Many Guises and Many Names
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Courtly Love: 8. Morwen and Thengel
'Oh my lady Morwen, I have missed you!' he cried and grasped her to him until she could hardly breathe. For not only were her ribs constricted, but his ripe, masculine odour was almost overpowering.
‘Have you not washed since you left the White City, my lord?’ she gasped.
She drew back so that she could look into his face and smiled, grey eyes shining. He grinned, ignoring the slight against his dignity.
'I shall not ride to Gondor again without you. It is too costly a price to be parted for so long.'
'But you know how I hate to travel,' she laughed, 'and Minas Tirith is so dusty. And if we must go then you must promise to bathe in the river on the journey. Then let us at least visit Lossarnach so that I may walk in the olive groves again and see my old home.'
'An excellent bargain, my queen. Be sure that I shall keep my word. And how have you amused yourself in my absence?'
The Queen regarded her husband sternly. 'I fear that I nearly did violence to lord Eothain. He took your words too much to heart. That alone would drive me to Minas Tirith with you next time, for he is more tiresome than many days of rain.'
'I am sorry. A worthy protector, but he has less conversation than Théoden's nurse.'
'Less conversation? I never heard a man take so long to say so little. And he wore out my ears with his platitudes. I should have had more peace with the jackdaws.'
'Was there nothing to lighten your heart?'
Morwen smiled. 'A stranger has come to Edoras. He seeks to serve you.'
'All the men of Rohan serve me and Edoras draws then like moths to the flame.'
'This fellow is not of Rohan, but a young nobleman from the north.'
That caught his attention.
'He has certain qualities that intrigue me. And Gálmód had long talk with him but learnt very little.'
'He is close then, if his is not a mute.’
‘But Gálmód likes him I think.'
'As do you, I fear,' laughed the king. 'I shall certainly not go abroad again without you and if I find that Éothain has failed in his duty, I shall have him gelded.'
'Blame not Éothain, but your absence, Thengel, my love,' murmured the queen as she slipped a hand inside his coat and dropped it deftly to the floor.
‘Then I shall swiftly make amends,’ answered Thengel and his fingers began to search for the laces on her gown. But Morwen slipped beyond the reach of his great hands.
‘Not until you are clean, sir, even if I have to throw you into a horse trough myself. Besides we have company at our board this evening.’
Thengel groaned. ‘Then I shall have them thrown out.’
‘You shall not, my lord! If you come home unannounced then you should not expect to find the queen alone and awaiting your bidding.’
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