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Aldarion visits Erendis and Ancalimë in Emerië

Event Type: General

Age: 2nd Age - Pre-Rings

Dates: October 2, 0882 ~ October 3, 0882

Description:
Presenting [Gil-galad's letter] to Meneldur [Aldarion] bowed and left the chamber; and within an hour he took horse and rode away, though night was falling. With him he had but two companions, men from his ship: Henderch of the Westlands, and Ulbar who came from Emerië.

Riding hard they came to Emerië at nightfall of the next day, and men and horses were weary. Cold and white looked the house on the hill in a last gleam of sunset under cloud. He blew horn-call as soon as he saw it from afar.

As he leapt from his horse in the forecourt he saw Erendis: clad in white she stood upon the steps that went up to the pillars before the door. She held herself high, but as he drew near he saw that she was pale and her eyes over-bright.

"You come late, my lord," she said. "I had long ceased to expect you. I fear that there is no such welcome prepared for you as I had made when you were due."

"Mariners are not hard to please," he said.

"That is well," she said; and she turned back into the house and left him. Then two women came forward, and an old crone who went down the steps. As Aldarion went in she said to the men in a loud voice so that he could hear her: "There is no lodging for you here. Go down to the homestead at the hill's foot!"

"No, Zamîn," said Ulbar. "I'll not stay. I am for home, by the Lord Aldarion's leave. Is all well there?"

"Well enough," said she. "Your son has eaten himself out of your memory. But go, and find your own answers! You'll be warmer there than your Captain."

Erendis did not come to the table at his late evening-meal, and Aldarion was served by women in a room apart. But before he was done she entered, and said before the women: "You will be weary, my lord, after such haste. A guest-room is made ready for you, when you will. My women will wait on you. If you are cold, call for fire."

Aldarion made no answer. He went early to the bedchamber, and being now weary indeed he cast himself on the bed and forgot soon the shadows of Middle-earth and of Númenor in a heavy sleep. But at cockcrow he awoke to a great disquiet and anger. He rose at once, and thought to go without noise from the house: he would find his man Henderch and the horses, and ride to his kinsman Hallatan, the sheep-lord of Hyarastorni. Later he would summon Erendis to bring his daughter to Armenelos, and not have dealings with her upon her own ground. But as he went out towards the doors Erendis came forward. She had not lain in bed that night, and she stood before him on the threshold.

"You leave more promptly than you came, my lord," she said. "I hope that (being a mariner) you have not found this house of women irksome already, to go thus before your business is done. Indeed, what business brought you hither? May I learn it before you leave?"

"I was told in Armenelos that my wife was here, and had removed my daughter hither," he answered. "As to the wife I am mistaken, it seems, but have I not a daughter?"

"You had one some years ago," she said. "But my daughter has not yet risen."

"Then let her rise, while I go for my horse," said Aldarion.

Erendis would have withheld Ancalimë from meeting him at that time; but she feared to go so far as to lose the King's favour, and the Council had long shown their displeasure at the upbringing of the child in the country. Therefore when Aldarion rode back, with Henderch beside him, Ancalimë stood beside her mother on the threshold. She stood erect and stiff as her mother, and made him no courtesy as he dismounted and came up the steps towards her. "Who are you?" she said. "And why do you bid me to rise so early, before the house is stirring?"

Aldarion looked at her keenly, and though his face was stern he smiled within: for he saw there a child of his own, rather than of Erendis, for all her schooling.

"You knew me once, Lady Ancalimë," he said, "but no matter. Today I am but a messenger from Armenelos, to remind you that you are the daughter of the King's Heir; and (so far as I can now see) you shall be his Heir in your turn. You will not always dwell here. But go back to your bed now, my lady, until your maidservant wakes, if you will. I am in haste to see the King. Farewell!" He kissed the hand of Ancalimë and went down the steps; then he mounted and rode away with a wave of his hand.

Erendis alone at a window watched him riding down the hill, and she marked that he rode towards Hyarastorni and not towards Armenelos. Then she wept, from grief, but still more from anger. She had looked for some penitence, that she might extend after rebuke pardon if prayed for; but he had dealt with her as if she were the offender, and ignored her before her daughter. Too late she remembered the words of Núneth long before, and she saw Aldarion now as something large and not to be tamed, driven by a fierce will, more perilous when chill. She rose, and turned from the window, thinking of her wrongs. "Perilous!" she said. "I am steel hard to break. So he would find even were he the King of Númenor."

Aldarion rode on to Hyarastorni, the house of Hallatan his cousin; for he had a mind to rest there a while and take thought. When he came near, he heard the sound of music, and he found the shepherds making merry for the homecoming of Ulbar, with many marvellous tales and many gifts; and the wife of Ulbar garlanded was dancing with him to the playing of pipes. At first none observed him, and he sat on his horse watching with a smile; but then suddenly Ulbar cried out "The Great Captain!" and Îbal his son ran forward to Aldarion's stirrup. "Lord Captain!" he said eagerly. "What is it? I am in haste," said Aldarion; for now his mood was changed, and he felt wrathful and bitter.

"I would but ask," said the boy, "how old must a man be, before he may go over sea in a ship, like my father?"

"As old as the hills, and with no other hope in life," said Aldarion. "Or whenever he has a mind! But your mother, Ulbar's son: will she not greet me?"

When Ulbar's wife came forward Aldarion took her hand. "Will you receive this of me?" he said. "It is but little return for six years of good man's aid that you gave me." Then from a wallet under his tunic he took a jewel red like fire, upon a band of gold, and he pressed it into her hand. "From the King of the Elves it came," he said. "But he will think it well-bestowed, when I tell him." Then Aldarion bade farewell to the people there, and rode away, having no mind now to stay in that house. When Hallatan heard of his strange coming and going he marvelled, until more news ran through the countryside.

Aldarion rode only a short way from Hyarastorni and then he stayed his horse, and spoke to Henderch his companion. "Whatever welcome awaits you, friend, out West, I will not keep you from it. Ride now home with my thanks. I have a mind to go alone."

"It is not fitting, Lord Captain," said Henderch. "It is not," said Aldarion. "But that is the way of it. Farewell!"

Then he rode on alone to Armenelos, and never again set foot in Emerië.

Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 2, Aldarion and Erendis

Contributors:
Tanaqui 5Dec05

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