Month: December 2015

Innocent Heart: Letters and Longing

To the Master, Lord Colagar.

Dear Sir,

I pray this letter finds you in good health and spirits. The estate is well cared for and being kept spotless in your absence. Dol Amroth is a great deal quieter since the departure of the Knights. While I know little of the troubles occurring in darker corners of our city, the most boisterous of the rabble-rousers I usually overhear while on errands have fallen silent.

As for your Lady, I assure you she is well looked after. There is no question as to how greatly she misses you. Much effort is being put forward to keep her spirits up, and will continually be given until you return safely to her.

Sincerely, your humble servant,

Feira

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Sir Hathlafel,

Greetings! I hope this letter finds you in better spirits than when we last spoke.

How is Minas Tirith? I would badger you with questions, but I am sure you are busy with a great many important things like winning the war, and all. I hope the time you spent there is not terribly marred by your purpose.

I saw your daughter a couple weeks back. Would that I had seen her more recently and I could give you a more accurate report. She seemed troubled, but in spite of whatever the matter was about her smile seemed, for the most part, as bright as ever.

Do take care of yourself and return to us in one piece. The letter enclosed with this one is to Lalaith. I was unsure of how to get it to her. If you could deliver it to her I would be grateful.

Sincerely, and with highest regards,

Feira

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dearest Lalith,

How are you? I miss you ever so much. You arrived safely, I hope.

How are the Houses of Healing? Are they treating you well? Do you like it there? They are so fortunate to have you there. You really are the best. I can’t begin to imagine all the things you get to see, and how much good you will have the opportunity to do.

What is Minas Tirith like? Has it changed much since you were last there? Do you recognize anyone? I hope you are getting along well.

Has any fighting started yet? You must promise me to be safe if it has or when it does. No running off and being reckless. You can be brave back at some safe place. I do not want to think about you not coming home.

Take care of yourself, my dear friend. I hope this is all over soon so you can come back.

Emeleth bless you and keep you.

Your friend,

Feira

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She sat there for a time, staring at a fresh, blank page. Her first draft of her last letter was far too short so Feira set it aside. The second draft rambled on for several pages and those were discarded as well.

Starting into her third draft Feira jumped some time later, having realized she had gotten lost in a rather scandalous daydream. Blushing furiously, the young woman gathered up all three drafts and safely deposited them into the fire where the flames consumed all of her delicately penned words. A letter from her would never reach him anyways.

Advertisements

Tears and Sympathy

ScreenShot00236.jpg

Having been less eager to see an afternoon meeting end than his peers, Peldirion strode under stone arches, not caring to admire the architecture. It was just stone, after all. Stone that may soon break under the enemy’s hand. Consumed by the records he needed to search for in the archives, the unmistakable sound of a woman weeping reached his ear.

Peldirion hesitated at the sound, but continued on. Such a terrible sound, and one that drained his patience rather than fueling his sympathy as he knew it should. Several paces away he stopped. Sighing heavily as he was struck by his conscience, the man turned and marched reluctantly up the steps in search of the weeper, prepared to promptly depart if the woman had a poor excuse for wasting precious water.

Huddled in a corner, sitting beside a large, empty canvas sack, the woman’s face was hidden in her hands. In her grey tunic she was actually rather difficult to spot against the sooty stone, and Peldirion nearly missed her. To her credit, she was crying rather quietly, but the marble corridors had a strange way of carrying sound.

Halting to tower over her (though it was not his intent to do so), Peldirion’s brows drew together in a frown as he recognized her cowl. “Cold stone offers little comfort, Sister,” he said quietly. While as stern as ever, his voice was not unkind.

Feira hiccuped in surprise, and immediately swiped at her face. “Oh! …h-hello!” she said with forced cheer, smiling through her obvious tears and stopped up nose. “How do you do, Captain?”

