3. An Unexpected Day Off
It was still early morning, so nothing notable happened yet. She was tempted to lock herself in her room and just read the Rohirric poetry book for awhile, but she could only tolerate so many odes to horses. She wondered if the Rohirrim treated horses like the ancient Egyptians treated cats. It certainly seemed so from the book she read, though they can't possibly be as fervent as the Egyptians. She had yet to read a poem that mentioned any shrines dedicated to horse gods or goddesses.
Lisette paused in front of Mírwen's room. Perhaps if she wasn't busy, Lisette could intrude and ask a few questions about Gondor. After all, Lady Mírwen had always been accomodating about her curiosity before. Lisette raised her hand to knock on the door--
"Stop pestering me with questions, Denethor! Have you any idea how early it is?" Mírwen sounded irritated.
Lisette's hand stopped in mid-air. She looked around guiltily, then pressed her ear to the door and listened in.
"Ah, so not even you are thrilled about early-morning intrusions, dear sister?" Denethor, on the other hand, sounded perfectly awake, and even... perky? No. The word 'perky' and Denethor should never be said in the same sentence. He sounded mildly amused. Yes, that was a better description.
"I know not what you speak of, dearest brother, but I advise that you leave this room immediately if you do not wish to suffer my wrath."
"Oh? You mean to tell me that you have no knowledge of sending your servant girl to wake me up at an inconveniently early hour?"
"Absolutely not. I do apologize on her behalf if that poor girl did wake you up. She is still unaccustomed to these halls, and may have been lost."
Lisette had to stifle an indignant protest. How unfair! her mind wailed. I haven't been lost since four months ago! And that wasn't really my fault. Who knew that the kitchen door looked identical to Ecthelion's door? Oh well, she sighed. At least the kitchen help took pity on me, and gave me some food.
"Lost? An interesting theory, considering that the girl knew about the book I borrowed from you, then."
"Silly brother. Do you think that you are the only one I lend my books to?"
"And what of the fact that she knew about a certain council? A certain non-existent council, no less. I do not think that she would dare fabricate such things herself."
"Of course not. But is it not inconceivable that she misheard me?"
"Please, Mírwen. I am no longer a four-year-old boy."
"Oh, very well. But you must admit, you have no one to blame but yourself for being so absent-minded of late. I simply sent you a little reminder."
"A costly little reminder! I had to relinquish a rather valuable book of poetry to keep the servant girl quiet."
Outside the room, Lisette's eyes widened. So that's why he gave her that book. He was bribing her! And much to her embarrassment, it had worked, too.
"Again, Denethor, your own fault. If you were not so worried about having your reputation of perfect punctuality ruined, the encounter would have cost you nothing."
"You do realize that this occasion calls for revenge, yes?"
"I look forward to it."
With that, the door opened, and Lisette found herself knocked to the floor.
"You again?" Denethor gave an exasperated sigh as he looked at her, and shook his head. "Do not ask me for more books, Nellas, for I have none to spare. Our guests from Rohan will be arriving tomorrow, though. Perhaps you can ask them instead."
Lisette managed a weak smile, and quickly scrambled off. Note to self, she thought. Work harder on eavesdropping skills.
Once safely in her room, she pondered her next move. One of the things hammered into her head while she was still in training for time travel was that she must keep a low profile. While she didn't need to worry about the death of a fly radically altering the future, her presence needed to be as unremarkable as possible. That meant not rousing the suspicions of the people around her.
So far, she'd been able to pretend that her cultural ignorance was due to her simple upbringing in Rohan. The arrival of the Rohirrim definitely meant trouble for her. She was relatively sure that she could speak their language properly, but what of their customs and traditions? Just to be safe, she'd best brush up on her knowledge of horses. And read more of that poetry book.
To be continued...
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.