Month: June 2016

Letters Bidden By Storm

To Laerlin,

My dear Lady,

Greetings! I hope this letter finds you well and rested after your long journey home. It was good to hear that you have settled back in to your Bree. I have been in contact with only a few since returning for my time has been consumed by other work. It is good to hear that you have written them, and I do hope you get answers to your questions.

I cannot begin to thank you enough for your care of Halethon. While he still struggling, it was a relief to see him in such good spirits and having made such tremendous progress in spite of his condition. I find it heartbreaking to see our roles somewhat reversed. Half of his nights are torn with dreams of Minas Tirith, and myself as well as his family are working to keep him positive and moving during the day to lessen the likelihood of their occurrence. His letter to you is in the works, but will arrive a bit later than mine.

It is wise of you to refrain from telling the news. After so many years of living independently, such transitions should be handled delicately. I would ask, though, that you inform Eruviel. I will be writing to her as well, but after so long I know such news will mean a great deal to her. She spoke fondly of Evendim as well. If it is rebuilt perhaps someday I will have the freedom to visit you there.

On rebuilding, it is going well. With the war over and the new king arrived, there was near to being another war in the city, for all the lords were vying for unclaimed power. It took weeks of letters and negotiating (and no small amount of manipulation), but a meeting of the Lords was called upon my return. With father handing the house over to me, and the help of a few friends we were able to create a council of Lords who all have signed a pact (I will not bore you with the details). I daresay the city would still be in ruins without it. By now all of the greater houses have signed, and the ease of access to resources (provided by the aforementioned agreement) has seen a tremendous amount of work accomplished in a short span of time.

It is a realization to a dream and years of planning. The more that is accomplished here the better we are able to assist the rest of the country. There are a few houses that have not yet signed, but the tripled prices for resources and labor outside of the council will soon, I am sure, have them rethinking what is best for both the city and their own estates.

Last week the rebuilding of the entirety of the southern docks was completed. They had been hit the hardest, and were a complete loss. I cannot begin to tell you what a beacon of hope it has been. Never in the history of Pelargir have they both looked so fair and been so accommodating to the trade that flows through that sector of the city. It has been years since the morale among the Lords and the people has been so high. The northern half of the port is currently being disassembled to be rebuilt, the poorer quarters (which had been all but destroyed) have been evacuated and are being rebuilt from the ground up, and the shipyards have already produced several fine naval and merchant vessels. There have been a few… worrisome snags along the way, but for the most part work has gone unhindered. Nearly everyone is proud of their work and proud to be a part of the new vision for the city.

With best regards,

Peldirion of House Calaer, Vice Counsel of Pelargir

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To Lady Artistuion

Dearest Eruviel,

Before I wonder where to begin I must first beg your forgiveness for not writing sooner. The war had kept me in the field, and I was glad to receive your letters once I returned home.

I saw your likeness tonight. After all we spoke on last summer I do not fear you thinking me mad, but seeing you instead of Emeleth would not have caused in me nearly as much turmoil. She told me that young woman I wrote to you about before will soon be making a choice on whether she will actually leave the Temple to join me or not. I thought I could endure these last months apart from her, but now for the first time since Minas Tirith I cannot sleep. Half agony, half hope I sit in the dark, my heart tearing at it’s cage. Too good and excellent a creature, she pierces my soul. The next few moths will, I fear, take much longer than originally anticipated.

I write you this because the few who I might confide in cannot help me, and in your kindness you do not shy from topics of heartbreak and loss. Adrovon is gone, Halethon is in no state for such conversation, and Lalaith…

A storm has rolled in from the sea. Rain steals in the window of my rented room and seeing as sleep eludes me, I will ride for home within the hour. I pray this letter finds you safe and at peace, dear friend. Next I write I hope to tell you of Pelargir, and of happier tidings.

May the Valar bless you and keep you.

Respectfully yours,

Peldirion

A Peaceful One

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Dearest Anyatka,

I hope this letter finds you well. While yet another task keeps the Wayfarers away from home, I assure you we are whole and hale. We have found Master Arrowheart, but that is a topic for another letter.

How I wish you were in Rivendell with us. As midsummer approaches there is a change in magic in the air, and I wonder if you feel it there too. A cool summer breeze tumbles down from the mountains, heady with pine, and I suspect we will have a lovely ro strawberry moon on the eve of the solstice. Do take Anders or Abbi or Eboric out to see it if you can. Strawberry moons are always best admired with good company.

The others preoccupied, I have found myself on a little island under a tree crowned with fiery leaves far back in the succession of falls that I have always wanted to swim to. You would adore it, I think. The fireflies are thick tonight, reflecting off the crystalline waters, and this far in there is nearly no current. I am not sure yet if the scene should be painted, or be too fair, only meant to be cherished in memory.

