2. Not What Was Expected
The bread was delicious - fresh and still warm from the oven - and with honey drizzled on it, better than anything she'd tasted in a while. Meg tried not to notice the intense gaze of Lord Celeborn, who continued to study her even as he deftly consumed his bread and honey without even a single drip escaping. She did, however, notice his lips quirking as if fighting a smile when she wiped up a stray blob of escaped honey from her plate and stuck her finger in her mouth without thinking.
A low-pitched female voice announced Norwen's return to the kitchen before the woman actually entered. Wendell answered her, as did Lord Celeborn, who then rose gracefully and, with a slight bow, walked away in the direction Norwen had come. Norwen approached the table, picked up Lord Celeborn's plate, and then directed a stream of that unidentifiable yet beautiful language in her direction as she pointed at the plate in front of Meg.
Her meaning was unmistakable, regardless Meg couldn't understand a word she said. "I'm done, thank you," Meg replied, and picked up her plate and handed it over. Norwen accepted it with a quick word that might have been, "Thank you," in her tongue, and then gestured for Meg to finish the water in her mug before turning away.
Meg turned to Wendell. "How do I say 'thank you' in your language?"
"Hannon le," he replied with a twinkle in his eye.
"Hannon le, Norwen," Meg tried, speaking up with a little bit of courage.
Norwen turned and nodded at her, letting loose with a long stream of words before shaking her finger at her and then moving to resume her nursing of the stewpot over the fire. Meg's eyes widened, and she turned to Wendell as much for reassurance as for explanation.
"She said that she hopes that you continue to reserve room for the stew this evening, and reminds you to let her know if there's anything you need in your chambers before nightfall," Wendell answered the unspoken plea for help with a twinkle in his eye. "She and her husband return to their home after the evening meal or at nightfall, whichever comes last; and you will not have her assistance until morning."
"What about…" Meg thought of the saddlebags and her bedroll that were still attached to Sadie's saddle. She nodded in Norwen's direction, grateful to see the woman nod in return and turn back to her cooking, and then told Wendell, "I need to take care of my horse."
"That has already been taken care of, my dear." The brown man's hand was at her elbow now, exerting pressure to urge her to get to her feet. "Alargon has probably already seen to taking your friend to the stable and brushing it down."
"But, my stuff…"
"Fear not," he chuckled, leading her back toward the dining hall again. "He will bring any belongings into the House, and Norwen will see them properly returned to you. This way, now."
Encouraged, although still not entirely convinced of her welcome, Meg found that walking down corridors was less of a fearful exercise than it was the first time. She was relaxed enough to note that there were often alcoves between the doorways that opened to her left that held either a statue or some other piece of magnificent artwork. Sometime, if she ever felt at ease enough to explore, she promised herself to spend more time studying the grandeur about her that seemed to be so taken for granted by her unassuming guide.
But if there was one impression that she got on this walk, it was of age. Nothing she could see indicated anything remotely modern. The stone of the flooring was worn in the center as if by thousands of feet that had walked there before her. It wasn't quite a rut, but clearly spoke of the amount of time it had been used in exactly that way. The glass in the windows also spoke of great age; she remembered some of the science shows she'd seen on TV mentioning that glass was truly a liquid, one that simply moved thousands of times slower than molasses. The warping and rippling were indications of glass that had been upright on end and slowly moving with gravity for a very long time.
"Hmmm?" He slowed slightly and turned to her.
"How long has this place been here? When we saw this place from the air, the roof tiles looked like they'd been there for a long time…"
"Oh, we have been here for Ages," he answered with a casual toss of a hand. "It seems as if we have always been here." She felt another gentle tug on her elbow, and then he was pushing open one of the doors to the right. "Here we are."
It wasn't just a simple bedroom that he ushered her into but rather a small suite of rooms. Inside the door was a sitting room of sorts, with a small but serviceable hearth with supplies to keep the rooms warm stacked close by. Two comfortable-looking chairs sat near it; and across the room were a small table with three simple wooden stools, and a sideboard. Through one door to the right, Meg could see the end of a bedstead, the wood dark with age. "You have a private privy through there," Wendell said and drew her attention to another door at the opposite end of the parlor. "There are bathing rooms downstairs which are fed by hot springs if you wish to bathe; just come find me, and I'll show you how to find them and work with them. They are quite different from what I would imagine you are familiar with."
