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Old 06-30-2006, 09:09 AM   #721
mark12_30
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White Tree

Breakfast was bread and tea with cheese. Mellondu was silent, and his red eyes told the family what kind of night he had spent. No one spoke much during the meal.

After the meal, Mother drew Mellondu aside once more, and softly asked how he had slept. He shook his head.

"You are still angry with the elven king, " she said.

He nodded, and Mother sighed. There was a long silence before Mother spoke again.

"What if the tables had been turned?" Mother replied. "What if you had been ordered to forsake all your own loves so that an elf could live? Would you have done so?"

"Is that not what Erebemlin is asking me to do now?" Mellondu answered bitterly.

Mother hesitated.

"You are taking the elf-king's side against your own daughter, " Mellondu said.

"Not so, " said Father. "You fail to see who it was that wronged Mellonin. Let us say I order you to remain in the city. If I threaten to kill the elf unless you obey me, where is the evil? With you? With the elf? Or with the one who threatens to kill?"

"But I could save the elf if I obey you, " Mellondu countered.

"I could save the elf and you by honoring the will of each. No, son, the evil lies with the tyrant who forces the choice."

"Small comfort if the other dies, " spat Mellondu through gritted teeth.

"And that, " said Father, "is why we must fight evil. Do you not see? Many have died needlessly because evil held sway. Lay the blame where it belongs: with the servants of evil, not with those who strive against them."

"And if Mellonin had died because of Amroth's refusal?"

Father's face was like stone. "Then Tharonwe's evil would have earned my vengeance."

"After you buried your daughter, " said Mellondu.

"Enough, " said Father. "The evil one, this Tharonwe, is now captive, and no doubt his mischeif is at an end. Mellonin will be safe at home, while you are roaming we know not where to serve these elves. I must now hope that I will not have to bury you." Father came face to face with Mellondu and spoke quietly. "You began this. I blame you not for desiring adventure; many do. But now you have it; finish what you have begun. Leave your sister safe at home, go, and earn your freedom from the elves." Father's face softened. "And then I hope that you will also come safely home."

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Old 07-04-2006, 04:17 PM   #722
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The streets of Minas Tirith were busy with its people preparing for the new day. The air was calm and cool, while the bright sun showed promise of warming the cheeks and raising the spirit. Two silver haired men stood outside a small wooden house. One of the men swept the walkway that led from his door to the narrow street, while the other scratched his straggling beard and gave his sagacious opinion on the goings on of the city. “Mark my word, Mayhew, that old Willheim will have to pay a mighty dowry to marry off that girl now.”

Mayhew nodded sagely and, leaning on his broom, opened his mouth to reply, but no words came. For at that moment, three tall and graceful beings stepped from the bustling street and walked toward the men.

“Pardon, kind sirs,” the smallest of the golden haired elves stepped forward. “Can you tell us where we might find a guard of the city?”

Mayhew’s eyes widened as he gazed into the faces of the three elves. He awkwardly bowed and dropped his broom, resulting in a startlingly loud clank. As he fumbled to pick it up, he replied, “Why yes, Master Elf --Elves, sirs. You will find Maladan at the second gate. Just take this roa…”

“Nay, Mayhew, you forget,” the other man pulled himself up to his full stature and addressed the elves. “Maladan will not be at his station until after the dinner bell today. Erugil is on duty this morning.”

“Yes, I remember now,” Mayhew scratched his head and looked back to the elves. “Erugil has just been assigned to watch the gate, before that he…”

The tallest of the elves cleared his throat.

“Oh, yes,” Mayhew coughed nervously. “That small street right over there, across from Miriel.”

The other man stepped up and interrupted. “That would be her unloading the apples from Aeridil‘s, that is, her father‘s, cart. He brings his goods into the city every…”

Again, the tall elf cleared his throat.

Mayhew threw his companion a sharp glance then pasted a smile onto his face. “If you follow that street, sirs, you will come just south of the gate.”

“We thank you, sir,” the smallest elf nodded to the men and joined the tall one as they began to walk toward the street.

“Yes, thank you both,” the third elf raised one of his eyebrows and slyly grinned. “May the wind continue to pour from your mouths.” Bowing, the elf joined the other two.

“Thank…” Mayhew began but stopped short as he considered what the last elf said. “What did he mean by that?”

The other man scratched his beard and shrugged.

~*~*~
The sun was well over the lower wall when Erebemlin arrived at the second gate with Taitheneb and Tharonwe. A young man dressed in a uniform, bearing the symbols of the new king, stood beside the large gate. “What may I do for you, Master Elf?” the guard asked as Erebemlin stepped forward.

“We desire counsel with King Elessar. Will you take us to him?”

The young guard looked curiously around the tall elf at the other two immortals and then returned his gaze to Erebemlin. “Please, excuse me, I will return with an answer to your request in just a moment.” The guard disappeared through a door on the right and muffled voices could be heard.

An older man walked through the small door and greeted the elves. Erebemlin introduced his companions and himself. The guard instructed the elves to follow him. Erebemlin nodded and the trio followed the guard throughout the city until they arrived at the highest level where the white tower stood. Erebemlin eyed Tharonwe closely. The swamp elf had come along too easily, knowing he would be handed over to the king.

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Old 07-05-2006, 02:41 PM   #723
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A realm as great as Gondor entails a correspondingly large amount of men and time to run it, efficiently and smoothly, to ensure communication between its far-flung peoples and to uphold the law amongst them, but ultimately all power and authority traces itself back to Minas Tirith, and to the King dwelling therein.

Elessar Telcontar, Heir of Elendil, and High King of Gondor and Arnor, was that apex of power. Though he had his steward, and his vassals, and his army, and all manner of servants, things had the tendency, when important, or unusual, or troublesome, to get sent straight to the throne.

And so it was that when Erugil, Captain of the garrison of the second gate, was met by three of the Eldar, wishing to see the King, he did not think first that perhaps some other might be better able to deal with the issue, but did as they bid, and went straight to the King.

Erebemlin, March-warden of Lórien, had beheld Elessar before, during the War of the Ring and earlier, and Taitheneb had been with him, but Tharonwë the Swamp-Elf had not.

Tharonwë had good reason to be impressed by the King. This was the foster-son of Elrond, the descendent of Lúthien Tinúviel, a Númenorean of full stature. And beside him sat his queen, Arwen Undómiel.

"Hail, my guests from the North," Elessar addressed the Eldar, rising from his seat to incline his head respectfully.

Hail indeed, a strange voice echoed in his mind. Beside him, Elessar saw Arwen's eyes dart to one of the Elves.

"The bond of friendship between my people and yours has grown in recent years, but visits from our Elven friends are few. What brings the Marchwardens of Lórien to Minas Anor?"

One is not a marchwarden, the mind of the queen gave him warning. His mind is closed, and I sense a darkness about him or about his past.

