leading the Man guiding him over towards the cart Líknví was in.

"Sir? You said just yourself for passengers?", the Man checked with the driver even as he followed the dog over.

"Of course!", the driver sounded put out at being doubted, next hopping down and following as the Man and his dog went around to the back. "Hey, now watch it, I've got spices back there, if your dog..."

Though she missed the conversation, Líknví detected the vibrations of movement as the driver got down, and especially as the dog put his paws up on the back of the cart. Sensing it was better that she knew, even those few seconds early, what was going on, Lí hazarded a peek through the canvas cover, and spotted the nose coming in even as the Man began to move the flap back!

Líknví's blue eyes went wide. It was hardly enough forewarning, but it was all she had to work with, and work with it she did! Knowing she couldn't make it out the back, where they were clustered, she turned and, however noisily, aimed for the front, trusting that she had read the vibrations right and the driver wasn't still there. Gripping the tarp, Líknví swung her feet over into the seat and half jumped, half tumbled onto the ground, immediately jumping back up and aiming for the tree cover.

She hardly made it that far, ramming into another of the Searchers who came over at the commotion and feeling his arms tighten at either of her own. She kicked and struggled with all she had, but even a burly Dwarf would have been at a disadvantage against the full grown Man; a slim Dwarf maiden, only the age of one of their adolescence, at Forty-Seven, and malnourished her whole life, was like a child fighting back! Add to that the two dogs almost at her height who came over to sniff further at her and give low warning growls she could still see, stilling her even further as she watched for signs of attack from them as well.

"Why you thieving stow-away! What do you think, you can just come into my cart...", the driver came over as well, taking one of Líknví's arms from the toll guard to shake her slightly, angry at the supposed theft and trouble all of this would mean for him no doubt, it being his cart.

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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2020, 02:31:50 AM »
Noticing the disturbance up front, Alvelin's eyes darted after the small figure that had leapt down from one of the wagons in a mad dash to escape but was quickly snatched by the toll guards, drawing curious stares from those around.  A child?  Alvelin gave a closer look, studying the features and proportions, recognizing the figure to be that of a young Dwarf maiden. A rather short and thin-looking one. And scared speechless, so it seemed, at being restrained and dealt roughly by her captors as they interrogated the poor girl, not difficult for Alvelin to overhear.  With a pang of sympathy, Alvelin could only guess what kind of situation it must have been for the Dwarf to smuggle herself up to this point. She didn't look like a criminal.  Orphan, perhaps?

She would have ignored it, not one to get in the way of law enforcement. Those who broke the rules must face the punishment, though judging from the look of innocence, fright and desperation on the Dwarf's face, not all convicted were deserving of it, without understanding full context behind the motive.  Blessing or a curse, Alvelin's ears picked up more conversations than she would have liked at times, though in this case, she would be glad they did. When the Men's interrogation of the Dwarf turned to harassment, Alvelin shook her head in disapproval, feeling the heat of anger rise to her face, despite her calm composure.  Dwarf or not, regardless of whatever racial tensions that existed, the urge to step in and check on the situation won out. At least to quell the Men from badgering the girl further.

Forsaking her spot as the line moved along, Alvelin dismounted and led her horse over to investigate.

"Sirs, is there a problem?" She asked, hoping not to ruffle any feathers by being polite. Still, she held a degree of firmness in her tone, her eye, the way she carried herself, indicating she was not the average lady to be trifled with lightly. Not when she meant business.

"Stowaway. None to concern yourself, miss," one of the guards acknowledged her.

An ordinary 'miss', she was. Or so she appeared. Run-of-the-mill traveler's tunic, chestnut hair in a ruffled braid, ear tips covered by loose strands, even a light smudge of dirt on her left cheek where her glove had unwittingly brushed up against while shooing a few flies from her face during the stuffy wait in line. Disguise was a bit too strong of a word for it, certainly not at the top of Alvelin's priority list of things in her life to be kept secret, but in many ways, passing off as Man was convenient, such as to avoid awkward or unfriendly introductions, as she had learned from experience.

Alvelin spared another glance at the Dwarf maiden. "Where was she heading?"

