Lalaith

Anecdotes: Everything We Love

It had been a morning packed with deliveries for twitterpated lovers and husbands that had forgotten. Ahiga’s hidden purse was twice as fat as usual. As much as he hated being at the beck and call for people who couldn’t just deliver worthless parcels and drivel themselves, he would not complain about the extra coin he raked in on these silly little holidays.

Sitting on a stone banister, the young man shoved his hair out of his eyes and took a bite of the steaming potato that was his lunch. He watched the Bree-landers below scurry to and fro with more haste than usual, buying overpriced candies, gaudy jewelry, and every passably limp flower in sight. It seemed foolish to him. A waste of resources on a day fabricated to boost the egos of the insignificant and lie about emotions that were good for nothing. 

Scoffing, he hopped down from his perch and shoved a hand into his pocket. Their happy chatter was beginning to piss him off. He’d go… to the garden. Yes, the garden. And even if he wasn’t there, at least Ahiga’d get some damned peace and quiet.

—–

By the time he reached the top of the fourth flight of stairs, Peldirion had a newfound respect for the servants. Careful not to jostle the tea, he bore the tray arrayed with steaming plates of flat cakes, fruit, eggs and Valar knew what else was hidden beneath the silver dome (though it smelled suspiciously of toast and bacon).

Then there was the envelope. His surprise that he’d worked on for two months. That alone tempted him to leave the food and sprint down the private hall to wake her. But the tall, proud man walked calmly and with purpose, dismissing the attending servant before he quietly slipped into the suite.

The grand room was still, the only light coming from the hearth that added to a pale, pre-dawn glow from the windows. Resting the aromatic tray on the bench at the foot of the bed he walked around to her side. 

How soundly she slept. A part of him pulled away, not wishing to disturb his slumbering wife. Lalaith. Everything he loved, good that he did not deserve, yet there she was. Peldirion swallowed hard, the swelling of adoration in his chest not fading as he brushed back a soft curl of black hair and stopped to kiss her cheek. 

“Rise and shine, my love.”

Fires That Temper the Soul

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Ducking his head, Peldirion felt his bones quake as a foul voice ripped through the air. Gritting his teeth as he heard Grond being pulled back for a third swing he caught sight of a few of the men cower then move to flee. Growling, he snatched the first man by the arm and threw him back in line. “Hold!” he bellowed, bashing the cross guard of his sword against his shield as the others fell back into formation. You will not die with your backs to the enemy! The thuderous crash sounded behind him, and Peldirion turned to face the gate. It creaked, groaned… and fell with a deafening clatter.

Here they come.

Orcs clambered into the gaping wound, flinging themselves through the gap, flooding into the courtyard, driven mad to fight. A line turned and charged at the cluster of Pelargir soldiers, raising sword, mace, crossbow, and club. Some of the men of other companies and provinces, overtaken by the dread of the Captain of the Nazgul, turned and fled. “Cowards,” Peldirion muttered, thankful for the sounds and smells of death and fire that ignited his blood. Adjusting his grip on his sword, Peldirion gave a shout, and he, along with several dozen Pelargir soldiers, rushed forward to meet the advancing enemy.

The orcs were mad, fighting even as they died, clinging and tripping up men as they trod over them. A young man, little more than a page, shrieked and fell, kicking at the mouth of a slavering, bleeding orc. Forming a line, the soldiers pressed against the orcs that crashed against their bright shields like black waves. Halethon, fighting to Peldirion’s right, drove back a screeching orc, and the two men served as an anchor to the thin wall of soldiers.

Behind the first line of orcs rose a mountain range. Or so it seemed. Cave trolls, five, eight, perhaps more, thundered through the gate. Some of them did not stop, bowling through the lines like boulders, into the fires beyond. One ugly lout fixed his only good eye upon Peldirion and roared, charging. Wrenching his sword out of an orc, Peldirion turned in time to see the troll face him. Caught up in the rush of battle, he roared back, his voice deep and filled with fury. He dodged past a group of fighters, and ran to meet his foe.

