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Old 07-05-2003, 04:58 PM   #41
maikafanawen
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Pipe

Emilia bent her dark brown head over so that Dryea might whisper what she had to say. Lady Morthaniawen smiled.

“Be careful though. We don’t want the finger pointed towards any of us should our accusations be incorrect.” Emilia nodded, her eyes gleaming with the enjoyment knowledge of gossip brought her. Hurrying on to finish everything she had planned for the ball, she left Dryea to the final course. Music began to play again and dancing was resumed in the hall adjoining the dinning room.

“Excuse me, Lady Morthaniawen.” Dryea turned to see a tall man with tousled brown hair and soft gray eyes in a fine suit of the nobility. Flashing his pearly white teeth and extending his arm he proposed, “I am sorry to catch you at the very end of your meal, but would you care to dance?” The lady’s heart was pounding deep within her chest muffled by her corset.

“Not at all Rhir. Why don’t you join me for a glass of wine instead while my food digests,” she said calmly, standing with her chalice. The man agreed quickly and took Dryea’s arm, as they walked towards the main hall where people were still grouped in conversation.

“They’ve over done themselves this time. We have enough roasts and fruits to last us another month or so.” Lord Isindil raised his goblet to his mouth and watched the guests lazily, wishing to hear Dryea speak. Lady Morthaniawen’s heart was beating so rapidly that she feared opening her mouth to answer would cause her heart to jump right out and into her chalice. “All this in favor of one woman,” he continued. “She is from Dol Amroth. Perhaps you have met!” Dryea shook her head slowly.

“No, I do not recognize her, nor her accent.” There, she had imperceptibly told Rhircyn what she had just passed on to both Elena and Emilia. That should get the job of rumor mongering done. “It has been long since I visited there. Once all the hubbub dies down I should very much like to speak with her about it, what she knows anyhow.” They placed their empty glasses on a nearby table.

“Ready to dance then?” Dryea looked fleetingly into his beautiful gray eyes before allowing him to lead her to the ball room. Inside she prayed her mother did not see.

It was common for Dryea to be flooded with young men at these balls for quick dances but it was no secret that Rhir was her preference. Ruiel hated him. She could not risk her daughter obtaining a weakness. Should anyone suspect them of being anything less than Dol Amroth citizens representing their coastal town here at the Citadel, they would do well to see that Rhir was used against Dryea to glean the proof they needed. Time and time again Ruiel would see to it that some excuse was mustered to remove her daughter from his company, to no avail.

Dryea was gracefully swept around the dance floor following as Rhir moved in perfect rhythm to the dance. Her mother and sister were finished with their meals and were liable to enter the dance hall at any moment...

“Ah! Lord Isindil, Lady Morthaniawen.” Garthlo nodded as he approached the couple, blocking their path into the dance. Rhircyn dropped his eyes politely and raised them again, though not looking directly at the man before him. A velvet cap had been strategically placed atop his plastered blond hair so that it dipped low over the right side of his forehead. “Excuse me for being so forward but I couldn’t help but notice how lovely you looked this evening my lady,” he took her hand and bowing low over it, kissed her gloved fingertips before rising again. “Might I have this dance?” Yes, thought Dryea. Perfect. When mother enters she will see me dancing with someone other than Rhir and not be cross. She made to answer but was cut off.

“I’m sorry Garthlo, but you’ll have to wait. Now that you have interrupted this dance I ask that you allow me two dances before turning her over to you.” Then he rushed her away again to resume the dance.

[ July 05, 2003: Message edited by: maikafanawen ]
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Old 07-05-2003, 10:01 PM   #42
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Sting

Averyll had been standing off to one side, more watching the party than taking part in it. In fact, she had a hard time refraining from helping the servants pick up empty glasses or relight the flickering candles in the sparkiling candleabras. When she was offered a flute of champagne, she took it with a smile and a slight curtsy to the serving maid. Holding it carefully between her fingers, she took a sip and looked around for someone to talk to. She noticed the black hair and slim figure of Eleniel standing nearby. Approaching her, Averyll smiled.

"Well, Elen, what do you think of it all?" she asked pleasantly. "I, for one, can't remember when I have ever seen so much finery. It's as if they are all trying their best to outshine Finduilas. The dressmakers of Minas Tirith must be rolling in silver tonight," she added with a wink.

Eleniel nodded. "But not one of those ladies can hold a candle to Finduilas," she said loyally. "She looks so beautiful tonight."

"Absolutely stunning!" rejoined Averyll, watching Finduilas' graceful smile. "I hope they are accepting of her here."

Elen gave her a sideways look. "Why wouldn't they be? Denethor chose her himself and they say he is madly in love with her."

Averyll shrugged. "Oh, you know what geese women can be sometimes," she said, sidestepping the question. She had been watching the faces of the Minas Tirith ladies and had seen the thorns of jealousy cross the brow of more than one face. As the most eligible bachelor in the entire great city, if not all of Gondor, she was certain Denethor had broken the hearts of a few ladies, not to mention the hopes of a few ambitious mothers, as well. She had not missed the way the weeping young woman across the room had cast her eyes toward Denethor. She opened her mouth to add something else, but closed it again as the two of them were joined suddenly by Vieana.

"As soon as we can we shall ask Finduilas how she likes this place -- what do you think?" Vieana asked merrily.

"I would be interested to know what she thinks of all of this, that's for certain," Averyll answered honestly. "I hope she likes it." She couldn't help but think of her own brief and disastrous marriage that had ended nearly a year previous with her young husband's death. The only things that had kept her sane through it all had been the close proximity of her family and the birth of her son, whom she had been compelled to leave behind in Dol Amroth. If things went badly for Finduilas, she would be alone and far from home. "It looks like a lively enough place, anyway," Averyll ended optimistically.

"I like it here," volunteered Elen. "Of course, Dol Amroth will always be home, but this looks like a wonderful place... it's so big. And busy. She can't possibly get bored here."

Boredom could be the least of her problems, Averyll thought to herself, but said nothing of the kind. The upcoming wedding was supposed to be a happy occasion, and she felt badly that she felt such apprehension on behalf of Finduilas on the grounds of nothing more than the emotional scars she bore from her own bad fortune. With a gracious smile for her companions, Averyll silently vowed to keep her worries to herself. She was acting like a pessimistic old woman.
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Old 07-05-2003, 10:08 PM   #43
alaklondewen
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Sting

Minas Tirith’s most prominent people moved toward a long table that was lavished with beautiful tableware. Pelien allowed her husband to guide her to their seats. Sador graciously pulled a high-backed chair out, and taking his hand Pelien sat down.

The couple had spent most of the evening speaking with the men in Sador’s Company and their wives. Opinions of Denethor’s lovely bride-to-be was on everyone’s lips, and although Pelien was bitter about the fact that the Steward’s son was not marrying her darling Adrama, she smiled politely when Finduilas’ name was mentioned keeping her mouth shut. She refused to lower herself in front of the ladies in the court, so without saying anything negative, she chose to say nothing at all.

In her heart, Pelien believe all the attention should be focused on Adrama. Sador, after all, was one of the most respectable men in the community, and she had worked for many years putting their family in society’s limelight. All the parties and luncheons she hosted…they had earned the right to have their daughter marry Denethor, not some…some, outsider, she thought as she gazed over toward Finduilas. She’s nothing special.

As she thought of Adrama, Pelien realized she had not seen her daughter for quite some time. “Have you seen, Adrama?” Pelien whispered to Sador as she leaned toward him. He glanced around and over both shoulders, and then shook his head. “Where is she? I will not have the court think my daughter is off doing anything inappropriate,” she hissed through her teeth as she unfolded her cloth napkin and placed it on her lap.

“Pelien, it’s good to see you this evening.” Pelien stiffened slightly hoping no one had heard her, and then produced her most charming smile. Turning gradually she met the gaze of the Steward’s eldest daughter, Tiriel, who surprisingly was taking the seat across from her. The women’s husbands exchanged a few words, and immediately fell into talk of politics.

“And you, Lady Tiriel, you look lovely. You must be thrilled by the way the event has turned out.” Pelien sat back in her chair and crossed her hands in her lap.

“Yes, everything has turned out beautifully.” Tiriel opened her mouth to continue, but paused as her sister took the seat next to her.

Pelien smiled courteously at Siriel. “Why, Siriel, your gown is absolutely divine.” I cannot believe a woman her age still dresses like a young woman, Pelien thought as she took a glass of wine from a young servant. In fact, she had always disapproved of Siriel’s behavior, thinking she conducted herself rather inappropriately…flirting and dating like a girl in her twenties. Needless to say, Pelien never voiced this to anyone with the exception of her husband, and the woman was careful to make Siriel comfortable…she was, of course, the Steward’s daughter.

“Oh, thank you, Pelien. You look striking as always.” Siriel smiled cheerfully.

“I am having some ladies over for lunch tomorrow. It’s nothing extravagant, just a casual meal without the men.” As she finished her sentence, Pelien leaned over the table and winked at the sisters. “I do hope you will join us.”

_____________________________________________

Novnarwen's post

Sador and Pelien walked towards the long table for Minas Tirith’s most prominent people. "Darling," he whispered in her ear while he lead his wife to their seats. As he pulled the chair out for her she gave a smile and sat down. The two of them had been talking to the men is Sador's company and their wives pretty much all evening. The conversation was of course all about Denethor's bride-to-be, Finduilas.

Sador had watched his wife when they talked about the newcomer. She didn't seem to be pleased at all. His wife had tried to smile, while they had mentioned Finduilas' name, but Sador knew better. Pelien was not happy about this situation, and would rather have their daughter, Adrama, to marry the coming Steward. He didn't exactly know what he was thinking himself. Denethor had chosen Finduilas, and they all just had to respect that. It was unusual, no doubt about that, but if that was his choise, so be it, he thought.

It seemed to be that all had drawn conclusions about weather she was a fit match for Denethor. Sador himself had no idea about that. He was actually pleased when they finally sat down.

"Have you seen Adrama?" Pelien asked. She looked quite worried, as if she was hoping Adrama wasn't up to anything. Sador hadn't seen her himself. And after intense eye searching, around in the room, he shook his head. "Where is she?" she continued. And then she said exactly what Sador had thought she would say, in a situation like this. It was something about: not hoping their daughter was off doing something inappropriate.

Her worried voice lowered when the Steward's oldest daughter greeted her. Sador gave a smile. Tiriel and her husband had seated themselves across of them. "Gerlin," Sador burst out. Finally someone to talk politics with, he thought. And moments later they were in a huge friendly discussion about today's critical situasions around in the area.

[ July 06, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 07-06-2003, 04:33 AM   #44
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Silmaril

Vieana stood, still beside her friends, looking up in awe at the extravagance of the Minas Tirith Palace. The celings were higher than that of the Dol Amroth palaces, or her father's mansion for that matter. Her attention was soon diverted to the other women by Averyll.

"I hope she likes it." said Averyll.
Vieana snapped her head back, her eyes wide.
If she did not...Well that would be terrible!she sighed to herself. Vieana laid her hand on her friend's arm. "It is big. That is for certain. Why, my father... well you both know what he is like, would have a heart attack by simply laying eyes on this place." she laughed. "Greed can ruin a man." she laughed again.

Vieana turned her gery eyes on the Minas Tirith residence, "They are so very nice, As long as we are here, i feel we shall always be welcome, or so I am being told every second someone has their turn of meeting me." she said. "What now? Shall we fetch Tessa at least? I fear we will never get a chance to talk to our dear Finduilas until nightfall."
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Old 07-06-2003, 06:09 AM   #45
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Sting

Finduilas' Welcoming Party

Síriel picked at her food, it was veal, and very good, but she just wasn't hungry. She gave it another small prod with the tines of her fork, before giving in and letting her eyes roam over the room. Denethor and sat with their father Ecthelion at the center of the long head table. Síriel looked long at his face, looking for signs of awkwardness, but there were none. He ate slowly, with her eyes on the plate, and talked with the man beside him too quietly to hear. Isn't he even nervous!? Síriel marvelled. She knew her brother was fearless in battle, but to see him fearlessly approaching marriage!

Tearing her eyes away from Denethor, she looked to the other side of the room, where Finduilas sat, surrounded by her cloud of maidens. Her dark hair was still elegant and her smile serene. This was a game Síriel could not have played, hiding her emotions was difficult at best, and she was certain, had she been Finduilas, she'd have been bouncing nerviously in her seat. Tíriel leaned over and put a hand on her arm. "Síriel, do calm down." She reached an expert hand up and tucked a few stray hairs back into her sister's braids. "you're wiggling so much the whole room can see it!" Síriel smiled wryly at herself. Not even her own wedding and she couldn't keep still.

