Argaladiel (aka Notes From A 400lb Nuzgûl)
6. Snippet 1
"Well, she's the Dúnwen. So she's in charge."
"How do you come to that conclusion, Master Took?" Boromir asked, looking amused.
"Because she's the Dúnwen." The tone of the reply implied that this should be self-evident.
"I confess, I am still puzzled," the Gondorian warrior replied.
"It's to do with the way that us Northern folk use words," Bilbo supplied, from his seat near the fire. "Particularly folk in the Shire. There's a difference between being a Took, like young Master Peregrin here," Bilbo nudged the youngster with his foot, "and being The Took, which his uncle Ferumbras is at present."
"I do not follow the difference, I must admit," Boromir stated. The puzzlement on his face made Pippin giggle, which made Merry and Frodo both smile.
"It's like this," Frodo explained. "I'm a Baggins - a member of a family. The Bagginses are a big family in the Shire, well-connected, but we're not one of the leaders. The head of the family isn't called anything special. In the really big families in the Shire, like the Tooks and the Brandybucks, the head of the family has a special name. The head of the Took family is The Took. The head of the Brandybuck family is The Master of Brandy Hall. Does that help you at all?"
Boromir thought about the information he had been given. It appeared that in northern speech, despite it's informality at times, there was a difference between the usage of the indefinite and the definite articles. From what Frodo was saying, and from what Bilbo had also implied, it seemed that calling someone "the whatever" was giving them a formal title of some sort. A title which implied authority, it seemed. Certainly, Pippin appeared to respect the authority it gave to Estel. Estel was "the Dúnwen". He knew that "Dúnwen" translated to "woman of the North". That she was labelled as The Woman of the North would mean that...
No! That could not be true. The line of Isildur had died out, back at the time of the last king of Gondor. There were no Kings in the North after Arvedui. This he had learned as part of his history, at his father's knee. It had been part of his father's answer to his childish question as to why his father was not the king. He could remember the tales and the history in them as though he were still sitting before his father today.
His astonishment must have showed on his face, for Pippin reached across and patted him on the knee. "I'll go get Mistress Kingsfoil," the young hobbit said, getting up and racing off before the Man could gather breath to say no.
Pippin's departure also seemed to be the cue for the other hobbits to start gathering up the tea-things, in preparation for their departure. The atmosphere in the room changed, becoming more tense, more silent. Both Frodo and Merry looked uncomfortable, while Sam was bustling around distracted, as though he would be able to avert the argument that all of them knew was impending through sheer activity alone. Only old Bilbo seemed unmoved by the whole business, choosing instead to refill his pipe. When Pippin returned abruptly, with Estel following in his wake, the younger hobbits all took this as their cue to be elsewhere.
"Will you not be leaving as well, Master Baggins?" Boromir asked. The old hobbit looked up at the Man and shook his head.
"Oh no," he said, drawing on his pipe. "I'm quite comfortable where I am. Don't you mind me."
The woman he knew as Estel looked at him. "I was told that you had some questions which needed answering," she said.
"I do," Boromir replied. "I have been informed by the hobbits that you are a person of some status in Northern circles."
There was a chuckle from Bilbo. "What he means, Dunwen, is that he's just been told in a rather round-about way that it's you who rules the Rangers, and not that young cockerel Arador!"
Boromir looked at the old hobbit in irritation. What Bilbo had said was true enough, but Boromir would have preferred to phrase things a little more subtly. Estel looked at the pair of them, iritation showing on her face as well.
"Well," she commented, "the truth will out, whether I want it to or not. Especially when there are a group of gossipy hobbits around. I take it there are some things you would like cleared up?"
"Yes, madam. There are." Boromir could feel the tension in his back and stomach mounting up again, and took a few deep breaths to steady his voice.
"Why did you not see fit to tell me of this earlier?" he asked.
"He's got you there, Dunwen," Bilbo commented, staring into the fire.
[and from here I have no idea *where* things are going - tentative directions are that there's going to be an argument between Boromir and Aramiriel, with him getting massively offended that she hadn't told him a number of things, although the reason why he's offended won't be discussed. He's starting to fall for her, but hasn't realised this, and he's getting a lot of information about her all at once, which is never his forte. One of the things he's going to discover is that she's about double his age, married with two children, and a third grandchild on the way. I've no idea what the impact is going to be of this. Talk it over with Rachel? Ang? Anyone?]
[Further note: it looks as though Bilbo is going to be sitting in on the argument, mainly because he can. Old Bilbo is abusing the privilege of the elderly in many cultures of providing (often unwanted) advice.]
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