2. Chapter 2
Dol Amroth, 25 February 3021
The little boat bobbed on the tide, just below the harbour wall. Alphros already sat on the mid-thwart, impatient to be off. But no sign of Devoran yet. Amroth searched the quayside, wondering if she would come. She might have overslept, or maybe her cousin had found out and objected. Or worse: decided not to come. Pushing down disappointment, he suddenly caught a glimpse of a bright crown of hair amongst the morning crowd. Almost running, her cloak flapped in the breeze. But she had listened: the heavy brown velvet would keep out the cold wind on the water. She arrived breathless.
“I am sorry. I thought I had better plait my hair and then it took longer than I expected to get down here.”
“No matter.” She had come, and that was the important thing. “Move up, Alphros.” Amroth took her hand and helped her into the boat. She stepped in lightly, perfectly balanced, confirming his opinion of the night before: she was an incredibly graceful young woman.
Alphros shoved along when told, but he had his eyes fixed on Devoran. Fearful of what might come out, Amroth glared at him, trying to stop any rudeness leaving his lips. “Say good morning to Lady Devoran, Alphros.”
“Good morning,” Alphros said dutifully, but immediately followed it up with: “Why is your hair such a funny colour?”
Not looking at all offended, Devoran laughed, fingering a wayward strand. The wind already pulled at it in spite of the thick plait. “I do not know, but my mother had the same.”
“I have never seen that colour before. Did you have to plait it yourself?”
“Yes, I did.”
“A maid always does my mother’s hair. She brushes and brushes.”
“Your mother is very lucky. Who brushes yours?”
“Nobody. I run away.”
“I thought as much.” Devoran laughed, reaching out to ruffle his tangled mop.
“Are you two ready? Because I am going to cast off,” Amroth interrupted, stifling a grin. It didn’t look as if she would have too much trouble coping with Alphros’s impudence.
“You have to do everything Amroth says,” Alphros told her, full of childish importance. “He is the captain. If you don’t, you will not be allowed to come again.”
Devoran nodded seriously. “I will make sure that I do exactly as I am told.”
After he had shaken out the sail and got the little boat heading for the harbour entrance, Amroth reached into the picnic basket he had brought, and passed Devoran a small pot. “Meren sent it; it is cream for your face. She has fair skin like you. It will protect from the sun and the wind.”
“Oh, thank you.” She took the pot, smiling at him, opened the lid and sniffed. “It smells lovely.” Devoran dipped in a finger and dotted cream onto to her face, before gently rubbing it in.
“It is yuck!” Alphros screwed up his nose in disgust. “Men do not need it; I am dark like my father and Amroth.”
“That is certainly helpful.” Devoran agreed.
Alphros shut up as a gust took the boat when they came out from the shelter of the wall. But in a moment Amroth had the lively craft settled on a course for the islands. Devoran stared ahead, looking back to him full of excitement when he pointed out the one they were making for. But after a short while Alphros touched her on the arm to get her attention.
“I have a pet spider.”
Noticeably flinching, Devoran drew her skirt around her legs. That made him grin. He would enjoy this exchange.
The little boy, pleased with the effect, carried on. “I call him Sauron because he is big and black.”
Her quick glance back gave him a glimpse of wide, worried eyes, before she moved along the seat away from any wandering spiders. “You have not brought it with you, have you, Alphros?”
“No,” he scoffed, “of course not. Spiders do not like water.”
“Good,” she breathed in relief.
“Do you have any pets?” Alphros asked, still smirking at his success.
“I have a dog.”
“What’s his name?”
“I call him Drummer, because he makes a lot of noise.”
“Amroth’s dogs are quiet. How does Drummer catch rabbits if he is noisy?”
She laughed. “He has to chase them into a corner, or frighten them to death with his barking.”
Alphros’s four-year-old mind changed direction and thought of something else.
“Can you swim?”
“No, I cannot,” she answered, shaking her head. “The water in the mountains is icy cold.”
“Well, if you fall in Amroth will save you. He swims really well. He taught me.”
“That is very reassuring, Alphros.”
“He will teach you if you ask him.”
“I do not think that there will be time. I am going home soon.”
Alphros seemed slightly disappointed. “On a horse?”
“Can you ride well?”
Another head shake. “Not very well.”
“Amroth is the best rider I know… except perhaps for King Éomer,” Alphros conceded reluctantly after a pause. “But he can sail a boat really well. King Éomer cannot do that.”