"This is…" Meg shook her head. Little had she expected, when she had left the public riding trails and headed into the denser, protected lands, that she would have ended up a guest in a huge, rambling, and very old manor-house. "This is more than I deserve for trespassing. I just pushed open the front door and waltzed in here as if…"
"That you found your way down the path without becoming confused and actually arrived at the bridge means that you were meant to find us, Meg Litten," he told her, his tone suddenly quite serious. "Most people find the path, only to get lost only a short while later and end up back where they started. It is how we have managed to stay… inconspicuous for as long as we have."
"But… we saw you…"
"Yes, from above." Wendell shrugged. "The protection that surrounds Imladris was never intended to protect us from above." He sighed. "I will have to take that into consideration from now on."
Meg frowned in confusion. "What?"
He waved a long-fingered hand. "Never mind. I talk to myself sometimes." He backed towards the doorway. "Take some time to freshen up, perhaps rest a while. The evening meal will start soon after five bells."
"Five bells?" Meg shifted nervously towards Wendell, not entirely willing to let him get away yet. "And I don't know how to get from here to the dining hall."
"It is very easy. Out this door, to the left until the end of the hall, then right, and left through the door into the dining hall." He stepped back again, with his hand on the handle to her door. "If you would prefer, however, I will knock on your door and escort you."
Meg breathed a sigh of relief. "If you wouldn't mind, I'd really appreciate it. I wouldn't want to get lost and stray into places I don't belong." She wrapped her arms around herself. "I already feel like I'm imposing a great deal."
"Not at all. Now, I would imagine that Norwen probably stocked your chests with clothing that she thought might fit, so I am certain you have plenty of exploring to do before dinner. But our meals are quite informal nowadays, so do not worry about needing to dress. When you hear the five bells, expect me shortly thereafter."
"Thank you," Meg said earnestly. "And I'm sorry to have disrupted your day."
A wide smile spread across his face. "Please. No apologies." He pressed his hand to his chest and bowed in a very odd and old-fashioned manner. "Until later, my lady." With that, he turned and pulled the door closed after himself, leaving Meg alone.
"This is… this has got to be a dream!" She moved through the sitting room and peeked into the bedroom. The bedstead was quite old-fashioned, and the wood was indeed quite dark. But the detail on the carving that was the headboard was enough to take her breath away. As if guarding the sleep of the one to lie in the bed was a grand bas relief tree, with birds sitting in the branches that looked as if they might fly away at any moment. The coverlet on the bed was a dark and rich looking plush material, and the cuff of sheet that was precisely showing beyond the coverlet a soft white.
Meg moved into the room and saw a tall wardrobe against the inside wall. Remembering what Wendell had told her, she opened the larger door and marveled at the array of dresses that hung from pegs. She lifted one down and then held it up against herself. The filmy fabric looked as it just might fit, giving her reason to admire Norwen's judge of size. Still, she hung it back up again.
"I really shouldn't touch anything," she reminded herself even as she dared to sit down on the mattress and bounce experimentally and stroke the soft coverlet. It would definitely be more comfortable than camping on the hard ground with only a blanket!
On a small chest in front of another ancient, warped windowpane, sat a pitcher and ewer set of soft white pottery; and a quick peek told Meg that the pitcher had water in it. Neatly folded next to them were a washcloth and a small towel. In a small bowl was a thick, white liquid which, when she dipped her fingers in it and lifted it to her nose, smelled of lavender. "Soap, maybe," Meg announced to herself.
From somewhere outside, a bell began to chime, ringing four times before stopping. "That's right, he said five bells."
A knock sounded on her door. Meg went back into the sitting room to open the door, and found Norwen holding her saddlebags and bedroll. "Hannon le," Meg remembered to say after a quick moment to search her memory for the unfamiliar words.
Norwen bowed and smiled at her, murmuring what was most likely the polite response before turning to walk briskly back down the corridor.
Quietly Meg closed the door and carried her belongings into the bedroom. One of the bulging sides of the saddlebags held a second set of outer clothing: clean jeans and another flannel shirt, packed just in case of weather or other incident that would render what she was currently wearing ineffective. She pulled out the carefully folded and compressed material, shook it out and hung them over the top of one of the delicate dresses in the wardrobe. It was anybody's guess how long these strange people would wish for her to remain.
