35. It Wasn't All Bad!
It wasn't all bad!
Amarie found the dinner surprisingly enjoyable. She was seated at Elrond's right and to her right was Erestor. Her great aunt Sadi sat on Elrond's left. Erestor proved attentive and funny. She was able to relax and found that dealing with Elrond was much easier then she had expected. Elrond found himself occupied by Sadi's wry humor and he too was much more relaxed then Amarie had ever seen him. While both were remained cautious with each other, they were able to exchange hesitant smiles over their dinner companions' various humorous exchanges.
After dinner several Imladris citizens gave short welcoming speeches in honor of the new arrivals, reciting some of the amusing incidents that occurred during their travels. There were calls of mooo and mock drills and warrior training. Someone was identified as the official "Juicy" walker and Elrond found himself chuckling as he watched the elf mince along holding a stiff leash attached to a collar that appeared to hold an invisible dog. Unconsciously he turned to share his mirth with Amarie and their eyes tangled and held. Stormy gray eyes turned hot charcoal and amber eyes darkened to warm honey before looking away in embarrassment.
Erestor and Sadi watched all of this with amusement and maintained a discrete ongoing conversation consisting of lifted eyebrows, rolled eyes and shrugs.
As the evening festivities drew to a close Erestor stood and introduced the Lord of Imladris himself to give the official "Welcome to our Town" Speech. Amid the cheers of his elves, Elrond smiled and stood up. Thanking Erestor he turned to Amarie and Sadi and expressed how happy Imladris was to have the talented artisans of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain there. He added also how lucky they were that the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain and her aunt were beautiful and charming as well. In light of their arrival he felt it was appropriate to mark the occasion with a gift he hoped would have special meaning to the elleths.
At that, Erestor signalled a house elf standing to the end of the table and holding a draped shape. He approached Elrond, placed it on the table in front of him and removed the drape revealing an exquisitely carved wooden statue of a stag and doe approximately a foot square. Amarie immediately recognized the carving style of her grandfather, but she had never seen this particular piece. She looked up at Elrond quizzically.
"This piece was the last item that your grandfather carved before leaving for
the Gray Havens and the Western Lands. Your grandparents stayed here as my guests for a number of weeks while waiting for their ship to sail. I was saddened by their departure and this among other things from their hands has kept their memory fresh for me. I hope it will for you as well."
Amarie was speechless for a moment, stunned by his thoughtfulness to share this last creation of her grandfather's. Swallowing hard she rose to respond. "My lord, I am overwhelmed by your generosity. While I suspect it was his intent that this was a symbol of his personal friendship for you, I will gladly accept it in the spirit with which you offer it." She touched the doe gently and beamed up at him.
Elrond felt himself hardening in reaction to that look and started to reach for her. Thankfully she had not noticed. Erestor moved forward to set the statue aside and bumped into his shoulder or he would have embarrassed himself and her as well. As he returned to his chair, he was glad his robes provided some strategic cover.
Amarie faced the gathering a wide grin on her face. "I still find it hard to believe that Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain has made the transfer here with such few real problems or that our new home is so beautiful. The welcome of Lord Elrond and the assistance of his chief counselor Lord Erestor has eased us through our many changes and now Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain can again begin the work for which it is best known."
She turned to address Elrond and Erestor, "Lord Elrond, you were kind enough to let a certain elf escort me on a tour of several wonderful examples of our craft. However I couldn't help noting that you appear to be missing an important piece that would make your personal collection complete." At that, Sadi stood up to join her carrying the long rolled package she had kept under the table though out dinner.
"Lord Elrond, You gifted me with a memory of my grandfather, I hope you will allow me to gift you in return with a memory of my grandmother and complete the series of Four Seasons Tapestries hanging in your sitting room."
Between Sadi and herself they unrolled the tapestry that depicted the Season of Echuir, glowing in the soft tones of greens, yellows and pinks of new life.
Elrond was dumbfounded at the richness of her gift. He sat there silent for a long time unable to find the right words with which to thank her. Amarie exchanged worried looks with Sadi at his silence and nervously wondered if somehow she had made a very serious mistake.
Elrond finally rose to his feet and went to her side. Gently removing the tapestry from her now shaking hands, he turned to face her. "My lady, you offer me a gift of great value and I am humbled by it. I will happily accept it in the spirit you have offered it."
"Thank you My Lord, I know that my grandmother would be happy to know they are all finally together."
At that there were cheers and clapping. Erestor took the opportunity to formally conclude the evening program and noted that there would be music in the Hall of Fire for those who would like to continue the evening with dancing. As the crowd dispersed from the dinning room Elrond and Amarie remained standing at the head table gazing into each other's eyes and his hands still resting on her shoulders. Erestor and Sadi following the crowd out and had momentarily forgotten them.
echuir = "stirring-time;" spring between February and April.
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