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In Aragorn's Safekeeping
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Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters; I am only borrowing them for fun for a little while. They belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.

Many thanks to J and Marsha for beta reading this chapter for me!

Words in italics are elvish and individual words are translated at the end of the chapter.

Author Notes: If you would like to see my idea of what the King’s House looks like, go to my Live Journal which is listed on my profile page. There are three drawings there that will give you a VERY rough idea of what I ‘see’ in my head when I am describing things going on inside the House. I’m warning you that I am NOT an artist :) The date of the entry is September 26, 2006.


Minas Tirith loomed above the company slowly making its way across the Pelennor as twilight beckoned. There was no sense of urgency, no quickened pace to reach the city before night fell as the approaching king intended to camp one final night outside the city before the formal crowning ceremony in the morning.

At the head of the column, Aragorn, who was surrounded by men he both loved and respected, felt strangely isolated as he gazed up at the White Tower of Ecthelion that was turning pink in the light of the setting sun. He had come now to the place where others’ prodding, his own sense of duty and honor, and his own desires had led him. Part of Aragorn knew that in some ways the new challenges he faced in the years ahead would be as difficult as the ones just past. And he was not just thinking of wars fought on distant battlefields, though he knew there would be those, but of conflicts with his own people. Conflicts with advisors, councilmen, nobles, and merchants who would not approve of the way he ran the country as he sought to rebuild Gondor and Arnor from the many years of war it had suffered.

Yet Aragorn knew that the joys of the coming years would far outweigh any difficulties he faced and it was those thoughts he clung to as he rode towards the city. The joys of marriage, of having children, of simply having a home after years of wandering, those were the things that made him look forward to becoming king tomorrow; not for the power and the prestige it gave him, but because it gave him the opportunity to do the one thing he had longed to do for seventy years – marry his beloved Arwen. Aragorn smiled as his gaze drifted down from the White Tower to the tents they were approaching.

Members of the Citadel Guard and some of his Rangers had ridden ahead to secure the encampment and Aragorn tossed Roheryn’s reins to Laegrist as he dismounted. He smiled inwardly as he saw that the camp had been set up exactly as it had been at Cormallen. Arrangements had been made for Faramir to come down later to discuss the plans for the ceremony, but for now all that needed to be done was to enjoy supper and the company of his companions and Aragorn strolled to the fire where many of them had already gathered.


Supper was over and pipes were being pulled out when Faramir arrived. Aragorn saw him pause briefly at the edge of the small clearing, his eyes sweeping over the group, before striding purposefully forward. He smiled as he rose to greet him, “My Lord Steward, welcome.”

“My Lord King Elessar,” Faramir bowed deeply.

Aragorn glanced around the fire at his friends. “I believe you know everyone here.”

“Yes, my lord.” He bowed slightly to Rebecca. “It is good to see you again, Lady Rebecca.”

“Hello, Faramir,” she said smiling.

Faramir turned to Frodo and Sam and bowed deeply once again. “Master Frodo, Master Samwise, I never thought to see either of you again so perilous was your path, that I do so brings me great pleasure.”

Sam turned pink and stuttered slightly as he greeted the steward. “H-hello.”

Frodo nodded as he quietly replied. “It’s good to see you again, Lord Faramir.”

Faramir and the rest of the group nodded and murmured quiet greetings before he turned back to Aragorn and the king motioned for his steward to take a seat on one of the small stools around the fire. “Is everything in readiness for the morning?” Aragorn asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yes, my lord. It took some time to find the proper ceremonial traditions in the records for the crowning of a king, but we eventually discovered what we needed in the library.” Faramir glanced at Rebecca with a faint smile.

“What does it entail?”

“After I return the Rod of the Steward to you, you take the crown and place it on your head yourself.” Faramir shifted his gaze to the ground for a moment. “There is no one else with the authority to crown you, my lord. After that, Lord Húrin, Warden of the Keys, will open the barrier to the city for you to enter in. It is actually a very simple ceremony.”

“Hmmm,” Aragorn murmured, looking at Faramir thoughtfully. “I believe we must make some changes with these traditions.” Faramir’s eyes widened and Aragorn could almost feel him begin to panic. “Be at peace, Lord Faramir, these changes will not give you or your servants’ additional work, nor do I believe the people of Minas Tirith will be upset with them.”

“I am yours to command, my lord Elessar, as are all of the people in this city.”

Aragorn suppressed a sigh even as he inclined his head in acknowledgement of Faramir’s words. “First, I will be giving you back your Rod of Stewardship, as I told you before I need you at my side and that has not changed.” Aragorn gazed steadily at Faramir until the steward nodded once. “When you give me the crown, I will hand it to Frodo.” He glanced at the hobbit who had gasped in dismay. “Yes, Frodo,” he said gently, “I would not be here without you and would have you be a part of this with me.” Frodo nodded reluctantly. “I would ask that Frodo give the crown to Gandalf to place on my head, for without him none of this would ever have come to pass. He has sufficient authority to do this, I think.” Aragorn glanced at Gandalf with a smile that the wizard returned. “Does that sound reasonable, my lord Steward?”

“Yes, my lord.” Faramir looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yes, I think it suits very well indeed,” he smiled and nodded his head.

“And the other arrangements?”

“The royal apartments in the King’s House have been prepared for you.” Faramir glanced around the fire. “However, I also took the liberty of preparing the guest house where Mithrandir and Pippin stayed in the event that some members of your Fellowship would be more comfortable there.”

Aragorn nodded. “Rebecca, Thomas, and my brothers,” he glanced at Elladan and Elrohir who nodded, “will stay in the royal apartments. Where would the rest of you like to stay?”

Pippin spoke up, “I want to stay in the guest house, it has a kitchen so we can fix our own meals whenever we want!” Laughter broke out around the fire.

“I would also prefer to stay in the guest house, Aragorn,” Legolas said with a small smile. “I have been around royal courts enough in my life.”

Aragorn saw a flicker of disappointment cross Thomas’s face as the rest of the Fellowship members decided to stay at the guest house, but there was nothing to be done for it. He turned to Halbarad. “Will you camp down here with the Rangers or join me?”

Halbarad fidgeted slightly for a moment. “I will join you and leave Captain Caladithil in charge here.”

Giving his cousin a half smile, Aragorn turned back to Faramir. “Is there anything else?”

Faramir shook his head. “Just the feast tomorrow night and all those arrangements are complete.” He hesitated. “Unless you have certain things you require for that.”

Chuckling, Aragorn shook his head in return. “No, I will leave that matter in your hands.”

“Actually, I turned it over to the Master of Protocol and those used to doing such things, my lord, but I have complete confidence in them.” Aragorn nodded and Faramir stood to leave.

“Must you leave so quickly?” Aragorn inquired. “I had thought to send for Imrahil and your cousins to join us. Perhaps Éomer as well, I do not believe you have met him.”

“No, my lord. I mean, I don’t have to leave and I-I haven’t met Éomer King.” Faramir fumbled over his words much to Aragorn’s amazement. He heard Rebecca start to giggle quietly beside him and he glanced at her sharply and she stopped though her eyes still danced with amusement. Glancing around the fire he saw that Merry shared Rebecca’s amusement when the hobbit flashed her a quick grin and Aragorn knew it had something to do with Éowyn.

“Sit down, then, and I will send for Imrahil. Hinluin,” Aragorn called over his shoulder to the Ranger standing quietly in the shadows near the tent. “Go and ask Prince Imrahil and his sons if they would join us.”

“Yes, my lord.” Hinluin hurried off into the night and Faramir sat back down.

“Aragorn, I’ve been wondering why you’re changing your name.” Thomas gave him a puzzled look. “Do all kings do that?”

“No,” Aragorn said with a wry smile. “I just seem destined to have many names in my lifetime.” Elladan, Elrohir, and Legolas laughed quietly. “A prophecy at my birth said I would be called Elessar, which means ‘elfstone’, by my people and refers to this.” He touched the glimmering green jeweled brooch on his tunic. “And in the Houses of Healing the healers did indeed call me that. But that is not the only change,” he continued quietly. “I am naming my house Telcontar, which in the common tongue means Strider.” He glanced at the hobbits and smiled.

“Strider!” Sam exclaimed. “That will be part of your official name as king?”

“In elvish form, yes.” Sam shook his head, muttering under his breath. Movement at the edge of the camp caught Aragorn’s eye and as Éomer and Éowyn entered the clearing he swiftly glanced at Faramir. His steward seemed to pale slightly and then set his jaw before standing and looking at him. Faramir seemed startled to find Aragorn’s eyes on him, though he quickly recovered.

“Pardon me, my lord, but I would speak with Lady Éowyn and Éomer King for a moment.”

“Of course.” Aragorn glanced at Rebecca to see her eyes moving back and forth between Faramir and Merry and her eyes were once again twinkling with amusement. Curiosity getting the best of him, Aragorn scooted his stool closer to her as conversation continued around them. He leaned down and spoke quietly, “What amuses you and Merry so much, Rebecca?”

“Why, Faramir, of course,” she whispered, her eyes losing none of their sparkle. At his steady regard, she sighed and explained. “Merry and I could tell how much Faramir loved Éowyn before we left Minas Tirith. Evidently she now feels the same way based on how nervous he is about meeting her brother. Though I don’t know how she can so quickly switch her feelings from one man to…” Rebecca’s voice trailed off at Aragorn’s sharp indrawn breath.

“You know how she felt towards me?” he asked, his voice low as he eyed her closely.

