4. Lasselanta Mittanelya, Autumn Equinox Part 3
The gentle mood Narilvrin had created in him had banished the irritated restlessness and proud effrontery that had festered in Boromir from boredom and idleness. So much so that last night he had left his quarters again after a quiet and satisfying meal to see what new amusement Elrond’s house might hold for him. Perhaps at the back of his mind was the idea he might find her again, wile the evening hours by her side, satisfy a growing curiosity as to how her deep emerald green-gold eyes might look in moon and starlight. What he had found had been something quite different.
The memory of that disturbing encounter had only a moment to chill his spirit before a gentle knock was heard at his door. It was Narilvrin, coming as if fashioned from his thoughts, arms laden with food and drink in an echo of the day before.
Again they shared his small balcony table, out of reach of the whispering rain, and their memories of the previous day holding each one up to the other and laughing at the comparison. Before long, they rose, and Elf maid and Man were once again out the door and traversing the corridors of Rivendell.
But this time Narilvrin led Boromir to a place he had already explored and rejected. The unmistakable smell of moldy leather and aged parchment came to the Man’s nose as they approached a pair of arched doors made of Beech-wood and bound with silver; a smell that had sent him back down this corridor and away once before. He halted. Only a moment ahead, Narilvrin pivoted gracefully to face him, a question on her angular Elven face.
She saw in a moment that shadows had returned to Boromir’s brow and darkened his gray-green eyes.
“Narilvrin, do you mean to take me to a library?”
“I do, my Lord. Does that displease you?” Narilvrin cocked her head to one side; her hair falling like flames downs her shoulders. Boromir gave a short bark of a laugh. “Perhaps after our conversation yesterday it is my brother Faramir you more desire for companion. He is the reader, not I. My skill is with steel and strength, not scroll and tome.” He made as if to turn on his heels but Narilvrin darted forward a step to stop him.
“But, you can read, can’t you?”
Boromir drew himself up to his full height, only few inches greater than hers, and inclined his honeyed head to stare down into her eyes, now sparkling with challenge. Still he growled at her:
“Take a care, Maid, I am Boromir son of Denethor, Steward’s Son of Gondor and Captain of the White Tower, not an ignorant errand boy.” He knew she was goading him, and Boromir cursed his own fiery temper as he heard his words resound haughtily in Elvish archways; still he could not bank it.
But the Elf maid was not daunted. She moved still closer, her lips now tugging upward. “Of this I am assured, but can you read?”
Boromir narrowed his eyes and folded his arms. She was so close, he could almost feel the warmth of her body emanating through the dark green tunic that draped her body. He found it hard to frown at her so near.
But his new friend only laughed at his display, and in her laughter Boromir heard fondness and understanding. She laid a gentle hand on his folded arm and spoke mildly.
“Still you do not trust me, Boromir? Did I lead you false yesterday? Are you not now more at ease here among Elven folk after our time together? Come. I believe there is beyond these doors that which will interest you greatly.” She turned so abruptly her fiery locks brushed his chest as she tossed a last challenge over her shoulder and reached for the entrance. “Will you admit defeat before you have even seen the enemy? I would not have believed it of you, Soldier of Gondor.”
Inside they found a large table in an out-of-the-way corner, well lit by a window. Somewhat to Boromir’s dismay it was already covered with beribboned scrolls and large volumes bound in leather and precious metals. The rapport between them somewhat restored, Narilvrin flopped down into a large, cushioned chair obviously meant for long spells of reading and study. She absently rocked it back onto two feet as her mortal companion began to investigate the table.
Frowning he untied one scroll, and then another, and then another. Then he turned to the books: each one was covered in the flowing script of the Elves, more beautiful than anything he had yet beheld on parchment and completely impenetrable.
He let the last close noisily. “These are in Elvish!”
With a chuckle Narilvrin’s chair clacked to the floor. “Of course they are!”
Suddenly a hissing like flustered geese met their ears as unseen Elven folk all about voiced their disturbance.
Boromir’s mouth fell open in surprise but closed again in a complicitous smile when he saw Narilvrin’s eyes glinting and her delicate hands fight to smother her ever-present laughter. She looked to him like a mischievous child until she rose from her seat and came to stand by him.
The Elf Maid opened one of the rejected scrolls, her voice low and rippling. “They are written in Elvish as they were written by Elves! Here, Soldier of Gondor, are many accounts of battles fought long ago and rarely recounted in the histories of Men. It was my hope that I could read them to you and you would explain them to me for, I must confess, the art of warfare is one that I do somewhat understand.”
So saying she gestured to Boromir to take the chair she had left, wagging her finger marmishly at him when he began to rock it back in roguish imitation of her.
So they spent the morning, Narilvrin often perched on a corner of the library table, reading quietly to Boromir of long-ago battles between Elves and the foes of Middle Earth. She was well pleased; the librarians had fulfilled her requests to them beyond her hopes – here also they found tales of the founding of Gondor and Arnor filled with the brave deeds of Men, Men to whom Boromir could claim proud kinship. As the morning wore on, she watched with satisfaction as the dark clouds thinned and passed away from his brow and, like sun following storm, light shone in his gray-green eyes. After a time, the soldier abandoned his seat to pace about as he listened, or illustrate with broad gestures, maps and diagrams the maneuvers and strategy of various armies and skirmishes. Often, Elf and Man had to school their spirits, less they disturb the other readers hidden about them.