Síriel straightened and held herself elegantly as Elena came scurrying up to the table. No good showing how restless she was at close quarters. Elena began to talk excitedly, something about Finduilas. Síriel's attention, however, was caught by a man at one of the lower tables. Letting Elena's voice wash over her, she studied the man intently. He wore the insignia of an officer, broad shouldered and dark haired. He met her eyes for a moment, an appraising glance that simultaneously irritated and intrigued her. Who was this man? She'd never seen him around the city before...

As soon as Elena stopped talking and returned to her own table, Síriel turned pleading grey eyes on her sister. "Tír, who is that man? The soldier, with the dark hair sitting there," Síriel pointed with her chin toward where the man was sitting. Tíriel tried to look stern and then suppressed a giggle.

"Sister, don't you pay any attention?" she sighed heavily and dropped her voice to a low hiss, "Lady Dryea doesn't recognize Finduilas' name from her time in Dol Amroth. She think they may be impostors!" Síriel's eyes flew wide, she missed news like that staring at a man? She turned the news over in her mind. Lady Dryea was certainly a reliable source, even though Síriel was plagued by a nagging dislike for the woman, being as beautiful as she was, manipulating all the nobles at court... But she was indisputably from Dol Amroth. Síriel but her lip.

"We shall have to wait and see, Sister." she said, after some thought, "We will simply have to wait and see." Tíriel nodded approval, then nudged Gaerlin who sat beside her. A moment later she turned back to Síriel with a sly grin on her face.

"His name is Thenidir. He's just been transferred back from the outer Beacon Hills." A smile flickered across Síriel's face as Tíriel finished her report, "Gaerlin says he's very single."

[ July 06, 2003: Message edited by: Sophia the Thunder Mistress ]
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Old 07-06-2003, 09:16 AM   #46
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Silmaril

Finduilas' Welcoming Party

Emilia walked unusually slowly towards where Finduilas and her various maids, ladies and who knew what else were sitting. She was still trying to take in what Dryea had told her. It could be a brilliant way to raise her profile in the court, she loved her Papa dearly but he was more interested in family than power. Leaving court at such an important time to see his new grandson was just one example, he was always doing things like that. Her mother could perhaps have offset this, but she believed a wife's duty was to her husband- a very outdated mode of thinking to Emilia's view.

"Not still looking for the Houses of Healing are you?"
The deep voice shocked Emilia out of her reverie. She spun on her heel, and was surprised to see the impudent guard sitting smiling at her.
I did not recall his voice was so deep!, she thought as a shiver ran down her spine. That was annoyance, she told herself firmly.

"Struck dumb, my Lady Emilia?" he asked with a wicked grin.
"How do you know my name?" she asked, flustered- then kicked herself.
What a terrible response.
"I have my sources" he replied, with- oh horror of horrors!- a wink!
"I'm Thenidir by the way"

"No true man, or gentleman at least, would act so with a lady" Emilia said with an innocent look on her face.
"No? Well that lady over there seems to disagree" Thenidir told her with a straight face, gesturing with his eyes instead of his hand. Emilia half turned, and saw one of the sisters of Denethor.
Well we know what bad taste that family have, she thought angrily, trying to ignore the stab of what she would not-could not- admit to be jealousy.
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Old 07-06-2003, 03:32 PM   #47
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Shield

Suddenly, Tessa nodded a commotion at the end of the hall.

"Finduilas, look! It’s the steward!"

Finduilas sharply took in her breath. Tessa, who was standing on tiptoes, craning her neck to get a better look, noticed and clutched her hand- tight. The woman tried to calm herself. Breathe, Finduilas. Breathe...she told herself. She arranged her shawl around her shoulders and fixed her gown. Back in the hall, a voice rang:

"Make way, for the noble steward Ecthelion!"

Gowns moved, swords clattered as the nobility of Minas Tirith settled into bows to their steward. The rustling of silk and the whisper around her reminded Tessa of an angry swarm of bees. The steward crossed the hall. Tessa watched him greet his daughters and a few more important members of the court, making pleasant conversation with the ladies. He was coming nearer to their table. Tessa stared at him apprehensively.

He was a tall men, not yet old, but beyond the mid of his life. He stood proud in his midnight-blue uniform, adorned with the symbol of the Tower. He had an eagle-like nose, piercing blue-eyes and a look of stern consent on his face; not unlike Tessa’s father when he was about to punish her.

Finduilas curtsied deeply; Tessa behind her reluctantly following suit. Trying to find a way to study Ecthelion and look humble and respectful at the same time, Tessa moved her head up a tin bit, almost completely hidden under the shawl Jacinth had forced over her hair.

Ecthelion offered his hand to Finduilas, who took it. Her head still bowed, hands shaking, she watched him kiss it, feeling his cool lips on her skin.

"Lady Finduilas" he said, bowing his head in greeting. "It is my greatest pleasure to welcome you at my court. I have been so anxious to meet you, and my son as well. Come, my Lady."

And without further ado, he let her out of the hall.

Tessa stared, to watch. A rustle of silk told her the party was over, but she couldn´t move. What was going on in there? Later, much later she lay in bed, waiting for Finduilas. She’d stay awake all night if that was necessary. All night............

But the moon had won this fight over Tessa, and gently he covered her with the sweet silky blanket of sleep.
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Old 07-06-2003, 04:37 PM   #48
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Sting

Finduilas' Welcoming Party

Meirelle scurried about, picking up empty glasses and stacking soiled plates. She had just straightened up and wiped the sweat from her brow when she heard a herald cry. "Make way for the noble Steward, Ecthelion!" She heard murmurs and gasps from the crowd as they shuffled quickly out of the Steward's way.

Meirelle, holding a tall stack of dirty plates, shuffled slowly to the side out of sight of the Steward. She didn't want to be seen in such a state, sweaty and grimy. She had had a glass of wine spilled on her apron by a clumsy lady, and the red stain stood out nicely against the bright whiteness of the cloth.

When she had gotten a grip on the stack of dishes, she walked briskly to the kitchen and gave them to a maid who had a sink ready for washing them. The drying-rack was full of clean dishes, and the maid groaned when she saw the huge pile ready for her. Meirelle smiled and walked back into the hall. The Steward was gone, as was Finduilas. Her sister was still there, though.

Meirelle's roving eyes searched the hall for something else to do and settled on a dirty table. She cleaned it off and turned to go back to the kitchen. As she reached it and threw the waste into the bin meant for scraps and rinds, she felt someone bump into her. She turned around and saw Gwen.

"Oh! Hullo there, Gwen. Busy night, wasn't it?" asked Meirelle.

Gwen looked up and said, "Oh, yes. I haven't rushed this much since...well, since never." Meirelle looked her in the eyes and motioned with a subtle nod of her head that they should go to a more secluded area. Gwen followed her to a table in a far corner, away from the crowd. In a low voice, Meirelle said, "Did you get anything done?"

Gwen looked at her strangely, and then realized what she meant. "No. I couldn't get away from my duties. Did you?" Meirelle nodded and said, "I managed to get a look inside of some sort of study, or office, during a quick break. But I found nothing."

Gwen nodded and said, "Do you think anybody else accomplished something?" Meirelle took a deep breath and said, "I hope so. I thought I heard someone say something about Lady Finduilas' secret identity or something to that effect, but I had to hurry and serve a table so I could not listen longer."

Gwen said, "We had better get something done tomorrow, or else Dryea will be angry." Meirelle nodded and motioned that they should go back. The party was over, it seemed, and the crowd was diminishing slowly. Maids still scurried to and fro, wiping off tables and gathering together dishes, and Meirelle joined them.

After she had wiped off what seemed like her fiftieth table, she glanced at a large clock that was on the wall. It was an hour and a half after she had her talk with Gwen! Meirelle gaped at the time, but was soon jostled by another maid, who said "We're nearly done. And about time for it, too! Take these tablecloths to the laundering room."
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Old 07-06-2003, 07:54 PM   #49
elven maiden Earwen
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Silmaril

The party was now over and Eleniel was exhausted. She slowly followed the other guest out of the room. Ecthelion had come and Finduilas had left and with that the party ended. Eleniel now walked to her room. It was close to where she now was and it didn’t take her long to arrive. Eleniel closed the door and began to undress. She shut the drapes with one last glimpse of the stars. Eleniel stared into the mirror as she unbraided her hair.

She lay down in bed but instead of sleeping she found herself wondering about Finduilas. Poor Tessa, she must be wondering where in Arda Finduilas is, Elen said to herself. I wonder where she is? I hope she likes Denethor. I hope she is all right. I hope she at least likes it here. I will have to talk to here tomorrow, as I had no time today. With that last thought sleep over took her and she slept on until the first light of dawn.

~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~*~^~

Eleniel rose quietly from bed. The sun was just rising and a cool wind blew outside. Eleniel clothed herself quickly in a white dress and headed outside. It was a beautiful morning and the people of Minas Tirth were starting to rise for another hard day of labor. Eleniel’s grey eyes glittered in the sun and she smiled reveling her dimples. The stone city was soon alive as Eleniel walked though the streets. Eleniel couldn’t wait until she would be able to talk to Finduilas.

She hurried back to the citadel to find Finduilas, Tessa, Averyll, and Vienna.

[ July 09, 2003: Message edited by: elven maiden Earwen ]
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Old 07-06-2003, 09:41 PM   #50
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Sting

The Lady Ruiel returned to her guest appartments alone, as she wished. The day had been filled with pleasing progress. Dryea had worked exquisitly amongst the rumour hungry lordlings and their ladies. The court was ripe to sew with the seeds of their choosing, and already the crop was in the ground and looking to be bountiful. Still, it was too early yet to count the profit from the forthcoming harvest.

Ruiel's face held a sarcastic smile as she reviewed her agricultural analogies with some contempt. Far too long in Dol Amroth, backwater of Gondor, had made more of an impact than Ruiel preferred to admit. Still, she was well pleased and proud of her daughters. Dryea had been simply perfect and Alethea.... well Alethea had not caused a diplomatic incident at least and so Ruiel alloted some maternal approval for her other daughter also.

She swept into her apartments in a rich rustle of fabric, hand close to her dagger as she entered the chambers. Flush with pride as she was, she was not so fool as to think that it was wise to enter an empty room without caution. Particularly when the rooms were in Minas Tirith, seat of power of her ancient foes. Already the fire had been set and banked on the hearth, and the rooms readied for the evening's retirement.

Seeing that she was indeed alone, Ruiel relaxed her hand and moved to where a decanter of wine glowed from within it's crystal decanter on a polished wooden sideboard. She poured out a glass as she continued her analysis of the day's events. As ever, they were not without their flaws.

A flash of intense irritation burnt in her deep blue eyes as she recalled Dryea's turn about the dance floor with that Rhir. Ruiel let her filled glass breath as she considered her feelings towards the man. Men, as a rule, were an impediment when it came to getting things of importance done. They needed to be pandered to, watched over. Ruiel had had no time for such frivilous pursuits when married and her position on such matters now had not changed since being widowed.

Dryea's infatuation, and that was all that it was, had no place here in Minas Tirith. In fact, it was the sort of thing Ruiel expected of Alethea. Ruiel's fingers drummed on one arm as she considered that blight on the day's otherwise glowing progress. As the flames of the fireplace leapt before her, setting her darkened amber hair aglow, Ruiel's face took on a sensuous smile as she moved to the natural progression of a logical solution to the problem of Rhir.

Her thoughts moved quickly, taking in the means at her disposal, and Ruiel soon turned quickly in a swirl of velvet that held the light against it and walked towards where a brocaded array of sashes hung against the wall. She selected the one that would summon a house maid. The young woman arrived shortly thereafter, tapping politely at Ruiel's door.

Ruiel admitted her with a terse, "Come", and relayed her instructions in a precise voice that permitted no question nor demurrment. Soon enough, the maid was sent on her speedy way to summon Dryea to her mother's chambers as soon as her daughter bestirred herself from that loon, Rhir's arms. But there was one other that Ruiel had summoned.

Lady Ruiel Morthaniawen was pleased to have made some progress of her own on more than one front that day, and returned to her wine goblet as she awaited Ränne to arrive. She had her own rumours and alliances to cultivate, and this was one thing that she did not entrust even Dryea to assist her with. As she had proved with Rhir, Dryea was not to be relied upon for all things. Ruiel seated herself elegantly before the fire and allowed her mind to sort through the faces she had seen and what words had been attributed to them.