“Yes,” she replied simply, giving him a puzzled look.

“Did Éowyn tell you this?”

Rebecca nodded. “We talked about it in Dunharrow the night I shared her tent. I-I knew you were upset…,” Aragorn frowned. “… and she said some things and… I just asked her.”

Aragorn gave her a searching look for a moment. “Yet, you never said anything.”

“It wasn’t my place to say anything and it was obvious you didn’t feel the same way. We didn’t have a lot of time for talking after that if you’ll remember.” He nodded absently, his browed furrowed. “Aragorn, what’s the matter? Did I do something wrong?”

Aragorn took her hand and smiled gently. “No, Rebecca you did nothing wrong. Does Merry know how Éowyn felt towards me?”

“If he does, he didn’t hear it from me; I’ve never said anything to anyone.”

“Good.” Aragorn smiled with relief. “The reason I did not want others to know was to protect Éowyn’s reputation. If people, especially people of the nobility, heard that I had rejected her it might cause them to wonder if there was something wrong with her and I did not want that to happen. I do not always understand the ways of the nobility, but people get hurt by them nonetheless.”

“Oh.” Rebecca shook her head as she mumbled, “So very strange. I’m glad I didn’t say anything then.” She glanced at Éowyn, Faramir, and Éomer, “I think they’ll make an interesting couple, they’re so different. Now, we just have to find someone for you and Éomer.” She smiled at Aragorn.

Aragorn coughed and dropped his gaze to the ground. “Yes, yes, we will,” he murmured. He was saved from speaking further by the return of Hinluin who moved to his side and spoke quietly.

“My lord, Prince Imrahil and his sons have gone up into the city. He received word that his wife, daughter, and youngest son have arrived.”

“Thank you,” Aragorn replied as Hinluin retreated back into the shadows. He turned back to Rebecca. “She is someone you will need to meet,” he commented.


“Prince Imrahil’s daughter, Lothíriel. She is near to your age, I think, maybe Éowyn’s age. But will be around the court here, whereas Éowyn will return home to Edoras.”

“Her brothers, Elphir and Erchirion, have mentioned her several times. I like them, so I hope that she and I might become friends, though she doesn’t live here either does she?”

Aragorn shook his head. “No, in Dol Amroth, but Prince Imrahil spends a lot of time here and I imagine she will as well.”

Rebecca glanced over at Faramir, Éowyn, and Éomer. “Well, based on what I can see from here, I think that Éowyn will be spending time here in Minas Tirith.” She smiled at Aragorn and he returned his gaze to the three in time to see Éomer clasp Faramir’s hand tightly as a smile lit up Éowyn’s face.

“You may be right,” he agreed as he turned to survey the rest of his companions to find them all still deep in conversation with one another, though he noted Merry appeared less than attentive to what Pippin and Sam were saying as he saw his gaze stray to Faramir and the others. Aragorn saw with sorrow that while Frodo appeared to be listening to Sam and his cousins, the hobbit appeared to be lost in thought and he wondered if he would ever truly recover from his ordeal.

Éomer strode up to the fire and Faramir followed more slowly, leading Éowyn by the hand, a look of uncertainty on his face and a smile on hers. “Forgive me, my lord Aragorn, my lady Rebecca, my lords.” Éomer bowed in Aragorn’s direction and Aragorn inclined his head with a faint smile and amused eyes as his gaze drifted to Faramir and he saw his steward beginning to pale at what his future brother-in-law was doing.

Rebecca started to laugh quietly and Aragorn glanced at her to see her biting her lip to stop herself as Éomer continued speaking. “While we’ve been off at war, it appears my sister has fallen in love with a man of Gondor.” Smiles and grins broke out around the circle and whispers could be heard among the hobbits. Éomer reached back and took Éowyn’s hand and pulled her and Faramir forward. “Tonight, the Steward of Gondor has asked for my approval on their betrothal and I have given my consent.” Éomer smiled broadly and then leaned down and kissed his sister on her brow before clapping Faramir on his shoulder. Cries of congratulations broke out from around the fire.

Aragorn stood and crossed to Faramir. “Congratulations, Faramir,” he said quietly. “May you be blessed,” he said smiling.

“Thank you, my lord.” Faramir glanced at Éowyn who was talking with Rebecca and Merry. “I know that I will be.”

“How wonderful for you, Faramir!” Pippin’s eager voice sounded next to the two men and they both looked down at him and smiled.

“Thank you, Pippin, it is wonderful indeed.”

Aragorn left the two of them talking and moved to speak with Éomer and Éowyn knowing he needed to do so, though he did not particularly relish the thought of speaking with Éowyn, even under these circumstances. But, to his relief, a shadow seemed to have lifted from her and she greeted him warmly.

“My Lord King,” she said with a slight bow. “It’s good to see you once again.”

“And you as well, Lady Éowyn.” He smiled. “I wish you joy on your betrothal to Lord Faramir.”

“Thank you, my lord, he’s a wonderful man.” She smiled as she glanced over at Faramir.

“It’ll be wonderful to have you living in Minas Tirith,” Rebecca spoke up with a grin.

Éowyn’s expression fell a bit. “It’ll be difficult for me, Rebecca, I’m not used to walled cities. But this is Faramir’s home and I’ll adjust and knowing that you’ll be here will be a help for me,” she said with a brave smile.

“You’ll be missed in Edoras,” Éomer commented. “Yet it’ll be good to have our kingdoms bound even closer together.” His lips twitched with amusement as he looked at Aragorn.

“I’m not marrying Faramir for political reasons, Éomer,” Éowyn hissed, glaring at her brother. “You can marry someone from Gondor for that reason if you want, but I’m marrying for love.”

Aragorn saw a brief flicker of pain in Éomer’s eyes before he responded to his sister. “I was merely jesting, Éowyn. And while you may not have intended to marry Faramir for political reasons; there is no doubt that the marriage of the Steward of Gondor to the sister of the King of Rohan binds our kingdoms closer together.” He glanced at Aragorn and smiled. “Not that we can be much closer.” Aragorn nodded in agreement as Faramir joined them, noting absently that Thomas had also quietly joined them and now stood alongside Rebecca, holding her hand.

“When will you get married?” Rebecca asked.

Faramir and Éowyn glanced at each other and finally Faramir answered her. “It will be at least a year and a half, Lady Rebecca. We will not announce this officially to the people of Rohan until after Théoden King is buried.”

“Oh,” Rebecca grimaced as she looked at Éowyn. “So you won’t be living here in the city for a long time,” she sighed.

“We’ll be leaving in a few days,” Éomer informed her. “My men have been gone from their families and our land long enough and we only linger now to see Aragorn officially crowned.”

Rebecca nodded and stared at the ground, biting her lip.

“Come, then, sit and enjoy this evening with us,” Aragorn invited, motioning toward the fire. They did so, sharing stories and laughing together until late into the night.


Rebecca stood between Thomas and Merry watching Gandalf place the crown on Aragorn’s head… no, Elessar’s head. She was starting to separate the two of them in her mind. Kind, loving, often smiling, sometimes stern, fatherly Aragorn, from the lordly, remote, often stern King Elessar; not that he wasn’t both, but he just seemed so different when he was Elessar. She realized it was Elessar that was the warrior part of him and Aragorn was the healer side. She focused her attention back on Elessar as he began speaking in elvish.

“Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending of the world.” **

Rebecca didn’t understand most of the words and she glanced up at Thomas and shrugged slightly at his questioning gaze before turning back to the ceremony. The crown Elessar now wore was white and had wings similar to the ones on the Citadel Guard’s helms, though these were made of pearl and silver. There were seven diamonds around the circlet and a single large diamond in the front that sparkled in the rays of the morning sun. She was glad she was Aragorn’s ward and standing in the front or she would never have been able to see him crowned.

Thousands of people lined the walls of the city above them. Some well-dressed citizens pressed in around them, but mostly there were soldiers surrounding them. Suddenly horns, drums, and stringed instruments sounded and Thomas grabbed her hand and pointed up to the White Tower where the white banner of the Steward of Gondor was being lowered and Elessar’s black banner was being raised. As they had been instructed to do, she and Thomas joined Faramir for the walk up to the Citadel. A group of Rangers walked well ahead of King Elessar who walked alone, after a space he was followed by Frodo and Gandalf and then Faramir, Rebecca, and Thomas. Following them walked Éomer and Éowyn, then Prince Imrahil and his family, closely followed by Elladan, Elrohir, and the rest of the members of the Fellowship. The rest of the Ranger honor guard trailed behind them and they were followed by many men and women of the nobility.

The cheering of the crowds was overwhelming as they passed through the streets. People threw flowers and soon Rebecca couldn’t even see the stones of the street so thickly were they carpeted with petals. “Talk about being in a parade,” she said, leaning over to Thomas and speaking directly into his ear. He nodded, looking around wide-eyed at the people that lined both sides of the streets and on the walls above them.

“I had no idea how many people lived here,” he commented.

It was a long walk up to the Citadel and the crowds thinned out by the fifth circle and on the sixth, only people from the Houses of Healing and from the large houses owned by members of the nobility stood there to greet their new king. Thomas and Rebecca heaved sighs of relief as they passed the guards and entered the tunnel and ramp leading up to the Citadel. Thomas looked around curiously at the buildings that Rebecca had described to him in detail and his attention was drawn to the White Tower where the King was now leading them. They entered in and Thomas glanced briefly at the statues Rebecca had mentioned, but he mostly focused his attention on Elessar as he had come to call Aragorn whenever he wore the look he had on his face now. The Rangers drifted to the sides of the large throne room, but everyone else followed after the king as he slowly made his way up to the dais. He stopped at the bottom step and everyone else stopped a short distance behind him, silently filling in the throne room. King Elessar bowed his head briefly and then straightened up and marched slowly, yet purposefully up the steps to his throne, pulling Andúril and laying it across his knees as he sat down.