The other leather pouch held her cell phone, toiletries, additional memory cards for the camera, a small netbook computer, freeze-dried food packets and a space-saving set of collapsible pan, plate, silverware and handle. She eyed the cell phone but tucked it back away again. Who was she going to call? She had told no one where she was going, and she was certain that there was truly no one to care if she didn't call for a while. The collapsible cooking set and food she stowed again as well; from the smell of the stewpot, and the evidence of the snack she'd been given, finding food here was not going to be a problem. She was even going to have an escort to supper.
She dislodged the camera from her jeans pocket, where she'd thrust it when Lord Celeborn had taken charge of her, and looked around her suite of rooms. Certainly the headboard of the bed was worth saving for sharing later. She sat down on the bed and took several pictures, both of the entire design as well as close-ups of individual points of detail that were charming.
That done, she stored away the camera into the saddlebag and draped it carefully over the bar at the foot of the bed. The bedroll she gazed at for a while before just setting it on the bed at the very base of the mattress near the foot. If she got chilly in the night, it would be at least another something warm to pull over her.
That only left the private privy to investigate. With a sigh, she pulled herself back to her feet and opened the final door. Inside was nothing she was familiar with. The privy itself was a stone bench with a convenient hole, although not a whiff of foul odor rose from its darkness. Meg stood over it and thought she could hear the sound of water running somewhere very far away. No sewer system or septic system. The implications were enormous, but she refused to let herself dwell on them.
On the wall that held the door itself was a mirror and small chest of drawers, on the top of which was yet another pitcher and ewer filled with water. This time, the obligatory folded washcloth and towel were hung from a small nearby metal bar. High on the wall behind the privy was a small window that provided the light. Meg shuddered as she realized that she would hopefully have some sort of candle given her later, should she need to navigate in here in the dark.
Satisfied with her search for now, she moved back into the sitting room. Already the light in the one window was beginning to wane, so Meg looked about her for candles, finding a small supply of them on their sides on the mantle over the hearth. She frowned, realizing that she had found no candlesticks in which to put them nor matches with which to light them. The latter she had in her backpack, however; so all she truly needed were the candlesticks.
"What kind of rabbit hole have I found?" she asked herself, a hand pressed to the top of her head. "What the Hell am I doing here?" The immensity of her situation, and the mystery of just who these people were and why they seemed to be quite content living in what looked like medieval conditions staggered her, and she groped for and then sat in one of the chairs situated in front of the hearth.
From where she sat, the window didn't look as if it opened; and Meg shuddered at the idea that she was trapped in this room. The house - or estate, whatever it was - was huge and rambling, probably quite easy to get very lost in. If what she suspected were true, only the enigmatic Wendell spoke English; leaving her with very few options in conversation.
With a sigh, she leaned her head back against the smooth leather, finding the cushions both beneath her bottom and at her back quite sufficient. The stress was catching up to her. "Gene, why did I have to take a page from your book? I'm not an explorer. You should be the one stuck in this… this…" She closed her eyes and sighed.
But no matter how tired she was now, her mind wouldn't let her rest. How long until five bells? Bored, frightened, tired and all too willing to entertain all kinds of horrific possibilities, Meg gazed about her, as if wishing something in the room would give her the answers she needed before she went crazy.
She roused at the touch of a gentle hand on her forearm, shaking her. "Lady? Awaken please…"
Meg groaned and opened her eyes to see Wendell bending over her. "Did I fall asleep?"
"Indeed so," he responded, straightening as she began to move. "I take it you did not hear the bells?"
She shook her head. "I didn't think I'd be able to fall asleep. My mind was going a million miles a minute, the last time I knew anything..."
Wendell lent her his hand to help her out of the chair, gazing at her closely as she rose and then withdrew her hand. "You are frightened."
Meg avoided meeting his gaze. "I know I had no business even trying the front door, much less stepping inside. I didn't expect to be invited in afterwards - much less housed and fed. So yes, I'm feeling more than a little insecure."