Amroth couldn’t stop the chuckle erupting. Devoran turned around again, this time grinning at him. The morning light showed up her features perfectly. He wondered how he had not thought her absolutely beautiful. He also thought that being the object of his little nephew’s hero worship would do him no harm at all.
“Is there anything you can do?” Alphros asked Devoran.
“I think that I may be a better shot with a bow than Amroth.” Her chin went up and Amroth just knew there would be a challenging light in her eye. Pity he had to hold the tiller, sitting with her would have been more fun.
“Really!” That impressed Alphros for the first time. “What do you shoot?”
“Because they make a mess of the crops and they are good to eat.”
“Do you skin them?” The thin voice rose with ghoulish interest.
“No!” she said quickly, shuddering. “We have an old servant who does that. His eyes are bad. So I shoot them, he skins them and his wife cooks them. It works well.”
Rabbits dismissed as of no account, Alphros moved on. “My father hunts deer. Do you do that?”
“No, they are too big. I might not kill them and cannot ride well enough to catch them.” She leaned closer to the child. “We have lions and bears in the mountains. They are very fierce, and they like to eat little boys.”
Alphros jumped, startled for a moment, but then he laughed. “You are teasing me!”
“Yes, I am, for they usually run away. But in very harsh winters they are dangerous and we have to lock up all the animals.”
Things couldn’t be good up in the Vale if the Lord’s daughter had to shoot rabbits for supper. No wonder she did not giggle, she had nothing to giggle about. Amroth allowed himself an inward chuckle, she was certainly a maid though, no doubt about that. He only had to touch her and she jumped like a scalded cat. He was also sure that when they had danced for the second time the night before, she had blushed when he had held her, although he couldn’t be sure in the dim light of the hall. But it would be easy to find out now.
Swivelling her head around, Devoran gave him a lovely smile. He smiled back, already anticipating the result of his teasing.
“There are two ways to get ashore. You can remove your shoes and wade, but you will get quite wet,” he said, trying to look innocent. “Or you can stay in the boat until I have tied it up and I will carry you.” Twinkling his eyes made her colour rise immediately. How absolutely exquisite. But he must concentrate on the sailing, or they would end up on the reef.
Alphros, sensing some adult conversation, which excluded him, swiftly butted in. “He will not drop you. He is very strong and carries me all the time.”
“I do not mind getting wet, the water will be refreshing,” she replied hurriedly.
Amroth grinned to himself, but thought that she probably needed a rest from dealing with his incorrigible nephew. “Alphros come back here, I will let you hold the tiller.”
Amroth found it difficult to remember a day that he had enjoyed more. First catching fish for lunch – the best part of that was the confusion it had caused her when he had put his arms around her to show her how to cast the line. But the enjoyment of witnessing her excitement and pleasure of actually catching her first fish came a close second. Then collecting driftwood to make the fire, with Alphros proudly showing her how to slide the fish onto a stick and rest it between two tripods to cook. They had drunk lemonade to wash down the meal, and then built a huge sandcastle and made it look like Dol Amroth.
Now she had tied her skirt into a knot, much like Lothíriel might have done, and was paddling in the shallows with Alphros, breaking bread into small pieces to feed the little silver fish that bunched around their feet. She behaved perfectly naturally with the child and quite naturally with him, until she caught him staring at her. Then she blushed. He wondered if his thoughts were that easy to read, but what were his thoughts? Even to him they were a little confused.
Suddenly he noticed the clouds building on the horizon. Damn, he should have seen that before. But his attention had been diverted.
“Devoran, Alphros, we will have to go. I think there is a squall coming.”
He had left the boat on a long line with the tide ebbing, and pulled it up quickly. Alphros and Devoran were already stuffing everything into the canvas bags. By the time they were underway, the wind had picked up considerably, but a reef protected the bay and kept out the worst of the waves. The flattish sea and the gusty wind made for exhilarating sailing and he found to his pleasure that far from being alarmed, she really enjoyed it. She held onto Alphros and laughed delightedly as the little boat scudded along. Even when they were soaked by spray the two of them screamed with excitement. Then, just as the rain started, they rounded the harbour wall out of the buffeting wind.
Telling his passengers not to move, Amroth let the sail down, leaving it open. The rain would wash the salt from the canvas. “Devoran, please, you must do as I say. The tide is low and the uncovered steps will be very slippery. I will take Alphros to the top. Stay in the boat and I will come back for you.”
The boat bounced about, but she took his hand and jumped easily onto the slimy steps. He held on to her until they reached the top of the harbour wall, and once there she gave him a lovely smile.
