26. Day 28: Yestare Wish (Lothiriel, Erchirion, cameos by family members)
Yestare was always a tiring day, and it would be a long one, too, for on yestare the Prince of Dol
Amroth and his family held a feast in honor of their servants, and even helped serve it themselves. It was a long-held tradition that they all carried out cheerfully, and that put her even more in mind of her brother, whom she missed dreadfully, because every year--to Elphir's utter chagrin--Chiron would join her and Rothos in a scone-eating contest at the end of the banquet.
"How I wish he were here!" Had she looked at Erchirion for the last time, and not known it? There was such despair, such hopelesness in the very air they breathed, and if that same air was also full of expectation, it was only the way the doomed to die await for the sunset. The ever-present fear of where would be the next fatal stroke, who would be the next name on the list, was wearying in the extreme, and the first impact of the news, followed by relief, then guilt, had become painful enough to call it an open wound. She shuddered to remember it, the long lists of names of the fallen that her father had tried to conceal from her, but that she had nonetheless seen on his desk when she took him his mid-morning tea.
What fools they were, thinking that they could keep such things from her, that they did her a favor by trying! If only for the way they had stopped talking of it during dinner, for how they carefully fell to safer topics of conversation, she would have found out that things were now looking worse than they ever had. But it was not just them, not just that. She managed her father's household! Surely he had to know that he had not raised a fool. Yet, was she not doing the same to her people by clinging to the tradition, the gifts, the candles, the parties, when everybody's hearts were elsewhere? She had debated between the wisdom of holding to tradition and keep the year-ending ceremonies, or the freedom of allowing everyone to finally express their worry and grief in the best way they saw fit, and if that meant not celebrating mettare and yestare, so be it! It was such hipocrisy to make-merry when so many had suffered so; and yet, should they not celebrate that, at least for now, they had been spared?
Tradition had won in the end. If the people had ever needed a safe anchor to hold on to, it was surely now, and tradition could provide that. It was thus that mettare had found the Prince's family setting the example by lighting the candles, exchanging the gifts, saying the words, visiting their friends and servants, holding the ball... And it was thus that she had packed away all of her worries for two days. But, Now that she was alone...
"There's nothing for it," she said as she plopped herself onto her chair. "I need something to do before I drive myself to insanity." A look around showed her her forgotten embroidery, her pile of half-read books, and one or two more projects, started but not finished, but she could not possibly take them up when there was only one thing that she wanted to do. Taking out quill and paper, she began to write.
Dol Amroth, Yestare, 3019
May the light shine on your path this new year! Happy yestare!
The old greeting forms sounded so false when all she wanted to do was to cry as loudly as she could.
We are all well, but have missed you ever so dreadfully. Alphros begged his Papa to let him light the candle for Numenor--can you believe that?--but Elphir would not let him, of course-- Here she could not quite go on. Erchirion had always lit the candle for Numenor, and this year they almost left it unlit... You know he is too young to be playing with fire, but he would have, if given the chance! Rothos was quite proud of his nephew's curiosity and liveliness in exhibiting a scientific inclination. I, personally, am inclined to believe that he just wanted a no-no to play with, but I digress.
You will feel quite relieved that you missed mettare ball. The pack were all out and lose and, true to form, they all accosted Rothos and even Father and Halaran! You were saved from the persuasiveness of their female charm. (Imagine me giggling here).
I miss you very much.
All my love and best wishes for a safe and speedy return,
She sighed. She had never written a more useless letter in all her life. What a waste of paper that they could not afford in such times--to write of balls and women when what she really wanted was to tell him how their lives would never be the same again if he was not in them.
If I could never have another yestare wish... Please, come back, and I promise you that I will be quiet for two minutes together to let you put in a word or two! Be safe, brother!
She fell asleep to her sobs--all the while feeling guilty that her own worry was forefront in her mind when there was so much suffering around her--the letter clutched tightly in her hand.
The sun had begun to lower on the horizon when Lothiriel woke to a commotion on the hallways of the palace.
"They're here, my lady!"
"They? Who's they?"
"The Flyer, lady Lothiriel!"
She met her father halfway down the hall, Elphir and his family were coming from one room, and Rothos had already gone down the stairs and was doing a poor job of waiting for them.
They hurried as best they could to the docks to see the Foam Flyer'scargo begin to unload in a cachophony of noise: horses neighing, babies cooing, women yelling, men calling out to each other, sheep baaing, gulls crying, and all the while the waves lapping contentedly against the timber of the beloved ship.
She stood on tiptoe, trying to rise above the confussion of people to have a better look at the deck. She felt her father gripping her hand tightly and, for the first time in days, had a real, unguarded glimpse of the agony he must have endured.
If Chiron should not be here...
But she was spared the horrific picture of it by the best sound in the world right then.
"Ahoy! Ahoy, everyone!" cried the familiar voice of her brother.
"Get yourself down here so we can have a good look at you. Is that a beard?" Rothos.
Erchirion laughed and, in two or three bounds had climbed down from the ship and was making his way to them.
Valar. She was so excited that she could hardly move!
The Prince reached his son first, and Lothiriel saw something pass between them--something fleeting, special--before they embraced. Rothos was second, then Alphros, Marwen. When it was finally her turn, she could not find it in herself to care that the tears had made her nose runny. The times had been so bad--would more than likely get worse--that, from now on, she intended to enjoy herself every minute.
Casting propriety aside, she flung herself at her brother.
When his arms wrapped around her, she felt warm and happy. They were finally all together again.
"My lovely Thiri, why so silent?" he asked after kissing her brow. "I would have thought you had lots to tell me. What has brought on this change? . Is aught the matter?"
"Nothing at all," she said, laughing. "Just a yestare wish."
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.