3. An Unexpected Guide
“Lady Rowena Eararma?”
She bowed slightly and put her hand over her heart. “At your service Nimandir [White Pilgrim]. Why do you hurry so? I’m not in any danger out here.”
“Fear for your safety didn’t cause me to quicken my pace dear child; it was my delight to meet you. The guards of the Gate noticed your fire last night and sent for King Elessar thinking you were a band of Orc set on destroying the city. Once Elessar calmed them down explaining to them who you were, he almost came out to greet you then, but I stopped him.”
“That was well thought of you Nimandir. The wilds are no place for a man of his stature.”
Gandalf smiled. “It would benefit you not to speak that in his presence. Yes, he may be a king, but he was a Ranger long before that title came to him. He knows his way around Middle Earth my young elf-maiden. Do not be troubled for the safety of your king.”
“With your guidance on the subject, I will no longer be troubled about many things. Please tell me, are you to help Queen Arwen and King Elessar? Or is there another reason why you came so quickly to meet me?”
“You may have more guidance than you will know what to do with. Yes, my part in this is to be your tutor in the far past history of your people. Queen Arwen is more than qualified to teach you about the rest, but I am to tell you about things that happened long before Middle Earth was blessed with the Evenstar. King Elessar has decided to teach you how to use the long sword and he has called upon Legolas Greenleaf of Eryn Lasgalen to teach you the ways of the bow and short sword. You are a very lucky elf, young Rowena.”
“I do believe so Nimandir, I do believe so.” Rowena mounted her horse and came along side Gandalf. “I don’t believe that I should keep Queen Arwen and King Elessar waiting any longer. May we please make our way to Minas Tirith? It would make my heart heavy to cause either of them grief at my tardiness.”
“As you wish Lady Rowena. I’m sure the both of them would be pleased at your presence in the Citadel. You are a special child and I know you will brighten the house of Elessar like the sun does a cloudy day.”
Both Rowena and Gandalf made their way back to Minas Tirith. The sun shone on the city, making it shine like a diamond set against the dark of the White Mountains. The guards of the Great Gate opened the doors wide for the Istar and the Elf-maiden. As they made their way up to the Citadel, Rowena turned to Gandalf. “Why did you call me special?”
“An elf raised in the world of men is quite unusual. An elf who knows nothing about her culture and her heritage is even more unusual. I’m surprised that you even call me Nimandir.”
“The scribes of Dol Amroth did what they could with me, but the literature of elves in the great library was quite limited. We are so far inside Gondor’s borders that the elven culture is almost unheard of. I applaud them of their effort to teach me about my people, but Prince Imrahil thought it best I travel to Minas Tirith.”
“Prince Imrahil was wise to send you. You will do well in the White City. There are many things here that will help you on your path. This may be a city of men, but Queen Arwen has given the city an elven quality.”
“I’m glad to hear that Nimandir. Tell me, what awaits me in the Citadel?”
“That is something that you will discover for yourself. Look, we have arrived.”
Indeed, a smaller gate had been opened leading into what looked like a palace/fortress with trees and flowers. On the stairs leading up to the castle stood a woman wearing a crown of the purest silver, matching the beauty of the jewel that hung about her neck. Without looking at Gandalf, Rowena spoke. “Nimandir, is she the Evenstar?”
“She is Rowena. She has never liked the formality of formal introductions. If you want her to, she’ll treat you like a sister.”
Rowena smiled. “Sister? I’m young enough to be her daughter! My heart is glad just to be in her sight, let alone be in her good graces.”
Gandalf and Rowena finally reached the stairs, Queen Arwen looking down at them. Both of them dismounted their horses, Shadowfax leading Shadow to the royal stables where the stable boys were waiting to take care of them. Rowena looked up at Arwen to see a smile on the queen’s face. It was like looking at a mother welcoming home a child who had returned from a long journey. Rowena approached Arwen with the honor due a person of her stature. “Queen Arwen, it’s an honor to finally meet you.”
“Please, dear Eararma, don’t bother with titles. Come here.” Arwen pulled Rowena into a hug like sisters would share. When they finished, Arwen looked behind Rowena to see Gandalf. “Thank you for bringing her safely to us Gandalf. Aragorn will be so pleased.”
“The pleasure was all mine Undomiel. If it suits you, I am going to retire to the library. There is much to prepare for.”