By the time Ränne tapped at her door, Ruiel had already settled on the Lady Pelian. Once again, Ruiel admitted Ränne with a perfunctory, "Come!" The woman entered, looking about the room herself and came to stand before Ruiel and make her curtsy.

"My lady," she observed, clever wit in her eyes that Ruiel had marked in the woman some ago. It was that wit, amongst other notable qualities, that had led to her retaining.

"What did you learnt this day, Ränne," Ruiel asked, letting the woman stand for the moment as she herself sat and awaited Ränne's report. Ruiel held her goblet gracefully in one hand as her keen eyes were trained on Ränne's face for any hint at what may lie beneath the woman's forthcoming report.
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Old 07-07-2003, 01:07 AM   #51
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At the dinner, Vieana was seated beside Tessa and Averyll and Elen on the other side of Finduilas, she could tell that Finduilas was nervous, as she ate hardly anything. Vieana couldnt help but feel a little scared herself. But really? what was there for Finduilas to be afraid of? Minas Tirith was very grand, and the women in the court seemed very warm, (if not a little anxious to see Finduilas, granted) and Denethor, well, she would have to wait. For most of the meal, it was Tessa who did most of the talking, saying how lovley she looked.

Vieana just sat there and smiled, nothing can possibly go wrong she thought to herself. Though, an arranged marriage was certanly different. Vieana herself had been seventeen when her father had introduced her to her husband. She supposed that this was similar, as her father always introduced her to young men who he deemed worthy of courting his daughters. Vieana supposed that she had been lucky that she and Dardanir had fallen in love from first sight. And she hoped with all her heart that it would be the same for Finduilas.

Vieana humbly bowed when the Steward had entered and taken Finduilas- somewhere- she could see that the other Dol Amroth ladies were apprehensive, but none the less tired as she was. They were all lead to their rooms. Vieana sat in front of her mirror, combing her long hair. The she stopped, and turned to her mirror with a laugh, "If i were not mistaken, Tessa will not rest until she knows every detail of Finduilas' adventure." she laughed. She brushed her hair again and then looked back at her mirror. Her face. Her stone eyes, her ash blonde hair. im all here she sighed, safe and sound. There was a knock at her door, and Lessawen appeared.
"Excuse me, Vieana, but Miss Tessa askes me to ask youself if you have seen Finduilas yet." Vieana couldnt help but laugh. "No Lessawen, you may inform Tessa that i have not, although you may be content in asking the others."

"No need, miss Vieana, i have alredy done so... many times." said Lessawen leaving. Vieana slept soundly in her bed, until late in the morning, when she awoke with a start. "Ah! im late! again..." only was it when she was dressed, (another sliver and grey creation.) that Vieana stopped, turning to the mirror asked "what is it that I am late for?" she struggled to remember. "Oh! thats right! -details-." she reminded herself and scurried to find the other ladies.
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:30 AM   #52
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Gwen tired quickly of this sort of thing. She hated things where she could hardly breath for the people crushing her; so she slipped away quietly. Out side the hall she found a nook in the wall. Taking out her book she flopped to the stone floor and started to read.

The book was good, and the time passed, as did many servants and such. She paid no attention to the servants or the time. When in the thrall of a good book not much could get to her, except her mistress, Dryea. She wondered where the others in her group were.

" Probably gawking over some man," she thought. Going back to her book, she missed feasting dancing and all the rest. The servants that were running endlessly by her were laden with food, dished and all assortment of other things, a few of the careless men who were too drunk to walk..... The people here made her sick. They were all so together. She took an apple out of her Pocket and started to eat it as she continued to read her book and think. Hoping that her mistress would not need her services any time soon.
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Old 07-07-2003, 02:34 PM   #53
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The dinner party and ball...

Ränne was busy about the party, making sure the guests wine goblets remained filled and also passing some water to the soldier guard about Denethor and also to the guards about Finduilas for their ordered breaks. The ones from Dol Amroth she had not seen about the city, but Minas Tirith guards she has during their off hours. Knowing they were sworn to duty, she noted their demeanor during all the festivities, and watched most closely the guard from Dol Amroth.

The evening was brutal on her feet, and she kept her distance from Lady Ruiel. Ränne got an order to see to the drinks of the guests who have finished their meals and were in attendence in the main ballroom. Carrying two pitchers of wine and some goblets, Ränne made her way about the guests dancing, gracefully moving about and gathering some enjoyment as she balanced the pitchers and glasses upon a tray. It was with a fluttering of a familiar fine dress that Dryea and a fine young man whirled by, and Ränne smiled as she watched them dance. Dryea favored him as her hands and body movement spoke loudly of it, yet Ränne knew Lady Ruiel would disapprove. Surely she had already a notion of this, and so Ränne chose to keep quiet on Dryea's joyful flirtation, for did not Lady Ruiel wish her to become her own woman in the city? Surely she will rise or fall on her own merits and actions. . . .

Much fine words were spoken and much intrigue was passed throughout the evening, and Ränne could see the disdain of some toward the Lady Finduilas. Much work was to be done still as the royal guests started to dwindle in the ballroom. and with a last service of water to the Lady Finduilas before she retired, Ränne bowed and smiled. Finduilas's eyes then met hers as they did when she arrived, and Ränne could see there was much apprehension in her that she tried to keep buried. There was a pause, and Ränne said as she looked at Finuilas's feet.

'If there be any need of the Lady in this city, have your servants call for Ränne.

