Shortly before sunrise Tindómë, Rumil, and Orophin made their way back up the paths and steps towards the Citadel. They had been greeted as if they were rock stars a few times and it occurred to Tindómë that rumours about Haradrim warlords threatening to kidnap every young woman in Gondor, and possibly beyond, probably owed something to her conversation with Nessy.
She felt, just as Arwen had said, a rather pleasurable sense of dizziness and the need to smile at everything – but at least, despite wine, fudge, some sort of meat in a bun, and some very sticky cakes, she was pretty sure that she wasn’t going to barf – she was quite proud of herself.
She was, however, walking hand in hand with both ellyn as she had almost fallen over her own feet a couple of time since the last lot of wine.
“This is the shortest route,” Orophin said, as they approached a narrow stairway between the houses.
There was something a bit odd in his voice but she couldn’t work out what. Rumil held her hand a bit tighter and she realised the two brothers had exchanged glances before Orophin started up the steps slightly ahead of her.
About twenty steps up Tindómë had a sudden, and not pleasant, sense of déjà vu. She came to a halt, her stomach suddenly churning.
“You are distressed, meleth,” Rumil said, sounding unsurprised, “but then the memory of this place is uncomfortable for you.”
Oh… yeah. The guys who had assaulted her, the first time she had ventured out of the Citadel alone, when they were here three years ago; she had never been sure if she would have got away unscathed if Rumil and Orophin hadn’t arrived. This was the very stairway.
Rumil led her to the exact spot where she had been, that night, when he had dropped down from above like an avenging angel. He stopped, took her face between his two hands, and kissed her; a slow, sweet, gentle kiss.
“Now,” he said, “it has a better memory.”
Sure enough, she did feel better; but then Rumil’s kisses always
made her feel better…
As they went on up the steps the memory of the two men reminded her that there was still some sort of formal enquiry to face over the Lord Lomion affair. Not something to worry about now, though; especially if the reactions they had met in the lower levels, more than once, was anything to go by.
They reached the Citadel, as the first streaks of grey and pink tinted the Eastern sky, with Tindómë still walking, carefully, between what Gandalf had called her ‘two-elf escort’. (She did
miss Gandalf – when she had been very, very drunk here last time she vaguely remembered crying all over him and getting his beard soggy.)
There was a large circle of people around the ‘official’ bonfire, which had burned down now until the area alight was maybe ten feet across, glowing brightly, and still with the odd flame flaring up occasionally. Any of the Elves would be able to jump over it easily – but, Tindómë realised, they wouldn’t. Not until Aragorn had.
Arwen stood, with Éowyn, near the gateway to the inner courtyard. When she saw the three arrive she smiled and gestured them to join her or, they realised when they reached her, for Tindómë to join them. The ellyn were waved over to the spot where Aragorn stood, with his brothers, Legolas, Lord Erkenbrand, Faramir, Erchirion, and others.
Arwen laid a hand on Tindómë’s arm and looked hard at her.
Suddenly Tindómë realised that Arwen, too, could ‘talk inside your head’.
Tindómë tried to focus properly on the Queen but she was a little fuzzy around the edges; she smiled instead.
“And smiling… hold on to me if you think you might fall over. But you do not look as if you will lose your dignity or the contents of your stomach…”
She could feel Arwen smiling inside her head. She smiled back again.
“Look!” Arwen said aloud.
The huddle of males had opened into a semi-circle with Aragorn at the centre. He looked over towards his Queen then ran towards the bonfire; the crowd cheered and clapped as he leapt, and cheered even more loudly as he made it safely to the other side.
Almost immediately behind him came the twins, just as Elladan had said they would, and it occurred to Tindómë, even though they, too, were a little fuzzy around the edges, that they didn’t leap as high as they could have done – they leapt almost exactly as high and as far as Aragorn had.
Then Éowyn cheered loudly as Faramir ran and jumped safely over. As soon as he landed she ran to him and threw herself into his arms.
“She is good for him,” Arwen said quietly, “His father raised him to be more formal than the High King of the Noldor.”
“She pulls the stick out of his ass?” Tindómë asked.