Already, men were dragging bodies back out of the clash to the shadowed edges of the courtyard. Some begged for their mothers, others screamed in agony, dying. The troll raised a spiked club the size of a horse and swung, intent on crushing his prey like a bug. Diving within the reach of the troll, Peldirion sliced out to drag his sword across the creature’s gut. The troll screamed, enraged, though not much slowed, as thick greenish blood oozed from his glutted belly. He flailed his club side to side, sweeping at the bug which dared to bite back. Either too focused on slaying the beast, or blinded by the blood that dripped down his visor, one could not be sure, but as he swung his sword again the the club crashed into Peldirion’s shield, throwing him back like a rag doll.

Time, and light, and gravity seem to shift. The red burning flames took on a cool blue cast, and shadows and light leapt out in contrast. Around the perimeter of the courtyard, a grey shadow flited in and out, hovering over fallen men.

Fighting now to breathe as the wind had been knocked out of him, Peldirion lay stunned, sword arm unable to move from being pinned down by the body of a fallen orc. Gasping, he struggled for a moment before he could wrench his sword arm free. He rolled over onto his shield, chest heaving, and forced himself up to his knees. Yanking the helm from his head, he wiped at his eyes to clear them of the blood when the shadow caught his attention. A grey robe and veil formed a slender silhouette in the shadows, but the image seemed to flicker, as if insubstantial. He stared, still dazed. What tricks of light… she cannot be…. Cool grey light trailed after the ghostly form, as if pale little stars slowly gathered around her.

An orc some distance away had stopped, and paused in his horse eating when he realized something much more delicious was nearby. Manflesh– or more precisely, woman-flesh. The orc snarled and began to stalk over to the grey figure. The woman knelt, caressing the brow of a dying soldier. He stilled, breathing his last, and another star joined the constellation forming about her. She rose and moved to another fallen body, seemingly ignorant of the stalking orc. Wiping again at his eyes, a snarl curled the man’s lips as he caught sight of the orc. Ramming the helmet back onto his head, he snatched up his sword and charged at the fiend.

As Peldirion rose, the figure of the woman flickered out, disappearing. Flames and blood reddened, and time jerked back into full motion. The orc paused at the sight of the strange light-show happening with the slim figure in front of him. Before he could fully regain his senses, he was split straight onto Peldirion’s sword. It died with black blood gushing out of its chest. Nearly stumbling, Peldirion stared at the foul body hanging from his blade. How in the… What in the pit is going on?! Kicking it angrily away he looked around wildy in search of the vanished form. For a moment he saw it, a grey light in the corner of his vision. Whirling about as he hunted for the source of the light a hand grasped his elbow.

“Sir! Sir!” Halethon cried above the chaos, the fear on his face telling that he had seen his commander get tossed by the troll. “Are you all right?!”

Feeling life rush back into him as he fully regained his breath, Peldirion shook his head as the world ceased sounding so distant. “What? Yes. Yes, I’m all right!” He motioned to the wall with his sword. “I will gather the remaining men. See how the Swan Knights are faring up the-”

Suddenly, a blast of cold air and sheer dread blew through the Gate. No more orcs. No more trolls. Something worse. Through the archway rode the Lord of the Nazgûl, and those nearest the gate fled before him. Even on the opposite end of the great court did both men stumble away, whirling around to look to the terror beneath the gateway. But one approached the fallen man. The wizard that had ridden out with the Prince the day before now paced forward on his white steed to oppose the wraith.

As the two spoke and unbidden dread welled in his chest, the grey light flickered again, a few meters to Peldirions left. The man tore his eyes from the scene to look. Halethon saw nothing but the stand-off at the gate.

Lalaith, for surely it was her, knelt, bowed over a dying soldier, her hand raised as if against a great and terrible wind. The image of her even bent and flowed as a banner in a typhoon as she struggled. He did not understand, but a chill ran though his limbs as he saw her ghostly form in the midst of the bodies. She should not be here! Forcing his feet to move, Peldirion rushed towards her. The metal of his knee guards ground against the stone as he dropped to his knees beside her. Half blinded by blood, half by a wave of panic, he quickly brought his shield arm around her, guarding her from the sight of the Black Rider.

