Tales of the North
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Back to Middle-earth month 2012: 5. Odds and Elves
Talents and skills: sailing
Late in the Second Age
And my spirit is crying for leaving.
Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven
It's a rare day when the ocean is this quiet, its glassy surface almost as smooth and still as a mirror.
I walk up to the line of the tide, and wiggle my toes in the sand, enjoying the feeling of the sluggish waters washing over my feet. We dwelt near Nenuial at the beginning of this Age of the World, and it has been that long since I saw a body of water even that large. Yet compared to Belegaer, any lake is a mere puddle.
I remember – I cannot help remembering – sitting on the quai at Alqualondë, the foam-topped waves gleaming softly in the harbour's lights. I remember going sailing with my Telerin kin, and the smell – and the taste! – of fish frying over an open fire on the beach after.
Resolutely, I turn my back on the sea, and walk back towards the green hills, the gentle smell of rain on the dusty earth a balm to the heart.
Of the sea: waves
Smells: pine trees
Horror: wraiths, wights and ghosts
Since the first time he saw the shore, and breathed the sea air in the dark under the stars, he has hardly ever been away from the sea and the soft murmur of the waves. Some may love the sharp scent of the tall pines of long-ago Dorthonion, or the homely smell of fresh-cut grass, but he has lost his heart to the salt tang of the sea.
Now though, the restless waters stink of the death of Elenna-nórë and all on it. Great waves bring witness of it, and he hears the ghosts of Númenor in the whispering sea.
Talents and Skills: Rope-making
Even in the gloomy tension of the day that the Fellowship left, Galadriel smiled when she heard of Samwise's enthusiastic reaction to the rope that had been put in the Fellowship's boats. He too is a jewel among hobbits, as much as Frodo. May our hopes come to fruition, little gardener, and may you have your chance to learn what the Elves can teach you of rope-craft. Creating anything of beauty is worthy, and there is as much worth in these simple skills as there is in bright jewels or seeing-stones, or any of the crafts of the proud Noldor.
Talents and skills: gardening
After the meeting with Fangorn, Galadriel was in a pensive mood. The Sindar are like the Ents, for they do not seek mastery, and love wandering and the freedom of wild things. The Noldor are like the Entwives, desiring ordered gardens arranged to their own wishes.
Despite their differences, the Ents believe they and the Entwives will meet again – she glanced at her own Silver Tree, dreading their impending parting. One day he too would have enough of the wild, and join her again. Or will he? She hoped she would not have to wait as long as the Ents.
Languages - Dunlending
"Perhaps you know this, Grandfather," Elladan said as he and Merry approached Celeborn.
"What about Dunlendish?" Merry asked immediately. "Elladan has been helping me with my book about Rohan, and I know about many words in the Shire and in Rohirric being the same because both our people come from Rhovanion, and about Westron coming from Adûnaic. But Dunlendish isn't like any of them, except for a few loanwords. So where does it come from? Is it related to the languages of the Easterlings?"
Celeborn pursed his lips and steepled his fingers, collecting his thoughts. Merry was becoming quite the scholar, and he was used to Merry's visits to Imladris turning into a constant barrage of questions, but he was scarcely an expert on Mannish languages. He did know the answer though, he realised, and either Elladan or Elrohir should have remembered it as well.
"No," he finally answered, "Dunlendish isn't an Easterling language. You know about the three peoples of the Edain?"
Merry started to shake his head, but suddenly said, "Oh wait, of course. The House of Bëor, the House of Hador, and the House of Haleth!"
"True," Celeborn said. "When they travelled to Beleriand, many people stayed behind. Many of the people of Hador's house stayed in Rhovanion, and they are the ancestors of the Rohirrim." Merry nodded as Celeborn paused. "But there were also many of Haleth's people who didn't cross into Beleriand, and through all the years that lie between, the Dunlendings and their language descend from them."
Talents and Skills: Baking
Relationship: Interracial marriage
Also used for the March Nuzgûl of the Month ("Death: Write a story where Arwen discusses the thought of dying with one other person")
Excited, Arwen walked towards the rooms within the King's House where her brothers were staying. They had arrived the night before, and she had not yet seen them.
"It's been too long," Elladan said as he opened the door to her knock. "We've missed you."
"No need to ask whether you're happy," Elrohir added, "You look well, sister."
She smiled and without thinking moved one hand to her abdomen as she closed the small distance between her and her brothers to embrace them. Elrohir, noticing the movement, looked her over appraisingly and repeated with a smile, "You look well, sister."
Not long after, they were walking in a garden between the Citadel's wall and the King's House. It was early; the only sound came from the pebbled path softly crunching underfoot.
From somewhere in the city, Arwen smelled freshly baked bread. Somehow it brought to mind the time Bilbo had come to the kitchens in Imladris to investigate the smell of bread baking in the afternoon. When he found her and the other Yavannildi making lembas, he was most interested in all that she told him; he had undoubtedly dedicated a chapter in one of his books to the subject.
"What is it?" Elladan asked when he realised she was lost in thought.
"I suddenly thought of Bilbo," she said. "I wonder if he still lives. He was old even when he sailed."
"If he does, he is probably pestering all our kin for details of the First Age as we speak," Elladan replied.
Arwen's reply was a wistful smile, evoking a sharp look from Elladan as he stopped to face her. She met his gaze without hesitation to answer his unspoken question. Grudgingly, she admitted to herself that she might be less certain when the debt finally came due.
Now that she was with child, there was an immediacy, a reality, to the idea of her own death that there had never been before, not even after Choosing. She could never regret loving Estel, and she hoped that when death came to them, she would be able to face it without fear.
Hard as it was to keep her glance steady, there was naught that she could say to her brothers on this. She had Chosen one path and they the other.
Finally, Elladan lowered his gaze and sighed.
"Have you named him yet?" he asked.
"Eldarion," she answered.
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