Ränne knew she was out of place to speak, and the guards from Dol Amroth eyes her close. Her dark features moved smoothly as no ill will was seen or felt, and lady Finduilas took note of the servant who had been working all about the evening's party.

~~~

in the Lady Ruiel's chamber...

She was through the clean-up when she noticed the summons of Lady Ruiel for the evening. It seemed work was never done for Ränne, and she made her way toward the Lady Ruiel's chamber. A light tap upon the door brought the customary "Come." and Rä entered slowly, taking a look back into the hall before letting the door close quietly. It was a habit to check for followers and prying ears, though Ränne always assumed eyes and ears were where they shouldn't anyway. Ränne bowed with her eyes down as she responded,

'My Lady'

"What did you learnt this day, Ränne?"


The Lady Ruiel asked in her easy, soft and alluring, yet strictly business sounding voice, looking Ränne over closely. Ränne looked at the lady's wine glass as she started to speak,

'There is much m'lady. There is much mistrust of the Dol Amroth guards of the Minas Tirith guards, but I feel it is that of being in the city. And there are feelings of disdain amongst the guards of Minas Tirth of the Lady's guards. But this is a good thing, for I know of many of the guard of Minas Tirith, and may yet learn of those of Dol Amroth as they stay here with the Lady Finduilas...'

"Ok, enough with your trysts with the guards, tell me what you have heard among the people?"


Ränne looked down in the seeming disgrace judged upon her by Lady Ruiel, but Ränne went on,

'It is very easy to gain access to the Lady Finduilas, and there is a brewing comtempt put forth by some of this city as whisperings of the Lady Finduilas being not of Dol Amroth.'

Ränne's dark eyebrows lifted some at this, for she suspected the Lady Ruiel may have had something to do with this. But she was not in the know of all things she plotted, and so it was that Ränne could only guess at some things. She went on as Lady Ruiel sipped her wine.

'But there is one with Lady Finduilas who we must watch closely.. the one named Vieana... I will keep note of her. 'There is also much adoration of Lady Finduilas among the people, and yet some disdain that Denethor did not choose to wed a local girl.'

Ränne stopped as she remembered the way Dryea was carrying on with the Gondorian soldier. She would not speak of it to Lady Ruiel, but something told her the Lady already knew. Ränne fell silent and looked at the feet of Lady Ruiel...
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Old 07-07-2003, 04:11 PM   #54
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Sting

The ball had ended. Adrama and her family had said farewells and gone home, where the daughter had hurried to her room and changed into a breezy white evening gown that went splendidly with her dark hair. She removed the necklace and stored it away carefully, then undid her hair, letting it fall down her back in the soft ripples the braids had created. She sighed heavily, and an unbidden tear slid down her cheek. Annoyed, she brushed it away. The ball had been long and a great strain. Adrama had enjoyed herself as much as she had planned, but was exhausted from all the fun she had had. But it had been wonderful...

Except for that one part where Addruran had wanted to dance with her. How annoying that had been. So why did she say yes? Probably because she couldn't find her mother and father, and Emilia was off somewhere else. There was nothing else to do. And he had been very kind to her, apologizing sweetly for his behavior earlier. At least he had apologized, even if he was annoying. It wouldn't do to have a Gondorian who couldn't be humble wandering about.

The party had ended after Finduilas had met Ecthelion. What fun that had been. Adrama's cold eyes had percieved how much Finduilas had trembled and how nervous the latter had been. She herself was always calm and collected, even at great events that might have a huge impact on her life. The thought came to her that she had not acted calm and collected when Finduilas was introduced to the court, and that greatly affected her life. She dismissed the thought quickly, but a tinge of color slowly rose to her face.

She went to her window and opened it, letting the cool breeze rush against the warmth of her blushing cheeks. Tomorrow would, hopefully, be more bearable. Her mother was holding a luncheon party for various lady members of the court, and though no word had been said, Adrama was sure she herself would be going, as well. And Finduilas would certainly not be invited. How wonderful her mother was! Yes, there would be her chance to escape for some time without having to look at Finduilas.

Slipping into bed, Adrama pulled the covers up to her waist and closed her eyes, letting the breeze outside slowly lull her to sleep. She knew it was no use to try to go to sleep, just as it was no use to try to forget Finduilas. It was something that just happened and you didn't even realize it. Hopefully it would happen soon. . .

[ July 13, 2003: Message edited by: Nurumaiel ]
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Old 07-08-2003, 08:54 AM   #55
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After the Party…

Pelien faced the tall cherry mirror in her bedroom while Sador was washing up for bed. Her mind raced going over all the events of the evening and the plans for her luncheon the next afternoon. She slowly pulled the pins from her hair, one at a time, as though each one signified some important moment, and placed them into a heart-shaped box on her dresser.

As she picked up her heavy, hand-carved ivory brush, and pulled it slowly through her waist length dark hair, Pelien mulled over her plans for her lunch party. It was going to be an absolutely delightful time where the Ladies of Minas Tirith could speak their minds about the coming of Finduilas and her marriage to their future Steward. She mostly looked forward to consulting Lady Ruiel, who also came from Dol Amroth. The women surely knew one another, and Pelien could not wait to hear how imperfect Finduilas really was.

Pelien was still brushing her hair, when Sador appeared behind her. Her prior thoughts had caused her to unconsciously smile, and as her husband slid his arms around her waist, he whispered, “What are thinking about?”

Startled, Pelien twisted around to face Sador. “I…I was just thinking about luncheon tomorrow. It should be splendid. All of the ladies are coming…even the Steward’s daughters.” Sador smiled and shook his head as pulled away from her and crossed the room to finish getting dressed. “What is so funny?” Pelien’s voice was harsh…she thought he was mocking her.

Pelien positioned herself across from Sador with only their bed between them. Standing with her hand on her hips, she waited for his answer. As he looked up and met her gaze, Sador laughed. Oh, that made Pelien steam, and her expression might have wilted a flower.

“My dear wife, I can’t help but laugh. You’ve thrown probably a hundred of these…parties, and you still judge their worth by whether the Steward’s daughters are coming.” He laugh softly and then continued as he sauntered around the bed and across the room, “Pelien, you’re a wonderful hostess, and a good woman…and it doesn’t matter who comes to lunch tomorrow, because you’ll still be my wonderful wife.”

Pelien’s cold expression melted away at her husband’s words, and she leaned over and kissed him gently on the cheek. “Thank you, Sador.” Only her husband knew her soft spots, and she couldn’t help loving the man for it.

“Have you seen Adrama?” Sador asked as Pelien returned to the mirror.

“No, I haven’t seen her, but I heard her come in a little while ago.” Pelien pulled the brush down her hair slowly, thinking about where her daughter might have been. “Maybe I should check on her,” she said as she firmly placed the brush back onto the dresser and spun around to face her husband. She loved Adrama dearly, even if she was harsh with her sometimes. Pelien just wanted her daughter to be respected in the community. “I will return in a few minutes.”

Pelien exited her bedroom and quietly walked down the hallway to her daughter’s room. Taking the handle in her left hand, she tapped lightly with her right and listened for an answer. All was quiet within the room, so Pelien opened the door slowly and looked inside. Adrama had become a beautiful young woman, but as she lay in her bed with the moonlight on her face, she looked like a child. I’ll just have to find out about her evening tomorrow…I do hope she had a nice time, Pelien thought as she closed the door softly.
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Old 07-08-2003, 09:55 AM   #56
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Sador was glad the party was over. All that girl talking about Findulias, their gowns and Denethor. (How good looking he was.) Parties was really not him. Sador was also glad he wasn't woman. There was so much pressure. All that chatting about eachothers gowns and make-up. Some didn't really like red because they became too pale, others perferred red especially if it had the red color of a rose. Sador shuddered. He forgot to mention the gossip. Look at that nose, he had heard a lady say about another lady. It stretches about 50 milse south that one, she had continued. Luckily Sador didn't know her, he hadn't even seen her before, and he was pleased by that. People like har were to be ashamed off. All the same, he wondered, was someone telling gossip about him?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pelien and Sador made ready to go to bed. His wife had smiled all day, without one single brake, and he felt kind of sorry for her. Women, he thought. She stood brushing her hair. Why does she even do that, he tought. She is going to bed. He got a bit irritated about the thought of her actually brushing her hair before going ot bed. Did all women do that?? But all the same he loved the way she was.

Sador walked over to her laying his hands around her waist. "What are you thinking about?" he asked in a soft deep voice. Pelien turned around. "I…I was just thinking about luncheon tomorrow." she said in a nervous voice. “ It should be splendid. All of the ladies are coming…even the Steward’s daughters.” she continued. Another one he thought, but he managed to press a smile from his red lips.

“What is so funny?” Sador had crossed the room, something Pelien obviously didn't like. Her voice was harsh and she seemed to be dissapointed in a way. Sador finished dressing and saw his wife standing in her 'I-want-an-answer' position. Sador couldn't do anything but give a short laugh.
He explained to her that he just couldn't help it.

"You’ve thrown probably a hundred of these…parties, and you still judge their worth by whether the Steward’s daughters are coming.” She didn't seem to like this, but that was not the intension either. She was a lovely woman, and a lovely hostess, no doubt about that and of course, she was the best wife a man could possably want.

When he told his dear wife this, she couldn't do anything else than to smile at him. Pelien seemed to melt with these words and gave Sador a kiss on the cheek. Sador had meant all he had said, and was pleased with himself that perhaps his wife wasn't going to have loads of parties anymore. The reason was not thet he didn't like his wife to be outgoing, it was just he loved her so much and he wouldn't see her get upset when when... He didn't get the chance to give that another thought.

"Thank you Sador." Pelien returned to her hair brushing. Sador gave a smile, and had really in mind to say something like: Don't thank me, I haven't done anything, but he kept silent.

Instead he asked about their daugher Adrama: “Have you seen Adrama?” he asked as Pelien stood in front of the mirror.

Pelien hadn't seen her either. And she concluded with that maybe she should go and check on her. Sador on the other hand, went to bed.

[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Novnarwen ]
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Old 07-08-2003, 10:28 AM   #57
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After the Party

Síriel flopped backward onto her bed without a second thought for her silk dress or the state of her shoes. She was tired and frustrated and intrigued all at once, and didn't want to stop to think about something as mundane as her clothes. A little maid bustling about the room occupied her eyes as her mind spun busily, reviewing the evening's events. The thought of the guard, Thenidir, brought a warm smile to her face, but recalling how he'd winked at that Emilia...

Síriel sighed heavily, a sound that brought her sister scurrying out of the small washroom that adjoined the bedroom. Tíriel shrieked in horror as she saw Síriel's sprawled form on the bed. "Sister get up, get up! Your dress will be ruined! Tíriel had been removing the pins from her hair, and it tumbled loose around her shoulders as she reached for Síriel's hands and pulled her to her feet. She moved around her sister to inspect the crumpled and twisted skirt. "Oh Síriel, you must be more careful." she sighed.

Síriel nodded as Tíriel lectured her on her childishness and her carelessness and all the other faults she likely had. Tír was staying tonight so that the sisters could go to Pelien's luncheon together, and for that Síriel was glad, she loved to have her sister with her. But she did tire of Tír's good sense sometimes, always so precise, so inoffensive. Síriel sighed again, as Tíriel pushed her toward the washroom and started taking down her hair.

"I do hope things go alright at Pelien's tomorrow." Tíriel was saying in a worried tone, "her daughter was always so interested in Denethor." Síriel grinned.

"And what girl wasn't, Sister? After all, little brother grew up handsome." she laughed. "Just because her daughter gave our brother a second look doesn't mean they're going to say nasty things about Finduilas." Tíriel nodded as the two women quickly exchanged their heavy dresses lighter nightclothes and left the washroom.

Several hours later when the chamber maids came in to tidy the washroom the sound of the two women whispering and giggling like little girls could still be heard behind the bedroom door. The maid shook her head, and then moved to pick up Síriel's dress, which had been abandoned on the floor in a turquoise pool.
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Old 07-08-2003, 11:35 AM   #58
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After the party...

Alethea made her way up the marble steps towards her chamber. At last the night was over, not that it wasn’t enjoyable. It was just that now Alethea had met Findulas her anxieties ran a lot deeper then thay previously had. But her mother and sister seemed to be confident enough and looked as though they could handle her, and no doubt Dryea would be able to craft a lie about Findulas worthy of herself. No, now that Alethea thought about it there was really nothing to be worried about.

She left the stairs when she reached the first floor and the slowly walked down the wooden floor corridor towards her room. When she reached the fine cedar door, which into had crafted a wilting rose she reached into her purse that hung from her side and withdrew a small copper key. She slid the key delicately into the lock and twisted. The door opened with ease ad Alethea swept in and shut the door tightly behind her. The room was dim, lit only by the fading embers of the grand fire place.

Lazily she flung her purse down onto her bed and lit a few candles on her dressing table. She undressed from her tight corset and skirt and donned a plain white night gown. She washed and combed out her stiff hair. It now fell in slight waves down her back, she tilted her head to the side and stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her blue hazy eyes stared back at her through the dimness of the room. She hadn’t seen much at all this night, nor heard anything of any importance.

Hopefully the maids had had more luck as they were able to move freely around the guest and collect more than she had the chance to. All that Althea had seen was Dryea dancing Rhir but she was hardly going to tell on her sister. Their mother believed that men would distract them, and maybe she was right. But Rhir was a gentleman and Alethea saw no wrong in their frienship. He was kind to her and would often question her mother on the subject, but alas to no avail her mother always appeared to win the case.

Now Alethea left her room and hurried across the hall towards her sisters rooms and knocked softly on the door. She was let into the room by Dryea who looked slightly taken aback to see her.

“You looked shocked,” smiled Alethea entering the room and closing the door behind her, Dryea walked over to a chair next to the fire place and sat down. “Were you expecting someone else? Maybe Rhir?”

