54. Humbled in Love
"An angel does not stop being an angel merely because they fall from grace; their wings are not so easily taken."
– Laurell K. Hamilton (in "Incubus Dreams", orbitbooks edition, p.496)
Humbled in Love
The morning of midsummer's day dawned with silver mists rising from the Anduin, dissolving into a light blue where it was touched by the summer sun. I was back in the white villa on the sixth circle of the city with the other members of the fellowship. I was up way before dawn because of the wedding.
Why should I be up before dawn because of the wedding, you may ask. What did I have to do with the wedding, you may ask. Questions, which I was asking myself, as I sat in the living room of the white villa, sipping my tírithel and waiting for a servant to take me to the palace.
The answer to the questions mentioned above is fairly easy. I was up before dawn and waiting to go to the Royal Palace, because I was in the wedding.
Not by choice, I hasten to add. I would have been more than happy with a very unobtrusive position somewhere in the background. But alas, I had not been made aware of the fact that there had been correspondence between Minas Tirith and Rivendell about the wedding. If I had known about the arrangements that had been made, I would still be running. But alas, I had been blissfully unaware of the existence of the Middle-earth variety of messenger birds, a large species of thrushes, native to the region of Dale, and the preferred method of getting short messages of less importance from Minas Tirith to Edoras, to Rivendell, to Dol Amroth and back. And Éowyn would be running ahead of me. Well, perhaps not really, but if you are supposed to be a bridesmaid in a royal wedding, you would like to know about it a little bit sooner than twelve hours before the wedding ceremony, wouldn't you?
Anyway, what had happened had been that Arwen had decided long ago that her wedding should be a human style wedding. After all, she would become a mortal woman because of her marriage. Therefore, it should be a human style wedding. Another decision to cheer up her father no end, I'm sure. But with messages taking so long into either direction, somehow both sides had assumed everything had been taken care of regarding the queen-to-be's attendants. Of course you know what "assume" does: it makes an ass out of "u" and "me".
I think Míriël had actually wanted twelve bridesmaids and had made arrangements accordingly since there had been no objections from Rivendell on that account. Think the wedding of Princess Diana way back then and you have the general idea of a royal wedding in Gondor. Just substitute the tower hall for the cathedral and you've got it about right.
Arwen on the other hand had not wanted to take the "human style wedding" idea quite that far and had been shocked to say the least. But Míriël is a wonderful, caring woman. When she saw just how nervous Arwen was about the whole affair, Míriël had simply changed plans at short notice and reduced the number of bridesmaids to Éowyn and Lothíriel (who had not been informed about either version of the plans, because it was assumed she knew about everything anyway). The result of all that planning and changing of plans was without doubt that there were women out there that very moment who hated me from the depths of their hearts. I would honestly have preferred to be one of twelve. If it was absolutely necessary for me to be in the wedding, I would have preferred being not quite as visible. I'm still not used to moving in the exalted circles of Gondorian and Rohirric nobility, I guess.
There was one good thing about the change, though. Our dresses. As the one with the royal background, attire had to be fitted according to Éowyn's wishes, and that meant: Rohirric custom. We got to wear trousers and tunics. Yippee skippee. It was bad enough to become a royal bridesmaid over night. But being asked to wear formal dresses to the wedding of an elvish queen of divine beauty on top of that would drive even the most beautiful and self-assured mortal woman into suicide. Neither Éowyn nor I could be judged to be the most beautiful human woman in the world. There are dozens of women at court who are just as pretty as we are, and quite a number who are actually beautiful, which we are not. The Lady Míriël herself, for example. And Éowyn's much prettier than I am. Anyway, the fact that I would be allowed to dress like a shield-maiden of Rohan, too, alleviated the shock of being told that I would be one of the bridesmaids when the king of Gondor would marry his elvish queen.
However, there was still a minor problem about this arrangement: we had no gowns suitable to wear to a royal wedding dressed as shield-maidens of Rohan. I have no idea how Míriël kept calm, especially as there are no beta blockers or valium in Middle-earth. But she kept calm and businesslike and simply announced that she was sure that Lady Darla of the Golden Scissors would get the outfits done in time.
