3. The King in Exile
Startled, Eldacar jumped. He had not expected to find land, not when so many others had sailed west, only to return, claiming that their ships had been turned back by a mysterious force. It had been the Valar's way of preventing another invasion against Aman, or so they thought.
He asked, "We still sail west?"
The ship's captain, Nenrandir, answered, "We do."
"Has the Ban been lifted? Do we sail to the Undying Lands."
Nenrandir looked down, "Eldacar, Aman is no longer part of Arda, Iluvatar set it apart when he destroyed the land of your forefathers. Only we Elves can find the Straight Road to arrive there."
Hopeful, Eldacar responded, "Then we sail to a new land for help against the usurpers. The Lady Galadriel advised me to sail west. I see now that she meant to a new land."
"Did she tell you anything of the land?"
A chuckle, "No, she was as mysterious as always. I am glad Cirdan allowed me to sail forth with you."
"You understand that I cannot return you to Endor? From here, I sail there, to the Undying Lands with my kin."
"That I do, I wish you well in your journey, though I do not understand why so many of you leave Middle Earth in its time of need.
Nenrandir sighed, "It is difficult for us who cannot die to live in a land of death. We grow weary and in the Undying Lands we can enjoy our long lives."
Looking ahead, Eldacar signalled "I see a city there, you can leave me there."
Nenrandir nodded, setting course for the city.
When they arrived, Eldacar gave his farewells to the Elves, and set foot on shore.
He realized that many people were staring at him. He supposed it was indeed a strange sight to these strangers, a man a foot taller than them disembarking from a ship in the shape of a swan, which then left immediately.
Eldacar was quickly approached by man, likely a guard, dressed in mail, with a shield emblazoned with blue eyes atop a blue sea with white waves. Eldacar looked into the man's eyes, and through them his heart and mind. The man felt like an outcast, in need of a friend, and more importantly he had an honest heart.
The guard spoke, "Who are you? Where do you come from?" A pause, then hesitantly, "Surely not the Summer Islands?"
"My name is Eldacar, I come from Middle Earth, known also as Endor. I am not familiar with these Summer Islands. What is your name?"
The guard shook his head, murmuring something about swan ships. "I am Rodrick," He grimaced, "Rodrick Snow."
"Snow? Forgive me, where I come from, most only go by a single name."
Rodrick smiled, "Only a single name? That would be great. Here, I am judged by name. Snow is the name given to bastards. We are thought to be wanton and treacherous because our parents," he spit, "made us through lust, instead of marriage."
"Do not worry, my friend, I shall judge you by your actions, not by the sins of others." The man may be only a guard, but making at least one friend would help him in this new land.
Rodrick grinned, "For that you have my thanks. Now, I must ask, why have you come? Not many come this far north."
"I was told to sail west to find help."
"Help with what?"
Eldacar's eyes glinted with anger, "My throne was usurped by my treacherous cousin. Can you tell me of who can help me?"
Poor Rodrick appeared shocked, "M'lord, Your Grace, I think you should speak to the Lady Lyessa."
"Call me Eldacar, friend, I am not yet a king once more. Who is Lady Lyessa?"
Rodrick smiled at being called a friend. "She's the head of House Flint of Widow's Watch."
Eldacar gestured to the city, "I take it that this is Widow's Watch."
"Aye, follow me."
As they walked, Eldacar asked Rodrick of this new land, learning of the Seven Kingdoms. When they arrived at the keep, Rodrick spoke to Lady Lyessa, telling her about the 'giant from the swan' as the crowd was calling him. Lady Lyessa's disdain for Rodrick was evident, not openly, but evident to one such as Eldacar who could look into the hearts of lesser men.
Eldacar bowed before Lady Lyessa, "Rodrick tells me you are a great leader for the people of Widow's Peak."
"And he tells me you claim to be deposed king."
"That I am. My lady, can you help me?" He felt a bit guilty for using his ability to influence others to make her need to help him.
She tilted her head, "I cannot help you, Widow's Peak is a city too small to help you regain a kingdom, but I can direct you to Winterfell, where Lord Eddard Stark could assist you. But I ask you stay a while, you must be tired from your journey."
Eldacar shook his head, "I apologize, but I cannot stay long, with me gone, my cousin may attack my people."
"I thought your cousin took your throne, why would he attack his own people?"
"Not his own people, my people, the people of Rhovanion. He usurped my throne because he claimed I was a half-breed, as my father took a woman of Rhovanion as his wife, and the Gondorians consider them lesser people."
"Yes, the people of Rhovanion are not as long-lived, nor as ta as the Dunedain. They believed that I was lesser than them, although I have lived one hundred and ninety years as healthily as any Dunedain."
The shock was apparent, "One hundred and ninety years? You mean to tell me that you lived before the dragons died?"
Now Eldacar was confused, "No, the dragons still lived, far in the north of Middle Earth, in the Withered Heath."
"Your stories are difficult to believe: a near two hundred year old man who looks to be no more than forty, dragons living, and a kingdom usurped."Eldacar imposed a bit of his will on the woman, only enough to make her not question the fantastical things he had divulged.
She sighed, "Southerners would claim you tell tales of grumpkins and snarks, but in North, we know of other great dangers. Go to Winterfell, Rodrick will show you the way, he already seems to admire you for some reason. Lord Stark may be able to help you where I cannot. At the least, Lord Stark will be able to introduce you to the King. The King is visiting Winterfell soon, and it is a month's journey from here to there."
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.