Sophisticated Cultures and Primitive Peoples


2. Atta



A tapestry hung on the wall opposite.

It was a magnificent piece of work, embroidered with skill; the Witch-King of Angmar, fell and menacing in his dark power, and the Lady Éowyn, a pale figure with long hair, and behind the Witch-King creeping up on him was one of the famous periannath.

Elentirmo paid it no attention, for he was reading, brow furrowed with concentration.

‘There came a day when I desired to see the Sea; and I convinced my father to let me go, and but gaze upon her shores, though truly I had more in mind than just that.

And of course it was some journey to the coast, but we worked out that I would be able to return on the twelfth day of Lótessë.

That day, my father waited.

Not just for a few minutes, pausing his duties for a little time and then returning home, that he would not, could not.

He stood outside, hour upon hour, wondering why I had not returned, waiting, and looking fiercely towards the harbour and the sea, even while standing in Minas Tirith, as though demanding fiercely of her why she had taken his son from him. He cancelled every appointment, every council, and stood outside, not caring that passers-by in the street muttered and pointed to see their King looking like that.
That did not disturb him.

And when I did not return that night, so my mother said, he woke her from her dreams and asked her why.

When I did return, three days later than he had expected me, with the full joy of a voyage in my face, he said nothing of it, and praised me for succeeding, and remarked that I had found something to occupy my life.

So he was; and he could not have loved me more.’


Within the narrative, there were so many tales, and some tales were more than they seemed, for they contained fragments of others, the stories of a story.

It was these that Elentirmo found interesting, for some of them were in the perspective of unknown men; warriors, and men not in the histories.

Eldarion had taken great pains to research these unknowns; little details, their names, their lives, even their diaries.

‘It is daybreak, and now we are to ride to Gondor, but by a fearsome road. None of the Rohirrim will stir there, hardly any will even utter the name, and yet I go there.

Am I foolish?

Nay. For if I do not follow Aragorn in his hour of need, who then will?

But perhaps we will see our victory.

I must go. Perhaps I will get some rest tonight, but it is more likely that I will not.’

Beneath this, Eldarion had written ‘His name was Halbarad, and he was from the North, a great friend and distant kinsman of my father’s. He did not live to see what he had hoped to.’

Elentirmo shivered. Every man in Gondor knew that there had been deaths during the Great Wars, but they ignored them to make great songs and stories. Reading this, set down so simply, brought them closer than a hundred songs ever could.

Perhaps it was best that they were brushed aside lightly. They were not comforting, and awakened strange thoughts and feelings which could never be put to rest.

On an impulse, Elentirmo looked up at the soaring ceiling above him, and wondered how the hands of Men could create such perfection. It was too high, too lovely, too ideal to reach out to in its lofty, remote flawlessness.

In a way, it was very like Elessar. Perfect, and ideal, matchless and unattainable.

He did not like the sense that there were things he could never reach. For he was yet young, and there was still time. Oh, there was plenty of time.

With an unreadable expression on his face, and something different in his manner – a new vigour, almost determination, he continued reading, and he was somewhat grim.


The account was in no particular order. Suddenly it leapt back to Elessar’s earlier days, as a young man on many journeys, then forwards again, to his rule in Minas Tirith. It was odd and disjointed, but it was, as far as Elentirmo knew, the truth, and that made it more important than anything else, organised or no.

Some parts moved away from Elessar altogether, dwelling for a time on Eldarion himself – his thoughts, his life.

Have you ever seen the sea?

She has many moods – at times she tosses like a caged beast, clawing against her shores to get out, and yet at others she is calm, like a neverending sheet of blue silk stretching out on the horizon, and yet is something more.

Ah, I cannot describe her as I would like.

Do you know the great cat-skins that the Haradrim sell here? ‘Tigers’, the creatures are called, I believe. Strange they are, and rumoured to be mightily ferocious, though I myself have not seen one in life.

The sea can be like that sometimes, while at others she can be like the small kitten that curls up drowsily by a fire – though always somewhat remote, always unreal. Always wild.

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.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Noldo

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 12/03/04

Original Post: 09/13/04

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