32. Coming and Going
I came awake only gradually. For a dizzying moment of disorientation I did not know where I was. I simply sat in the bed and stared at my surroundings: a small room with stone walls hung with tapestries, a red carpet on a flag stone floor, a wardrobe and a chest with an ewer and a washing bowl of white porcelain on top of it, a faintly medieval looking chair and in the thick wall a window with greenish glass set in small, round bull's eye panes and a window seat with a cushion in a deep red colour.
A castle. I was in a castle.
I swung my feet off the bed, tried to stand and collapsed back on the bed immediately, groaning with pain.
My legs hurt.
My bottom hurt!
It felt almost unbearable to stand or walk.
Then I noticed that my backpack had been placed in the corner next to the wardrobe.
Athelas! The jar Éowyn had given me as a farewell-gift. It was in my backpack!
I gulped. I had to walk to my backpack. Gathering my courage I tried to stand again. I managed to remain upright, although my knees did not only feel like jelly, they also seemed to do a little jig that made it really difficult to stay upright.
Drawing a deep breath I stumbled-hurried over to my backpack, picked it up and ran-fell back to the bed, where I collapsed groaning. Do you know how it feels when your muscles are so sore that every movement hurts and you feel so weird that all you can do is groan and giggle, because you cannot really control your body anymore?
That's how I felt just then.
For some time I just lay on the bed and gasped and moaned.
Then I pried my backpack open and rummaged around for the precious jar.
There it was!
It was a different mixture from the one Aragorn used and there was pepper in it, too, and some other herbs. But when I slathered it on my aching legs and buttocks, the pain vanished. Not immediately, but blissfully soon.
When I was able to take in my surroundings once more, I grew aware of a muted roar outside my window. It sounded like hundreds of people running around and screaming like mad.
I hobbled over to the window and opened it. Kneeling on the cushion of the window seat, I leaned on the sill and looked outside. I was somewhere in the second or third floor. From my room I had an excellent view of the castle, its courtyard, the town in the second ring of battlements, and the barracks and stables in the outlying ring of walls.
Although it was way after dawn there was no sun and the light was grey with gloomy shadows. The eastern sky was blacker than the darkest night. A day without a dawn. Fear swept through me. Apprehension ran down my spine like an ice-cube sliding down on my naked skin, raising goose bumps on my arms and on my back.
I shuddered and quickly turned my eyes away from the dark sky and looked down.
I felt as if I was looking down at an anthill.
Everywhere there was movement. Hundreds, no, thousands of people were milling around in the courtyards and the streets. In the outer ring of walls I could see many tall horses that were being led out of the stables to be groomed and saddled, but there were also many big dogs chained to the walls, and at the back of the outer yard there were a number of wagons that were being laden with supplies and provisions. In the second ring there were indeed masses of people running around between the houses and on the squares, apparently milling around aimlessly and shouting and screaming for no reason at all. They were mainly tall men wearing armour and bearing arms, but there were also women and children adding their shrill voices to the general clamour.
In the courtyard of the castle things were slightly calmer. As far as I could see, it was here that everyone had to come to collect their weapons and armour. Here and there knots of people had formed around men trying out their weapons. The metallic clanging of swords clashing against each other now and again rose up above the general din. There were several large stands with heaps of implements I could not discern at this distance, but at the foremost stall a young man with red hair raised a sword to the sky and the fiery light of the many torches that were still lit around the courtyard made the blade shine in a reddish-silver gleam.
My heart started pounding.
I realized finally what it was that I was looking at.
I was looking at an army getting ready for war. Getting ready for death.
I had once watched American soldiers marching through Erlangen getting ready to be transported to Iraq, when Kuwait had been attacked. I had been on my way to school and we had had to stop and wait for the tanks to pass us by. It had been an eerily quiet, sombre scene. The only sound had been the tanks rumbling on the streets. Between the tanks some soldiers had walked along, men and women, their faces serious and composed. I remembered this scene, because I had thought, so this is what it looks like going to war.
Now I was looking at a completely different scene.
Different noisy, confusing, violent.
And yet the same: they were going to war and many of them would not return.
My stomach cramped. I knew the battle they would see. I knew the superior strength of the enemy they would face. Most of them would not return.
In that instance I understood Éowyn for the first time. Suddenly I felt like a coward to remain behind when all of these men went forth to fight against that evil enemy that wanted to destroy our lives and our lands. I wanted to go to Minas Tirith, too, and fight! Every man was needed. Then surely every able-bodied woman was needed, too!
