1. Bride's Party
The drink was passed around again, and the women began to demand a tale of the new bride. Blushing furiously, she disclaimed, yet the call went around louder and louder. Eventually even the Queen of Gondor herself added her voice to the pleadings.
"Well," came the reply from Éowyn, "I know but one tale suitable for a gathering such as this."
"Long ago, there lived a man who wed a woman. The woman had been a successful whore, so successful at her trade that she had earned enough coin to keep her husband in luxury for many, many years. For her part, the woman was faithful to her husband, keeping him well and safe, and lavishing care upon him. Yet her husband was a foolish man, a spendthrift, and a wastrel. So it came to pass that the man eventually spent the last of his wife's coin.
"'Get you back to the whoring, woman,' was his answer to this dilemma. Yet his wife demurred strongly, and many were her protests, for she truly loved this man, and did not wish to go back to whoring. She wished to be faithful to him. However, her husband was adamant in his calls for her to return to whoring, so that he might be kept in the style to which he had become accustomed.
"In the end, it came to the day where he threatened to put his wife aside for another woman if she would not return to whoring and earn him coin to spend. At this, the wife's face grew shocked, and she capitulated to his demands. One condition alone did she place on her return. It would be for five days only, and whatever money she earned in that time her husband must be content with.
"Her husband agreed eagerly, certain that his wife would be able to earn sufficient a sum within five days to keep him in luxury for many years more, by which time he was sure to have found another woman who would be able to support his taste for lavish spending. So off the wife went, and for five days, her husband saw her not.
"The husband heard much of his wife's activities, however. For she was not discreet in her return to her old profession, and chose to make this as public as possible. The husband heard daily, almost hourly, of some new lover that she would take to her bed, and the flame of jealousy burned within him. So he chose to concentrate on the coin that his wife would bring him, and the luxury in which he could live for the rest of his life, after she had finished this five days of whoring.
"At last, on the morning of the sixth day, she returned to their house, and into his hand she poured five silver pieces and a single copper. At this, the husband was stunned, looking at his wife in disbelief.
"'Who was the miserly bastard who gave you the copper?' he asked, incredulous that any man could be so churlish.
"The wife looked directly at him, and smiled. 'Oh, they *all* gave me a copper,' she replied."
There was a small silence as the ladies of the court of Edoras digested the story. Then the silence was interrupted by a sound that had been unheard throughout the evening. All of them turned, to see the Queen of Gondor, Lady Arwen Undomiel, laughing helplessly.
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.