Her face blooming with recognition, she suddenly looked to the soldier she knelt over, opened her mouth to cry out….Then she was gone again. Peldirion gaped at the void between him and his shield. Forgetting the terrible conference across the court, frustration and rage began to shadow his features but stopped when he saw the soldier he knelt beside. It was a recruit from Imloth Melui. A man no older than Halethon that had driven Peldirion half mad before the Captain had allowed him to join his ranks. He was a good boy, a strong young man. He was dead. Peldirion’s shoulders sank, his head bowed, and a minute passed before he closed the lad’s eyes and rose once more to his feet.

Looking up, Peldirion saw the Black Rider lift his sword above his head, and flames ran down the blade. The wizard did not move. It was the strangest thing, in that moment, when the sound of a rooster heralded the dawn, and filled the dreadful silence with it’s crow. Peldirion could hear his heart beating in his ears. Horns.

Horns?

Out of the darkness beyond the walls sounded great horns. He knew that sound… It was Rohirrim!

“Lieutenant!” Peldirion boomed, regaining the mask of command as he stode back towards Halethon. “The Prince and his knights!” he called, reminding the man of his orders. Halethon, face alight from the sound of morning, quickly saluted and dashed for the stairs. Peldirion could feel the fire surge back to life in his veins. “There is a war to be won!”

 

(Thank you to Feygil, and Laerlin for plotting and RPing this with me! Taken from in game RP and edited for tense and exposition.)

Innocent Heart: Haunting Hours

 

Emerging from a cloud of mist, Feira meandered down the flowering street lined with vendors. It was spring… or possibly summer? That hardly mattered, though. The warm day was accompanied by a cool sea breeze and soft tufts of clouds floated by overhead. Her freshly washed locks glowed in the sunlight, and her light, prancing steps encouraged the thin, flowy layers of her new pale, seafoam green dress to swim about her. Come to think of it, she couldn’t recall exactly how she had gotten the dress that had adorned a mannequin in a shop window for months, but that was just another detail that flittered away as quickly as it came.

Shop owners waved to her as she passed through the crowd. Small talk was made with other maids who had the day off, and all commented on how fetching she looked without her grey apron and what a lovely day it was to see the war finally end. A brand new book with gilded lettering on the cover gave an accomplished weight to the basket hanging from her arm. Cheeses for Lalaith made their way into her basket, followed by the Lady Mredothyn’s favorite fruits and the best flowers in the city for Lady Ciri’s room. Torrin could tease her for spending so frivolously all he wanted, but some days were happy enough that there was nothing wrong with sparing no expense.

Lalaith had written that she’d be back on the morrow. It was all Feira could do to keep from asking for another day off so she could rent a horse to go and meet the young woman on the way. The war was over, and everyone was coming home. Everything was going to be right again. The Lord would be home soon, and the young woman was sure that it would not be long before the estate was overflowing with babies and dinner parties.

Weaving a path through the happy throngs, Feira made her way towards the docks. It surprised her how quickly she got there, for she turned the first corner and the buildings opened up to present a breathtaking, awe inspiring view of the massive harbor. Blue and white sails filled the air. The shouts of sailors and soldiers mingled with hundred of gulls gliding overhead, and the laughter of the citizens who filled every nook and cranny of the walkways.

“’bout time ya got here!” called a familiar voice from behind. Her heart leaping in her chest, Feira spun around.

Her heart stopped.

Taller and fitter than ever from months at sea, Lhainan stood just out of arm’s reach, his captivating gaze fixed over her shoulder.

“A little waiting never hurt you,” responded a young woman’s voice, and Lalaith, dressed in one of her old silk gowns brushed past Feira to take the sailor’s offered arm. No habit in sight, her friend’s glistening blue-black hair tumbled down her back.”You get me anything?” she purred.

