The Elvenking's Lady: 1. Homecoming

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1. Homecoming

"By the Belain, I have missed you," Thranduil exclaimed as they walked down the corridor towards his apartment, his free hand covering hers and pinning it firmly to his arm.

"And I you, Sire," Elara confessed earnestly.  "I was beginning to fear that Rhîw would arrive before you did."

"I would never leave you alone here for that long, my gift," he soothed.  His arm slipped from beneath her hand and wrapped itself tightly around her waist as they turned the corner into the family wing.  It seemed as if his steps sped up just a bit more, and Elara smiled at the thought that he was looking forward to a far more personal reunion the moment they were alone.

She was right.  He had no more than escorted her into his apartment and latched the door firmly behind them before he was growling, "Elara nîn," and lifting her up in arms of iron.  "How I have looked forward to this day!"

"My Lady?"  Tarion sounded worried.  "My Lady?  Are you all right?"

Elara sighed as the memory of her lovely dream from the previous night shattered and the fragments blew away in process of being recalled to her responsibilities.  "I'm well," she reassured the ever-patient seneschal, drawing her mind back into the present and the many details that still needed to be addressed before Eryn Lasgalen could be considered ready for yet another winter.  "A little tired, perhaps," she admitted sheepishly.  "I didn't sleep well."

There was a slight hesitation, as always happened when her discussions with Thranduil's right-hand man veered into more personal terrain.  "We are all worried about them," Tarion offered very cautiously.  "I am certain they will be back soon.  Aran said that he did not think the campaign would last into Rhîw."

Elara nodded and sighed again.  "I know.  I just..."

"You worry about Aran, I know," Tarion observed kindly.  "We all do.  But Thranduil is a skilled warrior, with battle-hardened troops with him from Eryn Lasgalen, Imladris and Lothlórien.  He will return safely."  A hand came from out of nowhere and patted Elara's forearm gently.  "Just you wait and see."

"You're right."  She forced a smile to her lips and out of habit wiped the back of her hand across her sightless eyes, as if that would help her clear her thoughts.  "Where were we, now?"

Tarion easily returned to the report he'd been discussing.  "As I was saying, we have thirty-five tons of grain, seven tons of walnuts, eight of..."

With difficulty, she turned her mind back to the issue of making certain Eryn Lasgalen would have adequate winter supplies.  Little had she known that she had a head for such things, much less the ability to visualize amounts as balanced against need and then retain the knowledge.  Seeing to the stores of the Hall was one of the tasks Tarion and Randirion assured her was traditionally that of the Lady of the hall in both Elven and mortal realms, and one that the Elvenking himself would be more than happy to transfer to her shoulders, if she could handle it. 

The first year had been difficult, although she'd had Thranduil's advice in her ear every evening to show her where and how to better delegate authority or demonstrate leadership.  After the second winter had come and gone with more than adequate stores to keep the Greenwood Elves well-fed and warm with only minimal assistance, he had made certain that she knew just how proud and pleased he was that she was accepting her new place and responsibilities in his hall and in his life so fully.

But this year, he was gone with Celeborn and the sons of Elrond, along with a combined force of Elven warriors, to help cleanse the length of the Misty Mountains of as many of the defeated Enemy minions as could be uncovered.  They had left at the very first of Lothron, and had been gone over half a year now; and she desperately missed his voice of reason and experience in her ear.  

"What about meat?" she asked finally, filing away in her memory the totals Tarion gave her.

"The forest is being generous this year." She heard Tarion shuffling paper.  "We have the meat of thirty deer already dried and stored, twenty smoked, and five more still being processed.  We have over a hundred fish smoked, twenty dried and about fifty stored in salt.  The rabbit and squirrel populations were bountiful this year, so there should be more than adequate hunting even in Rhîw for fresher meat when needed."

"Very well."  She'd heard enough.  "Based on a population of three hundred fifty, we will need to come up with at least fifteen more tons of grain, at least ten more tons each of chestnuts and hazelnuts, and fifteen tons of walnuts.  The meat of twenty more deer and fifty or seventy-five more fish would help.  We're still gathering berries and drying fruits, yes?"