Dryea shot a look of loathing towards her sister, “ No……I was expecting mother if you must know. How did you know I was with Rhir anyway?” she questioned her voice whispering.

“You were dancing with him, I saw you. Why sister you act like it was totally disgusting that I saw you with him. Remember, I am not mother. I have no objections to him.” said Alethea timidly sitting on the bed facing Dryea.

“No, I am sorry. It is just mother would think I am weak or something along the lines. She would think I was like…like..”

“Me?” Alethea laughed, brushing her hair out of her face. And quickly forgetting it she said, “ so how did it go for you?”

[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Arien ]
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Old 07-08-2003, 02:03 PM   #59
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On arrival back in her chambers, Dryea changed quickly out of her extraordinary gown and into a midnight blue silk nightdress over which she pulled her crimson velour robe. Letting down her hair brushing it with her elaborate brush until it shown like the harvest moon. She pulled it back behind her ears to the base of her neck and clasped it with an amber stone barrette to keep our of her face as she washed in her basin.

Cupping the cool water in her hands she rinsed her face, relieving much of the tension in her nerves. She patted her face dry with a towel just as someone knocked. Dryea had been dreading it since Rhircyn left at the door with a kiss: Her mother had seen them that evening.

Dryea took a deep breath and poured herself a small glass of sherry setting the vessel back on its silver tray before she admitted the person on the other side. It was Alethea. She was tired and wished that her sister would wait until tomorrow to canvass about tonight’s events.

“So how did it go for you?” she had asked from where she had settled herself on Dryea’s bed.

“How does it always go? Conversations of politics, weather, and health with people of position and authority. A robust banquet and agreeable dancing. Always enchanting and never beneficial those balls. ‘Tis something one always grows tired of, but when the night is over she always looks forward to the next. Isn‘t that what you wanted to know? Perhaps you should right it down so that whenever you feel like asking a tired woman ‘how did it go?’ you‘ll always be able to refer to that and safe the breath and time.” Alethea laughed.

“Witty, Dryea, but predictable,” she stood and poured herself a small beaker of the amber wine tasting it tentatively. Dryea calmed down considerably, grateful to her younger sister for her patience. She took a seat on the loveseat by the fireplace, taking her feet out of her black slippers and curling them under her.

“I trust everything went well for you then?” Alethea opened her mouth to answer when a second knock came at the door.

“I’ve already gotten my fresh bedclothes, decanter of sherry, and my bath water heated what in the world do they want know?” demanded Dryea exasperatedly as she shouted for the maid to come in. The timid servant entered, her eyes on the floor. The noblewoman bit back her lip, sorry she had been cross. “Oh,” she said tenderly. “I am so sorry. It’s late and I’m right tired. Please forgive my short temper.” It was not like Dryea to chide the servants anyhow so the maid relaxed and delivered her message confidently.

“Your mother wishes your company in her chambers.” Dryea froze and Alethea looked quickly towards the maid, having to turn in her seat to see past the curtains drawn on the opposite side of the bed.

“Thank you,” said Dryea. The maid bowed and backed out, closing the door silently behind her. Alethea looked apprehensively towards her sister.

“She knows,” she whispered, clapping her left hand over her mouth, almost sloshing her sherry over the side of her cup. Dryea shrugged and set her glass down on the table, lacing up the front of her robe.

“I thought so. Well don’t look so timorous,” she said firmly. Though their mother was an imposing woman, Dryea was hardly frightened of her. “You may wait here if you wish,” she offered. “I’ll only be a moment.” Alethea shook her head.

“Thank you but no. I’m going to tuck in. Goodnight.” She left quickly, catching the end of her night dress in the door. Dryea chuckled.

Ruiel’s room was on the east wing of the citadel and a good distance from Dryea‘s and Alethea‘s rooms. Finally the tapestry of the last king of Gondor and his wife came into view marking where Ruiel’s door stood just across from it. She knocked hesitantly waiting for her mother to call her in, hopeful that whatever she had to say didn't include Rhir.
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Old 07-08-2003, 10:36 PM   #60
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After the Party

Ruiel studied Ränne's bowed head. A smile flickered there, unseen by the other woman. Ränne was tired and it had been a trying day. With lords and ladies fluttering hither and thither in their finery, maids such as Ränne were left to race about after them. Still, despite all this, Ränne had proved herself once again. The woman had seen and heard much as she had worked that day with all but invisible speed.

Looking aside to her glass, Ruiel toyed with the stem as she spoke on.

"I hear that you are held in high esteem, Ränne," she said with amusement. Ränne looked up in some uncertainty, her earlier shame only now fading from her cheeks. It leant her an innocent expression that was both becoming and utterly inappropriate.

"My lady, I do not understand," she replied, eyes wide. Ruiel's brows arched.

"Do you not? You have come to the attention of none other than Findulias herself. Such an honour," Ruiel purred. Ränne, who knew better than most how her mind turned, looked uncomfortable. The other woman shook her head.

"I did not seek that duty, m'lady" she said quickly.
"But, you have it, Ränne. Do you not? I was confident I heard the bride-to-be clearly. Am I mistaken?"

Ränne quickly chose between the safer course. Better to acknowledge the truth than suggest that Ruiel was mistaken.

"Findulias did name me, my lady. But my duty is to-," she said swiftly. Ruiel cut her off mercilessly.
"Your duty, Ränne, is to serve. Findulias has named you, and I bid you to do so," Ruiel smiled again and sipped at her wine.
"It well suits me that she has done so. This works directly into our hands. Now, see to the bedding," Ruiel waved her hand in the direction of the taffeta upholstered bed, and stood herself as she drained her glass.

As she pondered the necessity to extract Dryea from her chambers, a knock sounded at her door. Ruiel set her empty glass down, smoothed her skirts and again voiced her customary "Come!"

Dryea appeared in the doorway. Ruiel clasped her hands in front of her, making no move to close the distance between her and her daughter or break the silence that had sprung up.

"Mother," Dryea said somewhat hesitantly. Ruiel remained silent in the dancing light of the hearth behind her. Dryea mustered herself admirably and stepped forward to let the door close behind her.

"You sent for me, mother," Dryea said as she walked to a respectable distance. It was not seemly to shout at your mother from the other side of the room.

"I was pleased with the day, Dryea," Ruiel said mildly in a tone that did not match the iron in her gaze.

"As was I, mother," Dryea cautiously agreed, knowing what was to come should she step but one foot incorrectly. Ruiel gestured smoothing at the glasses on the side board, and Dryea demurred wisely. Her mother turned away to face the hearth, yet Dryea was not dismissed so lightly.

"I trust you acquainted yourself with all the dignitaries, daughter? I heard a range of innuendo and rumour sweep the room."

"I did, mother. The rumours were readily taken up. There is little warmth towards Findulias amongst the ladies of Minas Tirith."

"And what of the men of the court? How are they disposed?"

Dryea recognised what yawned before her feet, yet all she had was her mother's back to observe. It was straight, held in elegant repose as she waited for her daughter's response.

"Some... some are taken by her beauty and some have little shrift for a stranger, pretty or not. Those enamoured should prove malleable, as I had planned," Dryea said, hoping to find safer ground in discussion of their machinations. It was not to be.

"You are exquisite, and certainly able to outshine Findulias, daughter," Ruiel said as she turned to her side to study Dryea. Some relief appeared in her daughter's face when the storm she had expected did not break.

"See that it is so, Dryea, for you will not shine when garbed by one man's arms." There was the snap of maternal command in her voice as she finished her statement. Dryea's chin bobbed up in alarm.

"Too much has been invested to allow foolish childish sentiment to pull it down. If you do not see to it, know that I will!"

Ruiel did not raise her voice, nor did she frown. Yet, the threat was implicit, for Dryea was familiar with her mother's capacity to see things done at all cost. Whether her daughter agreed or not made little difference to Ruiel, and she turned back to the fire for a moment whilst Dryea wrestled with conflicting emotions.

"You have done well and you will continue to do well. Good evening, Dryea."

Ruiel turned to watch Dryea depart, mind occupied with her daughters. Perhaps, if Dryea proved too head strong, Alethea could step in. The girl had potential, afterall she was her daughter. It would be inconvenient, and Dryea would have to be dealt with. Somewhere within Ruiel, painful fear at what that might mean flickered, but she siezed that with an iron fist and silenced it. Damn Rhir, and all men with him!

Ränne was doing her best to appear invisible, and so when Ruiel turned to her, she was not well pleased. Such an exchange was dangerous to overhear, deadly even. Ruiel watched Ränne walk out from the other side of the bed, where she had pulled back the luxuriant bedding with her efficient grace. Ruiel's smile was back in place as she studied the maid. Of all the day's work, Ränne had achieved the most. It was no small surprise the woman was tired.

"Did you see Pelian and Sador today, Ränne?"
"Yes, m'lady," Ränne replied, looking up with a hesitant smile of her own.
"Seems she has still to disentangle herself from that clod of a husband. Disappointing, for Pelian has much potential, yet convenient as she would make a challenging adversary that I do not have to contend with whilst Sador is in attendance.

Perhaps we could send the happy couple a bouquet. It would a mark of gratitude for Sador remarkable longevity and a mark of sympathy for his corralled wife. I will ponder it some more," Ruiel said with ascerbic humour that set her eyes gleaming. Ränne's smile blossomed, in no small part a measure of her relief.

Ruiel reached back to unbind her hair. It swung in a heavy rope down her back, freed once the ornate pins that had held it into place were removed. She shook her head as it unravelled and spread over her back, rich against the indigo of her gown.

"It has been a long and tiring day, Ränne. You should rest, for you will need your wits about you," Ruiel suggested, a hint of command in her voice also. Yet, her face was softer as she beheld Ränne. A trace of affection was allowed to come to the surface, both in her shared jest and her expression.

Ruiel turned to the wardrobe and proceeded to peel the heavy gown from her in readiness for the night. She hung it and pulled another out for the morning, and clad in a silk shift of a green-blue hue that shifted in the light, she retired.

[ July 09, 2003: Message edited by: Elora ]
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Old 07-09-2003, 12:24 AM   #61
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Vieana was quite lost, and the day had become later. She was quite relieved when she set eyes on a group of Dol Amroth guards, who were of course of Finduilas guard.

They saw her coming and bowed. "M'lady" they said. "Are you allright?" another queried. Vieana looked up at them all. "Why, yes, I am fine. Why shouldnt I be?" she asked, and then quickly forgetting to wait for an answer, she went on. "You have not seen any of the other Ladies have you?"

"No Lady Vieana, should we have seen them?" said the first guard apprehensivly. Vieana sighed, "No, its just that I so wanted to speak with a familliar face, and I am always late, i just supposed they where about that's all." She put her hands on her hips as though deep in thought. "It is wonderful here, though, I do miss the salt air that we have in Dol Amroth."

The guards seemed reluctant to say anything. "Yes, m'lady, it is... great. Though they do not do things here as we do in Dol Amroth, under the general that is. And the Captain Dardanir." replied the second. "Yes, Dardanir..." repeated Vieana still in thought, "If I give you a message, would you be able to find a messenger to take it to Captain Dardanir?" she asked.
"Yes, certainly." said the third guard.

"I just wonder where the other ladies are!" Vieana said seating herself on a bench and crossing her arms.

[ August 03, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:10 AM   #62
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Sting

The moonlight shone into Elena’s room, the only source of light as Elena got ready for bed. Changing into her blue nightgown, she sat in front of her mirror, brushing her hair out. Too awake to sleep, she sat and mulled over the events of the night.

Finduilas not who she seemed to be? It was a strange thought…surely she could never expect to come to Minas Tirith and not be discovered? Still, everything would surely come out in time – the women of Minas Tirith would not allow this to go on, if they had the slightest suspicion they were being lied to. Restless, Elena rose from her seat and stood by the window. The city looked beautiful at night, with the moonbeams shining over the towers, and candles flickering at some of the windows. It was so much better to be here, where she had her independence.

Lighting a candle, Elena sat on her bed and picked up a large, leather bound book. Opening it, she sat and read for a while, until the light had died down to a mere dot and her eyelids were struggling to stay open. She lay back on the bed, and fell asleep.

*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

The sun streamed into her room the next morning, bathing everything in a warm light. Sitting up in bed, Elena recalled the invitation to Pelien’s luncheon that very day. Pulling off the covers, she dressed in a simple wine coloured dress, before the maid helped her to pin her hair up.

"Elsa? See that breakfast is ready in fifteen minutes, please." The maid nodded and left the room.

Finally, fastening on a silver necklace, Elena left to eat breakfast and find someone to spend the duration of the morning with.

[ August 03, 2003: Message edited by: Child of the 7th Age ]
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Old 07-09-2003, 08:41 AM   #63
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Sting

After the Party...

It had been a long day, and the party was over. Finduilas had looked amazing and so had the guests. While walking away form the party, in the long hallway towards her chambers, she thought of the nice lad that had blinked. After her little "incident" with the butler, that caught her, she never saw him again.

Too bad, she though, he had such a nice smile. And then she rememberd his eyes, the eyes that had blinked. She was suddnely feeling quite excited. She din't know why, though. It was just a merry feeling streaming inside of her.

As she reached her chambers she walked towards the door. Shetried to open it, but te door was stuck. She didn't know what to do so she kind of of "bumped" into it. The door was still stuck. "Isn't this typical?" she said to herself. "What to do now?" she thought.

For some minutes she just stood there bside the door, just as she was waiting for the door to open itself. But she didn't stand there long before she decided to give it another try. She was so tired that she had to go to bed now, or she would fall asleep, that she knew for certain. She took a step so she stood in front of it, and then she started to push. Finally the door opened, and the poor maid stepped in.

[ August 03, 2003: Message edited by: Orofaniel ]
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Old 07-09-2003, 03:12 PM   #64
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As Emilia brushed out her long, shining hair she watched darkness fall outside the window. By degrees the sky faded to royal blue, then black crept across the sky towards the West. It was a beautiful night. Above, stars winked through faint whisps of cloud. Emilia remembered that when she was little her father had taken her and her brother outside in the cool dark and told them the old Elven names of the stars. Menelvagor the huntsman, Soroúmë the eagle, Remmiraith and the special stars of the Gondorian banner- the Sickle of the Valar. She could still recite the names, just as she could still see her father’s face in the fleeting light shining from their windows while he reached up pointing.