Elessar half-turned to give his queen a confidant, knowing smile. I know, she could read in his expression.

You are a knowledgeable man the Elf told him. Few differentiate between one Elf and another.

Few have been raised in Imladris, Elessar replied.

Then you will know that not all Elves are to be trusted.

From the glances that the two Marchwardens exchanged, it was clear to Elessar that he was conversing with the third Elf.

"Lord King," Erebemlin inclined his head slightly. "I am, as you say, a Marchwarden of Lórien. Erebemlin Silmaethor, I am called. This is my fellow Marchwarden, Taitheneb. This Elf," he gestured at Tharonwë and scowled slightly, "calls himself Maegeleb, and is the reason I am here."

This will be an interesting tale, I suspect, Arwen's amusement plain in Aragorn's thoughts. A twitch in his cheek and a twinkle in his eye suggested that he shared her sentiment.

"If there is a difficulty in which I may assist, then I encourage you to state your case," Elessar addressed the Elves.

"Our difficulty is simple," said Erebemlin. "This Maegeleb has been harassing and endangering the subjects of your realm. We wish to remand him to your custody."

And I wish to be set free, the Elf's voice echoed again, clearly coming from the Swamp-Elf Maegeleb. Do not trust all that these self-righteous Marchwardens say! Their vision is narrow. Maegeleb's thought bore the weight of... something. Desperation, maybe? Intensity? Truth? Beside him, Arwen eye's bored into Maegeleb.

Elessar leaned forward towards the Elves.

"Explain, if you would."

"Together with Taitheneb here, and a number of companions of your race, we were travelling through the swamps about the mouth of the Entwash," Erebemlin began to explain. "This Maegeleb dwelt there, and kept a number of fell servants. He attacked our company, taking our womenfolk prisoner. One of our company perished. He attempted to use the power of his mind to coerce and endanger us, and succeeding in kidnapping one of our number. He returned and surrendered himself to us, but we wish to be rid of him, and to see him punished for his misdeeds."

"Is this the truth?" Elessar spoke directly to Tharonwë, making eye contact. The Swamp-Elf stared back at him, attempting to look unafraid, yet humble; osanwë projecting a emotion of strong truth at the King.

"Silmaethor leaves out all the details, and gives a biased account," he told the King, "but it is correct insofar as it goes." Yet there is more to be said that I would say, were I permitted to speak alone!

My husband shall do as he desires, Arwen cut in coldly. Desist! Tharonwë's mind fell silent, respectful of the Queen's wishes.

Elessar glanced wryly at Arwen, questioning.

There is a darkness to him, her mind impressed upon him again, her mouth set with a hint of petulant concern. He may be more dangerous than he seems, she warned him. Elessar nodded slowly.

"I desire to know a good deal more," Elessar turned to Erebemlin again. "I do not doubt the truth of what you speak, but there is more to be told. Why were you travelling in the lands of Men? Who are these companions of whom you speak? Why were they with you? And I should like an fuller accounting of the events in swamp. What you have said has the ring of truth, but it seems but the barest account. If I am to deal with Maegeleb, I must know what bone of contention lay between you."

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Old 07-07-2006, 07:35 PM   #724
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An Elf Princess married to a Man. It made Maegeleb's bile rise. Until he saw King Elessar. His hair bore streaks of grey, which suggested an Elven Lord many thousands of years of age. His mien was kingly like the Númenoreans of old. This was a very son of Elros Tar Minyatar. Maegeleb was impressed. Nevertheless, he was still a Man, and though his wife and others had apparently familiarized him with the ways and means of Osanwë, he did not have the use of it himself.

She did. He feared her. Wisdom was in her eyes. He could feel the gossamer net of her probings upon the edges of his mind. He dared not open, or all would be lost in a moment! There would be no hiding from these two. Maybe taken one at a time he could have stood a chance, but united they were fearsome as Elwë Thingolo and Melian of old.

His off-hand purpose to probe the king would have to be discarded; he had not counted on so formidable a wife. His original purpose, however, could most certainly be achieved. His crimes were heinous, he knew. He had concluded quite early in this interview that he would of necessity confess his crimes with all the remorse he could bring to bear, and express willingness to pay his debt in some way. But he knew that these two, or at least she, would see through any shallow playact. It would be necessary to see his own deeds as would Thranduil, Elrond, and all those others who did not really understand the torment he had endured.

Maegeleb stopped and took notice. Just then a fissure, 'infinitessimal' as Roy Edwards would say, had revealed itself, a crack in the mental defenses of these two: Arwen Undomiel was the daughter of Elrond, who had gone over Sea. She had chosen this Man instead of Immortality; and it was a pain to her. He would find some way, most subtle, to both prick and suage that wound at once, so as to seem compassionate. It would have to be done most carefully, and the benefits of such a ploy ... what would they be? Why, a failure of animosity between the Queen and himself. Not friendship; that he would not ask, but if played right, he could turn her sympathy to him, for after all, were not their plights somewhat akin?

But he said naught of it for now, biding his time. Let the younglings of Lorien speak first, play out all their cards while he held his back, waiting, biding.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:17 PM   #725
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Erebemlin inhaled deeply and glanced at the swamp elf before turning back to King Elessar and beginning. “My lord, it is nigh on one week since my companions and I entered the swamp to seek for the young women who had vanished from our company. What we found was this elf and his Merlock servants. He held the women captive and proceeded to wound one before our eyes while threatening to kill her. The others his filthy servants brought forth, and they had begun already to devour one young girl who came from this very city. Alas, she was lost to us.”

Erebemlin paused to let this news settle. Taitheneb lowered his eyes, and the king furrowed his brows, motioning for the elf to continue.

“A member of our company, young Raefindan, a Man of the north, handed himself over to the beasts in return of the safety of the remaining young women. Tharonwë then fled south with the man. We tracked them for two days, until on the evening of the third night, the pair, elf and man, returned to us. Afterward, we continued our course to the south, to the Pelennor Fields, and finally, bringing him to the great gates of the city and to you, for we are far from our realm and wish to be rid of his presence.”

Elessar leaned forward, concern and curiosity written in his brow. “You have answered one of my questions, Erebemlin, but you have only mentioned one of your companions, this man from the north. Who are the others, and how did it come to pass that you are companions?”

Erebemlin did not answer immediately for how was he to explain this strange quest and how his king returned to him in the body of a young Gondorian blacksmith. “It is a strange tale, my lord,” the elf spoke slowly. “For I do not understand all of it myself.”

King Elessar glanced at the elegant Queen and sat back in his throne. “I would have you tell it regardless.”

“It was two weeks and two days into Rhîw that I had two visitors that came unlooked-for to my home in Lorien, the fair. Both were humans, young men. The first was a wayfaring boy, wild but loyal to the other. The second…” Erebemlin paused and glanced at Taitheneb who reassured him with a nod. “The second appeared to be a young man of Gondor, but he claimed to be…the Lord Amroth.”