"Yes, and while we have no harvest totals from that as yet, it looks to have been a very decent year there as well.  The orchards bore well, and the berry vines proved quite bountiful for a change.  We have also been cultivating some of the 'tater' plants that Ernil Legolas had sent to us from the Shire last year - and we have in stock a healthy harvest of those tubers, as well as wild carrots.  Some of the outlying farms put in beans and peas as well, and we have yet to get harvest totals from them; I assume we shall know more as they move to the Hall after the first snows."

"Good," she nodded.  "What about honey?  Were we able to recoup from last year?"

"Not quite yet, but Elberen was certain that he knows where two or three more hives are with a surplus that can be harvested without too much danger of harming the bees."

"What about our trade with the men of Esgaroth?  Or have we both met our obligations to the other for the year?"

"Obligations on that front have been met by both sides.  We have one hundred wheels of cheese, thirty buckets of butter, fifty casks of Dorwinion and a hundred barrels of lesser wine that were traded for suedes, leather and silk, as well as the time and muscles of some of our warriors to help with some of their construction projects.  I feel confident that our people are well on the way to surviving Rhîw very comfortably.  We just need to finish with the hunting, gathering and harvesting that you indicate."

"How about the spider silk supply - were we able to gather enough?"

Tarion actually chuckled.  "Of all the things we harvest from the forest, we need worry about the supply of silk the least, Lady.  Our silkiers spend the spring and early summer feeding the young spiders with small prey and collecting spent egg pouches, then the early autumn gathering the silk from abandoned webs as the spiders die off.  The carts are still coming in, but this year's supply of raw silk is certainly no less than last year's - which was quite abundant.  I should have more totals for you on that by first snow."

"Wood?"

"There is still plenty of deadwood to be gathered from where the fires killed back to the rootstock.  And many gatherers are still to make the trip in to the hall.  We should have a better idea of what is needed within two weeks."

"And leather?"

"Again, we shall have better totals after all are within the Halls by first snow."

"Then that's all we can do at the moment, until we have more information.  Thank you, Tarion."  She relaxed back against the cushion of her chair, suddenly dizzy. 

She could hear the sound of papers being shuffled together.  "Shall I send Míriel to you, Lady?" the seneschal asked, sounding worried.  "You look pale."

"No."  Elara pushed herself to stand.  "Like I said before, I'm just tired.  I think I shall lie down for a while."

"Very well, my Lady.  You go rest; you have earned it.  I still have no idea how you can keep everything I just told you in your head to call upon when next we meet."  An arm inserted itself beneath one of her hands.  "May I escort you?"

Under normal circumstances, Elara would have refused.  She was proud of the manner in which she had regained her health after nearly starving herself to death in Ithilien.  But this day, she could feel a heaviness in her chest that was bothersome.  "I would appreciate your arm today, my Lord," she replied.

"You work every bit as hard as Aran ever does," the Elf counselor chided her as they walked slowly.  "I have heard from others that you seem more worn of late, however, and I fear I must agree with them.  Aran will have my ears in a jar on his desk if your health diminishes under my watch, you know."

"I'm well, Tarion," Elara reassured the seneschal.  "Like I said, I didn't sleep well last night.  I will rest before the dinner hour - I promise."

"I will hold you to that promise," Tarion told her, and a quick touch to the latch of the door he halted her in front of told her it was her own.  "I happen to value my ears."

"Until later," Elara chuckled, and she was relieved to hear him chuckle in return before she pushed open the door and stepped inside.  Once inside, however, her need to pretend that all was well was gone, and she slumped back against the closed door. 

Even knowing the separation was not a permanent one, and despite the chance that, at any moment, Thranduil could come riding up to the Hall entrance in triumph and sweep back into her life again, she was pining for him in much the same way she had in Ithilien.  She knew Míriel kept an eagle eye on her appetite and diet, for she had been present when Thranduil had explained to her friend just what had gone on during her time in Ithilien; and she wanted neither Míriel nor Thranduil himself to be angry with her for squandering her health in that way again.  But she had lost weight anyway, she knew; her gowns hung much looser on her frame than before.

