11. Chapter 11
It was so good to be home. That was Lominzil's first thought as he disembarked from the ship and stood, balancing against a swell that no longer was, on the stone harbor steps of Dol Amroth. For the first time in what felt like years, a smile stretched over his face. He took a deep breath of the cool, salt air, and turned with sudden determination towards the Healing Houses. Farielle. Seeing her would wash all the confusion and blood and hatred out of his mind, and he would be himself again.
The young healer quailed. "I'm - I'm sorry, sir," she stammered. "I thought - everyone knew - we searched for her for hours, and all the next day as well. Squire Menelglir fought like a man possessed to try and save her, but - but he was out-numbered and alone. I'm sorry. But she is alive. I - I told you the message just as we received it. Have hope; she is alive, and surely you will be able to ransom her home."
The young man stared at her, then turned on his heels and plunged out, heedless of who might be in his way.
Sea and sky meet: waves lap restlessly against the worn white stone of the harbor, morning rain falls wind-tossed and bleak on the slick flagstones. Ships of myriad sizes lie in various states of readiness. Some, new-returned from Caldur, are exposed to the bones, battered by long misuse and rotting in the lukewarm southern bays; others stand alert, patrolling Belfalas restlessly.
Between the fishermen and their catch, shipwright and floating patient, there is little of a path to be found. But the lean, blue-clad form of the young man, Lominzil, traverses easily among the regular commotion of the docks. He forces his way through, never minding the drizzling rain, his odd blue-grey eyes hunting among the faces.
There is a lady on the docks; for who knows what reason. Maybe just to watch the ships, for she is standing in a quiet spot, out of the way, and doing nothing. The determined figure of the lad in blue catches her eyes and she watches him.
Thick cloak, hood worn up, protects Menelglir against wind and rain and chill as he moves about here, his deliberate footsteps seeming to suggest that he has duties he is attending to--whatever they may be. He hops onto the docks from the railing of one of the ships here, starting to make his way also, toward the town.
"Lady Tathar," Menelglir says, managing to spot the woman despite her out-of-the-way spot. He heads toward her, swan-crested cloak and blue tunic getting wet.
Lominzil's gaze flickers like a fell wave to the cloaked Blue Squire, and he begins to step in that direction, an urgency lent to the roughness of his push and shove.
Tathar looks away from Lominzil when she hears her name. "Menelglir," she says, smiling a little. "Good day. What have you been doing?"
"Delivered a message to one of the Swan Fleet ships from Sir Gwendion," Menelglir answers, completely oblivious that Lominzil is on a path toward him. "You heard that he is Knight-Captain now? Or Acting Knight-Captain at the very least?"
"No, I hadn't heard." Tathar's smile grows. "I am glad to hear that. He is a good man, and wise." She looks back at Lominzil, and finally recognizes him - her smile slips, and the sadness that has been in her eyes since they returned from Caldur grows.
Silently, Lominzil -- he was a White Squire last they sailed, he would not have dared do such then -- lunges for Menelglir's sleeve, seeking to twine cold fingers into the thick fabric of the other's cloak and then pull him back, close. He says nothing. One might observe that this new Blue Squire's eyes are red-rimmed with grief.
"Yes, it certainly is a good thing, though the task that lies ahead of him is.....aaaack!!" Menelglir yelps as he is dragged back by Lominzil. He twists about to see who is doing such, but that only wraps the cloak tight around his neck, so he grabs a hand to try to release Lominzil's hold.
"Lomin!" Tathar exclaims. "Let go, you're choking him!"
"Hello, Menelglir," comes the Girithlin man's cool voice, deathly calm. "Do you know a Farielle Girithlin?" Menelglir's hand strikes his arm and he loosens, but keeps his hold. Lominzil glances to Tathar, makes to say something, and looks back to Menelglir.
"Of course I know Farielle Girithlin," Menelglir answers, starting to sound angry. "What is the meaning of this? Let go of me."
Tathar looks from one to the other, starting to frown. "Lomin," she says, stepping forward, but then has nothing else to say.
"Know, yes," smiles Lominzil mirthlessly. "She was the girl who was kidnapped, and who you could not save. I was told you were the last of the Gondorians to see her. Would you like to know that my sister is still -alive- in those Southrons' hands?" He lets go grudgingly, though his hand is shaking visibly.
