4. Ch. 3: Of Feasts, Drunkness, and Fathers
Chapter 3: Of Feasts Drunkness, and Fathers
The dress Arwen had picked out for her was a blood red, one that complimented her skin tone nicely. The daughter of Elrond had mentioned to her that the dress was that of her late mother's servant who had gone West recently. It did not bother Eruain that she was wearing hand-me-down clothes nor did it seem to matter they were from someone who was thought of as 'dead' in her mind. She carefully adorned the rich red velvet dress, sighing as the dress weighed down upon her significantly. You can't go back to wearing your old clothes. People would faint every time you passed them from your indecency, Eruain, she told herself strictly as she brushed her hair, braiding it in the fashion of the Haradrim: medium-sized braids that covered her whole head. She pulled the braids up into a ponytail and pronounced herself ready for the feast held in her honor.
Arwen was waiting at the door in a deep gray dress made of silk. She looked like any elegant princess and out shadowed Eruain in beauty. Compared to her, Eruain was a savage. She looked out of place in her dress and wished instantly she had worn her lebaas, her Haradaic dress. Looking up to meet Arwen's eyes, for Arwen was much taller than her, she spoke in quick Quenya, "I'm sorry, Lady Arwen, I cannot wear this. I cannot pretend to be who I am not." She retreated into her room, followed by Arwen.
"Eruain, what is the matter?" Arwen took back the red dress as Eruain flung it off her and onto the bed, standing proudly naked in front of the elf, who shielded her eyes from the sight.
"I am wearing my lebaas. I cannot stand your society's heavy clothing! It's so oppressive." She pulled on the underwear, turning her back to Arwen, who studied her back. The snake's tail was winding up her back and around her stomach. Arwen had seen the pattern on Eruain before, dismissing it as cloth that held her lebaas together.
"Where does the snake's tail end?" She didn't particularly want to know the answer but it was a curious thing and she could not help but ask.
Turning around, Eruain showed her. The end of the tail rested between her exposed breasts, curling slightly around the area where her heart was. "It shows that I am dedicated to my clan because my heart is attached to it." She pulled on the upper half of the underwear and the gossamer-like fabric over her whole body. "Can you get my jewelry over there? There should be ceremonial paint under the jewels."
Arwen brought all of the bracelets, anklets, rings, earrings, and necklaces over, dumping them on the bed in front of Eruain. She watched with curiosity as Eruain took the ceremonial paint and spread complex patterns on the skin of her arms, face, and right leg. Shamsa put all of her jewelry on once the paint had dried to her satisfaction. The last thing she did was wrap a sheet of gossamer about the lower half of her face and over her hair. "Done. This feels much better."
"I can't say you won't be the center of attention now that you are wearing that. Although, it suits you."
"I don't look savage?"
"No, just exotic," Arwen reassured. She strode silently to the door, holding it open for her companion. "Why the sudden decision to change though? Well other than your despise for our heavy dresses." They exited the room and started their walk to the Dining Hall.
"I want to perform a Haradaic dance for your people. It is the Dance of Shams."
"Can you do it without any music?"
"I can teach your people the melody and the rhythm." As they entered the feast, all eyes were upon them. The approving stares of Elrond and his sons were apparent but all other looks were that of either curiosity or disgust at Eruain's indecency.
The sons of Elrond stood, coming to offer their hands to Arwen and Eruain. Elladan seized hold of Eruain before his brother could. Elrohir had to settle for escorting his sister off to her place beside Elrond. Elladan pranced Eruain proudly down to where his father sat, sitting her next to him and between a silver-haired elf who seemed rather amused by her.
"Glorfindel, this is Eruain Bintsuladân, Shamsa of the Haradrim," Elladan introduced her. "Eruain, Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower." Elladan turned away to talk with his father after introducing her. She sat, shocked by Elladan's words. The stories of Elves her mother had told her when she was a children had Glorfindel as the main character many a time. She was sitting next to a legend.