She just wanted Thranduil back so desperately it literally hurt.

Thranduil, please! she sent out into the silence yet again.  Just let me know all is well!  His brushes against the back of her mind those first few months had been great reassurances for her; but they had not come for weeks now, just as she received no answer now.  Was he injured?  Had something happened to him?  Why wouldn't he answer her?

She caught a sob back in her throat.  When she'd been married to Timon, she'd never needed to fear that he would leave her to go off to battle.  That he had died defending her and their baby anyway and left her behind all alone had been an almost insurmountable grief - conquered only because of the caring and attention showered on her so unexpectedly by the King of the Woodland Elves himself.  And now she had been left behind again - in a way that she only barely understood.  She knew what Thranduil was doing was important, and she didn't begrudge him the need to take part in the cleansing; but her world had lost most of its light when he had ridden away.

Elara straightened and walked surely toward her bedroom.  She should be like Míriel, calm and collected, even though Randirion had donned armor he hadn't worn in centuries to go off with Thranduil and the others.  She showed no signs of worry whatsoever - or at least, never aired her concerns publicly.  Or she could try to emulate Irieth, who was now heavily pregnant with one of the first elflings to be born in Thranduil's halls in over a millennium.  Irieth moved from one day to the next in grace and serenity, never doubting the arrival of the day when the Elvenking would be there to welcome his newest subject into the world.  It was Míriel's outer and inner calm and Irieth's certainty that had anchored and soothed Elara's fears of late, and she knew that if she were wise, she should go down to the solar to join her friends in sewing and mutual comforting.  If something bad had happened to Thranduil, Míriel would know of it through her bond with Randirion.  And she wouldn't keep such news to herself - would she?

She sat down heavily on the edge of the bed, toed off her slippers and then settled back onto her pillow and absently rubbed her fingers against her chest over the spot that felt heavy and aching.  Aragorn had warned her that he suspected her heart had been damaged when she had come close to starving herself to death in Ithilien; and three small scares since her return home had convinced Thranduil that she was indeed more fragile than she appeared.  This was the second afternoon in a row that she had felt this heaviness, however; she would have to tell Míriel of it if it happened again. 

But not now.  Elara yawned and pulled the bedspread to fold over herself.  Perhaps just a short nap would ease the ache and give her the energy to walk to the Great Hall for supper. 

oOoOo

"Lady," she heard Randirion's voice call to her, "I have sad tidings for you.  Aran..."

"Please," Elara begged.  "No..."

"There was a battle - there were many more yrch than we had expected.  Aran was on the northern flank with the Greenwood archers when a unit of warg riders broke through.  I'm sorry.  I escaped with my own life only because I was close enough to Lord Celeborn's men.  We won the battle, but lost greatly."  Randirion's large hand grasped her shoulder tightly.  "You must be strong for us now, Elara.  Aran would have wanted it."

"He can't be gone..."

"Elara!"  A hand shook her shoulder.

"We brought him home, though.  He will rest beneath his Greenwood."

"He can't be dead... No!   Thranduil!" she screamed.

"Elara!  Awaken, please!"  The hand at her shoulder shook her harder.  "It is but a bad dream."

The nightmare faded all too slowly, leaving Elara breathless and panting her distress, reaching up to whoever it was that had awakened her to anchor her to a reality that didn't include Thranduil's...  "A... dream?"

"Yes."  It was Míriel.  "You were late for supper, and I came to see if all was well."

"I dreamed..."  Elara pushed herself up on an elbow and wiped at her face, only to be surprised to find it wet. 

"It was fairly obvious what you were dreaming," Míriel replied gently.  "I was going to let you sleep and bring you a late meal just before retiring until I heard you cry out."  Elara felt the bed dip beneath the healer's weight.  "He is well, Elara.  If he were not, you would know beyond all doubt already."

