Elmö, Equerry to Xenograg
It has been a week since Xenograg and Elmö confirmed that Eldicor is indeed gone from Rhydin. Elmö has been familiarizing himself with Rhydin City, including the Red Dragon Inn. Today, he knocks on the door to Xenograg’s study. Xenograg has been expecting this conversation.
“Need something, Elmö?”
“Yes, My Lord.” Xenograg gets up from his small desk and crosses the room to his chair. He gestures to the sofa.
“Thank you,” Elmö says as he sits. Xenograg waits for him to start.
“With Eldicor gone, I no longer have a source of income.”
“I, too. While Eldicor was not my only source, it was my largest. But I digress. You were saying.”
“Even living here rent-free, I will soon run out of money.”
“How did you find adventuring?”
“Much less appealing than expected. Disgusting, even.”
“So. You are a landless warrior of some experience, and proven in battle. The usual options are vassalage or employment, possibly as a junior officer.”
“Not necessarily. Are you familiar with the term, ‘security work’?”
“Somewhat. Guarding things, places, or people.”
“Yes, but there can be more than that. Threat assessment, for example.” Xenograg lets Elmö sit and think. After a few minutes, Elmö sighs.
“I left Eldicor because I wanted something different than the traditional role set for me. I quickly found Rhydin too different, and decided to return home and embrace tradition. Now, that is denied me.”
“You have only seen part of Rhydin. There are other parts that will look familiar enough to be acceptable.”
“Perhaps, but it will never be able to walk away, home, if I ever tire of it.”
“No. I am sorry.” Xenograg lets silence fall. He watches Elmö for the right moment to take control of the conversation.
“Serving your family would have been a kind of vassalage, correct?” Elmö nods. “So would have serving the Queen. Or serving me.” Elmö is now focused upon Xenograg’s every word.
“Let me speak plainly,” Xenograg continues. “I know your worth, and could make great use of you.”
“In what capacity?”
“You have come at a very opportune time, Elmö. I recently divested myself of the bulk of my retinue. Now I need to rebuild it.”
“Perhaps more than that.” Elmö cocks his head slightly. “Think on this: I am a baron, far from home. I have only a few guards, a groom, and a housekeeper.” Elmö quickly processes the information.
“You do have a problem.” Xenograg smiles.
“What is my most immediate need?” Elmö blinks, but immediately knows he knows the answer.
“I agree.” Still smiling, Xenograg waits for Elmö to understand. The Eldar’s eyes widen, and he begins to smile. Then he catches himself, and assumes a wary demeanor.
“What are your terms?” Xenograg grins at the astute question.
“Room and board equal to my own. Replacement of all arms currently missing or damaged. A stipend.”
“How much?” Xenograg’s offer is generous enough to dispense with any need to haggle.
“Everything concerning my personal needs. The household here is currently managed by the captain of the guard. You will take over that.”
“Is either senior to the other?”
“No, equals. So you accept?” Elmö stands.
“I accept.” Xenograg also stands.
“Then give me your sword.”
“Its blade is broken.”
“Indeed? I will replace it, as agreed. Give me your broken sword.” Elmö draws his sword which is missing about a third of its length. He kneels before holding it across his palms out to Xenograg. Xenograg takes it in his palms. He holds it for a long moment before reverently laying it down on the sofa. Xenograg then draws his own sword. Elmö is surprised as Xenograg touches him upon the shoulder with the blade while clearly speaking the Sindarin rite of knighthood.
“I accept your fealty. I give you my trust in return.” Xenograg lays his own sword across his palms. “As proof of this, I bestow upon you my sword.” Elmö almost rises to his feet in shock before catching himself.
“My Lord! This is Nartelemna!”
“It is. The last Eldicorean sword should be borne by the last Eldicorean.”
“I am not worthy.”
“Then you have something to strive for: to become so.”
“Yes, My Lord,” vows Elmö as he takes Nartelemna into his hands.
“Then rise, Sir Elmö.” He does so. “My people have a tradition. The bearer of a renown weapon takes its name as his own. If you wish, you are now Nartelemna.”