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Old 12-29-2003, 11:55 AM   #27
piosenniel
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Pio's post - Piosenniel

And it would comfort me as well if I knew all was proceeding smoothly.

Pio’s grey eyes darkened for a moment, then flicked to where Avarlond had nodded. An expectant pair of large blue eyes looked quickly away from where she stood with Airefalas’ brother, the long ash blond hair falling forward like a veil to cover the crimson staining her fair cheeks. ‘One does not wish to appear to be too eager,’ she remembered her sister-in-law instructing her when first she came to live in Gondor. ‘Society does not favor the woman who cannot temper her emotions. It is not convention to be so forthcoming.’

Isabel appeared the very model of frail womanhood – a well-crafted air of vulnerability, innocence, and powerlessness was about her. A half smile appeared for only a second on Pio’s face as she wondered if that same steel backbone she had seen in other ladies of Gondor held the young woman’s figure so ramrod straight. Perhaps when the Lonely Star returned she would meet the First Mate’s intended one.

For now, she held her gaze on Avarlond. ‘It has only been two weeks since the Star went south; there has not been time to hear back yet from Umbar. We estimate that it will take at the very least five weeks to complete the trading mission and return. Though, since it is a new area for trade being opened for Gondor, it will most likely take a number of weeks longer to secure the contracts.’ She wrinkled her brow at him. ‘But then you must know that, being a merchant yourself.’

Pio looked briefly toward the two ladies at the table, their heads bent together in hushed conversation. ‘Tell her that there have been no ill tidings from the south. The mission is less than half done by the Captain’s schedule, and I expect the Ship and all its crew to return safely in three or four weeks time, and with their pockets well lined with the riches of the Southlands.’ Isabel glanced toward them for a moment, then turned away again. ‘And tell her I will send word to you if I do receive news from the Star.’

Like little leaves caught in a sudden breeze, Isilmir, Gilwen, and little Cami came racing up to surround their mother. ‘The story is finished, ammë! And Odrin has promised us another when we see him again.’ Isilmir’s eyes were alight with images of closely fought battles, and Gilwen gave out with a Dwarven battle cry she had just mastered. Cami, not one for tales of well fought battles, was already thinking about how the Dwarf had promised a story of the great Wyrm who had stolen his people’s gold. ‘A clever Wyrm,’ Fastred had chimed in, ‘but not clever enough to outwit a Hobbit.’

‘You will excuse us, Master Avarlond,’ laughed Pio as the children clamored for her attention. ‘It is time for us to be heading home now. Dreams of glorious battles . . . and dragons, if I have the right of it,’ she said winking at her youngest daughter, ‘await my little crew.’ She reached out and touched him lightly on the arm. ‘I will send word when word comes to me.’

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

In the flurry of capes being put on and good-byes said, Cami seized the opportunity to visit the old fellow once more. She tugged at his sleeve as he sat at his table drinking the last of his wine. ‘Ammë said that you were leaving soon. If you see my atar will you tell him to remember his promise to me?’ Aiwendil smiled fondly at the little one and nodded his head ‘yes’, chuckling a bit. ‘How small and safe a world she moves in,’ he murmured.

‘Yes, kept safe like other small creatures by the hands and eyes and wisdom of those about her . . . at least for now, and as we can,’ rejoined Pio, as if he had addressed her. She fastened Cami’s cloak about her and pushed the curls back from her brow. Gilwen leaned patiently on the back of an empty chair, watching the slender fingers of Aiwendil’s companion draw lines in the beaded perspiration on the ale mug’s sides. Her eyes considered his face next, and his dark brown eyes. Light from the small lantern above the table caught the small stud in his ear as he turned his head to look out the window. The light from the window threw his features into relief. Gilwen frowned at the image, and prodded her brother who had come to stand hear her. ‘Don’t we know him?’ she asked, prompting Isilmir to look closely at the man.

His answer was cut off as Pio said good-bye a last time to Aiwendil and herded the three out the door and to their waiting mounts. In the ride home and the recounting of Odrin’s stories, amidst the plans for honeycakes and Baran's visit, the question was forgotten.

Last edited by piosenniel; 04-07-2004 at 11:50 AM.
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