Éowyn and I had been dragged away from the welcome feast so that Lady Darla could take her measurements. Lady Darla shook her head at me for not gaining enough weight to get any of my curves back. I blamed it on Éowyn. Lady Darla told me to hush and that Éowyn had a completely different figure. She might be right there. But it was still Éowyn's fault. Éowyn had kept me exercising day and night with sword, dagger and bow in Edoras, and if she had not done that, she had done her best to chase me all over the plains on my "Mimi-horse", the admittedly disrespectful pet name that my noble Mithril had acquired in my mind.
But Lady Darla thought we would look good together, especially dressed in Rohirric uniforms. "They will look exotic, compared to the noble ladies of Gondor, perhaps rather like youths than young ladies; but as it is impossible to have a mortal woman look good next to the Lady Arwen, that's perhaps just as well."
Míriël laughed at that and thanked Darla for her honesty. Éowyn scowled at the dressmaker and muttered something about how dressmakers were apparently of limited capacity of politeness and possessed only little flair for choosing appropriate compliments. This comment in turn made Darla laugh. "Because I am not paid for politeness, my lady, but for pretty dresses," the dressmaker retorted. Then she smiled and held the softest fabric against my body. "You will be beautiful, Lady Lothíriel," she said softly. "In your own way." I did not know what to say to that.
And that's how I came to be sitting in the window seat of the white villa of the fellowship, sipping tírithel and waiting for a servant to take me to the palace, where the finished dresses – tunics – uniforms, whatever, would be waiting for me and Éowyn for the final fittings. An ominous sounding expression, isn't it? "Final fittings"…
I sat with my cup of tírithel and watched the silver mist of an early summer morning swirling up from the Anduin beyond the Rammas Echor. Now at the height of summer, the fields of Lossarnach that I could see from the windows of the white villa did not hold the lush, young green I remembered from spring anymore, but had acquired deeper colours. The ripening fruits and wilting greens of fields and orchards showed already more of the rich, brown soil again. Between green squares of corn and vegetables I could see large acres filled with blooming yellow sunflowers.
However, I was in no mood to contemplate the idyllic view. I was nervous. I was really nervous. Actually, I felt sick. And it was not even my own wedding.
Then there was a knock on the door, and a young page in the by now familiar black and white livery of the Citadel was shown inside. He bowed to me. "My lady, I am to take you to the royal palace."
"Of course," I said. "I am ready to go."
I got up and followed the boy outside. I am to take you to the royal palace…
As I hurried behind the page towards the seventh circle of Minas Tirith, I felt really strange all of a sudden. As if I was caught in a dream or a fairy tale. Outside, although it was still early in the morning, the summer sky glowed in bright ultramarine with no cloud at all. The sun was almost glaring in its brilliance, leaving the softer and cooler colours of morning swiftly behind and already there was a hint of heat in the air. Every flat surface around me seemed to blaze whitely with reflected sunlight: the walls of the houses gleamed with fresh white colour, the cleanly swept pavement with its off-white colour was only a few shades darker than the houses, and the newly whitewashed walls of the battlements shone brightly, too. Sunglasses… a kingdom for sunglasses… no, they are probably not worth a kingdom…
I wiped sweat from my forehead and heaved a relieved sigh when we reached the cool marble shadows of the Royal Palaces. Up a flight of stairs of black and white marble, and I was back in the apartment that had been taken over by Darla of the Golden Scissors for the wedding preparations.
Éowyn was already there and arguing about the colours of our outfits.
"But we don't wear grey," she was saying, "green and brown, red and gold, but not grey."
The Lady Darla looked at the recalcitrant shield-maiden with raised eyebrows. Then she smiled sweetly and said, "The Lady Arwen will wear the blue of innocence. Brown or green does not go well with blue. You will wear grey."
That was an order if ever I heard one. But I think it was not the order that kept Éowyn silent, but the thought how it was unlikely that she would be able to persuade the Lady Darla to make Éowyn's wedding gown when she annoyed the Lady now.
I for one gaped at the outfits hanging on the tailor's dummies.
They were beautiful!
They were Rohirric but had the noble flair of Gondor.
They were not dresses, but they were very feminine.
There were tight fitting silvery grey leggings, silver, bell-sleeved shirts made of silk and tunics of black, silver and white, which would end just above the knees, slit at the sides and longer at the back. There were beautiful black leather belts to go with the outfits, etched in silver. Éowyn would look utterly perfect in this get-up, with her white skin and golden hair and grey eyes.
