6. Learning Curves
Rowena flashed Legolas her brilliant smile. “That would be wonderful. Please, come in.” Legolas walked by her and made his way to the balcony and placed his burden on the table. Rowena followed him out and sat down. On the tray were all sorts of different things, from fruit to oatmeal to orange juice. “You are so thoughtful Legolas. Thank you,” Rowena said when Legolas sat down next to her.
“No need to thank me. No one should have to be alone in the morning, especially when they are in a new environment.”
“I appreciate your thoughtfulness Legolas. Dol Amroth has been my home ever since I can remember, and now to be here in an almost unknown place is quite scary.”
“There is no reason to be scared here. Aragorn and Arwen are the most gracious of hosts and will make sure you are completely taken care of. They always have with me.”
“I know, but the apprehension is still there.” Rowena again flashed her smile, washing away the frown that had begun to form. “So, who gets the honor of being my first teacher?”
“Aragorn gets that pleasure. He’s supposed to take you to the armory so you can receive your long sword. I’m supposed to come along to see that your short swords were created with care.”
“Wonderful! So we will take care of two things at one time.”
“That is the idea Rowena. I am sure that we will have a rewarding time at the armory.”
Rowena and Legolas finished their breakfast together. When they finished, Legolas left Rowena alone so she could change into the appropriate attire. After she finished changing, she met Legolas and Aragorn at the bottom of the grand staircase. With the two elves in tow, Aragorn made his way to the armory.
It didn’t take them long to find their way, the sound of metal against metal and the radiating heat was more than enough to give the building away. As they entered, the workers stopped what they were doing and bowed in the direction of their king. “Go about your business, I’ll cause no trouble. Would someone tell me where Griffith is?”
A craftsman in the corner answered Aragorn’s call. “He’s in the finishing room my lord, polishing and binding some of the newest swords.”
“Thank you,” Aragorn said to the worker.
“It is always a pleasure to be of service to the king.” The worker bowed again and returned to his work.
“Elessar, who is Griffith,” Rowena asked in earnest.
“Griffith is the master craftsman of the armory and personally creates the weapons for the royal household. I gave him the special task to create the weapons for you and your soon to be growing abilities. I am almost sure that the swords he is finishing are the ones that you will be using for quite a long time.”
“How incredibly wonderful! I am sure his work will be of the highest caliber.”
“Of that I have no doubt,” Aragorn said with a smile.
The trio soon came to the finishing room, and there was Griffith putting the final touches on a masterpiece of a sword. “King Elessar,” Griffith said with a near flourish. “How may I be of service?”
“First Griffith, may I introduce Rowena Eararma, the elf-lady of Dol Amroth. She will be the owner of the swords I asked you to forge.”
Griffith’s smile grew large when he looked at Rowena and realized her position. He extended his hand in friendship. “It is an honor to meet you milady.”
Rowena returned the gesture. “And I you master Griffith. I want to extend my gratitude to you for helping me on my journey.” As she held Griffith’s hand, she noticed how gnarled and stained they were from his work. He didn’t seem to mind and almost looked like he treasured the scars he had received in the king’s service.
“It is no trouble Lady Rowena; I am honored to be chosen out of all the craftsmen in Gondor to help you complete your task. Elessar has told me that you are a beginner in the ways of combat.”
“Indeed I am. I am sure that you took that into consideration when you were at the forge.”
A twinkle came to Griffith’s eye. “You do your race credit with that observation milady. Yes, I did make the sword lighter than I would in other cases. Come, let me show you.”
Griffith ventured deeper into the darkness of the finishing room, with Rowena, Aragorn, and Legolas following him. Suddenly Griffith stopped and turned around to face his king and the two elves. “Here it is milady. Please, pick it up and see how it feels.” He pointed toward a sword sitting on a workbench. Rowena couldn’t believe what she saw. Her sword was one of the most magnificent works she had seen. The hilt was wrapped in leather so black it almost matched the color of her hair and there was a single blue stone in the bridge of the hilt. The blade had been etched with elvish script that shined when the light caught the letters. The metal had been polished so well that Rowena could perfectly see her features when she looked at it up close.
She hardly dare pick it up, fearing she would somehow damage its beauty. When she did, it was light enough not to feel heavy, but still gave a little resistance when she started to swing it.
“Griffith, this is marvelous. How can I ever thank you for making such fine a weapon?”
“No need to thank me milady, your smile is thanks enough. I had finished your short swords earlier and placed them in safe keeping away from the fires of the forge. Let me go retrieve them for you.” With that Griffith left the trio alone in the finishing room.
Aragorn smiled with pride when he saw that the sword fit the bearer. “Griffith has an uncanny ability to match the weapon with the owner.”
“That he does Elessar,” Rowena replied. She handed the sword to Legolas. “Tell me, what do the inscriptions say?”
Legolas looked over the inscriptions carefully. “There are several here. They are mostly battle cries and blessings. One says ‘your heart is that of the lion’, another reads ‘death to our foes’. The script across the bridge reads ‘valiant one’ and the last one reads ‘you are a mighty warrior’.”
Griffith returned with the two short swords. When Legolas gave the sword back to Rowena, Griffith handed the short swords to Legolas. “Do these meet with your approval, prince?”