The king raised his eyebrows and Erebemlin saw a small smile of amusement play across the Queen’s face. “He claimed to be Amroth? Amroth, King of old, who was lost at sea?”

Erebemlin’s face remained unmoved as though his features were carved from stone. “Yes, my lord.” The elf lowered his voice and continued. “What is stranger still is that I looked into his eyes and touched his mind…and saw that it was so.”

Elessar ran his hand over his beard, smoothing it thoughtfully. "This is strange news indeed." His voice was low as if half speaking to hmself and he spoke slowy. Erebemlin watched the king turn to his queen and it appeared that something passed between them, but the Lorien elf was not so brazen as to attempt to touch either of their minds. After a few moments passed, Elessar returned his eyes to the tall elf. "Please, friend, continue."

Erebemlin told the king and queen all that had happened from the day Amroth came to him until that very morning. When his tale was complete, Erebemlin watched as Elessar and Queen Arwen appeared to hold silent counsel.

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Old 07-16-2006, 09:31 AM   #726
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As the sun rose further into mid-morning in Minas Tirith, Bellyn would not be found in the Seventh Star. She left after picking at her breakfast meal, and she walked down past the fourth gate of the city, into the second tier of Minas Tirith. Bellyn knew what she was looking for, but the memories of the streets mixed and blurred in her mind, and she lost her way twice before reaching her destination.

Before her stood a wooden house, slightly dilapidated but in better condition than most of the homes that Bellyn had seen since arriving in Minas Tirith. It looked small, but in Bellyn’s memories it had perfectly fit three people; two loving parents, one small child. Now it only sheltered two.

Bellyn walked up to the door. She knocked. Her heart pounded, a loud drumming in her ears, as she heard light footsteps approaching the door. As it opened, Bellyn had to readjust her line of sight, for the person answering the knock could not have been taller than four feet.

“Hello?” The little boy questioned, his wide eyes matching the mahogany brown of his hair. Bellyn bit her lip; he looked so much like his father. He would not have recognized her, Bellyn knew it. She had left so long ago, when the boy had been less than a year old.

“Hello, my name is…” Bellyn’s voice trailed off as a second set of footsteps could be heard. “Rosa…”

“Oh my,” the voice was vaguely familiar. The woman now standing in the doorway let her hand fly to her mouth as she gasped. She then threw her arms out and enveloped Bellyn in a tight embrace. “Dear Bella, it has been so long! Come in, come in! Oh my! Bella! You have grown up!”

Bellyn followed Rosa into her home, and the little boy, Hallas, followed quietly. The house was smaller than Bellyn had remembered it, but then again, Bellyn was six years older than the last time she had been inside. Rosa led Bellyn to a seat at a large table in the front room, where it appeared that Hallas had still been eating a late breakfast. Rosa looked at Bellyn again, teary-eyed.

“You look just like…” Rosa sniffed, thinking of her late husband.

“It has been too long, Rosa,” Bellyn wanted to cry, she felt so overwhelmed. It had been one thing to enter Minas Tirith, to see all the sights, but quite another to see the family of her deceased oldest brother. “But everything looks the same.”

“How did you get here, Bella?” Rosa inquired, trying to busy herself by tidying up the dining table. “You still live in Rohan? Where is your father? What of your brother?”

“Father is out, mapping. He always is. You know that,” Bellyn replied. Rosa poured Bellyn a glass of water. Bellyn sipped before continuing her story. “Calen is still in Edoras.”

“Then how did you get here?” Rosa asked once more. Hallas had stopped eating, and instead stared intently at Bellyn. Bellyn ignored his gaze. He looked too much like his father.

“I met a man named Liornung. We followed a man named Ædegard, who was, in turn, following a crazy blacksmith who believed he was Amroth. Indeed, though, Mellondu is Amroth! Then we met Elves. We rode closer and closer to Gondor, searching for Amroth’s lost love. Then we somehow met up with Mellondu’s sister and a band of rangers and thieves,” Bellyn chose not to tell Rosa about the run-in with the dark elf of the swamps, but instead skipped forward in the story. “And here we are, still searching for Nimrodel.”

Rosa gaped at Bellyn. Hallas laughed.

"That is quite the story, Bella," Rosa scoffed.

"No, it is true!"

“True? An unmarried woman? Traveling with a band of men?” Rosa shook her head. “It is a good thing you are home, Bella. We have room here, you can stay until we get word to Calen to come take you home.”

“What?” It was Bellyn’s turn to shake her head. “I have to go on! I cannot stay here, Rosa, you know why. There are too many memories here. I need to go with them, and help Amroth.”

“What could you do to help? Bella, we cannot have you traveling with a group of men, it is not done. You can stay with us,” Rosa was adamant. Bellyn stood from her seat and walked around the table to where Rosa stood. She embraced Rosa and then kissed Hallas on the forehead before moving to the door.

“I will see you again,” Bellyn said before leaving the home of her brother’s wife. She walked quickly away from the house.

She passed the third and fourth gates once more, through the winding streets until she had once again found the Seventh Star Inn. She saw Liornung…she saw Leafa and Ædegard…she saw Nethwador.

“Three days truly is too long,” murmured Ædegard, just as Bellyn walked in.

“Did you see your sister?” Liornung asked in a low voice, and Bellyn nodded with a faint smile as she sat next to him.

“I am ready to leave, as well,” Bellyn agreed with Ædegard, who looked at her questioningly.

“Bellyn, you are in a safe place now,” said Ædegard, sitting next to Leafa. “You should stay here, where you can stay safe.”

“You could stay with your sister,” Liornung added.

Bellyn’s brows furrowed. They had traveled this far, and now they planned to leave her behind? They sounded just like Rosa.

“You want to leave me behind as well,” Bellyn murmured. “Because I am a lady. You have so much loyalty to help Amroth, but no loyalty to the women who have traveled so far with you? What about Leafa?”

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Old 07-16-2006, 02:12 PM   #727
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Ædegard

Indeed, what about Leafa? He looked into her eyes, drinking in the loveliness of her. She smiled a little back to him, but there was questioning in her eyes. She was as much a lady as was Bellyn. He did not want to leave her, but the quest still called, for Mellondu had said as much. So she must stay. Still, Raefindan had helped to open a whole new way to Ædegard's thinking by suggesting that he ask Leafa what she thought of a matter instead of making all choices and telling her afterward; when he had done so, he had found more reason to love her than before, for she was as wise as winsome! But some things did not change. Women should not be brought into the wild to face danger without cause. Surely there was guard enough in himself and the other men, but that overlooked the main thing. And the main thing was that unmarried lasses did not go adventuring with unmarried lads without older men and women to watch over them.