“Course I did,” Lhain replied, a coy smile curling his lips as he bend down to whisper into Lalaith’s ear.

What was this? Shocked, words caught in Feira’s throat when a second woman approached. “And what about me?” asked the lithe, olive skinned beauty that stole up to coil around the sailor’s other side.

Eyes gleaming, Lhainan laughed. “I’d never forget about you, beautiful.” Unable to move, Feira watched in horror as he reached out and, with little effort, ripped the gold locket from where it hung around her neck. Draping the arm around the young southern woman he let the delicate heart and chain tumble over the woman’s shoulder to disappear beneath her low neckline. The trio laughed and turned to vanish down the docks, suggestions about a long boat ride getting lost in the haze that filled Feira’s head.

The brilliant sun above her dimmed, though no one seemed to notice. A grey form rose up from where the southern woman, Lhain and Lalaith had disappeared, and as the world closed in around her Aunt Raewiel glared down at Feira with a wicked, triumphant sneer.

This wasn’t real. It wasn’t! Valar… Emeleth… But no, no one could hear her. Nobody would. Trapped and with nowhere to run, the flowers in her basket withered, the fruits shrunk and turned sour, and the pages of her book crumpled into ash. She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t speak, and the only movement Feira could manage was the trembling that slowly took over her limbs.

Wake up….

Wake up….

Tears and Sympathy

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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.)

Innocent Heart: Making Friends

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Strolling around a corner at the Warf, Feira buried her nose and a storm of thoughts into her book. Kicking out the hem of her skirt so as to not trip on it, a sailor down the path let out a shout. Startled, Feira inadvertently stumbled and stubbed her toe against a crack in the paving. Mumbling pitifully, she muttered an apology to the stone she had struck, and continued on, a little slower than before.

“Watch your step, miss!”

“Oh, thank you, sir.” Feira stopped and looked back to find the owner of the voice. A young man about her age grinned over at her from his perch atop a stack of crates.

“Hey, I think I know you.”

Blushing in embarrassment at her stumble having caught notice, Fiera lowered her book. “You — you do?”

The boy nodded cheerfully, rolling up a bit of twine in his hands. “Aye, you’re Lhain’s friend.”

Feira blushed a bit more. “Aye, I am,” she said as she gingerly stepped out of the way of a passing cart. “I’m Feira. It’s a pleasure, sir,” she added, bobbing a polite curtsey.

“I sailed with him for a bit. Foretopman. Do you want to see my drawings?”

Blinking at the sudden invitation, Feira nodded slowly. “Ahh, yes, of course. What do you like to draw?” she asked as she approached the stack of crates.

“Stars. And fish. I love stars,” he explained. His expression was pleasant and friendly, and Feira relaxed a bit. “I think I’d like to navigate,” he continued, hopping down from his spot to show her a small, leather-bound booklet that he drew from his pocket.

“Oh, these are lovely! Stars are rather wonderful, aren’t they,” she said, leaning in to inspect the boy’s drawings. “Isn’t a foretopman . . . . You’re in charge of the mast near the bow, correct?”

“That’s correct,” said the young man, flipping to a page where he seemed to have marked constellations. “What do you think this one looks like?” he asked her, pointing to a collection of dots.

Humming softly, Feira inspected the grouping. “Is it Wilwarin?”

The young man chuckled. “Actually, I just thought it looked like a bunny. I’m sure you’re right. I don’t memorize their names.”

Feira chuckled quietly. “As long as you know were you’re going. I suppose that is the important part.”

He smiled peacefully and looked up at the night sky. “I think you’re absolutely right. Where you’re going, and how you get there.”

Feira considered him with an amused, yet curious look. “So what has you on dry land instead of followin’ stars, Mr.  . . .”

“Gilben. You can call me Gil, or Ben . . . or anything.” He then extended out an intricately woven twine bracelet to her. “Please accept this as a token of our newfound friendship.”

“Oh, you don’t have to give me anything,” she said, taken aback. “It’s lovely, but making your acquaintance is token enough.”

