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Old 08-26-2003, 02:16 PM   #171
Estelyn Telcontar
Princess of Skwerlz
 
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Location: where the Sea is eastwards (WtR: 6060 miles)
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Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!Estelyn Telcontar has reached the Cracks of Doom and destroyed the Ring!
Silmaril

Diorwyn took a deep breath; after the first shock of being approached and spoken to by the Steward of Minas Tirith, the ruler of all Gondor, had subsided, she realized that this was an opportunity to take action. She hesitated in order to choose her words wisely, then said, “Sir, the hospitality of your house has been all that we could imagine, and indeed were the people of your city friendly to us upon our arrival.”

Ecthelion noticed her reluctance to continue and encouraged her, “There is more than that; speak openly!”

The seamstress sighed inwardly; she had been married long enough to know that she would have to explain clearly to this man what most women would have felt intuitively. Few men could sense the emotional undercurrents that a woman picked up by osmosis, so to say. However, the Steward looked astute and shrewd; he seemed to be a good judge of people, she thought. Suddenly she was glad to be able to entrust her cares to someone who was both wise and mighty enough to do something about them.

“There have been rumours spreading in the past days,” she continued. “We have heard them only indirectly, and no one seems to know where they started or who is the source. They concern Finduilas…” So she told him all that the various ladies and maids had found out, as well as the information she had heard from her friends in the White City. She saw his eyes widen ever so slightly and the muscles of his jaws tighten as he heard the slanderous gossip which had spread throughout the city unchecked.

“Why do you think such horrible rumours would be told about such a wonderful person as Finduilas?” he asked with repressed anger.

Thoughtfully, she replied, “She cannot have made personal enemies. The question is, who would profit from her ruin? The motive could be jealousy, but there must be more to it than that alone. She would not be the only one to suffer – your family and rulership would be brought into discredit as well. Who are your enemies, Steward?”

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child's post

Eckthelion attempted to maintain an impassive expression while listening to Diorwyn's recitation of the rumors she and the others had heard since their arrival in Minas Tirth. Despite his efforts to conceal his emotions, he felt his fists clench tightly at his side as he bit down on his lip and struggled to stiffle an angry rebuttal.

Instinct told him that this was no mere campaign intended to discredit Denethor's bride-to-be. He would not have been shocked if some women at court had mistaken Finduilas's soft-spoken nature for pride or, rebuffed in their own attempts to latch onto his son for their daughters, had jeeringly taunted the bride for supposed deficiencies in personality, character or dress.

But these rumors were something quite different. Their very nature and purpose suggested an intent more pernicious and far-reaching than mere idle chatter stemming from personal pique or disappointment. It was true that the ridiculous intimation Finduilas and her family were not from Dol Amroth could be easily remedied by having the leaders from that city address the court as to their association with the bride. Several of these gentlemen were expected to arrive for the actual betroval party and wedding. He would have them speak quickly and forcefully to dispel that charge.

No, what bothered him profoundly was the baseless assertion that Finduilas and her folk were descended from some mythical ancestor who had sided with Ar-pharazon in his war of rebellion, worshipping Melkor and carrying out the dictates of Sauron. Baseless, but difficult to disprove without a lengthy inquiry setting out the family's geneology in intimate detail.

The Steward's breath came in short, jagged gasps as he grasped the clever implications behind that groundless assertion. He himself was engaged in a struggle against Sauron and his agents of evil, a struggle that threatened to erupt a thousandfold and drag the entire realm of Gondor down to doom. These rumors that were apparently flooding through the streets of his beloved city suggested that the Steward himself was a fool or a traitor for aligning his family with someone who was herself tainted with the blood of the enemy.

This was more than idle gossip. Whoever was behind such pointed lies had a purpose and a meaning in what they were doing. And that purpose was no less than treason.

He looked down at Diorwyn barely hearing the actual words she was saying, then quickly gathered his wits and responded, "My enemies? Not my enemies, but rather the enemies of Gondor. Only such would spread words like these. But let me think on this well and ponder what must be done."

He rose from his chair and stepped back a few paces, nodding his head in Diorwyn's direction. "You have done this realm a service I will not forget. It is possible that I will call upon you again at some point in the near future. But, for now, please continue to listen and learn. Should you hear anything more of interest, do not hesitate to approach me directly. I will tell the guards that you are to be let through immediately."

With this, Eckthelion turned and strode away, deeply perplexed and wishing that Gandalf and Thorongil were here at court that he might review the matter with them. But, one way or another, he vowed to leave no stone unturned until he discovered who was behind these treasonous lies.

[ August 30, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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'Mercy!' cried Gandalf. 'If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?' 'The whole history of Middle-earth...'
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