I tried not to sigh, thinking of my own appearance. Brown hair, muddy eyes, and yes, I had acquired a tan. I did sigh. I am really not terribly vain, but just once in my life I would really like not to feel like the ugly duckling. At least the long sleeves would hide the scars at my wrists. And as there was no cleavage in those shirts and tunics, I did not have to worry about the other scar either. Take the good with the bad. I did not argue about the colour scheme.
Final fittings. Luckily there was not much that had to be adjusted. There's a reason why everyone and her brother is in awe of Lady Darla and her scissors.
Then we were called for rehearsal.
Yes, there was a rehearsal for Arwen's wedding ceremony.
Aragorn and Arwen were not present, but Faramir, the Lady Míriël, a dozen others… and Éomer. He was standing at the back of the hall, watching us without drawing attention to his presence. When I looked at him, his eyes lit up.
How I would have liked to run to him and…
It was going to be a simple ceremony, Míriël told us.
I raised my eyebrows at her. I did not believe one word she said. Nor did anyone else; and the way the rehearsal went did nothing to prove Míriël's point. However, it did alleviate everyone's nervousness. A little, at least.
However, I rather thought that the truly sticky part was not the wedding ceremony itself, but the necessary consummation of the marriage afterwards that also involved certain rituals. Well, we were in Gondor, so what did I expect? Simply getting into bed and getting it over with? No way. Not a chance. Not here.
After dinner and dancing, the lords (only the lords, thank God!) of Gondor would accompany the royal couple to the King's House and the royal sleeping quarters and wait, WAIT in front of their door for the marriage to be consummated and proper proof of this being shown with a bloodied sheet. No kidding. Arwen must have been out of her mind to agree to a human style wedding. Éowyn had told me that they would probably use a little bit of blood from a freshly slaughtered animal, which in earlier days would then have ended up as a sacrifice to the Valar, and send the audience away before doing anything like really consummating the marriage. I don't think that Aragorn would take Arwen's virginity with twenty lords waiting in front of the bedroom. But I think that even faking the proper procedures would really put me off sex. Then a thought occurred to me. If this was the way a royal wedding was done in Gondor, how would they do it in Rohan? I shuddered at the thought.
Then the lords would return to the Hall of Merethrond, carrying that bloody bloodied sheet, show it to the assembled guests. Elrond was going to love that.
Hell, I hoped someone had thought to tell her brothers about this custom. They were going to really love that. Hopefully, they would not break down the door of the royal sleeping quarters and kill the new King of Gondor.
Anyway, the sheet would be shown to the guests. There would be cheers and a toast, and then we would party the whole night through.
Thoroughly briefed as to the proceedings of the royal wedding, everyone was allowed to leave for the time being.
The wedding would be held at five o'clock in the afternoon.
Until then the Hall of Merethrond, the tower hall and the entire seventh circle of the city would be swarming with servants decorating everything in a festive way, getting tables and chairs in place, arranging the dance floors and the stages for the musicians and turning the Citadel and the surrounding buildings and places into a veritable ant heap.
The Lady Míriël invited Éowyn and me for a light lunch to her rooms. We accepted gratefully. The morning of fittings and rehearsal had been quite straining. Éowyn's face showed the tension of growing irritation at the flurry of activities and all the fussing that was going on. I for one felt a strange rushing sound in my ears. Nerves. Just nerves.
And it was not even my wedding…
We had a cold soup of cucumbers and some kind of wraps with cheese and stuffing. And cool, clear water. I rubbed my temples and looked at the calm and smiling Lady Míriël.
"I don't know how you can stay this calm. I think I would be having a nervous breakdown if I was in your place, or at the very least a screaming fit," I said, my voice full of admiration.
Éowyn was silent. But I think she was having second thoughts about getting married at all.
Should I tell her about quiet, private registry office weddings? No, probably not. That would be really mean.
Míriël's smile dimpled a little. But her eyes showed a certain fatigue. "Nervous breakdowns and screaming fits would not help me see this through. And they would not help the Lady Arwen at all. She is really very nervous."