"Doesn't matter," the guard huffed, holding the Dwarf's confiscated bag which had undergone a thorough search and its user a thorough pat-down for any stolen items or valuables on them. "No money, no entry. This one can't pay, we'll haul her back to the city. Courts'll take care of her," he said smugly.

Leave her? Help her?  Alvelin looked the Dwarf over, uncertain if she was making the right decision. Rarely had she ever helped a Dwarf, only because most Dwarves were too prideful to accept help from anyone, much less express gratitude. Especially if that help were to come from an Elf - most Dwarves took it as a downright insult, if she offered. Alvelin would not have hesitated so long if she knew the Dwarf maiden would show an ounce of appreciation afterwards. 

Not like she hadn't gambled before with thankless rescues.

"How much is the fee?" Alvelin approached the collector's booth.

"Ten pieces," the collector said with a curious look.

All right, she had enough for two.  Thus far her charity hadn't gone regretted, said the Elf's peeping optimism.

"I'll pay for her." Alvelin turned to the guard.

"For a thief?" The man countered.

"Did she steal anything?"

"Stuff in here," he pointed out, opening the Dwarf's bag to show Alvelin the contents of food and other scrap items. "Must've stolen all of it from the city markets."

"Did she say?"

"No, she's deaf," the man admitted dryly.

As if that would deter Alvelin. Deaf, mute, and blind Men, she had dealt with many of them during her travels. A few were even part of the caravan she was currently hitched with. A deaf Dwarf however, that would be a first. All the more reason for her to save the poor girl from the men's clutches and who-knew-where they would take her.  Not only out of pity, but of interest.

"Come now, she hardly looks the criminal type," Alvelin reasoned with the guard. "Nothing to waste your time and resources over. I'll be taking her off your hands."

"Well, for obstruction of the workflow and disruption of the peace…" The guard pretended to calculate. "Twenty pieces fine, plus the fee."

Now who's the robber? Alvelin scoffed silently, tempted to punch the man in the face right then as her pent-up irritation arose. Instead, she mustered playful smile, turning up the Elvish charm a bit. "Is that how much my company is worth to you? Twenty pieces?" She saw through the man's intent to toy with her, just to keep an attractive female talking. Ah, the struggle of being endowed with a pretty face.  Alvelin would entertain him in order to weasel her way out of this situation, just for once...

"Ten pieces," the guard smirked, as Alvelin handed the total twenty over to the collector - no fine included. "Sold, to the beautiful lady!" He announced. Ordering the Dwarf's release, the bag was returned to the maiden's hands, before being given a rough shove over to Alvelin.

"Ruffians," Alvelin muttered sourly as she turned away. With a hand on the Dwarf's shoulder, leading her horse with the other, Alvelin walked them over to where a few wagons of the caravan were halted, waiting for other members to catch up on the other side of the toll station.  Most was said through eye contact and facial expression, as Alvelin tried to convey trust and friendliness to the young Dwarf that she had taken under her wing, however short it might be.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 02:49:52 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya


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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2020, 07:32:55 PM »
Their questions hardly mattered, because Lí had no good answers either-way! Or none she could easily give. She just had to look for an opportunity to escape...

Well, actually, a bit more was going to be required, she saw. She couldn't get away with no explanation. "You got the gall not to answer me...?". The angered cart owner's grip tightened, Líknví clearly reading this off his lips. She knew trusting to mercy was a lost cause, but an explanation had to serve better than none perhaps...

Hopelessly, Líknví brought her hand up to her ear and shook her head. She couldn't hear and...well alright, she wasn't technically mute, just hadn't learned due to the first; and she didn't think her mix of official Iglishmêk and made up signs would be well understood, but she could still try.

Wasn't stealing, I.... Her explanation was cut off as someone new arrived on the scene. Líknví glanced over, just curious, as the shadow of the woman and her horse fell across them. She, of course, didn't hear the inquiry, and only noticed the woman's addition by her movement. Lí glanced from face to face, following the conversation as best she could, and since it was so pertinent to her at that moment.

Courts?! She caught that part. Oh, no, no, no! How could this be going so wrongly so soon?! She'd been a fool to leave! She had no survival instincts! Couldn't even get herself out of this situation! Ma had meant so well, had been fulfilling a promise to Kvasir, though Líknví only knew a bit of it, but it was all going to be for naught and...

