My Lord Arathorn... It's a Girl!

Argaladiel (aka Notes From A 400lb Nuzgûl)

4. New Direction, part 1

She looked up, almost irritated, at the Man who had entered the hall. The mural and the shrine weren't places that the elves preferred to visit - too many painful memories, she supposed. Either way, and whatever the reason, she was used to having this space as her own; a private place where she could sit, think, or, as now, read. True, what she had been reading wasn't much - a volume of verse from Elrond's library - but it was her reward to herself for having dealt with all of the reports which had been forwarded up form the Angle for her perusal. There was something very stultifying about an afternoon of grain harvests, wool clips and trade data.

He hadn't noticed her. His attention had been caught by the scene depicted on the wall. She almost smiled, for that image caught so many of her kind. The dramatic picture of Isildur brandishing the hilt-fragment of Narsil at the looming shadow of the Dark Lord. In her own mind, it was overlaid with the stories she had heard about the painting of the mural - it had been twenty years in the sketching alone, for the various parties could not decide whether the scene should be a realistic depiction or a metaphoric abstraction. She rather liked the image herself, thinking it an acceptable blend of both extremes. Most of the elves, however, weren't too keen on the compromise.

Once the man had finished viewing the mural, he turned toward the sword. As he turned, he saw her. She had no idea how he would take the vision - a long, lanky woman, curled up on a bench reading. A nose like an eagle's beak, in a face too strong-boned and heavy-chinned for beauty. Black hair, coarse as a horse's mane, pulled roughly back from her face by a leather thong. To top it all, she was wearing an old and comfortable set of breeches, topped by one of her plainer shirts. She looked calmly at him, waiting for him to speak.

He glanced briefly at her, and nodded.

"Good day to you. I am called Boromir, of Gondor. You?"

Ah, she thought. So this was the eldest son of the steward of Gondor. The information she'd gained from her spies had told her much about him - quick, canny, fearsome in battle, ferociously loyal. Compared to his father, he was somewhat clumsy mentally, although from what she'd heard of the too-clever Steward of Gondor, it was very hard to be more mentally adept than he. She'd often wished for the near-legendary wit and cunning of Denethor at those times where the Dúnedain were being especially fractious.

"I'm of the Dúnedain, friend to Gandalf the Grey," she replied eventually. A truthful enough answer, if a cautious one. One never knew where the spies of the Dark were lurking, after all. She pushed away the reflection that it was highly unlikely that the Dark One's minions could penetrate Rivendell. It suited her purpose to wait and see which way this man's sympathies turned. Things were nervous enough for now.

"I was asked to escort the hobbits from Bree." That much information was readily available, after all.

"Hobbits?" The man appeared not to have heard the term before.

"Halflings," she elaborated.

The word seemed to jolt the man, startling him completely. At least he didn't notice that she'd not given her name. However, the reaction was intriguing. Why would news of halflings be so startling? She looked at him again. It seemed strange that he would not have heard of the small folk, given their unique natures. To be sure, they were private enough creatures most of the time, and the Shire patrols very rarely encountered them, most of the word about them coming from Bree. But according to most of the Rangers she'd spoken with, their existence was known of in Laketown. Why would they not be known of in Gondor?

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: Meg Thornton

Status: Beta

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 04/27/03

Original Post: 01/15/03

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