Arwen laughed. “Oh, Tindómë, that is perfect! She does! She does exactly that. His father put it there as certainly as if it was a real broom handle, and it was almost as cruel. We all know how to be formal, but we have no trouble in being otherwise; Faramir sometimes needs lessons and Éowyn is very good at giving them. She does, indeed, pull the stick out!”
As Aragorn and the twins joined them Legolas was leaping the fire, easily, and Tindómë thought that, actually, he did look almost as wild as Galanthir.
Erchirion leapt, and then she saw Orophin getting ready but couldn’t see Rumil; until something pale on the ‘landing’ side caught her eye and she realised that he had walked around. Then both set off together, jumped from either side, and passed in the middle with only inches between them.
Around the circle people gasped; any miscalculation could have been serious. Tindómë thought the chances of that had been very slight.
Behind her she heard Elladan’s voice. “Why did we not think of that?”
“Next time,” said Aragorn, “although I hope it does not become a fashion or the House of Healing may be busier than usual.”
“If Galanthir saw it,” Legolas said, “he will be convinced that they must leap the fires in Lorien. And he will want them to come to Eryn Ithil – where he will lay wagers and sweep the board.”
Arwen caught Tindómë’s eye. “With a broom?” she asked innocently.
Tindómë got the giggles. By the time Rumil and Orophin joined the group she was leaning on Legolas, alternately giggling and hiccupping, and no-one seemed able to explain the cause.
Just as she got herself under control she suddenly thought of one of those aeroplane display teams that flew towards each other at speed, or… or… dog agility display teams… of Afghan hounds… long blond hair…
Legolas passed her, still giggling, to Rumil.
Eventually she took some deep breaths and Orophin gave her a glass of water that he had found somewhere.
Elrohir waited until she was calm before saying “It would be a very good fire for making toast…”
This time Rumil passed her to hiccup on Elrohir’s shoulder.
It had, Elrohir thought, been worth it; even if there was a damp patch on his shoulder where Tindómë had dribbled as she had hiccupped. The infant princess and her mother before her, not to mention many children of the Dúnedain in the years between, had done likewise. Granted they had been younger, and less embarrassed – but they had also been less amusing.
The final touch was the appearance of Gimli, triumphant from a drinking contest, and probably almost exactly as inebriated as Tindómë. As he walked towards the men still leaping the fire you could almost feel everyone holding their breath – then he had simply walked, firmly, across the centre of the bonfire in his heavy boots.
Estel led the applause, everyone followed, and Tindómë collapsed again in hopeless giggling.
“I think… I think… I think therefore I am… I am… I am… drunk
! A tiny bit… but not barfing drunk… just probably not walking in an exactly straight line drunk…” She smiled apologetically at all around her. “I think I totally need to lie down…”
“There will be breakfast in the Great Hall by now,” Arwen said.
“I think I’d dis… dis… disgrace myself and be all undignified. But it’s been a very nice party and thank you for inviting me…”
She looked wide eyed at Rumil before adding, “I don’t think I can exactly remember where my bedroom is.”
“Come then, my lady,” Rumil answered in the common tongue, “I will escort you.” He looked around and spoke quite loudly, “I know that your maid usually awaits in your room.”
Tindómë looked as if she was going to say something but then nodded solemnly, and the couple left; her hand, correctly, on his arm.
“They really are quite sweet,” Arwen said.
‘And probably’, Elrohir thought, ‘Tindómë behaving like a young adult mortal makes us all seem more ‘human’ to the people around us.’
“I think she may need something to settle her head and stomach later,” he said out loud, “I will take it along later, or give it to Rumil.”
By the time the Royal party had eaten their fill of the lavish breakfast, however, Rumil had not reappeared – to no-one’s surprise.
Orophin filled a plate with an assortment of food and then asked Elrohir if he should take the potion for Tindómë and ‘save you the need later’.
“I do not have it with me,” Elrohir answered, “but fear not – I will knock before I enter her room!”
Éowyn lay in her bed, her husband beside her, both drowsing in the warm air and the aftermath of love-making. Midsummer was an up-side-down few days – awake at night, spending time in bed by day.