"How much is the fee?". Líknví wasn't sure if she'd really read what she thought she'd read off the woman's words as she moved over towards the toll booth. But it appeared she had! A sort of indignation she told herself she had no firm basis to feel rose up as it was assumed everything with her had been stolen! Her mother had given her that stuff! Well alright...not the biscuits...

Líknví tried to keep her...supplanting to need of the moment, and not stock-pile, yet with shame, she realized they were at least partly right. Not that she had the voice to argue it either-way. But it wasn't all stolen and...oh please don't let them take it off her! Kvasir's cloak she wore! Líknví's hand subtly gripped at it from where it already lay. There was little she owned she was going to fight to keep but this was one...

Yet her benefactor of the moment worked it! Having to use some of those womanly wiles, even if in jest, Líknví could tell. It wasn't like it was a new thing and concept, but still the girl felt disgust rise up that their gender, race aside, were only ever taken the most serious when they flirted, or danced the line. She just gripped her bag after it was handed back, like she feared they might change their mind abut that, glancing aside so as to not read the further jesting about her being Sold, which perhaps nothing was meant by but for the child raised in a brothel, and far to used to the concept of that being all Men thought of their gender, it still hitting sourly.

The woman gave some sourness back, at any rate, even if just in a small mutter. Deaf or no, Líknví could tell it was most likely a mutter by how little she could actually read off the woman's lips, as well as cues of facial expression that were clearly not meant for the Men to catch. She gave a small smile, and quickly tried to express her gratitude by her smile growing in response to the one she was given as she was lead off, and followed trustingly. The woman's actions thus far having of course earned such. Thankyou! she brought her hand up to sign, and even mouthed the word , if silently, her blue eyes also shining back her gratitude.

Even with all that the woman had done for her, Líknví didn't speak in her voice she still felt lacking, her brother's reassurances aside, and for taking her formation from vibrations and glances rather than knowing for sure, off sound, if she got it right. She also couldn't prove her literacy, and that she could read and possibly write back a better response. Not with what she currently had with her!

Of all the things she had in her bag, she had not grabbed charcoal, or other writing implement, and paper. Very useful things in explaining her purpose, and in situations like the one she'd just been caught in, perhaps!

Yet her flight from home had been hurried and sudden (in some ways. In others long thought over by both her and her mother) and so she had inevitably forgotten things, and her mother had focused more on providing her with food and further clothing when packing the satchel for her. Still, Líknví wished she could express her gratitude more fully than just her signs were able.

For all of her observation skills, which she used by necessity, and though she noticed there was something about her benefactor, Líknví couldn't figure out what exactly it was, and by no means knew this kind person was an Elf! Not yet anyway, and not that it would have insulted her or anything. Lí thought a bit too humbly about her own self to get Dwarvishly Prideful on the subject of Elves.

What now? seemed the big, overhanging issue, and Líknví just followed along with her current guardian of the moment. After the toll of the whole caravan was settled, while she wasn't 'handed off' right away the pair met up with a family amidst the wagons, a woman and her two children; younger than Lí in actual age of course, but also seeming younger and only around their Thirties by Dwarf standards as well. Líknví smiled and gave a shy wave to all.

A Dwarf alone was interesting enough to run into, but a Dwarf maiden seemed to intrigue the children (as well as their mother) even further! The woman also seemed to take pity on Líknví. Of course when her husband returned from hunting a few rabbits in the small break between the toll payment and their starting out again, Lí worried over his reception. But if he was curt and a bit gruff he wasn't the harshest man Líknví had run into in her experiences, and he still gave her a nod and didn't fight his wife when she later offered that Líknví could travel with them, if she liked, and since the woman knew enough to know Alvelin didn't have a tent to accommodate the girl in.

Líknví just laid low, but made quick friends with the two children, and partly from their own curiosity about her! She tried to early on explain she couldn’t hear, but promptly and eagerly nodded back to yes and no inquiries to show she could read and understand their spoken questions, if a bit limited still. That was when the young girl helped her out a bit. She was in the habit of collecting and pressing leaves, it seemed, and offered a spare notebook of hers to Líknví, which the young Dwarf quickly tried to refuse in anything but borrowing, but to no avail. The girl meant for her to have it. Líknví used the first page to express her gratitude in full to the girl, and the next few in a fuller and better conversation with the two.

