47. Important Visitors for An Expected Event
Middle Earth, Northern Dunedain Village, Third Age, Summer 2872,
Argonul chuckled as he watched Owen pacing nervously back and forth in front of his house. Shaking his head in amusement he turned to Aravir seated beside the door and commented wryly, "I have never seen him so anxious. Our bridegroom is a worried man."
Aravir snorted, "Unlike you were, you mean? You, of course, were never nervous before your wedding"
He looked at his second in command with a lifted eyebrow and turned back to the scene developing outside the room's one window. "I rather think it has more to do with our expected guests then the wedding. I do know the women folk have been beside themselves ever since Lord Elladan and Lord Elrohir informed us of who expected to be among the attendees."
Aravir nodded and continued with the task of sharpening his sword. "I agree. Lindorie has been a nervous wreck trying to figure out how we were going to house them all. It was a huge relief when Elladan told her they would bring their own tents."
Just then a young Ranger came clattering into the village and swung down from his horse. Throwing his reins to a nearby youth, he pushed past the small crowd gathered outside the chieftain's house and knocked on the door.
"I rather think our guests are about to arrive." Argonul moved to the door and opened it just as the rider lifted his hand to knock once again. "Yes Deruli, How far out are they?"
"Just past the deep river ford, Sir."
"Any idea how many?"
The rider shook his head, "No Sir, but there are a lot of them. I don't think I have ever seen so many elves."
Argonul nodded, "You might as well let Owen know then the others as well. The women folk will want time to ready themselves and check the other arrangements one last time. We will gather over near the gate to welcome them as soon as everyone is ready."
"Yes Sir!" The ranger nodded with a big grin and turned rapidly to cross the central village area scattering villagers, children, the odd chicken, and a goat or two before himself.
Sighing Argonul turned back and waved a hand at his friend. "You'd best go ride herd on Lindorie. I will collect the elders and our bridegroom and meet you over by the gate. I still find it hard to believe he has such important connections as to rate all this high born attention."
Aravir nodded and set his sword aside. Rising, he grimaced and headed for the door. "My wife will not be happy until all of this is over. I will, however, try to keep her sane until then."
Owen nervously stood at the edge of the village and watched the colorful procession of approaching elves with mixed feelings. The sound of music seemed to surround them and he was overwhelmed with their beauty and grace. When he was in Imladris he was less aware of the differences between the two races because there was little to draw the comparison between. Here in the rough village that was now his home, he could not help but draw some unfavorable comparisons. He shook his head. Life was what it was and he was not going to apologize for the way the Dunedain lived. Elrond and his sons knew and would not expect anything different.
Still… Never in his wildest expectations had he dreamed that Lord Elrond, his hervess, Amarie, and the older hin as well as Lord Celeborn would be attending his wedding! He had expected his father and his cousin, of course, along with the twins and perhaps Turin, but never the two older elf lords. How had Lord Celeborn ever got included? He hoped that the Lord of the Golden Woods was not aware of his family's origins and most fervently prayed that the Lady Galadriel did not either.
*You may be at ease, Owen. They do not know the whole of the story and will not until you all are ready to reveal it. *
Owen's head jerked in surprise as the voice of the Lord of Imladris sounded in his head.
*Lord Celeborn was visiting us and wished to attend a Dunedain wedding. They have been told the short version of your tale, nothing more. *
Owen relaxed slightly and smoothed his tunic down over his chest before moving forward to follow his chieftain.
*Thank you, hir nin. It was but a momentary concern. He is welcome to share this most happy occasion. *
Argonul, followed by the five village elders and their wives stopped just inside the stockade gate. The elven cavalcade passed through it before circling around the small village green and stopping back in front of the waiting greeting committee. The Dunedain bowed their heads and gestured their welcome in formal greeting.
Elrond returned it with a graceful nod and smiled down at the chieftain. "Hail, Argonul, Chieftain of the Dunedine. We greet you as one of our own, descended from our brother Elros' line."
"Welcome, my Lord Elrond. We are most happy to see you."
"We thank you for your invitation to share in the celebration of joining of a member of our house to one of the valiant line of your people."
"I hope your journey was without incident, my lord?"
"It was. We saw no sign of yrch. The skill of your scouts saw to that."
Argonul turned to the two ellyth mounted just behind the Lord of Imladris and again gestured in greeting. "My ladies, you are most especially welcome. We seldom have the honor of greeting the ladies of Lord Elrond's house."
Amarie dimpled down at the Dunedine leader and sighed resignedly. "My lord Elrond is very protective of us and it is much less trouble to remain within the security of Imladris' walls than travel with the small army Lord Glorfindel insists upon."
At that Argonul chuckled and waved a hand towards the balrog slayer further down the line of elves. "He is wise, my lady. Such beauty would tempt the dark lord himself. Better safe than sorry!"
There was a sudden silence among the elves as they stiffened and instinctively reached for their swords. Elrond instantly signalled for them to stand down.
Argonul paused and faced Lord Elrond. "My lord, my deepest apologies, I did not mean to raise sad memories of the Lady Celebrian especially on this happy occasion."
The elf lord glanced back over his shoulder at Celeborn briefly and then nodded down at the distressed Dunedine leader. "I did not take either insult or intent to raise sad memories in your comments, Argonul, rather only compliments on the ladies of my house."
Relieved Argonul nodded and switched his attention to the other elleth. "You must be the Lady Eleiann, close kin to our bridegroom."
"Indeed she is Argonul." Owen pushed his way through the front line and held up his arms to help her dismount and grinned at his cousin. "She is like a troublesome sister who always bosses me around. Now that I am to take a wife perhaps she will finally acknowledge I am all grown up."