The smaller daggers were smaller representations of the larger sword with the same hilt and jewel imbedded inside. There weren’t as many inscriptions on the short swords; in fact only one remained, ‘valiant one’. Legolas tested the weight and proportions of the daggers and was satisfied with their craftsmanship. Legolas gave them to Rowena when he finished inspecting them. “These now belong to you. With them, you carry a great responsibility to only use them in defense and not in anger toward others. Do you understand?”
“I do Legolas. Weapons of this fashion are meant to be treated with respect, and I will with all my being.”
When Rowena finished, Griffith spoke. “We have not finished crafting the scabbards for the long and short swords my lord Elessar. You may take the swords back with you and we will deliver the rest to Lady Rowena as soon as they are finished.”
“That sounds like a very good plan. Thank you for all your work Griffith; it is greatly appreciated by all three of us.”
“The honor was all mine milord. I will complete my task with the greatest of speed.”
“There is no need for you to rush your work, take all the time that is needed.”
Griffith bowed. “Yes milord, thank you milord.” He then turned from the three and continued to complete his work. Aragorn took the weapons from Rowena. “I’ll take these back to the castle for you, I wouldn’t want to see you harmed.”
“That is quite kind of you Aragorn. Thank you.”
“My pleasure.” Again the company made their way back to the castle, but stopped by the training grounds first to deposit the swords.
Aragorn turned to Rowena. “Do you want your first lesson now?”
“If it is not too much trouble.”
“No trouble at all my dear. First off, show me how to properly hold your sword.”
Aragorn handed the weapon to Rowena, who took it in both of her hands. “Is this good?”
“Amazingly yes. Are you sure you’ve never handled a sword in your life?”
“I’ve tried a few times, but never done anything serious with it. I was hoping that these lessons might bring out whatever talent I might have.”
“If your talent is as vast as your wit, I’m sure I’ll have no trouble with you.”
Aragorn took the next few hours showing her the basics of sword play; how to block shots and how to give them. Rowena was a fast learner and easily picked up the skills that Aragorn showed her.
All that time Legolas stood by and watched. He didn’t mind though, just to watch Rowena and see her so focused was almost pleasurable. She had a grace with her sword that he had never seen. Elves normally didn’t use long swords; they were the weapons of men, elves used archery and speed as their weapons of choice. He was eager to see her talent for the bow if she showed so much promise with the sword. He was brought out of his thoughts by Aragorn’s voice. “Legolas, could you take Rowena up to see Arwen? I have some matters to attend to in the city.”
“As you wish.” Aragorn left the two elves standing in the field and started down toward the lower tiers of Minas Tirith. Legolas turned to see Rowena cleaning off her sword and giving it to an attendant. She flashed her smile at the young man, and he blushed in response and almost ran off toward the storage locker. Legolas smiled. “You seem to cast a spell on the men around here milady.”
“I just try to make them comfortable around me. I know that human society puts us elves on a pedestal because of our abilities and I’ve never liked that. I try to bring the pedestal a little closer to the ground.”
“And you seem to be doing a fine job. We should be off toward the palace now.”
“Yes we should.” Rowena came along side Legolas and they started to walk toward the palace. “Tell me Legolas,” Rowena started. “Do you have any family?”
“I have my father.”
“Anyone else? Where’s your mother?”
Legolas sighed. “She was lost in the great migration away from Amon Lanc. Some say she walked into the forest and never came back. Others said that the Necromancer captured her and locked her away in the dungeons of Dol Guldur, no one knows for sure.”
Rowena took Legolas’ hand in her own. “That’s so sad.”
Legolas retuned the gesture by cupping Rowena’s tiny hand between his. “It’s all right Rowena. Since we don’t know what happened to her, my father and I pray every night that at least she is not in pain.”
“I will as well. No one deserves to be in torment when they have a husband and a son who still care.”
“Thank you, I am sure she would appreciate it.”
Legolas and Rowena entered the castle and found Arwen working on some needlework in one of the gardens, specifically the garden with the white tree that Aragorn and Gandalf had discovered. Arwen smiled when she saw the two of them walking toward her. “And how was your first day Rowena?”
“It was wonderful, Aragorn is a good teacher.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Legolas, what was your part in this adventure?”
“It was more Aragorn than I, Arwen. I was just there as an observer. I was there to observe the creation of the short swords our little Rowena will learn to use.”
“Splendid!” Arwen turned and looked at Rowena. “Now tomorrow, you have the pleasure of spending the day with Gandalf. He has told me that he has the most wonderful things prepared for you. Now why don’t you go change out of those clothes, Legolas and I will wait for you here.”
Rowena flashed her smile both at Arwen and Legolas before leaving the two ancients together to go change. Arwen put down her project and looked at Legolas. “What do you think of her now that you’ve had some time with her?”
“She’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced Arwen. It’s as if I’m seeing the elves through new eyes, her eyes. She has such grace and poise, even when she was sparing with Elessar earlier; I couldn’t help but just watch her. She’s amazing.”
“I have to agree, she is an even brighter light amid the waning darkness. She will affect us all with her presence. I’m glad she’s having an effect on you Legolas. You have gone through so much in your long life, you deserve some happiness.” It was here that Arwen leaned in close. “And I do hope you find happiness with her. She is a great hope for us all.”
“That she is Arwen, that she is.” Legolas turned and nearly walked off before Arwen grabbed his hand. “Don’t be gone long, I told her that both of us would be here.”
“I won’t, you’ll barely notice I’m gone.” With that Legolas walked out of the garden and back inside the palace.
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.