The rabbits the children's father had caught were cooked over their next camp stop, and Líknví wouldn't have intruded enough to ask any if both hadn't insisted, in their own ways, and the woman handed her a bowl under the man's encouraging enough nod. Líknví knew from experience that silence didn't always mean a lack of feeling, if her own was forced, and the Man was a curiosity to watch, and with Lí's limited experiences. He was good with his children, and Lí smiled as she watched, if watching him especially encourage and give rapt attention to his daughter showing off her leaf collection made something hollow ring in her chest; yet from What Might Have Beens or just still acutely missing her brother, she didn't know.

Alvelin stopped by later on, to a smile from Líknví, and the young Dwarf handed over a more properly written out thanks she had prepared on one of the sheets of paper in her new thoughtfully given book.

Thank-you for your help before.
I know I said it, but I'm saying more fully.
My name is Líknví.
I can both read, as well as read lips and signs to help comm talking.

She wasn't confident enough in her spelling of communication to use it, and backed out a bit, though it was a small pride point in how well her mother had done teaching her literacy that she was pretty sure she got the other words right and only shied from big well as tried at times, and since she knew others at times put her intellect as lower just for communication being hindered.

Not the kind young woman before her, of course.

Who was in fact an Elf, as she later revealed! The family had apparently already known.

Well, double thank-you!

Líknví wrote.

Since I know relations are strained.
Don't worry, I don't view Elves poorly.

And she certainly couldn't after this!

<<I used a different font for the written, but yeah all written and signed by Líknví and we can fit in the revelation whenever Alvelin does such, and since you said it might be at the next camp stop>>

Sig made by wonderful Cass ~



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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2020, 10:00:16 AM »
Alvelin smiled back with a nod as the Dwarf conveyed her thanks.  There was no deception, from what her Elven senses could pick up, that the Dwarf was faking being a mute or simply scared straight into not being able to speak.  Perhaps the latter, a little, but Alvelin would do her best to help the Dwarf settle in comfortably so they might have a conversation later.

She could have made do with just the two of them, but given the options of those she had befriended in the caravan, she reckoned a family with young children would be a better choice for the Dwarf's well-being, to help open up her shell; calm her with assurance that she wouldn't be harmed by a couple who looked kindly after their children; as well as take off some of the pressure from the spotlight, not being stuck next to her savior's side all the time as a reminder of the toll scene.  Give her a few hours to relax and be distracted, and it'll be easier for her to talk about it later, Alvelin hoped.

She explained everything to the couple, Javor and Nelda, about the situation and the Dwarf's disability, asking if they'd be so kind as to transport her in their wagon, for the time-being. Otherwise, Alvelin wouldn't have minded walking - given the caravan's slow pace - while letting the Dwarf ride her horse, but in addition to aforementioned reasons, she didn't want the Dwarf to feel even more guilty about having her rescuer sacrifice any more for her. Freeing the Dwarf from worry about being a burden to her would be for both of their best interests.  For now, Alvelin had to put aside her own curiosity and turn her attentions elsewhere.


Even if she didn't break a smelly sweat as easily as most Men, hours on the road would eventually sully her skin, hair and clothes with dirt and grime, requiring a thorough washing. The next camp stop - where the caravan would rest for the night - was situated by a stream in which Alvelin had found a private spot to bathe and ring out her garments, changing into a second set she had on hand while hanging up the first to dry.  Most people in a caravan knew how to get along as a community, sharing what extra they could spare with fellow travelers. Doing favors and helping others were seldom unreciprocated by similar gestures or tokens of appreciation. Alvelin hardly kept track of her goodwill efforts in tending to the caravan, but in this instance, they managed to land her a dish of soap when she sought for some. The leftover soap would make a small gratitude gift for Javor and Nelda, who Alvelin immediately thought of, as she intended to drop by to check on the Dwarf before the sun set.