Quenya flowed smoothly from his mouth like water over rounded rocks. "I can see your Istari blood, Eruain. You have your mother's eyes." She blushed at his words. It was true: her green eyes were so light they were almost gray. Her eyes had always been what men had found in her particularly alluring and she wondered if elves found that they had the same hold on them as well.
"Thank you, Lord Glorfindel." Putting her embarrassment behind her, she puckered up the courage to say, "My mother used to tell me stories of you."
"Did she? I can see Alatar glorifying me. Did you know she used to love me?" He smiled a kind smile, a smile only a father figure could pull off.
"No, I didn't! That is so, well it's not strange, but it's interesting!" The person she found attractive was also loved by her mother. Her heart sank with that thought. "Did you love her?"
"I did not. I could not love her nor could I follow her to Harad, little one. It has been a long time since I have seen her. You look almost just like her; it brings pangs to my heart." He brought a palm up to his heart and touched it lightly.
"Ammë always said I looked more like Abi than I did her, yet you say otherwise. I wonder if it is true." She smiled slightly at the thought of her Ab, but found it was far more disheartening than Glorfindel talking about her mother.
"I can see Istari and Harad in you. It is plain to my eyes that you do not fully understand the meaning behind your inheritance." He looked strangely into her eyes, but then, shook as if he was awakened from a slumber. "Lord Elrond requests to speak with you."
She turned to her side and recognized the tall figure of her host striding towards her. As she stood to give her farewells to Glorfindel, she noticed a black shadow of a person in the corner of the room, watching her. She stared at it longer and as she did her eyes started to burn. She reached a hand up to massage her hurting eye. Suddenly, a hand gently touched her shoulder. Jumping in fright she whirled around to face Elrond. Muttering a string of Haradaic curses, she turned around again to focus on the figure, but to her horror it was not there.
"Eruain? Is something wrong?"
"No, my lord." Still puzzled about the mysterious being, she gave the hall a quick sweep, but found nothing. I'm sure it was just an illusion. "I'm sorry. What did you say, my lord?"
"I asked if you wanted to show us the Dance of Shams. Arwen informed me that that was you desire. Do you need anything?"
"A flute or something similar."
Glorfindel stood and came closer, appearing to have had listened in on their conversation. "Alatar gave me a Duduka recently, one she had made for you, but you showed no interest." This caused Eruain to blush. "I know the melody. She wrote it down."
"Then, Lord Glorfindel, would you kindly accompany me by playing the Dance of Shams?" She bowed deeply.
"I shall, Shamsa." He took her hand and led her to the middle of the hall. The elves again turned their attention to her and the hall was quiet. Glorfindel stood off to the side and put the Duduka to his lips, starting with a long low note.
Shamsa rolled her right wrist around and brought her arm up as she did. As Glorfindel changed from pitch to pitch, she allowed her hips to roll in time with her wrist, slowly. Soon she was twisting slowly around and around, her hips kept the pace of the dance as the rest of her turned just as slowly and sensuously as her hips. As the song picked up a little, she fixed her eyes on Glorfindel, coming closer to his, winding around where he stood. She put one hand up and circled around him without touching him. Then, she left and came back to the middle of the hall. The music swelled in her ears as she picked up the pace, rolling her body quicker. And then as the song reached a crescendo, there was one quick note. As the song ended with that note, she fell to the ground and curled in on herself. With one last turn of her wrist, she stilled. Clapping resounded throughout the hall. She rose and bowed deeply to the audience and then to Glorfindel. He smiled and walked to her, taking her hand and bowing over it, kissing it lightly.
"Milady," she heard Elladan speak behind her. "The feast awaits." She left Glorfindel's side for the son of Elrond.
She never realized how good food was until she tasted the elvish meal. "Elladan," she laughed joyously, asking, "Do you have more of that bread? The soft bread?"
He smiled, nervously, and offered her the bread. Turning to his father, he sent of look of worry to him, but Elrond just chuckled in response. He was worried that Eruain was drinking too much wine. He watched her down her fourth glass of Miruvor. She shook as the drink burned its way down her throat. "Eruain..."
"What is it, Elladan? Good Shams, this is delicious." She giggled with renewed vigor and smiled widely at both Glorfindel and Elladan. "My lords, drink with me!"