She enjoyed the physical pleasures of marriage; Faramir was a thoughtful lover as well as having the body of a soldier; well muscled and strong. And yet… and yet… she had been shocked to find her thoughts drifting, even as her body had responded to his hands and his… manhood, thoughts of dark haired, naked, male Elves had strayed into her mind!
She had always thought of the Elves as rather… asexual. Well, they obviously didn’t… join… with each other; none of them denied that there had been no elflings born for a very long time, so they couldn’t… um… ‘have marital relations’… or there would be more elflings.
And they just weren’t… masculine. The first Elf she met had been Legolas – and with his soft, smooth, skin, his soft voice, and beautiful hair he seemed more, well, feminine than male. Especially when she had compared him with Aragorn.
Although some of the women of Rohan had made it clear that they would have shared a bed with him – but he spent most of his time with Gimli. Not that she had thought that meant that he and Gimli…! No – he had simply not seemed interested in anything to do with… sex.
Then she had seen Orophin and Rumil, in the aftermath of Helm’s Deep and on the ride to Gondor, and they had seemed equally asexual. The two sons of Elrond were almost as beautiful – and even when she had heard whispers that some of the women of the court might have… done something… with them, it had seemed unlikely to Éowyn. Even if those same Elves had a reputation as fierce warriors; in fact she wondered if the asexuality made them better warriors – if they weren’t distracted by… normal urges… perhaps they could put more into practice and fighting.
But when she had been… um… sharing her body with Faramir… the picture of three Elven bodies in the moonlight had come to her. All three had such well muscled bodies, and they had certainly got… male parts. Quite large male parts. And when she had tried to not think of their manhoods (Elfhoods?) she had found instead a picture in her mind of their behinds – they had rather beautiful behinds – firmly muscled, with strong thighs, the skin of their backs as smooth as a girl’s…
She tried to stop thinking about them again – her breathing was becoming a little ragged.
She brought to mind the image of the three Elves and Tindómë splashing water at each other in the Anduin, one of them washing the girl’s hair, and their asexuality became uppermost in her thoughts again – they clearly had no sense of bodily attraction. And Rumil was always so polite in his dealings with Tindómë – there was no sign of any… sexual element… in their relationship at all. And she
had certainly been aware that Faramir desired her before their
Perhaps, she reasoned with herself, she thought of the twins as less asexual because they were ‘half-elven’ – their human blood must make them more… earthy. Except that Galanthir seemed to have a perfectly adequate…penis, there she had thought the word!
But then look at him tonight with all those ribbons in his hair – no truly masculine male would have decked himself up like that. No, she thought, whilst the nudity for swimming to the corsair vessel had proved that male Elves had
male parts, ‘having’ and ‘using’ were not the same thing; Elves were, clearly, very beautiful, but not really sexual beings.
Elsewhere in the Citadel, as Éowyn reached her conclusion and snuggled back against her husband, wriggling her bottom where she knew it would have an effect, many people were doing many things…
Tindómë and Rumil were sitting in her bed, naked, her back to his chest as they ate some of the food Orophin had brought earlier. Tindómë wondered idly if, had she been totally sober at the time, his arrival might have embarrassed her; coming, as it had, while she had her mouth very full of Rumil’s grond. Rumil had lifted his head from her criss and, albeit slightly breathlessly, thanked Orophin politely before going back to what he had been doing.
ate, Orophin was indulging in a little bareback riding… in a rather fine bed.
The twins were entertaining a rather delicate looking blonde in their suite – they knew from past experience that she was not as delicate as she looked…
Galanthir’s last ribbon was on the nightstand beside a bed – the light through the window caught the copper leaves in his hair as it swung, rhythmically, across the back of the young woman whose body currently sheathed his cristhen.
As for Legolas – his face was remarkably studious as he, slowly and deliberately, kept the young woman under him at the edge of flight without letting her take off – just yet. The best thing about the Citadel maids, or the nursery staff, was that they did not expect the Lord of Ithilien to propose marriage to them before any thought of mutual pleasure…
And right at the very centre of the Citadel an elleth had persuaded her husband that her constitution meant that she was quite capable of joining more than once in twenty-four hours now that the baby was a little over two weeks old – she really did not need to wait for Gilraen to be six weeks old before she could take this form of exercise…
Somewhere a dwarf slept; and if he dreamt about a certain blonde elleth Lady, who can tell?……………………………………….………………………………………………………………..Sindarin
- grond and cristhen are slang for penis - criss for vulva - although I'm sure you know that by now!…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
The court hearing, when it came, was held in public in the largest space in the Citadel and proved as popular as the midsummer celebrations.
