Tales of Nolduryon

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Tales of Nolduryon

Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:11 pm

A collection of documents which I will endeavor to translate (apparently set in Arnor, middle of the first millenium of the Third Age):

Tales of Nolduryon:

I, Nolduryon, third son of King Arantar of days long past, brother to our King Tarcil of days yet gone by, and uncle to King Tarondor of these days now come, have set my hand to a new task in this year of 545 from the downfall of our Enemy. For my nephew the king has bid me relinquish my duties as Chief Scribe and Loremaster of the land in the twilight of my own days. Yet he has not desired that I simply warm myself beside the fire, nor indeed lay me down to join my ancestors beyond the circles of this life’s journey, but has rather urged me to take pen in hand and write on parchment the stories known to me of our land, and of our family, which I have previously recounted only by mouth to himself, his queen, his children and others here at the Court of Annuminas.

Therefore I have resolved to spend what strength and time as remains to me in setting down these records. Some of these stories I know to be true with certainty, for I have ascertained the facts myself. In other cases, having no first-hand knowledge, I still deem them quite reliable, from the accounts gathered of diverse sources. Yet others I find quite doubtful to believe, but I include them as well, for they will perhaps have something to tell of us in any regard. And they may yet be true.

I will first write accounts of royal matrimony, and how our kings have chosen their queens. The tale of Valandil’s wedding is well-known, so I will instead first record the marvelous story of my grandfather, King Eldacar. Those of my father, brother and nephew are much alike, so of those three, I choose to record that of my brother, King Tarcil – perhaps hesitant to recount too broadly the nuptials of either my own father or the king who now sits upon our throne – besides that, I know my brother’s account best of all. And I will record as well an account of our future king, Tarondor’s Heir Valandur, for his recent marriage has indeed caused a stir in our court and has perhaps set in motion this new assignment of mine.

Eldacar

My grandfather, King Eldacar, was renowned for his great strength and his mighty feats. If indeed he had lived in a time of much warfare, his name should now be known throughout Middle Earth, but in this we of Arnor can rejoice. For as there was no cause for his fame to spread far and wide, so we have had peace in our days.

I have dim memories of my grandfather – and even in those he appears as a great and powerful man. I envy that my brothers Tarcil and Eldamir hunted with him in their youth, for I was only of age to sit upon his knee when his days of hunting were ended – yet I remember one time before he passed how he looked into my eyes, as though he saw into my young heart and knew me at last – or else he had long done so and I was only old enough to remember this once. And I also remember the great mourning of our people when he had lain himself down at the last, and the humble grace by which my grandmother’s words of kindness and faith encouraged all of us around her after he was gone.


Eldacar lived with great activity from his youth. He delighted in the life outdoors, away from court - riding, hunting and sleeping under the stars. He made friends of the foresters and came to know farmers and thanes of our people far and wide in all the lands of Arnor.

When Eldacar reached his 75th year his mother, Queen Galeneth, deemed that the time had come for him to seek a marriage. So she gathered together a new court of the finest young ladies of the land, two score in all. But Eldacar gathered young sons of the land’s nobles to himself as well, and kept both them and himself apart from his mother’s court. The women of Galeneth’s court became well practiced in speech, song, instrument, lore and fine manners. Eldacar and his companions wandered far and wide, living off the land, and they were away from the court more and more. Each time they returned, Galeneth sent her court of young ladies to wait upon their needs, but ever they were soon off once more, paying little notice to those maidens. As the years passed, this brought great consternation to the queen. It also displeased the nobles of the kingdom who had sent their daughters to court in hopes of having a grandson sit on Arnor’s throne one day. So upon a time, when Eldacar’s band was due to arrive, Queen Galeneth voiced her displeasure to King Valandil. The King took her words to heart, for he also desired to see his elder son marry. Thus when Eldacar came unto the palace once more, the King summoned him into his private chamber and spoke in this way with him:
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:12 pm

“Greetings my son. It is good to see thee once more. What of thy travels about our kingdom?”