Her tent was useful against the rain and other unsavory elements, but for peaceful, dry nights, Alvelin never bothered setting it up unless she was, such as presently, with a caravan. It marked her own little spot for her to stow her belongings in, or beside it, and was enough room to fit one -ideally- or two -very snugly. Staking a tent made her look a little more "normal", even for those that already knew she was an Elf; most would still concern over her sleeping arrangements. More likely, Alvelin would lend her tent for another unequipped traveler to sleep in while she reclined up in a tree or something, keeping watch and waiting for the sun to rise.

She would have reserved her tent for the Dwarf to sleep in, had it not been for the luck of finding Javor and Nelda's wagon accommodations. As Alvelin had kept her eye on their wagon throughout the day, the Dwarf seemed to be getting along well with the two children, Elswyth and Talvon. Which was delightful, believing she had made the right choice.  Might as well keep the lot together, if the Dwarf had warmed up to the family. No sense in separating them tonight.

Javor and Nelda were more than willing to share the campfire and let their friend sup with them. Alvelin brought over a few loaves of bread she had traded for, and some wild berries and plants she had gathered along the way - including mushrooms, tubers and herbs for the rabbit stew.  Especially with children running amuck and prone to getting their clothes soiled, Nelda had to admit her soap supply was running low, and was appreciative of Alvelin's tribute.  It wouldn't do well for their 'guest' (Líknví) to go without a bath and a clean change of clothes for the night, which a few mix-matched pieces from the children's wardrobe could provide.

Elswyth and Talvon were eager to share about how they got along with their new friend - Líknví, they said her name was, as the Dwarf had written it in the notebook Elswyth had given to her - and with them, Líknví handed a few pieces of paper for Alvelin to read, further expressing her gratitude and what she was capable of, communication-wise, as well as her outlook on Elves. Alvelin smiled in understanding, without trace of surprise or unease that would indicate she hadn't come across Líknví's type before.  Blind, mute, and deaf were no strangers among those Alvelin had encountered during her travels.  A deaf Dwarf however, was a rarity that Alvelin hadn't much experience in dealing with. Or rather, learning from.  If only Dwarves weren't so secretive about their languages, she might be able to communicate more fluently with Líknví.

"Thank you. And you're welcome."  Westron was the middle ground and not much of a problem for Líknví to lip-read.  Alvelin's telepathic potential as an Elf might help to enhance the channel of clearer communication, but without relying wholly upon it, she could find the right balance between speaking both naturally, yet slowly enough to enunciate each word and give proper pause, so that her sentences wouldn't jumble up together.  Eyes and face communicated everything, and Alvelin took care to emphasize each expression, illustrating as much emotion in her tone as possible, accompanied by hand gestures whenever she saw fit to help convey her point across.

Helping herself to a bowl of stew and a slice of bread, she made sure to swallow her bite and clear her mouth first, before resuming conversation:

"My name is Alvelin, but everyone here calls me Ava or Alvy."  Those around the campfire did, at least, even though they were fully aware of her true name. Alvy was more cute-sounding for the children; Ava more formal with the adults. Two syllables were easier than three, if it helped. Alvelin gave Líknví the option of whichever one to call her by.  "I am an Elf, as you can see." With a humored oh-so-obvious eye roll, she pointed to her ears poking through the silk curtain of brown tresses she had combed and left loose to air-dry, after her swim.

"I know sign language. I can sign Westron and Hwerme* - Elvish sign language. I wish I knew more, how to speak Khudzdul and Iglishmêk, if you can teach me." The twinkle in her eyes and light-hearted grin indicated that she was brushing it off as a joke, not expecting Líknví to divulge in her interest.

But that never stopped her from eavesdropping and snooping on unsuspecting Dwarves, jotting everything they said and gestured into memory. 

"I do know one insult in Khudzdul." She chuckled, hoping the story would help break the ice. "I do not know what it means exactly, but I know it is an insult.  I overheard a Dwarf man - an old friend of mine - shouting it to another Dwarf man, when I was visiting the Blue Mountains.  My Dwarf friend was so angry in the moment, he forgot I was around.  When I asked him about it and repeated what he said, to him, his face instantly paled.  He told me not to say it to any Dwarf unless I wanted a death wish.  I know it must mean something bad.  I could tell, from the way he acted."

She then gestured to Líknví's notebook.