The King presided – not Aragorn, not Estel, but ‘The King’ in all possible royal solemnity. Three of his senior Lords sat beside him, and Lord Erkenbrand was asked to join him as a ‘neutral observer’. It could be very intimidating for those called to speak under oath.
Rumil sat, with Orophin, just behind Tindómë; she sat between Legolas and Éowyn as all three would be called on to give evidence. He mainly ignored the sounds around him; even the voices of those called to give evidence. He knew all that had happened and did not feel any need to tax his mind listening to it being told in the Common Tongue. Instead he drew, noted colours, recorded facial expressions – these were the things His Lordship would be interested in. If Aragorn wanted copies he could also have them.
The only time he took any notice of what he could hear, rather than see, was to note the occasional gasps of astonishment, or horror, as various people told their stories; Faramir’s Rangers, and then some of the men who had been heard to agree with Lomion – Rumil expected they did not mention their agreement…
Then Tindómë approached the dais. He did not need to draw her – he could do it at any time from memory. He had learnt enough of the ways of the people here, however, to know that by looking exactly as she would under similar circumstances in Lorien, in a simple dress and with loose hair, Gondorians would immediately see her as hardly out of childhood – certainly they would not see her as a ‘little warrior’!
He concentrated, briefly, on what was being said. She was only asked to tell of what she overheard in the library at this time. As she repeated some of the most outrageous things, such as the accusation of incest, she looked demurely downwards; Rumil recognised what Tindómë called ‘another round of behaving as they expect you to’.
As Tindómë sat down Éowyn went forward. Rumil noticed that she had put her hair up and wore a more structured dress than she often did – she was making sure that she was seen as a Princess of Gondor. When she repeated what ‘the dung beetle’ had suggested she do there were many gasps of shock and horror. Were the man here, Rumil thought, he might have been in danger, at this point, of being dragged out and ripped to pieces.
Next came the woman who was in charge of the care of the baby princess. Her expression was very solemn. Rumil thought that she looked as if she was being completely honest in whatever she was saying. He recognised, by the sudden swell of shocked voices around him, that she must have repeated what Lomion had asked of her.
He wondered if anyone in the whole city would be willing, at this point, to say that they agreed with anything the man had ever said…
Ah! Anarion was being called – they must be reaching Tindómë’s abduction. The librarian had the bearing of a warrior despite his scars and twisted leg. Rumil wondered if Anarion had always had a love of books, but had been a warrior from necessity, or whether he had only become a librarian because he could no longer fight.
He thought briefly of himself – a warrior and artist. Perhaps Anarion had also always been two things. Perhaps he had carried books to his guard-post in the same way that Rumil had carried pens and paper on the fences. Perhaps he would ask him some time.
Tindómë was standing. He listened again, making himself stay calm as she described the man grabbing her, how she had tried to resist, and how he had hit her over the head.
Rumil’s mind turned to the moment of releasing the arrow and waiting for it to hit the man – he savoured the thought. He remembered, too, the fear of the arrow hitting Tindómë – but that was the man’s fault also. He thought of the man’s corpse falling to the deck. Inside, Rumil rejoiced.
He concentrated again on Tindómë. She was very calm as she spoke, describing what the man had told her; how he had admitted that he was not really ‘Lord Lomion from Dol Amroth’ but a Corsair from Umbar.
More noise from the spectators; although they had probably all heard this before, over the past days, to hear it confirmed by Tindómë still elicited gasps.
When she repeated what the man had said about giving her as a prize to his own overlord, who would likely present her to a Haradrim warlord to cement relations, there was so much noise that Lord Geoghel stood and called for silence. She did not mention the ‘belief’ about breaking the gweneth of an elleth to become immortal; probably as well…
Erchirion was talking – probably about what his sailors had said. He wore very formal robes – Rumil sketched the design on Erchirion’s collar as he spoke.
