Write a story or poem or create an artwork in which a character unaccustomed to acting as a leader must make an important decision.
"But you're the one that knows the Elves best!" Theliel complained, and the others nodded their heads vigorously. "And we wanted to do something… Elvish… for the Queen this year. It's tradition that her ladies always get her flowers, or have one of the minstrels sing her a new song, and we wanted to give her something different for a change. Something… Elvish."
"But I just got here!" Raini complained back, her heart in her shoes. Being confronted by a united front of ladies in waiting wanting her to be a font of knowledge about everything about Elves was the last thing she'd expected. She tried not to show how much Theliel and the others intimidated her, remembering her father's reassuring, "You are a daughter of the house of Elrond. You are the Queen's niece. You have as much right to serve her for this year as any of the others."
Taking herself firmly in hand, she frowned. "I barely even know her! I was a baby when I was here before, and I've only been here a little time. How should I know what she would like?"
Theliel insisted, "But you've lived with the Elves up north. You act more like the Queen does than any of us do, more like both the King and Queen. You have to know what kind of gifts Elves give each other to celebrate birthdays!"
"They don't celebrate birthdays," Raini replied flatly. "They celebrate begetting days."
"Well," Glieth stated bluntly, her hands landing on her hips, "birthday or begetting day, we know that King Elessar always gives his Lady a special gift at this time of year. Since he was raised where you were, it stands to reason that it must be her begetting day, then. The question remains, then: what kind of gifts would she like – or would she normally get from another Elf? You know Elves better than we do…"
Raini gazed from one earnest face to the other, wanting nothing more than to please them and yet wishing she was back home in Imldris so that she could run to Naneth for advice. "Do we know what Legolas gives her?" she asked uncertainly.
"Prince Legolas is usually involved with his foresters in Ithilien on the day the King gives her gifts," Luilloth offered shyly. Raini had hardly ever heard the youngest daughter of Amroth speak as yet in her two weeks' worth of service as a lady in waiting. "It's the end of spring already, you see," Luilloth continued, clearly spurred by the others' demonstration of confusion. "And Prince Legolas is here for weeks prior to the New Year, like he is every year. He usually leaves soon after the festivities are finished. He has work to do in his own lands. If he gives Queen Arwen anything, he does it long before her special day - or sends it to her by messenger."
Then again… Raini's eyes narrowed as she paused to think on her own family.
"When my Naneth celebrated her last begetting day, Ada gave her a necklace, Glorfindel gifted her with one of the offspring of his favorite horse, and Uncle Elrohir made certain that she was served every single one of her favorite dishes throughout that day…"
"Oooo!" Theliel's face lit up. "Giving her a day with all of her favorite foods is a brilliant idea!"
Raini felt as if the weight of the world had lifted from her shoulders. "I can talk to the King this evening, after supper, if you want... And maybe one of you can talk to the cooks in the kitchen?" Raini offered. "Maybe they'd have some ideas about what she enjoys most too, if we told them what we're about. Besides, we'll need to know if they have the recipes for more Elven dishes, especially if it's something like gondlim. I don't even know if we can get all the ingredients for that here…"
"Gondlim?" Glieth frowned. "What's that?"
"It doesn't matter!" Theliel shook her head. "We'll worry about it if that turns out to be on the list. Raini, we'll leave you in charge of our gift to the Queen this year, since you're the one that knows Elves and has access to the King that we don't."
Raini swallowed hard, and then reminded herself that Ivoreth had managed to survive her year in the White City quite well, and still spoke very fondly of the friends she had made while here. I bet they didn't put her in charge of something like this, though…
gondlim - Lit. "rock-fish" - an original food and fish, based loosely on hákarl
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.