"I think not, young one. You have had too much wine already," Glorfindel chided. He pulled on her hair a bit and made her look into his eyes. "No more wine for you."
"Abi..." she mumbled and struggled out of his grip. She reached for the pitcher and poured more wine. "Huzzah!"
"Glorfindel, I fear this is getting out of hand quickly..." Elladan winced as Eruain slammed down the wine and then pulled on his ears.
She stopped messing with the both of them and got up, raising her glass high in the air. She stumbled out into the middle of the room and every merry voice fell silent. "Elves of Imladris! I bring news from the South," she slurred. She heard Lhûn start translating what she was saying in Quenya to Sindarin.
"This can't be good..." Elladan covered his eyes.
"Three nights ago, I was courted by my closest and dearest friend, Haraduien. We wandered out into the desert and he told me something of great importance: the Dhe'b clan moved North to join Sauron's armies. That very night, we went back to my father's house and a creature of the Dark Lord came to us and asked if Af'aa clan would join his armies as well. My father denied it and the creature gave me this." She turned around, so that her back faced the Elves. She dropped the gossamer that covered her back down and exposed her back to them. "'A bloody road has been paved, the sacred war begun; no one shall be saved, when He spoils the Sun.'" She listened to the gasps that sounded. "The creature told my father this: Isildur's bane has been found." The hall erupted into chaos as Eruain laughed drunkenly. Then she collapsed.
"Eruain," both Glorfindel and Elladan were on their feet in an instance. Glorfindel got there first and picked her up. She curled lovingly into him, tugging at his robes a bit.
"Elladan, I'll take her to my chambers. There I can watch over her. Stay here and help your father." Glorfindel started towards the door, but was held back by Elladan.
"Why are you...?" Jealously was spread across his face.
"Elladan, help your father." The older elf stared him down, eyes narrowing. His voice was cold and stern. As Elladan let go of him, he felt slightly at ease. And then he was gone from the hall.
As he laid her down on the bed, he could not help to notice how young she looked. Alatar had only given birth to her twenty years ago, so she was still an elfling in his eyes. He smoothed back the dark hair that had escaped from her braids and had fallen onto her face. Compelled, he undid her braids and let her dark hair flow about her on the bed. "You could have been mine," he whispered quietly. "Your skin would not be as dark and your hair might have been golden like mine. Your eyes, they would have stayed the same beautiful color. And your ears would have been perfectly pointed. You would not be wearing this paint or have those tattoos or even the scars from the Black Script on your back. You would wear decent dresses instead of hardly wearing anything at all and you would speak both Quenya and Sindarin instead of that harsh language the Haradrim speak. You would be perfect. I have unfathomable jealousy for your father, Suladân, for being able to sire such a beautiful being and for having such a wife as your mother. I wish I could have had her. I wish she didn't have to have left for Harad. I have wanted you both for so long." He put his forehead on hers, delighting in her sight, smells, sound, and feel. He wanted her to be his.
It was past midnight when he left her. It broke his heart to take himself away from her. During her sleep, she had found him sitting on the side of the bed and had curled into his arms, seeking warmth. He loved holding her, something he had never gotten to do.
He was now walking among the gardens, where he knew she loved it most. His fingers numbly brushed against the flower petals, pollen collected on the tips of his fingers. "My Lord," he addressed Elrond as he sensed the Lord of Imladris come up behind him.
"I see that your mind still suffers from the past. You regret leaving her." Elrond stopped next to Glorfindel, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Glorfindel did not turn to the Lord of Imladris, but merely gazed at the daffodils. "She could have been my wife. Eruain could have been my daughter."
Elrond, an expert at conversing with logic, told his friend, "You do not know what would have been if you have made Alatar your wife. Sauron could have been more prominent. Anything could have been. I am not saying you should forget your love or Eruain, but I am reminding you that Alatar is out of your reach until Sauron falls. Until the evil has been destroyed, you will not be able to lay a hand on her."
"I understand, my Lord," Glorfindel spoke sorrowfully. "But I will try my best to be a father to Eruain. I think I deserve that one simple pleasure."