"Leafa will stay behind, I think, for there is none calls herself Leafa's guardian to watch her into the wilds. What say you, Raefindan?"

Raefindan

Raefindan shook his head, which felt cobwebby with all these old notions that he had only read of in history books. Still, there were no police in town after town to see to the law, so he could see why they would think the way they did.

"I admit that I am unfamiliar with these ways you speak of, though I've read about them. It is in my nature to ask for the thought of those who will be affected by these decisions we make for them. I think we owe their loyalty that much, even if the matter is settled." He looked from face to face. "Um, is it? Settled, I mean?"
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Old 07-16-2006, 08:34 PM   #728
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Amroth returned? Can such things be? Elessar considered the story of the Elf before him, and the slight, ever so slight, gape in his wife's expression suggested that she too found it an incredible tale- hardly one to be believed.

Yet Erebemlin spoke with the ring of truth. There was no deceit in him that Elessar could sense, no trace of falsehood in his movement or in his face. Even were it not true, he felt it to be true, and Elessar believed the Elf in front of him to be formidable enough in intellect and memory not to be so deceived.

And who, indeed, would invent such a tale?

Glancing at Arwen for agreement, Elessar put that matter from his mind. He had been asked to judge the case of Maegeleb- Tharonwë, Erebemlin had also called him. His duty as King was to bring justice to the Swamp-Elf, not to judge the validity of Amroth's return. Arwen nodded, barely. His decision was balanced.

"I do not doubt your word, good Marchwardens," Elessar addressed Erebemlin and Taitheneb. "Your testimony to the events in the Marshes I trust to be sure. But I cannot, in faith, sentence Maegeleb here without trial and full investigation. I shall, therefore, in light of your testimony, hold Maegeleb in the custody of Gondor until such time as I have collected all available facts concerning this matter, and may judge them in court. As justice dictates, I shall then sentence him to the punishment he deserves, or release him innocent of the crime."

Maegeleb nodded, his face unreadable, but a feeling of relief and gratitude directed at Elessar. Justice would be served.

Elessar beckoned one of the guardsmen who attended the throne, and had him call for others of his company to lead Tharonwë away to the prisons.

"I am sure that you wish to depart, and seek to reunite Amroth and Nimrodel as soon as may be," Elessar turned back to Erebemlin and Taitheneb, "but I would fain hear of your plans henceforth. What of this Mellondu? Amroth and he coexist, you say. Whither does he- or they- dwell now? And is he agreed to continue to help in this quest? For it seems to me that when Amroth is spoken of, Mellondu has been forgotten."
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Old 07-17-2006, 07:00 PM   #729
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Erebemlin studied the mortal king curiously. Could it be that this king of great renown and reputation was more concerned with the blacksmith than the great elven lord? Surely he was simply interested in what human had been chosen to house Amroth and ensuring that the quest would be continued. Surely.

The tall ellon began uncertainly, still attempting to discern Elessar’s intentions. “The young human lives in this city. I met with him in the home of his parents yesterday.”

Elessar nodded slowly. It seemed to Erebemlin that he appeared more interested after hearing Mellondu lived within his city’s walls. The king shifted his weight slightly in his seat and leaned on his elbow. “And during this meeting, did the boy agree to finish the quest?”

“Yes, he did, my lord.” Erebemlin paused and his eyes flashed as he began again. “The lord Amroth is still within him. I can feel his presence deep within, but I…” Stopping, the Lorien elf glanced at Tharonwë who had yet to be taken. Turning his eyes back, Arwen caught his gaze and he knew she felt his fear before he voiced it. “Lord Elessar, if I may, I would prefer to wait until the captive was lead away before I continue.”

Taitheneb caught Tharonwë’s eyes blaze and could feel his pleasure in sowing the doubt within the Silmaethor.

“I understand your concern,” Elessar spoke to Erebemlin but his eyes were on the swamp elf. “We will wait for the guards to arrive.” The king whispered something inaudible to his wife, and she nodded in reply. Facing the elves again, he stood and kindness shown in his eyes. “It is nearly time for the noon meal. It would be my pleasure if you would join us and we might discuss these matters in more detail.” Erebemlin and Taitheneb bowed in gratitude for the invitation.

At that moment, two guards entered the hall wearing the armour of the king. The first guard strode forward carrying binds. He reached toward the swamp elf, but Elessar stopped him. “I do not believe you will need those. Am I right, Maegeleb?”

The elf bowed his head slightly and replied, “I will go peacefully as I have nothing to hide.”

“So be it,” the king answered decisively.

The party watched as Tharonwë was lead from the hall with a guard on either side of him. Erebemlin cared not if the elf was bound. He knew the swamp elf’s dangerousness did not come from his physical prowess but the power of his mind. The Lorien elves could not help feeling relief when Tharonwë rounded the corner and was lost to sight.

“Now come,” Elessar held out his arms to show the elves the way to his dining hall. “Let us sit and talk.”
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Old 07-24-2006, 10:45 AM   #730
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White Tree Amroth

There were no shackles that bound him, so why could he not move? He could see nothing; feel nothing; hear nothing; touch nothing; smell--

His stomach churned. The smell-- a dusty smell of neglect, of mould, of lifeless rot.

In the darkness, he knew the silence that surrounded him; silence of stone rings, stone walls, stone circles, unmoving, unalive. All around him the dusty smell of age and decay wafted. Near, too near, was a sickly sweet smell-- death and more death. Tombs. The tombs of men; tombs of kings and soldiers and stewards; row upon row of rotting bodies lying in ring upon ring of stone.

He thought of the mounds of Rohan; simple mounds, in rows. Grass covered them; flowers grew upon them. Death within, but life without. No such green graced the stones that ringed him round. Heavy, heavy, weighing down his spirit even more than his body, the dull lifeless stone and the dust of age and decay stole even his breath. Soundlessly, he cried out. An answer touched the echo of his cry.

My lord, I am here.

Erebemlin!

Courage, my lord.

As quickly, the life-thoughts stilled. He sought them, reaching, grasping, groping. Stone closed ever closer round him. The dusty, mouldy smell of decay gave way to the sweet stench of rot, and he knew no more.

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Old 07-24-2006, 01:05 PM   #731
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Dinner cannot be but a sumptuous affair in the hall of the King of Gondor. Even the simplest of fares are prepared by the finest cooks in the realm. So though Elessar and his queen ate but a light, cold meal with their Elven guests the quality thereof was incomparable to any other meal of similar foods that they might have found elsewhere in Gondor.

The interest in the food and polite small talk pertaining to the weather and to news of Lórien and the state of affairs in Gondor occupied them until Elessar pushed his plate away from him, finished save but for a few crumbs, and addressed Erebemlin.

"You were speaking, before Maegeleb was taken away, of Amroth, and how he dwells in this Mellondu. I believe, though you will tell if it is in truth or not, that you were about to share some misgivings about his presence in Mellondu."

