With One Voice

King Comes Home, The

4. A Busy Morning In Annuminas


Lusey Butterbur awoke to warm, cedarwood scented
darkness. She lay for a moment in sleepy bewilderment,
unable to remember where she was or how she'd come to
be there, then the whole long journey to the magical
city of the Kings came back in a rush and she sat up,
pulling open the bedcurtains.

There it was, the princess's room she'd chosen last
night, with its oaken panelling and heavy, richly
carved chairs and tables brightened by blue velvet
cushions and silver fringed covers. *1

The bedcurtains were so thickly embroidered with
spring flowers in all the colors of the rainbow that
you could barely see the thick blue silk beneath, and
lined with soft felt so light wouldn't shine through
them.

She was looking straight at a large needlework
tapestry almost covering the far wall. The girls in
green dancing hand in hand under the trees were nearly
lifesized and looked astonishingly real. Some were
tall and beautiful with long dark hair that fell
straight down their backs or at most waved a little.
But there were other, shorter girls with curly brown
or fair hair and rosy cheeks. And one, the third from
the end, could almost have been Lusey herself.

The window nearest the bed had half its curtain
looped back and the lattice with its inlays of colored
glass pushed open to let in the air. It was also
letting in birdsong, the soft plash of water and a
warm golden light that made Lusey wonder just how late
she'd slept and scramble hastily out of bed.

She pulled back the other half of the curtain,
pushed the window lattices all the way open - and
gasped. Gilded domes and spires glowed under the
morning sun filling the air with a lambent golden
light. The blue waters of the canal below her window
sparkled with sunlit reflections, like chips of gold
leaf. The grass bordering it was a richer, more
brilliant green than any grass Lusey'd seen before,
and the stone of steps and quay shone like sunlit
snow, golden white.

The plashing was being made by the oars of a large,
heavily laden barge rowing slowly up the canal to moor
at their landing. Several Men clad in long clothes of
white and grey or white and yellow climbed out and
began unloading small sized furniture. One was
Beomann, another was a Hobbit.

If she'd been at home she'd have grabbed a shawl
and rushed right downstairs to see what they were
about. But she wasn't at home. Instead she threw up
the lid of her leather travelling trunk and dug out
her best walking out dress. Determined to at least try
to live up to her surroundings.
***
It felt like they were being assailed from all
sides. Just as Beomann and the young Men with him
started carrying Hobbit furniture in the back way a
bevy of young Women, carrying baskets of flowers, came
in the front. Breelanders, many of them half dressed,
came down the big staircase to gawk and Little Folk
popped out of the downstairs doors to inspect the new
furniture. The whole lot of them milled about the big
center hall, all talking at once and getting in each
others' way.

Barliman Butterbur was accustomed to bustle and
confusion - but now he felt overwhelmed. Probably, he
decided, because unlike the Pony he wasn't quite sure
what should be done about any of it.

Fortunately Beomann was sure and began briskly
sorting them all out. "Dad, you remember Dan. And of
course you know Trotter here."

Barliman blinked rather blankly down at the Hobbit.
He was dressed in the same odd sort of clothes as
Beomann, but white and yellow rather than white and
grey, and of course he was wearing boots - the only
Hobbit he'd ever seen go shod. "Yes, indeed. How'd ye
do, Mr. Boffin." There'd always been whispers that the
Boffins out on Combe Edge were thick as thieves with
the Rangers - but nobody'd really believed it. Not a
fine old family like that. Granted Shirefolk were
peculiar but not that peculiar! Only it seemed they
were.

Trotter's mouth quirked a little, as if he was
reading Barliman's mind, (or more likely his face).
"Very well thank you, Mr. Butterbur." he said civilly
enough. "Sorry for all this confusion, we'll get out
of your way as soon as we can." his glance fell to his
own eye level. "And who is going to tell us where to
put the things?"

"I will." all four Hobbit Matrons chorused, then
glared at each other. Trotter rolled his eyes and
headed for the door to the Little Folk's wing.

"And this," Beomann resumed, unperturbed, "is
Emelin, Luithlin, Moredhel, Sorcha and Keina."

Three of the young Women were tall, sleander
Rangers, one with golden hair. She and a dark haired
girl were dressed in shades of green, a silver brooch
incised with four curious looking letters pinned at
their throat.*2 The other girls wore pewter- and
silver-grey and their brooches were shaped like a bird
with a star on its breast. Two of them looked
different from both Rangers and Bree folk; tall but
fuller of figure, with honey colored skins and dark
brown hair and eyes.

"Maybe some of our girls could help with the
flowers." Beomann suggested pointedly.

The three Butterbur daughers; Peg, May and Lusey,
Goodie their maid, the two Cloverleaf girls; Blossom
and Bird, and Tibby Gromwell, (Old Elmwood's
granddaughter) had been standing in a bunch, listening
and staring at the strangers. Now they blushed and
hastily came forward to relieve the other girls of
part of their burden.
***

The downstairs part of the house had a huge dining
hall and several parlors, big and small, all furnished
with flower bowls of glass or gilt or painted china
that needed filling. The girls seperated into twos and
threes and set to work.