She had thought so too, once.  Now, she wasn't so sure.  "How?" she asked with a quavering voice.

Míriel's voice was firm and yet comforting.  "Thranduil told me the two of you had established a bond of sorts, as strange as that seemed to him at the time."

Elara gaped.  She knew?  "I didn't know he'd told you."

Míriel chuckled.  "There was very little Thranduil did not tell me back then, my dear.  Since Lalaith left us, I had been a confidante.  He told me once that I was as close as he could get to Lalaith in this world anymore."

Elara nodded.  Somehow, that sounded like him.

"If what both he and I suspected were true, then you would have no doubts if he were to suffer a lethal blow.  A great deal of pain is felt through the bond shared by mates when the faer is ripped untimely from the rhaw."

Míriel thought they were mates - that Thranduil would break his oath to her sister so easily?  "So if I haven't felt something... agonizing..." Elara asked hesitantly, uncertain of how Míriel must feel about her intruding in a part of Thranduil's life where only her sister Lalaith should exist.

"Then chances are that he is well."

"But he hasn't spoken... thought... used the bond..."

"There are many reasons why that might be," Míriel pulled the bedspread away from Elara and pulled on an arm to help her sit up.  "If he were injured, for example.  Knowing your inexperience in such matters, he would be aware that opening the bond could serve to frighten you terribly.  He would close himself away, not reply to you, in order not to alarm you."

"Injured!" Elara breathed in horror.

"But not fatally so, remember," Míriel reminded her in a determined tone.  "Do not assume the worst - for despair can be almost as poisonous as an orc arrow."  She pulled on Elara's legs and twisted her so that her feet dangled.  "He will return to you; you must believe this."

Elara sighed.  "It's just been so long..." she complained softly, unable to prevent the words from escaping.

She felt Míriel aim her toes back into her slippers.  "It is always this way for those of us left behind when our warriors go off to battle.  We Evair know that if one of our warriors falls, the faer will come home for a time to comfort those left behind, and eventually fade away to become part of the spirit of the forest.  Some of them, however, will now listen for the call to Bannoth - especially if they know their mate will eventually go West.  Which way the one left behind believes will generally influence the choice the dying will make."  Agile fingers began tucking stray tendrils of hair back into Elara's braids and replacing pins to make their hold more secure.  "How this would come into play with you and Thranduil is a good question - there is little known about what happens when Elves and Mortals bond.  Whether your bond is as complete as was his bond with Lalaith...  I could not say, and Thranduil either was uncertain or unwilling to state."

"Does it..." Elara began, then bit her lip.

"Does it what?"

"Bother you?  That I... that Thranduil... our bond..."

"Of course not!"  Míriel let out a short laugh like the chime of a bell.  "Frankly, I am glad that he finally found another to help ease Lalaith's loss for him, mortal or otherwise; and that you brought him through the loss of half of his people without his losing his sanity as well.  That I also happen to enjoy your company does not hurt either, you know..."

Strong hands pulled Elara to her feet and then a friendly arm wound itself about her waist.  "His time with you will be all too brief to begrudge him any enjoyment of it - or you.  Most of those who would have disputed his actions are long gone - and those of us who remain know all too well how your leaving us the last time affected him."  She gave Elara's waist a small squeeze.  "Now, don't you think you should come to the Great Hall, before the cooks decide to close down the kitchens?"

Elara paused, keeping Míriel from moving forward.  "Thank you.  I needed someone to tell me these things."

The tall healer bent to Elara's ear.  "You need to be strong just a little while longer.  He is going to be so proud of you when he returns - or so Baradion tells me.  Both he and Tarion are in awe of your memory for details, knowing you cannot write things down to remember them that way.  According to them, this will be one of the best-stocked Rhîw since Galion left us for Bannoth."

Elara knew she was blushing.  To be compared favorably with the almost legendary and much mourned Galion was a great compliment indeed.  "I don't know about that..."

"It matters not," Míriel told her as the sound of a harp and flute grew closer.  "As far as I and many here are concerned, Thranduil found a very talented fireth for himself.  You make our Aran happy, and the way you serve Eryn Lasgalen faithfully and diligently is obvious to anyone with eyes.  It is no wonder that..."