"You are correct, Lord King," said Erebemlin. "Amroth is more remote. More difficult for me to reach. During our quest, he was in near-complete control of things, but since our encounter with Tharonwë... well, I fear that he has been suppressed by Mellondu."

Elessar frowned, and glanced at Arwen. She gave him an unknowing, troubled look.

"I would meet with this Mellondu, if I may," he said, turning back to the Elves. "If he is native to this city, then he is a subject of mine, and I would meet the man who has befriended a long-dead Elvenking. And, possibly, I may help you draw your king out of the deep place Mellondu has cast him into- or at least help you to better understand why he is there."

"Mellondu is, as you say, your subject," said Erebemlin. "He is yours to command."

"As you are Amroth's." Elessar nodded. "But I would command him with love, and not power- as Amroth commands you. And, I presume, as you command this quest."

"Amroth commands this quest, Lord Elessar, not I," Erebemlin was quick to reply. "And in some cases there are no bonds of love on which to draw."

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Old 07-25-2006, 07:14 PM   #732
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“Settled?” Bellyn tried to keep her voice down. She stood from her seat and clenched her fists. She did not look like much of a lady worth protecting, letting a fit of anger take over her usually understanding disposition. “No, it is not settled! Liornung saw no harm in letting me go with him, nor did we hesitate to bring Leafa away from the wayfarers! If it is not proper…well…Erebemlin and Taitheneb are old enough to be guardians to ten or more girls our age! Not that they would want to…”

“Bella…” Liornung put his hand on Bellyn’s shoulder. Leafa sent a caring gaze Bellyn’s way. “No one wants to leave you and Leafa behind. But it is not right to take you both into danger.”

“What if we followed you?” Bellyn murmured, feeling defeated and tired of arguing. She knew that Liornung and Ædegard were right.

“We will come back,” said Ædegard, looking at Leafa with a reassuring glance while Bellyn sat down once more.

“I suppose Leafa could stay with me,” Bellyn folded her arms resignedly across her stomach. She slouched in the chair. “I am staying with my sister. We can wait, but for how long? We do not know how long you will be off, searching, following Amroth.”

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Old 07-25-2006, 08:03 PM   #733
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The Lorien elves bowed their heads to the king of Gondor, thanked him for his kindness, and departed the great hall. Elessar sent a guard of his tower with them as a guide in the city as they made their way to the blacksmith’s home. While they traveled, Erebemlin wondered if Elessar would be able to do as he said and possibly bring the elven king forth. The elf had more faith in the strength of the Queen for such a task. Yet, a mortal will understand another mortal better than I am able.

Taitheneb was sensitive his leader’s thoughts and was hopeful. “The king is wise, Silmaethor. Surely he will be able to reach the boy and persuade him to let Amroth free.”

Erebemlin did not respond immediately as he remembered the words of Marigold. Are they not his feet to follow his own path? The tall ellon lowered his voice, “The boy is filled with anger. I am afraid he will not relax his control for fear of the king’s power.”

Taitheneb nodded, his brow furrowed. “I wonder if he is able to let go of that control, and if he did…”

“What would the shape and fire of our king be?” Concern was written in the elder elf’s stern face. “Did you…” Erebemlin paused a moment, then began again. “Did you feel and hear the Lord Amroth while we were lunching?”

“Nay, mellon.” The younger elf’s eyes widened a bit with piqued interest. “What did you feel?”

Erebemlin remembered the despair in his king’s call and the darkness that overcame him. “It was as though his heart quailed.” Rubbing his forehead, Taitheneb could see the contact had been distressful for his elder. “I could smell death around him. The stench…and darkness…”

“My lord, why did you not speak up when you felt him?” Taitheneb was surprised Erebemlin would keep this to himself.

“What good would have come from telling the mortal king that I felt Lord Amroth descend into darkness?" Erebemlin began to raise his voice, then whispered through clenched teeth. "He would have just believed that Amroth had departed,” His eyes flashed with passion. “And I know he is still there.”

Taitheneb felt pity for the Silmaethor. He wanted to believe that Amroth would return, not for the sake of the quest, but to heal the heart of his friend and leader.

The elves walked in silence for the remainder of the journey down through the city until they, at last, reached the humble home of the blacksmith. Erebemlin strode forward and knocked on the small wooden door, then stepped back and waited for the inhabitants to answer.
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Old 07-27-2006, 09:34 AM   #734
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Nethwador

Nethwador glanced from Bella to Liornung to Ædegard, and back to Bella, and fervently wished Taitheneb had been there. Anger sparked in Bella's eyes, because of something Raefindan had said. That didn't make sense. Raefindan was kind and good, from all that Nethwador had seen and all that the elves had told him. That Raefindan had angered Bella puzzled him deeply. He didn't want to dislike Raefindan.

Perhaps it was not what Raefindan had said-- perhaps it was what Liornung had said. But Liornung was even kinder than Raefindan.

Perhaps it was Ædegard who had angered Bella.

Perhaps.

He sat very still, and gazed at Bella, waiting, and watching, and wishing again and again that Taitheneb would return.
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Old 07-27-2006, 09:49 AM   #735
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White Tree Mellondu and Mellonin

Father answered the door. Erebemlin's frame filled the door as he gave Father the King's message; the elf then bowed and said, "We will wait for you below." He bowed his head and departed.

When the door closed, Mellondu snorted. "Me. Me! Summoned to the presence of the King? Will that elf stop at nothing? Did I not agree to go with him on his mad quest? Why drag me to the citadel? Why involve the King? Does not the elf trust my word? Confound him! He has more regard for his horse than for a man!"

Mellonin paused at the door, hefting her bag to her shoulder. "I would sooner see the King, than Morien. You are lucky. Perhaps the Queen will be with him." Then she smiled. "For that, perhaps the Lady Estelyn will be at the Inn." She cheered visibly.

Mellondu growled, and paced like a wolf.

"Courage, son, " said Father.

Mellondu halted by the bedroom door, writhing within.

Mother paced softly to his side, and placed her hand on his arm. "You will find no rulers kinder than our King and Queen. Go with joy, son. Go with hope."

"He goes not alone, " replied Father, "for he was not summoned alone. The elf bid me come also."

Mellondu started and his face went white. Mellonin glanced at Mother, and nodded first at Mother, then at Father. Then she nodded at Mellondu. "Stop by the Inn afterwards, and tell me all! May the Valar shine on you." Just after the words left her mouth, she wondered if she had been wise to mention the Valar. Glancing again at her brother's fury, she turned and quickly departed.

Mellondu muttered through clenched teeth at the Valar. Father, straightening his tunic, said "Come. It will not do to keep the King waiting." He stretched his arm towards the door, and let his son lead the way.

