1. 2004 Drabbles
_The Protocol of Princes_
"The laws of Rohan", Éomer said loftily, "forbid the throwing of objects at the King. The penalties are severe." He closed his eyes and relaxed against the oak tree behind him with a sigh of lazy contentment. Then he opened one eye and squinted at his brother-by-marriage. "Unless of course, the objects thrown are such as the King specifically requests. A fruit from that bowl at
your right would be permitted."
Faramir picked up and weighed an acorn thoughtfully in his hand. "Tell me, O noble King, would this be accounted a fruit in the reckoning of Rohan?"
"Not if you plan to hurl it at me, no."
For Marta, July 2004:
The young man watched for his master’s verdict with nervous anticipation. A labour of love and hope, to put into this last piece every ounce of craftsmanship he had learned: he, the first of the men of Dale to seek the fabled lore of the Dwarves since the return of the King under the Mountain. Three years of toil beneath the Lonely Mountain: now he would hear their worth.
“Good,” the ancient dwarf pronounced. “You have learned well, young Barding. Apprentice no longer: Toymaker of Dale I name you.”
He put down the toy thrush, perfect in every detail. Turning the key in its side made the wings flutter and the beak sing.
“A fitting gift for the young cousin of Master Bilbo Baggins, surely.”
For Eruwestial, August 2004:
_In Fangorn Forest_
"Can you not feel it? In such a grove such as this, peopled by ancient trees from another age of the world, is all the music of Arda itself. Voiceless and yet not silent, wordless and more eloquent than any minstrel's song, deep and yet as clear as the first note ever heard: in the harmony of a tree's life is all the wonder of creation," Legolas said, his hand resting reverently on the bole of the great evergreen.
"You move me, my friend. For the sake of our friendship, this I vow: from this day no living tree will ever feel my axe. So swear I, Gimli Glóin's son."
"Hroom, hmm! You are a most unusual dwarf, son of Glóin. Tree-friend as well as elf-friend I name you; you may pass freely within Fangorn's wood whenever you wish." Treebeard said. "Hoom! You alone, mind you: I have not yet grown so hasty that my goodwill extends to all your axe-wielding folk."
For fileg, August 2004:
_Hail and Farewell_
The Captain of the Rangers of Pinnath Gelin did not turn. He stood looking west across the verdant valley. The morning sun touched the grove-covered hills and turned them into dappled mysteries of shadow and light.
"Númenor that was, Elvenhome that is, and that which lies beyond, now and forever."
"Lord?" The soldier responded, hesitantly.
"I merely spoke a thought aloud. Is all ready?"
"The men await you below, sir."
The Captain turned and cast a long look around. "The green hills of home. I can imagine no place fairer to my eyes, even in the uttermost West. Will we ever see them again, I wonder?" he said softly, to himself, it seemed. Then he smiled at the young soldier. "Come, we must hasten. They will be looking for us from the walls of the White City."
In trying to fulfil as many of fileg's criteria as possible, I stretched canon a bit. The 'Rangers of Pinnath Gelin' are my own
invention, though it seemed allowable. We do know that a band of gallant green-clad men under Hirluin's command rode to Minas Tirith's defence in the War of the Ring (RoTK).
For Anglachel, August 2004:
"It is a tradition, Lord Thengel," Denethor said, "Every eldest son of our house bears this horn: to the hunt, or to war, if need be. Your own horn is most unusual: the craftsmanship is ancient, I judge."
"You have a good eye. It too, is an heirloom: it came from the hoard of Scatha the Worm, slain by Fram my ancestor in the North, many years before my people came to dwell in the Mark. Four times I myself have worn it to war in the service of Gondor."
"Dragon treasure! Precious indeed," Denethor said, with a smile that banished his gravity and reminded Thengel that this assured young man was only eighteen years of age.
For Elvenesse, August 2004:
_Coming of Age_
"Our felicitations," said Elladan, smiling. "A joyous day indeed, that so fair a bloom was born to grace the Dúnedain."
"You are very kind, Lord," Gilraen said. She smiled back at him, but instantly her gaze turned to his companion. "You have journeyed far, sirs, to favour us with your company! My father said that you were gone on an errand beyond the Ered Luin."
"Not so far that I would miss your birth-day feast, Lady," Arathorn said, his stern face softening into such an unguarded look that Lord Dirhael, watching them from a distance, was startled. His eyes narrowed, he studied his daughter, whose fair face was turned up to the older man's like a flower drawn to the sun.
"Ivorwen," he said quietly, "Have you marked..."
"Many things, my husband. Spring after a hard winter, and the dawn of hope also, for our people," she replied, her grey eyes filled with mystery. And Dirhael was silenced, for he knew that Ivorwen was foresighted.
For Ann, November 2004:
_Practice Makes Perfect_
"Let us be off," said Boromir, rising and stretching lazily. "I've had my fill of books for the day." He grinned down at his companion. "Come, bear me company to the Eagle's Rest. I've a thirst for some of their yellow wine."
Faramir raised a quizzical brow. "The Eagle's Rest? What is left of it after your exploits last month, you mean?"
"It was only a little disagreement," laughed Boromir, flinging an arm round his brother's shoulders.
"A little disagreement that somehow resulted in the destruction of six tables, twenty-one chairs, a wooden staircase, and four barrels of wine, according to this," Faramir said, indicating a scroll on the desk. "I wish I had seen it - how ever did you manage to break a staircase?"
"Come with me, and I shall show you," Boromir offered. "I am always happy to further the practical side of your education, my young scholar!"
For Raksha, November 2004:
Recognising the soundless tread that announced his visitor, Faramir did not look up as the shadow fell across him. "Welcome, Legolas."
"I thought that I might find you here," the elf said, the smile evident in his voice. He looked up at the tall beech tree that crowned the hill in solitary splendour and down at the man who sat against its bole, a book in his lap.
"It is good to see you returned to Ithilien," Faramir said.
"It is good to be back," Legolas responded, and sank down gracefully to join the Steward. He handed him an unstoppered bottle. "Dorwinion - a gift from my father," he said briefly.
As they so often did, the two sat in companiable silence, passing the bottle back and forth. The late summer sun descended into the West, painting the vale of Emyn Arnen below them with dappled shadows until at last twilight lay upon the high places and the low.
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