But I knew it wasn't so. Women who knew how to fight were needed. Women like Éowyn were needed. Even if her brother and her uncle did not like that idea.
But women like me?
I sighed. I barely knew how to defend my life. I would only be a certain casualty. I knew almost nothing about first-aid. So I could not even help as a… what would the Red-Cross-personnel be called here? Healers? I also did not remember the strategic details of the battles from the stories. I sighed and clenched my teeth. I had to admit to myself that there was really nothing I could do at Minas Tirith. But Éowyn would be there, I thought. She would fight bravely. Brave enough for all the women of Middle-earth. This knowledge comforted me, but not much. This was my home now, too, and I realized that I loved it with all my heart. I wanted so much to help defend it in these last, deciding battles.
Then I remembered last night.
Prince Imrahil had said that he wanted to talk to me again in the morning. So what was I doing here, dreaming away at the window?
I closed the window again. Groaning once more, I slid down from the window seat and slowly made my way to the washing bowl. There was a blue linen towel and a piece of soap that smelled of lily of the valley. I washed and brushed my teeth quickly. I really would have to think about finding something I could use as toothpaste, if I wanted to keep my teeth.
Then I dressed in faded blue jeans, a grey silk shirt from Imladris, a blue tunic from Edoras and the leather slippers I had bought in Caras Galadhon. I tied my hair in a ponytail with a bit of blue ribbon and hoped that it would hold. My hair had grown quite a bit and it was so tangled and wind blown that I was afraid I would never get it smooth again.
There was no mirror, but I saw a wavering reflection of me in the windowpanes.
I looked thinner than I remembered. The jeans certainly were much wider than when I had walked towards Bree six months ago. I guess I could count myself lucky that the societies of Middle-earth did not share the traditions of earth as far as female attire was concerned. Although it was more common for women to wear skirts and robes, it was not unusual for women to wear tights or trousers, if a long tunic was worn over them. This was a style that I found quite appealing. It flattered my figure, too.
I grimaced. I realized that I was stalling. Get going, Lothíriel, I thought. After all, the Prince was very nice last night. Why should he be any different this morning?
I opened the door and went outside.
I found myself in a stone corridor that was almost brightly lit by twin candle sconces set at regular intervals at both sides of the corridor. On the floor was a blue carpet and at the walls dark oil colours were hung. A real, live, wealthy castle. I raised my eyebrows. Cool.
I had no idea where to go. Probably to the right. The entrance to the castle was to the right hand side. I walked down the corridor. It turned out to be the correct decision. After about thirty feet the corridor opened on a wide staircase.
I slowly made my way downstairs, groaning and moaning now and then. After I had descended two flights of stairs, I found myself on a landing that I recalled from the previous night. Those large doors with their brass doorknobs led to the great hall.
But where should I go now?
Although there was this enormous hubbub outside, inside the castle everything was quiet, and I had not seen anyone at all. I stood on the landing, feeling a bit lost and nervous.
Should I simply try the great hall? But I did not want to disturb any important meeting…
Should I have stayed in my room? Well, it was too late for that.
Opposite of the Great Hall a wide corridor with a number of doors on either side led away into the interior of the castle. Suddenly I heard the sound of a door being opened at the end of the corridor. My heart sped up, but then I almost sighed with relief. It was the young man from the night before, the servant called Gawin. Though now that I saw him in daylight, I thought that he was probably the Prince's squire and not a simple servant. Gawin saw me and immediately hurried towards me.
"Lady Lothíriel! I never expected you to be up so early after that long ride!"
Gawin was probably around seventeen years old. He was so handsome that he was almost pretty; his face was still soft and innocent with youth. His hair was a mob of golden curls and he had very blue eyes, the colour of forget-me-nots.
I smiled at him. "I guess I am so used to getting up early that I can't sleep in anymore."
Gawin returned the smile, but then he became all business like. "Would you like some breakfast? And my Lord Prince wants to talk with you again as soon as you are ready."
"Breakfast would be lovely, thank you. And do you have some clean bandages for me?"
I indicated the dirty strips of linen around my wrists.
Gawin paled slightly. "Of course, my lady. I will call the Prince's healer at once. If you will follow me? The room where the ladies take breakfast is just over here."
I followed him.