“Thank you, Amroth. I’ve had a wonderful day.”
Hair escaping from her plait formed wet curls around her face. A face flushed from the wind and the fresh air. Amroth decided that she looked wholesome, good enough to eat. “Will you dance with me again after supper?”
Devoran laughed, pushing some damp strands from her eyes. “You may not wish to be seen with me. I am covered with salt and my hair will go frizzy in the rain.”
“There are baths in the guesthouse surely?”
“Yes, of course. But it is all so crowded, and I am very lowly. I doubt I will be lucky.”
“I think you are very lucky,” Alphros piped up immediately. “I hate baths, but my mother will make me.”
“It will make you grow taller.” Devoran grinned at him. “Look how tall your uncle is, I expect he has many.”
Not convinced, Alphros screwed up his face.
Many lingered in their seats after the meal had finished, but fearful he would be called upon for duty dancing, as soon as Amroth saw the first table being cleared, he threaded his way over to where Devoran sat, next to her cousin. The man wasn’t exactly fat, but plump and soft. Too much good living and not enough exercise. The woman Amroth assumed to be his wife – Coruves, he thought Devoran had called her – could do with a few less meals, too. She spotted him first and dug her elbow in her husband’s ribs.
Alerted, Devoran swung around, giving him a nervous smile when his gaze fixed on her. She looked lovely, no sign of frizzy hair, it hung down her back in luxuriant waves. Standing up quickly, she introduced her cousin: mean piggy eyes, and whinging lips.
“Devoran, I thought you might dance with some of my friends,” was Alhael’s response to Amroth’s request for her company.
He didn’t often do it, but calling on all his rank, Amroth drew himself to his full height and looked haughtily down his nose. “I am sure Lady Devoran would prefer to dance with her own friends.”
The man visibly quailed. Amroth held out his arm and Devoran lightly put her fingers on it. Without a glance to her cousin she allowed him to lead her away.
“I will probably be in trouble later, but it was worth it to see his face,” she said as soon as they were out of earshot.
“Can he do much?”
“Tell my father, but that will get him nowhere. I will just have to endure censure on the way home. It will make the journey in his company even more tedious.”
“Then we must make sure the time you have here is completely enjoyable. It has stopped raining, there is a lovely sunset. I thought you might like to see it from the tower. We can dance later.”
“I would like that. And, Amroth, thank you for the bath.”
He quirked his eyebrows, enjoying teasing her. “I am sure that I would have remembered giving you a bath!”
“You know what I meant,” she said laughing. “Thank you for going to the trouble to arrange it.”
“Believe me; it put me to no trouble at all.”
“I imagine it didn’t, but it was a kind thought.”
Such an easy thing to do, but it would have made a real difference to her after the soaking they got. “Did Ana look after you?”
“Yes, she did. I just hope your sister will not mind me using her room.”
Amroth grinned. “I rather think that is the last thing on her mind at the moment. She and Éomer came back from the tower before supper, disappeared into their quarters and nobody has seen them since. Except for the steward who took in a tray of food.”
“It seems as if they are very much in love.”
“Yes, they are. I am glad for them both; they were betrothed for nearly a year. It was hard for them.” He sighed, twisting his lips. “I feel guilty now because I made it worse. We went to Edoras for the summer and I would not trust Éomer at all and refused to let them be alone.”
Her eyes sparkled with mischief. “Probably because you would not trust yourself in the same situation.”
“You would get on well with Lothíriel. She told me just the same, but in more forceful terms.”
They reached the lookout tower. Tonight the view was stupendous, with the sun turning the sea into molten fire. Slowly the glowing orb sunk below the horizon, leaving a sky shot with flaming embers. It looked as though it would be another fine day tomorrow and Amroth knew he wanted to spend it with her.
“How well do you ride, Devoran?”
“Not well. Although I had a pony as a child. But I came on my father’s horse. King Éomer gave him Coll after the battle.”
“Did he? I am not surprised. Your bowmen held off the Mûmakil until Éomer could regroup. If Coll is a Rohirric horse he will be well trained.”
“Yes, he is. But he is far too big for me, although he is very good natured and allows me to perch on his back.”
“Come riding tomorrow, we can go along the coast. I have a horse that will suit you.”
He sighed, as he saw her stiffen with tension. She still didn’t trust him. “I will bring an escort. Would you like my whole Company, or will you feel safe enough with just six?”
