4. Chapter 4
Arwen leaned over to pat her horse’s head, and smiled at her brother. “I do not think of it as my city, brother. It is Estel’s city. It is the people’s city. Perhaps, in time, I shall come to treat it as mine too.”
Elrohir’s horse pranced round them. “I wish Estel were here too. I pity him, shut up working. But then, he’s King now.”
They turned away from the City, with an unspoken accord, and began to trot towards the Rammas. “Do you remember the day he arrived in Imladris?” Elladan asked.
“With his mother?” said Elrohir. “Aye, I do. Such a small little thing, with those big grey eyes …”
“… And hair sticking up all over,” Elladan finished. “And Gilraen, so sad, mourning Arathorn. So young, they both were.”
“We kept telling father to send for you or Grandmother,” Elrohir said to Arwen. “That she should have some female company.”
“Perhaps he already feared our meeting,” Arwen said softly. “Poor Father.”
“I cannot say I blame him,” Elrohir said. He looked thoughtful, and then grinned. “But on the other hand, in many ways I am far gladder to have Estel as a brother-in-law than anyone else.”
“You could have married that golden-haired one from Lórien,” Elladan suggested. “You know who I mean, Arwen?”
“Telpir?” she said. “He played the harp. Not badly, but not well.”
“That was about all he did,” Elladan agreed. “I do not recall ever seeing Telpir do anything else.”
“He couldn’t shoot,” Elrohir added. “We held a contest once. I cannot remember him hitting a single bulls eye. Then he went off to mope and play his harp again. No, you are far better off with Estel, Arwen.”
Some men occupied in repairing a homestead stopped to watch the three of them ride by, belatedly bowing, and not returning to their work until the Elves had gone another hundred yards.
“Where is father this morning?” Arwen asked her brothers.
They exchanged glances. “In the Houses of Healing, trying to teach the Warden about herbs, I believe,” Elladan said.
“Clearing out their store of dead plants, too,” Elrohir put in. “They have jars and jars of useless herbs, and yet scarce one leaf of athelas when it is called for. It astonishes me so many of their men survived the siege. Tell Estel to keep an eye on that place, sister.”
Arwen gave her horse a nudge to speed it up. “I trust you will both be returning here often – you can help him a little, I hope?” Elladan and Elrohir said nothing, and she looked from one to the other. “You are staying, are you not?” Her voice was steady, but her brothers’ eyes met.
“Well …” Elrohir began, and Elladan brought his horse around the other side of Arwen, so she was riding between them.
“For the moment, aye, we are staying,” Elrohir continued. “You know that father intends to leave soon, before five winters have passed, maybe?”
Arwen bowed her head, and nodded. “Yes, I know.”
“We have not yet decided when we will sail, or even if we will sail,” Elladan said. “We may yet choose as you have. In which case we shall certainly come and live here, and help Estel. Cheer him up when the burden of kingship grows too heavy. Play with our nephews and nieces, in time, I hope!”
“Not just yet,” Arwen said, a red glow suffusing her cheeks. “Come on, brothers. I shall race you both to that sentry-post, ahead.” She kicked her horse, and gave herself a head start before either of her brothers had reacted to the challenge. With a whoop, Elladan bent over his horse’s neck and was after her, and a split second later Elrohir too had joined the chase. The dust flew up beneath the hooves of their steeds, the soft fabric of Elven-cloaks floated in the wind, and those working on the Pelennor shaded their eyes to see the three thunder past.
Arwen looked sideways to see Elladan come abreast of her, and she called laughingly to her horse to move faster. On the other side, Elrohir came into her peripheral vision, leaning low to speak to his mount. Now they were all three level, the wind whistling in their ears, and the sentries at the post had come out of their hut to watch the race.
“Noro lim!” Arwen said again. Her horse neighed and she felt the extra spurt of speed underneath her. Ahead, one of the sentries had quickly dragged a line in the dusty grass with the tip of his sword, and had moved back out of the way. The Guards had by now recognised Arwen, and were cheering her on with shouts of, “The Queen! Come on, Gondor!”
One of her brothers let out a cry, and Arwen bent as low as she could over her steed’s neck for the final dash. The line went past, and she slowed the horse and turned. Beside her, Elladan and Elrohir were doing the same, their hair tousled a little by the wind. The sentries were cheering wildly.
“Did I win?” Arwen asked, riding back towards them.
“Aye, your Majesty, I think you did,” one of them said, bowing. “Though it was a close victory.”
“Bested by a lady!” Elladan said, coming to join them and shaking his head. “Our little sister has outdone us, Elrohir.”
“Oft times the lighter may make the better speed, my lord,” another Guard said gravely. “It was a good race.”
“I trust your vigil goes quietly, that we afford you such entertainment?” Elrohir asked, his horse cavorting around the group.
“No problems, my lord,” the first sentry said. “All is quiet. We see only those on City business, out trying to return this land to its former use, or embassies on their way to the King.”
“I see this will be the eventual problem of winning the War,” Elrohir said to his brother. “Estel will bring all lands to a state of such peace, there will be naught to hunt.”
“The South is not yet entirely under Gondor’s thumb, brother,” Elladan returned. “I foresee some years yet of trouble. There’ll be work enough for us.”
Elrohir nodded, and seemed to cheer up again. The Guard looked glum.
“You’re probably right, my lord,” he said, “but many folk will be sorry to think upon it that way. We have suffered overlong, and lost too many people.”
Arwen smiled down at him. “I am certain his Majesty will do his utmost to avoid bloodshed,” she said. “Do not listen to my brothers. They have always enjoyed a fight a little too much. Believe me, my husband knows how his people feel, and indeed shares those feelings himself.”
The sentry bowed low. “Thank you, your Majesty, for your kind words. The King’s coming is a great event, and he has indeed chosen the best of spouses.”
“And I am glad to know you feel that way,” Arwen said. “In fact I am riding back to the City now and shall tell Elessar so myself. A very good day to you all.”
“To you too, your Majesty,” the men chorused, and Arwen and her brothers rode away from the sentry post.
“Going back?” Elrohir said, mournfully.
“Estel has an open audience this afternoon with the people, and I think he would like it if I were there,” his sister replied. “You have no such pressure on your time, Elrohir. Ride somewhere and bring back some interesting tale for this evening’s meal – I trust you are both coming? Aragorn wishes all his friends to be there, for we have been too much separated of late.”
“We’ll be there,” Elladan promised. “Go on, hurry to your audience, Arwen.”
She smiled at them both, and then shook the reins of her horse and trotted back in the direction of Minas Tirith, the silver spire of the Tower ahead of her. The brothers watched her go.
“Let’s ride to the Rammas,” Elrohir said, and they turned in the opposite direction.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.