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At the Rising of the Moon
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Under the mistletoe

These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain

Sitting under the mistletoe
(Pale-green, fairy mistletoe),
One last candle burning low,
All the sleepy dancers gone,
Just one candle burning on,
Shadows lurking everywhere:
Some one came, and kissed me there. - Walter de la Mere

Dedicated to Raksha, who inspired this story.


In a corner,Elbeth sat wondering why did grown ups have to spoil parties with silly things like dancing.

Éowyn caught sight of the child’s expression and whispered in Faramir’s ear. “That child’s expression could turn the milk sour! She reminds me very much of how I was at her age. I hated watching dancing!”

“No one would know, as you excel at it, my love!” Faramir said gallantly.

Éowyn smiled at him. “The mistletoe looks very nice,” she commented, “You did well to obtain it!”

“It was Aragorn’s doing,” Faramir conceded though he basked in her praise. “I think it is causing considerable speculation about what it is for!”

Éowyn glanced towards the archway, from which the mistletoe was prominently hanging and glimpsed Lord Húrin of the Keys and his Lady, together with Prince Amrothos of Dol Amroth and his wife who were pointing at it and regarding it with considerable curiosity.

“We only use mistletoe as a remedy here. They will not know the traditions of the North,” Faramir explained.

“I hope they don’t think it a foolish idea!” Éowyn fretted.

The musicians lay down their instruments as the dance ended, heralding a brief pause to enable couples to change dancing partners or simply get their breath back.

Aragorn and Arwen walked over to where Elbeth was sitting and Arwen joined her. The King solemnly approached the small girl. He bowed politely and asked; “My Lady Elbeth, will you do me the great honour of granting me this dance?”

Elbeth hesitated, unsure of how to respond until Arwen moved closer and whispered something in her ear.

Giggling, the child accepted Aragorn’s outstretched hand. “Yes, my Lord Strider, you may!” she replied, preening herself, as she was led out on to the dance floor by the King.

The musicians struck up a merry tune and soon the dancers were swirling across the floor again. Although Elbeth had only been having dancing lessons for a few months, she had proved naturally gifted and Aragorn matched his steps in consideration to her youth and inexperience. Her young face was flushed with excitement and pure happiness as her full skirt twirled around her, the embroidery sparking in the candlelight.

“That should silence the gossips who would shun her for being born out of wedlock and will make Elbeth's night for she adores Aragorn!” Faramir whispered in Éowyn 's ear as they whirled past on the dance floor.

“I'm so glad she has a happy home with us now!” Éowyn replied, snuggling closer in her husband’s arms.

When the dance ended, Aragorn again addressed the gathering, “Before we go into supper, I would like to explain the significance of the mistletoe hanging here,” he said, “In the north it is the custom for people to kiss their loved ones under it, as a sign of friendship and goodwill for the year ahead, a charming custom, which I have decided to observe here tonight at Lady Éowyn’s suggestion.”

He moved to stand under the largest bunch of Gudrun's mistletoe, now festooned with scarlet ribbons and hanging over the doorway. Arwen joined him and he kissed her tenderly, followed by Faramir and a somewhat reluctant Elbeth, who appeared to regard the whole procedure in a similar light to taking some nasty tasting medicine, though she was not adverse to kisses in less public places.

Faramir followed the King's example with Éowyn and with Elbeth, then somewhat to his surprise; his very sedate Uncle Imrahil approached and kissed him on the brow.

“Your mother would be so proud of you today, nephew!” the Prince Of Dol Amroth said, “To see you at the King's side, happily married and honoured by all, is what she would have dreamed of!”

Rather hesitantly, the rest of the guests moved forward and followed the example of their King and Steward by kissing their loved ones under the mistletoe.

A Herald then announced that supper was served, broth made with venison followed by traditional Yuletide dishes of roast goose and plum pudding with sugarplums for the guests to nibble. It was washed down by the special Yule drink of ale mixed with apples and sugar.

Elbeth, seated between the King and Faramir behaved beautifully, even leaving without complaint, when Éowyn said it was her bedtime and retired with Arwen.

