Stella, or the Nuzgul are Eating Warg Alive
4. A Meeting
"You are no elf," Boromir observed. The library was quiet and dusky, making him ashamed to break the woman's serene silence. She gave him an arch look, but refrained from commenting as he sat down next to her. "You seek something here as well?"
"A place to read in peace," she replied, returning to her book.
"Forgive me for the interruption, mistress, but it has been a very long, lonesome journey. I had hoped that I might find a friend here, but if you would prefer not to be bothered, I shall leave you to your book." Boromir bowed, rising regretfully.
"I thank you sir. If you wish for company, there is quite a variety of books. You could find one and make yourself comfortable. The library isn't reserved." Her glance did not appear to waver from the text.
Boromir was not quite sure what to make of her offer. "I may do that, mistress." He rose to browse the shelves, somewhat half-heartedly. The great majority was written in elvish of some form or another. They would be right up Faramir's alley, but he had forgotten most of the language, having never had to use it since childhood lessons. Nobles and scholars of the white city spoke it, but soldiers learned their commands in Westron.
Boromir flipped open a book at random, returning towards the woman on the bench. "There is also a variety of seats. And this one is reserved," she said without looking up.
So much for interacting with a member of his own race. Boromir sighed and returned the book to the shelf, deciding that perhaps he ought to try to find the dwarf or the halfings instead. The latter, at least, seemed to be quite cheery folk from what little Boromir had seen of them. Almost too cheery. It just made him feel even more homesick, to see such happy-go-lucky little lads. His eyes wandered the library aimlessly as he tried to decide on a course of action. Absently, he noticed a mural upon the wall depicting some ancient battle scene. A closer look revealed that this painting was not focused on elves, for once.
Unconsciously, his fingers reached out to touch the painted figures, locked forever in this moment of combat, on the edge of victory. The Dark Lord was as intimidating as he had been in any of those old picture books Boromir's mother had read to him and his brother as children. Tall and foreboding, his ring hand upon the blade and readying for a downward swing… Boromir's finger lingered upon the golden paint, so bright against the reds, blacks, and greys that threatened to overwhelm the rest of the painting. His eyes turned to Isildur. How small the figure seemed in comparision, barely larger than Boromir's hand. Even if he were to rest his entire forearm against the mural, the man did not think he could cover up Sauron.
"Quite a blade, to manage this," he murmured bemusedly. Unseen, the woman's head shot up from her book. She eyed him suspiciously from across the room. "And yet, there is nothing of it left." His thumb, with its oft-abused nail, pushed into the canvass.
"How do you know?" Boromir jerked back to the present, turning to find that he at last commanded her full attention, her book lain aside unmarked. Those grey eyes were rather disconcerting, actually, much like his father's in their ability to see everything.
"How do I know what, mistress?" He attempted to keep a civil tone, failing quite miserably.
"If it is gone," she prompted.
"The sword? Come, mistress, 'twas lost with the last of Elendil's heirs." With a last glance at the painting, he turned towards the door. Better to leave now, when he could spark her interest, than later, after he'd made a thorough ass of himself. He stopped at the silky sound of a drawn blade.
"So Isildur's heirs are lost," the woman said softly, balancing the broken hilt of a sword upon her knees. It didn't look like much, chipped and worn as if someone had continued to use it long after the blade had been broken. There was enough left that it could be used as a club, or a long-handled knife, but the break was jagged and unwieldly. Somehow, though, her hand looked right upon the handle, as if she were meant to use it and had, over the years.
"So they are." Who was she? Boromir asked himself. The dark hair and gray eyes spoke of Numenorean parentage, but her dress was not of any Gondorian court that Boromir had attended, nor did she wear the rows of braids that Dunedain women were famous for. If anything, Boromir would describe her clothing as elvish, but she was obviously not one of his host's race. The woven bracelet she wore looked somehow familiar to Boromir, but he could not quite place it. Crow feathers braided into blond hair… One of his grandfather's liegemen from foreign lands had worn something similar. One of the Rohirrim, he thought. But this dark-haired woman was a Rohirric swordswoman? Boromir thought not. "May I?" he asked, reaching for the weapon upon her lap.
"If you wish," she shrugged, passing him the blade, "but a wise man would be cautious with it."
Boromir ran his finger against the edge, drawing blood. "Still sharp."
"Don't say I didn't warn you." There was a light smile on her face as he regarded her hilt with the critical air of a lifelong warrior testing an unfamilar weapon.
"'Tis a proud blade," Boromir decreed. "The balance is off, but it's light, and not about to shatter any more than it already has. But honestly, who fights with a broken sword?"
"One who must, or one who honors him that must," the woman said firmly, putting her hand below his on the hilt. "You can either complain that your sword's balance is off, or you can find where its balance point is." He allowed her to reclaim the blade, stepping back as she raised it briefly into the light before resheathing it. "It has been the weapon of my forefathers for generations."
"You broke it recently, and have come to have it reforged, then?" Boromir grasped her purpose at last, or so he supposed.
"Half of that is right." She nodded agreeably. "It has been long since my ancestors' sword was whole, but its time comes soon. Now, if you will excuse me, sir, I've a book I'd like to read." Without another word, she picked her elvish tome back up and flipped in search of her lost page. Boromir looked once more between the painting and the strange, dark, skinny woman with her elven fashions, Rohirric bracelet, and broken sword. She was an odd one, certainly.
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.