Eldacar stooped down on one knee and said, “Nay my father. The kingdom is all thine own, and not shared with me, and my pleasure to see thee can be no greater. All is well in thy kingdom, as it has ever been in thy just reign. Is there aught I can do in thy service, my liege?”

“Arise my son. I tell ye now that if all is well in my kingdom, it is not so in my palace.”

Eldacar arose slowly with a look of puzzlement upon his face. “What is it, father? Does someone threaten thee with harm?”

Valandil smiled, “Nay – no such threats. Yet still there is not… peace.”
“How may I help thee to have peace, my father?”

Valandil sighed, “There is perhaps… a way.” He turned slowly about and walked toward a window, which overlooked the Summer Garden below. There, the court of Galeneth was enjoying the afternoon sunlight and warmth. “I spoke to thee of sharing. My kingdom is to be thine own one day, so it is right that we speak of sharing it. Thy hands assist me in its workings now, just as one day the fruit of my own labors will fill thy harvest, for good or for ill. Yet there is aught else I would share with thee.”

Valandil then turned back once more, face-to-face with Eldacar who had followed him to the window, and he reached out his arms, placing his hands on his son’s great shoulders. “My son, in yon garden are the fairest ladies of our land. Thine own mother has summoned them here that ye might choose from among them. Forty of them… each a choice jewel, more precious than gold. For twenty years now have they waited for thee. My son… will ye not choose thyself one?”

Eldacar first looked long into his father’s eyes, then turned his head aside, his shoulders still in the grasp of his father’s strong hands. “How can a man choose among so many?”

Valandil squeezed his shoulders a bit more firmly. “Shall I then fetch thee four from among them, that ye may choose one of four? Or three?”
“But father – I do not desire any such as these.”

“They are the finest ladies in our land. Each is of great beauty and grace, and skilled in the arts of our people. Each is of pure Numenorean stock – all descendants from the Faithful who sailed with Elendil, whose houses remain loyal to our throne. What more could ye wish in a wife? They are of our best families, who entrusted them to our court that they may attain the favor of the best young men of our kingdom –thee and all those others thou keepest away from them all. Dost thou not see how thy companions look wistfully upon them?”

“Then release them from their oaths, and I shall release my companions as well - such as would go. For my heart does not turn to these ladies of my mother’s court in all their finery.”

“Who then? Is there another in our land who has caught thine eye? Yes… this is why thou strayest so long from thy home!” And Valandil’s eyes brightened and a smile spread upon his face.

“No my father – none other in all thy land, though I have sought across its bounds for such a one as I could find pleasing.”

“Well then… how will you get an Heir in thy turn?” as Valandil began to show his exasperation.

Eldacar’s manner had begun to change. At first, he had listened meekly to his father, but now his anger and pride began to well up within him. “What is that? Will there ever be a shortage of men who desire to sit upon a throne? Your eldest daughter has two young sons, each nearly full grown. Could not the elder of them follow me while the younger takes his father’s place, if I never marry? Or… if you would, give the kingdom unto my sister and let her rule as Queen, like our people did afore in the Land of Gift. Then none could dispute her son’s succession after her!”

At that, Eldacar spun about and departed from his father, without waiting to be dismissed. His father called after him, “Eldacar…” but he did not stop. King Valandil then stood silent in his chamber for long hours, pondering what might come.

Eldacar did not come forth from his own chamber that evening, but the next morning rose early and roused his companions while the palace still slept. “Come, let’s take a swim!” he told them. So they walked down the pathway to the southern shore of Lake Evendim and stirred the crew of a royal barge. At such times as this, Eldacar and his men would swim out into the lake, a league or two, and then might be taken aboard the boat to ride back or else would swim back. In truth, the king commanded boats such as this to be at his son’s disposal, lest a storm might suddenly arise, or any of the young men become fatigued and distressed and then be lost far out upon the lake. This day like any other, the men stripped down to a single linen garment while the boatmen readied themselves and gathered provision for lunch – both for themselves and for those young men they would take aboard, for the swimmers had not yet broken fast.