“Six will be fine. Thank you.” She sounded prim but her lips twitched, belying the impression.
“Good. Now, let us go and dance.”
Erchi, he noticed, was dancing with a po-faced matron in a puce gown. Difficult to tell which of them looked the more bored. Amroth kept Devoran well away from him and from where his father and the rest of the family were sitting, not wanting to risk being called to task for monopolising her to exclusion of everyone else. They danced for a while, but after the fresh air and the early rising, Devoran soon started to flag. When the musicians struck a tune for a lively dance Amroth drew her aside. “It is the sea air, let us get a drink and sit down.” Leading her to the back of the hall he saw Oríon sitting with the same girl from the last two evenings.
“Devoran, come and meet a friend.”
The girl, called Luineth, turned out to be the daughter of an important ship builder from Pelargir. Now why did that not surprise him? They sat companionably for a while, talking, and then Amroth swore under his breath as he saw Erchi approaching. Already he appeared crumpled, with his collar open and his belt askew. Erchi had met Luineth earlier, and reluctantly Amroth introduced Devoran, expecting some ribald comment. This came back immediately.
“Well, it is lucky for us, Brother, that they grow up!”
Amroth glared at him, not that it would have any effect. But Devoran took his teasing in her stride, with no sign of a blush. They talked for a while and then Erchi stood up to go. “I am off to the tavern, having, I feel, done my duty here these past two evenings.” He grinned a little wickedly, moving his eyes between Amroth and Oríon. “I do not suppose that you two wish to come?”
Devoran immediately stood up. “I am going to retire. It has been a long day. And another busy one tomorrow if we are going riding,” she said, looking at Amroth.
Erchi gave a good impression of being affronted. “Oh! Not content with slipping off today and leaving me to entertain our exalted guests, you are planning to disappear tomorrow as well?”
Amroth grinned at him, knowing he would have to put up with a lot of mockery later. “Devoran is only here for one more day. I will be the perfect host for the rest of the week. Anyway,” he laughed, knowing how to get back at his brother, “perhaps you would have liked to have spent the whole day with your little nephew?”
Erchi’s eyes widened, and he shuddered, causing them all to fall about with laughter.
Amroth turned to Devoran. “I admit that a tankard of ale would be very welcome, but if you are going to the guesthouse I will escort you first.”
“I am going to bed as well,” Luineth interrupted. “We can walk together.”
Amroth took Devoran’s hand, bringing it to his lips. Her fingers trembled in his, which made him think she was not as impervious to him as she tried to portray. “Then I will meet you an hour after the breakfast bell, in the stable yard.”
Heat rushed to her face as he kissed her knuckles, but she nodded agreement.
Dol Amroth 26 February 3021
Devoran had to walk the length of the stable yard, giving Amroth ample time to study her. He knew he was staring because her colour had risen, but couldn’t stop himself. With her lovely hair tied loosely back from her face, and wearing a leather tunic over an embroidered blouse, plus legging and boots, she looked delectable. Not only that, she must be about the same size as Lothíriel. He could tell without a measure! It was probably the grin on his lips which made her hesitate.
“Is this acceptable? I do not have a riding dress.”
“Perfectly. If I was staring, it is because you look so nice.”
A hand rushed to her reddening face, and his grin turned to a chuckle. “Come on, come and meet Lady. I am sure you will suit.”
She gasped when she saw Lady, and put up her hand to pull at the mare’s quiff. “She’s lovely, Amroth. Such a pretty and unusual colour.”
“It’s called strawberry roan. I bought her on a whim, because she is so beautiful. Not that she’s really a man’s horse, I know. Although I ride her sometimes. But now that Lothíriel is going, I will have to ask Ana to exercise her more.”
Devoran looked surprised, which was understandable. “Ana rides well?”
“Yes, she went to Edoras as my sister’s maid. It is almost impossible to spend two months in Rohan without improving one’s riding skills.”
Lady, pleased to be going out, had started dancing around, eager to be off. Devoran looked a little wary.
“I hope that she will not be too much for me.”
“Do not worry.” Amroth picked up the long leather strap he had thrown over a rail. “I have no intention of letting you get away. If we ride up through the pinewoods you can get used to her, and later if you feel confident we can gallop back along the beach.”
He attached one end of the rein to Lady’s bridle and the other to his own horse. “Aero will keep her under control.” Amroth grinned at her, not being able to resist. “He looks at her and she blushes!”