Gilben deflated sadly. “Please?”

Feira’s eyes widened at seeing his fallen expression, and she quickly accepted the bracelet with a grateful smile. “Thank you. It really is lovely,” she said as she fit the twine bracelet around her wrist. “No one’s given me a bracelet before.”

“Oh, it’s my pleasure,” said Gilben, dipping his head politely. “I give them to all of my friends. I make them when I’m sitting up in the crow’s nest. It’s very peaceful.”

Feira nodded, her golden curls bobbing. “So I hear! What has you making them on crates instead of the crow’s nest?”

“The ship is docked for repairs. What are you doing here?”

“Nothing serious, I hope,” she said, arching a brow. A moment passed before Feira sputtered and quickly added, “And I’m just running errands.” She also had suddenly remembered Lhain’s caution about her going through the Warehouse District at night. It wasn’t quite night yet . . . least not late night.

“Oh, no, no,” said Gilben, shaking his head. “Fraying ropes, some interior water damage… are you very well, miss?”

“Ahh, just routine.” She then chuckled and smiled sweetly. “I am quite well, thank you. Forgive me, I had just completely forgotten to answer your question; being so focused on asking my own.”

“It’s all right. I think it’s important that people focus on themselves.”

Feira shook her head. “I’d have to disagree. If everyone focused on themselves then no one would appreciate anyone.”

“You’re right, of course. But sometimes you just need to take care of yourself first,” said Gilben, compromising.

“I can see that, yes,” Feira said with a chuckle. “I fear I am no master of that though. Being a servant inflicted me with the terrible disposition of putting my needs last.”

Smirking, Gilben then gave her a thoughtful look. “You should come look at the comets with me some night.”

“There are comets?” asked Feira, eyes wide. “When?”

Gilben shot her a cheeky grin. “Half past two in the morning, most nights. I’m something of a night owl. Woke up not long ago.”

Feira blinked and looked up at the sky. “You and Lhain both,” she muttered. “I was up at the crack of dawn. Rarely do I stay up later than eleven bells.”

“By then I’m rolling in my dreams.”

A thought struck her. Lalaith had kindly insisted that a chaperone was needed for times like these . . . but he was just a boy, and a harmless one at that! “Well, I suppose I can manage a late night . . . or early morning. Whichever it is. Where is the best spot to watch them?”

“Oh, anywhere clear and not ruined by the light,” said Gilben.

Feira nodded and turned in a slow circle. “The view from the garden near the armoury? That might have the least obtrusive light. How about there?” And now the unopened letter from Lhain might as well have been burning a hole in her pocket.

“If you wish. I do love the flowers there.”

“You are an interesting lad, Master Gilben,” said Feira with a chuckle.

“Everyone is interesting,” said Gilben, smiling. “I will make you a crown of flowers, so you might feel more noble.”

Feira laughed. “Now I’ll be expecting one! What night should I see these comets, then?”

“Mmm. How does Sunday evening sound?”

Feira twisted her mouth to the side and hummed in thought. “Sunday . . . Sunday, Sunday sounds perfect!”

“Beautiful!” said Gilben with a bright grin. “I will see you then, Miss Feira. Enjoy what is left of your night.”

“Till then! Have a good evening, Master Gilben,” she chimed, nodding politely before turning to hurry and finish her errands. Lalaith would frown on this, to be sure, she told herself as her now decorated hand slipped into her pocket to withdraw the sealed letter. But he makes bracelets, and likes stars and flowers. There is no harm in making friends. No harm at all.

Innocent Heart: An Abundance of Letters

Dear Lalaith,

This is so exciting, writing letters! One of the girls is letting me use her stationary till I can get my own. The kissing swans impression isn’t my thing. Maybe dueling brooms would be more appropriate . . . .

Anyhow, things are good here. That boy hasn’t shown up, though it’s probly for the better. I can only imagine the fuss all the girls would throw at a boy showing up for me. Which is entirely ridiculous since most of them have boys, (except for Nellie who I’m pretty sure is juggling three).