“Yes, do all that you think is necessary.” Gandalf left the two elf-maidens on the stair and entered the castle. Arwen turned back to Rowena. “You must be famished. Aragorn and I were having our breakfast when you arrived. Would you care to join us?”
“I wouldn’t want to impose on your morning with your husband.”
“Please Rowena, I insist. Aragorn is almost near his breaking point with excitement. Ever since Imrahil asked for our assistance he has done nothing but talk about you. I’ve never seen him this excited about anything before.”
“Well then, I accept. I wouldn’t want King Elessar to wait any longer than necessary.”
Arwen led Rowena inside the castle and up several flights of stairs, passing many elaborately lush gardens and decorated rooms in the process. They finally arrived in the royal chambers to see Aragorn sitting on the balcony, overlooking the city, while drinking a cup of tea. When he turned to look at the two maidens, a wide smile began to grow on his face. He came over to Arwen and kissed her lightly on the cheek. He then turned to Rowena. “So this is the elf-maiden of Dol Amroth! The letters I received from your guardian hardly do you justice. It is a pleasure to finally meet you Lady Rowena.”
“The pleasure is all mine, King Elessar,” Rowena said as she nearly kneeled before Aragorn. “I have been looking forward to this moment for quite a while. It is an honor to be welcomed into the house of Telecontar.”
“Please, don’t treat me as something to be put on a pedestal. I may be king, but I’m also a human being.” Aragorn started to smile. “So no more titles out of your mouth from now on. Either Elessar or Aragorn will suffice.”
“I will remember that. I agree; titles can be so cumbersome. Sometimes I would become ill at the thought of the servants calling me Lady Rowena all the time.”
Aragorn motioned for Rowena and Arwen to join him at the table he was sitting at before they entered. “A home is not a place for titles. Titles should be reserved for visiting dignitaries and matters of state. From now on, I will just call you Rowena.”
“What a wonderful thought. Thank you.”
The rest of the morning meal consisted of Rowena telling Arwen and Aragorn about her journey from Dol Amroth to Minas Tirith. She told them of her journey over the mountains of Dor-en-ernil and her following of the river Gilrain to the region of Lossarnach. She went on how she spent many days in silence taking in the beauty of Gondor until she reached the shores of the Anduin. Following the river, she finally arrived on the outskirts of the city where Gandalf found her.
When Rowena finished her tale, Aragorn could hardly contain his laughter. “You certainly took the long way from Dol Amroth to the White City. There are easier routes than the one you decided to take.”
Rowena laughed along with Aragorn. “That I am most sure of Aragorn, but it was the one with the most landmarks to follow. I may be an elf, but my tracking skills are lacking. I get lost in the forests so easily; whenever I would go with Imrahil outside the city walls there was always someone with me. I was amazed I even found the Anduin, I probably would have crossed it and found myself in Mordor if I had not known better.”
Now even Arwen joined in the laughter. When the laughter subsided, Aragorn spoke. “You are correct in the knowledge that tracking takes practice. I will ask Legolas to help you with that when he arrives from Eryn Lasgalen. He was able to see a band of Uruk-Hai when Gimli and I could only see stone among the landscape of Rohan. I have always been in awe of his abilities…” Aragorn trailed off as he thought about the journey of the Three Hunters. “Very keen eyes,” he finally finished.
Rowena’s eyes widened at the name of the Woodland Prince. “When is he due to arrive?”
“Within the week, if his journey is problem free,” Aragorn replied. “But if I know Legolas, we will probably see him in the dining hall tomorrow night.”
Rowena smiled. Arwen noticed the subtle movement and turned to Rowena. “Do you find anything amusing about our woodland brother?”
“Not amusing, admirable. That’s what I love about our kind Arwen, our sense of devotion to the people we care for. In my time around men, I’ve seen a myriad of different emotions, both out of love and hate. Sometimes I don’t understand why men behave the way they do, but it’s comforting to know that elves have more serene natures than those of men.” Rowena realized what she had spoken and turned to Aragorn. “I meant no disrespect Elessar.”
“No offense taken dear Rowena. I know the shortcomings of my people; it’s what makes us unique. I also know that the elves have different ways of expressing their feelings. I’ve learned to accept the differences and actually enjoy them.”