It was warm already and looked to be a beautiful clear day – but hot, for it was late summer, in the month of Urui (August) before the harvest, when the days had begun to shorten, yet still were long and hot.

Eldacar was first into the water and began at once to stroke away hard, still fueled by the words that had passed between himself and his father. Those words now became a great rage burning within him as he dwelt upon them more and more, repeating everything to himself with each swing of his mighty arms. At first his companions began to laugh and hoot at how he attacked the water on this day, but their laughter soon turned to apprehension as he drew further and further ahead of them. They increased their own efforts and meant to swim after him with all their strength, yet still he pulled away. The barge could not get around them, and might not have caught him anyway. And when, after about three leagues, his companions all grew too tired to go on and had to let themselves be taken onto the barge, he was already far from sight – and long gone from view when the last man was taken in. The barge’s captain continued on in the same direction, fearful of losing the king’s son. But he could not find him and returned as the sun sank, his heart heavy at the news he must bring to his king.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:13 pm

As Eldacar swam, his anger began at last to cool and his mind to grow clear. He saw that he was far beyond his companions – almost beyond sight of Annuminas’ tower even. His mind pondered what might come upon him if he grew weary all alone in the middle of such a great lake, but he kept swimming onward and did not turn back, and he knew not why. He simply delighted in his swimming and as yet he felt no weariness. For while the day was indeed growing hot, as the sun rose toward her zenith, the waters of Evendim were cool, even on the hottest days. So on he swam. His anger abated, he stroked now more steadily and enjoyed the feeling of pushing himself forward, the water rushing along the length of his body.

Some time after noon he espied something moving ahead of him. Were there indeed great beasts in this lake, such as the mariners would tell tales of? He stopped to look. No… and he was truly surprised. It was another swimmer – some 200 rangar ahead and swimming crossways from his own path, east to west while he swam north. He veered to the west a few points to intercept this other swimmer, but had to adjust his direction twice more, for the other one seemed as strong a swimmer as he.

Finally he drew near. When he was within 12 or 15 rangar the other swimmer stopped, so Eldacar stopped as well. The greeting he had intended to hail stuck in his throat, for he saw that this other swimmer was no man, but a young woman.

“You startled me!” she said. “I did not expect to meet another outside a boat so far out from Evendim’s shores. Who are you?”

Eldacar, still full of surprise, but not wishing to reveal himself, thought to try a test, “I am Turgaer – and no swimmer can match me on this lake! Who now are you?”

She laughed, and the look of expectancy on her face turned to one of mischief. “Perhaps I heard you wrong, for you must be Eardur. You may make obeisance to me then, for I am called Nentari – and if none has matched you, then against me you have not yet swum! Tell me though, whence have you come?”

“From a city on the south shore…”

“Why do you not just say ‘Annuminas’? Still – you are a good five leagues from home, nearer six. My way is much closer – two and a half to three leagues more to the northwest – if you like a short sprint!” At that, she turned and sped away, arms flailing in the air, then stroking through the water to push her away.

Eldacar had been curious, then mischievous and now stunned with surprise. She did not seem to be an Elf, which would have answered much – but she must be a Dunedain. She had understood his Sindarin well enough, and then turned it around into Quenya. And then to challenge him! He laughed aloud there in the water. But a grim smile came to his face and he looked after this challenger, who had already gained 50 rangar on him… “'Nentari’ indeed!” he thought, “We’ll see about that!” and then he set himself to the pursuit.

(Translator’s Note: as would have been clear to Nolduryon’s audience, Eldacar first claimed a Sindarin name, “Tur-gaer” – “Master of the Sea” – partly to test her knowledge of Sindarin, but also to hide his identity. The other swimmer played upon the similar sounds of “tur” and “dur” to rename him in Quenya, “Ear-dur” – “Sea Servant” or “Servant of the Sea” and then claimed for herself the title of “Nen-tari” – “Water Queen” or “Queen of Waters”. So she surprised him by her knowledge of Quenya, a lesser known Elven tongue, yet considered a ‘higher’ one – and therefore she ‘trumped’ him, or ‘one-upped’ him in language as well as in their name game, by turning his title from "Master of the Sea" to "Servant of the Sea" and declaring herself his mistress.)