Peldirion peered down at her, his dark eyes narrowed. “I am as well as one can be… though I am not so sure you can claim as much. What has a Sister of Emeleth in tears and hiding in a corner?” he asked, careful to not let his voice project too much. Had the woman been a complete stranger he could make sure she wasn’t injured and depart, but unfortunately he knew the young woman, and more unfortunately he felt a little bad for her. Reaching a hand beneath his breastplate Peldirion drew out a handkerchief and tossed it down to her.

Feira’s fine, slender fingers took up the kerchief and she dabbed at her eyes and delicately blew her nose before rising. “Oh, I… it’s nothing. I succumbed for a moment to a bout of self-indulgence, that’s all.”

Peldirion grunted as if a dry chuckle might have nearly escaped him. “Miss Feira, I hardly call a bout of tears self-indulgence. Are you… sure it is nothing?” He fixed his dark gaze on her and arched a brow, clearly not convinced.

Feira finally met Peldirion’s eyes for a long moment, clearly struggling over whether to share her burden or keep it to herself. Her pretty face wracked with guilt, her eyes begged for understanding.

Women, he thought rather grudgingly. Peldirion sighed, not quite in defeat, and glanced behind him. “Why don’t we remove outselves from this echo chamber, hmm?” he asked, the glint in his eyes and tone of his voice far warmer than his still-stern expression as he offered her his arm. He really was trying.

“…s-surely you haven’t the time…”

“Only till I am called to keep the enemy back from breaching the walls, dear lady,” he responded mildly. Or if you refuse my offer again. The sound of crying was like nails on slate.

Feira considered Peldirion for a moment, then stooped to collect her bag and stepped towards him. She did not take his arm, and instead folded the great sack over her arm. “…where do you suggest?”

Letting his arm fall to his side, Peldirion motioned further up. “Few soldiers man the wall on this level, and Minas Tirith is fond of putting benches just about anywhere,” he commented cooly. Clasping his hands behind his back he began to ascend the remaining steps.

Finding the landing unoccupied, and a bench equally so, he waited till she sat before taking a seat on the opposite end. Feira looked out over the landscape; what little could be seen in the struggling light. “It is so changed…” she murmured quietly, her brow creased.

Peldirion nodded slowly. “The consequences of war. When was the last time you saw it?”

The young woman blanched, realizing now that she had spoken aloud. “I… I was here three years ago,” she replied haltingly.

The man cast a sidelong glance at her. “Three years can be a long time. You said before you were originally from here, yes?”

“…yes.”

Peldirion adjusted the collar of his cloak as he observed the view with a neutral air. “Was it the changes that brought tears to your eyes?”

Feira pressed her lips together, her eyes on the stone below their feet. “No. That… will never change.”

He did not look to her as if to afford her some bit of privacy. By the Valar, don’t start crying again. “What will?”

The young woman let out a long breath. “There’s someone I wronged. I saw him today and… asked his forgiveness. He wouldn’t.” She lowered her chin. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I… there’s no one here I can talk to.”

Lucky me. Peldirion sat quiet for a moment before slowly nodding once. “I take it becoming a Sister means a great deal of sacrifice and acquired humility,” he said in a practical tone. “If you have asked for forgiveness, then you have done your part. Being unable to forgive is not your burden to bear.”

Feira released a soft, tight laugh. “…you are very wise. That is just what Sister Arcanis said. And she is easily three times your age.” Despite her attempted humor, he sensed that her wound ran deep.

Peldirion turned his gaze to her, and studied her quietly. It was strange to him. Even in armour one could figure out what kind of man wore it, but her drab robe and cowl made attempting to assess her a frustrating feat. “Learning from one’s mistakes is part of wisdom, as is the pain along the way. I do not know what you did to this man, and it’s not really my buisness to pry it from you, but in my experience you can either learn from it and move on, or dwell on it and allow it to define you.”

Stifling tears, she nodded. “Oh,” she said thickly, “I should be so very wise by now.” She smiled, pained, out over the scorched fields of Pelennor.

Peldirion grunted. You’ll be an ass if she cries now and you walk away. “How old are you, Miss Feira?”

