2. Chapter 2
Círdan spoke the truth. Námo could not keep himself awake. As he drifted to sleep, dreams began to weave their magic. He lay in a field, looking at the passing clouds; someone lay next to him. He could not see her face, but she smelled of lemongrass. He rolled to his side, leaning close to her; he kissed her sweetly. His body hummed as she opened her mouth to him. Her slender arms pulled him closer as the innocent kiss deepened. Their bodies pressed together, fitting perfectly. Námo felt his loins stir as soft music flooded his ears…
The Vala woke with a start and a gasp. As he lay panting he realized that the music was not from his dream, yet it had stopped. He glanced to the window seat.
"Forgive me, Hîr nin," the woman said when her charge woke abruptly. "I did not mean to disturb you. Círdan said you enjoyed my playing. I though it might bring you peaceful dreams. I will stop if you wish." She looked down sheepishly.
"No, please, you play wonderfully. Your playing did not disturb me. I…dream…I mean my dreams…" the great Vala found himself babbling.
Súrelindë blushed at the complement. "Thank you. The minstrels have been kind enough to teach me." She paused before continuing quietly. "It is understandable that dreams would haunt you. You suffered quite an ordeal. I hoped my music might calm you."
"It does, Mistress. Would you continue to play?" By way of response, Súrelindë began to pluck the strings gently. "Hmmm." The Vala closed his eyes and let the music flow through him. How long he lay there, just lost in the song, he did not know, but when a knock disturbed his peace, he found himself a bit cross. "Yes?" he called. The door opened to admit an elleth carrying a tray of thick soup and soft bread.
"I have your supper, my lord," she said sweetly. "I will assist you as the youngling is of little use in this matter." The elleth looked at Súrelindë . "You may go," she said curtly to Súrelindë, "I will assist him until Lord Círdan returns."
"Of course, my lady," Súrelindë said with a hint of disappointment. She liked playing for the stranger. He appreciated her music and he did not seem bothered by her 'condition'. Súrelindë knew that her sightless stare made most elves uncomfortable. Círdan assured her that her eyes retained their expressive beauty but she found that difficult to believe. Regardless, the she-elf was a lady of the court and therefore had authority over a simple gypsy minstrel. Súrelindë moved to leave when Námo spoke up.
"I thank you for your offer, but the minstrel is here to play at my request. I wish her to stay." When the elleth made to protest he quickly added, "I am also well enough to feed myself, thank you."
The elleth eyed the woman on the window seat with barely concealed disdain, understanding and not liking the dismissal. She had hoped to make the acquaintance of the striking mystery ellon before any other elleth could. She had heard the healers whisper of his exotic beauty and she very much want to make his acquaintance. Now she would have to wait because of the little half-breed. Why Círdan let that gypsy elf drop his mistake on the Haven she did not know. However, there was little to do now, but appear gracious and be patient. "If you are certain, Hîr nin." she said in a sweet tone, setting the tray on the bedside table, within his reach.
"I am quite certain. Hannon le, again." Námo thought to sit up, but waited for her to leave. It would be painful to lean on his arm and he did not think he could hide the grimace. If she thought him incapable she would never let him be. He could see through the shallow elleth and he wanted her gone. Her beauty was only skin deep. He hoped not all the ellyth in Círdan's realm were so superficial. With a curtsy and one last look toward the window, she left in a rustle of silk. Námo lay there for a moment before attempting to sit up. He could not suppress the groan as he tried to put weight on his injured shoulder.
"You should have let her stay, Hîr nin. You need help; let me call her back." Súrelindë stood and moved toward the door. In her haste to catch the elleth, she bumped into a chair. Frustrated she pushed it to the side.
"Wait, saes," Námo called to her. "I just need a bit of assistance and I am certain you can help me."
"I am blind, if you have not noticed. There is little I can do for you," Súrelindë bit out in her embarrassment.
"Yes, I know of your limitations, and it hardly makes you useless. I need help moving into a sitting position so I can eat. Please, I only need to lean on you a bit. I really would rather that elleth not return. If you must fetch help, then get the healer."
Súrelindë paused and looked in the direction of the bed. Slowly she moved, a bit uncertain of where she was in the room. She reached her hands before her, shuffling her feet, hoping there were no low obstacles.
"The floor is clear but there is a chair near the bedside," the Vala offered. Súrelindë smiled a tentative smile and crossed the floor. Her hand caught the back of the chair. She moved around it and bumped into the bed.
"Sorry," she said.
"No need to be," Námo replied softly. "It might be best if you sit on the bed." Súrelindë compiled. She feared causing the elf more pain since she could not see where his injuries were. "Good. Now my right shoulder is wounded and I cannot put weight on that arm." With coaching from the Vala, Súrelindë was able to help him maneuver into an upright position, pillows behind his back for support. As she rose, Námo reached out and caught her arm. "Would you sit by the bed while you play?"
"If that is your wish." Súrelindë hoped her voice did not quiver as her body suddenly did. The ellon's touch was cool on her skin yet warmth flowed through her. She could feel herself flush and quickly turned her head. She rose and moved toward the window, silently counting steps. She retrieved her harp then returned to the chair by the bed. Without comment, she began to play. Námo reached for the soup, happily eating his first meal in days. When the bowl was empty and his physical body full of nutrients, the raven haired Vala relaxed against the pillows, listening to the music. He closed his eyes again and let the sound wash over and through him. This half-elf had a gift when it came to music. Námo truly believed Súrelindë's music would calm a savage beast.
Círdan stood silently at the door. Súrelindë plucked her harp, her face a reflection of the song's mood; the Vala rested, eyes closed in peaceful contemplation. The shipwright cleared his throat.
"Good evening, Lord Círdan," Súrelindë greeted him, her hands never stilling.
"Good evening, penneth," the ancient mariner replied.
Námo opened his eyes slowly, eyeing his visitor.
"I see you had some rest and supper. Perhaps you are ready to continue our earlier conversation?"
"Aye, I suppose I owe you an explanation."
Súrelindë understood that the elf-lord and the stranger had matters to discuss - private matters. She gathered her harp and stood. "I will leave you, my lords." She said with a slight bow. "Good night." She headed to the door.
"Thank you for playing, Mistress. It truly was enjoyable," Námo said. "Will you come again?"
Súrelindë turned to face him. "If you wish, I will come again tomorrow."
Námo nodded then replied verbally, realizing his silent motion was pointless. "I would like that very much." He found her blush charming. He could not help noticing that she clearly took after her Adaneth mother. Though slender and graceful, she had more curves than any elleth or Vala that Námo knew. Her hair was a chestnut brown, and although pulled back in a loose braid, curls escaped and framed her face. Her ears had a subtle point, and overall, she was a pretty peredhel.
Círdan watched the interaction intently. Súrelindë meant a great deal to him and he thought of her as the daughter he never had. They became close after Gildor left her on the shipwright's doorstep some 100 years ago, after the lightning strike robbed her of her sight. She had only been eighteen, however, she had grown in Adanath fashion and therefore was already into adulthood. Not until she reached thirty did he realize that she had stopped aging as the Adanath did. The shipwright spoke with Gildor about this. He had no answer, but was clearly happy that his daughter appeared to now belong to the Eldar. Námo appeared quite interested in her and fear gripped at the ancient elf's heart. He needed to know what brought the Vala to Arda.