Devoran stared for a moment and then started laughing, giving him a good opportunity. “May I?” She nodded, and he lifted her up so she could reach the stirrup, feeling her firm body through the leather tunic. Knowing it was as close as he was going to get, he banished any errant thoughts and concentrated on checking the straps and adjusting the length of the stirrups. Once sure she was comfortable, he gave the ready to the captain of the patiently waiting escort and then sprang onto Aero’s back.
Devoran glanced at the men as they formed up. “Do they mind coming with us?”
That made him chuckle. “Devoran, it did not occur to me to ask them.” All the response he got from her was a scornful grin. “Actually most need the practice; we have decided to mount all our troops.”
Once out of the city he took the road up between the two camps, keeping his eyes on her for a while – not a task he found at all irksome – and making a few suggestions, struck once more by her natural balance and poise. “You will be fine; practice is all you need, too.”
As they passed the Harad camp, Prince Amal came out of his pavilion, a cup in his hand. He stood sipping his drink and raised his arm in greeting when he recognised Amroth.
“I saw him arrive; there were three women trailing behind,” Devoran remarked.
Amroth laughed. “Yes, they are all his wives. They do have some funny ways.” Devoran listened open-mouthed when he told her the trouble the previous prince had caused.
“I am glad your sister is happy now, it sounds as if she will make a very good queen.”
“She will, I know.”
Judging she was perfectly able to cope with a longish canter, Amroth took the track that led through the strip of pines that lay between the main way to Edhellond and the beach, shorter and pleasanter than the road. Once Lady’s first flush of energy had dissipated he dispensed with the leading rein, judging Devoran to be competent enough. After a few hours they emerged on the dunes within sight of Aunt Ivriniel’s castle, the battlements rising above the dark trees. He pointed it out to Devoran, telling her of the old lady’s surprising marriage. But he didn’t want to ride any farther and be spotted, as she had returned to her home immediately after the wedding. So they sat on the banks of a rushing stream that tumbled down through the woods cutting a groove through the sand to the sea. With the horses grazing on the dune grass, they ate the tasty picnic provided by the Palace kitchens, entertained by the sight of the gannets plummeting into the depths after their own dinner. But conversation didn’t falter; he could have talked to Devoran all day. She wanted to know all about life along the coast, because although her mother had come from the northern banks of the Cobas Haven, she hadn’t been there since a child, and unlikely to now that her grandparents were dead. But eventually, with the sun an hour past its zenith, he got up and stretched.
“Do you feel like a gallop? Lady will not run away with you.”
Laughing with enjoyment and exhilaration, she looked carefree. If nothing more came of their meeting, he felt glad to have wiped the sadness from her eyes, albeit only for a short while.
They slowed down long before they reached the city, trotting and walking the rest of the way to cool the horses. Devoran pointed to some peculiar marks on the sand and asked what they were.
“They are turtle tracks. The females lay their eggs at the foot of the dunes.”
“My mother’s lyre is made from a turtle shell.”
“Oh yes, I remember. If you come with me to the beach tonight we will probably see one, there are still a few late ones laying.”
Amroth sighed, exasperated when he saw her expression. He had never had the slightest inclination to force himself on any woman, and certainly not this one. Then he felt immediately guilty, for she could not know that. She obviously knew of his reputation and what was more, he remembered the lengths he and his brothers had taken to protect Lothíriel. Devoran had no one. The only one looking after her and her own good name was herself. The cousin was obviously useless if he gave up at the sight of one glare.
“Devoran, if your brothers had lived, I would hope that we would have been friends. There is one golden rule that true men abide by – treat your friend’s sisters as you would expect them to treat yours.” He quirked his eyebrows, grinning. “Others are fair game.”
“You didn’t trust King Éomer,” she retorted, although her eyes gleamed laughter.
“No, but they were betrothed. And perhaps I didn’t trust my sister...” he mused. “But, Devoran, you have nothing to fear from me, and you would enjoy it. My esquire can accompany us. It will do him good, he has done nothing for days except hold my cloak.”
“Thank you, I would like that.” She flashed him an apologetic smile. “I know you think that I am being silly but….”
“It is all right, I understand. And you are not being silly, you are being very sensible.” But there was little time left and he wanted to make the most of it. “It is your last night so we must fit some dancing in. We can go to the beach later, there is more chance of seeing a turtle then.”
“We are leaving very early in the morning, but,” she hesitated before coming to a decision, “I will catch up on sleep when I get home.”