Late afternoon found them still in the library, the table and floor now littered with opened scrolls, the stubs of candles, empty cups and plates. Narilvrin was just finishing an account of a battle that had Boromir pacing as it teased his brain with familiarity.
At last, he let out a short bark of a laugh in discovery.
“The children of Gondor play a game based on this battle!”
“Do they?” He watched in wonder and amusement as Narilvrin, sitting on the table, clapped her hands all but silently, crossed her legs, appearing very serious. “Will you show me?”
“All right. But be warned,” Boromir paused in his efforts to create a game board and find counters from what lay about them; “it is deceptively simple in appearance!”
The Elf countered good naturedly, turning the board about so that the crockery pieces faced her and the eating utensils were before Boromir.
With a wink she teased him. “I think perhaps you should be silver and I should be clay, my Lord of Gondor!”
Sitting happily on the table in the fading light (as each might have done in younger days) they began. Each taking turns placing pieces on the board and then moving them along drawn lines to surround and capture their opponent’s counters. The first game fell quickly to Boromir, and the second, but each successive match grew longer with Narilvrin’s growing understanding. Boromir soon found that archery was not all could arouse her competitive nature.
As they sat, deep in thought, seeking to divine the other’s strategy the mortal Man worried a fresh cut on his thumb. With Narilvrin puzzling thoughtfully over her next play, he cautiously broached a subject that had been growing in his mind since breakfast.
“Narilvrin, last night, after dinner, I wondered into a part of the house I had not seen before.”
“Hmmm?” The Elf did not look up but continued to consider the board. She took a breath. “Sometimes I think our feet only take us where we are when we are ready to go there.” Then she made her move and looked up. “What did you see?
Boromir reached for a fork and removed one of Narilvrin’s mugs from the board. “There was a painting of Isildur cleaving the ring from Sauron’s hand, and nearby an altar-like statue holding the shards of Narsil itself.”
Narilvrin frowned at the game, and her loss of a man. “Yes. I know that hall. You were near the heart of the house itself.” She made another move, a plate.
Boromir pondered these words, as he countered. “There was a man there, reading.”
“A Man?” Narilvrin’s hand darted to the board; she quickly shifted another cup and smugly removed a knife.
Boromir slid another fork closer to her. “The first I’ve seen since I arrived.”
Now engrossed in the competition the Elven maid gave no response.
Boromir continued. “He was dark-haired and blue-eyed like a man of Gondor but his raiment showed no device or insignia. He seemed well at ease here. I thought you might know his country and his name. Since everyone seems to know everything that goes on in this house,” he added, under his breath.
Then she looked up. “Did he not tell you himself?” Holding his gaze she surrounded one of his pieces and removed it from the parchment board.
“Only that he was friend to Gandalf the Grey.” Boromir chose a spoon and advanced again.
Narilvrin countered with a saucer and removed another of Boromir’s pieces. She took a deep breath before answering – “Indeed he is. They have traveled many leagues together and over many years. Here in Imladris he is known as Estel, and Elessar, for he is an Elf-friend of long standing and often his way leads him here. Though he is known by many names I am told that in the North he goes by “Strider,” and it is from the North he comes most often. But Country he has none. He is a Ranger.”
“A Ranger!” Boromir exclaimed in surprise. “Even in the South we know of them: the strange wanderers of the Northern Wildes.” Then he moved again, eliminating a piece of crockery. Now there were only a few pieces left to each of them.
“ ‘Not all those who wander are lost’ it is often said in Imladris of late,” Narilvrin replied with a secretive smile, studying the board. “Indeed, he is strange! but he is also trustworthy. I am sorry he was not more open to you. There is much you might learn from one another.” Suddenly a grin broke brightly on her face. “Ah! now I see it!” Like a striking bird her hand darted forward and removed another utensil leaving Boromir with only one. She had won the game.
Boromir frowned in surprise, and then laughed good-naturedly, the subject of his strange encounter momentarily forgotten. A true leader, he was pleased his pupil had so quickly surpassed him. He held out his hand to congratulate the victor, and was momentarily surprised at its warmth and softness inside his so large and rough. It was the second time he had touched her.
As they returned to Boromir’s quarters that evening he was surprised to find a young Elf standing stock still and straight beside his door. Before he could assume any meaning to the Elf’s presence, Narilvrin hailed him.
“Greetings, Quentir. What do you here?”
The young elf pivoted and bowed deep from the waist. ”I await the Lord Boromir.” He bowed more deeply to the Lord of Gondor. “His presence is requested by Lord Elrond at a feast this evening in the Great Hall and to sit at the Master’s Table.”
His courtier manners came back to Boromir like a familiar cloak. “I thank you, Quentir. Please tell Master Elrond I will attend.”
Quentir bowed again and, his duty discharged, smiled at Narilvrin before hurrying away down the corridor.
Now the Elf Maid turned to the Man. “At last. The summons you have waited for has come.”
But the soldier would make no such assumption. “It is an invitation to feast, Narilvrin, not to consultation. Still, it is nice to be remembered,” he added wryly, returning her ever-present smile. “Will you also attend? I will look for you.”
“You may indeed look for me and find me amongst them, but usually I rather reside in my small part of the valley!” Narilvrin laughed gently. “Still, I must eat and I am always happy in your company. Mayhap we will meet.” She held his gaze then for a long moment, her emerald gold flecked eyes glinting even in the fading light. When she spoke, again it was without mirth or mockery, her eyes remaining on his. “But I doubt we shall see each other for some time.”
She bowed her head for the space of a breath and then departed, leaving Boromir to wonder at her words.
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.