33. Complete Confusion
Entering Elrond's private office, Erestor found him angrily pacing up and down between the desk and the door to the balcony. He said nothing but held out a sheet of paper that contained the banquet program schedule for that evening.
Elrond paused and glared at his friend, "I know the banquet is tonight. What I want to know is will Lady Amarie be there. She has been avoiding me ever since the day I got back from Tithen Lanthir and toured the workshops. I have no idea what is going on in her head, do you?"
He resumed his pacing up and down. "I will not wind up sitting there at the head table without the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain at a banquet to honor the elves of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain."
Erestor hid a smile behind the paper then calmly faced Elrond. "Perhaps the lady feels you dislike her. You have been most distant and cold whenever she is around. She may seek to avoid a confrontation that could impact negatively on the ability of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain to operate now that they are here."
Highly affronted Elrond drew back, "I would never be that petty."
"I know that, and you know that, but does the lady?" Erestor continued, "I would also like to know why you suddenly have become so distant towards her anyway. You seem to have no problems dealing with Sadi or any of the other Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain people."
"Sadi?" Elrond looked at his councillor strangely through narrowed eyes.
Erestor sighed, "Yes, Elrond, the Lady Saeldae. We have become very good friends over the past few weeks. It seems we both work for a couple of difficult and often obstreperous bosses."
Elrond sank into his desk chair with a groan. "I have been difficult haven't I." He laid his hands on the desk and studied Vilya intently.
"Well in the words of one of your warriors, you've been a horse's arse."
Elrond groaned again and dropped his head on his arms. After a short silence there was a snort and his shoulders started to shake. Chuckling he leaned back in his chair shaking with laughter. "A horse's arse?"
Erestor nodded and started chuckling too. After wiping the tears of mirth from their eyes they started to go over the program.
"Sadi assures me that Lady Amarie will be there and that she herself has selected a very special thank you gift to express their gratitude for Imladris' welcome."
Elrond grinned impishly at Erestor, " Do you think I dare accept it myself, or should I order you to do it?"
"Oh I think you are safe enough," Erestor laughed back at his lord, "But do you intend to offer anything in exchange?"
Elrond smiled evilly for a moment as he considered something very privately.
Sighing, he reluctantly returned to the discussion at hand, "That was very difficult. I had considered returning her grandmothers tapestries to her, but I am selfish enough to want to keep them after all this time. So I decided to offer that sculpture of the stag and doe her grandfather did here just before they left for the Western Lands."
Amarie sat on her bed surrounded by piles of cloths. She had to make a selection soon, but she was so nervous that all she could do was pick something up and throw it aside.
"Amarie," Sadi called through the closed door. "Are you ready yet?"
"Sadi," she wailed. "I haven't a thing to wear."
Sadi entered and looked at the disaster surrounding Amarie. Shaking her head and taking pity on Amarie she pulled her off the bed and pushed her into the bathing chamber.
Filling the tub, Sadi gently shook her by the shoulders. "Penneth, take a bath and I will lay out something appropriate. Then I will fix your hair and we will go down to the celebration."
As Amarie did as she was told, Sadi sorted through the piles of colorful dresses and pulled out one of dark amber silk with subtle embroidery of cream. It had long floating sleeves and the neckline sat just off the shoulders. Crossing to her own room she pulled out a small wooden box from a chest and opened it. She selected a golden chain with large dark amber pendent and a matching golden headpiece set with dark amber chunks.
Hearing Amarie leave the bathing room, Sadi returned to help her dress.
It was sometime later as they left their rooms that Sadi paused and looked Amarie up and down. She adjusted a lock of hair and straightened the hairpiece.
"Penneth, you look beautiful."
"Sadi, I am not sure I can do this." She groaned.
"Amarie, you have done extraordinary things to get us here, you can certainly go to a dinner, listen to a few speeches and as the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain graciously give the Lord of Imladris a gift to express the gratitude of your people for its new home. Surely you can set aside your personal dislike for Lord Elrond…..
"Who said I disliked him?" Amarie interrupted.
Sadi studied her. "You have been avoiding him almost to the point of embarrassment."
"I have been avoiding him, because I like him too much and I don't want to cause him embarrassment." She turned away, " I should never have admitted that. I know he doesn't like me."
Sadi reached out and grasped her arm. " How do you know that?"
"I have seen how he is with others, with you. Then he sees me and becomes Master Lord Regal Elf, cold, distant, disapproving."
"Well if that is true you will have to just rise above it and be your gracious self. I have the tapestry here and it is time for us to go into the banquet. Now straighten those shoulders, lift that chin and be as regal as he. After all you are the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain."
Amarie gave her a wobbly smile and lifting her chin and straightening her shoulders she did indeed become the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain.
Elrond watched her as she entered the dining room, "By the Valar, she is beautiful."
"Yes she is," Erestor replied and caught Sadi's eye as she followed in Amarie's wake. He lifted a questioning eyebrow and she responded with a slight shake of her head and mouthed "Later." He nodded and turned back to watch Amarie.
She was laughing and greeting elfs along her path. With a serene smile she swept up to the head table and gave a formal bow and greeting to Elrond and Erestor. "Mae govannon, Lord Elrond, Lord Erestor."
Elrond's eyes turned a dark charcoal. It was all he could do to keep from grabbing her and throwing her down on the table right then and there and ravishing her. Exercising great restraint, he tightened his fists his nails cutting into his flesh and returned the greeting. "Mae govannon, Lady Amarie, we are happy for your presence here tonight."
She noted the heat in his eyes and suddenly realized that he wanted her. Shaken, she reached for the back of the nearby chair, her own eyes darkening. Turning to Erestor she gave him a slightly shaky smile, "I think he really means he's glad that I actually showed up."
Erestor laughed, "I think it is time to start the festivities."
penneth – young one
Imladris - Rivendell
Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain –House Of A Thousand Jewelled Threads
Mae govannon – Well met, a greeting
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