Lusey found herself partnered with one of the
strange dark girls. Her name was Sorcha. "You're not a
Ranger?" she ventured cautiously as they entered a
small parlor with wide windows looking out on the
canal and painted walls.

"Well I don't ride on errantry of course -" the
other girl began, then "Oh! you mean I am not
Dunedain. That is so, my people come from the
highlands of the far north in the shadow of the Great
Mountains."

"But-but that's where the Witch folk live!" Lusey
blushed as the other girl looked at her. "Or so our
stories say." she finished lamely.

"Your stories are right." Sorcha answered, a little
grimly. "The Witch folk of Angmar are close kin to
mine. But *my* ancestors fought on the side of the
Elves and the Edain in the ancient wars, while
*theirs* served Morgoth - the first Dark Lord.

"When the Kings returned to Middle Earth we
remembered our old alliance and befriended them - and
the Men of Angmar remembered their old enmity and
assailed us both."

"So you're Kings' Folk too." Lusey said, very much
relieved.

"Just like you." Sorcha agreed.

Lusey finished arranging the flowers in a china
bowl and put it back on the deep window sill. "Do you
live here?"

"Oh no, we are just visiting - like you." Sorcha
added a few snowdrops to a gold figured bowl and
considered the effect a moment before explaining:
"Emelin and Luithlin are in the service of the Lady
Ellian. Moredhel, my sister Keina and I serve the Lady
Aranel."

"I know Aranel, but who's this Lady Ellian? No
offense meant," she added hastily, "I'm just a little
confused."

Sorcha gave her a kind, if slightly patronizing,
smile. "Lady Ellian is the King's aunt and guards the
Evendim hills in the absence of her mother, the Lady
Ellemir."

"I know her too, we used to call her Nightcrow -"
the other girl's eyebrows lifted. "Well she wouldn't
tell us her real name." Lusey said defensively. Then,
trying to sort it all out: "she's the King's
grandmother and Gil and Aranel's too...so Lady Ellian
is their mother?"

Sorcha shook her head. "Aunt." hesitated a moment,
saw the Bree girl's eyes were fixed attentively upon
her and continued: "The Lady Ellemir and Arador
Dunadan had three children. Their elder son was
Arathorn, the King's father, but he is dead and so is
his wife, the Lady Gilraen."

Lusey nodded, rapt. Genealogical lore was bread and
butter to her and she was well accustomed to tracing
out the complex rammifications of the Butterburs and
other Breelanders.

"Captain Gilvagor and our Lady Aranel are the
children of Ellemir and Arador's younger son, Armegil,
who was slain many years ago along with his wife and
many other folk when Arnost was burned."

"So Nightcrow lost both her sons," Lusey said
slowly. "That's sad."

"It is." Sorcha agreed. "The Lady Ellian is now her
only living child."

"Where does Longbow, I mean Belegon, fit in?" Lusey
wanted to know. "I remember Beomann saying he was
related to the King too."

"Captain Belegon is Lady Ellian's grandson."

"Grandson!" Lusey's eyes opened wide. "Why she must
be terribly old then! And Nightcrow - I mean Lady
Ellemir - even older!"

Sorcha smiled wryly over. "Ellian is one hundred
and thirty-eight, and my Lady her mother one hundred
and eighty-eight. Old even by the measure of the
Dunedain."

"Oh my!" Lusey got her breath back. "Why they must
have dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren
between them!"

"Not dozens." Sorcha said, rather sadly. "The
Dunedain have fewer children than your kind or mine,
and marry very late by our measure."

"Ellian had but two children before her husband was
slain by Trolls. The elder, her son Belecthor, was
Belegon's father but he fell in the War of the Ring.

"He had also a daughter, Angwen, who is Warden of
the South Downs since her husband also fell and her
son is not yet of age. She has four children, and
Captain Belegon three - so far."

"And then there is the Lady Beruthiel, Ellian's
daughter. Her husband died many years ago but she also
has three children; twin sons and a daughter recently
wed."

"So many widows!" Lusey said, hushed.

"Yes," Sorcha agreed soberly, "many widows, and many
orphans." then put back her shoulders and smiled
determinedly. "But no more. We have a king again and
there will be peace in the realm once more." her smile
took on a wry cast. "Eventually.
**********

1. Lusey has in fact chosen the chief state bedroom of
their suite, her parents and the others prefering the
smaller, less ornate chambers meant for junior family
members and attendants.

2. Green is Ellian's color, and the brooch is engraved
with her cipher as a badge.

3. Grey is Aranel's color, and the bird bearing a star
her device, a reference to her foremother Elwing

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Morwen Tindomerel

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: General

Last Updated: 08/07/04

Original Post: 11/25/03

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