"You found her."  Irieth spoke in relief from Elara's right.  "You have been missed this evening, Lady."

"I fell asleep," Elara explained lamely. 

A gentle hand captured her elbow.  "The cooks set aside a portion for you before they cleared the tables."

"I must thank them..."

"I shall be happy to express your gratitude to them for you, if you wish," Míriel said quickly, "after I know that you have had a good meal."

Elara didn't dare sigh, or rub her aching chest again. 

oOoOo

Elara's head rose sharply as the door to the solar burst open.  "Lady!  Lady Elara!" an excited voice exclaimed loudly.

"Yes?"  Elara beckoned for whoever it was to come forward.  "What is it?"

"Aran!  We have heard from the watchers on the border!  Our warriors return!"

Elara's hand flew to her mouth.  "How long?" she asked breathlessly.

"An hour, maybe less."

She carefully marked her place in her work and set it aside to rise.  "I will go with you," Irieth told her, taking her hand.  "You need to dress for the welcome."

"I know."  Elara had never thought her heart could pound quite so hard before.  She had dreamed of this moment far too many times in the long and lonely months; and now it was real.  "The welcome cup..."

"I will speak to the cooks," Araniel spoke up from not far away.  "Go get ready - and do not forget your circlet."

"I won't," Elara tossed back, already dragged forward by Irieth.  "Slow down!" she complained only a few moments later, out of breath.

"I would like to have a good spot to watch the welcoming," her friend replied, not slowing down in the least.  "Baradion tells me now the news is spreading that we have lost none of our warriors - that they all return to us safe and whole.  He also says that we welcome honored guests among us - our Avarren kin joined in the cleansing and stop here on their way back to the deeper forests."  Elara heard her door pushed open hard enough to hit the wall behind it.  "That is a great honor, Elara.  The Avarrim never leave their deep forests.  You may meet some who remember waking next to the waters of Cuiviénen - some of the most ancient and esteemed still in Ennor."

Elara did as much as she could to help bustle herself out of her workaday linen gown and into the green velvet that was her best formal gown, and then sat while Irieth made quick work of rearranging and pinning her braids up into something a little better than everyday.  "Where is your circlet?" her friend demanded finally.  "You stand as the Lady of the Hall this day - you must wear it."

"There's a velvet bag - I think in the top drawer near the bed," Elara directed.

"Got it."  And soon the cool metal was settled against her forehead, with the gentle tapping of what she knew was a leaf-shaped emerald high above her eyebrows.  "Come now - we need to make certain Aran's crown is properly woven, and the welcome cup ready."

Again Elara was dragged hurriedly through the corridors of a Hall already beginning to hum with the welcoming song that Míriel and Irieth had taken great pains to teach her.  Elara listened carefully, but she still couldn't hear the strains of the answering melody that Thranduil himself had taught her on the trip home from Ithilien.  "Do you remember the words to say to greet Aran?"

"Tarion has me repeat them every day or so," Elara replied, her excitement growing.  "I think I could recite them in my sleep, if called upon." 

"Be careful with it, Lady," warned an unfamiliar voice as a delicate circle of vines with dried leaves was placed in hands directed by Irieth.  "Perhaps it would be best if we keep it safe on a pillow until it is time for you to give it to Aran."

"That would be best," Elara agreed.  "Irieth?"

"I am getting one," her friend spoke from some distance away, and then again from closer.  "Here."  Gentle fingers directed her to deposit the fragile crown onto a cushion. 

"And I shall care for the welcome cup," Araniel announced unexpectedly, making Elara jump slightly.  "Sorry," was the immediate amendment.

"How far out are they now?" Elara demanded instead, a hand at her throat and wishing her heart would stop pounding quite so hard.

"We can hear them now," another unfamiliar voice answered excitedly.  "Less than half an hour."

Míriel chuckled.  "Randirion says that Aran is getting impatient, wanting to canter ahead but knowing better than to leave Aran Borendor behind." 

