Theories Of Conspiracy

The Library
This enclosed room is strangely quiet, sheltered as it is even from the whisper of wind in the trees that can be heard throughout all the rest of Arborlon. All around the perimeter of the room are comfortable chairs beside small tables, at the head of each of which is a lacy- patterned lantern bathing the chair in gentle blue light reminiscent of starlight. The shelves on the walls and against the trunk of the tree are not horizontal, but wind as vines, bearing not leaves but thick volumes of every description, both ancient and recent, bearing titles like "A Journey to Arvanaith", "A Treatise on Elven Wine", "Elven Kindreds", "The Building of New Arborlon", "The Fellowships of Arborlon", and "Ritual and Celebration". How the books cling to these shelves without slipping sideways must certainly be a secret of magic, but they all hold to their respective places. The tree at the center bears an orange leaf-shaped gem etched with the words, "Sanganien en' Sinta". Here indeed is a vast treasure of centuries upon centuries of knowledge.

Whether it is morning or night, the library of the Elves is forever mysteriously kept in that soft blue glow; as if one is surrounded by nothing by the universe and its ethereal stars within. The sun is sinking outside; its deep-orange rays splaying over the branches and leaves outside of the library and yet none of that warm glow could find its way into this sanctuary of knowledge. Or stain the ivory white clothing of the Elear seated within, at his usual place facing the closed door of the library, and near to a few shelves that held the sacred books of ancient lore. One hand and five fingers are perched upon a stack of tomes, while the other holds a quill with a fine silver-edged tip as rather meticulously he seems to be writing a record. A faint aroma lingers within the composed atmosphere of the library, a metallic tang; as if something had been burnt.

Annale slides the door of the library open slowly, so as to not disturb, or startle, anyone inside. It had been a busy day for the Tari, between meeting the hobbits, meeting with Palinor about the patrols of the Island, ensuring that a druid found the hobbit miscreant to transplant the trees from the mainland, paperwork, and more of the usual. She wasn't done yet, though. She needed to speak with the Elear and was confidant that she would find him here.

Despite the care in which she takes to open the door, the gentle swish of the door's opening captures Israfel's attention, and the hand that holds the quill stops its motion across the parchment. He peers up slightly, eyes adjusting to the sudden wash of weak sunlight that accompanied the Tari's arrival. The quill is placed down and quite automatically, the Elear rises from his seat, stepping aside from his table and bows to her.

"Is there something I can help you with, Tari?" The tone of his voice appears to suggest that he probably knew what she is here for but in all politeness, he still asks.

Annale dips her head in acknowledgement of the Elear as she closes the door behind her, appreciating, once again, Israfel's cut-to-the-chase bluntness. "Vedui Elear Israfel, and yes, there may be. I want your opinion on the Halfling refugee leader, Arwen Gentian." As she speaks, she moves towards the table, gesturing for Israfel to seat himself while she pulls a chair for herself. She didn't look disturbed, but something in the way she spoke betrayed her wariness and suspicion of the hobbit leader.

Slipping back into his chair, still warmed from the hours of work the whole day until now, Israfel moves away the books that he has piled up on that table with one fluid hand and at the mention of Gentian Quicksilver, his features convulse into a mixture of amusement and quite lateral disgust.

Only when his expression become composed and that the table is clean of stationery and books, does Israfel offer up an opinion and speak, his voice set grave, "The refugee leader is
not a person either you or I should trust, Tari."

"The hobbits cornered an Aerandir merchant into apparently signing a weapons contract with them and I have news that the very same Gentian has contacted the Aerandir Speaker and tricked her into helping the halflings."

The Elear finishes with a breath drawn inwards. His light blue eyes settle on Annale momentarily before another insight is thrown outwards to her. "I do not doubt that the creature these hobbits are afraid of is real. But they could just as easily use it as an excuse to amass sufficient power to do something unappreciated."

Annale smirks, clearly agreeing with Israfel's assessment, "She is a hasty woman, and has inspired a great deal of fear in her followers. She said something, though, that troubles me. She said that the 'creature' could change into whomever it had consumed."

"If that's the case, what assurance have we that the hobbits are all hobbits?" She rests both hands on the table, one atop the other and shifts in her chair, as though getting comfortable, "I do not enjoy that these 'refugees' seek arms upon our soil. Or that they have little regard for our land. But, I do not believe that sending them away is a necessarily wise action. What if you are right, and they are looking to amass power? And what if they are controlling the creature?"

The Elear's head tilts a little in thought, his sights lifting to scour the ceiling of the library, and his ivory-dressed shoulders shrug just barely. "They seem to be most taken with our land and our forests, Tari." He relinquishes another opinion once Annale has finished with hers, and his head droops back down; one pale eyebrow arching deductively.

