3. An Unexpected Interlude
Reluctantly she stretched once more, quietly pushed back the blankets and
rose from her warm nest. Gathering a drying cloth and soap she walked bare footed towards the nearby river and enjoyed the feel of sand and mud squishing up between her toes as she reached the edge. Pausing to sit on a rock leaning out into the current, she pushed her foot deeper into the mud and grinned delightedly as she gently stirred the fine silt sending a cloud down stream. A quiet chuckle behind her caused her to look guiltily over her shoulder and then blush with embarrassment when she found herself gazing into the amused storm gray eyes of her host.
“I see that others enjoy the feel of mud on bare feet also, although I will admit it has been a while since I was able to do so undetected. Something about the dignity of the Lord of Imladris Erestor says. May I?” Elrond gestured towards the rock next to her and before she could do more then give an embarrassed nod, he settled next to her and proceeded to remove his boots. “Ah, that does feel good!” He sighed as he sank his feet into the water and closed his eyes in delight.
‘Rellas watched him, her mouth open in amazement. He grinned at her. “When the hen were young, Celebrian and I used to play with them in a small lake near the house. She used to complain she had three ionnath instead of two and all three were mud babies.” He face grew pensive, “But that was a long time ago and now they are all grown up.” He turned to face ‘Rellas a smile again on his face and standing up in the gentle current held out his hand, “Would you care to join me for a stroll, my lady?”
“Your clothes, hiren, they will be all wet.” She said as she rolled her leggings up and taking his hand joined him.
“They will dry.” He shrugged and tucking her hand under his arm proceeded to walk along the bank stopping occasionally to enjoy an especially fine mud hole and grinned at her stunned expression. “Not what you expected am I?”
She was silent for a moment then smiled back, “No hiren nin, but I think I rather like it.” they strolled on in companionable silence for a while only the occasional sucking sound of their feet as they were pulled from the mud disturbing the gentle burble of the current.
“When will you sail, Lady Mithrellas?” He asked quietly.
She stopped abruptly, “How…”
“I recognize the look in your eyes. It is one I have seen often among my people. In time it will shine in mine.” He shook his head wearily, “But that time is not just yet. There is still much I must see done.”
They resumed slowly splashing along the shore. “You miss your lady.” She glanced at him. “Yet you stayed for your children.”
He gazed at the far shore, “And other things.” He turned his attention back to her. “Tell me of your hervenn. How did you loose him?”
‘Rellas lowered her head before answering. It was still difficult to talk about even after all this time. “He was lost during a yrch attack when his group of warriors were returning to the Havens after a visit to Mirkwood nearly six centuries ago. We had only been wed for a little over three centuries. He never knew his youngest daughter. She arrived shortly after the attack.”
“Your family lives in the Havens?”
She nodded. “Hervenn nin chose to remain there after his own parents sailed and the remainder of his family were a big help while hen nin were younger. Now that the hen are grown up with families of their own the brother of his naneth invited me to move into his house and act as the mistress of his household. His youngest daer sell has married and left him there alone. I do not know how long I will be able to wait before finally departing for the Undying Lands. While the hen are not anxious for me to go, I long to see my hervenn again. I am so tired of the loneliness.”
Elrond squeezed her hand. “He may still be in the Halls of Mandos.”
“I know. It is the uncertainty that makes the decision so difficult and so I delay.” She smiled sadly.
“The time will come. Until then I am sure your family will keep you busy. Tell me of your latest daer hin.”
‘Roh watched his father and ‘Rellas a huge grin on his face. “’Dan, you are not going to believe this. Come here and see.”
‘Dan joined him and sniggered, “I never thought to see him playing in the water like a hin.”
Elrond turned at the sound of his ionnath voices and chuckled. “It would seem my lady that we have been found out. Shall we finish our stroll and return to the fire for some breakfast?”
‘Rellas laughed. “You had best retrieve your boots first while I finish my morning wash up.”
Elrond bent his head in agreement and they beat a strategic retreat back to the rock where Elrond dried his feet on the grass and slipped on his boots. He waited while ‘Rellas washed the last of the mud from her feet and dried them before he helped her to stand and then both walked slowly to the fire.
Both ‘Roh and ‘Dan grinned at their adar and waggled their eyebrows as Elrond and ‘Rellas joined them.
“Enjoying playing in the mud ada?” ‘Roh asked.
Elrond lifted an eyebrow and commented dryly. “You should try it once in a while. It is very therapeutic ionnath nin, sooths the nerves. I highly recommend it.” Both ellyn looked at him in surprise but remained silent at his reproof.
Elrond accepted two cups of tea and handed one to ‘Rellas before addressing them again. “Has your sister and the other ellyth awakened yet? We will need to see to their request for baths and washing of their clothes.” At their nod, he turned back to ‘Rellas. “I think that little cove just below where you went to wash up this morning will be satisfactory for our purpose don’t you? There is a deep pool and the current is slow and the high banks will provide shelter from prying eyes. You can watch over them from above on the large gray stone that dominates that side of the river and I will have Glorfindel post guards further along.”
‘Rellas smiled and cupped her hands around her cup of tea. “I agree, hiren, I am sure they will find that a good solution. We would welcome the chance to finally catch up on such personal chores.”
Elrond faced his ionnath and glared at them. “You will mind your manners in this ionnath nin. There will be no pranks, nor upsets of any kind. We may not be in Imladris at the moment but they are our guests just the same and I expect you to remember that and act accordingly.”
‘Rellas struggled to hide her amusement and gave up breaking into gales of laughter at their expressions of insult. “I do believe you have caught them out, hiren. There would seem to have been some mischief planned.”
“I suspected something was brewing but it will not tolerated.” He turned back to them. “Do you understand, ionnath nin.”
Reluctantly they nodded and quietly settled back to eat their breakfast. Elrond glanced over at ‘Rellas with a twinkle in his eyes. “Think that was strong enough?”
She nodded as she struggled not to choke on her tea and collapsed back against a tree weak with laughter. “I think you terrified them hiren. I do not believe they would dare try anything now.”
Elrond nodded and hid a grin behind his cup of tea.
Minuial-morrowdim-the time near dawn
Hiren nin-my lord
Hervenn nin-my husband
Hen nin-my children
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