Míriël shook her head, and then she grinned at me somewhat impishly, making her appear years younger, almost girlish. "I think I might be saving the screaming fit for tomorrow when everything's over. I'll lock the door behind me and scream and scream and scream. And I will thank the Valar that it will be at least a year until we have the next noble wedding in Gondor." She smiled at Éowyn. Éowyn gulped nervously. I grinned happily. Éowyn raised her eyebrows at me and proceeded to wipe the grin off my face with a few well chosen words. "And perhaps in Rohan… I think I should tell you, Lothíriel, that we have some very strange wedding customs." Now it was my turn to gulp. My stomach flipped over.
Míriël was back to shaking her head. But this time she was definitely shaking her head at us.
After lunch we were washed, dressed and fussed over until even I felt like screaming.
But we were ready and quite beautiful at half past four.
We went down to the entrance hall of the royal apartments.
Arwen was waiting for us there.
Do I even have to say it?
She was beautiful.
She was even more beautiful than yesterday. She was dressed in clouds of blue silk. Different hues of blue that brought out a blue shimmer in her eyes. She wore her hair open. Her hair flowed down below her hips, a gleaming cloak of shadowy silk. Here and there silvery-white pearls were threaded into her hair. Preparing her hair must have taken hours. A delicate floral fragrance hung in the air around her. But she did not wear any makeup. As an elf, she did not need to. And apart from the pearls in her hair, she did not wear any jewellery at all. She looked like an angel of innocence.
An angel with invisible wings…
And, ye gods, she looked nervous. She was pale even for an elf, and she was pacing back and forth in a continuous rustle of silk, sweeping the floor.
Her father and her brothers were with her. They were dressed in silver and grey, just as Éowyn and I were. Do I need to say that they looked much better than we did?
If I should marry at all, there will be no elves at my wedding.
Elladan and Elrohir were grinning and trying to calm down their sister. Elrond… if he had been human, I would have said he looked close to tears.
Then it was time.
Elrond offered Arwen his arm. Arwen allowed herself to be led out of the palace into the sunlight. The walk from the King's House to the Tower of Ecthelion and the Tower Hall had been fenced off with garlands of flowers. Behind those garlands a huge crowd of spectators was gathered, being held back by imperious guards, dressed in black and white, wearing swords and holding tall spears with bright silver tips in their hands.
When they beheld Arwen, the crowd went positively crazy. They clapped, they shouted, they cheered, they waved, they threw flowers. Elrond and Arwen halted for a moment. Arwen gave the crowd a sweet, wavering smile and lifted her right hand. The applause that went up was deafening.
We walked on.
I looked at Éowyn, walking along at my side. Again, I thought, ye gods, I am so nervous. And it isn't even my own wedding. Éowyn's lips were pressed together in tight white lines. She was nervous, too. Behind us I heard Elladan and Elrohir chuckle softly. I guess they were really the only ones completely unfazed by the event.
The sun was so brilliant that the light positively hurt my eyes. I was glad when we reached the Tower of Ecthelion. Although it looked like a diamond from the outside, glittering in the sunlight, inside it would be cool and shadowy.
When we reached the Tower Hall, bells began to ring. First there were only the great bells at the top of the Tower of Ecthelion, then the bells of the palace joined in and finally all the bells of all the towers of the city, down to the first circle of the city, far below the Citadel.
The great black doors of the hall were thrust open, and we entered the tower hall and throne room of Gondor with slow, measured steps. Music accompanied our entrance, mingling with the tolling of the bells outside. The hall was filled with nobles, dignitaries, elves, men, heroes and friends.
We passed smiling face upon smiling face as we walked towards the dais with the white throne of Gondor and the black banner with the bright crown and seven stars behind it.
But the greatest smile was on Aragorn's face, who stood waiting to the left-hand side before the dais. Behind him stood the hobbits in their sombre black-and white uniforms, and with them stood Faramir and his squire, Bergil.
Together with Elrohir and Elladan, Éowyn and I walked to the right-hand side and took up our positions. I sighed with relief. The first part of the wedding was over with no mishap. Then I watched with a lump in my throat how Elrond led Arwen to Aragorn. In the dark eyes of the elven lord the warmth of love for both Aragorn and Arwen mingled with his deep sorrow.
He halted before Aragorn.
The music stopped.
Silence filled the hall.