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Old 07-28-2006, 08:26 PM   #736
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Outside their apartment, down the stairs, and into the street, they found Erebemlin and Taitheneb waiting a stone's throw from the building. Erebemlin looked impassive as usual; Taitheneb nodded a greeting to Father and to Mellondu. Father bowed his head to each elf, and they turned to walk up the street. Occasionally they caught sight of Mellonin until she turned aside at the door to The Seventh Star, with a wave and a smile.

As the four continued, winding their way up the city in midday, curious eyes followed them-- old man, young man, tall impassive elf, younger friendly elf.

Father tried to make some small conversation with the elves, learning from Taitheneb that many elves had sailed, and Lothlorien was growing quiet and sad. After that Taitheneb fell silent; but Mellondu suddenly turned to Erebemlin and spoke.

"Why involve the King in this? And why could I not be trusted to speak for myself? Did I not agree to join your quest? Did I not agree to serve you until you deem that my life debt is paid? Why did you do this?"

Erebemlin shook his head. "I did nothing. This desire came from the King, and not from me."

Mellondu halted, his jaw working. Such a thought had not crossed his mind.

"The King wants to see me?"

"Nay," said Erebemlin, "the King wants to see Amroth. Whether he gets his wish is yet to be seen."

The anger on Mellondu's face drained away, replaced by weary ire. "I see, " he said, but the edge had left his voice. Father's face was like flint. Erebemlin marched steadily along. Taitheneb's face was turned away. A few paces later, Father asked the elves some question about archery, but after that the group fell silent. It seemed to Mellondu that only moments passed before they were at the doors to the great hall.

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Old 08-01-2006, 03:36 PM   #737
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alak's post

Word came to the prisons of Minas Tirith that a new captive was approaching.
The event, in and of itself, was not surprising. The small cells were
often full with those who chose to break the peaceful laws of the city.
Those individuals were usually petty thieves or drunken brawlers who were
held until sober. What had piqued the interest of Iorgil, the young
watchman whose duty it was to guard the prison cells this day, was that the
messages told that an elf was being brought to the prisons. The young man
had seen the immortal folk from a distance and had been in the presence of
the Queen, on a rare occasion, but he felt a mixture of anxiety and
curiosity about being so close to one. And what could an elf possibly do to
earn himself lodging in the White City’s prisons? That is what perplexed
Iorgil more than anything else did. Were not elves virtuous and upright?

Footsteps could be heard in the corridor and the young guard rose from his
seat to watch the cell door open. The dark-haired elf slowly entered and
then the door shut with a loud clank. Iorgil’s eyes widened when he saw the
noble being. For that was how the elf appeared to the young man…noble. He
was tall with slender, regal features and smooth, white skin. Iorgil
stepped slowly down the hall toward the cell to obtain a better look. He
could only see the back of the elven figure as the elf was surveying his new
surroundings, bending and looking beneath the bedding. The elf stood and
turned toward the cell door and the young guard caught his breath. The
elf’s perfectly formed lips were curled up in disgust and nostrils were
flared. Iorgil watched the shining eyes before him flash when they landed
on him and a sickly sweet smile form across the fair elven face.
~*~*~*~
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Old 08-02-2006, 05:45 PM   #738
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Sickly sweet smile. Maegeleb quickly removed the expression from his face. This Iorgil was as readable as the largest sign posted on the greatest gate.

"So you are my jailer," Maegeleb intoned evenly, conveying just the right degree of nobility and benevolent disdain so as to communicate to this young man - very young man apparently - his comparable worth in the presence of an elf.

The young man nodded dumbly.

"Surely you have seen an elf before." You are in the presence of greatness.

"Yes, sir. I have seen the Queen."

"Of course." This elf before you is too great for your curiosity.

"Um, I must return to my duty."

"That you must." This elf cannot be guilty of whatever crime he is charged with!

There. Let those thoughts moulder and merge with the mullings of the young man. For now. That Roy Edwards' hypnotism, merged with osanwë, was a most effective means of achieving one's ends.
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Old 08-19-2006, 10:04 AM   #739
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Formendacil's post

The first thing Elessar noted about his young subject as Mellondu and his father entered with the two Elves, was that the young man seemed rather bitter. Arwen looked over at him, clearly concerned about the young man's state of mind. A tightness around the mouth suggested that she did not think him at all at ease. Whether she felt Amroth, Elessar could not tell. The two men bowed before the King.

"My lord," Mellondu's father said, with a sweep of his arm in his son's direction. "I have brought you my son, Fingon."

"Also called Mellondu," said Elessar, with a brisk nod. "I am pleased to have you and your son here. What is occuring now will make a famous man out of your son, if the minstrels hear his tale in days to come. Neither the Queen Arwen nor myself would have these matters pass us by unnoted."

Arwen smiled at Mellondu and his father. "Even Kings and Queens of the Edain desire to meet heroes and figures out of great tales."

"But as I am not just a spectator of your tale, but also your King," Elessar addressed Mellondu's father, "I must concern myself: is it your will that your son should accompany these Elves, and share his body with Amroth, in the fulfillment of his quest?"

"It is," said Mellondu's father, sombrely, "my son's honour requires it, and both he and I are men of dignity, though our status may be humble. Mellondu goes with my grace and of his own decision."

"Then I am satisfied," said Elessar. "And what of you, Mellondu?"

"I understand you desired to see Amroth, my lord," the young man's voice was tense, and maybe somewhat sullen.

"No Mellondu," Elessar rose, shaking his head. He strode down to stand in front of the young man. "No, I wished to see my subject who has given so much in friendship to a legendary Elvenking."

"There is friendship no more," Mellondu said bitterly. Behind him, Elessar could hear a russle as Arwen rose to join him.

"We have heard how Amroth placed your sister in danger," she said to him. "But can you not forgive him of the events that day? Your sister survived unharmed."

"I see only that Mellonin was endangered," said Mellondu, stubbornly. "And that Amroth betrayed my trust."

"We are not a court to render judgement on Amroth's actions," said Elessar. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Erebemlin stir slightly. The Elf had not expected him to side, perhaps, with Mellondu against Amroth. "But there are times when we must forgive those who have wronged us. Even if they have hurt us deeply."

"Why does any of this matter?" asked Mellondu. "Why do you care?"

"I am the King of Gondor," said Elessar. "This is not just a charge to rule the people, but to care for them. Tensions between you and Amroth can rip you apart, Mellondu. He is still in your mind, even if you wish it not. You continue to grant him lodging, but it would be better if you did it ungrudgingly. The mortal body was not meant to sustain the conflict of two minds."

"Nor is an immortal body," said Arwen, cryptically. "Amroth is in great turmoil. From you, Mellondu, for suppressing him. And from his own anguish, which is confused and I cannot read it. If Amroth and you are to both see a happy finish to this tale, it falls to you to lead the way. Amroth, even in control of himself, has not the ability to see beyond Nimrodel. Someone who can see further is needed."