Elara smiled.  That was her Elvenking; when the two of them had re-entered the wood at the end of their journey from Ithilien, he had urged his stallion to step lively and quickly rather than walk through the forest at a sedate pace.  "I should be outside, waiting for him to arrive, should I not?" she asked of the cloud of Elves around her.

"There she is!" she heard Tarion exclaim.  "And dressed properly, I see.  Good!  Good!  Come now."  She felt the seneschal's firm hand commandeer her elbow and begin leading her again.  "Now remember: Baradion will be on your left, holding the welcome cup; while I will be on your right, with Aran's crown.  You will greet Aran first, and return his crown to him - then offer him the welcome cup.  Next, you will offer the cup to Aran Borendor, and extend the hospitality of Eryn Lasgalen to him and his brave men."

"What then?" she wanted to know.

"Aran Thranduil will probably give a short speech, welcoming Aran Borendor and the Avarren warriors, then dismiss both companies to rest and refresh themselves before the feast tonight."

"Feast!"  Elara pulled at the hand to slow her progress.  "Someone needs to make arrangements with the cooks..."

"The plans for this feast have been long since finalized, Lady," Araniel told her as Tarion insistently pulled Elara along despite her hesitation.  "I put things in motion when I told them to prepare the welcome cup.  If I know Tinuiel, she will already have the roasts on the spits."

"Have Elhadril open some of the closed apartments to house our guests - and remind her to prepare one of the empty suites in the royal wing for Aran Borendor," Elara directed, trusting that someone in the vicinity would take her instructions to the head of the housekeeping Elves.  "We will need adequate wood to warm the rooms, and warming pots with freshening herbs set out in rooms that have been closed all this time.  Make certain a carafe of the finest wine is delivered..."

"I'm certain Elhadril knows how to prepare for visitors," Tarion told her.  "Come now, if Aran convinces Aran Borendor to press forward faster, we won't be ready on time."

As it was, Elara's heart pounded even harder with excitement and elation when she could finally hear Thranduil's deep voice threading his song of return into the song of welcome issuing from the Greenwood Elves.  The combined song was new, however; a different melody wove itself in with the familiar ones that must be the song of the Avarrim.  The pulse of the Greenwood was strong; Elara could feel it vibrating up through her feet as she stood at the very top step before the great doors to the Hall.

At last she could hear the sound of horse hooves against the packed earthen courtyard, and behind that, the sound of many, many Elven feet.  A hand at her elbow told her that her Lord approached her, and she stepped forward and turned to the right to slowly finger her way across the cushion to the delicate crown.  She turned back forward with it in her hands, and could feel someone had knelt before her. 

"It is my pleasure to once more return Eryn Lasgalen into the hands of her rightful King," she intoned, extending her hands out over where she hoped Thranduil's head was.  The gentle fingers that pushed her hands up just a bit and then helped settle the crown were Thranduil's own; and his touch was warm and left her tingling.

He rose before her.  "With gratitude, we accept once more the crown of Eryn Lasgalen, and we thank all of those who kept her safely for us in our absence."  Only once before had she been so nearly bowled over by the sound of one person's voice.  She could feel the heaviness in her chest swell slightly, but she ignored it in her joy to know that her Lord was safe, and well, and standing right in front of her once more.

Elara turned to her left and felt Baradion press the tall welcome cup into her hands.  Again she faced forward again.  "Please accept this cup, and the welcome of your people, Aran Thranduil Oropherion," she intoned, again extending her hands.

Thranduil took the cup from her, again with his fingers gently brushing hers.  But instead of returning the cup to her, as she had been told was the custom, he turned around.  "Aran Borendor, it was an extreme honor and privilege to stand and fight beside you in ridding our mountains and woods of the last of the Enemy's minions.  Please accept this cup and know that the welcome of Eryn Lasgalen that it represents shall be yours until the breaking of the world."