"The ladies?" I asked, curious about which noble ladies might be in a castle where an army was mustered. The Prince's daughter? The other Lothíriel?
"Oh, the noble ladies of the Prince's family. But in times like this, there is no lady here now except Lady Elaine, the healer of Tarnost. She rises way before dawn however, so you will have to take your breakfast alone. But if you wish it, I can keep you company." From the sound of his voice I knew that he really had too much to do to sit with a strange lady eating her breakfast.
"No, no there's no need for that. I am well able to eat on my own," I joked and was rewarded with a quick grin on Gawin's part. He opened the door and bowed me into a room that was held in pale green colours. Definitely a ladies' room. There was a long elegant table and pretty chairs covered in brocades of the same pale green colour as the walls. The drapes at the windows were done in a deep forest green.
"Please, have a seat, my lady," Gawin said. "I will have breakfast brought to you and then I will send for the Lady Elaine to care for your wounds."
He bowed again and softly closed the door behind me. I did not sit down at once but instead wandered around the room. The windows were actually French doors opening into a small courtyard with a square of lawn and a small fountain. In the walls on either side of the room, close to the windows, doors led to the neighbouring rooms. The walls of the other three sides of the small courtyard also sported large French doors set with clear glass. Probably the Prince's private rooms, I thought. Window glass and especially clear window glass was difficult to produce with medieval methods and very expensive. Therefore only the richest had glass windows at all and only the very richest could afford large, clear windows.
I turned back to the room. Apart from the long table and its twelve chairs there was not much furniture in the room. There were four pedestals with potted green plants and a fireplace lined with white marble. On the wall opposite of the fireplace was a large oil painting with a garden scene. It was vaguely impressionist.
I sat down on one of the chairs and stared at the painting. The way the painting was done made me wonder about human society in Middle-earth. As far as I could tell, the societies of men had a more or less medieval level of culture and technology. There were no industries of any kind; there was no electricity, no steam engines. The weapons were swords, bows, crossbows, daggers, scythes, scimitars, spears and the like. There seemed to be no explosives of any kind used by men in warfare. But there were explosives. Gandalf's fireworks, for example, which had been described to me in detail by Sam. And Gimli had told me how the dwarves used explosives in their mines.
Society… the structures of society were more rigid than on earth. Or were they? I was not really sure. Aragorn had not objected to the fact that Éowyn had wanted to fight. He had, as far as I had gathered from Éowyn, only believed that her appointed task as stewardess of Rohan was more important than fighting with a sword.
Boromir… he had not been used to a woman like me, speaking her mind and, well, using her brain… he had been intrigued by that… But perhaps that was only because of his father's personality… if Denethor was at all like the books or the movies…
I arrived at the conclusion that I did not really know anything about human culture in Middle-earth. I sighed. And when could I have come to know anything about it, either? After all, I had spent most of my time in Middle-earth on the road.
I turned back to the painting. The sweet colours of the painting and the advanced sense of perception it portrayed reassured me. However medieval the peoples of Middle-earth might be, their culture was not crude. I suddenly comprehended why I had been thinking along these lines. I was trying to imagine how I would live when the war of the ring was over.
When the war of the ring was over…
The war would be over. Soon. And if the stories were true, my friends would survive it. I would see them again! In happiness and peace! And then I could make my life here… somewhere… But it was difficult to wrap my mind around that concept. To really live here. In peace. And forever!
How would that be?
I just could not imagine how it would be.
But it would be. It would be!
I would just have to wait and see.
There was a knock on the door and a young girl in a white apron, her hair covered by a pale blue coif, entered the room bearing a tray.
"My lady," the girl said in a high clear voice. "Your breakfast. And the Lady Elaine will be here in a few minutes to look at your wounds."
The girl put the tray before me and curtsied, bright brown eyes looking at me full of curiosity from beneath dark lashes.
"Thank you," I said, still feeling slightly uncomfortable at being waited upon. The girl bobbed and was gone.
I looked at the tray. A hobbit would not be happy with this morning meal. But for me it was more than enough. There was a glass of orange juice, reminding me that I had come far to the south. A plate with a thick omelette sprinkled lightly with freshly cut herbs. Brown bread, butter, a small bowl of golden honey. A cup of a steaming brown liquid. Coffee? I snatched up the cup and sniffed hopefully. No. It wasn't coffee. But it wasn't tea, either. I sipped at it. Coffee? Cocoa? Something with caffeine in it, anyway. It tasted like a mixture of coffee and cocoa. Klah imported from Pern? I grinned. I would be the last person to try and argue with anyone who told me that he or she came from another world.