Speaking of juggling, Auntie lit into me the other night again (which, now that I mention it, I can’t remember if I’ve told you anything about my aunt), about something that was really nothing. But as a result I have decided to lash out and learn more things. I know, I know, I’m a rebel . . . . The house library has a few books on Haradic, and I’ve decided to take it up. I’d considered Sindarin but that just seems impractical at the current time. I’ve also borrowed books from the city library on sewing and the third volume of the ‘Compendium of Gondor: The Second Age.’ (Volume two is SUPER dry.) I’m still working on fencing, but it’s hard with no one to practice with, and I can only kill so many imaginary Black Roses.

But enough about me! How are you? What have you been busy with? That weird, rich guy show up again? I hate not being able to see and chat with you whenever we want. Letters are exciting, but talking face to face is so much better. Take care of yourself and I’ll see you soon!

Always, Feira

~~~

Dear Lalaith,

He showed up yesterday! The boy from the street dance; he appeared in the middle of me hanging laundry and I almost hit him with a dish towel. Some times I just can’t believe myself. I’m so giddy and I can’t tell anyone! Well I guess I could tell Torrin — noooo . . .  I should probably wait to tell brother. He most likely doesn’t care. Have I told you I have a big brother? Well, you probably already know that. You know everything. He’s been helping me with my fencing lessons . . . Though, to be honest I suspect he’s only humoring me — and speak of the devil. I have to run! I’ll finish this later!

(Hastily added) And I meant ‘you know everything’ as in you’re really smart!

~~~

Dear Lalaith,

I know I just saw you at noon today, but I could not wait to write. Lhainan showed up at the library after I returned from our walk. I admit that a part of me wondered if he actually would. Last night seemed too good to be anything but a dream. But tonight was equally as wonderful . . . and without the horrible horseradish. I don’t want these last few days to end. I suddenly feel so rediculous. Is it alright? It’s so overwhelming I’ve been wondering how i am able to sleep at night with my mind going a million miles an hour.

Speaking of sleep! I completely forgot to tell you. After his visit while I was doing the washing I hardly slept a wink that night and I accidentally dozed off while cleaning the lord and lady’s hearth. Lady Mredothyn caught me and I thought it would be the end of me, but she was so kind! Not that I should have expected her to be anything but. The house seems so much brighter with her around. (Thank Emeleth she’s not like Lad like some of the other Ladies in Dol Amroth.) And she’s so fat! A good fat! A good fat! It’s not all the time you see pregnant Ladies glowing and walking about like she does. I remember you asking, and the wedding is supposed to be some time in the spring.

I’m sorry I hadn’t finished and sent your other letters sooner. It is selfish of me, I know, but having to wait a whole month to see you really — well — is no fun. Whatever you did to get errands to come into town, you should do more of it!

I will let you know how tomorrow goes. Lhain’s taking me out on a boat! A little one. I have no idea where we are going. The prospect of adventure is thrilling! Is it possible to lose your mind from being too excited? Not that I’ll loose my mind (promise), but . . . well I’ll stop before I really begin to ramble.

Take care of yourself. Let me know how the expansions to the dining hall go? I hope you are well and have everything you need. There is no need to worry, I know, but I’m gonna anyways, so too bad.

Till later!

Always, Feira

Innocent Heart: Friends First

Feira unhooked her arm from Lalaith’s as they walked and skipped over to a leafless tree. “Mind if I walk you to the crossroads?” she asked as she jumped up to snag a thin vine of little flowers that clung to a branch.

Lalaith heaved a sigh, catching her breath. “Not at all . . . but isn’t it out of the way for you?” she asked, looking up at the vine.

Pulling the vine down with her, Feira broke off a length and turned back to Lalaith. “Not too far,” she responded with a shrug. “Besides, you have to be back soon. I don’t have to be back to work till breakfast is served.”

Lalaith smiled and nodded. “Alright. What have you got there? Tenacious little thing, isn’t it?”