"We are not monsters, Meg Litten," Wendell stated very gently. "We have no plans to rob you or hold you captive. If you truly wished, you could gather your belongings and walk out the door this moment, saddle your mount and ride away." His face, when she finally glanced up at him, was kind. "We would hope that you would dine with us before you left, however - or that you would agree to stay the night in a comfortable bed in a warm house rather than on the hard ground on a chilly night - but we would not force you to anything against your will."
At that, Meg stared at him. "You mean it?" she asked very softly. "I could leave if I really wanted to?"
He ducked his head in a firm nod. "Yes. However, I know that Lord Celeborn would be seriously disappointed; I believe he had hopes of asking you some more questions this evening. We…" He hesitated, as if not knowing exactly how to say something. "We do not have much contact with the outside world, except on those rare occasions that I must go to the village for particular supplies that we cannot produce for ourselves here. And even then, I dare not stay away from Imladris for long; so my ability to gather information is quite limited." He looked at her again, his gaze penetrating. "But that is neither here nor there. The question before you is: shall I have Alargon saddle your horse for you again?"
Meg gazed back, trying to see if she could find the slightest hint of anything menacing in Wendell's eyes, but all she could see was concern and patience. "No," she finally said with a sigh. "I can at least stay the night, and then be on my way in the morning so that you and your people don't have to worry about a stranger for long, nor worry about me stumbling around and getting injured in the dark."
His smile was immediate and brilliant. "We honestly are not displeased with your visit," he told her as he settled her hand on his arm and began leading her from her suite. "No matter the way in which you came upon us, you are not unwelcome here. Hopefully you will soon realize this for yourself, and not need my reassurance."
The odd thing was that they were not walking in the dark. At regular intervals, a crystal-looking container was displayed or hung at the side of the corridor that gave off a soft, blue glow that was easy on the eyes and illuminated the surrounding area. Meg wondered about them, for she had seen not a single sign of electrical outlet in her suite at all, now that she thought about it. So much here was strange, or very, very old-fashioned; it was hard to fully comprehend all that she was seeing.
"And now you are confused," Wendell commented quietly.
Meg glanced at him in guilty surprise, and then looked away again quickly in embarrassment. "Am I as easy to read as all that?" she asked with a blush slowly spreading.
"I would imagine that what you have seen this day here matches none of the expectations you might have had of this place from your aerial survey."
Slowly she nodded. "Then again, I didn't know what to expect - certainly not that people were actually living here."
"So you have said before. Did you think Imladris to be nothing but ruins?"
"We weren't certain. Gene said that this part of the park was closed to regular visitors, and that one needed the permission of the government to be allowed in. He also said that there was no record of buildings in this ravine, nor any sign that anyone had filed for permission to build."
"And you had permission yourself to enter these lands from the government?"
Again she felt the warmth wash through her cheeks. "Not exactly," she replied finally.
Meg cringed at the understanding tone in which that hum was made, but then blinked as she moved through the large room toward a brightly lit dining hall with a quiet murmur of voices. She would have preferred to approach the room slowly and cautiously, as she just knew she was going to feel like the odd-man-out, but Wendell's hold on her hand sitting on his arm was a firm one.
More of the blue-glowing crystals hung from fixtures fastened to the walls, fixtures that she hadn't noticed the first time she'd been there. Augmented with candles on the tables, the sources of light gave the room an interesting glow. The number of people present and already seated at the tables Meg estimated at between twenty and thirty; all of them evidently young and slender and wearing their hair very long. All of the women, except her, were garbed in gowns made of the same soft fabric as those she'd found in her wardrobe; so she did indeed feel quite out of place in her flannel shirt and faded blue jeans. Most of the men wore trousers, a blouse-like garment made of what looked like similar material to the gowns that was covered by a sleeveless over-shirt, and boots made of soft-looking leather.
Many eyes were turned to watch her entrance, but none of those seemed to hold any animosity. A deep voice sounded over the hush, and Wendell tugged on her hand to lead Meg to the head table, where Lord Celeborn stood with his right hand extended over the empty seat next to him. The tall man stepped back to assist her in scooting her chair forward before taking his place to her left. She was comforted, however, when Wendell remained close to sit at her right. At least she would have an interpreter.
On the other side of Celeborn, a serious man with very light gold hair watched her warily and yet with open curiosity. Beyond him sat several others, equally wary and curious. Celeborn spoke a brief phrase obviously aimed at the collected population at large, something pointedly at Wendell, and then gave the simple wave that told Meg that his final words had been meant for her.