After all, I was in another world!
I was the living and breathing proof of the theory of parallel universes! And the relativity of time, as well, I mused. This brought my thoughts back to Tolkien. While I was busily eating my breakfast – lovely omelette – I pondered the matter of Tolkien. How could he have known so much? How could he have been so wrong in some details? Why had he come to my world and written and published the story there? Who the hell was he?
He had to come from Middle-earth originally. Of that much I was sure. And he had to have witnessed the quest of the fellowship and the war of the ring. He had come to my world after the war was over and he had to have gone back in time coming to my world, because obviously the war of the rings had not yet taken place in Middle-earth when the books had been published in my world. He had to know the elves well because of the myths and elvish history published in the Silmarillion and all those other books. Who could he possibly be? And why had he done this?
I looked at my plate and was slightly astonished. The riddle of Tolkien might pose more questions than answers, but my breakfast was finished.
As if on cue, the door opened again. Again it was a woman who entered the room. But a very different kind of woman. Lady Elaine was tall and regal. She had black hair tied into a tight bun at the nape of her neck. Her eyes were grey and calm with the promise of a fierce sparkle. She was dressed in dark robes and a white apron spotted with streaks of dirt and dried blood.
I swallowed hard. A healer.
"Good morning," Elaine said. Her voice was dark and soothing. An asset for a healer, I thought. It put me at ease, too. I rose from my chair and bowed to her. Never curtsy in trousers, Éowyn had told me. I had decided never to wear skirts. I can't curtsy.
"You have to be Lady Lothíriel, the brave messenger from Gandalf the wizard."
"Yes, my name is Lothíriel. But I am not really brave," I said, extending my hand to her, completely forgetting that I had only seen men shake hands in Middle-earth.
But she took my hand and shook it in a relaxed and friendly manner.
"My name is Elaine. I am the niece of Prince Imrahil and in charge of the healers of the army of Belfalas. I am told that you suffer from wounds you received fighting against orcs?"
She put a leather bag that obviously contained the instruments of her trade on the table.
"It's not so bad, really. My wrists and ankles were cut by ropes tying me up. The wounds were stitched and treated at Edoras, but I think they opened again at least partly on that ride. And the bandages are pretty dirty," I explained, extending my arms to Elaine.
She nodded. "Yes, I can see that. I will remove the bandages and have a look. Why don't you sit down again, get comfortable? It won't hurt." She noticed my raised eyebrows. Removing bandages stuck to wounds did hurt. I knew that by now.
She smiled. "It won't hurt much. I promise."
She swiftly removed the bandage around my right wrist. I yelped only once. It was not as bad as I expected. It had not bled very much, but it still looked pretty bad, crusted with blood and bruised. Well, the other assorted bruises and gashes on my body were by no means healed either, though the bruises were changing their colours and fading slowly.
Looking at my wrists one thing however was clear. I could kiss goodbye any hope of getting away without pretty ugly scars.
Elaine cleaned my wrist with a stinging red lotion. Then she lathered a fragrant salve on the wounds and bandaged them again. The other wrist was not quite as bad.
The ankles, however, were far worse than the hands. Although they had been protected by my shoes, the shoes and stirrups had rubbed against the inside of the ankles and reopened the wounds there, tearing open some of the stitches.
"I have to redo some of those stitches," Elaine told me. "That can't be done in here. Will you please come with me? It's not far to my office."
I nodded, but did not say anything. Looking at my torn and bleeding ankles dark memories of huge, ugly shapes moving towards me had returned to my mind, vivid and terrible even in daylight and so far away from Amon Hen.
Lady Elaine led me into the lower part of the castle. Her office was on the ground level, close to the kitchens with their supplies of hot water and herbs. The main room of the infirmary was very much like any doctor's office on earth. Lots of shelves with books and jars and instruments, and in the middle of the room there was a stretcher for patients to lie down on for treatment.
I lay down there and wistfully thought of modern anaesthetics.
"Now, don't worry, it won't be really painful," Elaine said soothingly.
I must admit I did not believe her. "Really painful" is open to interpretation.
It was… pretty painful.
She had a young man come in as an assistant to hold my legs.
It was necessary, too. The pain was too strong for me to keep from twitching.
