2. The Queen and her escort
‘I thank you for your kindness,’ answered the stranger, and took his leave.
When the grooms had taken the horses and they were entering the hall, Éothain began again. He had been shaken by the encounter, or more particularly by his own carelessness. ‘My lady, I must respectfully ask you not to speak with strangers while the king is abroad. Your position is vulnerable. How well do you know this man?’
Morwen paused. The feint had gone further than she intended. But she was not minded to admit her little jest, much less to explain the truth of it. ‘Well enough, my lord. And may I not pass the time of day with a weary traveller to our land, but let him suppose that we are a hostile and ill mannered people that instead of greeting our guests we treat them as foes?’
‘That is not my intention, my lady. But not all are as they seem. And others may perform this duty that you need not consort with the common folk.’
‘He is no commoner,’ Morwen returned with real irritation. ‘Did you see the brooch that pinned his cloak?’
‘I did. But fine trinkets may be stolen and a fair face conceal a deceitful mind. If this had been one with ill intentions toward you he might have tricked you before I could intervene.’
Morwen bit her lip. She knew that Éothain’s unease was born of self-reproach and she knew too that ordinarily she would herself have been the first to follow the rules of court. But today at the river she had felt liberated, excited even, like the young woman from Lossarnach who, sixteen years ago, had never thought to wed a future king and who had consorted with whom she chose. And spying the young man had made her feel like a girl again, but also more than a little confused. She sought her children in an effort to assuage her ambivalence and to remind herself that these days she was above all a mother.
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.