Banner, The: 1. The Banner

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1. The Banner

So much black cloth has not been seen here for an Age. It swathes the room, covering fair-carved wood with its heaviness.

She sits in the middle of it, the fabric draped like a skirt around her, and sews. Tiny, neat stitches, the stitches her mother taught her thousands of years before. White and silver thread, sparkling amid the darkness, and the white skin of her arms and neck luminescent in the evening light.

Sometimes her father comes and watches her at work. Neither of them says anything. There is nothing more to be said, for her choice is made, irrevocable now. She attaches a star to the material, stretching it so it is taut, and stitching. Seven stars, and a crown, and the many branches of the Tree in thick glittering thread.

When she lays down the cloth to rest, she dreams of him, placing him where her imagination takes her. She has been sewing now for months. She broke only when he did come home, dirty and weary, accompanying the little folk, and then she folded away the black material in a chest. Better, maybe, if he did not know about it, not yet.

But he guessed anyway, seeing the minuscule marks where the needle had pricked her finger, and a spare bobbin of silver thread on a table. He smiled, and gathered her to him, and said nothing.

She took the sewing out again when they left, spending her days in her sunlit room. Time is running out. And so she stitches and embroiders, and finally hems the piece. Her brothers find her wood and have it carved and shaped, and before they too set out, she spreads out the cloth and stands back.

In the moonlight, the stars reflect a silver glow, and the Tree glistens, and the crown sparkles. She gazes for a while, and then carefully, tenderly, rolls up the banner and fastens silver cords around it.

The next day, she hands the furled banner to her brothers, and kisses them farewell, and watches them ride off amid the host of Men, not knowing whether she shall ever see it, or them – or him – again.

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.

Story Information

Author: Eledhwen

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: General

Rating: General

Last Updated: 03/11/03

Original Post: 03/05/03

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