"Can I read it?  Do you mind?"  Alvelin didn't aim to pry, if anything in the conversation written between Líknví and the two children was classified private.  "It would help, for me to know what you already said to them, that way you don't have to say things twice to me. I can just add to what is already there," she explained.

*Hwerme: Taken from this source HERE. If I should be using a different term for Elvish sign language, let me know ^^
« Last Edit: June 20, 2020, 11:14:06 AM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya


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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2020, 07:10:47 PM »
Sticking to the fringes of the group, even with such a kind family of Men, was made more difficult by the children's presence. Though Líknví had seen the worst the world had to offer, she had, for the most part, not let go of her hope for better. Her very flight from home now proved such. Clung her own form of tenaciously to hope and wouldn't let it go even in the face of evidence was perhaps more correct...

Still, she could not be naive; not with all she had seen, and was cautious around many adults before they earned it, like Alvelin had. Children, though, rarely meant ill. Not even the perhaps rightly tagged 'nasty' ones back home, who would trip an old woman if they saw her walking along. Usually some of the poorer children and they were only acting out at their circumstances.

Though Líknví would have taken pride in telling people, if she spoke or communicated with many, that her brother had never allowed circumstances to sully his nature.

Her own self also, perhaps, though Lí didn't ponder on her own character and nature much.

Elswyth and Talvon made a quick impression, and a favorable one. Semi-surprising charity of the notebook aside.

Líknví had never become close with any of the younger children of the brothel back home, not like Kvasir had with her; him and his Ma adopting her in after she was cast aside (by both will and circumstances) by her birth mother and half-sister both, but she was well accustomed to watching them from time to time to help out Ma or the other women. Well accustomed to just lipreading their chatter, as she now did with these two, communicating back through easily guessed signs or her writing.

It wasn't that she almost forgot Alvelin, but her Elven Benefactor's goal was reached, in that Líknví was given more to focus on than just her gratitude and situation, until Alvelin came to find them again. Then it was the children who spouted out to her first, Lí just watching with a tiny smile, and despite preparing her thanks she then handed over.

"My name is Alvelin, but everyone here calls me Ava or Alvy". Líknví was still guarded about how her voice sounded, and to so many strangers, even if all five of these had been kind, so she wrote back to at least show her own nickname. It was the best way to convey such, also, since she could add the accent that even spelling out in sign wouldn't translate well.

You can also call me Lí if you want

There was a more personal nickname, but Líknví didn't just give that one out casually.

Alvelin went on, expressing an interest in learning the sign language employed. Líknví pondered. Khudzdul was a guarded secret among Dwarves, but...was Iglishmêk?

Regardless, Líknví only felt like so much of an expert, at the official sign language anyway. She also used a fair number of made up signs that were (hopefully) intuitive, and had worked for those she used them on at least, mostly her brother and mother. Alvelin's smile seemed to recognize this predisposition to hesitance on her part. The girl smiled back, almost apologetic, though she still hadn't made up her mind not to tell her...

Elves had sign language too?! Well, of course they did! Líknví was intrigued as well, but knew to even ask for some examples she would have to give up some of her own Race's secrets. She pondered it as she listened to Alvelin's story. One which was not surprising in the least! What the word was was not the important part of the story, though Lí tried to figure it out off the clues.

There was, in all honestly, probably more than one word a Dwarf would take insult enough to kill over. It could be anything really. Yet, one more thing also struck Lí's interest as she listened. Her thoughts over both things were interrupted by Alvelin asking if she could read the notebook. It held little beyond the conversations between the children, given it was new, but even then that was an easy answer, and Líknví nodded, but held up a wait signal to communicate she had something to add. She quickly jotted it down at the end of where Alvelin's reading would naturally stop, and the first available page, before handing it over, but flipped back to the start, to just further communicate she didn't mind if Alvelin read anything within the book, though the last statement was for her specifically.

You say you are heading to the Blue Mountains. Have you been there before?
I am also thinking to head that way, but then...there is little other way to go but West

Líknví was already well aware of how, even if written words were understood as jest, they were lost in the delayed delivery and how even her smile after this statement wouldn't translate by the time Alvelin read it, so she just smiled to herself before going on.

I've heard stories, but probably exaggerated.
About streets of gold.