King Elessar’s piercing grey eyes swept over the crowded throne room, his expression remote as he studied those in the room. Rebecca and Thomas glanced at each other from the corner of their eyes, though neither of them moved their heads. They knew what was supposed to happen and both were already nervous, but seeing him like this was not helping. They both started at the sound of Elessar’s stern, quiet voice that nevertheless carried easily throughout the room. “I bid you welcome to the court of King Elessar, Aragorn son of Arathorn, of the House of Telcontar. I especially want to welcome Éomer, King of Rohan and his sister, Éowyn and bid them sit in these chairs that have been provided.” He gestured to two chairs that had been set just to the right of the steward’s chair.

With a small bow, Éomer led Éowyn to the chairs and they sat down as Elessar continued. “Today is a day of rejoicing, for the suffering of our people goes back for many generations. Our freedom has been restored by the grace of the Valar and by the sacrifices of many people across the lands of Gondor, Rohan, Arnor, and Rhovanion*. But it was not just men that have suffered and died through these dark years, there have been many dwarves and elves as well. The final victory, however belongs to two Pheriannath, or hobbits, who took the Dark Lord’s Ring to Mt. Doom and saw it destroyed. Our people must never forget that this victory was not accomplished by one man or a group of men, but by different races working together to destroy evil.” Murmurs and whispers could be heard throughout the room and Thomas and Rebecca glanced over to see Frodo and Sam blushing and staring at the floor.

Elessar held up his hand and the room fell silent. “As today is a day of rejoicing, I will only be conducting a few official matters this morning that cannot be put off. Over the next few days, there will be audiences to reward men of particular valor, for judgments, and for vows of loyalty to be sworn to me. However, I have asked the members of Lord Denethor’s Council and those of the nobility to be here this morning to be witnesses for vows that could not wait.” He stood, sheathing his sword and walked down the steps, coming to a halt on the wide step that held the steward’s chair, which was the second step above the floor.

Faramir quickly joined him and knelt, offering his sword. Elessar held it gingerly, extending the hilt back to Faramir which he held as he said his oath of loyalty to his king. “Here do I swear fealty and service to Gondor and to the King Elessar, to speak and to be silent, to do and to let be, to come and to go, in need or plenty, in peace or war, in living or dying, from this hour henceforth, until my King release me, or death take me or the world end. So say I, Faramir son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor.”

“And this do I hear, King Elessar Telcontar, and I will not forget it, nor fail to reward that which is given: fealty with love, valor with honor, oath-breaking with vengeance.” Elessar drew Faramir to his feet and returned his sword which the steward sheathed before bowing deeply. Elessar embraced him and quiet words were exchanged between the two men before Faramir sat in his chair next to Éowyn. Elessar turned back to the room as Prince Imrahil and his three sons strode forward and took their oaths. As his youngest son was finishing, Rebecca started fidgeting, nervously smoothing down her dress. Thomas grabbed her hand and gave it a quick reassuring squeeze and a smile before releasing her. They looked at Elessar as he spoke once again.

“The last thing I need to do is to introduce my two wards.” He beckoned them forward and Rebecca kept her eyes fixed on his so she wouldn’t hang her head. She heard murmurs and whispers once again, but Elessar smiled faintly as they approached. Standing between him and Thomas, she kept her eyes on the people she knew in the front row as Elessar explained. “These are my wards; Rebecca daughter of Norton and Thomas son of Morgan. They have been in my keeping for some time as each of them lost their parents in tragic circumstances and I took them into my household for safekeeping.” With that, he turned and nodded at Faramir who rose and walked to the front of the dais.

“That ends this audience, lords and ladies. Go now and rejoice in the return of our king,” Faramir announced as he dismissed the people.

“Come,” Elessar said to Rebecca and Thomas striding briskly off the back of the dais and into the hallway where he halted and looked down at them with concern in his eyes. “How do you fare?” he asked quietly.

Rebecca took a deep breath. “I’m just glad it’s over, Aragorn. We don’t have to do that very often do we?”

“No, though of course you will always sit at the high table at feasts and celebrations. You will be seated further down from me though and not the center of attention, as usually there will be guests in attendance. Thomas?” Aragorn looked at him questioningly.

“I’m all right, it was just strange.”

“It was for me as well.” Aragorn laughed, leaning against the wall. The sound of voices caused him to straighten up, though he relaxed again as Elladan, Elrohir, Éomer, Éowyn, Halbarad, and Faramir entered the hallway.

“Are you ready to see your new home, my Lord King?” Faramir asked as he approached. With a nod, Aragorn followed behind his steward, walking between Elrohir and Halbarad. Leaving the tower, the group approached the large, imposing King’s House that stood at the back of the Citadel with Mount Mindolluin towering behind it.

Faramir stopped in front of the middle entrance, “This is the door to the guest quarters, where chambers have been prepared for Éomer King and Lady Éowyn. She,” he indicated a woman in the dark grey dress of a citadel servant, “will escort you to your rooms while I take my Lord Elessar to the royal apartments.” Faramir led the rest of the party down to the farthest entryway where, beside the guardsmen on sentry duty, a small group of men and women were standing also wearing the dark grey livery that indicated they were servants of the Citadel.

Rebecca saw Lothrín there, she had been so glad that Aragorn had arranged for Lothrín to be her maid, the older woman was a comfort to her and she knew that having her here would help, especially when Éowyn returned to Rohan.

Faramir beckoned to two people and they came forward. “My Lord King, this is Master Belegion, the chamberlain for the King’s House, and who has been for many, many years. This is Mistress Nimrie, the head housekeeper for the royal apartments, and the rest of the members of her staff.” Faramir indicated the men and women who bowed or curtseyed as appropriate.

Aragorn looked closely at Belegion who oversaw the running of the whole building, from kitchens, to laundries, to maidservants, to menservants, to gardeners, this one man was responsible for it all and now, in addition to the care of the steward, he had a king and his household to look after. The chamberlain bowed deeply, “My Lord King Elessar, welcome.”

“Thank you, Master Belegion,” Aragorn replied. “Did you select Mistress Nimrie and her staff?”

“I did, my lord. Mistress Nimrie has worked in the King’s House for fifteen years, and most of the rest of the servants have served here for at least ten. They are all well qualified,” Belegion hesitated, “except for one, but I believe she is here at your request.” There was a slight question in his voice.

“Yes, Mistress Lothrín is here at my request,” Aragorn replied in a pleasant voice though there was a stern look in his eye as he gazed at his chamberlain. “She is to be the personal maid for Lady Rebecca.” He turned his gaze to the servants waiting on the steps. “It is good to see you once again, Mistress Lothrín,” he said, deciding to speak with her knowing that if Belegion was making this kind of comment that she was probably hearing things from the other servants as well and that a single word from him would enhance her status. Though, Aragorn knew perfectly well that she was able to take care of herself, even in the sometimes petty world of servants.

“My lord,” she replied, giving him a knowing look and Aragorn smiled.

“Forgive me, my Lord King,” Belegion hastily said, “I meant no disrespect.”

“I am sure you did not, Master Belegion. Now, these are my wards, Lady Rebecca and Lord Thomas, my brothers, Lords Elladan and Elrohir, and my cousin, Lord Halbarad.”

“Welcome.” Belegion bowed and Nimrie curtseyed.

Aragorn turned his attention to Nimrie and smiled down at her and sought to put her at her ease. “I am sure that Master Belegion selected the appropriate person for this position, Mistress Nimrie and that you will serve me and my household well. If you will show us to our chambers we would be most grateful.”

“Yes, my Lord King,” she replied turning and leading them into the building and turning to the left. “Your chamber is on the main floor and is quite large, my lord,” she explained as she led them down a wide, well-lit hallway. The floors were white marble and the walls were hung with tapestries that had pictures of past kings and historic events. “I wasn’t sure how you would like your wards and guests housed, but after talking with Lord Faramir, I have placed Lady Rebecca in a chamber on this floor and Lord Thomas, Lord Halbarad, and your brothers on the second floor. They can be moved, if that doesn’t meet with your approval, there are two other chambers on this floor and one other chamber upstairs where Lady Rebecca could be housed.” Nimrie peered up at Aragorn anxiously.

“That will be fine, Mistress,” Aragorn replied. “I am sure that everyone will be pleased with the chambers you have selected for them.” He cast a sidelong look at Thomas, but he was studying the pictures on the tapestries they were walking past.

“Here is your chamber, my Lord King.” Nimrie indicated a wide doorway with a citadel guardsmen posted in front of it, who immediately opened the door for the party to pass inside. They entered into a large sitting room. The floor here was a dark wood and had deep green carpets laid over it in various places around the room. The walls were a light beige color. Across from the entryway, there were large windows and a door led out into a large, well-kept flower garden, to the left was a door to the bedchamber and a large stone fireplace. To the right, along the wall were several cabinets and bookcases. In front of the fireplace were several comfortable looking chairs, a couch and small tables. Another arrangement of chairs and tables was just to the right of the door that led to the garden. Colorful tapestries depicting woodland scenes lined the walls and a few small statues and crystal pieces were placed on various tables and the room had a warm, welcoming feeling. Aragorn nodded with satisfaction at his first impression as he crossed to the windows and looked out into the large garden, knowing Arwen would be pleased. He turned and smiled at Nimrie before walking into the bedchamber.