Feira blinked, caught off guard. “…twenty?”

“Then you have seven more years of misery till you are as wise as I.” He fell quiet for a moment before continuing. He had his own bitterness, some that he quite happily held on to. What could this poor, weepy thing have done? Refused marriage or ruined a family arrangement? Gods, he was glad he was a man. “I’m not very good at encouragement. Some things cannot be atoned for, but I cannot see you asking for forgiveness and not mean it. You have taken responsibility for your side of whatever the matter was and that is all that can be asked for.”

Feira’s lips quirked in amusement at Peldirion’s first words. She sobered and nodded slowly. “My mind knows your words to be true. …my heart on the other hand.” She takes a deep breath. “If it were anyone else, anyone else, I think I might… let go the forgiving once I have asked for it. But… there has been no one I esteem more in my life.”

Peldirion gave her a thoughtful look. “Have you ever thought that those you hold in high esteem may be flawed persons like everyone else?”

Her brows quirked. “Well… yes, of course everyone has a flaw or two.” She seemed to be speaking in general, however.

Peldirion’s expression turns exceptionally serious, and he forced back all the memories of times he’d apologized for things that were never his fault. “Then perhaps this man needs time before realizing he should be the one asking for your forgiveness.”

The woman watched him for a long moment, as if wishing to argue. But slowly, she considered his words. He remained silent, letting his words carry their own weight (though his dark look and low voice probably helped).

Feira’s brow eased after a time. “May I ask you something?”

“You may.”

“Why do you always look so severe?” she asked with a small smile.

Peldirion’s eyes narrow as they might if he had smiled. It was not a question he had expected, but it not surprise him. “For many reasons, Miss Feira. Time has seen me become the armour I wear, and only in the company of a few does the thought of not donning it occur to me.”

Feira’s smile blossomed further. She turned her eyes out upon the Pelennor again. “Ah, but your actions belie your frown, Captain. You are a gentle heart.”

I’ll be damned if I am, he thought rather defiantly. Just a few weak spots. Peldirion considered her for a moment before looking out to roofs of the lower circle that peeked over the railing. “Tell my secret and I will see to it that your mentor makes your training miserable.”

The young woman released a bubbling giggle, but it is quickly stifled.

Peldirion’s mouth twitched at her giggle, and he slowly rose to his feet. “If you do not wish for an escort back to the Houses I should be on my way.” So much female emotion. He was probably allergic.

“I can find my way. …thank you, Captain.”

Stepping back, he offered her a gentlemanly bow. “It was the least I could do, Sister. Do try and enjoy the rest of your day.”

 

(Thank you to Feygil for RPing as ‘Feira’ (Lalaith)! Post taken from in-game RP, and has been edited for tense and exposition.)

Waiting on the War

The thud of the heavy door echoed as it closed behind him. Making his way into the guest suite, Peldirion shed his weapons and cloak in the entry, not bothering to put them on the rack that stood not four feet to his left.

“You’re back.”

“And you’re still here.”

“Yes, sir,” said Halethon as he rose to his feet. “A second lesson?”

Peldirion set into working at the buckles on his arm guards. “No, this was sparing with another knight. A rather talented one, too.”

Halethon did not bother to hide his amusement as he walked over to help his lord with his armour. “As talented as your ‘cousin’, cousin?”

“An entirely different set of skills, I assure you,” Peldirion grunted, shooting the man a dark look.

“It’s not like you.”

“What isn — Augh! Dammit, man!” he cursed as Hailthorn removed his leather vest with a rough tug.

“Hmm, mace?” asked Halethon, undaunted by Peldirion’s withering glance.

Peldirion merely grunted again as the man inspected his back.

“Impressive. That was a well-aimed shot. Seems things they say about the Swan Knights are true.”

Walking away, Peldirion shrugged and stretched his sore, muscled back as he made for the pitcher of water on the table. “I’ve had worse. He’s a good lad, and a good fighter. We’ll be sparing often. Does no good to twiddle our thumbs as we wait.”