Feira grinned as she fished the ribbon from their lunch box out of her pocket. “Not sure,” she chuckled. “These always bloom late, though.” Weaving the flowering vine with the ribbon, she then tied the ends and offered the circlet to Lalaith. “Here!”

Lalaith laughed and accepted the little wreath. “Shall I hang it on my door?” she asked, amused.

“You can. You do whatever you like with it,” she said as she clasped her hands behind her back and strode forward. “I don’t know the rules with Sisters, but if Emeleth made flowers I would think he would want you to enjoy them.”

“Well. Elmeleth did not make the flowers, but I am sure she would have enjoyed them,” she said, settling the circlet jauntily on her head as they walked on.

“She . . . I knew that,” Feira muttered with an embarrassed smile.

“What will you do if that boy finds you again?” she asked, adjusting the crown so that the flowers did not droop over her eyes.

Feira walked beside her with an dance-like gate. “He probably won’t,” she said with a shrug, a hint of regret in her voice. “The girls like the stern honorable knights or the sailors with broad shoulders and easy smiles. He probably has a new girl on his arm every day.”

“I forgot. You want a wild Rohir,” Lalaith teased. “A saucy sailor won’t do.”

Feira rolled her eyes and grinned. “I never said that . . . I dunno,” she said a bit more sheepishly. “Auntie says sailors are trouble, but he’s the first boy to ever call me pretty.”

“Any sort of boy can be trouble, if one doesn’t keep her wits,” Lalaith said. “I should know,” she sighed. “If his intentions are honorable, you’ll know. And if they aren’t, you’ll know. Trust your feelings.”

Feira nodded confidently, but a few steps later she shook out her arms and skipped a step. “It’s so silly,” she grumbled, “feeling nervous at the small possibility that a boy might call. Work couldn’t come sooner so I can get hi — it off my mind.”

Lalaith smiled faintly. “It’s a thrilling feeling. That isn’t wrong. It just is.”

Feira hummed thoughtfully but sidled over and hooked her arm ’round Lalaith’s. “Well boys are exciting, but I’ve had too much good all at once. Don’t want to dive in too deep when I’ve just gotten my feet wet.” She then squeezed the young woman’s arm. “Boy or no boy, he can wait. Friends come first.” The wind picked up as they left the walls of the city behind and broached the peninsula which housed the Temple.

Lalaith smiled, touched. “Oh Feira,” she sighed. “I am very glad to call you my friend.”

The wrought iron gate of the Temple grounds loomed before them. Feira beamed a warm smile, her lower lip trembling faintly. “Before I’d just hoped to end up as your servant forever, but this is much, much better. I’m glad you’re my friend too.” The young woman looked to the Temple before them with both awe and regret. It had hardly taken any time for them to walk there, and she wished good days did not pass by so swiftly. “Today was so wonderful. Thank you for spending it with me, Lalaith.”

“I would much rather be your friend than… your mistress,” Lalaith said, and hugged Feira tightly. “I hope we will spend many more days together.”

Feira hugged her back just as tightly. “I hope so too. You truly are the best. If anything exciting happens I’ll write. Otherwise, see you next month?”

Lalaith’s smile brightened. “Even if nothing exciting happens, I should like very much to hear from you. I will write too, if you like. Perhaps I’ll be given an errand in the city and might meet you for lunch. A short one, anyway.”

Feira bounced on her toes as she grinned. “Oh that would be splendid! Here’s hoping that you do. And, I will be sure to write. If that boy show’s up you will hear all about it!”

Lalaith giggled. “Good! Goodbye. Be careful returning.”

Feira hopped a step and turned, walking backwards as she waved. “Goodbye for now. I’ll be careful! Cross my heart. Have a good night!” Watching Lalaith disappear through the tall gates Feira turned back around and sauntered down the path. A lively waltz playing in her head she hopped atop a low retaining wall and pranced over the stones as she set her path towards home.

 

(Taken straight from mail RP, and edited for tense and grammar.

Thank you Feygil for rping as Lalaith!)