She first removed the thread of the torn stitches.
Then she cleaned the wounds thoroughly with a stinging solution.
Next, she threaded a rounded surgical needle with a thread and set to work redoing the stitches.
No anaesthetics, no surgical gloves, no sterile nothing.
And it hurt. It hurt a lot.
But she worked expertly and fast.
When she was finished, she cleaned the wounds again. At last she applied some more salve to my ankles and bandaged them carefully.
Then she helped me sit up and made me drink a cup of tea, which tasted of bitter herbs and honey. Painkiller. Willow bark? I knew that there was acetylsalicylic acid in willow bark and that modern aspirin had first been distilled from willow bark. But whatever it was, it tasted gross.
"There, see, it wasn't too bad. But you should not do any hard riding or walking for a few weeks yet. The wounds are clean and have not become inflamed. We want to keep it that way, don't we?" Elaine told me.
I only nodded weakly.
"I think my uncle would like to see you now. Do you feel up to it or should I tell him that you have to lie down for an hour or two before any serious discussion of the matters at hand?"
"No," I said. The muscles of my jaws hurt from gritting my teeth so hard against the pain.
"I am quite alright now."
I hope. But I did not say that out loud. I was young, I was healthy and both Éowyn and Elaine were obviously accomplished healers. And there were only four deep wounds, after all. And none of them were life-threatening in any way.
"Very well," Elaine said. "Gawin will lead you to my uncle."
She disappeared and returned only a moment later in the company of the young squire.
I got to my feet, wincing more than just slightly and followed Gawin out of the infirmary, my gait wobbly and awkward. In the door I turned and looked back. Elaine was already busy again, packing jars and bottles into small wooden chests, preparing for war in the way healers do.
"Thank you, my lady," I said. Elaine raised her head and smiled at me. "You're welcome. I hope we will meet again, some day."
I nodded, at a loss for words. In a field hospital, Elaine would be in considerable danger even if she did not fight. There was no Geneva Convention in Middle-earth, no Haager Landkriegsordnung, no rules about dealing with non-combatants.
I followed Gawin slowly back to the Great Hall. He knocked, and again was answered by the deep voice of the Prince: "Come in!"
Prince Imrahil was not alone this time. Three officers clad in silver mail were with him, one dark haired, the others grey, all of them tall and powerfully built. Prince Imrahil wore armour, too; his sword was at his belt. Of the many maps and pieces of parchment that had littered the long table last night only a map of Gondor and Mordor remained, tacked to the table. The large grey dogs were still there, but now they were sitting next to the table, their height so great that their heads were actually above the table. They looked alert, but calm, and did only turn their heads when we entered.
"The Lady Lothíriel, my Lord Prince," Gawin said and bowed. I bowed, too.
"Thank you, Gawin. I think you can get my horses ready now and please, take the dogs with you."
"Very well, my lord." Gawin bowed. Then he gave a bright whistle and the dogs followed him out of the room at once.
Prince Imrahil beckoned me forwards.
"Lord Lorin." That was the dark haired man. He bowed to me and smiled in an easy manner. "Lord Dorlas and Lord Pinnar." Both of them bowed to me, but their demeanour was grim.
"Lady Lothíriel has carried the message from Gandalf the wizard to us with the summons to Minas Tirith. We have to thank her that now there is still a chance to defend Gondor against the shadow of the Black Land." He looked at me and his eyes were grave. "If Minas Tirith falls, the defeat of Gondor will only be a matter of time. Then only Rohan will stand against the black hordes. And Rohan is in no way as heavily defended as Gondor."
"And all their warriors ride for Minas Tirith as we speak, under the command of Théoden King," I added.
"Really? Then he has recovered? I thought that old age had inevitably darkened his mind!" Imrahil said, looking at me in astonishment.
"It was not old age," I said. "It was the traitor, Saruman, and his evil spells. But Gandalf cured Théoden and imprisoned Saruman and took away his power."
"Then there is really hope yet," Lord Lorin called out. "When the allies of old stand together, not all is lost."
"No," I said. "Not all is lost. There is still hope that Sauron may be defeated."
I knew I could not tell them about the ring, but I tried to sound convinced and hopeful with the news I could give them.
"The men of Belfalas will do everything in their power to defeat the enemy, or at least defend our people and our country and all the free folk of Middle-earth," Prince Imrahil told me. "Our armies will leave today. We will be in Minas Tirith on time."