In daytime different things were important, but at night the old habits re-emerged in her head. She missed Father, but he was due to write tomorrow. That meant a letter from Mama too, and a more welcome one from Emrin her brother.

After the normal 150 strokes, Emilia slowly readied herself for bed, the short, plump maid dashing round the room while Emilia sat and digested the day’s events. Somehow, sitting in her room she could not be bothered to think of what to do. With a yawn she decided to wait until the morning and went to bed resolved NOT to dream of Thenidir.
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Old 07-09-2003, 03:53 PM   #65
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Gwen Hurried back to the house that she served lived and listened. She strode past streets preferring the dark and twisted alleyways. Her foot fall was seldom heard on this stone, as she padded along to the house where night gowns and bed waited. The book in her pocket continued to bump lazily against her leg as she walked swiftly to her home.

Approaching it she saw its doors, they would not do, she was late. She went around to the back, skirting the large building, avoiding the windows. She found the door she was looking for, a small wooden thing that was hidden far back in a recess in the wall of the house. Like all old houses there were secret, most likely forgotten halls and doors that were used by servants f old to keep out of the way of the nobility in them. She slipped inside this door, she had found it only a few days ago, and to her knowledge no one else knew of it.

Inside, the close stone walls pushed in on her. It was dark and dusty. No torches or candles burned here, for lack of use, so she had stashed a few candle stumps and tender box just inside the door. Lighting one of these she made her way up through corridors and rotting wooden stairs, to the top of the house where the maids and the servants lived. She counted the doors till she was at her own and she slipped inside to her well kept room.

She started her night by slipping into her white simple nightdress. Really a white wool sheath that fitted her loosely. She then crept down the stairs to Dryea's door and stood there waiting. For her mistress to come or others to leave. For she had much apologizing to do.

[ July 10, 2003: Message edited by: Annalaliath ]
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Old 07-09-2003, 04:26 PM   #66
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Silmaril

Eleniel wandered aimlessly around the citadel. She had no clue where she was. She had spent an hour or so searching for the other ladies of Dol Amroth but she couldn’t find them. She sighed. She needed to talk to a familiar face. She headed down a hall. She passed many soldiers and maids. Where could they be? She turned the corner.

As she turned the corner she ran into a lady from Minas Tirth. She remembered meeting her. What was her name? Adrama, Emilia? No. It wasn’t Dryea or Alethea, they were sisters. Elena, that’s it!

“I’m sorry Elena” Eleniel quickly said with a polite smile. “I was looking for Finduilas, but I got lost.” She added.

“It’s fine. I’m alright” Elena replied calmly.

“Would you happen to know where Finduilas might be?”

“No, sorry I don’t” Elena replied.

“Oh. Well nice to see you again” Eleniel said and with a polite curtsey she hurried of down the hall. Good job Eleniel, going around and running into the ladies of Minas Tirth. Great way to get yourself a reputation a klutz, she thought to her self.

Maybe I should look to see if they are in their rooms, Eleniel thought as she turned another corner. She noticed a group of Dol Amroth soldiers standing by a bench.

“Vienna!” Eleniel cried as she noticed Vienna sitting on a bench. “Have you seen the others?”
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Old 07-10-2003, 12:05 PM   #67
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Sting

The end of the night to the next morning...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ränne remained quiet during the exchange between mother and daughter, readying Ruiel's bed and making sure there was fresh water for her to drink during the night. Ränne was tired, and she eyed the wine.. wine she could not touch... and so she waited.

Ränne could see the tension in Ruiel's face, and with subtle expressions, Ränne was able to get her to soften some. Helping Ruiel remove her coak and prepare for bed, it was soon after giving her a massage that she went to sleep, and Ränne was free to retire.

Yes, to her bed-chamber that was through a door from Ruiel's chamber, Ränne slipped into and dressed for the night. A black silken wrap was all, with a thin belt to hold it closed, and laying out on her mat she dug under it for the herb and pipe. It was a custom of smoking pipeweed that had spread south from a place in the north called the Shire, And Ränne had aquired the pipe from a traveler. It did come in handy for her relaxation in her limited free hours, even though there was no pipeweed to be had. She found that a weed used in the House of Healing called Kingsfoil, when dried, worked as a fine relaxant when smoked.

As she rested, she was thinking about Dryea and the soldier she danced with... what should she not be happy to do and love as she will? Should a young woman's pleasures all be taken away for political expedience? Surely Ruiel thought so...

Her thoughts then turned to Finduilas, and how she could be manipulated... Ränne would have to get with Dryea sometime with a proposal of how to best carry this off... a slight tincture.. colorless and oderless in the red wine Finduilas favored... just a slight amount... to cause depression....

Ränne drifted off to sleep and dream to gain some much-needed rest before the next days duties.

As the sun broke about the White City, Ränne turned upon her mat and dug for the dark herbleaf she had and chewed it. Being invigorated so, she arose and bathed quickly before donning a simple white maids dress, stowing her small herb pouch in its hidden pocket under her aprons. She then tended to making Ruiel's awakening pleasing to her...

'Good morning m'lady'

Ruiel moaned as she awoke. She insisted on being woken by this time every day, and so it was today.

"There is much to be done this day Ränne. I will bathe in private while you waken my daughters."

Ränne bowed with her eyes down, and turned to leave to call on the daughters. It would be a good time to bring up her thoughts about Finduilas, and wished to let her know that her enjoying the company of the handsome Gondorian soldier was sweet and that she would do what she could to soften Ruiel's disapproval...

[ July 10, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:42 PM   #68
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Sting

The next morning.

Meirelle awoke to a bird crying loudly outside her window. Glancing at the large clock in her quarters, she was pleased to note that she was not late in awakening. She stretched leisurely and slowly got out of bed. As she got herself ready for the day, Meirelle ran what she had to accomplish through her mind. It had seemed easy enough when she was first told, but now it was proving to be difficult.

When she had started to walk down the long corridor towards the eating room, it wasn't long before she heard whispered snatches of rumours.

"Finduilas? Really? But the lady seemed so nice..."

"...not herself. A secret identity!"

"Lying about her identity. What a pity."

A slow smile crept across Meirelle's face as she made her way towards the eating room. Someone had already done some work-Dryea, no doubt. She never had liked procrastination. As she stepped lightly down the stairs, she smiled at a guard passing by (who smiled back). She finally got into the maids' eating quarters and settled herself at a table with a bowl of porridge and a cup of warm milk.

[ July 11, 2003: Message edited by: Horse-Maiden of the Shire ]
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:54 PM   #69
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Pipe

The sun hit the windows of Dryea’s room early and fast like a sudden bolt of lightening. She sat up blinking the red spots out of her eyes and slid off the bed into her slippers. Ränne had not yet come to wake her and after stumbling over to the windowsill, where she could peek down into the garden at the sundial, saw that it was only half an hour past dawn.

The maids had been up for exactly an hour and breakfast was already set on her small table ready for her enjoyment. Dryea had always insisted on eating breakfast first thing in the morning. It was her source of energy and she joked that it was direly needed for fitting in her corset because once the food was digested, the undergarment would loosen. She helped herself to three apple tarts and two cups of the honeyed tea she fancied. Flipping idly through her book she spent less than usual on her breakfast and was ready to prepare for the day in just over ten minutes of waking.

Her feet weren’t sore like they usually were after a night full of dancing but she rubbed jasmine oil on them all the same after bathing and before getting dressed.

This morning she chose a silk goldenrod dress with simple sleeves and inch-wide lace that crisscrossed up the bodice. Ränne arrived just in time to help tie up the back of her corset before donning her dress.

“I am sorry your mother doesn’t approve of Rhir m’lady,” she said, concentrating on the stays. Dryea smiled. Good old Ränne. “If there’s something I can do,” she stepped back motioning to Dryea to turn and attempt to sit in her corset. “How does it hold?”

“It’s fine. My dress too please.” Lady Morthaniawen stood still as Ränne carefully tied the bow in the back of the dress finishing up the lacing that held the dress together.

“This is a dazzling dress, Dryea. New?” Dryea nodded, smiling brilliantly into the mirror. It was a nice dress. It molded nicely onto her figure and wasn’t too fancy: just the modern style.

“Thank you very much Ränne but I don’t think mother will soften.” Shrugging, the maid left the room and moved on to Alethea’s to wake her.

Dryea finished with a small splash of sandalwood-rose perfume and added some simple jewelry: a gold ring in the shape of a rose and a thin necklace to match. Then, slipping into her brown house shoes she left her room.

It was a day to mirror her dress: stunning and cheerful. She knew that she didn’t have much of a reason to feel so uplifted but she couldn’t push the beam from her face. Two troublesome things had occurred: her mother didn’t approved of Rhir for political reasons, and Finduilas was going to prove a threat to their plans. With these two things weighing slightly on her mind she ran into Elena who was on her way to breakfast.

“Won’t you join me?” she asked Dryea. Lady Morthaniawen agreed.

“I could do with something light I suppose.” Deciding to take their morning meal onto the back terrace, they sat in the early morning light and chattered of the previous night’s happenings.

[ July 15, 2003: Message edited by: maikafanawen ]
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Old 07-11-2003, 07:52 PM   #70
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Adrama's eyes fluttered open as the first rays of morning shone through her open window. Pushing the covers off, she rolled over onto her stomach and let the sun warm her back. She lay her chin in her hands, staring at the headboard of the bed. She knew something rather exciting was going to happen today, but she couldn't quite remember what it was.

A merry laugh escaped her as the door to her room opened and her mother peered in. That was all she had needed to remember. Her mother was holding the luncheon party today for the ladies of Minas Tirith, and there she was sure to find revenge on Finduilas.

Rolling back over, she sat up in bed and smiled sweetly and Pelien. "Good morning, Mother," she said, jumping out of bed, her bare feet softly hitting the floor as she hurried on light and springy feet to her wardrobe. Opening it, she flipped through the row of dressed impatiently, until at last she decided on a cream-colored dress trimmed with black, and a black leather belt around the waist. Catching it up, she held it to herself and spun in a few circles, humming a little tune. Then, looking back up at her mother, she said, "See, it still shall fit me!"

Pelien laughed at her daughter as she advanced. Laying her hands on Adrama's shoulders, she kissed the young woman's cheek. "Good morning, my little one," she said. "You are in quite a good mood today. Are you that excited about the luncheon?"

"Yes, Mother, I am," said Adrama, picking up the brush on her desk and gently running it through her dark hair, wincing a little whenever it would hit a tangle. "I think it will be most exciting and wonderful." She paused a little, her brow wrinkling as she studied her mother carefully. "That is, if you intend to bring me?"

"I was intending to," Pelien replied.

Heartened by this, Adrama chattered on as she searched through a drawer, at last triumphantly bringing out a black ribbon, which she tied in her hair after putting it up in a simple fashion. Gesturing for her mother to turn, she tossed her nightgown carelessly onto the bed and slipped into her cream-colored dress. After surveying herself in the mirror, she had her mother turn about again, asking a little anxiously, "Do I look all right?"

"You look wonderful, dear," said Pelien. "But I think it would be a good idea for you to take your hair down and fix it up again before the luncheon. It looks all right now, but by the time our little party comes, it might need some redoing."

"Very sensible, Mother," said Adrama with a little nod. "Yes, thank you for mentioning it." Singing to herself, she picked up one end of her skirt and began to twirl around the room. Her mother smiled fondly at her and went to the bed to recover the abandoned nightgown. Putting it back in the wardrobe, she left Adrama's room to answer a soft knock at the door.

Adrama twirled round and round, singing nonsense to herself, admiring the skirt of the dress she hadn't worn in so long and thinking forward to the luncheon party. Yes, it would be very exciting. Not only would she be treated like an older person, as she considered herself to be, but she would also be able to hear so many horrible things said about Finduilas. The latter was to be the best part of all. Sitting down on her bed to clear her dizziness, she wondered if anyone would mention the jewel that she had worn last night. She hoped so.

The door opened and Pelien came in, a curious expression on her face. Adrama described the air of her mother to herself in her thoughts as the air of one who was predicting the future. Pelien spoke in a rather bored way, as if she knew what the answer was. "Addruran is at the door. He wanted to know if he could see you."

"Oh." Adrama stood up again, irritated. Did that pest always have to annoy her? Well, no wonder her answer was so predictable. "Tell him to go away and never come back," she said. Her mother left the room, and Adrama guessed that Addruran would be told in a different way than instructed. As long as he just realized!

Adrama sighed and looked out the window, clenching the sill tightly. If only Addruran would be like he used to when they were just children. They had been the best of friends. Why wouldn't he leave her alone? Why couldn't they be friends? He cared for her more than a friend, and she was coming to hate him, just like she hated Finduilas. Did everyone have to annoy her and make her life worse than it was already?

"Don't think about it," she murmured. "Think about the luncheon, where there will be no Addruran, no Finduilas... just a peaceful luncheon with the kinder people of Gondor."
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:29 PM   #71
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Sting

The Morning of the Luncheon

Ruiel dismissed Ränne on the day's work with a wave of her hand. She watched the other woman depart with a thoughtful expression. Once the door clicked behind Ränne, Ruiel smoothed the fine green linen of her gown and glided to the cedarwood desk. A matching, ornate chair upholstered in a rich old gold taffeta, sat tucked into it which Ruiel pulled out and settled into. She shook the ends of the draped sleeve of her gown free of her hand, and extracted a small delicate key from a fine chain that hung around her neck and nestled in her bosom beneath the sweep of her neckline.

Fitting the key to the lock, she heard the quick click of the well maintained mechanism and slid the drawer open. She sorted through the papers and parchements that lay within swiftly, and withdrew a selection before closing the drawer and restoring the key to its place safekeeping. With a businesslike expression, Ruiel directed her attention to a recently commissioned work.

