Many Guises and Many Names
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Lords of Gondor: 3. Of History and Horses
Aragorn started, looked up from the huge old tome
open on the table before him to see the Steward
standing in the library door. "Would that I were, my
lord," he answered, recovering himself. "I can't make
head or tail of this."
Ecthelion came around the table for a closer look
and laughed. "I'm not surprised. Master Thinfang owed
his appointment to his lineage, not his scholarship.
His grammar and spelling were, to say the least,
"His handwriting's none the best either." Aragorn
"I sometimes think it's a mistake to keep our
Annals in Quenya when there are so few today who know
the tongue," Ecthelion said casually, "but it is our
Aragorn, realizing he had given himself away,
raised his eyes to meet the Steward's lucent, amused
gaze. "And where did you learn your Quenya, Captain?"
"From my uncle, who is learned in many languages."
he answered truthfully.
"Well, the better he taught you the more
indecipherable you will find poor Thinfang."
Ecthelion shoved the huge Annal aside, glanced over
the other books on the table and drew one closer.
"I'm sure you'll find Master Istimar easier going."
Aragorn turned the pages. "Yes, this is much
better. He was Elven taught wasn't he? By one of the
Teleri if I'm not mistaken."
"Exactly right. There were still Eldar living at
Edhellonde in his day." Ecthelion smiled. "But I
misdoubt you came in here to study the grammar and
epigraphy of our official historians."
"I had thought to learn more of the history of
Gondor, of which I know very little." Aragorn
"A large subject which might well take a lifetime
to master." the Steward observed, settling himself on
the edge of the table. "But then I have had a lifetime
to study it. Perhaps, Captain, it would be simpler to
ask me your questions instead of searching through all
A little girl's voice, furious and fighting back
tears, floated through the open stable doors. "You
Answered by a Man's, edged with exasperation. "Be
reasonable Finduilas, he is far to big for you."
A third voice, slightly out of breath. "She will
"Excuse me." Barahir said to the horse he was
tending and recieved a forgiving whicker in return.
Then went out to see what was going on.
The Prince of Dol Amroth, remembered from the
Steward's audience, had entered the stable yard beside
a pretty, golden haired little girl wearing a stormy
expression. Followed by the Steward's young heir
struggling with one of the great Numenorean warhorses,
a fine chestnut at least eighteen hands high, (1)
determinedly trying to push past him to reach the
"Look at him!" Adrahil snapped, "she could never
control him no matter how tall she grows."
"If I may, my lord." Barahir interupted firmly.
"The young lady's horse senses she is distressed and
is trying to reach her." to Finduilas. "Let him see
you're all right, m'lady."
She went to the horse and he calmed immediately,
nuzzling her hair and blowing contentedly into her
ear, making her giggle.
Denethor backed away, shot Adrahil a look of muted
triumph. "You see? He's gentle as a kitten with her."
"No question but the beast's set his heart on the
young lady." Barahir agreed. "Likely he'll pine away
if you part them."
"And your daughter will never forgive you."
Denethor added pointedly
Adrahil gave both young men a decidedly harried
look. "A warhorse for a lady's palfrey!"
"If you grudge the expense, sir, I would be glad to
-" Denethor began smoothly.
"That's not the point at all!" the Prince threw up
his hands. "Oh, very well. I see I must yield!"
"Oh, thank you, Papa!" face glowing Finduilas threw
herself into her father's arms then whirled round to
kiss Denethor's cheek. "And thank you too!"
"Well see to your horse, daughter." the Prince told
her. "If I may have a word with you my Lord Denethor?"
They left together and the Princess giggled. "Poor
Denethor, now Papa's going to scold him for letting me
pick such a big horse."
"Looks to me like he did the picking." Barahir
observed nodding to the stallion towering over her.
"Great Horses do that sometimes, as I know to my
"What do you mean?" Finduilas asked curiously as he
held a stall door open for her.
"My first horse, or rather what was supposed to be
my first horse, set his heart on my little sister
instead." Barahir smiled reminiscently. "I was *very*
annoyed - but there was nothing to be done about it.
My uncle had to send for another horse for me."
"How old was she?"
"Oh, about your age. Thirteen."
Finduilas glowed even brighter. Barahir hid a
smile. He was still young enough to remember the
surest way to please a child is to take her - or him -
for older than she is.
Ecthelion helped Aragorn collect his notes, glanced
at the elegant Feanorean script, and smiled. "I see you
were taught by a Noldo."
"Rather my Uncle was." Aragorn answered easily. "I
thank you for your help, my lord."
"Not at all," the Steward answered sincerely. "I've
found it most interesting and instructive."
"I am happy you should think so." They looked at
each other from behind polite masks. Aragorn could see
Ecthelion was pleased with himself - as if some theory
had been confirmed. And yet for all that Aragorn was
quite sure the Steward had come nowhere near the
1. Think a somewhat more gracile clydesdale. Descended
from horses Men brought with them into Beleriand
crossed with the Elven mounts of their allies and bred
for size, big horses meant to carry a tall people.
Very intelligent with a tendency to bond strongly to
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