Long they swam and hard and fast. At first, Eldacar maintained the distance between them, but finally began to draw nearer. When she espied him coming near, she increased her efforts and pulled further ahead. Eldacar set himself to swim even faster, for the shore was now in view, where at first only distant hills could be seen. He HAD to catch her. With a mighty effort he pulled himself closer to her… closer, closer… Finally, he drew beside her, and then several more strokes and he was a ranga ahead – and the shore was quite close. She did not give up, continuing to lash at the water, but Eldacar, thinking he had shown himself the winner, sought to end the race. He slacked off a bit to let her pass him, then grasped her ankle and they both stopped, breathing heavily, just 20 rangar from the wooded shore. She spun herself about and pleaded with him.

“Release me… please! You have shown yourself the stronger swimmer. It is said that the sons of Elendil are strong indeed, yet it is also said that they are gracious. You have shown the first to be true. Now prove the second and release me – and avert your eyes and turn your head, that I may retain my modesty and return unashamed to my father’s home.”

She even seemed to have guessed who he was… but Eldacar’s joy turned to sorrow, for the race was ended and this young woman would now leave him – and he might not see her again. He removed his hand from her ankle and turned his back toward her, able now to stand. Only then did he realize how tired he had become, and famished as well, for he had taken no food all this day. He stood gasping for breath as she made her way to the shore. Finally, without looking back, he called to her.

“Who is your father, and where is his home?”

“My father is Telumar. Do you hear the falling of water through the trees? The stream pouring into the lake, three or four furlongs south from here, is fed by those cascades. Above the cascades can you find a chain of lakes – smaller than Evendim. My father is acknowledged the Chief of these Northern Lakes.”

“When can I come for you?”

There was no answer at first, and Eldacar feared that she had gone, but did not yet dare to turn and see. Finally her voice rang out, “Come at our Harvest Festival, for then my father will not refuse you. I must go now…”

“Wait!” he called back. “Might I see you one last time… before you go?”

“A moment… while I cover myself. There… you may turn and look… now.”

Eldacar turned slowly. The shore here was more of a rocky bank, two or three rangar high, with dense woodlands above. There she stood – tall, her dark wet hair hung down to her waist, and she wore only a simple sleeveless yellow gown draped from just below her neck to the middle of her shins, tied at the middle with a belt of braided cloth, and sandals to match the belt were upon her feet. She stood half-concealed by the branches of a shrub, but the sight of her still took Eldacar’s heart. He drew himself up.

“For whom shall I ask your father?”

“I am… Teleriel.”

“I am… Eldacar.”

“Yes.” She looked at him just a moment longer. “Wait until the Harvest, for I fear it will be the last I may spend with my father.” Her face had been grave but now a faint smile came across it. Then she turned and was gone into the woods.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:14 pm

Eldacar waded ashore and climbed up the bank. Night would come in a few hours and he was hungry and tired, with no blanket or shelter. He trudged along the bank to refresh himself in the stream, which he found just where Teleriel had said it would be. He had to wait at least until morning to attempt to swim back, or else make his way around the lake. It would grow much cooler at night, so he ate wild berries and slept upon the further side of the stream, sheltered against the trunk of a tree, in what warmth of the day still lingered into the evening. The moon was almost half-past full, and rose at about midnight. Eldacar was awakened by the light, reflecting off of Evendim’s waters, as he rose in the east. Then Eldacar arose to make his way south and west along the shoreline, shaking off the growing cold about him and walking by the moon’s light. When he came upon a cottage or farm or small village, he skirted about it. He did not wish to seek aid, for his need was not dire – he simply wanted to return home, which he could do himself. Nor did it seem within the dignity of an Heir to Arnor’s throne, to walk up to the door of a humble home dressed in only a loinclout, and ask the cottager for help. He walked until the sun broke the horizon. Then he found some wild apples and herbs and edible roots, which made a passable meal. He slept a few more hours and then rose once more and could faintly see the Tower of Elendil on the southeast horizon. He took to the water, for he knew that he could come back to Annuminas that day if he swam, but that the terrain and the shape of the lake would cost him at least two or three more days of walking – with no shoes, no cloak, no food and no shelter.