Some, to a lot, of this was no doubt just fanciful tales, as it was said to be Thorin Oakenshield's kingdom and he was a bit fabled himself. Just because Líknví clung to fanciful tales a bit, she did know the difference between that and reality. All too well.

{No worries, I'm using light research and best guesses myself when using or referencing Iglishmêk}

Sig made by wonderful Cass ~



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Re: New Experience All Around
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2020, 01:06:23 PM »
Once the notebook was passed to her, Alvelin read the pages silently, every so often voicing (signing) or jotting down her own comments to add to the paper.  She knew how reserved and secretive Dwarves could be, so for Líknví to open up with her nickname - Lí - was a good sign of trust, which was all that was really needed, to accomplish a purpose.  Reading Lí's last comment brought a glimmer of surprise and a smirk to Alvelin's face.  King Under the Mountain...  Yes, she had heard stories of the Battle of Dwarves and Orcs, of Erebor… Tales of Thorin Oakenshield which she didn't mind sharing with Lí, to pass the time.  Unfortunately, the Elf did not have plans of going West so far as to reach the Blue Mountains.  Javor and Nelda, however, were willing to transport the Dwarf as far as they could.  The family's assurance that they would look after Lí, for as long as they were able, was enough to soothe Alvelin's conscience as she retired for the night.


They had several days to spend in each other's company.  Lí would not be the last soul Alvelin would help along the road.  Time would come when she would bid farewell to the Dwarf, when the road diverged, and the caravan split…  While Javor and Nelda's wagon headed west, towards the Misty Mountains and Eriador beyond, Alvelin would continue south on her horse, inclined to tarry in Rhovanion a while longer.

Lí's journal had become a scrapbook of sorts.  Four pressed leaves, each one a different shape and color, had been given by Elswyth - representing each member of the family - for Lí to remember them by.  Alvelin had filled a page with thumbnail sketches, etched from memory, as her conversations with Lí had prompted her to illustrate scenes of the Blue Mountains, Lindon and Rivendell. 

Drawing had been one of her pastimes as a child, which her hands fared better at recalling than her handwriting, which stood out as a sore abomination in her eyes, after lack of use.  Ever since she left home, Alvelin rarely carried ink or paper with her - and not for the purpose of documenting her travels, believing it was a dangerous (and frankly, tiring) thing to commit to.  Never write anything you don't intend for others to read.  Never bring anything you don't plan for others to steal or take away from you.  It was the reason why she didn't keep journals, for fear of losing them, or becoming too emotionally attached to them.  Same as her parents, who kept no written record of their travels, but wove them into song, and whose footsteps Alvelin was following, being more musically inclined tell stories of own adventures that way.

And when it wasn't her adventures, the Elf had an arsenal of songs from all corners of known Middle-earth to keep her side of the caravan amused for hours.

While Lí had the journal, Alvelin took the opportunity to practice her artistic skill and penmanship, if for but a page or two (knowing Lí would need the rest for future communications down the road).  In addition to her sketches and other conversation notes (including her attempts to teach Lí the Sindarin alphabet - both sign and written - regardless if the Dwarf was willing to share her language or not), Alvelin had written down names and contacts of those she had met, years long past, that might help Lí along her way to the Blue Mountains.  Of course there was faint hope that many of them would still be alive, or that their relatives or descendants would offer the same hospitality. But Alvelin had faith, in optimism, that all things would work out for the better.

She didn't inquire too deeply about Lí's past or motives for heading West. Such knowledge wasn't important, at least as far as cultivating friendship was concerned, which seemed futile to encourage. If only having more time together was guaranteed…

Perhaps they would meet again.  But the odds were slim.  Alvelin couldn't deceive herself.  Lí didn't need her anymore. 

There was sadness, to be sure, as Alvelin halted and looked over her shoulder, watching Javor and Nelda's wagon roll away into the distance.  But within it was a bubbly well of satisfaction, that she was fulfilling her sense of purpose. 

Not just traveling for her own sake, though it had been the motive when she first started out. 

But to help others… To be of need to someone…  It made all those wanderings worthwhile.

If only home needed her as much.

— FIN —
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 03:03:07 PM by Alvelin »

Dialogue: Mannish | Sindarin | Quenya

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