Legolas spoke again, and Faramir, then Éowyn and Gimli. Rumil looked at Tindómë – she was listening with interest – he drew a small study of her on the corner of a page.
Ah – the Lords were looking towards himself and Orophin – Legolas must be speaking of the moment when he had loosed his arrow at the man. He sat impassive. They looked back at Legolas, and then at Tindómë; Rumil concentrated again on what she was saying.
“Elrohir put his sword down as the man asked. I knew it was the most sensible thing to do, as there would be others, and they would notice. But I have also been taught to defend myself if I must. So, when I had the chance, I pulled the knife out of my boot and stabbed him in the groin. He didn’t expect me to, and so it was not too difficult. The groin is a good place – he would bleed a lot.”
Well – that seemed to have shocked everyone whose face Rumil could see. Only more than a millennium of practice kept him from grinning.
Eventually everyone seemed to have said all they were going to say, even some men who Orophin explained were members of Lomion’s crew. Apparently they gave The King the man’s real name, and that of his overlord. Perhaps Aragorn might choose to go to war, probably he would not. At least not yet.
The King stood, his Lords nodded, people cheered. Rumil cared not. He had had enough of this city and these mortals. Surely it was time to leave, to breathe fresher air, and be amongst trees.…………………………………………………………………………………………………...............………………………………
The horses were ready, saddle bags all packed, and now the riders said their farewells. Some farewells took longer than others; Gimli was going back to Aglarond with the Rohirrim, Legolas was returning to Eryn Ithil; they would not see each other for some time, nor would Gimli see many of the others for at least as long.
Other farewells were shorter. Particularly those of Orophin, Rumil, and Tindómë, for they had accepted an offer from Legolas to visit Eryn Ithil.
Usually it would not have bothered Elves to do a detour and prolong a journey, or a visit, by months or years; but the main reason for this visit to Gondor was to make a record of Aragorn, Arwen, and their firstborn for Lady Galadriel to take with her as she sailed West; and that journey, all knew, would start soon. Their first reaction, then, had been to refuse.
Yet Tindómë had a strong feeling that it was right for them to make this visit. When she, tentatively, mentioned this to the other two they had considered it seriously and then discussed it with the twins.
The twins agreed that this ‘strong feeling’ could well be a form of foresight and made a suggestion. The three should
go to Ithilien, it was only a day’s ride away, but they should stay no more than a fortnight before returning to Minas Tirith and thence to the Golden Wood. They would have been expecting to stay in the city until then anyway, and it would only take Rumil a day or two to then make more drawings of the infant to take to her great-grandmother.
The twins were also convinced that their grandfather would be very interested in details of how the recovery work in Ithilien was progressing; he would, they were sure, consider this side-trip most worthwhile.
So, reassured, all three mounted their horses happily in the early morning sunshine and rode, with Legolas and Galanthir, down through the city behind the banners of both the Steward of Gondor and of Ithilien.
Tindómë remembered Galanthir’s comment that Legolas had been here as a vassal of the King of Gondor. It would be good, she thought, to see him amongst his own Elves. The whole idea of the colony at Ithilien was fascinating – the first new settlement of Elves in more than a thousand years.
As they rode across the farmland of the Pelennor Legolas and Galanthir were already ‘home’ in their minds; thinking of what might have happened whilst they were away, what they might need to do on their return, and what they might want to show their visitors.
The three from Lorien also rode quietly, all three lost in their own thoughts.
Rumil looked forward to being back amongst trees and hoped there would be a chance to take Tindómë starlight bathing.
Orophin wondered if there might be ellyth who were happy to show him the pools that they used for such pleasures.
Between them, though, Tindómë felt a deep excitement; a sense that this visit was really important
. She sat on Sidh and wished they could gallop all the way.
But the effect this visit would have on the lives of all three is another story, and this one has reached…
The BtVS characters do not belong to me, but are used for amusement only. All rights remain the property of Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, and the original TV companies. The same is true of the LotR characters for whom all rights remain the property of the estate of JRR Tolkien and the companies responsible for the production of the films.....................................................................................................
Thanks to my inestimable beta, Speaker-to-Customers, who counts my commas, reins in my habit of dashing - - - and tries to teach me the difference between affect and effect...