Good, her company guaranteed another pleasant evening ahead. “There is one more thing. I spoke to King Elessar at breakfast this morning; he would like to meet you. I said that I would introduce you tonight. Straight after supper would be best.”
Her face stiffened with shock, which reduced him to laughter. “You will like him. He is really very nice, and not at all frightening, I promise.”
Another chance to hold her when she dismounted, but she quickly pulled away and the only one who got a hug was Lady. A beautiful horse and a beautiful woman, well matched. If he were choosing a mount for her he could not do better. Now that was quite a thought.
“She is lovely, Amroth. I have had a wonderful day, thank you.”
“Good, so have I. And we still have one evening to enjoy. I will send Ana, you will want a bath.”
“No, there is no need. It is too much trouble.”
“It is no trouble at all, and you cannot meet the King smelling of horses!”
Devoran gave in. “Well, thank you again. I will see you later.”
He thought she looked especially charming tonight, wearing the same soft green dress she had worn at the wedding. But her hair had been twirled into long loose curls that bounced against her back. Amroth waited, wanting to claim her again as soon as she rose from the chair next to Aragorn. They had been talking for quite a while, and because he had been watching her closely, he saw that she had gradually relaxed in Aragorn’s reassuring presence.
“Was I right, did you like him?” The first thing he asked when she joined him.
“Yes, you were right. And I am glad that you insisted. He is very kind, not a bit like I expected. And the Queen, I have never seen anyone quite so beautiful.”
True enough. “Yes, they seem to suit one another.”
They danced for a while, but he thought her unusually quiet. He wondered if she really did want to go home. It could not be much fun stuck on a mountain with a father in deep despair.
Another beautiful moonlit evening, but being early in the year the air had a chill in it. When they walked to the beach he put his cloak around her shoulders.
“I am wearing it more than you.”
“It looks better on you.” In fact she looked wonderful, the dark blue emphasising her creamy skin. “The colour suits you.” He took her hand to help her over some rocks but did not let it go, and for once she did not object. Idly he wondered what he would have done if his esquire was not right behind them. Nothing more probably! For she made sure she left a big space between them when they sat down.
There was always something of interest to watch on the beach, night or day. She loved the little crabs that ran backwards and forwards, dodging the waves. But then he touched her arm and pointed along the dunes: an owl hung over the grass. A huge white ghostly shape, gliding softly, quartering its territory.
“What is it looking for?” she asked.
“Mice, they come out of the woods.” To his delight she cringed and wrapped the cloak around her legs, moving closer to him.
“What they really like of course, are the big, juicy, black spiders that live here. They come out of their holes at night.”
Devoran jumped, moving even nearer. She looked round and then her eyes widened when she saw quite how close she was. Esquire be dammed, he just could not resist it. Putting his hand lightly on the back of her neck he kissed her gently; her lips were cool and soft.
She didn’t pull away, but did nothing else either. “I am sorry, Devoran. I stole that one.”
“No, Amroth.” Then she laughed softly. “I think you won that one, but most unfairly. Please do not do it again.”
“Look!” He pointed to the edge of the waves. A huge turtle lumbered out of the surf. They watched as she made her way slowly up the beach and started digging a hole not far from them. It took an incredibly long time but eventually the turtle settled herself to lay her eggs.
He took her hand again. “It will be there ages.”
“Then I had better go. I am not very popular with my cousin already and I must not oversleep in the morning.”
They made their way back to the city and he kept hold of her hand, dismissing the boy at the gates. Neither moved when they got to the door of the guesthouse, but stood looking at each other for a moment. He didn’t want to say goodbye yet, but couldn’t make up his mind what to do, or say. She forestalled him anyway, saying quietly.
“Thank you Amroth, you have been very kind. I shall always remember these few days.” In a quick movement she took off his cloak and pushed it into his hands, reached up and kissed him lightly on the lips. Then she fled.
The door banged shut. She had gone, with only a taste of her sweetness remaining. Now what did he do? He felt empty. Sleep was out of the question. He could not face the hall, the tavern held no appeal. It would be foolish to take his boat out alone in the dark, so he headed for the stables. Aero had been out all day, but there would be another who would relish a gallop.
To be continued - when we find out some of Devoran’s thoughts.
Original Characters in this Chapter
Alhael- Devoran’s cousin. Son of Duinhir’s elder sister
Coruves- Alhael’s wife
Luineth- Wedding guest. Daughter of a shipbuilder
Oríon- Amroth’s friend.
Ana- Junior maid in the Palace
Princess Meren- Elphir’s wife.