Eleiann laughed and swung her leg over the saddle, then slipped down into his waiting arms. "I will have to meet your bride before I can make that decision, Cousin. It may be she is so overwhelmed with your handsome face that she does not know you need a strong hand to keep you out of trouble."
Owen shook his head, "You need not worry, Elli. She already has my measure." They exchanged long silent looks, before Elli nodded and Owen glanced about seeking his father.
"He will be along shortly, Owen." Turin nudged his horse forward to stand beside them. "He stopped to take some notes on how the village is organized, something about his history of the Dunedine. Erestor is with him." His eyes met Owen's briefly before focusing on Eleiann and turning wistful.
Owen threw back his head and chuckled. "He is the only one I know who would be more concerned with his observations and scribbles than with his son's wedding. I expect when our first born shows up he will be scribbling about her place in the history of Middle Earth." He exchanged grins with his cousin and glanced up at Lord Elrond who nodded in amusement.
Argonul coughed politely drawing everyone's attention back to himself, and quickly completed introductions of the elders and their wives. Then he hesitated before gesturing to the far side of the village.
" We have set aside the upper meadow over there for your encampment my lord. Close to the village the ground is level enough for your tents and we have laid in a supply of wood for your fires. There is plenty of grass and fresh water for your animals and we have posted scouts further out to insure your safety. We thought you would want to place your own warriors closer in."
"Thank you Argonul, that was most hospitable of you. Perhaps your second could work with Glorfindel to coordinate the arrangements? It would not seem necessary to duplicate our efforts."
The Dunedine chieftain nodded and soon was leading the elves through the village and out the far gate towards the upper meadow.
Later Celeborn stood outside the tent he would share with Erestor and Glorfindel and watched as the other elves completed the erection of the rest of tents. They were arranged in a circle about the larger one that Elrond and the ellyth would occupy. Nearby was the one that Turin and his daer ion would occupy. The scholar and the bridegroom's father would stay in his son's house. Elrond had offered Celeborn a tent of his own as Lord of the Golden Woods but he had merely shrugged. "I have no particular desire to be so honored, meldir nin. Erestor and Glorfindel will be more than acceptable tent mates. They certainly will keep me entertained."
Elrond chuckled and ruefully shook his head at the reference to the constant running argument the two had on just about every subject they discussed. "If you are sure meldir nin. I would not have you in the middle of them trying to mediate. If it becomes too much merely let me know and we will move them elsewhere."
In the village Owen faced his father and frowned. They had just come from the bride's home after completing the dowry agreements and exchanging gifts to seal the bargain. "Do you not approve, pop?"
"It is not that, son, she just seems so young. You are in your late twenties. She cannot be more than seventeen." Ted studied his son. "You are holding up under the rough life here better then I figured. I can see a few scars and lines around your eyes, but.."
"Nineteen actually and I am thirty four. The women have been marrying at a much early age than in the past, pop. Dunedine men are not around as long as previously. We both felt we had waited long enough and I wanted to see the next generation started."
Ted studied his son through thoughtful eyes. "I hope you are not pushing it just so I will see my grandchild that was foretold. I will never see the promised king. I have already been blessed with the present and more then than satisfied with what will be."
Owen shook his head. "I have earned my place here, pop, and I am happy. My feelings for Morwen are as real as yours for mom were and I truly feel she would approve of this. All three of us have survived the most impossible transitions and come out on the other side winners. I will admit I hope for a long and productive life with many kids running around and you to be here for a long time as well. Elli has yet to make her choice but it looks like the steps are laid out for her future too. I just hope she puts Turin out of his misery soon."
Ted smiled at his son. "Then go with your mother's and my blessing. She would like your little Morwen."
Eleiann looked up from the packs as Amarie entered the tent carrying an armful of blankets. "I do not think we will need those, Amarie, we brought more than enough with us."
Amarie sighed. "And food as well, I know. The Dunedine have insisted on providing everything they can. Elrond will not insult their generosity by refusing. We have to think of some way to return the gesture or they will most likely not get through the winter without losing some to cold and hunger. Their supplies are already strained without this. Pride can be so un-nerving."
Elrond entered just after his wife and smiled. "We will think of something ind nin. They seek to share all in this happy event. "
He turned towards Eli, "How is Owen? Morwen is a very sweet girl."
Eli sighed, "He is not a bit nervous about his choice. I think he was more worried about how our arrival would impact his relationships here in the village." She looked at her father. "He is all grown up. It is hard to really see him as a hardened warrior, yet 'Dan had told me he has faced down some pretty grim enemies and his fellow warriors have accepted him completely as one of their own. As for Morwen, she will be a good balance to his impetuousness. Make him just a little more cautious, But I will still worry about him."
Elrond nodded. "Marriage tends to do that. If the worst does happen, there will be a place for either at Imladris. Certainly your cottage will be a good place for them when the children start."
Amarie nodded in agreement and added. "It grows late and the celebration starts early tomorrow. I suggest we settle down so as to be ready."
"Wise as always, ind nin." He held out his hand and gently pulled her towards a side chamber in the tent. He nodded towards the other one across the main room and smiled at Eleiann, "I suggest you do the same sell nin."
Eleiann smiled with affection and watched the both of them disappear before replying. "Aye, ada, I will." Turning she entered her own quarters and soon was snuggled down in her own bed. Her own dreams were filled with thoughts of a certain elf lord and their future. Unconsciously she knew she had made her decision.
Hir nin-my lord
Meldir nin-my friend
Ind nin-my heart
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