Aragorn frowned as he walked into the room. It was too dark. The flooring was the same as the sitting room, which was fine, but the walls were a much darker color and there was only one window. The bed was enormous and made from a dark wood, with a canopy and he grimaced inwardly, though he liked the light green bed covering that had embroidered trees around the edges. As he glanced around he noticed all of the furniture in the room was made of the same dark wood and he knew he could not stay in a room like this. Making no comment, he looked into the bathing room and found it more than satisfactory. Sighing inwardly, Aragorn returned to the bedchamber to see that only Nimrie, Belegion, and Faramir remained in the room. “The sitting room is wonderful, Mistress Nimrie.” Aragorn smiled. “However I find that I shall require some changes to my bedchamber.” He saw Nimrie’s face pale and Belegion stiffen. “Be at peace, Mistress Nimrie,” he said quietly. “It is the dark colors in here that are not to my liking, I was raised among elves and have slept long years out of doors and the lack of light and color in here would quickly wear at my spirit.” She nodded uncertainly as Belegion asked,

“What would you like to have done, my Lord King?”

“I am sure that there is other furniture around that is lighter in color, I would like the walls lighter as well. What is in the sitting room is fine and perhaps some of those bright tapestries as well. I do like this bed covering. Oh, and whatever bed you find, I do not want it to have a canopy like this. If it is possible, I would also like more windows and a door into the garden.” Aragorn thought for a moment and then nodded. “I think that is all that I require at this time.”

“I know we have the furniture available in storage, my Lord King,” Belegion said, “but the other changes will take time, several days at least.”

Nimrie looked stricken. “Forgive me, my lord, for not thinking of these things.”

“Mistress Nimrie, you have never even met me, I do not expect you to know all of my needs or what I like and dislike.” He smiled. “I will allow you a day or two before I expect you to know those things.”

She gave him a tentative smile. “Yes, my lord. But where would you like to sleep while we do this work? As I mentioned, I have several other chambers available.”

Aragorn shrugged. “I will stay with one of my brothers or Halbarad so you do not have to set up another chamber for me.” He ignored both her and Belegion’s horrified looks and walked back into the sitting room saying, “Lead us to Lady Rebecca’s chambers please.” He motioned for her to precede him and waited for the others to follow the housekeeper out the door and back down the hallway and around the corner to the left. Maldathor was standing guard in front of a door and quickly opened it.

“Aragorn.” Elladan looked back at him and threw a quick apologetic glance at Rebecca. “As much as I would enjoy seeing all of the various rooms in your new home, I would prefer to be shown to my own chambers now and then come and look at these at another time.”

Glancing at Elrohir and Halbarad and seeing agreement in their eyes, Aragorn turned to Nimrie. “Mistress Nimrie, please have someone show Lords Elladan, Elrohir, and Halbarad to their chambers while we continue,” he directed and after they left they proceeded into Rebecca’s room.

Rebecca stopped as she walked inside what would be her own sitting room. It was much smaller than Aragorn’s, but still larger than the combined living room and dining room in her house back home. The floor was the same dark wood as in Aragorn’s, but the carpets were a soft blue color that blended with the very faint blue color on the walls. The tapestries in this room were softer and showed scenes of the sea and were soothing to Rebecca as she looked at them. There were windows and a door to the garden on the right of the entryway and the fireplace and the door to the bedchamber directly across from the entryway. As in Aragorn’s sitting room there were chairs, couches, cabinets, tables, and bookcases in the room. Rebecca slowly walked around, randomly touching some of the statues and looking in the cabinets and sliding her fingers along the books, wondering what stories they contained. She looked at Aragorn and smiled. “Do you like it?” he asked quietly. She nodded, glancing at Thomas who was looking around the room and who smiled when he caught her eye.

“The bedchamber is in here, Lady Rebecca,” Nimrie said. “We didn’t know your taste in things…,” Aragorn suppressed a grin, “…but for a young lady we picked things that we felt would be appropriate.”

Rebecca followed Nimrie into the bedchamber and her jaw fell open in disbelief as she looked at what the servants had prepared for her. The floors and walls were the same as the sitting room, but tapestries here were of flowers, except for one that looked suspiciously like Lothlórien, with gold and silver trees, and she glanced at Faramir, but he was studying a vase full of roses on a small table. There were several windows looking into the garden and a chair and small table, with an oil lamp, book, and more flowers placed upon it, were set near the window. The bed had intricate carvings on the light-colored head board and the four posts that led up to the soft white canopy. The bed coverings were of a slightly darker blue than the carpets and had flowers embroidered all over it. “It’s wonderful,” she said glancing between Nimrie, Belegion, Faramir, and Aragorn. “Thank you very much, Mistress Nimrie.” She knew Faramir had had a lot to do with this, but she decided to thank him privately.

Nimrie curtsied. “I’m glad you like it, my lady.” She smiled and then looked at Aragorn. “Would you like to see the other rooms on this floor before I show Lord Thomas his chambers?”

“That would be fine.” He nodded, gesturing once again for her to lead the way.

Down the hall to the left of Rebecca’s room and also opening out to the garden was a large library and study. There were fireplaces at each end and bookcases lined each wall. Tables, chairs, and couches were placed around the room.

“This room was, of course, empty, my lord,” Faramir said gazing at Aragorn. “I asked that books be taken from the main library that I felt might be of interest, books of history, of languages, tales of Gondor and Arnor, things of that nature.”

Aragorn nodded with approval as he glanced around the room. “That was well thought of, Lord Faramir, I am sure this room will be well used.” He gazed at Thomas and Rebecca. “At least by some of us,” he added, as Rebecca was already pulling a book off the shelf and rifling through the pages. “Come, Rebecca,” Aragorn called with a smile as they headed back out into the hallway. She gave him a sheepish grin and followed along.

Across the hall were two spare chambers which had large windows looking out across the Pelennor to the north. The last room on the first floor was the large dining room where members of the king’s household and any guests he might have would eat their meals. There were actually two tables here, a round one that had room for ten people and was even now being prepared for lunch; and at the other end of the room, a long rectangular table that could easily seat thirty people. Again, windows looked out north and here the floors were not carpeted, but were highly polished wood of a light color. The walls were painted with muted murals of gardens, forests and the sea. Thomas walked around the room gazing at the murals and then stood looking closely at a forest scene.

“Do you paint, Thomas?” Aragorn asked quietly from right behind him.

Thomas jumped, startled. “Do you still have to do that?” he asked sounding irritated, though he had a small smile on his lips.

“You still need to pay attention to your surroundings,” Aragorn said, grinning. “But, I ask again, do you paint?”

Thomas shook his head. “No, but these are so lifelike and…” He shrugged looking around the room.

“Perhaps you should try it,” Aragorn suggested as they walked from the room and headed up the stairs.

“Me?” Thomas looked as startled as he had a moment ago. “I don’t think I could do that.”

Aragorn shrugged. “It is something you can try if you would like to, Thomas. Or, I remember in Lothlórien you appeared to be interested in pottery, perhaps you would enjoy that.”

“Don’t I need to be learning a job or something?”

Aragorn looked at him with amusement. “All of your needs will be provided for and so while there are things you do need to learn, there is no reason that you cannot do some things just for your own pleasure and enjoyment.”

“Rebecca and I have been wondering what we would be doing,” Thomas admitted.

“In a few days, when things settle down a little, I thought the three of us could talk about those things.” Aragorn smiled. “I am sure you will find that there will be things for you to do, Thomas.”

“Good,” he sighed quietly and Aragorn clasped him briefly on the shoulder as they approached his room. One of the guards that had been assigned to guard him, Haloth or Sírdhim, he couldn’t tell which one with the helm he wore, opened the door as they approached.

The room was set up identical to Rebecca’s. The carpets here were deep, dark reds and the walls were a very light gold. The tapestries were pictures of battles and wars and Thomas turned away from them immediately. There was a door out to a wide balcony that overlooked the garden. In the bedchambers, the colors were the same and Thomas liked the bedcovering of red with embroidered stars and moons, but again the tapestries were of battles and he did not like them.

“Is this acceptable, Lord Thomas?” Belegion asked as they returned to the sitting room.

“Yes, except for,” he glanced at Aragorn who nodded for him to continue, “except for the tapestries. I would prefer something that does not show war, Master Belegion. I’ve seen enough of that in person. Pictures of forests or animals or the sea, anything like that would be fine.”

“Of course, my lord, those are easily changed. Is there anything else?”

“No, everything else is fine,” Thomas replied taking a last glance around as they left his chambers, shaking his head slightly at the thought of having this huge place to himself.

The rest of the second floor contained four more private chambers overlooking the garden, a large sitting room, and servant’s quarters, though those did not have entrances on to the main hallway. The tour complete, they walked back down to the dining room to join the others for lunch.

Rebecca noticed Éowyn looking at her strangely as she walked into the dining room and she knew that Éomer had told her where she and Thomas were from. She swallowed nervously and crossed to the window where she was standing. “Éomer told you, didn’t he?” she asked quietly after glancing around to make sure no servants could overhear. Éowyn just nodded, looking Rebecca up and down. “I’m the same person I was a few hours ago, Éowyn. I haven’t changed,” she said desperately. Rebecca so wanted a woman here that knew who she really was, someone she could talk with about so many things that she couldn’t share with Thomas or Aragorn.

