Chapter 13: Harad
Gildor and Rúmil shared several evenings together though nothing more intimate than touching and heated kisses happened. Although both seemed to want more, Gildor always stopped just short. Something was always looming over him and Rúmil wanted to find out what it was. They had grown close over the six months that they traveled together.
Gildor and his company were wonderful to the young elf. Rúmil learned a great deal about Arda and those that dwelt there. He found the horse lords of Rohan to be very welcoming, warm and down to earth. Even the king was not above tending his horses or sharing a drink in the hall with his people. Rúmil had the opportunity to speak with the captain of the guard, a blacksmith, and a young woman he met while wandering the streets. Although the people were in awe at the tall, lithe being, they were quite willing to answer all of Rúmil's questions.
After Gildor had arranged to interbreed with the Rehire horses, the company began to move towards Gondor. Travel was relaxed. They would make camp on what seemed like a whim. Usually it was a simple camp with just bedrolls, and they moved on in a day or so. Other times, they made a more permanent encampment. They erected tents and softer bedding was unloaded from the wagons. The elves would stay in the area for a week or more, taking short trips to nearby villages. They acquired what they needed from the land or by trade. Rúmil liked when the tents went up. First, it meant more comfortable sleeping arrangements; secondly, there was more privacy. He could speak more openly with Eliron, with whom he shared a tent. He also could to spend more time in quiet discussion with the elf-lord. Often they would retire to Gildor's tent to talk or play chess. He always hoped, though, that perhaps more would happen under the tent in the quiet night; but other than a chaste touch or stolen kiss, they behaved as the close friends they had become.
They had visited Minas Tirith earlier in the week. The city and its people differed greatly from the people of Rohan. There were clearly the haves and the have-nots, and the groups did not intermix. There was a separation between officer and soldier. The Silvan felt trapped inside the great stone city. He did, however, enjoy the library and archives there. When Gildor was free, he often joined Rúmil there and they studied scrolls on the history of the city. Rúmil's ability to learn languages impressed the elf-lord almost as much as his desire to learn. Despite his desire to read every book and scroll in the old library, Rúmil was happy when the company broke camp and began to move through the mountains.
Rúmil was amazed at the lack of orc activity. Being so close to the dark lands of Mordor where it was rumored that the Dark One still ruled, the young elf thought Gildor would post more guards. When he asked Eliron about it, the captain smiled and explained that a company of scouts always went ahead to 'clear' the way if necessary. Rúmil asked if he would be allowed to join such a scouting group. The ancient warrior said that when Rúmil was with the company for a year, he would be able to join.
"Getting a little bored?" the captain teased.
"Not really bored, but I do miss training," Rúmil said apologetically.
Eliron smiled and grasped the young elf's shoulder. "I forgot what it is like to go from warrior to wanderer. Gildor just wanted you to be free to explore and learn. When we reach Harad, we will train. I will also talk to Gildor about adding you to the hunting parties. To be honest, I think he just does not want to put you in harm's way…and not just because Lady Galadriel would take his head if you came to harm." The captain winked knowingly. The older elf was quite aware, as was most of the company, that there was a strong attraction between Gildor and Rúmil.
So the journey through the mountains continued. When at last they reached the edge of the forest at the edge on the foothills, Rúmil was surprised to see a small caravan of wagons waiting for them. On the other side of a small river was a brightly colored encampment. A small group of edain came forward to meet the Wandering Company.
"It is good to see you back so soon, Lord Gildor." A man bowed low. He was dressed in loose dark pants tucked into his polished boots. His shirt was sky blue and opened to his stomach. He wore gold and silver bracelets on both wrists, several chains around his neck and earrings in his ears. His hair was windblown, his friendly face had laugh lines at the eyes, and a mustache touched streaked with gray framed his lips. With him came two others, a young man dressed similarly and a young woman. Rúmil found himself staring despite his preferences. She was a stunning creature. She wore a long, flowing skirt of multi-colored patches, which rested on her hips, and a belt that jingled when she moved. What really caught the eye, however, was the light cream shirt she wore. It scooped wide at the neck, revealing the soft mounds of her chest. One shoulder was bare as the top hung off it. It tied just at the ribs, leaving her stomach bare to the world. An elleth would never have shown so much skin! Rúmil found himself wondering if his tastes might not be different if they did. He could not deny that she was beautiful. Looking around, he noticed Eliron looking at her with more than passing interest. Rúmil smiled; so, the dear captain liked the fairer sex.
"Azulian, this is the newest member of our happy band," Gildor said, indicating Rúmil." Rúmil hails from the woods of Lothlórien."
The older man bowed. "A pleasure to meet you, Master Elf," he said with a bow. "Please let us know if there is anything we can assist you with." Azulian's smile made it clear to what he was referring. Rúmil flushed slightly. Turning to Gildor, he continued with a wink, "Perhaps he would enjoy some of our ways? My daughter and son are well versed in such things."
There was a dangerous flash in Gildor's eyes before he answered politely. "No, I do not think that will be needed, although," looking at his Captain he added, "I think there are those who would enjoy it."
The man nodded and began to lead the group to the waiting wagons. The sun had not reached it highest point yet so the work to set up camp began before taking a meal. Everyone pitched in, for this was to be one of their longest stops.
Rúmil was surprised to find low beds and cots were unloaded from the wagons and piles of soft silk and satin blankets. Everything was brightly colored! The guardian helped to setup the cooking area and helped to tend to the horses. Everyone broke in the early afternoon for a quick meal of cheese, dried meat, and fruit, enjoying the beautiful weather. Rúmil learned that the Wandering Company often stayed here for weeks or months, sharing the area with one or two clans of the Haradrim. He looked forward to talking to those who spoke Westron. Since the sun was already on the decline, Gildor and the leader of the Haradrim decided a feast would be held the following day with music and entertainment. For now, the elves would finish settling in and rest, for the trek through the mountain had not been easy.
Rúmil retired to his and Eliron's tent to rest. He stretched out on the soft bedding, stretching and placing his arms behind his head. His breath came slowly and his body relaxed. He fell into reverie, but this time he did not have the erotic dreams of things he wished to about a certain golden-haired Noldo. Instead, he dreamed of his lessons learned in childhood. He saw himself as a child, sitting at Lady Galadriel's feet as she explained the divisions of the elves, spoke of the noble houses in Valinor, of the Doom of the Noldor and of the princes who came to Arda from the west. He remembered soaking the information up. He had especially loved to learn about the different standards what each house carried and what the meant. Images of the standards flooded his mind, Finwë, Fëanor, Fingon, Fingolfin, Maedhors, Finrod…Finrod Felagund! He jerked to consciousness. Could it be? He closed his eyes and thought hard. Yes, yes it was…he had found the missing piece of the puzzle. He just did not know how it all fit together, but Gildor would.
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.