"I would not be surprised they are carting out our resources under our noses while telling us this insane story of a hobbit-eating monster." At this point, he shakes his head as well; taking note of what the Tari mentions regarding sending the halflings away.

"We should not let them have notion that we are no longer welcoming of their presence." His hands move to rest themselves on the table as well, fingers tapping imperceptibly on the polished wooden surface. "This may rouse them to violence; we do not need a repeat of Vermicio. But."

"Is there something /you/ would like to do?" He asks now, levelling his gaze with Annale's own, the question holding itself in depth and meaning.

Annale watches Israfel patiently as he sifts through notions and ideas, remaining perfectly impassive at the mention of Vermicio. "The Elves have seen enough violence for this century. And next." She sighs, collecting her thoughts, "I want to keep a much closer eye on our guests. I have doubled patrols on, and around, the Island. But I fear that may simply not be enough." She pauses again, still maintaining eye contact with the Elear, "The hobbits have requested your aid, specifically." Her words are poignant, clearly showing that she distrusts the hobbits motives, especially with regards to the current conversation.

"I am not surprised that they asked to speak with me. The hobbits are weak when it comes to magic and spells." The Elear muses,leaning back against his chair and crumpling his robes with thatmotion. "At most, they would ask us to help them as well, to get rid of this creature. And if these hobbits are true to their words — once the creature is dead, they will go home."

Annale says, 'And if they are not true to their word?'

"Then shall we give them a reason to leave our lands then, Tari?" The Elear shifts a little in his chair, leaning forward, his hands coming together to link fingers, a faint smile on his face now. "Since they have requested the aid of our sea cousins, naturally that burden of taking care of these halflings would be Uelma Ashandra's issue now. If Gentian Quicksilver is bothered about such things, she may be embarassed enough to leave."

"As for whether these hobbits are controlling the creature, Tari." Israfel continues, his voice returning to its grave undertone. "If you have not heard the news from T'man, it appears that the Olog'hai has suffered the same fate as the halflings."

Annale leans forward, her blood-red hair tumbling over her shoulder and spilling onto the table, "I do not want the Elves to appear as though we are removing our offer of refuge. But, if Gentian is
controlling the creature, it makes sense for her to have sent it upon another nation, to leave enough of the Shire for the Hobbits to return to, if they are trying to amass power." She shakes her head slightly, as though doing so would end the circular pattern of suspicion her thoughts were undergoing.

"It is more complex than we think, Tari. if it is their plot, these hobbits; it seems they have gotten the gnomes involved as well — by blaming the coming of the creature on the gnomes." His lips
part barely, drawing in another breath, seemingly habitual when it comes to such discussions or perhaps distracted slightly by Annale's own bothered expressions.

"If I am not wrong. The Shire and T'man are close to each other, just like us and the Uruk'hai of Oppalinoc. It does not make sense since we are so far away to the north and yet Gentian Quicksilver can control a creature such leagues away with no magical means."

Annale leans back in her chair, her lips drawn in a thin line as she considers Israfel's words. They seemed far more likely than not, and she wasn't inclined to chase a wild goose theory when there was no evidence. "So we help the hobbits, so that they may return to their homes expediently. If you are willing, I would like either yourself, or someone from the Circle of Magi to see what form of aid the Halflings are hoping to get from our magic users."

The Elear glances barely at the tumble of Annale's crimson strands that has earlier spilled and curled itself onto the surface of the table, his eyes lidding to a closed composure. Then he offers his agreement with a single nod of his head.

"I do not trust them as much as you do, Tari. Offering this aid would only gain us a political advantage as you see, a form of compensation for… Vermicio." Again, he draws the Doom Lord as an example; his gaze rises to hold Annale in sight once more — seemingly as if every mention of Vermicio is planned as a test for her.

"We are safe this far north — but I expect the creature to move either further east towards Eldestra or southwards to Qetag's Reach." The Elear stands up, pushing his chair back with a soft scratching sound over the flooring. "I will send a missive to inform both the Elohai and the Dwarves. And I will fulfil what you have asked me of."

Annale meets his gaze, once again, with perfect impassivity, watching as he rises. "The Dwarves may not believe you. But, it would be well to warn them." Standing, she looks about the library aimlessly, "It is not that I trust the hobbits, it is that I trust the Elves to protect themselves. And I hope, that with the meagre knowledge of the halflings, we may, at the very least, ward ourselves from the creature, if not defeat it entirely. Let me know what you learn."

With that, she turns towards the door and leaves the library, leaving her chair untucked from the table.

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