"Do as you will, my friend, do as you will." Elrond left Glorfindel to his mourning and decided to rest. His land was still in uproar about the news that Eruain had shared drunkenly at the feast and it would be a long day from the rising to the setting of the sun.
She awoke as the rooster crowed outside the bedroom she slept in. It had been over three years since she had started to stay in Glorfindel's chambers. She had found that he was often gone away with the twins to battle the foul creatures that plagued the surrounding lands. It was lonely without her 'father' and Elladan and Elrohir, but she managed to keep Bilbo company and Arwen was often her companion during her idle hours when she was not tending to her people.
She rose from the bed, stretching. Draping the light, silk robe over her shoulders, she moved out to the back courtyard that would lead her to the gates. It had been three weeks since she last saw Glorfindel and the Sons of Elrond and they were due to be back. It had taken her time to blend with the culture and the day to day activities of Rivendell. She learned that horseback riding was her favorite thing to, followed closely by studying and learning from both Bilbo and Elrond. She was now the proud owner of eighty-three books in her own private library and a stallion named Veassen. She also could now speak adequate Sindarin. Out of all the languages she knew, Sindarin was her favorite. Quenya often reminded her of her mother, whom she dearly missed.
If anything, there was one particular thing she loved about Imladris: the trees. She had become a true Wood elf, as Elrond called her, for she studied and now knew all the types of trees that grew in the gardens and in the valley of Imladris. She could tell an oak from a maple and a juniper from a birch, and so on. It was one small joy in her life to study such magnificent things as trees and she loved enjoying the nature. She no longer missed the harsh, windswept sand dunes of her homeland or the prickly cacti that grew there. Her heart loved fresh earth, wet grass, and beautiful leaves.
"Good morning," she called out to Arwen in Sindarin. "Beautiful morning for our boys to come home to."
"Yes, Lady Eruain, it is. Will you be joining the welcoming host at the gate?" Arwen stood atop a bridge and looked down upon her friend. There was not a single breeze, so she did not have to shout.
"Yes, Milady. I am heading there now. In fact, I might take Veassen out and meet them farther up in the valley."
"If you do, be careful. Glorfindel would kill me and Ada if you were hurt," she chuckled. "Good day, Lady Eruain."
"Good day, Milady." Eruain bowed to the Evenstar and went on her way. She rounded the corner and bumped into the old hobbit. "Bilbo!" she hugged the little hobbit tenderly.
"My dear," Bilbo greeted in Sindarin. "I did not expect you to be inside Rivendell today. It's such a beautiful day. I would have thought you would want to go to the gardens and study up a bit on all those glorious plants." He took her offered arm and allowed her to lead him towards the stables.
"Ah, but you see Bilbo, Glorfindel, Elladan, Elrohir and their troop comes back today. I have missed them so."
"I had forgotten about that. It seems age has started to get to me," he sighed. Then a mischievous light appeared in his eyes, "Is there a reason you are so happy to have the troop come home, other than Glorfindel?"
She blushed fervently and covered her face with her hand. "You tease me, you do. But, yes, there is another reason. I will be able to see Elladan once more." It was common knowledge that their friendship often over stepped the boundaries of simple friendship. They would often swim together, horseback by themselves, take trips to the waterfall, and so on. On a couple of occasions, Elrond had found them asleep, curled up together on a bench or in the grass. "I'm sorry, Bilbo, I need to get going. I hope I'll see you later." She left him on a bench and scurried off. The clouds were darkening and she needed to get Veassen to greet them.
She came upon the stables and quickly saddled Veassen, who neighed happily in greeting. "Good day, Lord Veassen," she smiled and hopped up on him, urging him into a trot with her heels. She went quickly to the gate and asked for permission to leave. The guard opened the gate and she sped from Rivendell.
Just as the sky opened in a downpour, a distress signal blared from an elven horn. It sounded twice more and she galloped forth at double her speed. Then there was an Orc horn and a more desperate elven blast. Glorfindel and the sons of Elrond were in trouble.
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.