Rowena let out the breath she had been holding back. “I’m glad I didn’t anger you. Sometimes I find it hard to understand that my words actually can anger ones who don’t understand the inherent honesty of my kind.”
Aragorn gave her a reassuring look. “Do not let your heart be troubled. You are still young and have much to learn. With the direction of Gandalf, Legolas, Arwen, and myself, I am positive that you will be able to turn what you see as shortcomings into strengths to be proud of.”
“I hope so Elessar.”
Rowena excused herself from the table, but before leaving she asked where her room was. “Down the hall and to the left,” Arwen replied. “The crest of Dol Amroth will be on the door. It should not be hard for you to find, even with your tracking skills.”
Rowena’s sullen look was replaced with a smile, brought forth with Arwen’s comforting words. Even in jest, Arwen was still a delight. “Thank you Arwen, I am sure everything will be delightful.” Rowena left Arwen and Aragorn together on the balcony and made her way to the door that led out to the hallway.
Upon finding herself in the hallway, Rowena turned toward the left like Arwen had instructed her to and began to walk down the hallway. It didn’t take her long to find her room, the crest of Dol Amroth shining bright against the dark wood of the door. Rowena pushed the door open and found herself in the midst of flowers, greenery, and bright colors. The fragrances of the flowers were delightful and surrounded the elf-maiden like a blanket. She went over to her bed and sat down. The material that made the blanket she sat on was the softest she had ever felt. It shimmered a green darker then the deepest parts of the Belfalas forest, with the sheets a brilliant white. They were inviting and Rowena couldn’t help but take off her boots and climb into that warmth and lose herself in it. In the back of her mind, she believed that somehow either Nimandir or Arwen had bewitched her or the perfume of the flowers to make her drowsy, but she didn’t reflect on that long for soon her breathing slowed and her eyes stopped seeing the beauty around her. Instead, she began to see the things only the mind shows, Rowena began to dream…
Darkness surrounded Rowena and the beings around her. A hideous stench assaulted her nose, the smell of sulfur and smoke. She turned around to see Gandalf, clad in grey, standing firm against a monstrous beast that only could be described as inherently evil, a demon of fire and shadow.
She saw a bright light shoot from Gandalf’s staff and the demon advance toward him before the bridge they both stood on gave way, sending the demon into the darkness. Rowena breathed a sigh of relief, but quickly took it back when the demon lashed its whip, grabbing Gandalf’s ankle and sending the Istar nearly into the darkness as well. She heard a scream, a Hobbit tried to run to save Gandalf, but a man stopped the wee halfling. She saw Gandalf let go and fall into the Shadow with the demon…
The next thing Rowena experienced was the smell of fresh air. She saw four Hobbits, two men, a dwarf, and an elf racing out into the sunshine. They had stopped outside the opening they had just left. The hobbits were in tears. One of the men embraced the dwarf, who was crying as well. The other man, who she recognized as Aragorn, followed one of the hobbits. Rowena turned to look at the elf, who had a bewildered look on his face. He has never seen death, she thought to herself. Living in the world of men, she had seen many people make their way to the halls of their forefathers, but she also knew that death was a foreign thing to many elves. She made her way to the elf and stood right in front of him. She took one of his hands in her own, her other hand caressing his cheek as she looked into his clear blue eyes. Do not let your heart be troubled, brother. Your pain will be brief and will be replaced with joy. Do not fear what lies ahead, for what was once grey will be turned to white, Rowena spoke in a soothing tone.
The elf nodded in understanding before reaching for the hand that was still on his cheek. With their hands joined together, he moved toward her and lightly brushed her lips with his own. “You are wise beyond your years, and your value greater than all the Mithril in Moria. Your words are a comfort to my troubled soul and I thank you.” Again the elf kissed Rowena. “Tenna’ ento lye omenta,” [Until next we meet] the elf spoke, and amazingly Rowena understood him. She nodded. Tenna’ san’ [Until then], Rowena replied. The world around her began to fade away, taking away the elf, the dwarf, the hobbits, the man, and Aragorn…
Rowena’s eyes began to focus on the flowers, she was waking up. When she fully regained her senses, she climbed out of her bed and walked over to the balcony. She surveyed the city and looked out across the Pelennor to see a lone rider making their way to the White City, just like her. Something about the rider made her look closer, he had a bow and quiver strapped to his back, he was also clad in green. One thing made her gasp, he had clear blue eyes.
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.