Aragorn and Faramir followed their ladies with their eyes, wishing that they could follow them and seek their beds. However, they were obliged to linger for another hour of dancing, enjoying watching Aedred take to the floor with a surprisingly nimble Ioreth, and Lord Húrinand his Lady making light of their advanced years. They politely pleaded fatigue to ward off the attentions of the many young ladies who wanted the honour of having danced either with the King or his Steward.

The Feast drew to a close at last with a cup of mulled wine passed round in traditional Rohirric fashion. All were now eager to get home while the bonfires were still burning to provide some light and warmth on the way.

Aragorn and Faramir courteously bade their guests goodnight, struggling to repress their yawns.

“I will bid you good night now, mellon nin” said Faramir, once they were alone ”I think everyone enjoyed celebrating according to Eowyn's traditions!”

“Tonight brought back many happy memories for me,” said Aragorn. ”Before we retire to bed, though, there is one last custom we must observe!”

“SoÉowyn told me!” Faramir replied, glad that he was prepared. They made their way back to their apartments, Faramir pausing for a moment to retrieve a parcel from his study.

When they reached Aragorn’s study, the King led his Steward inside. A fire burned in the grate and candles burned cheerfully in anticipation of their coming. Reaching behind his desk, Aragorn handed Faramir a carefully wrapped parcel.

“Happy Yule!” he said, “I wanted you to have this gift but it is only thanks to Arwen that I am able to get it for you!”

Faramir carefully unwrapped the parcel to reveal a grey cloak of an identical design to the one that his King usually wore. He held it up in the candlelight and to his amazement, the fabric seemed to change colour. He gasped in awe when he realised what it was. “An Elven cloak for me?” he exclaimed in amazement. “I thought Elves only clothed their own people in such raiment?”

“They do, usually,” Aragorn agreed, “However, Arwen was given some material by her grandmother before she sailed .She knows how much you like my Elven cloak, and seeing you helped Frodo and Sam, we felt that practically makes you one of the fellowship and that you deserve an Elven cloak!”

“Thank you so much!”Faramir impulsively threw his arms around the King and they exchanged a warm embrace. He then pulled apart to hand him a carefully wrapped gift of his own. “I hope you will like this,” he said, “ Éowyn explained about the custom of exchanging gifts at Yule, so we chose this for you.”

Aragorn unwrapped a beautiful silver flask engraved on one side with the Royal Arms and on the other the Arms of the Stewards. The seven stars around the White Tree were represented by diamonds.

“Éowyn said you needed something to carry the miruvor in, that you always seem to have to use when we get into trouble!” Faramir said somewhat ruefully.

“That is beautiful!” Aragorn exclaimed, hugging his Steward. “I shall carry this with me wherever I go. Now, we had better go to bed, our wives will be waiting for us.” He blew out the candles and they made their way towards their rooms, still clutching their gifts under their arms.

When they reached the corridor that branched off to their separate apartments, they paused by the window to say goodnight.

“I shall sleep well, tonight, I think,” said Aragorn,” I have enjoyed myself today We had quite an adventure did we not?”

”We did indeed!” Faramir agreed. “One thing puzzles me though; however, did you know what Gudrun wanted you to sing?”

“You are forgetting that I spent years in Rohan under the guise of Thorongil,” Aragorn smiled, “King Thengel was as fanatical about the old traditions as Gudrun is, and would sing that invocation to Bema every year. He had a voice like a corncrake but it proved useful to know the chant today! What puzzles me is; why ever do women set such store by mistletoe? I am always kissing Arwen and showing affection to my loved ones!”

“It is strange indeed,“ Faramir agreed, “I am always kissing Éowyn too and others whom I love! Who needs mistletoe?”

“It is a very useful plant for healing but I see little point in hanging it up!” Aragorn agreed,” I have lived over ninety years and I still do not understand women!” Goodnight, ion nin.” He bent to bestow a goodnight kiss on Faramir's brow, as was their custom.

“Goodnight, adar nin, Happy Yule!” Faramir replied returning the kiss. A warm glow suffused him that Aragorn should refer to him thus.

For a moment, they stood looking out of the window. The moon shone brightly overhead and the bonfires could be seen still blazing brightly over the Pelenor. Tomorrow, the days would start to lengthen once more. The darkness of winter was already giving way to hopes of spring. Gondor was at peace and the future was full of promise. It was indeed a happy Yuletide.


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