Although old in the years of men and possessing a natural authority, Ancalimë, Steward of Arnor and Princess of the Reunited Kingdom, felt slightly intimidated when she and the Lady Nerdanel sat down with the members of the High Council of Imladris. Standing well over six feet, she was used to looking down on men; here, she was taller only than Nerdanel and was the youngest, by far. Elladan looked unusually grim, and she knew at once that he had unpleasant news.
“We have some news from the south, but nothing of technical import,” he told her. “There is one point of news that, while it does not affect us directly, you should know about as it concerns the King.”
“I see,” she said, frowning. “Is he hurt?”
“No, it is nothing like that. It seems that he fell in love with a lady from Harad. He brought her to the Citadel and openly moved her into his apartments where she stayed for some time. It seems that he wished to take her as Queen, but she was not popular with the people and ultimately left him.” He sighed deeply. “Eldarion was deeply hurt by this.”
Ancalimë digested the news. Although unmarried, she was no blushing maiden, and she knew enough of her brother’s past affairs to know he was extremely discreet and careful about such things. In addition, though he had the mortal heart and desires of other men, he took his position as king very seriously and would not lightly choose a queen no matter what he felt. “It is odd to think he would choose a lady of Harad to be queen, for it would not be an appropriate match from a political viewpoint.” She shook her head. “It grieves me to hear of his pain, though,” she said with a slight note of wistfulness. In a moment, she was businesslike again. “You were right to tell me of this though it may seem as gossip.”
“The other news is more pleasant,” began Armith turning to Nerdanel with a smile “We must beg your indulgence. You see, Elrohir is courting a lady from Valinor whom none of us has met. I admit that we are very curious about her, for we know almost nothing. Perhaps you know her and may tell us something about her.”
“From Valinor?” she asked in complete surprise. “She is of the Noldor?”
“According to Elrohir, the lady is not an elf,” he explained. Her name is the Lady Legrace.”
The color drained from Nerdanel’s face and her eyes grew wide. “Legrace?” she repeated incredulously.
“What is it?” asked Inwir. “Do you know her?”
“Know her?” she repeated, still blinking in confusion. “No, but I know of her. Legrace, you say? And Lord Elrohir is courting her?”
“As we said, Elrohir has told us little of her: thus we are curious,” explained Armith. “Can you tell us a little about her?”
Nerdanel shook her head. “I have never seen her – she is hardly spoken of – but my sons used to know her son, for he rides with Lord Oromë.”
“Her son?” asked Curandir, startled.
“My lady,” began Elladan, very gently. “I may soon be calling this lady sister, you see. I suffer terrible curiosity, I own, and you may soothe me a little by telling me of my brother’s lady.”
Her brow was creased with a frown as she gazed at him, this powerful Elf Lord of exalted lineage who was so young next to her, only a youth even in comparison to her own children who were all now gone to Mandos. “Lord Elladan, I shall tell you what I know, but it is the stuff of myth and legends. The Lady Legrace is of the Holy Ones, a Maia of great stature and legend.”
There was silence, for certainly no one had expected to hear anything like this. All of them hesitated, hardly knowing what to ask. “Is it possible that my brother is courting this lady?” asked Elladan. In truth, despite his pedigree, it was unthinkable that a partly mortal elf, such as Elrohir, would dream of reaching so high as for one of the Holy Ones.
“Why is she hardly spoken of?” pressed Curandir.
“Well, I can only tell you the legends I heard in my youth, which is very long ago. It is said that long, long ago, before the waking of the elves, she went to the Máhanaxar and appealed eloquently to the Powers to intervene in these lands of Middle-earth, for she had seen a vision of some doom. They refused; thus, she cursed them and went to dwell in darkness.”
“Darkness?” asked Armith sharply.
“Yes, that is what is said by the wise of Aman, who are far older than I. Now… well, she visits her children, but she does not go to Taniquetil or Valmar and only sees those who supported her in days of yore: the Lord Oromë, the Lord Tulkas, and the Lady Yavanna. The Valar permit her to visit her children, and no evil has touched the lady, but she is very different than others of her race.”
“That is the second time you have mentioned children,” said Armith, a little more gently but still far more intensely than was his accustomed manner. “Who are her children?”
“Her son is called Varlon and serves the Lord Oromë, as I said. The daughter I know little of, but she is called Kitaræ.” She licked her lips and looked around at al of them with a worried expression as if she were reluctant to share the last bit of information. “It is said that the father of these children was the Great Smith of Aulë, the one known as Gorthaur – he whom the Sindar call Sauron.”