It was a small fishing boat that first chanced upon him, at about noon, after he had swum two leagues. There was great rejoicing aboard, for his father the king had mustered all craft that he could to search the lake and its shores for his lost son. By mid-afternoon he was back home at the palace, to even greater rejoicing. That evening he dined with his family in celebration, but he told them only that he had swum across Evendim yesterday and was endeavoring to swim back today when taken out of the water, and all marvelled at this, for none had sum across the entire lake before. He said nothing of Teleriel.

For the next several days, Eldacar was unlike himself. He was quiet and withdrawn. He stayed mostly in his own chambers and ate little. When his companions came for him, he declined their invitations to join them, but bid them instead to go to visit the maidens of Galeneth’s court, and mingle among them. This they began to do, hesitantly at first, but more eagerly each day – although they were each still careful not to draw too closely to any single maiden, or to appear to claim one as their own, for they still meant to allow for Eldacar to make the first choice.

A week or so after Eldacar’s return, King Valandil began to grow concerned for his son. So he commanded him to come before him once more. This time he called for him in an early evening, to be brought to a secluded corner of the palace grounds, where a fire burned low. When Eldacar arrived, Valandil had simple refreshments brought for them and then dismissed all the servants and sent the guards beyond the range of hearing. For long after, the two of them sat in silence. Valandil wished to allow his son to speak first, but Eldacar seemed lost in his own thoughts. When at last Valandil’s patience was nearly at an end, and he was about to speak, Eldacar spoke himself, his eyes fixed upon the burning embers.

“Father, I know all the princes and thanes of Arnor – and I know about those of Gondor and most other neighboring realms. Tell me father… who is the Chief of the Northern Lakes?”

Valandil first looked steadily at his son for a long while, as if wondering about the import of the question – and whether to directly answer it, or to seek why it was asked. When at last Eldacar turned his gaze from the tongues of fire to the eyes of his father, Valandil sighed, “Of that, I know some, but not much. I will tell ye now most of what I do know.”

“When my grandfather Elendil came to these shores from Numenor, you well know that he landed at Lindon with four of his ships – some few thousands of our people. With those thousands, and the aid of Gil-galad, he established this realm of Arnor. Now of course, some few thousands could dwell in a much smaller land, but my grandfather had other subjects. Some were of other peoples, but some were of the kin of our ancestors – descendants of those who did not cross over the Ered Luin in the Eldar Days. And also, there were earlier settlers from Numenor itself – descended from colonists as early as the time of Tar-Ancalime, and on up to the days when Pelargir was made in the south, and new colonists chose to go there.”

“That much, as I have said, you know.”

“Now – most of those who were here when Elendil arrived accepted his kingship joyfully. For was he not the proper Lord of Andunie – second house only to that of the kings, who had fallen? And was he not of the Faithful, as were they? And was he not, in majesty and in manner, all that was desirous in a man who would be a king? And yet – there was one who spoke against granting him kingship. He said that they needed no king… that there was peace already in the land… that kings had ever taken… never given. Nonetheless, when he found that his voice was alone, he acquiesced, and swore his allegiance to Elendil with all the rest. But never did he come before the king for ought – either to give a gift, to ask a boon or to seek justice from a rival. Instead, he handled all things by himself, as he had always done. He continued to live as if there were no king. But he did no harm. His name was Telekh – and he was accounted the leader of those early colonists who lived in the upper lakes to the north and west of Lake Uial – Evendim – where the mountain rivers step their ways down toward the greater lake. There, they stayed to themselves, excepting a few times only.

“Just before I was born, when my father came north to Arnor after our Enemy had begun to make war in the south, my grandfather sent word to all his thanes to send men for the making of a great army. Expecting little response from him, he sent to Telmir, son of Telekh (for over one hundred years had passed and Telekh had long slept with his fathers), requesting that he send 200 of his men. To the surprise of all, Telmir sent 500 men – and word that he would come himself if his age did not prevent it, so they were led by his own son Telraen.”

