It was a quiet day. A lazy day. The soft mattress and blankets puffed up around them in soft waves and the shimmering mountain sunlight filtered through the thick glass window to chase away their late morning slumber. Groaning in protest as the light hit his face, Adrovorn turned his head from where it rested in the small of Eruviel’s back to hide it between her side and the bed.
“So you are finally awake,” smiled Eruviel as she rolled over onto her back and stretched out. She could not help but chuckle at the squinted glare he shot her as she abandoned him to the sunlight.
“No, I’m not,” said Adrovorn in a yawn as he stretched out his thickly muscled arms. Hooking a hand over her side he pulled her close and laid back down, his broad, lightly tanned shoulders draped across her hips. Pecking a kiss on her cool skin he set his head down on her stomach and tucked his hands under her back. “Did you rest well?” he asked, his voice low and thick from sleep.
Eruviel nodded as she fixed the pillow beneath her head. “I always rest well with you,” she said, offering a contented sigh, his head rising and falling with her breath. “I do not think I need to ask if you slept well or not.”
Adrovorn shook his head. “No, you don’t. I slept so hard I don’t even remember dreaming.”
“I am glad,” she responded, combing her fingers through his strawberry blonde hair. In the last months her own dreams were not as distant as they had been in the past. She did not escape to thoughts of distant rivers or white shores. No, she dreamt of the previous day, and the day before that. Of their wedding under the flowering trees of Celondim, and the blissful weeks that followed. They would fight, hunt and drink together with the dwarves during the day, and at night . . . .
“We will not be here much longer, will we?” she asked, interrupting her own thoughts as color trickled into her cheeks.
Adrovorn sighed, crossing his arms over her abdomen and resting his head atop of them to look up at her. “No. I think we have three or so more weeks. Then we head out to find the Tribunal.”
Eruviel raised her eyes to the stone roof of the bedroom, her eyes catching the glints of dust floating through the rays of sunshine. “It’s strange . . . thinking about how much will change.”
“You will miss it, won’t you?” asked Adrovorn as he propped himself up on one arm, tracing his free hand lovingly over the pale scars that wound around her torso.
“I will. Eriador is all I have ever known. I have never been east of Lothlorien nor south of Enedwaith.”
“Gondor is a wide land. When this war is over you may get lost exploring it all,” he said with a smile. Scooting up he pecked a kiss on her cheeks before resting his head on her chest. “And you will already have a head start on seeing the world after I am gone.”
“I will not be seeing much of the world at all after you are gone,” she whispered into his hair. “I meant what I said the other night.”
Adrovorn raised his head, sitting up as his dark blue eyes searched hers. A soft look replaced his natural sternness as he studied her. “I cannot ask something like that of you.”
“That’s why I am giving it to you. Besides, I would think the halls of Iluvatar would be more grand than those of Manwe,” she chuckled softly.
A mischievous smile curved up the corners of his mouth and Adrovorn was about to speak when a knock sounded from the front door. Letting out a frustrated sigh Adrovorn laid back down atop of her, burying his face in the nape of her neck. “If we don’t move they won’t know we’re here,” he muttered.
Chuckling, Eruviel wrapped her arms around his shoulders as the knock sounded again, louder. “Give them a minute and they will go away.”
The knock sounded a third time, accompanied by a muffled call of, “My lord?” The fourth time Eruviel and Adrovorn looked at each other, silently debating whether or not to actually answer the persistent visitor. Then silence. The two waited, their heads lifted and turned towards the door.
“Maybe he left?” Eruviel wondered.
“Good. We rarely get a whole day to lay around,” huffed Adrovorn as he rolled onto the side and pulled her against his chest. The calm returned. Nestling against him she laid there for a time, forgetting everything else. The two had almost fallen back asleep when a new, harder knock sounded against the front door, the thud echoing through the small home.
“Adrovorn?” sounded Myrthrost’s voice from the other side. His tone made Eruviel’s stomach sink. “I’m sorry, but I know you’re in there. It’s urgent.”