“I know.” Éowyn sighed, turning and looking out the window. “It just seems impossible that… that it could be true. I’m not sure that I believe it, that it’s not some story that’s been made up.”

“What? Why would anyone make up a story like that, Éowyn?” Rebecca looked at her in confusion. How could she not believe them when everyone else had?

Éowyn shrugged, glancing at her and then turned her gaze back out the window. “I don’t know, but how can there be other worlds… and then to just show up here like Éomer said…” She shook her head.

“So,” Rebecca said slowly, “you think all of us, Thomas, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli, all four of the hobbits, and Elladan, Elrohir, Halbarad, and Faramir, are just, what? Making up a story? Lying to you, Éowyn?” Rebecca frowned. “I don’t know how many more honorable men you want to tell you it’s the truth before you believe them.”

Éowyn turned and stared at her for a long moment, her eyes narrowed and when she finally spoke her voice was so quiet that Rebecca could barely hear her. “No, of course they’re not lying. It’s just that for so long I-I couldn’t trust some people… and it’s hard sometimes to start trusting again. Forgive me.”

Rebecca nodded. “Yes, yes, of course. I assume you’re talking about Gríma?” Éowyn nodded. “I’m sorry, Éowyn and it would be hard to trust anyone after being around him.” She shuddered. “But you know these men aren’t like him.” Éowyn nodded again, although more slowly. “Well, I’m not like him,” Rebecca said with a small smile. “I know it might be hard for you, but when we have time, will you at least listen to me and make up your own mind?”

“I do believe you, Rebecca. When you say it that way… it’s foolish of me to think that so many good and honorable men and elves could be deceived in that way. And, yes I’d like to hear of your… home, strange as it might be to me.”

“Good,” Rebecca said with a sigh and a sense of relief. “I’ve so wanted to talk to a woman that knows who I truly am. There are some things that I just can’t talk about to Thomas or Aragorn.”

“I imagine not.” Éowyn finally smiled. “I do understand what it’s like to be surrounded by men most of the time.”

Grinning, Rebecca led the way to the table for lunch.


Well, Rebecca thought as she and Thomas slowly walked into Merethrond behind Elessar, he might have been honest when he mentioned they wouldn’t be seated next to him at the high table, but that didn’t mean people wouldn’t stare at them when they walked in with the new king. Taking a deep breath as they started down the long aisle that led to the table, Rebecca tightened her grip on Thomas’s arm, glancing around the crowded room out of the corners of her eyes. Almost everyone was focused on Elessar and the people who were looking at her and Thomas were mostly young and had expressions of curiosity on their faces. She suddenly realized that just a few weeks ago she had been running and fighting for her life and now she was feeling nervous to walk down an aisle because people were staring at her. Shaking her head slightly at how ridiculous she was being, she loosened her grip on Thomas and straightened up, smiling. Looking ahead at the high table on the raised dais that they were rapidly approaching, she realized that she knew everyone who was there, although she had not actually met the rest of Imrahil’s family – his wife, daughter, or daughter-in-law. As they reached the table, Thomas squeezed her hand and, giving her a look full of regret, walked to the other end of it, while she followed Elessar. For some unknown reason, they had been separated and Rebecca was seated between Pippin and Elrohir while Thomas was sitting between Legolas and Gimli. By the time they had found out where they were sitting it had been too late to do anything about it, but they had been assured it would not happen in the future.


Thomas gave a small sigh as Rebecca walked away and then he turned and went to his seat between Legolas and Gimli. Well, he thought, he hadn’t spent much time with them lately.

“Missing her already?” Gimli’s gruff voice broke into his thoughts and Thomas could see a tiny spark of amusement in the dwarf’s eyes.

“Who?” Thomas asked, trying to look confused and failing miserably and he finally laughed quietly, well aware that they were in front of a large room full of people.

“I believe that Master Gimli is talking about a certain beautiful young lady that is seen quite often in your company,” Legolas said.

“Ah, that young lady.” Thomas shook his head. “Yes, I do believe I know who you are talking about now.” He frowned as he glanced between his friends. “The master of protocol, whoever he is, decided to put us at opposite ends of the table and it was too late to fix it when we found out. Aragorn said it wouldn’t happen again.” He gave a small shrug.

“I don’t know about you, Legolas, but I’m beginning to feel offended that the lad doesn’t want to sit by you.”

“No, Master Dwarf,” Legolas said giving him an intent look, “I am quite sure it is you that he does not want to sit by.” Both elf and dwarf turned their gazes on Thomas.

“Actually, I would prefer not to sit by either of you, but I’ll suffer quietly for the sake of keeping peace at this first feast of King Elessar’s.” Thomas gave a long suffering sigh and gazed out over the large hall where people were beginning to eat.

Gimli started to laugh quite loudly and Legolas just smiled and shook his head before turning to his meal.


Aragorn studied the hall full of people, picking out the few that he knew. The councilmen Faramir and Imrahil had pointed out to him, and the older men and women that he had known when he had been in Minas Tirith as Thorongil. He idly wondered how many of them would recognize him. A smile tugged at his lips as he watched the people… his people celebrate their freedom and their new king. With a start he realized that the musicians were getting ready to play and it was time for the dancing to begin. Dancing was not his favorite thing to do, unless it was with Arwen, but as the king it was his responsibility to start the first dance. Another reason he needed his beloved at his side as soon as possible he thought. Aragorn considered the possibilities of which of the ladies he might dance with. There was Éowyn; Imrahil’s wife, Laereth; Elphir’s wife, Braniell; Lothíriel; or Rebecca. Éowyn and Lothíriel he dismissed immediately, he did not want any rumors started about a possible relationship with either of those women. And as he really did not enjoy dancing with other peoples’ wives, he finally decided to at least ask Rebecca. He knew she probably be extremely uncomfortable and he doubted the dances in her world would be similar, but he decided to ask her anyway. In all likelihood he knew he would end up dancing with Laereth, but he wanted to avoid that if he could. “Pardon me,” he said to Éomer and Imrahil as he rose to his feet and walked quickly down the table to where Rebecca was laughing quietly with Pippin while Elrohir was looking on with amusement twinkling in his eyes. Aragorn crouched down between Rebecca and Elrohir’s chairs. “Rebecca,” he said very quietly, “will you dance the first dance with me?”

Rebecca just looked at him and then gazed out at the dance floor before looking back at him. “But I don’t know any of your dances, Aragorn. Besides, I’d probably trip and fall,” she replied with a grin.

“Not if I were holding you.” He gave her a thoughtful look. “So you would do it if you knew the dance?” Aragorn was surprised at her willingness.

“It would not be my favorite thing to do, no, and personally I think you should dance with one of the pretty women here.” She smiled. “But, yes, I guess I would if I knew the dance.”

Aragorn glanced at Elrohir. “There are some easy dances and I am sure she could do one of those since she obviously knows how to dance.”

“Why do you not just dance with someone else, muindor nín?”

“My heart is not here, Elrohir, it is in Imladris.”
The elf gave him a look full of compassion and understanding before gazing at Rebecca thoughtfully. She was starting to get a panicky look on her face, not understanding what they were saying, but nonetheless getting the gist of the conversation. Aragorn turned back to Rebecca. “There is a very simple dance and I am sure you would do well, you just have to trust me and follow my lead.”

Licking her lips nervously, Rebecca looked out at the dance floor once again and back at Aragorn. “Why won’t you dance with someone…” Realization hit her. “You already have someone, don’t you?” Aragorn nodded and Rebecca saw longing fill his eyes. “Who is… never mind. If I dance with you will you tell me about her?”

Aragorn’s eyes sparkled with amusement. “Yes, my lady, it seems like a fair exchange.” He glanced at Elrohir. “This is probably not the time to tell her I was going to speak with her about my beloved soon.” Elrohir laughed quietly as Aragorn turned and beckoned a page to him, giving him instructions to take to the musicians. As the boy hurried off, Aragorn stood and held his hand out to Rebecca to help her rise. She was trembling slightly and gave him a wan smile as they left the table.

“Will other people join us after we start dancing or do we have to dance the whole dance alone?”

“Others will join us.” Rebecca smiled with relief. “I am amazed that you even considered doing this,” Aragorn commented as they approached the dance floor.

“I’m sort of amazed too, but when we walked in here I realized that I was being sort of foolish to be so nervous about these people when quite recently I was running and fighting for my life against men and orcs.” Rebecca shrugged. “I don’t know, it just sort of helped me, if I could do that, this should be easier.”

Aragorn laughed quietly as he led her out onto the dance floor. “Indeed, it should be. Now, just follow my lead and look at me, not at your feet. Are you ready?” At her nod, Aragorn turned to the musicians and they started playing. Rebecca kept her eyes fixed on Aragorn’s and found that the dance was surprisingly simple and she was able to block out the fact that people were watching them. In a relatively short time, the floor was filled with other dancers and she relaxed and enjoyed the dance.

“I wonder if Thomas dances,” Rebecca said thoughtfully, trying to see him through the crowd of dancers surrounding them. Aragorn smiled slightly. “I doubt if he does,” she sighed, “he left school so early and I only went to a few dances myself.” Aragorn gave her a warning look as he glanced around. She sighed again as she nodded and he gently squeezed the hand he was holding.


Thomas watched Aragorn and Rebecca dance with a touch of jealousy. Not that he could dance himself, but still he would like to be out there holding her and moving her around like that. It amazed him to see her out there and he wondered how Aragorn had been able to talk her into it. He took another sip of his wine and sat back with a sigh.

