2. All Roads Lead To Rome, by Starlight
It takes a village
"I hear our liege's favorite advisor 'Stirs War, Dooms Elenna,'" whispered Arandar, offering him a glass.
Stunned at hearing his writing quoted, Anarion hesitated. Arandar knew! Never had he reason to mistrust Isildur's friend, but perilous times made mistakes costly.
Still, he drank. "I could not know."
Arandar glanced meaningfully at Anarion's fingernails. "Unless you have turned scholar, I would hide those ink-stains." Leaning closer, "I can help with this... compilation of family history. Hard work. Yes?"
"And stain your fingers?"
"Better my fingers than my conscience."
Anarion understood that. "Tomorrow. Fish market."
"Aye. For evil and darkness."
Business is Business
Arandar folded the leaflets from the final parchment. From there, it was to the distributors, thence to whatever hands would hold them. Hands he could never recognize. Not yet. Anarion was very particular about that.
"You sure not even your brother knows of your midnight rendezvous?"
Anarion smiled. "I let him think what he will. Being Isildur, he probably knows it is no woman."
"People underestimate you."
"I like it that way; 'tis vital for my line of work."
"You even manage truthfulness, for you do trade."
"Information. Best trade there is."
"One day might be your head."
The apple falls not far from the tree
"Let us forget," Amandil said, "that I am the lord of Andunie and that you are fourth in line to succeed me. Tell me, Anarion: have you seen this parchment before?"
Confronted by his own handwriting, he could not do much more than deflect attention.
"You would lose deniability should I answer."
"But as your grandfather, I am bound only to you."
"These things," pointing to the page, "become dangerous the more people know of them."
"More reason to keep my part quiet, son."
"Whence, did you suppose, came the facts you write?"
"A creditable source!"
'Tis all Greek
"Lady P. sends greetings to her kinsman."
Amandil took the parchment offered and shoved it under his shirt. Miriel risked much in communicating with him, but he could not-- would not-- deny her the right to be useful in whatever way was available now. Doomed they were; at least die knowing that one fought whilst living.
"Tell P. that R. has received and will pass it from competent to competent hands."
The woman smiled. "Never had my old hands received such praise."
"Due time. Now let us be off." Time to transcribe and burn Miriel's note. Thence, to his contact.
Never put off 'til tomorrow...
"Issilome thanks your wife for the books," Amandil said, a lingering glance at the second, blue binding. "As do I. Magnificent recipes."
"Glad to be of service! Though only a messenger, one does what one can."
"Have her sample these and pass them on. They are too good not to taste."
Watching Omardil walk away with Miriel's news in tow, Amandil wondered how many turns they would take until they saw print, or whether the effort was worth it. Until he saw Elendur playing on the surf.
If some future could be salvaged, he would do what he could, today.
To Caesar what is Caesar's
"Hefty tome, this week!"
Anarion's eyes widened, almost imperceptibly, at the implied meaning, as Garathil handed him a book. What was it today...? A Sailor's Account of His Trade. He smiled, kept up the pretense. "Will this help my project?"
"Undoubtedly!" replied the librarian. "Your ancestors have always been mariners. Do let me see the draft once finished."
Anarion left to read about family history (actually, to digest and present the information received. Let no one be in the dark! Annatar would destroy them if brave people did not do their part to expose him.)
Let me honor their efforts.
Who risks not, gains not
Emeldil looked around as he slipped through the flap to find the tunnel to find the outing to find the steps to find the alley that led to the old playhouse where he would find the latest batch of news to distribute amongst the Faithful. No one knew who wrote them. It mattered not. Those news were the one thing holding them together, strong against the lovers of darkness. He would do anything to deliver them to those who awaited, and to protect their author.
Any sacrifice would be worth it for such a cause.
"Valar, help us hold on."
Killing two birds with one stone's throw
'...disturbing phenomena linked, as shown, to darkness-worship upon Meneltarma. In our eagerness to remain aloof from the damnable atrocities perpetrated there, we have allowed A. to please himself. Our duty, now, remains...'
Elenwe struggled to quell the butterflies Anarion always provoked. Pride for his daring; fear for his risk. He could never know she knew it was him writing what gave such hope to the Faithful, nor that she helped pass it along; he would beg her not to endanger herself, but should he court danger alone?
Now, her seamstress would appreciate a new order of work. And news.
The end of all things
Husband and wife read together, hearts heavy, of the growing unrest, corruption, and desecration around them.
"Whence does it lead?" she asked, plying her needle furiously over her new order.
"Hush!" Then, softly, taking her hand, "all we can do is remain faithful and hope that the-- that the Valar will take pity on us. At least, through these," brandishing the parchment, "we are not blind, nor complacent."
"No. And, when the time comes to stand together, we will know there are others we can trust."
"When will it be?"
"'Tis certain we will know."
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.