Letting out an irritated growl Adrovorn pulled himself away from her and slid out of bed. Quickly stepping into his trousers he leaned over to plant a warm kiss on her mouth. “I’ll be right back love.”
Nodding, Eruviel sat up as she watched him walk out into the common room. She heard the door open, and the low voices exchange words. She could not make out what had been spoken, but it was only a minute before Myrthrost departed and the front door shut. She waited.
“Adrovorn?” she called softly. No reply came. Rising from the bed she wrapped the large white sheet around her and padded softly out of the bedroom. Her tall Gondorian stood still as stone in the entryway, a tattered parchment stretched between his hands. Stopping beside him she rested a deceptively delicate hand on his forearm. “What does it say?” she asked simply, reading the dark storm of emotions that shadowed his face.
“It’s from Pelargir,” he said quietly, rereading the letter again. “The city has fallen into chaos, and a fleet of Corsairs presses hard against the navy. I am being called back.” Sighing heavily Adrovorn sunk down to the floor, leaning back against the wall. “This was sent months ago,” he said gravely. “My men and I are long overdue.”
Looking down at him for a moment Eruviel shifted the sheet around her and gracefully lowered herself to sit beside him. “Well, then we will leave for Gondor sooner than planned.” She tried to sound encouraging, but his unguarded expression of dismay made it difficult to even smile.
“I do not want you to have to fight,” said Adrovorn bitterly as he looked up to study her face, “and I was hoping that the ten years I’ve been away would see the end of this turmoil.” She could see the anger swelling in him towards whoever it was that wrote the letter.
A genuine smile played across her lips. “You know I do not mind fighting. It is what I’m best at.”
A pained look came into his eyes and Adrovorn handed her the letter. “No, Eruviel. I cannot have you come with me.”
“I do not see why not,” she said as she read over the orders. In spite of brevity, the page was filled with haunting details of the south being raided and burned. Osgiliath was overrun and a large part of the army was stuck in the west. And she’d thought things were bad here in the north.
“Eruviel,” Adrovorn cupped a hand on one side of her face to turn her head to look at him, “You cannot come with me yet. I will go and fulfill my oath, and when my lord releases me I will come back for you.”
“No, my love. I am going with you. I am fully capable of facing whatever fate awaits us,” she said firmly.
“You really are an anomaly. What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”
“I have lived and fought fifteen hundred years before you came along, and I do not intend to wile away the days here when you are down in Gondor risking your life!”
“You don’t get it,” he said in frustration, gripping her arm. “I know you can face anything! But you shouldn’t have to, not any more, not if I can help it. Eruviel, I will be leading hundreds of men into battle and if you were there I would put your safety above theirs. My love, I can’t allow it! Many of them will die anyways, but I can’t leave a hundred families without fathers because my judgement was impaired out of worry for you.”
Eruviel forced down the tears that threatened to appear. She did her best to keep her lower lip from trembling, and merely nodded as he gently pulled her over to sit between his legs. “I understand,” she said quietly, resisting the urge to shrug off his hand.
“I am sorry Eruviel, that this had to happen when we were just beginning,” said Adrovorn, tucking stray strands of hair behind her pointed ears.
Eruviel shook her head, ruining his careful work. Shoving her bangs out of her face she did her best not to show her disappointment, and worry — among a hundred other emotions. “Do you mind if I ride with you and the Tribunal for a part of the journey?”
“Not at all. I would prefer it,” he said with a small chuckle, running a hand up and down her arm.
Nodding, she leaned against his chest with a small sigh, relishing the feel of his skin against hers and listening to the strong beat of his heart. “How long do yo think you will be gone?”
“A year at the most,” he said with certainty. “And if my lord tries to keep me longer I will just leave. He can find another captain to lead his men.”
A few minutes of silence between them passed as his words somewhat calmed her and dried up the moisture that had gathered in the corners of her eyes. “Then we should prepare,” she said reluctantly.
“I don’t think so,” he said with a warm smile. Kissing her shoulder he wrapped his strong arms around her and held her close. “I say when we leave and we still have a little more time.”