“When are you going to marry her?”

Thomas looked up into Éomer’s amused eyes, wondering where Legolas and Gimli had disappeared to. He glanced around before he answered, something he was getting very tired of having to do. “Aragorn said we have to wait at least a year. I guess a betrothal time is at least that long. Rebecca’s young and he wants us to get settled here.” Thomas shrugged.

Éomer nodded. “Aragorn wants what’s best for you and Rebecca. So, you have asked her to marry you and she’s accepted?”

Thomas blinked his eyes several times and just stared at Éomer. “Well…no… I just assumed…”

Éomer laughed and slapped him on the back. “Thomas, you cannot assume anything. You need to ask the fair maiden and get her guardians approval. The one year betrothal period will not start until you are actually betrothed.”

“Valar,” Thomas swore, blinking again at using that particular word. “I never thought of that, Éomer. What do they do here? Where I came from, we would usually take a girl to a fancy restaurant, a place to eat,” he explained at Éomer’s look of confusion, “or someplace special and ask them to marry us and then give them a ring. Is it the same here?”

“In Gondor, there is usually an exchange of silver betrothal rings and at the wedding you receive gold bands, but I’m not aware of other customs. You should speak with Faramir, perhaps.”

Thomas nodded. “Maybe I could combine what they do here and what was done where I came from.”

“I’d like to hear more of your home.”

This is my home, Éomer, but I’d gladly tell you about where I came from.” Éomer nodded and Thomas began to tell him about the place he’d grown up.


A knock on the door pulled Rebecca from sleep and she froze for a moment wondering where she was. As awareness dawned she groaned, rolling over and burrowing back down into the softness of the bed and began to drift back to sleep. In Cormallen her habit of wanting to sleep late had returned and a brief glance out the window told her it was just before dawn. The coronation feast had ended very late and as she had no real plans for the day, she ignored the second knock on the door. The door opened anyway and Lothrín walked in.

“It’s time for you to get up, Lady Rebecca,” she said quietly.

Rebecca rolled over and looked at her with a frown. “Why? It’s so early and I don’t have anything to do today. At least I don’t think so.”

Lothrín laughed softly. “You have breakfast at the first hour, lady and you need to get ready for that.”

Rebecca translated the time in her head. The first hour meant an hour past dawn or about seven a.m. With a sigh, she got up and made her way into the bathing room where Lothrín had set out a pitcher of hot water for her use. When she was finished, she made her way back to the bedchamber to find Lothrín had opened one of the large wardrobes where a variety of dresses hung. She looked at them skeptically for a moment. They all appeared too fancy for everyday wear. “Is there nothing… simpler to wear?”

Lothrín gave her a look of sympathy. “No, these are the simple, everyday gowns for a young lady of your station to wear.”

“I suppose that none of these closets… wardrobes have leggings and tunics?”

Lothrín shook her head. “No, you only have the set you brought with you, which is being laundered.”

“I can’t wear dresses everyday! What will I wear when I want to practice archery or when I want to go riding?” she cried with frustration.

Lothrín patted her arm and spoke softly, “I know you are not used to this, Lady Rebecca and it will take you some time to adjust to your life here. I suggest you speak with,” Lothrín hesitated briefly, “your father about this.”

Rebecca threw her a startled glance and then slowly nodded. “I will.” She looked again at the gowns, choosing one and quickly getting dressed for the day ahead.


Thomas and Rebecca strolled across the courtyard heading for the ramp that led down to the lower circles of the city. It was a beautiful spring morning and they were going to visit the shops on the fourth circle before eating lunch with the Fellowship. Aragorn had given them freedom to wander as long as they had their guards and as long as they returned in time to prepare for the formal supper Prince Imrahil was hosting that evening. Tomorrow they had to attend the audience Aragorn was holding, but today they just planned to explore the city. Aragorn had given each of them money and explained what each coin was worth, though signet rings were being made for them so that in the near future they would not have to carry money at all.

It suddenly occurred to Thomas that he actually had no idea when the shops opened and he stopped and looked back at his guard. “Are the shops even open at this time, Sírdhim?”

“Yes, my lord, most of them open at the third hour.”

“Thank you.” Thomas glanced up at the sun and guessed it must be somewhere around nine and so the shops should be open. “I wish I had a watch,” he whispered to Rebecca.

She smiled at him. “There are other things I’d rather have.”

“Like what?”

Rebecca furrowed her brow in thought for a long time and then laughed as she finally confessed, “You know I really can’t think of anything.”

“Nothing?” Rebecca shook her head and looked at him with a questioning expression. Thomas narrowed his eyes as they walked along. “Well, I’d like…,” he shook his head in defeat. “I guess there really isn’t anything.” He grinned. “Though, I suppose a car would be fun.” She laughed, shaking her head.

They wandered down a side street where some shops seemed to be located and started looking in the windows to see what interested them. Most of the shops were things like bakeries and butcher shops and sold practical, everyday items. Rebecca smiled though when they came to a shop that sold books.

“Can we go in here, Thomas?”

“Aren’t there enough books in the library?”

“It’s always just fun to look and besides those aren’t my books.”

Thomas just gestured towards the door, deciding not to point out that since they had been given the money by Aragorn, it wasn’t any different than the books in the library – they were all his. Though, he realized that wasn’t totally true, Aragorn had given them the money to buy whatever they wished and so it was now their own. It was going to take some getting used to, to just be able to spend money however he wanted to, without having to think about the future.

“May I help you find something, my lord, my lady?” the shopkeeper asked, looking from Thomas and Rebecca to Gílorn, who was standing just inside the door, while Sírdhim waited outside.

“No, thank you, I just want to look around.” Rebecca smiled at the man, who bowed. She wandered to a shelf and started browsing through the books, while Thomas looked at some of the other things sold in the shop. There were a few pictures on the walls and he glanced at those and then his gaze fell on a calendar and he tried to remember when Rebecca’s birthday was. He knew it was sometime around his, but whether it was before or after, he couldn’t remember. And, even if he could remember the actual date, he didn’t think it would match up with the calendar here. This one looked… odd. There were twelve months on it, but there seemed to be extra days stuck in here and there. Thomas decided to buy one and ask someone to help him and see if he could figure out the dates compared to earth and then try and remember Rebecca’s birthday. He picked up one of the calendars and walked over to see if Rebecca was finished.

“Are you ready?” he asked quietly, trying not to startle her.

Rebecca smiled. “I could be here for hours, but we can leave. I did find one book.” She looked at what he was holding. “A calendar?”

He nodded, “I didn’t see one around the…,” he paused, puzzled. “It’s not a house… do we call it the palace?” he whispered.

“It’s called the King’s House, so house works” Rebecca replied, shrugging. “Why are you buying a calendar?”

“I wanted to figure out when we… arrived and how this calendar works. It’s different than what we’re used to.” He showed it to her and she studied it for a moment.

“Each month has thirty days and then…,” she pointed to some days that didn’t seem to belong to a month. Rebecca frowned and then glanced at the shopkeeper who was watching them. “We can ask Gandalf or someone to help us,” she whispered.

“What’s your book about?”

“It’s poetry.”

“Oh. I never liked poetry very much.”

“It’s not for you,” Rebecca said, turning and walking to the counter. Thomas followed with a slight frown on his face. They fumbled with the strange money and left carrying their purchases in their hands wishing they had a bag of some type. Noticing people seemed to use baskets to carry things, they stopped and bought one at a small stand. They wandered in and out of several more shops before entering one that sold jewelry.

“May we be of assistance, my lord, my lady?” the shopkeeper asked with what Thomas thought was an annoyingly fake tone of voice, though the woman had a pleasant smile.

“No, thank you,” Thomas replied, nodding in dismissal and Rebecca almost giggled. He had unconsciously picked up so many of Aragorn’s mannerisms that it almost always made her want to laugh. Thomas gave her a suspicious look. “What?”

“Nothing.” She smiled and walked over to look at some necklaces. He scowled at her as she walked away before slowly following.

“Your necklace is very beautiful, my lady,” the woman commented.

“It was made by elves,” Rebecca replied absently, fingering the red stone in the pendant Thomas had given her as she looked at a pretty golden chain on the counter. She and Thomas both looked up in surprise at the woman’s sharp indrawn breath.

“Elves? Have you seen one?”

Rebecca and Thomas laughed before Rebecca replied. “We’ve seen many elves and even lived with them for a while. Three of them are here in the city right now.”

“I thought they were all gone.”

“Not yet,” Thomas said quietly, a hint of sadness in his voice as he moved over to look at the rings. There were both gold and silver rings of all types and, at first glance, seemed much plainer than those on earth. Few had large jewels on them, though many had smaller ones that were set very close to the band. Almost all the rings had intricate etchings on them and the rings themselves were sometimes interwoven strands of gold or silver that was both delicate and beautiful. Thomas wondered what they cost.

“If we do not have what you desire, my lord, we can make what you need,” the shopkeeper said.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Thomas replied glancing out the window. “Rebecca,” he said urgently, “we need to go or we’ll be late.” Quickly thanking the shopkeepers the two of them hurried out the door and up the winding streets of the city to eat lunch with the Fellowship.


