Many Guises and Many Names
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Lords of Gondor: 2. The Steward's Heir and the Princess
stair of the White Tower beside the Steward. "Don't
trust them, Father, they must have some shameful
reason for hiding their names and lineage!"
"I think not." Ecthelion answered calmly, gave his
son a quizzical, sidelong glance. "Clearly they are of
"So are the Corsairs of Umbar." Denethor said
"Not Corsairs." Adrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, said
decisively from the Steward's left. "There's Elven
"Like yours?" Ecthelion asked.
"No, not like mine." Adrahil said soberly. "My
ancestress was a silvan Elf of Lorien and bequeathed
to us the fair hair of her people. Dark hair and grey
eyes are the mark of the High Elves of the West."
A sentry opened a door off a landing for them and
they passed into a curving corridor high up in the
"King Earnur wrote the women and children of the
North Kingdom were given refuge by the Elves of
Lindon." Ecthelion mused. "I wonder, could their blood
have mingled over the long years?"
"If that were so why should any wish to hide it?"
Denethor demanded irritably. "There is no shame in
Dunedain blood, or Elven!"
"That I cannot answer, son. But of this much I am
certain; whatever our friends are hiding it is not
Denethor snorted, but before he could continue the
argument a door opened and a golden haired little girl
ran laughing to Adrahil's arms.
Ecthelion and his son both smiled down on her. "Why
Lady Finduilas," said the Steward, "what brings you to
"The shops of the third circle." her father
answered. "Finduilas has a birthday coming up, she
must choose her present."
"How old will you be, my lady?" Denethor asked,
"nine isn't it?"
The girl drew herself up to her full height and
gave the Steward's heir a cold look. "Eleven!"
"I beg your pardon, Princess." he said quickly,
appropriately chastened. "I'd lost track of the
"I'll forgive you if you'll be my escort, Lord
Denethor." she glanced at her father. "Papa won't let
me go down to the shops alone and nobody will trouble
to go with me."
"I'm sure the Lord Denethor has other calls on his
time -" Adrahil began.
"In fact I believe I have completed my duties for
the day." Denethor interupted, glanced at his father.
"With your permission, sir?"
Ecthelion nodded. His son started to take
Finduilas' hand, caught himself mid-gesture and
instead offered his arm.
She rewarded his tact with a beaming smile, laying
her small hand on his sleeve as primly as any court
lady. They walked off together.
"Now Finduilas," Denethor said quietly, after a few
turns had taken them out of sight and hearing of their
fathers, "you know as well as I that any of my mother's
women would be glad to chaperone you within the city.
So why, may I ask, do you specifically require *my*
"I need your advice." she answered seriously. "I
don't want any silly girls' fripperies for *this*
birthday. I want a horse, and I'm not quite sure how
to choose one."
"But surely you have a horse." Denethor protested
"I have a *pony*!" she said emphatically. "A fat,
sleepy old pony. I want a real horse, one that can run
He tilted his head quizzically. "Will your father
"He'll have no choice." she answered firmly. "He
promised to buy me whatever I wanted." smiled a little
smugly. "*He* thinks it will be dresses or jewels like
my sister Ivriniel. But he's given his word and I will
hold him to it!"
Denethor fought back a smile. "I must remember not
to make you any open ended promises, Princess."
"That went well didn't it?" Aragorn said placidly
as they passed the guards in the royal livery at the
gate to the Court of the Tree.
"Ecthelion is suspicious." Barahir pointed out, but
"He is intrigued." Aragorn corrected. "We need have
no fear of him."
"I don't." Barahir gave his brother a sidelong
glance. "Ecthelion's heir is another matter."
"Yes." Aragorn agreed thoughtfully. "We must try to
make a friend of him."
"Why?" Barahir demanded. "We won't be in Gondor
"Not this time." Aragorn answered somberly. "But we
will be coming back someday - to stay."
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