She unfolded the vellum that the lineages had been inscribed upon and studied them for some time. Her eyes flickered over names of the minor and major houses of Minas Tirith. Then, she smoothed it out and laid it upon the polished desk and opened another document which she studied alone in its turn. A finely drawen brow rose as she considered the details before and then she set the second document out beside the first.

The Houses of Dol Amroth lay beside those of Minas Tirith. The line of Isildur and Elendil she dismissed with a contemptuous smile. Upstarts from the beginning, they had faded through mishap, misfortune and misjudgement that one could expect from such an inferior bloodline, unlike that of Umbar. Rather she inspected the houses of the Steward and his vassals, and also his known political opponents and compared it to Dol Amroth.

The linkages between the two were tenuous but still present, a fact Ruiel had discerned much earlier in anticipation of Findulias' cool reception upon announcement of the engagement. It was no wonder Gondor viewed the recently arrived courtiers from Dol Amroth with such resentment. The links by marriage and descent were old and lordlings had notorious short memories, something Ruiel had exploited before now.

But there was something more than that in the charts in lineage and ancestry. Already suspicion as to Findulias' identity was alive. In the concentrated hothouse of the court, it would spread rapidly. Gondor was well disposed to such unkindly reports of the newcome bride-to-be. The question now was how to further entrench the doubt. What identity would most repel Gondor and further isolate Findulias. Moreso, what would cast doubt over the Steward and de-stablise his hold over Gondor. It was those possibilities that Ruiel now read the charts for.

Her lips curved in a delighted smile as she settled on the best solution. There had long been rumour that one not so Faithful had found refuge with those who had set out prior to Numenor's sinking by the treacherous and greedy Valar. Indeed, in Umbar she had followed this survivor's descendants with some interest. What ruin would befall if it became known that Findulias was none other than a descendant of Ar-Pharazon... for Findulias and the grave downfall in the descendants of the "noble" House of Hurin...

Ruiel folded the documents, replaced them in the drawer and locked it once more. She arose from the desk with a rich smile of satisfaction in place and cool light of calculation in her gaze. House Morthaniawen would be in a position to intervene once the news was out and the revolt underway. Yes, the Steward would be banished, poor Finduilas spirited away to a remote location and there left to be forgotten, and Gondor would be under the proper rule of Umbar, once she had ceded the power to Umbar. Until then, it would be under the rule of Morthaniawen.

When Lady Ruiel entered the dining hall, garbed in the elegant drape of fine linen, she wore her satisfaction as if she wore the wealth of the Kings of Gondor, and she shone with it. Walkin with regal grace and manner, she swept along nodding and smiling at those already in the dining room. Already a contingent of Gondorian nobles were gathering. Ruiel smiled at each and moved towards them.
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:11 AM   #72
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Sting

Averyll had awakened early on the morning after the welcoming party for Finduilas. Unable to sleep, she had dressed herself and gone out for a walk through the streets of Minas Tirith, as dawn crept through the city and its residents prepared to greet the new day. Finding a bakery a few blocks beyond the residence where she and the other Dol Amroth ladies were staying, she watched as the baker opened the doors to his shop and swept the doorstep.

Seeing her, the baker turned toward her with a smile. "Greetings and a good morning to you,fair lady," he said pleasantly. "I've barely opened my doors and here you are... not even my first customer of the day. It must have been a fine party last night up at the palace!"

Averyll smiled and returned his greeting. "Yes, it was a lovely party. Everyone was so fine and amiable."

"Were they!" echoed the baker. "I hear tell that the steward's bride-to-be has made her debut now. Did you happen to see her? Is she as beautiful as they say she is?"

"Oh, every bit," Averyll smiled. Finduilas had been stunning, but there really was no reason to tell this man that she, herself, was one of Finduilas' ladies, rather than just a casual party-goer.

The baker glanced around and leaned toward her with a conspiratorial wink. "You know, they say she, the Lady Finduilas, is really not from Dol Amroth at all."

Averyll could barely hide her shock. "Who says that?" she asked, her blue eyes widening.

The baker lay his index finger along the side of his nose and nodded, winking again, as though he alone was privy to the truth. "Oh, I have my sources down at the palace."

"Do you, now!" exclaimed Averyll, deciding on the spot to play along with the man. She could decide later whether this new intelligence was something to be concerned about, or just the idle prattle of a bored shopkeeper. "How exciting! But who would say such a thing about such a lovely lady?"

The baker grinned in a cagey manner. "Oh, there are those at the palace with a fondness for my special sticky buns. Now I can't tell you who -- that would be bad form indeed -- but if you would like to try a sticky bun yourself..." The grin turned from cagey to inviting. "I just took some out of the oven."

Averyll suddenly had the mental picture of a spider inviting the fly into his web for a sticky bun. She smiled politely. "I'm sure they are wonderful, but, really, a lady must watch her figure," she finished demurely. The baker, a rather large fellow, nodded aprovingly. She took a step backward and, after a few more inane pleasantries, took her leave of the baker.

The gossip regarding Finduilas troubled her greatly. She hoped it was just the idle nonsense of a busybody, but it made her anxious to get back to the palace to do some discreet listening, to see if anyone else was saying anything similar.
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Old 07-12-2003, 04:48 AM   #73
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Sting

Dryea and Elena sat outside on the terrace. It was barely an hour after dawn, and all of Minas Tirith was bathed in the warm light of the newly risen sun. Elena laughed at the people who were too warmly wrapped up in their beds that they would miss such a beautiful hour of the day.

Turning round to Dryea, she drifted out of her reverie to find she was being asked a question.

“How did you find the welcoming ball last night, Elena?” Dryea was asking her.

“Oh, it was good fun,” Elena said, nodding. “It was spoilt a little by everyone doting on Finduilas though, I must say. Pretty she is, but just another woman really…and the idea she isn’t who she seems to be…!” The expression on Elena’s face seemed to show she was in two minds about whether to believe this or not.

“Yes, how do you feel about that?” Dryea asked evenly, allowing Elena to talk on.

Elena picked up her cup, sipped from it, and placed it back on the table, her face furrowed in concentration as she sorted out her thoughts on the matter, coming to no firm conclusion.

“I wish I knew. She seems friendly, not as though she was lying at all…if she is not Finduilas of Dol Amroth, then who is she? And surely the Steward would have been a little suspicious…?” Elena’s voice trailed off, her doubts over the idea of Finduilas’s other identity expressed.
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Old 07-12-2003, 07:34 AM   #74
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Diorwyn had slept fitfully; her surroundings were too strange yet for comfort, and she was unused to lying in a bed alone. As Finduilas’ seamstress, she was staying near the princess to be of assistance whenever her clothing needed change or repairs. She missed her family at home as well as her friends and relatives here in the White City. How nice it would have been to have someone of her own kind to talk to!

She resolved to finish her morning’s work as quickly as possible in order to have time to visit Gwinniel’s shop for a chat with her former colleagues there. When a maid brought Finduilas’ and Tessa’s dresses, she was ready to begin immediately. Fortunately, since they had been standing still for most of the time at the reception, there were very few small tears to sew. The maid responsible for cleaning the soiled hemlines would have some work, but all in all, her works of art, as she secretly thought of them, had suffered little.

She had some breakfast in the room reserved for the higher maids and personnel, then she walked through the streets of Minas Tirith briskly. When she opened the back door to the workshop, heads turned and faces lit up with welcoming smiles. A chorus of voices attempted to claim her attention, and she raised both hands in laughing protest.

“One at a time!” she exclaimed. Not even many years spent in rooms full of sewing women had accustomed her to understanding this kind of confusion. Work ceased for a few moments while they exchanged news of births, deaths and growing children. Gwinniel, who still came into the shop daily and kept a sharp eye on the work despite her high age, smiled indulgently from her desk. She knew that the interruption would not really slow down their work; excitement made the needles fly even faster afterwards.

The talk turned to the princess from Dol Amroth, and the women plied Diorwyn with questions about her. She answered with enthusiasm, describing her beauty and grace, and soon they were deep in discussions about the clothing that had been made in both cities for the noble ladies.

Later, alone in Gwinniel’s quarters, the elder woman said, “There are strange rumours abroad about Finduilas.”

“What kind of rumours?” Diorwyn asked, puzzled. She gasped when Gwinniel told her what she had heard whispered during the course of the evening. “Who would say such a thing? And who would profit from such evil gossip?” she wondered.

“Let us not speak of this openly,” Gwinniel replied, “but keep our ears open. Perhaps we shall be able to locate the source and find out more about those who wish your lady ill.”

Thoughtfully Diorwyn walked back to her chamber. She reached her room just in time for the noon repast.
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:45 AM   #75
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Silmaril

The Morning of the Luncheon

The sun streamed through Alethea’s window, bathing the grand room in the fresh morning sunlight. She rolled over on the bed, to face the fire place which was now extinguished except for a few last dying embers which refused to give up on glowing. She sat there for a few minuets listening to the early morning maids going out on their duties. As she got up from her bed a knock came on the door.

“Yes? She said clearly speaking towards the door, “ Who is it?” a pause came as Alethea slowly walked to the door her hair falling perfectly to her side. She always wondered why it did this, other women, when the rose from a nights sleep their hair was not much top desire but hers was strange, it was perfect. She walked to the door and asked again.

“Its Meirelle,” Alethea smiled and opened the door with her key. It was always locked whether she was in it or out of her room, safety procedure is what she always told herself, but in truth she liked to escape the world. She never liked maids coming in and out of her room, doing things she was perfectly capable of her self. She placed the key into the lock and opened the door to reveal Meirelle.

“Hello…” said Alethea wearily, sleep still lingering.

“Good morning Miss Morthaniawen,” she beamed at her, a tray in hand no doubt full of breakfast. Alethea let her in shutting and locking the door behind them.

“How many times Meirelle?” Alethea laughed, lazily slumping down into the closest chair to her.

“How many times what Miss Morthaniawen?” replied the maid innocently.

“You know very well…..my name is Alethea, it may be Miss Morthaniawen, but I prefer Alethea. I am not my sister nor my mother……Do you find me calling you by your second name?” Meirelle placed her hands on her hips and shook her head. “well don’t do it to me, I have known you long enough!” Alethea really hated being called Miss Morthaniawen. It was so, so fake. Why not call people by the real names instead of giving them some glorified stature by calling them Miss or Lady or Lord. She knew well that if they were not to be suspected I Minas Tirith then they had to adorn themselves with that false pretence. But she didn’t see the point. Alethea now watched as Meirelle opened her wardrobe pulling out the more disgusting of her dresses, it was a pale blue dress, with thousands of frills and lacy bits. To far over the top for any occasion. Alethea preferred the more simple dresses

“Are you serious?” Alethea laughed. Skipping over the wardrobe and placing the dress back in. Instead she pulled a plain cream dress out. It fell to the floor simply and the corset was tied at the back with a thick cream ribbon. “This is what I want to wear.”

Meirelle helped her dress, doing up the corset and then the two sat down before the fire place and Alethea started to eat. She picked up a slice of toast and ate it as Meirelle told her of the previous nights events. She liked Meirelle, she seemed to be a genuine person unlike those she was surrounded by, including herself. They laughed together for a while and Alethea shared out her breakfast with her, the breakfast she received down in the kitchen was not exactly the best ever. But Meirelle didn’t complain.

When the had finished Mierelle left and Alethea brushed her hair and sprayed herself with lavender. As she walked out she caught a last glimpse of herself in the mirror and thought back to what Meirelle had said. The rumours have started, we will be ok Alethea. So everything was going to plan. She left her room and headed out.
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Old 07-13-2003, 02:05 AM   #76
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Silmaril

Vieana looked up to see Elen standing above her. "Oh!, i dont know where any of them are! and you know as well as i do that i am the one who is most likely to be late for any occasion." she sighed, filcking an ant off her grey dress.

"I think that, since we have tried our hardest to find them, that it is not their turn to find us. Dont you think?" Vieana smiled and stood up. "I dont suppose it was my imagination was it? have you noticed something odd about this... this whole affair? Well, you know me, i will never say a bad word against anyone, but Elen, it does seem a bit cold here."

Vieana took Elen's arm and lead her out of hearing distance of the Dol Amroth guards. "The guards- they are acting in the oddest of moods. They seem very apprehensive towards the Minas Tirith guards, and i mean this is Gondor, not Rohan, Harad or even Roahn, it is so strange that men of the same country can seem to not be getting along. Everytime my husband speaks of the guards here, it is always in the fondest manner." Vieana frowned.

"Do you see then?"
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Old 07-13-2003, 12:50 PM   #77
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Sting

Gwen woke in her room, a small but well kept room. She dressed into another one of her three dresses, a black one that she loved. It was simple, and she liked that about it. She slipped her apron over it and then she pulled in her black socks, and then her black leather shoes. Her mother sent her care packages with cloths, books, and letters. The letters told her that if she just pretended to act normal life would be much better for her. Gwen wondered what normal was.

She slipped out of her room, through the hidden door, and down to the kitchen where the other maids were eating breakfast. She was standing in the middle of the cavernous pantry, when she thought of what she did miss. But this thought was only fleeting and she came into the kitchen proper and ate herself a hurried breakfast. After which she busied herself about making breakfast for the mistresses of the house.

[ July 13, 2003: Message edited by: Annalaliath ]
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Old 07-13-2003, 06:37 PM   #78
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Sting

The morning of the Luncheon

Pelien stood in the doorway and watched Addruran as he walked out to the street. The poor boy was obviously infatuated with Adrama, but Pelien was more than relieved her daughter showed little interest in him. Their relationship was fine when they were children, but now that Adrama was a lady, Pelien saw Addruran as inferior to her daughter. Shaking her head with pity for the young man, she closed the door.

As the latch clicked, Pelien rested her back against the heavy wood and sighed. The Lady had risen early to ensure her plans for the luncheon were in place. Everything was on schedule. Rummel, Pelien’s personal servant, was up before dawn preparing the food, and breakfast had been ready when Pelien had awakened and dressed.