Halethon huffed, and shot him a wry smile. “Speaking of twiddling thumbs….”

Peldirion glared over the rim of his glass.

“I’m just saying,” he said, holding his hands up in surrender.

“I know it’s been a while. Don’t read too much into it.”

Halethon chuffed out a breath as he went to pick up Peldirion’s scattered things. “Too late for that.”

A gleam in his dark eyes, Peldirion kicked off his boots and refilled his water glass. “It pleases her to do as she wishes, and it pleases me to let her. There are no strings, thank the Valar. She and I are merely crossing paths.”

Sighing, Halethon shook his head. “You know best, sir.”

Plucking a towel from the back of a chair, Peldirion threw a fur cloak over his bare shoulders. “Don’t give me that look.”

“Your brother taught me well. Just do me a favor, and don’t get yourself into trouble? You have plenty of time for that after the war.”

Peldirion shook his head. “I haven’t let a woman cause me trouble since I cracked Megorin’s jaw those years ago. I have no time for such things now.”

Halethon fixed him with another look. “You told me to hold you accountable in all things,” he said quietly, suddenly not the man’s subordinate, but his equal.

“It is private, and will remain so,” Peldirion replied with a firm, unwavering tone. “What goes on does not, and will not interfere with my duties. And since she is not the fire to refine my soul, I am going to go bathe, and wait on the war that has tempered it.”

Exchanging looks, Halethon nodded, satisfied, and Peldirion nodded out of respect for the man before disappearing through the door.

Bittersweet: Merry and Bright

download

“What are you going to name him?”

Eruviel looked down at the puppy with an oddly fond smile. It had been… goodness, over fifteen hundred years since she had had a pet dog. “I am not sure yet.” The puppy wiggled a little in her arms before licking the Elf’s hand. He was an adorable little pup, and big brown eyes gazed happily up at her. She always had been a sucker for dogs, and the way this one looked at her made her miss the wolf pup, Háno. This is, quite possibly, the cutest puppy ever.

Pheadra laughed softly. “He is very sweet, though I think he will be quite big.” She gently took hold of a paw. “Look how big!”

Excited by the room full of people and smell of good food, the puppy nipped playfully at the woman’s hand.

Pheadra moved her hand around for him to chase, first to scratch behind its ear, then under its chin. “Do you have any other pets?”

She heard Abiorn departing, but it was the sudden absence of the elder brother’s presence that made Eruviel blink and look up. “Just one…” Still smiling, her bright, keen eyes quickly darted over the room before resting on the door. “A swan, actually.”

Pheadra pulled her hand back and smiled. “That should be amusing with a puppy.” She laughed and glanced in the same direction as the Elf. “Do you live nearby?”

Her gaze lingering on the exit for a moment, she tore it away to look back at Pheadra. “I do. Just a short ways down on Chestnut.”

“I won’t keep you if you need to get going,” said Pheadra with a nod. She gave the puppy’s head another scratch.

Eruviel offered her an apologetic smile. “I do, but we should go shooting together soon.”

“I would like that very much.”

“Good!” she responded with a pleased nod. “I look forward to it. It was good to see you again. A good night to you, Pheadra.”

Pheadra bowed her head and smiled, “You as well. Good night, Eruviel.”

Eruviel inclined her head to the young woman. Taking up the box with her free hand, she bore her happy little gift with her out the door. In the entry she remembered her cloak, and draped it around the pup before stepping out into the cold.

A million thoughts swarming through her head, she left the box by the wood pile, and turned her slippered feet towards home. Unlike the short trip to Ravenhold, she felt no care as the wind whipped her hair and silken, midnight blue skirts about her. She had looked forward to finally getting to wear the dress, and to enjoying the cheerful evening with friends. Now she almost wished she had stayed away and gone on her short birthday outing. But she had come back.