"Lord Celeborn asks that I introduce the others at the table," Wendell said, making her turn her head quickly. "Next to him sits Haldir, his master of the guard, who watched you as you approached our fences." At the mention of his name, the silver-golden haired man pressed his right hand over his chest and bowed from the neck. "And next to him is his brother, Rúmil."
Strange names, she thought, nothing like any of the traditional Scottish names I’ve heard. “Nice to meet you both,” she said hesitantly, and knew that Wendell’s lilting words were most likely hers in return.
Her eyes were drawn to movement in front of her, and she looked up to see Norwen setting the heavy pot that had been hanging over the fire on the table, with another, shorter woman carrying a stack of bowls and assorted utensils. Yet another brought a plank with an untouched loaf of the fresh bread. Meg’s mouth began to water at the thought of the savory stew and tasty bread together. When her serving was handed to her, along with a wooden spoon of surprising delicacy, she gazed into Norwen’s face and said slowly and carefully, “Hannon le, Norwen.”
Norwen smiled back and responded with the same short phrase she’d said before, but Meg could feel that Lord Celeborn had stiffened in surprise. He bent to her and said a long statement, and then the both of them turned to Wendell. “He says that he is surprised and pleased that already you begin to learn Sindarin. Knowing more of our language would make your stay infinitely more beneficial to you.”
"Does nobody else here speak English?" She just had to ask.
Wendell shook his head. "The others have chosen not to leave Imladris. As this is the last refuge left for their kind, and the world of Men holds no allure, they are just as happy letting me take the occasional trip."
Meg frowned. "What do you mean, 'the world of Men'? We're all human beings here."
She frowned as Wendell aimed a long stream of words over her head at Lord Celeborn. Haldir frowned and commented as well, only to fall silent as Celeborn spoke in slow and deliberate tones. Both men nodded seriously, and Wendell turned back to her. "Our people here have stayed separate from the outside world for a very long time. They call that world the "world of Men" sometimes. I forget that you would not have heard that before."
Celeborn spoke then, looking directly at Meg. She waited for Wendell's translation: "My friend tells me that you speak differently than those who live beyond these hills. Where do you call home?"
He's changing the subject! Still, it would only be polite to answer. "I'm an American."
Oddly, Wendell seemed not to understand the term. "You are… from a different land then?"
She nodded. "Across the ocean to the west."
The moment Wendell translated her words, she could see that several of the others sitting at other tables had clearly turned to give their attention to what was going on at hers.
From beyond Haldir, Rúmil asked a question in a tone that was almost harsh in its eagerness. Meg heard the word "American" uttered in a musical lilt and immediately turned to hear the translation. Much to her disappointment, Wendell answered him - at length. When he was done, she swallowed her bite of stew and tugged on his sleeve. "What was that about?"
"Nothing important," Wendell told her with a glare in Rúmil's direction. When Meg glared at him, he sighed. "Some of our people are superstitious about what exists across the sea to the west. I merely explained that your land is not the one they were thinking of."
Again Celeborn spoke to Meg, with Wendell translating his words. "Do you have family left behind in your land?"
"No," she answered, more than aware that he was again steering the discussion away from what were apparently touchy subjects. "My parents are dead, and my brother's wife is here in Britain - in London."
"And you have no other kin?"
It seemed amazing, even to Meg, to consider that. "No," she answered eventually. "Both of my parents were only children, and their parents as well."
"Do you have a husband who awaits your return, then?"
Now Meg both blushed and let herself worry a little. What are all the questions about my family about? Is he wondering if there's anybody who will miss me if they don't let me go as Wendell said they would? "No," she replied firmly. "No husband, no fiancé, and no boyfriend."
Haldir tossed back whatever was in his mug and rose from the table, obviously finished. He spoke a quick, sharp sentence that brought several nods from the other tables before he turned on his heel. Meg turned to Wendell, only to see him shaking his head. "What?" she asked worriedly.
Celeborn spoke, his tone a kindly one, and laid a hand very gently on Meg's shoulder. Meg turned her head and found herself sinking into grey eyes that seemed bottomless in their compassion and wisdom. "You will have to forgive him; Haldir's concern ever rests with the security of our fences, and the ease of your discovery and entry does not sit well with him," Wendell supplied from behind her. "And Hir Celeborn reminded all here that even those with few ties to the outer world have the right to find their way to us, regardless the amount of time that may have passed outside our ken. For myself, I worry that you have so few upon whom to lean. Obviously you still grieve for your brother. Have you no one, that you undertake this journey of remembrance alone?"