Elessar listened impatiently to Lord Nestor, one of Denethor’s councilmen, as he droned on about the need for the new king to ease himself into his new role as the ruler of Gondor. To allow the council to run things for him while he learned about his kingdom and the way things worked. Glancing at Faramir at the other end of the table, he noticed there was a slight glimmer of what might have been amusement in his eyes as the steward watched the pacing councilor. Prince Imrahil actually smiled at him before Elessar looked at the rest of the fifteen councilmen around the table and saw that while three or four of the older ones, who were close to Nestor in age, seemed to be hanging on every word he said; the middle-aged and younger men appeared to be either bored or amused, while several seemed to be watching for the king’s reaction.

Finally, Elessar had had enough and when Nestor paused he broke in, his voice dangerously quiet and full of steel and everyone in the room flinched. “Are you suggesting Lord Nestor that I do not know how to rule my own kingdom and that I become a figurehead? That I turn Gondor over to you? I assure you that I am fully capable of ruling my own kingdom and while I want and will welcome advice, especially from Steward Faramir, Prince Imrahil, and this council, I will make the final decisions.” Elessar could feel the stares of the councilmen, but he kept his piercing grey eyes locked on Nestor’s and, to his utter amazement, the councilman spoke back.

“Pardon me, my Lord King, my only thought was to serve you and Gondor and as I knew you had not been here before and with your background, I sought to smooth the way for you.” The smile on his face was as false as his words.

Elessar fought down the urge to grab Andúril and cut the man down and instead gave him a grim smile as he sensed more than saw Halbarad stiffen beside him. “Why do you assume that I have not been in Gondor before? Indeed, I served her many, many years ago though under a different name and I am well versed in how to run my kingdom. And, Lord Nestor,” Elessar’s voice became even colder and more dangerous sounding than it had been a moment before. “You will never again speak so of my background for you know not what you say. Do not forget to whom you are speaking.” Nestor immediately lowered his eyes and bowed deeply.

“Forgive me, my Lord King Elessar,” he said and though he did not sound as contrite as Elessar had hoped, he knew it was the best he would get.

Elessar turned to the rest of the council who were watching him closely, most of the younger ones with approval clearly written on their faces. Faramir and Imrahil nodded and smiled slightly as Elessar stood, drawing the council members to their feet. “As the purpose of this meeting was to meet my council members, I believe we are finished,” Elessar stated. “I will meet with you again the day after tomorrow at the third hour so that we may begin discussing how to start the rebuilding of our kingdom.” He deliberately used ‘our’ this time instead of ‘my’ for he truly did not see Gondor as his own, but he also would not allow these councilmen to dictate to him. He nodded in dismissal, turning and leaving the council room, slowing outside the Tower to allow Faramir and Imrahil to join him and Halbarad as they walked back towards the royal apartments. “Do not let them upset you, Halbarad,” Aragorn said quietly. “If you are going to be part of my council, then you will have to get used to the others disagreeing with me.”

Halbarad snorted. “Disagreeing is one thing, but he was acting like you were some backwoods peasant and… I saw your hand edging towards Andúril.”

“That would have been a wonderful way to start my reign,” Aragorn responded dryly.

“Perhaps not,” Imrahil said as he joined them, “however it would have rid the country of that pompous fool who has plagued us for years.”

“Unfortunately Lord Nestor has friends, Uncle,” Faramir said quietly as the four men entered the library and sat down on the various chairs and couches.

Aragorn stretched his long legs out in front of him and regarded Faramir thoughtfully. “Do you think Nestor will seek to undermine me? To challenge what we believe needs to be done to restore and rebuild Gondor and Arnor?”

Faramir appeared to ponder the question for several moments. “He might, my lord, though after today I do not believe he would do so openly.”

Imrahil nodded in agreement. “He can be devious and, as I am sure you noticed, several of the other council members are loyal to him.”

“Surely Denethor did not put up with him.”

“Denethor was not an unknown Ranger from the north,” Halbarad pointed out.

“Halbarad is right, Nestor seeks to take advantage of your ‘youth’ and ‘inexperience’.” Imrahil’s eyes sparkled with amusement.

Aragorn turned to Faramir who seemed to be lost in thought. “Faramir?” he inquired softly. The Steward turned to him, startled and Aragorn saw a quick flash of fear in his eyes though it was quickly masked.

“Forgive me, my lord. I was thinking that while we should keep an eye on Lord Nestor, perhaps it would be best to ignore him as much as possible. From what my… Denethor told me, only three other council members support him. I do not think his various friends would truly stand against you, at least not at this time.”

“I would have to agree, my lord,” Imrahil spoke up. “If you pay too much attention to him, you give him more power than he deserves.”

Nodding, Aragorn spoke softly, almost to himself. “And that is what he is seeking.” He glanced at the others. “Thank you, my lords. Now, I believe we all have a supper to prepare for,” he said as he stood and walked out of the library. Rebecca was in the hallway opening the door to her chambers as they approached and she smiled in greeting. Aragorn stopped to speak with her while the rest of the men went their various ways.

“Did you enjoy your day, Rebecca?” Aragorn asked, leaning against the wall, smiling as he watched her face light up.

“It was wonderful, Aragorn! We had fun shopping this morning and then eating lunch with everyone. Sam, Merry, and Pippin made us a delicious lunch. They can cook really well if they have the right ingredients… not like on our journey.” They both grimaced slightly. “How was your day?”

“Interesting,” he replied. “This morning’s audience was much more enjoyable than this afternoon’s meeting. What did you buy?” He nodded towards the basket she was carrying.

“A book.” Rebecca gave him a sheepish grin, but he just smiled.


“Its poetry,” she sighed.

“I enjoy poetry, may I see it?” He held out his hand and Rebecca gave it to him. He flipped through it, glancing at the poems. “I have read many of these,” he commented, “but not all. I think you will enjoy them.”

“I’m glad some men like poetry,” she mumbled.

Aragorn wisely said nothing, though he was hard pressed not to make a comment. “I need to get ready for the supper, Rebecca, so I will take my leave.”

“All right, but can I talk to you afterwards? At least if it’s not too late. Beside the fact that you need to share some information with me because of a certain deal we made.” She grinned and then turned serious. “I also need to talk with you about some other things.”

“We will talk tonight, even if it is late,” Aragorn promised as he walked off.


Rebecca lagged behind the others as they walked back up to the Citadel from Prince’s Imrahil’s house on the sixth circle, thinking about her upcoming conversation with Aragorn. She could hear Legolas teasing Thomas about something, Merry and Pippin were trying to get Frodo to laugh, while further ahead Aragorn appeared to be in a serious discussion with Éomer. Faramir and Éowyn had disappeared she realized, wishing she and Thomas could do the same. While Rebecca was eager to hear about this woman that Aragorn loved and to find out why he had never mentioned her; she was mostly trying to figure out how to talk with him about things she wanted and needed to do. Aragorn could be stubborn - she laughed inwardly as she recalled Galadriel telling her that – and she didn’t know what she would do if she couldn’t persuade him to see things her way. She suddenly realized they were approaching the House and she had missed saying good-night to the members of the Fellowship. It was Thomas’s voice that drew her attention as they entered.

“Rebecca,” he said, motioning for her to join him where he stood at the foot of the stairs as Elladan, Elrohir, and Halbarad were disappearing up the steps. “I wanted to tell you good-night,” Thomas said softly, glancing around at their guards, but then they had often kissed in front of them. He froze when his eyes fell on Aragorn, who was standing in front of Rebecca’s door with his hand on the latch. Thomas relaxed as Aragorn said, “I will be waiting for you, Rebecca. Do not keep me waiting too long, the hour grows late.” A glimmer of amusement lit his eyes.

“No, my lord, of course not.” Thomas grinned as Aragorn slipped out of sight. He turned back to Rebecca and gently pulled her into his arms. Pushing the hair back from her face with one hand, he kept her close with the other as he leaned down and kissed her tenderly. Leaning into him, Rebecca eagerly kissed him back, having missed his touch the last couple of days as they had had no time alone except for the shopping trip and they knew better than to kiss in public. With a look of regret, Thomas released her and stepped back. “You’d better go, good-night.” He quickly kissed her one last time and then turned and ran up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

Opening the door to her chambers, Rebecca found Aragorn sprawled in a chair staring blankly out the window into the black night. “You came sooner than I expected,” he remarked, still staring into the night.

“Well, you do have your sword with you,” she replied, gesturing to Andúril, which Aragorn had carefully leaned against the wall next to him.

Aragorn turned then and grinned as Rebecca sat on the end of the couch nearest him. “You are tired,” he observed as he looked her over.

“Breakfast was very early this morning and it’s been a long day.”

Today was a long day?” he asked starting to chuckle.

Rebecca shrugged and grinned. “It sounds funny, doesn’t it? But I’m already getting used to an easier life.”

“Actually, I am glad for that, Rebecca. You know my heart was never to have you in such danger.”

“I do seem to have a vague memory of that,” she responded dryly and Aragorn smiled.

“What did you wish to speak with me about?”

Rebecca shook her head. “No, first I want to hear of this woman you love and why you have not spoken of her before.”

“I have not spoken of her because I keep her close to my heart,” Aragorn said quietly. “Very few people know of her and I ask that you not speak of her until I give you leave to do so.” Rebecca nodded, struck once again by the longing she saw in his eyes. “Her name is Arwen and she…”

“She’s an elf!” Rebecca interrupted, staring at Aragorn with wide eyes.

“How did you know? Where have you heard… Lothlórien?”

“Yes, someone mentioned her.” Rebecca narrowed her eyes in thought. “It was Lord Thalion, I think. B-but she is Elrond’s daughter so how could you…” her voice trailed off and she bit her lip as she studied Aragorn.