Then Prince Imrahil turned to his officers. "I think we have talked about everything."
The men nodded agreement. "When will you be ready to go?"
Lord Dorlas shrugged. "Two or three hours, maybe, my lord."
"Make that two," Lord Imrahil ordered.
"Very well, my lord." The three men bowed, and left the room.
For a long moment Lord Imrahil was silent. His eyes had darkened as if there was something he had to decide on that was very difficult for him. At last he sighed and turned to me.
"I know I should not ask this of you, especially as you are still wounded and in pain. And I would, of course, understand it if you say that you cannot…"
"My Lord," I interrupted. "If there is anything I can do to help, if there is anything in my power to aid the fight against the enemy, I will do it."
The tall man looked at me and smiled. His smile was unexpectedly warm like the sun in the midst of thunder. "You are a truly valiant lady!"
I shook my head. I was not valiant. I was not even really brave. I was scared out of my wits. But knowing Aragorn, Éowyn, Éomer, Gimli, Legolas and the others – in the face of courage such as theirs, what was there left to do, but do what I can and be as brave as I knew how to be?
"What is it that you would have me do, my lord?" I asked.
Suddenly Prince Imrahil looked tired and much older than he had first appeared to be.
"There is no time and no man to send with a message to my family at Dol Amroth. My wife and my younger children still hope that I will return to them. They still hope that it won't come to the worst, a battle for the sake of all free folk of Middle-earth. I promised to return before going to war, to say goodbye. Now I have to break this promise I made to the ones that I love. Therefore I would ask you if you could be my messenger in this. Would you take a letter to my wife and my children? I want them to know what happened and that I did not forget them. I feel that I will need their blessing soon… and should I die… I do not want to go without having said goodbye, without having told them as best I can how much I love and cherish them."
He paused and inhaled deeply. Then he continued briskly, "You would be safe in Dol Amroth, too, or as safe as you can be anywhere in Gondor these days. I would bid you to stay there and dwell with my family until the war is over or…"
"Don't speak of 'or', my lord," I objected. "I will take any message that you give me and carry it wherever you want me to. The war will be over soon, and there will be peace and happiness everywhere."
He smiled at me. "Let us hope this will be true."
He reached into his tunic and produced a fat envelope of yellow parchment.
"This is my letter. We will leave today. Only a few women and old men will remain here. Stay until you feel well enough for the journey and then ride south along the coast to Dol Amroth."
He motioned for me to take a look at the map and traced his fingers from the clearly marked keep of Tarnost to a road leading along the river to the coast, to Edhellond and along the coast to Dol Amroth.
"It should be quite safe," he said. "The war will stay in the east for some time yet, no matter how ill the fortunes fall."
The route did not seem difficult or long. I nodded and accepted the envelope. It was still warm from the body heat of the Prince. The seal was blue wax and stamped with the design of ship and swan.
"I will carry your letter safely to your family. I think I will be well enough to ride again tomorrow or at the latest on the day after that. Your family shall have your letter before you are in Minas Tirith, my lord," I promised.
The distance on the map seemed to indicate a three day's ride or so from Tarnost to Dol Amroth. Mithril would manage that easily. I would, too. It would be a lark after the awesome race from the Stone of Erech to Tarnost.
"Thank you, my lady. I will be indebted to you for all of my life!" Prince Imrahil said. Then he took my hand and dropped an air kiss on it.
I felt heat suffuse my cheeks. I would only carry a letter. There was really nothing to it. Or not much anyway.
"Now I am afraid you have to excuse me. We will leave in two hours. Hopefully," Prince Imrahil said, cocking his head and listening to the subsiding din in the courtyard outside.
"There are still about a hundred things to be done."
I nodded again. Then I extended my hand, again forgetting that in Middle-earth it was usually only men that shook hands in greeting or farewell. But Prince Imrahil took my hand without hesitation and gripped it tightly. His hand was warm and strong, callused from fighting with sword and spear and holding reins. I smiled at the Prince.
"Take care, my Lord. May…" How could I express what I wanted to say without sounding utterly ridiculous?
"May all your ways be blessed… that you return home well and victorious."
That sounded quite pompous, but what else could I say? 'I hope you squash a thousand orcs into mush' was not really all that lady-like.
"Thank you, Lady Lothíriel. Blessings on your journey, too." He bowed to me.
I sighed and turned to the door.
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.