Even Meg herself wondered at that. Once Sally had taken Linnet to London, and the cloud of friends that had claimed Gene had dissipated, Meg had felt quite abandoned. She had a few friends - colleagues among the secretarial staff at the office where she worked - but none that were close. Now that Gene was gone… No! She didn't dare let her mind follow that path; if she thought about that too much…
"I do all right," she defended herself after a deep breath. "I'll be okay eventually."
Wendell frowned, as if her answer displeased him somehow. "Your brother - how long ago did he die?"
It was like a knife to the heart. "Three weeks ago," she said, her tone flattening as she struggled against the emotion. "A drunk driver."
She heard Wendell's musical words that flowed over her without the need for her to try to understand, but her attention had finally been pulled inward. She could no longer shut away the memories of the frantic call she'd gotten from Sally, or the police officer - did they call them "bobbies" in Scotland too? - relating the particulars of the accident, or the very kind funeral director speaking to her because Sally was in no shape to make any decisions, or staring at the closed casket that contained the remains of her only family, or the overwhelming smell of roses, or the cold rain as she had stood next to the gaping grave, or the horrific thuds of dirt clods striking the top of Gene's casket, or the gritty feel of her fingers after she too had dropped her clod into the hole, or the way her face ached afterwards at the frozen half-smile she'd pasted on to greet Gene's many friends at the reception afterwards, or the desperation in Sally's face as she got in the car to drive away from the home she'd shared with Gene for all of six whole years, or how very silent the house was with everyone gone but her, or…
The press of thin, cold metal against her lower lip finally drew her out of her spiraling fall; and she noted that she was no longer in the dining hall, but back in what looked to be her own suite of rooms again. Wendell was kneeling in front of her, holding both of her hands with a very worried look on his face, while Lord Celeborn himself bent down to her, administering whatever it was in the metal goblet. To the side stood Norwen, her face as worried as Wendell's.
"Meg Litten." Lord Celeborn's deep, clear voice easily called her attention to him with a musical interpretation of her name. "Sogo, ibeston le." He tapped the metal goblet against her lower lip again.
"Take a sip, my dear," Wendell translated quickly. "It will help you."
"What is it?" She drew back and tried to peer into the depths of the goblet.
"Miruvor," Lord Celeborn answered, and then glanced at the man in brown when Meg frowned at him.
"A cordial only. It will help restore you. Just a sip now," Wendell urged.
Meg closed her eyes and made the decision to trust - just this once. She opened her lips just enough to let a tiny bit of the cool liquid slip in; and then opened her eyes in surprise at the taste of liquid sunshine that didn't burn, but warmed her from the very innermost corner of her stomach outward. Looking up, she saw Lord Celeborn's lips quirk in a hint of a smile at her reaction; and she willingly and obediently took more of the "cordial" from him, this time holding it within her mouth and savoring the delicate taste before swallowing.
"Better?" Wendell loosed one of her hands so he could pat the other.
She nodded. Now she could feel the dampness on her cheek, the stuffiness in her nose and the tightness in her forehead that told her she had most likely lost it again. She let her glance slip guiltily from Lord Celeborn to Wendell, and then even to Norwen. "I'm sorry…"
"On the contrary…" Wendell started, only to have Lord Celeborn interrupt with a long flow of words. When he was finished, he straightened, nodded to Wendell, Norwen, and carried the goblet with him as he left the suite. Meg hoped that her wide eyes would ask the question without need to say anything; and when Wendell turned back to her, she saw she was correct. "Hir Celeborn is correct. You need your rest, and we need to give you a little time to collect yourself. We are sorry we touched your grief without understanding its depths. Norwen will assist you in preparing for sleep."
"I don't…" Meg started, only to stop at the determined shake of the head.
"We will assist you this evening; perhaps tomorrow evening, you will not need the help."
Tomorrow? Will I even be here tomorrow evening?
Still, Lord Celeborn's words rang true: she was exhausted. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad to have a little help after all.
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.