"I cannot forgive him, my lady," said Mellondu. "Someone who cares so much should understand that I love my sister."

Elessar and Arwen glanced for a second at each other.

"If we cannot sway your mind, Mellondu, then I believe we are finished," Elessar addressed the boy. "I beseech you to consider the words of your Queen, and make peace with Amroth- even if Amroth doesn't deserve it. Even Manwë gave Morgoth mercy."

"Lord," said Erebemlin, "there is a matter of horses..."

~:~

The visitors departed with a grant of two additional mounts from the king. Mellondu's father was holding his arm, and whispering something to him. Erebemlin and Taitheneb wore faces of mixed confusion. That Elessar was more interested in Mellondu than Amroth had not crossed their minds, it seemed. As the guests departed from earshot, Elessar turned to Arwen.

"Is there any hope that Amroth can find Nimrodel?" he asked. "Can he be restored to peace?"

"In Mandos, mayhaps," said Arwen, "but it will not be a happy road for Mellondu, I deem. And it may not happen soon."

"The grace of the Valar go with them," Elessar looked down the now-empty hall. "And grant that they return at peace."
-----------------------------------------------
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littlemanpoet's post

The Elves, and the family of Mellondu and Mellonin had gone up to the palace of King Elessar and Queen Arwen, and returned. Mellondu said little. Mellonin seemed as if she had many thoughts to keep her mind busy, but also seemed contented to remain in Minas Anor while the men continued the quest. This helped to settle the hearts and minds of Bellyn and Leafa. Nethwador did not seem very happy at all that Bellyn would stay behind, but was nonetheless willing to go with Amroth/Mellondu and the two Elves, whose aid he still required to communicate with the other humans.

So the men went about gathering supplies. Ravion was given charge of the details, and sent Ædegard, Nethwador, and Raefindan out to market for the necessary supplies. The King had taken an interest in their quest, and had offered gold toward their preparations, which quickened the preparations remarkably.

Meanwhile, the women made plans for lodging; Mellonin was given her job at the tavern again, at the behest of Estelyn; Leafa was also taken on by Lady Estelyn, and would be staying at the Inn. Bellyn chose to stay with her family.

By day's end the men were ready. All that remained was to bid farewell.

Bellyn & Nethwador

“I do not want to stay here,” Bellyn murmured from where she sat, in the main room of the Seventh Star. Nethwador stood next to her, and when she rose from her seat and shouldered the small pack which she had carried all the way from Rohan many days earlier, the boy looked at her with furrowed brows.

“Nethwador mellon Bella,” said he, fervently. He spoke this one phrase, which he had often said on the road, with a wonderful certainty.

Bellyn nodded. “I know. But you have to go. Because Nethwador is also the friend of Amroth…and Amroth needs you now.” Bellyn went to the door, Nethwador close behind. She opened the door and felt the harsh, crisp breeze hit her cheeks.

“I will see you again, I promise,” Bellyn said, turning to Nethwador. She said this, more of a reassurance to her own worried mind than for Nethwador. Bellyn took Nethwador in an embrace, a quick embrace; for she felt her eyes suddenly begin to water. Then she turned away, off down the road she needed to take to get to the home of her nephew and her brother’s wife.

“Nethwador mellon Bella!” She heard, from behind. Bellyn paused. She turned around and ran back to the door of the Seventh Star, where Nethwador stood, and she flung her arms around him once more. It was a tight embrace, and Bellyn did not know how long it lasted before she withdrew, smiled, and turned away once more down the street.

The walk felt longer than when she had visited her sister-in-law earlier. When she reached the door once again, she felt the wind running through her hair as she knocked. Rosa opened the door, and Bellyn entered, saying goodbye to nights under the stars and to the promise of a new adventure every morning.

Nethwador watched Bella go.

Taitheneb watched Nethwador. There had been many late-night discussions between the boy and the elf over the past two days. He felt the boy's heartache well enough without touching his mind. Perhaps he felt it more than he wanted to. But no; the boy needed a friend, now more than ever. He waited. Bella disappeared from sight. Nethwador seemed poised to run after her.

Taitheneb sighed; then he smiled.

The boy wavered, and suddenly ran out the door, rounding the bend in the road 'til he could see her once more. But he did not call her name; he only watched her walking, til she slipped out of sight once more. Again he ran after her; again he watched, til she disappeared from his sight. Several folk gave him odd looks, and a few soldiers frowned. Again he pursued her.

By the time Rosa opened the door for Bella, Nethwador was wearier than he could ever remember being. He saw her disappear within Rosa's house, and stood for a while. Taitheneb watched over him, and Nethwador clung to the elf's gaze. His heart had never been so heavy. Slowly he walked back. When he came to the door of the Inn, Taitheneb was waiting for him.

Taitheneb thought that now, perhaps, Nethwador understood Amroth a little bit better. Nethwador looked up, startled; there was more in that thought than Taitheneb knew at first.

You?

Yes, little brother. You understand Lord Amroth. And perhaps now you understand me as well.

They went into the Inn, and together they sat silently by the fire, long into the night, til all the other folk had gone to bed. Finally Nethwador, weary from heartache, fell asleep on the hearth. Only then, in the red ember glow did Taitheneb allow three tears to fall. One, he reasoned, for Nethwador. One for Amroth. One last tear fell because his long years apart from his own wife had not yet ended.

Then he stirred, stood, and added some wood to the fire, watching over Nethwador til dawn.

Ædegard & Leafa

Ædegard asked Leafa to walk in the garden beside the Inn. From there one could look out over the heights of the Third Circle to the vista of plains, river, forest, and mountains, the sickle moon rising above the Ephel Duath in a clear night sky.

"Maybe we will not be long, Leafa," Ædegard said presently. "Maybe you and I will soon be on our way to find your father."

Leafa turned her eyes to Ædegard, a low sigh escaping her. "I hope we shall find him," she said. "Rather, I hope we can. I could not say where he might be. He might even be here in Gondor while we speak."

There was a small pause, and during that silence Leafa was deep in thought. It was a sorrowful contemplation, for she was very much troubled, and at length she sighed again.

"Leafa?" said Ædegard, a loving concern in his voice which dispelled some of the chill in her heart. "What worries you?"

"It is my father who concerns me," she replied.

"You fear he will not give his consent?"

"Oh, no! I fear no such thing, and am almost sorry for it." She smiled when she observed the expression on his face. "Of course I would wish for him to accept you. And yet, at the same time I wish there were some chance that he would not."

Ædegard remained silent, but his eyes questioned.

"How may I explain it?" Leafa said. "His consent will be given without thought. He will not reflect on whether or not you are a strong and upright man, and whether or not you will be a good husband to me. Were you a low scoundrel his consent would come with no less reluctance. My father loves me, and at the same time, he does not care."