Elrond turned towards his daughter. Tears glistened in his eyes. Arwen was crying silently. Elrond took his daughters hands and raised them to his lips. He did not say a word. I will never forget the look in his eyes. Love, happiness, pain and sorrow, all there, in one deep look.
Then he lowered her hands. Still holding her hands, he turned her towards Aragorn. With a slow, deliberate movement, Elrond held Arwen's right hand out to Aragorn. Then he reached for Aragorn's hand.
For a long moment Elrond held the hands of both Aragorn and Arwen, standing very still, as if he could not bear to let go of either of them.
I could not hear it, of course. But I thought I could see how Elrond sighed deeply. At last, he somehow found the strength to smile. Through all his sorrow and his pain, the love for his foster-son and his daughter rose like a great shining light.
He smiled at Aragorn.
He smiled at Arwen.
With a firm, fluid movement he took Aragorn's and Arwen's hands and joined them together.
He held their hands together in a tight grip.
When he spoke, his voice was firm and calm and filled with warmth.
"Tollen anno mir in-ardh-en-daur a dineth in-ind-en-daur. I have come to give a jewel to the realm of the king and a bride to the heart of the king. Tollen anno cen iëll-nîn an hervess-chîn, meli an anwa, gar a berio, nan fern len methatha. I have come to give you my daughter as your wife, to love and to cherish, to have and to hold until death will part you."
Aragorn and Arwen had only eyes for one another, but both of them were crying now.
Elrond slowly drew his hands back.
Then he turned and walked to stand next to Elrohir at the side.
Now Faramir and Bergil came forward. Faramir held a blue cushion of velvet in his hands and on it lay the silver crown of the Queen of Gondor, a more delicate version of the winged crown on Aragorn's head, set with a single white diamond at the front. Frodo carried a smaller cushion of the same dark blue velvet with a large golden key placed on it.
Faramir knelt down in front of them, and Aragorn took the crown and placed it on Arwen's head. Faramir rose to his feet again and stepped back with a smile on his face.
Now Frodo knelt down in front of Arwen and held the cushion with the golden key out to her.
She took the key and held it high.
At that Faramir cried, "Behold the Queen!"
Everyone cheered and clapped, and not a few, men as well as women, shed a tear or two. Now, finally at Aragorn's side, Arwen was smiling radiantly, her tears gone. She carefully placed the key back on the cushion and turned to Aragorn again. As Frodo walked back to Faramir's side, Aragorn took Arwen's hand again.
Together they turned towards the dais and the white throne of Gondor.
Gandalf stepped to the centre of the dais.
He smiled at Aragorn and Arwen, his blue eyes were bright and his old, lined face was filled with happiness.
"Do you, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, take this woman, Arwen, daughter of Elrond, as your wedded wife, to love and to cherish, to have and to hold, from this day onwards till death will part you?" Gandalf asked, his scratchy wizard's voice ringing through the Tower Hall.
Aragorn squeezed Arwen's hand and answered in a firm voice that was bright with love and happiness. "Yes, I do."
Then Gandalf turned to Arwen. "Do you, Arwen, daughter of Elrond, take this man, Aragorn, son of Arathorn, to be your wedded husband, to love and to cherish, to have and to hold, from this day onwards till death will part you?"
Arwen looked at Aragorn. Her eyes shone like silver stars. Her voice was light and clear with love as she replied, "Yes, I do."
They exchanged golden rings.
They did not let go of each other's hands, even when they turned back to Gandalf for the blessing of their union.
Arwen was looking so happy and so beautiful now that I thought my heart would burst with joy at the sight of her so shining with love and happiness. She looked like love come alive. She looked like a fairy-queen.
She looked like an angel of love. I would not have been surprised to see white wings unfurling at her back.
Gandalf raised his arms in the gesture of blessing and prayer.
"Husband and wife I call you, King and Queen I call you, love and beloved I call you. May the One and the Valar bless you and your marriage every hour and every day."
A sigh of happiness swept through the Hall of Merethrond. It seemed to be a blessing even to witness this union of love of this noble and brave king and this divinely beautiful and virtuous queen.
The wizard lowered his arms and grinned at Aragorn and Arwen.
"You may kiss your wife, my lord."
Aragorn took Arwen's hands and pulled her against him. He lowered his face to hers and kissed her. Deeply, lovingly, blessedly.