Well wishes are sent your way, hoping that your birthday is a happy one. Your gift from me will come late, but will be wrapped in an old issue of The Warbler (for that is all they are really good for), and tied with ribbon. Were we at home you would have a cake of whatever flavor you wished, and probably a family supper where Eirikr may smile a little extra for you, Eboric would want food from everyone’s plate but his own, Abbi would craft a passably reasonable excuse to have a few extra drinks, and if Anders came he would be just as pleasant and kind as always.

I miss you dearly, oselle. I miss the nights of story and song, and even if there is no grand event, I pray that your birthday is a peaceful one. Take care of yourself. Give the boys my love, and anyone else my kind regards.

With all my love,

Eruviel

Lotus: Soft Spot

“Need me to come by again some evening?”

Jade sat on the middle beam of the fence, arms and chin resting on the top. “No… Thanks, though, Tom. I don’t wanna risk you getting caught and into trouble with the Mistress at this point, but I think things should work out now.”

The young man raked aside a bit of soiled straw, looking a tad disappointed. “‘Course Miss Jade…. Ya know, it was kinda fun sneakin’ in and all, pretendin’ to be the gravedigger. Didn’t know there were so many card games, either!”

“There are more, but you’re too nice for me to teach ’em to you,” she responded with a playful wink.

Tom’s cheeks flushed, and he gave a sheepish shrug. “Well… Ann really liked the flowers. Helped a lot in explainin’ that we weren’t doin’ anything.”

“I’m glad she did. And I don’t solicit cute things like you, Tom, you know that.”

He gave her a curious look. “Why not? I mean, you wouldn’t — well, you probably would believe all the boys who talk big like they are gonna go hire one of you girls. Ann… well, she said if I wanted to try it once… with you it’d be all right.”

Jade scoffed. “Shit, Tom. You believed her?”

By the look on the young man’s face, he had.

“She’s just saying that because she’s nice. You take her up on it and you’ll break the poor girl’s heart.”

“Oh…”Tom replied softly, and Jade could see the light come on. “Oh! Well, why in the  — Why are you females all so damned complicated?”

“Because you wouldn’t like us half as much if we weren’t,” she responded with a grin. “Men can be just as complicated, you know.” Jade gave her feathery bangs a toss and added, “And so we’re clear, I’m not doing this for me. He asked me to.”

Tom forked another pitch-fork full of dirty straw into the wheelbarrow. “Then why you lie to your friend?”

Jade frowned. “Because it was the best way to get it done.”

“Was it a good friend?” The young man stopped working for a moment to study her. “Ain’t never seen that look on your face before. You’re really sorry you told him all that, aren’t ya?”

Jade hesitated for a moment before nodding. “If I’d had a traditional wedding he was one of two people I’d thought about asking to walk me.”

Tom gave a low whistle and shook his head. After a moment he gave her a curious look and stabbed his pitchfork into another clump of old straw. “Why didn’t you have one?”

“Because I wanted to be Mrs. Drewett Harlowe,”she said, her grin somewhat sheepish. It was nice to let that out once in a while, and it was easier than she cared to admit for her feelings on the matter — for the man to slip out.

“Hah!” Tom exclaimed, grinning as he worked. “You’ve got a soft spot!”

Jade smirked and threw a shoot of straw at the young man, sending it sailing out to bounce off of his shoulder. “Shut it. I got several, so don’t rat on me.”

“But he’s the biggest one. Why you still workin’ if you’re married? Thought you quit.”

“Because I got bored and hot ‘n bothered,” she replied with a shrug. “Sure he wouldn’t mind sometimes, but Drew’s got too many important things to do than entertaining me all of the time. Besides, our entertainment comes at –”

“Ah, ah! Nuh-uh! Just — No! I don’ wanna know that!”

“What?! You’re the one with all the questions!”

~ ~ ~

Elgathor glanced over his shoulder to where Talagol rode a dozen yards back. The war-lord had not been pleased about having to leave his armour behind, but neither of them would have survived half a day into The Mark if they had remained in their Easterling attire. Now night was once more upon them, and they had had the fortune of joining up with a caravan making it’s way north up the Greenway.

“Who did you say you were looking for?”

He looked back to the … brigand? Mercenary? Eglathor did not like him, whatever he was, and had not taken care to remember his name. “My daughter,” he responded easily, a perfectly convincing look of concern on his face. “She had become separated from us when the enemy made a push south.”

The mercenary grumbled. “Bloody gits. Comin’ out of every nook and cranny –“

“What part of the north you from?” came the sudden question from the commander leading the column up the ruined road. He looked back at Eglathor with a wary, watchful gaze that said he did not miss much, if anything.

Eglathor reined back a glare at the man the men escorting their caravan called ‘Vrax’. Something about him made the sorcerer want to coil up and strike, but even at the other man’s greying age he dared not risk such a fight. “Trestlebridge.” By the gods, it’s the only other town I know of in this forsaken corner of the world.

His answer seemed to suffice, though, and Vrax nodded curtly. “No one coming south by that description. If the lads had seen her they would have talked about it.”

“Oh? Well, I suppose I cannot blame them, so long as it’s just talk,” said Eglathor with a chuckle and a shrug. “She gets her good looks from her mother.”