"We honor the friendship, kinship and alliance with our Silvan brothers," an even deeper and slightly accented voice stated very formally.  "It is with pleasure we drink of your welcome and accept the offer of the hospitality of your hall.  May the Powers ever bless your house and your realm, Aran Thranduil Oropherion."

"Let the news now be spread across the land.  The Enemy resides no more in the Hithaeglir.  Our roads are safe from all who held allegiance to the Dark Lord or his captains.  And to all of those who fought bravely to accomplish this and have come home whole to a man, let there be great praise!" Thranduil announced grandly. 

Immediately, everyone who had crowded to the front of the Hall to see and hear gave a shout that echoed through the mountain.  Thranduil cleared his voice, and the tumult ceased.  "Therefore, let those who have families to greet them find rest and reunion with loved ones.  Rooms are being prepared for our honored guests, are they not?"

Elara blinked to find herself addressed directly, and it took a moment to move through the sense of dizziness.  "Sire, they are being prepared as we speak."

"Warriors of Eryn Lasgalen, of Eryn Dínen, you are dismissed!"

There was a collective cheer from both the warriors and the families that now spilled out of the great door in search of their loved ones, and Thranduil captured Elara's hand and pulled her safely out of the way and into his side.  Elara knew better than to lean into him yet, no matter how much she both wanted and needed to.  Tarion had been most specific as to what was expected of her - and of the King.  Thranduil would have many duties that had to be seen to once he arrived, and she would be in charge of seeing to it that all necessary arrangements were made for the feast that evening; so the time for her to greet him privately would not come for many hours.

"Borendor, may I present Elariel Bardhoniel, Lady of Eryn Lasgalen.  Elara, this is Aran Borendor of Eryn Dhínen, the Silent Wood of the Avarrim."

"Sire, it is an honor."  Elara dropped into as graceful curtsey as she could manage.  Hearing her full, formal name reminded her yet again of the very official nature of that introduction.

"So this is the fireth that has you so tied in knots, my friend," the deep voice chuckled, and then a hand on hers lifted Elara to stand erect again.  "It is my great pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lady." 

"Sire?"  She had tied Thranduil in knots?  What was he talking about?  Had she done something wrong after all? 

"Peace, child, you have done your Lord no harm," the very deep voice soothed at her with a note of amusement.  "I have had very little contact with your people, so you must excuse me if my humor does not strike properly." 

Elara felt Thranduil's arm surround her shoulder.  "Allow us to show you to a suitable apartment, where you may refresh yourself and rest for a time before our feast.  Come, Elara.  Did you by any chance have any of the suites in the royal wing prepared as well?"

"Yes, Sire," she answered quietly, thoroughly intimidated to be in such lofty company.  Thranduil had long since stopped being a King for her except in title under normal circumstances - but now, she felt very much at a disadvantage.  She was only a wood-gatherer's daughter and wife; how she had ended up in the position of the Lady of the Elvenking's Hall still astounded her.  And now, walking between two Elven Kings of unimaginable antiquity, she felt the full weight of her position and, for the first time in years, felt completely out of place performing the duties that had fallen to her.

"I knew I could depend on you," Thranduil said softly, bending down to put his lips close to her ear.  "You have lost weight again.  I will hear of this soon."

Elara nodded.  She wasn't surprised he'd noticed.  She could only hope he'd understand the distress that had cost her appetite.

Sindarin Vocabulary

 

Aran - King [I am proposing two different modes of usage: 

       (1) when used with a name, it is a title

       (2) when used alone, it is the equivalent of "Your/His Majesty".]

Avarren - Avari (adj.)

Avarrim - Avari (collective noun)

Bannoth - the halls of the dead (Q. Mandos)

Belain - the Powers (Q. Valar)

Ernil - Prince (same usage as Aran)

Evair - Avari (several Avari individuals)

faer - soul, spirit

fireth - mortal woman

Lothron - near the end of Spring

nîn - my, mine

rhaw - body, physical form

Rhîw - Winter


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.

Story Information

Author: Aeärwen

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 4th Age

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 06/26/10

Original Post: 06/05/10

Go to The Elvenking's Lady overview

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