Letting out a soft sigh she removed the delicate, star-like earrings from her pointed ears along with the silver hair comb and ear cuff. Tucking them inside the soft curve of her neckline she resolved to wear them again sometime for herself, and hugged the pup to her chest with both arms even as he snuggled against her. You are not helping, little one.

Casting the small, petty thoughts away, along with the grumble of an empty stomach, she refocused her mind. There were more important things to be dealt with before she could even think about finally escaping to relax and soak up hot water and starlight. First, she probably should not name the puppy. Not that she did not want to, of course. Puppy cuddles were some of the best, and even carrying the little ball of fur and love was unexpectedly comforting. But, in his best interest, he would be better off with someone who could look after him properly. Second, and most importantly, Anya was missing.

When she had told him that he should be happy, she had not expected his response to crush the amusing reply she had prepared. Oh, oselle. It was this alone that sped her pace to a swift glide down the dark, empty street towards home.

Perhaps Atrian would like a puppy for his first pet.

Days Have Passed

ScreenShot00113

(Thought I would clean out the drafts that had sat forgotten for the past year and a half.)

The last gleam of sunlight disappeared over the hills as Eruviel’s eyes fluttered open. For several minutes she stared up at the star-lit sky framed by tree branches and ruined elvish architecture, wishing she could fade back into her sleep-like trance. There would be no true rest till she had all three human back safely in Bree.

Reluctantly rising to her feet she stretched up, observing Eirikr sleeping a few feet away. He slept hard, and a small pang of guilt stung her as she picked up her boots and silently padded away. Best that he gets as much rest as possible, she thought as she nodded in greeting to the few hunters and fighters milling around the camp. She knew his mind was far to the east, and they still had a long way to go.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She never stayed up this late. Till the night she’d gone out two weeks back Feira had always been early to bed and early to rise. But now the night was at it’s coldest, and she leaned against the side of a bench on the look-out, feet dangling over the ledge as she watched the horizon.

Why did she even care to watch? She had never been lonely, but then again she might have always been and never knew it. Don’t waste your time, Torrin had said. Nothing good can come from sailors. Maybe he was right. She didn’t know him really. For all Feira knew he was good at hiding his real nature and had shown up amidst the laundry lines just to mess with her… but did it matter much? She had no idea what she was getting herself into, but there was nothing to do about it now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Having returned cold to her core, Abiorn had not left her side. Long since recovered from the search for the lost hunter, Eruviel sat wrapped in furs, her back against a pillar near one of the fires. Abbi slept leaning on her left arm, and Huor had nested in her lap. Both of them radiated delicious heat that made the bitter hours of tracking through the storm nothing but an unpleasant memory.

Smiling softly to each in turn, the elf turned her attention back to the letter she now knew by heart. The thumb of her free hand traced over the scratched out words as if doing so would make the mark blacking them out disappear. She would never tell, but she allowed herself to hope as the faintest remnants of words brought a warmth to her cheeks that the wolf and her young human brother could not offer. It won’t be long. Help Panja, help Taja, Huor, survive, then home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eruviel let out a quiet sigh. “People do funny things when they think they are helping others. Sometimes the reasons are good, and sometimes they are not, but we always need someone to come after us. I’m sure Morty knows you will go after him.”

Hallem shook his head. “He wouldn’t want us to.”

“Because he wants to be left to his fate, or because he doesn’t want you to get hurt?”

“Both, probably.”

“Then I am sure he knows you will come for him anyways.”

Hallem looked to her. “Why does that m-matter?”

Eruviel smiled sadly. “Does it not matter to you?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A soft thud of the outer door leading in from the corridor summoned Peldirion out of his thoughts. Sitting up from where he leaned took more effort than it should have, and an exasperated sigh poured out of him as he heard the outer door open and close again.

“Boys,” he said in a tired, no-nonsense tone.

The sound of cautious footsteps stopped. Then, obediently, they slowly turned, and two boys in their late teens entered Peldirion’s dark study. Both saluted quickly, and the shorter of the two nervously stepped forward.

“Y-Yes, Sir?”