It was this moment that the Valar accepted Arwen's choice.
It was this moment that the Valar withdrew the grace of the Eldar from her.
It was this moment that Arwen became mortal, once and for all.
The Valar have a cruel sense of timing.
The elvishness that surrounded Arwen like a golden, heavenly halo –
there one minute,
gone the next.
A gasp went through the hall.
In an instant, as if a great holy hand had drawn away from somewhere above her, Arwen was changed.
She was still the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
She was still glowing with love and happiness.
But she was an elf no longer.
The angel had fallen from grace.
The music began to play again, and Aragorn led Arwen down the Hall. Éowyn and I fell in place behind her, followed by Elrond and his sons.
I was glad that I could not see their faces.
We followed them down the aisle, until we reached the great doors, which were thrust wide open at the approach of the royal coupls so that brilliant sunlight flooded the hall. Stepping out into the sunshine, we found the Place of the Fountain bursting with onlookers. The guards were really put to it to keep the onlookers from stampeding towards the royal couple.
During the last months, I had heard some noisy cheering at several occasions. But all of them paled into insignificance against the roar of thousands and thousands of voices calling out to Arwen and Aragorn with cheers and blessings as they stepped into the blazing sunlight outside of the Tower Hall.
It was impossible to see the pavement anymore because of the many blossoms and petals that were thrown at Arwen and Aragorn. The air was filled with the heady fragrance of flowers. Harpers from Dol Amroth were assembled around the fountain and as the King and Queen of Gondor left the Hall of Kings, they began to play the sweetest music. It was a tune of sunshine and flowers and blessings and many, many good years to come.
Wreathed in flowers, blessings and golden rays of a glorious summer sun, Aragorn and Arwen walked to the Embrasure, the keel of the flagship of Gondor and most prominent feature of Minas Tirith. They were holding onto each other's hands like children. They were smiling foolishly with happiness. They were waving at the screaming, shouting and singing onlookers.
Suddenly a small, golden haired girl, a toddler of perhaps two years of age, made her way towards Arwen. She held a single white rose in her chubby hand. Aragorn and Arwen halted their progress, and Arwen bent down to the child. The girl stumbled over her own little feet and fell directly into Arwen's arms. Arwen laughed, and her laugh was bright and clear like bells. She accepted the rose from the little girl and kissed her on the cheek. Then she set the child on her way to her mother, who was already waiting for the girl behind the garlands of flowers fencing off the way to the Embrasure. I turned around to look for Míriël. I did not believe that this girl had been there by chance. Míri winked at me and gave me a delighted smile. The child had not been there by chance.
Arwen straightened up again and raised the white rose in her right hand, waving to the girl and her mother.
The cheering rose to a roar. I think the hill of Minas Tirith was trembling with the volume of cheering and clapping. It's a miracle they did not cause an earthquake or an avalanche with their happy noises.
Then we proceeded to the very edge of the Embrasure. Arwen and Aragorn looked down at the seven circles of Minas Tirith. Every street of every circle, and every sentry walk up on the battlements was filled with people. People from all over Gondor and from even further away had come to Minas Tirith for the wedding and to see the new King and his Queen.
Arwen and Aragorn looked at the seven circles of Minas Tirith, filled with laughing, cheering people. They looked at the arid, brown plains of where the battle of the Pelennor had taken place, desolate and sterile this summer. They looked towards the rebuilt walls of the Rammas Echor. They looked further still to the great silver ribbon of the Anduin flowing through the green hills of Ithilien.
They looked at their people.
They looked at their home.
They looked at each other.
They saw their presence and their future.
And behold! It was a good presence, and a good future.
There and then Aragorn and Arwen kissed again, deeply, lovingly, blessed by the golden sun and the cheers of their people.
As they turned around to us again, I realized that Arwen still looked like an angel.
She might be mortal now. She might have lost her elvish magic. She might be humbled in her love to a mortal man. She might have fallen from the grace of the Valar.
But she was still an angel.
An angel's wings are not so easily taken.
But as we turned to walk back to the Hall of Merethrond for the wedding dinner, I realized that someone was missing. Arwen's father, the Lord Elrond, had disappeared and could not be found again during that evening and all through the night of joyful celebration.
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.