She turned and bent over some of the garden bushes to hide the tears that she could not keep from shining in her eyes. For a few moments she played with the leaves, breaking them off and letting them fall to the ground, while Ædegard looked on without a word.

"When Liornung offered me the chance of going with him and the rest of your group," she went on after a time, "I saw not only that chance, but also the chance to settle down to a quiet life when your quest was done. My father loves the life of the wayfarers, but I do not. Nor does my mother, though she follows him, for her love for him is greater than her wish for a peaceful life. He loves the both of us dearly, but not enough. The call to travel means more to him than the silent pleading of my mother's eyes."

She straightened up, and let a few more leaves fall to the ground. "But I hope that our union will be the means of his return. Perhaps he will come live near us, and quit his wanderings. I hope with all my heart that it may be so."
"As do I, Leafa," said Ædegard, with all gentleness in his tone, for despite all efforts, her tears had not gone unnoticed.

She turned back to him, and taking his hand, attempted a smile. "Yet why am I so gloomy at this time, when you are soon to leave? Your memories of me on the road should not be of a tear-filled and miserable girl."

She looked up at him, and he down at her, and they remained standing that way for some time. Time and again she tried to speak, to express her love, and her longings for his return, but she found it impossible. And so at last, she shook her head and laughed.

"I cannot speak," she said. "Words cannot suffice to tell all that is in my heart. I fear that I can make no passionate speeches fit for this time. I try to speak, but nothing will come." The merry flickering faded suddenly from her eyes, and was replaced with a tender and sorrowful earnestness. But Ædegard smiled gently.

"I need no great speeches, Leafa, my heart. Your eyes say all I need."

She smiled then. "Farewell, dear Ædegard. Return to me soon. I will wait for you."

And she bent and kissed his hand. He was startled by her gesture. He took her in his arms and drew her to him so that she rested her head on his shoulder, and they watched the moon.

"Farewell, my dear Leafa. Watch the moon, and I will be watching it too at night, and so we will know that our eyes are turned to the same light."

"I will."

It was long moments before they parted. Little did they guess how long they would be separated.

Raefindan

Raefindan strolled toward the home of Mellondu and Mellonin with the purpose of bidding farewell to his new friend and promising to keep a human eye out for her brother. It was a pleasant, well kept dwelling, as stone buildings in Minas Anor went (for he remembered that the old name had come back into usage by rule of the King).

He knocked on the door and waited.

Mother opened the door, and smiled. "Good Raefindan, welcome. Please, sit down." She faded into the back room, and soon emerged with Mellonin and Father.

"Raefindan. It was good of you to come, " said Mellonin.

Raefindan blinked at her newfound formality. "Mellonin?" He hesitated.

She smiled. "Forgive me. But I will miss you. I assume you have come to bid farewell. All is set for your departure, then, " she said, nodding, trying to sound as if she was not jealous, not envious, nor the least bit resentful to be staying behind. "Between Ravion and the elves, you will be very well guided. You will take up your archery lessons again?"

Raefindan smiled. "Perhaps I will not be the only one. Ravion was admiring Mellondu's fine bow. A ranger's bow, he said, of good workmanship. "

Father bowed slightly.

Mellonin hesitated. "Perhaps I will learn to shoot, while you are away. And then perhaps when you return..." Suddenly she laughed, and drew a hand over her eyes. "What am I saying. I will have plenty to keep me busy; the Inn is thriving, and I am busy all day long. Safe travels, Raefindan. May the Valar guide your path. Return home safely. All of you. I look forward to your return." She stood as if to leave, as the triple passions of mirth, grief, and desolation vied to rule her.

Raefindan smiled. Mellonin's hands were folded and fidgeting before her, and she did not know where to look. "I will watch your brother. Let hope be your guide, Mellonin. It will be mine. Hope does not fail -" he paused and grinned "-by gum and by Jorje."

"Gum?"

"Maybe I'll find a cat to name Gum. I do wish Jorje had stayed with us."

"He is happy where he is, I think," Mellonin said.

"Quite right. Well, I'll be off now. Keep hoping!" He waved as he went out the door.

"I will, by Jorje!" she called.

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Old 08-29-2006, 12:44 PM   #740
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Aeron had been quiet while those of greater importance than he talked and arranged the final plans for departure. He was here to serve Ravion. The doings of the elves meant little to him.

His fingers nimbly knotted the bags of food and medicines to the horse's back and he wondered how long it would be before he would come to this city again. If ever he would return. Did he want to return? Sometimes he did, sometimes he didn't. When he saw the sunlight hit the top of the towers he would remember how Gwyllion would point at them and laugh, calling them stars that had drifted from the night skies and it was in moments like those that he wanted to stay. But othertimes, in the night when he was restless and couldn't sleep for memories, he wanted to leave everything behind.

He wondered if death would save him the necessity of making a choice.

Death.

He shivered in the sun. He felt an uncontrollable desire to go home. And home wasn't here and home wasn't there. Where was home?

He felt saddened that the ladies were staying in the city. They had been cheerful and their smiles were warm and gentle. He would miss them. It had been said that it would be safer for them to stay behind. Maybe that was so, maybe not. Aeron was under the impression that if the women wanted to come they should be allowed to do so. Death came swiftly...it would not do to have it snuff a half lived life.

He sighed a little, shouldered his pack, and stepped in Ravion's boot prints as he led them away from Minas Tirith.
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Old 08-30-2006, 06:24 PM   #741
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White Tree Mellondu

Bitterness sometimes gave way to disbelief, as he followed in the footsteps of the tall golden elf. How could he be leaving his city? Again? Of his own free will? Time and time again, he was tempted to turn back. In front of him strode Erebemlin; behind him, as if mistrustful that his king's packhorse might change his mind and bolt homeward, followed Taitheneb. Three confounded elves in a row, as if they were on parade.

He twitched, and shuddered, and shook his head. I am a man, and no elf, he snarled at himself. Yet the image lingered, and in his minds' eye, behind Erebemlin he saw-- or did he feel?-- not a small slender man from a city of stone, but a tall, broad-shouldered, golden-haired woodland king. He shook his head again and again, but the image lingered on.

He spat.

Then he turned to look past Taitheneb. There strode the goldenhaired Rohirrim, and behind them, Ravion, and Raefindan, and the thief-- Aeron. All middling size; all refreshingly mortal. He nodded fiercely, and with lips pressed thin, turned back around.

The three elves strode on, with the men following behind, leading their horses away from the city.

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Old 09-18-2006, 05:00 PM   #742
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**placeholder for last minute additions**

...and "To Be Continued" in Part Two.

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Old 05-30-2008, 05:09 PM   #743
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***bump***

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Old 05-31-2008, 07:20 AM   #744
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:46 PM   #745
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