"Your -sister-??!!" Menelglir's mouth drops open. "And you blame me for not saving her when she had wandered so far alone from the camp that it is a wonder that anyone at all saw her taken?!" he answers, anger growing. But then Menelglir swallows hard, forcing his anger down. "I am sorry Lominzil. I tried. I had to kill a man, and then another came at me equally as ferocious. I could not get to her. But...if she is alive...seek to ransom her. We ransomed our 4 year old cousin recently."
"She is not a fool, but she is not a soldier," Lominzil snaps, his eyes and voice rasping dry. "But you were there, and now she is gone. And now you speak of trading girls like bales of cloth. It is not so with Fari ... her words were like that of one about to die. I am going back there to retrieve her before the Haradrim handle her like..." he says blindly, stepping back from the Blue Squire where a moment ago he was about to throttle him.
Tathar darts a glance at Menelglir, still not saying what she is thinking - that the girl might be better off dead. But then... "Her words? Lomin, what do you mean? What words?"
"A messenger sailed from the South. They bring word that she is alive -- that 'she made her own choices, that you should not seek vengeance,'" Lominzil clenches his hand into a fist, "how could I not, 'that she loved you.'" He looks to Tathar, his gaze eerily blue and mad-lit. "She knows that a fate lies there for her, and tells me to stay."
Wordless with shock and grief - and compassion - Tathar reaches out to touch the young man's arm. She would hug him, if they were not standing in the middle of the docks. "Lomin," she repeats, helplessly.
"Going back? What do you mean? Going to Harad? You cannot. Well, your family can try to send an envoy....it has been done before, Lominzil. There -is- hope," Menelglir says, frowning deeply. "Find the messenger. Offer a price. Do it now."
Lominzil flinches. "To offer money is my father's decision," he states quietly. "Mine is to seek her. I will find her. Do you imagine," the squire begins, a wolfish smile on his lips, "that I would be lent a boat..."
"Lominzil, you can't!" Tathar looks at Menelglir, "Menelglir..." then back to the older squire. "You don't speak the language, you don't know the land, you don't even look like them! How could you ever find her?"
"Lend you a ship?" Menelglir asks, incredulous. "No...Lady, calm yourself. Lominizil--you are not thinking clearly. Lady Tathar has it right. You will just be captured and enslaved--and do your sister no good at all."
Lominzil looks flatly to one, then the other. Finally he says, smiling, "I imagine she would like some company, all alone in the South."
Tathar doesn't know what to say, and she looks back and forth between the two young men. "But..." she says at last. "You might not be near her. And I think... that the thought of you, also enslaved, would break her heart." These last words are spoken very quietly.
"Lominzil..." Menelglir reaches a hand out to the other's arm. "Please...you cannot do this. There is still hope. Please...at least talk to Sir Gwendion? There is hope and if you throw your life away there will not be. Not for her."
"Surely the illustrious Knight's concerns do not include the well-being of a young Girithlin maiden," Lominzil replies, his smile meant to mock. "I fear it was for my sake, Menelglir, that she decided to sail to Caldur. It is therefore my responsibility. I will find her."
"Do you know Sir Gwendion? Have you even spoken to him for more than a few minutes? I have. I am his Squire and I have talked to him and extensively so. And I say give him a chance. Talk to him about this before you throw your life away," Menelglir says.
"Please, Lominzil," Tathar pleads. "At least speak with him. If - you can always look for a boat after."
Lominzil bites his lip, dark hair slipping to hide his face. "I will speak with him," he says softly, as if to assure them of good intentions, and backs away, blindly sorting his way through the crowd.
"Lominzil!" Menelglir shouts as the young man slips into the crowd. He takes a step to follow, but hesitates and looks to Tathar. "I do not believe him for a moment. I should go after him, no?"
"Yes, please," Tathar says, looking after the squire anxiously. "I am afraid he will do something foolish."
But the Girithlin squire is faster than his dumbfounded state appears -- he is gone. Amidst the rain, a shred of blue turns out to be only the sun-faded uniform of a sailor, the bewildered face of another squire. But none of Farielle's brother.