Pelien’s feet padded softly on the hallway floor as she went once more to Adrama’s room. She knocked on the door while opening it and peering into her daughter’s chambers.

“Adrama, you will want to hurry. Some fresh berries and bread are still on the breakfast table for you.” Pelien remained in the doorway. “Your father and I have already eaten, and he left for duty an hour ago.”

“Yes, Mother,” Adrama answered in a tone that reflected her pleasant mood as she gazed out the window with her back to her mother. Without saying another word, Pelien backed out through the door and closed it firmly to let Adrama know she was gone.

The rest of the morning was a blur. Pelien kept an eagle’s eye on Rummel, making sure the woman’s work was perfect, and correcting it if it didn’t suit her. Vern had arrived two hours after first light and remained in the kitchen all morning. Pelien checked in with her every few minutes, and even though she trusted in Vern’s abilities, she was anxious that something might go wrong.

Fortunately, her worries were fruitless, and once everything was in place, Pelien finally entered her sitting room. This was her favorite room in the house. The lighting was soft, almost romantic, and sitting down in a straight-backed chair covered with a rich floral design in red and ivory, she sighed deeply.

The cook came into the room quietly to inform Pelien the food was ready. “Thank you,” Pelien said. “You may take a small break before the Ladies arrive, but do not go far.” With that, she dismissed Vern with a wave of her hand.

When she heard the noon bell ring throughout the city, Pelien heavily rose from the seat and walked slowly up to her room. She had one hour to touch up her appearance. Opening her armoire, she pulled out a simple maroon dress with tan accents and held it up as she faced her reflection. Very nice… she thought. After she quickly changed dresses, she unpinned her hair and pulled it back once more, ensuring every hair was in place. Finally, she was ready, now she had to be sure Adrama was...
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Old 07-14-2003, 09:42 AM   #79
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Sting

The luncheon fast approaching she did not want to go. To quick escape this torture, she offered to do the trading for the day. She took along with the money that Ruiel had entrusted to her a bit of the money her mother sent her at times. She left the house, and walked down the streets.

On her way to the market, she watched the people and the houses. She thought of how alone she felt, before her service she had spent much of her time with her cousin Ross. He was not like most men. He was small and skinny, but little did many know that he was not one to anger. She laughed at the memories. The wondrous shouting fights. But he always told her that he felt he could always talk to her. She continued in these thoughts as she walked staring at the ground. Then as she was walking she noticed a woman at her door, watching someone leaving. She watched as she latched the door behind her.

Gwen then started walking again. She missed Ross dearly her family never understood the need that she had of his friendship. He was an outcast, someone that the family should disown; like her. These thoughts jumbled and tossed in her head, the pain of the years of rejection just straining to get out of the cage that she kept it locked tight insider her heart.

She walked on kicking loose stones in the street. She looked up and took the list of things that she needed out of the basket on her arm. Reading she saw that four and meat were the only perishables. Other than that she had to get fabric and thread. She knew were to find all of this. On her way she would stop for herself at the book seller. She would trade in this old book of hers for another one. She continued on. And suddenly she felt a great swell of hatred for Dryea and her mother. She also hated her family and the other people in this forsaken city. She hated Denther and his bride even more than the rest. But through these feelings the caution of being found to be what she was, to show her true colors in public was there. Not yet, do not show what you feel, don't say what you think, not yet.

[ July 14, 2003: Message edited by: piosenniel ]
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Old 07-14-2003, 07:54 PM   #80
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Sting

Before the Luncheon

The buzz of busy tongues around her was more appetizing than the fare before her. Ruiel smiled gravely from time to time, as women turned to her to confirm what Dryea had started the day before.

"Yes, I have heard as much myself," she confessed worridley as though she loathed the spectacle of gossip.
"Is it true that you and your daughters spent some time in Dol Amroth?"

A younger, less schooled lady leaned forward with her question, her hair narrowly missing immersion in her tea as she did so. Ruiel fixed a reproachful stare upon the woman and only when the other's cheeks burned with embarrassment at her guiless and unsophisicated question did Ruiel set down her own delicate porcelin cup and answered.

"Yes, I have estates in Dol Amroth. They were established by my dear husband, shortly before his untimely death." Playing her role to the hilt with the innate instinct of a consumate actress, Ruiel placed a hand over her heart as if grief still tugged painfully within her breast. Her eyes lowered to the snowy white of the tablecloth before her as part of her performance. Around her, murmurs of condolence and blessing for his apparently beloved and departed soul ebbed like a tide. The young woman sat back, chastened by her apparant gaffe and the stiff glare of disapproval bestowed upon her by her chaperone.

Inwardly, Ruiel thanked the girl for the opportunity and fought against an ironic smile that here, in Minas Tirith, she was playing the role of grieving widow who had remained widow all the long years. Had those who lowered their heads respectfully that she had celebrated her years of freedome as fully as she had resented all the labourious years of marriage to a short-sighted and dimwitted imbecile.

"I knew Findulias as a young girl," Ruiel said when the mockery had gone on long enough and her smile threated to break through her mask of seemly grief. She picked up her tea cup and placed it against her lips, sipping the fragrant tea and studying the women seated around her across its rim.

"Was she beautiful then, Lady Ruiel?" Ah, another innocent to gild my way Ruiel turned to the child, seated next to an overly proud mother who smiled upon her daughter's banal and henceforth harmless question in relief that her daughter had not disgraced herself as the last young lady had.

Relief at the lightening of subject shimmered through the gathering of women. The red cheeks of the tactless lady became darker again. "Yes, even as a child, young Finduilas was so beautiful. So pure, she was, against all that lay in her family's past. So much darkness, and yet she shone undimmed and unsullied."

Ruiel added a nostalgic sigh for good effect and sipped at her cup as she waited for her words to sink in. The more astute, intelligent, or just plain viscious amongst them siezed her admittedly thin hook swiftly. Having finished her tea, Ruiel delicately dabbed at her lips with her lacy napkin and rose. She bestowed vacous blandishments upon upturned and sometimes expectant faces, gathered her skirts and began an unhurried and stately departure of the Dining Hall.

It came as no surprise that one woman in particular followed her. Ruiel amused herself by causing the woman to rush in order to catch her up within the hothouse confines of the Dining Hall. Such gossip was unthinkable in the halls of the Steward's House. Yet, they were insulated and united by their doubt and mistrust here in the Dining Room, and the absense of clod headed men who invariably interrupted such delights as gossip. It came as no surprise to Ruiel that the gossip was particularly vengeaful whilst the women were free of male interference. The most heady pleasure of rumour was hearing something that meant your advantange and your opponent's woe.

"Lady Ruiel, will you be attending the Luncheon today?" The woman that had rushed after her was somewhat short of breath. Ruiel turned in contrived surprise, delighting in the other's gasping. So desperate, she thought with distinct satisfaction.

"Indeed I shall," Ruiel replied with a kindly smile. "Perhaps we can converse further then." The other woman nodded, eyes bright with poorly concealed curiosity.
"Yes, yes... there was one thing further," she said as she drew conspiratorially closer to Ruiel.
"It will need to be brief. I have much to do prior to the Luncheon," Ruiel replied without a trace of a lie for a rare change.
"You mentioned darkness in Finduilas' past. Is that why she has changed her identity?"

Ruiel smiled at the woman as if she was a fool, and she was. Ruiel did not make allowances for the woman's inability to know just whom she huddled with now.
"Is there ever a happy reason to cast off one's heritage," she answered with another question that the woman siezed upon with rapturous delight.
"Indeed... but what heritage can be so dark," she said in open speculation. The fire was well and truly alight now.

"Hard to imagine, but then our ancestors could scarcely imagine the grief and suffering when Ar-Pharazon usurped the throne and declared war," Ruiel replied. She would never say that Finduilas was descended from such stock directly. Her face was marked with sadness at the history of Numenor, but she held the other woman's gaze with intense force. The other frowned at the historical reference to blindness at first. When Ruiel continued to stare at the woman, her expression cleared and dawning comprehension appeared like dawn in her face.

Already, she was leaping to conclusions at an alarming speed. A speed that would certainly trip even the Steward and have him sprawl upon his face in the aftermath.

"If you would excuse me, Madame," Ruiel gently reminded the other woman who was now lost in the murky depths of her supposition, fueled by manufactured lies. Artfully maufactured, Ruiel allowed herself to admit. She left the Dining Hall and traced her path back to the Guests Quarters where her temporary room was located in a high and bright mood.

Ränne was already busy, laying out undergarments suitable for the dress Ruiel would wear to Pelion's Luncheon. The other woman was familiar with Ruiel's long running competition with Lady Pelion. Pelion was a formidible opponent, even if Pelion herself only half knew the woman who opposed her. Beneath a facade of courtly pleasantries, beneath Ruiel's sarcastic rejoinders concerning Pelion, lay an deep and abiding respect. She would never underestimate Pelion, and Ränne knew she would perhaps give more thought to dressing for her Luncheon than she would a court appearance.

Ränne looked up as Ruiel entered and rushed a curtsy, still with her gown lain across her arms as if cradled.

"A fine day, Ränne. A fine day," Ruiel said simply. On the floor lay a finely made trunk into which Ränne had started to pack belongings not required for the luncheon. Ruiel noted it with satisfaction. She had made herself clear that morning that following the engagement at Pelion's, she wished herself, her daughters and their retinue to make a speedy departure. Ruiel was never comfortable with leaving her private manor in Minas Tirith unoccupied for too long - rather like a spider and her web.

She bombarded Ränne with questions as the other woman worked.

"Are Dryea and Alethea ready, Ränne? I have seen neither today and they had best not be lying idle. What of the other maids? I have not seen a scrap of their hides either? Consorting with guard rabble, no doubt."

Ränne replied with cautious and prompt, "Yes, m'Lady" or "No, m'Lady" as appropriate. High spirits could turn in any direction. Ruiel herself bent over the desk again, fitted the key to it and collected the papers. With care, she stowed them into a leather pouch. She located a key stored in her jewellry chest, secured the pouch and held it out to Ränne.

"I know I can rely on you to see these safely delivered," she said with a iron glance.
"Yes, m'Lady," Ränne replied gravely. Ruiel never entertained the risk that footpads would come across her work whilst they rifled through stolen baggage. It was an error she had seen others made. A footpad will turn informant if it gets him money, or unties the noose from around his neck, faster than a Corsair captian will snatch up a comely looking lass. That brought Ruiel's thoughts back to Ränne, who was presently standing behind her and tightening the laces of her corset.

"How is Findulias today, Ränne?" Ruiel felt her fingers still on the laces a moment and then resume their work.
"She is well, m'Lady. Feeling a little isolated and perhaps homesick," Ränne said, pausing intermittently to tie the laces where necessary.

"As well she might," Ruiel purred as she ran her hands over her corseted hips in satisfaction. She allowed her gown to be fastened around her, a russet silk that offset her deep auburn hair. Ränne brought the jewellry box to Ruiel.

"The rubies, I think," Ruiel said offhandedly and allowed the necklace to be fastened around her neck. She was preoccipied with a number of other matters now that her pleasure at events over breakfast had receded somewhat. As her hair was pinned into place with the last ruby tipped pin, Ränne stood back to study the effect. Ruiel was garbed in her habitual opulent luxury, an altogether intimidating picture of noble authority that she wore like armour.

Ruiel studied the effect in the mirror a moment, and added the final touch of her dagger as Ränne turned to resume packing.

"Arrange for our luggage to be returned to the Manor as soon as all is ready, Ränne. You know which porters to trust. Take the pouch yourself and see to it's protection lest you wish to meet the fate of your last master."

Ränne blanched a little, both at mention of the Captain and what Ruiel had done to him those years ago. She nodded and Ruiel allowed her to continue, satisfied that the woman would do as instructed. Ruiel stood at the window, mind rolling with other thoughts as Ränne folded skirts, bodices, underskirts all carefully so as not to crease.

"Findulias will start to feel more and more chilled, I imagine Ränne. That should work to your advantage well. The rumours are developing apace, and she will find need of a friendly face. You will be well placed to direct her accordingly, provided Dryea can be roused from wherever she has gotten off to in order to do her part!"

There was a snap in Ruiel's voice as she considered her daughter. Given her notable absence that morning, she would need to apprise Dryea and Alethea of developments in the rumour, an inconvenience at the least. Ränne looked up from where she knelt by the timber trunk.

"What rumours, m'Lady," she asked. Ruiel turned, smiling in open happiness.
"The rumour that Findulias is concealing her true identity because she is descended from Ar-Pharazon," Ruiel said with patent happiness. At such moments, she was animated and alive, a fierce hunger in her deep blue eyes that her dead husband had never seen.

Ränne looked stunned, and then saw Ruiel's cynical smile. She echoed it herself. Ruiel bestirred herself and gathered her russet skirts to walk Ränne in a whisper. "I will trust you to ensure my daughters are in attendance at the Luncheon Ränne. When the luggage is organised, come yourself. I want your eyes and ears there."

Ruiel reached the door as Ränne realised this was the second direct assignment that Ruiel had given her in as many days with pleasure and a frisson of excitment tangled with some apprehension.

"Oh, one more thing. Should Shir be seen anywhere near my daughters, either one mark you, inform me immediately!" By the time Ränne looked at where Ruiel had stood, Ruiel was out of the door and well on her way to Pelien's luncheon. Yet the unmistaken threat in her mistress' voice did not confirmation. Ränne shook her head at it and picked up the next skirt. How to help Dryea without defying Ruiel... it was a tight bind she had herself in.

So much to do... the packing, dressing the girls, finding trustworthy porters and attending the luncheon! Ränne closed the trunk at last, checked the room for anything missed and sped out of the door with pouch in hand to muster up the other maids and daughters. So much to do...

[ July 20, 2003: Message edited by: Elora ]
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Characters: Rosmarin: Lady of Cardolan; Lochared: Vagabond of Dunland; Simra: Daughter of Khand; Naiore: Lady of the Sweet Swan; Menecin: Bard of the Singing Seas; Vanwe: Lost Maiden; Ronnan: Lord of Thieves; and, Uien of the Twilight
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