64. Time For Fun!
Crowds of elves, dwarves and men mingled in happy abandon amongst the tents bursting with food, wine, ale and other delicacies. Just beyond the food area were the tents and tables occupied by the merchants, metal smiths and tinkers hawking wares of textiles, leather, jewellry, and food supplies. The area adjacent to the main area and up from the riverbank was filled to bursting with a dazzling colorful array of tents, wagons and camps of visitors and vendors. The far end of the training fields had been turned into a large horse and stock fair where a brisk business was being conducted among those seeking new stock and those selling. On the training field itself groups were gathered enjoying various archery and weapons demonstrations and signing up for the contests that would begin the next day.
Wandering among the vendors Sadi and Amarie were fascinated with the many displays of goods that reflected the different facets of middle earth cultures.
It did not take long for them to start bargaining for various items that caught their eye. Arwen followed along and smiled indulgently at their obvious enjoyment over their successes. At a silversmith’s tent Amarie found a hair clip that she intended for Elrond and a lovely cuff bracelet for herself. Sadi shook her head regretfully at the silversmith when he tried to entice her with a heavy gold neck chain and moonstone pendent saying it was much to costly for her purse.
At another tent filled with many different kinds of fabric they both fell in love with the gauzy silks offered. Amarie found a pale cream embroidered with small jewels and fine gold wire she envisioned for her wedding gown and was able to bargain with the merchant for sufficient yardage by offering a small tapestry from the workshops. When he realized who his customer was, he initially tried to present the fabric as a gift. Amarie smiled and refused quite charmingly stating that while she appreciated his very generous offer she knew what such a beautiful thing cost in both time and effort to produce and that it deserved to be rewarded. He was overjoyed to be offered such a treasure as the tapestry and quickly added two other lengths of cloth for both Sadi and Arwen, one a deep red with tracery of silver leaves and the other a gold with a green floral pattern. Amarie glanced at Arwen who nodded approval.
“It is a good bargain for both sides,” she acknowledged. “Not only will he be able to say he has provided the material for your wedding gown, but he also has received a Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain product which he will be able to demand and receive top value for.”
“My lady,” the merchant hesitantly spoke.
Amarie looked over questioningly at him.
“My cousin is a talented metal smith that works in both gold and silver. He is the one who produced the fine gold wire thread that was used in the embroidery work. He has also created a lovely head - piece that might go well with the gown made from this material. Would you care to look at it?” He gestured at a nearby tent where a small ellon stood cheekily grinning at them. With a flourish he bowed and swept aside the tent flap that had been closed for the midday meal.
Amarie smiled back at him and trailed by the two elleths and the merchant entered the smith’s tent. Hastily emerging from the back the smith was wiping his mouth and looked at his cousin questioningly.
“Mirdan. This is the Lady Amarie, the Mistress of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain and the betrothed of our Lord Elrond. She has chosen the jeweled cream silk for her wedding dress. I suggested she might like the head-dress you had created from the remaining jewels.”
At that Mirdan swept a formal bow to the elleths. “My lady, I am honored.”
Turning to the ellon, he told him to bring the small, carved doron box from his travel chest. Moving to a small table he arranged three stools around it and covered the top with a black velvet cover. Inviting the elleths to sit he indicated the center one for Amarie. When the ellon returned cautiously carrying the box Amarie caught her breath and looked at Sadi. Sadi nodded. She, too, recognized its maker.
Mirdan took the box and ceremoniously set it down in the middle of the table. With a flourish he lifted the top and removed a green velvet bag and closed the box. He ceremoniously removed the head-dress from the bag and set it down on top of the bag now resting on the box.
It was exquisite. Traceries of gold wire shaped into delicate branches wrapped around themselves several times and formed the base. Strung around and hanging from the various tips were small flowers set with gems that quivered at the slightest movement. From the sides small delicate chains swept back and up into a small knot of jeweled flowers then fell in a cascade of chains strung with minute gems.
Amarie looked at it with wonder, and reached out to touch it with a tentative finger. She was unaware of Elrond’s entrance into the tent followed by Erestor and Celeborn. He shook his head at the two merchants when they moved to give them formal greeting.
“Oh Master Mirdan, it is beautiful,” she sighed, “but it is much too valuable for such as I. It must be for a great lady or princess at least.”
Arwen and Sadie, both looked at Elrond and grinned a hello then turned backed to watch with amusement as Amarie continued to gaze in delight at the beautiful thing.
“Ind nin, are you not queen of my heart?” Elrond’s mental touch caressed her mind as he smiled at the smith and indicated that the headpiece was accepted.
She turned suddenly aware of the now crowded enclosure and smiled over her shoulder at the elf lord. “My lord, you finally finished the meetings?”
He nodded and reached for her hand, pulling her from the stool into a hug. Without giving her a chance to think, he led her from the tent and nodded to Arwen. Erestor and Sadi started to followed behind leaving Arwen to make arrangements to have the headdress delivered to the main house. As Sadi turned to go, she asked where the smith had obtained the box that had held the headdress.
“It is a pretty thing, isn’t it. An old grey beard gave it to me for repair work I did on some weapons. I don’t usually do that kind of work, but they were originally done with exceptionally fine intaglio inlay and he wanted to pass them on to a relative I believe.”
Sadi smiled at him, “It was made by the Lady Amarie’s grandfather, Lord Thavron.”
Mirdan looked at the box in awe, “The great woodcarver?”
“Then it must have been the Valar who guided me on this!”
Sadi, Erestor, Arwen and Celeborn all looked at each other and burst out laughing.
“I believe you are right Master Mirdan, it must have been the Valar at that!” Sadi choked out as they left the tent.
Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain -house of a thousand jeweled threads
ind nin-my heart