“Lucky man! I sure hope ya find ‘er,” said the first man who’s name had been forgotten. “Good to see a concerned father with a soft spot for their daughter.”

Eglathor grinned into the growing dark, and nodded. “Yes, yes I suppose I do.”

Bittersweet: The Falls of Imladris

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Waiting till the sound of retreating footsteps were drowned out by the thundering of the falls, Eruviel reached a hand out to the white stone pillar to steady herself. For what felt like a minute (but could easily have been more) she stared at the empty space before her, replaying everything back in her mind, if only to make sure it had been real.

Then she remembered to breathe. Sweet mountain air rushed into her lungs as Eruviel slumped against the stone. She looked back to the empty path behind her, eyes soft and bright with disbelief. Realizing then the warmth that radiated from her cheeks, Eruviel scooped up the bundle of her cloak and fur wrap. Hugging them tightly to her chest, she drifted swiftly down the path to where the trees grew near the base of the falls.

Nothing and everything had changed since she had last been to that corner of Imladris. The trees were the same, but taller, the river just as crystal clear and cool, but wider here and there where the earth and stone had eroded away. Dropping her effects at the edge of the clearing, Eruviel sank down into the thick grass to stare out at the rainbows of water that crashed down over each other, sending diamond mist up to coat the pines, and summer grass.

… I would want you to remember…

Letting her long hair out of it’s braid, she laid back to stare up at the high branches. So tall, and warm, and strong. Always there, fearfully just out of reach, then…. Eruviel lifted her hand, but stopped, fingers hovering over her lips, not touching lest the memory that lingered on them be lost. 

It had only lasted for a heartbeat. And as she looked back, time most surely had stopped. Hadn’t it? How pure, and perfect. It had been fleeting, but in it a flawless communication that what she had said to him, as well as the meaning and feelings within her words had been understood. That she had been understood.

Adjusting the little blue agate on her necklace, Eruviel blinked her long lashes against the gathering mist in her eyes. Her chest swelled as she drew in a breath, and a sweet, euphoric laugh suddenly bubbled out of her. Startling herself, she clamped a hand over her mouth, then, quite hesitantly, licked her petal-soft lips. She laughed again, more quietly this time, but there was no need, for beside the falls of Imladris no one would hear her.

Bittersweet: Of Places Homely

Eruviel remembers

“Are we there yet?” asked Artis, craning her neck to peer between the horses’ ears, her whisper echoing off the high stone walls.

“Patience, dear one,” Istuion replied, chuckling softly, catching the little elleth as she began to slowly slide from her seat. “You will see the light of the valley just around this next bend.”

Artis leaned against her father’s arm that held her safely on the large chestnut steed as she stared ahead. She couldn’t blink. She wouldn’t! What if she missed it, the first sight of the hidden valley?

A golden light beamed into the pass. Rounding the corner Artis could see sunlight streaming through leafy, green branches, and hear the distant rumbling of waterfalls.

“Ada!”she yipped excitedly, little legs kicking at the horse’s flanks. “I see it! I see it!”

“Calm yourself, little ligh–” Istuion’s words were cut off when the steed leapt forward, confused by his master’s calm pull on the reigns, and the little elleth’s delighted squeals.

The horse came to a halt near the roof of the first switchback. Nostariel’s melodic humming had turned into sweet, ringing laughter behind them, and their companions and escorts chuckled along with her. Artis did not hear them, and if she did it only added to the wondrous first moment of seeing Imladris with her own eyes. Small hands gripping the horse’s mane, she pushed herself up to lay on the animal’s neck, feet braced on Isuion’s knees and chin resting between the steed’s ears.

Ooh..,” she exhaled in reverent awe. “Ada… Ada! Do you see? Oh, it’s so pretty!”

The noble Elf smiled warmly at his Autumn child. “Sit like a lady, Artistuion,” he chastised, lifting her up and setting her back down in front of him.

Giggling, Artis nodded quickly. “You didn’t tell me it was this pretty,” she whispered up at her father as if his lack of every single detail was a betrayal.

Istuion spurred his mount forward into a walk, and his dark brows rose as he looked down at her. “What if I wanted it to be a surprise?”

Artis thought on that, and her growing grin reflected the daylight reaching past the high peaks. “Will Rain be here?”

Istuion gave his wife a meaningful smile as she brought her horse up to ride beside them. “Yes, Rainion should already be here, as should Elrond and his sons, and the other Lords.”

Artis gasped happily. “Really? Do you think they will play with me?”

Istuion’s stern brow furrowed. “We are not here to play, dear one. This might be the last time it is safe enough to travel outside of Lindon for a long while. There is buisness –”

Nostariel’s mare pranced a few paces, and the Elf cleared her throat.

Istuion’s mouth tugged one way then another, but his conflicted frown vanished as he looked down to see his daughters bright, questioning eyes fixed on him. “We will see, little light. Maybe… Maybe if you ask nicely.”