11. 11. Unexpected Messanger
Éomer stood with his builders and advisors, discussing the plans for new grain storage facilities. Most had suffered some damage during the war while a few had been completely leveled. There was no way all could be ready by harvest so they were offering various solutions. In this area of kingship he was weak. The sheer magnitude of the situation made his head throbs. Could they not just take care of it? Did they have to bring it to him and go over every possible option? Just get it done!
A guard entered quickly and after delivering a message for the King’s ear only, Éomer call for a brief respite. He dismissed the men with the promises that they would resume the matter shortly. As the group disbanded, a lone figure cloaked in a sort of green-gray approached the throne. Pushing down the hood, the tall elf bowed low to the King, his hand to his heart.
“Hail, Éomer, King of Rohan. I am Rumíl, Guardian of East Lórien and I bring a message from my Lord Celeborn,” the elf said with a heavy accent.
Éomer stood. “You are welcome here, my friend. What word do you bring from your lands?”
Rumíl reached into the folds of his tunic and produced a letter bearing Celeborn’s seal. He held it out to Éomer. If he was surprised when the King’s Captain reached for it first, he did not show it. Gamling brought it to his king.
Rumíl continued, “I am to await your reply.”
Éomer broke the seal and glanced at its contents. “Of course. But you must be weary from you travels. Please accept my hospitality; a room will be set for you and food as well.”
“You are most kind, however I have another task to complete before I may take rest,” Rumíl said with a small bow. “I understand that a woman by the name of Arathea is in your service.”
Éomer and Gamling both eyed the stranger warily however the king nodded in affirmation.
“I carry a letter for her as well and was bid by my lord to deliver it into her hands alone. If I may be so bold as to ask her whereabouts.”
“She is in the library. My Captain will show you the way and then see you to your room.”
“A room will not be necessary my lord for I am more comfortable in the open air. I will make my camp on the ridge just north of here and will return in one day’s time for your answer, if that is acceptable.”
“As you wish,” Éomer replied. Elves were a unique race. The elf bowed again and followed Gamling from the Hall. Éomer sat down again this time reading the invitation more carefully.
Not a word was spoken as Gamling and the elf moved through the halls. When they reached the library, the captain ushered Rumíl inside. There they found Master Aldhere. The old man stood astounded when he came face to face with a very tall and very beautiful elf.
“Master Aldhere, is Mistress Arathea about?”
The old man gave Gamling a look as if to say, ‘when is she not?’
“Would you be so kind as to fetch her? This elf carries a message for her.”
“Oh but of course, please sit if you wish. I will fetch her straight away.” With that, the man disappeared through another door.
Rumíl looked about the small library. It was nothing compared to Imladris’ or to the one in East Lórien. He doubted however that they had anything he could read; the languages of men were still new to him.
Master Aldhere approached Arathea. She looked up and saw the trepidation in his eyes. “Sir? Is something amiss?”
“Um, no child, I do not think so, but you have a visitor.”
“A visitor? What kind of visitor?” She wondered about his odd expression.
Thea’s eyes grew wide. An elf, here, to see her? Had something happened to Aragorn? She stood abruptly and dashed from the room. Seeing a blond head caused her heart to beat quickly.
Rumíl heard her approach and turned. She was relieved to see him and not Legolas.
“Mae Govannen, Hiril nin.” He said, bowing to her.
“Mae govannen, Rumíl,” she replied softly. Aldhere was amazed that his protégé spoke elvish, Gamling on the other had was not for he suspected she was quite familiar with the fair folk. Thea, not wanting to risk questions, quickly switched to Westron. “I am told you have a message for me?”
Rumíl wondered about the change in language, but assumed it was so the men would not think they kept secrets. It was a trust issue and he could understand that. “Lord Celeborn sends his regards and this,” he handed her a letter. “I had expected to find you in Gondor.”
“I have chosen another life. Rohan is my home now,” She hoped Rumíl caught the true implications of her words and let the matter lie. The elf gave a slight nod.
“I will return for your answer as well as the king’s; should you have need of me, you will find me just north of here.”
“Hannon le, mellon nin.”
Rumíl placed his hand to his heart and with a bow, followed Gamling from the room. Arathea sank into a chair, trembling hands holding the missive.
“Are you alright, my dear? You look a bit pale. Here have some water.” Aldhere placed a cup of water on the table. “I hope it is not bad news.”
“No, it is just, just an invitation, though I just do not understand why I am receiving it.”
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