Aragorn’s voice was low, but his gaze was intent as he looked at her and responded to her unfinished question. “She was in Lothlórien when I was growing up, Rebecca, and I never even knew that Elladan and Elrohir had a sister. So when I met her as a young man, I had no idea who she was and I fell in love with her immediately. She did not return my love and when my Adar found out how I felt he was not pleased, though we spoke of it only briefly. Many long years went by until I saw her again in Lothlórien and we became betrothed, that was forty years ago.”

“Forty years?” Aragorn nodded. “She is giving up her immortality for you, isn’t she?” He nodded again, a brief flash of sorrow on his face. “I cannot imagine such love, though… perhaps…” Rebecca shook her head. “I’m glad I do not have to face such a choice, Aragorn.”

Aragorn gave her a look of complete understanding. “I wish Arwen did not have to either, yet our hearts are bound together.”

Rebecca nodded. “And your Adar? How does he feel now? And your brothers?” She studied him, thinking about how close Elladan and Elrohir were to Aragorn.

Aragorn sighed deeply. “All three feel deep pain over what will be the loss of their daughter and sister. They knew as I grew up that I would eventually die and are as prepared for that as you ever could be, but never thought about losing her. Yet they love both Arwen and I deeply and wish us joy in spite of their sorrow. The day we marry will be full of tremendous joy and grief for all of us.”

“When will that be?”

“I hope this summer, I believe my Adar will bring Arwen to me now that I have become king.”

“But you do not know for sure?” Rebecca looked at him in confusion.

“It is a long way to Rivendell and will take some time for messages to reach him.”

“A wedding…and an elleth living here,” Rebecca said slowly, wondering what Arwen was like and how it would be to have her around all the time.

“You will like her,” Aragorn said softly, knowing exactly what she was thinking.

Startled, Rebecca looked at him. “I’m sure I will,” she said shyly. “If you love her, I know that I will.” Aragorn smiled faintly. “And I really like Elladan and Elrohir and every elf I’ve met, it’s just that I’m so used to being around men… males that it will be strange to have her here. But it will be nice.” She smiled. “I’m really happy for you, Aragorn.”

“Thank you. Now, what was it you wanted to speak with me about?”

Rebecca took a deep breath and stared down at the floor as she spoke. “I want to practice my archery and maybe even my sword if I want to.” She shrugged, still not looking at him. “And I’d like to be able to wear leggings and tunics.” She stopped, risking a glance at him and saw he was looking at her with compassion.

“You know women here do none of those things,” he stated.

Rebecca nodded and then looked directly at him. “Yes, but they are not me, Aragorn. How much do I have to give up just to fit in here?” she asked in frustration. “You know my world is different and I know this may sound foolish to you. But to be able to wear clothes that I enjoy and to have the freedom to do something like archery would give me a sense that I have some choices, some control over my own life. I can’t even leave the house by myself.” Startled at her words and her tone of voice which had grown slightly bitter, Rebecca stopped, returning her gaze to the floor as silence filled the room. As the silence stretched on, she started to squirm uncomfortably and said, “I’m sorry…”

“Shh, Rebecca,” Aragorn said softly, reaching over and taking her hand, lifting her chin at the same time so he could see her eyes, which were filled with confusion and anguish and his eyes softened in response. “You said nothing for which you should be sorry. My silence is caused only by my lack of how to express what is in my heart. If you wish to wear leggings and to practice archery and do those things, you have my leave to do so. But my concern, Rebecca, is that others will not understand and…”

“Will I embarrass you?” she asked quietly.

Aragorn shook his head, squeezing her hand. “No, things you do and what you wear will never embarrass me, but I do not want others to look down on you and have you miss out on friendships because of it. That is what concerns me.”

“People who only look at those kinds of things don’t make good friends.”

“That is true,” Aragorn admitted with a gentle smile. “I also fear that your heart will be hurt because people will speak ill of you and say unkind things. Are you sure you are willing for that to happen? It will not be easy. I know what people of the nobility can be like.”

Rebecca stared at the floor for a moment. “Aragorn, I don’t think that I will have a lot of close friends here,” she gave him a sad smile. “I won’t be able to tell them the truth about who I am and if you can’t tell people the truth, it doesn’t make for really close friendships. So, I think I will just need to learn to not listen to what other people say about me. My family and the friends that truly know me will have to be enough.” She suddenly gave him a thoughtful look. “Will you be able to hear things said about me though?”

“I do not know,” he confessed. “I am sure that many things will be said about me as well, though I think it will be harder to hear things spoken against my family.” Aragorn shrugged, “I always have Andúril,” he said with a trace of amusement in his voice and Rebecca laughed as the mood lightened. “Though, of course, you do need to wear gowns for formal occasions and your guard must accompany you whenever you leave the House.”

“Yes, father…,” Rebecca froze, staring at him wide-eyed.

“You may call me that, Rebecca, or Adar or Aragorn, it matters not,” Aragorn said gently. Rebecca nodded as he stood to his feet, taking her hand and pulling her up with him. “You need to go to bed, it has now been a very long day,” he smiled, “and the audience tomorrow is very important. No,” Aragorn said at her inquiring look, “I will not tell you why.” He picked up his sword and started towards the door, pausing to kiss Rebecca lightly on the brow. “Good-night, Rebecca.”

“Good-night…,” the door closed behind Aragorn and then she finished, “…Adar,” Rebecca said, deciding that Adar seemed less like she was dishonoring the memory of her own father, yet it had the same meaning and it just sounded right. Blowing out the oil lamps, she went to bed.


Elessar kept his face impassive and his grey eyes stern as he gazed down at the man standing at the foot of his throne. It was late in the afternoon and he had been sitting on the throne most of the day. He, along with Prince Imrahil, Éomer, and Faramir had been bestowing citations and honors to those of their men that they felt deserved particular recognition for their valor during the years of the war against Sauron. He had wanted to give some type of honor to his Rangers, but there were some bonds that went too deep for words. Words or honors could never adequately express the love he felt towards his Rangers and their love for their chieftain… their king. None of the Fellowship members wanted any more recognition than they had already received. They all received enormous amounts of praise just walking around the city, much to the embarrassment of all of them. But all of the Fellowship was gathered today, sitting in chairs provided for them near the dais. Pippin was watching this interview closely, because it concerned a dear friend of his and because it was not a time of reward, but rather a time of judgment.

“Did you leave your assigned guard post that night, Beregond?” King Elessar asked, his voice firm and unyielding.

“Yes, my Lord King Elessar.” Beregond stood straight and proud, his eyes never leaving his king’s.

“What is the penalty for a guard of the Citadel who deserts his post?”

“Death or banishment from the city, my lord.”

“And did you kill servants in the hallows?”

“Yes, my Lord King.” Beregond’s voice was steady, but Elessar could see the grief in his eyes.

“The law of Gondor leaves me little choice in this matter, Beregond. A king is as bound by the law as are the citizens of a country.” He shot a quelling glance at Pippin who had shot to his feet in protest and the hobbit sank back down and buried his head in his hands. Beregond’s face had paled as Elessar spoke, but he kept his eyes fixed firmly on his king. “I recognize that your actions were taken out of love for Lord Faramir and because of that and because of your valor on the fields of battle, I will not impose the penalty of death. However, you are banished from the city for the reminder of your life as the law requires.” Beregond hung his head.

“Beregond,” Elessar called quietly and he looked up at his suddenly smiling king with a puzzled expression. “I am appointing you Captain of the White Company, Beregond.” The king stood, sheathing Andúril and slowly made his way down the steps. “The White Company will be based in Ithilien and its main duty will be to protect my new Prince, Faramir.” Beregond beamed and Elessar turned to his steward with a smile, while those in attendance gasped and murmuring broke out amongst them. A page brought forward a small, intricately carved box and handed it to Prince Imrahil as he stood, before walking over to stand alongside Elessar, while Faramir just sat in his chair looking dazed.

Imrahil whispered to Elessar, just loud enough for Faramir to overhear. “I do believe you have succeeded in surprising him, my lord.”

“I believe you are correct and I have already discovered that that is not an easy thing to do,” he whispered in return. He turned to Faramir and said in a commanding voice, “Come, my Lord Prince Steward, on your feet so that Prince Imrahil and I can properly install you as the Prince of Ithilien.”

Faramir stood, looking at his king uncertainly, but obediently followed after him to the middle of the dais where he knelt. Elessar waited until Faramir looked up at him before he spoke. “I choose to crown you, Faramir son of Denethor, Prince of Ithilien for the great love I bore for your brother, Boromir and for the love I bear now for you. Without the caretaking of the House of the Stewards, there would have been no throne for me to return to and for this I give you my thanks, as inadequate as those words are, in honor of all of your forefathers. To you and your descendents, I give the land of Ithilien as your princedom, a place that I know you dearly love and will care for and cherish.” The king took the circlet from Prince Imrahil and placed it carefully on Faramir’s brow. He drew him to his feet, embracing him firmly and then Imrahil did the same, handing him a rolled and bound piece of parchment as they parted. Faramir looked down at the parchment with the dazed expression still on his face. Elessar took one look at him and signaled to Imrahil to dismiss those in attendance.

“That ends this audience, my lords and ladies, go now and rejoice with those who have been honored this day.”


Elvish Translations:
muindor nín – my brother

*Rhovanion is the area of Middle-earth that includes Mirkwood, Long Lake, The Lonely Mountain, and Dale and huge battles were fought there during the time of the quest. Many dwarves, elves, and men died there.


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