“Telraen and his men served faithfully and fought well, by all accounts. He even formed a close friendship with my elder brothers, particularly Elendur. He was heartstruck at the fall of my grandfather, but accepted my father as his new king, rejoicing that my father intended to come and occupy Arnor’s throne himself. With the war over, and while my father lingered, he marched his men home as soon as he could, only to arrive a few weeks after his own father’s passing by old age, for those of his kin only lived to be about 200 years old.”

“Now – you know very well indeed how my father did not return to the north, nor did my brothers. Only a few survivors came and there was much mourning across the land. Some thought to make me King of Arnor, at that moment as young as I was, but my mother and Master Elrond thought it wise to wait… to let our people grieve, to let them return to their own homes… to let me grow.”
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:15 pm

“Finally, in my twenty-first year, it was judged that the time had come for me to take up my grandfather’s scepter, crown and throne. Word was sent forth through the land that I would be made king at Annuminas on Mid-Year’s Day, in the Year 10 from the downfall of our Enemy. We departed from Imladris in late spring, meeting more of our people along the way. A great following joined us at Amon Sul, and on we rode… west on the Great Road to Stonebows Bridge, north up the River Road, then west again on Ridge Road… to this very city of Annuminas. And when all were assembled, and the invocation spoken, and the will of the people was asked – only one voice spoke against me. It was Telraen – Chief of the Northern Lakes.”

“For he said, ‘What need have we of a king? We have lived well enough again without one, and there is peace throughout all the land – for the Enemy has fallen. And besides – this one is so young! He is not Elendil… who was our King. He is not Isildur… who was to become our new King. He is not Elendur… who would have been our King one day. He is a boy!’ “

Valandil looked thoughtful and paused for a few minutes.

“Some others there swayed the crowd; Elrond… Estelmo… my mother… your grandfather Ohtar. But the end result was much as it had been all those years ago for my grandfather Elendil. He gave his grudging assent, and since then, his people have had nothing to do with our people.”

“Even this was many years ago – and Telraen’s son, who was a grown man and fought the Enemy’s armies… even he must have left this world by now and gone to his eternal home. I do not know the name of the one who would follow him…”

“Telumar,” said Eldacar.

“Oh… so what do you know of this… ‘Chief of the Northern Lakes’?”

“A little.” Eldacar paused, then asked, “Is he of Baranduin?”

“Lhun – for he claims lands on both sides of Evendim’s hills – and is more readily able to reach the sea by the Lhun than the Baranduin, he claims. And the Prince of Lhun now moves his seat to his new home of Fornost, for our people under him no longer desire to live near to the folk of Lindon and apart from the rest of us. But even the Prince of Lhun has little word ever from the folk of Telekh.”

They sat in silence yet again. All that remained of the fire was glowing coals. Then Valandil spoke once more.

“Telraen was right in a sense. I was only a boy - or little more. We had little need for a king. Yet I have striven to not be a burdensome king. I believe, and have always believed, that our land needed guidance – even if only for brief moments kept apart by a hundred passing years. There is something even now in which I would guide our peoples, if I could, something that has been much on my mind of late.”

“What is it, father?” asked Eldacar, noting that Valandil had said ‘peoples’ and not ‘people’.

“Well…” said Valandil – and he seemed close to either laughter or tears, “our people are not united. All about is division – I fear it will be the end of us all. Numenor was divided into the Faithful and the King’s Men – Arnor and Gondor have been sundered more than they ought since my father’s death, and even here in Arnor…”

“Yes?”

“Even after three hundred years, those whose fathers arrived with Elendil still look down upon those whose fathers were already here – and those whose fathers received Elendil, still look askance at those who were made their lords – for it was men of the ships’ companies who became the first princes and thanes, as well as we kings who descend from Elendil.”

“But for us to continue, our people must become as one! Would that there was some way for this to be.”

“Yes…” answered Eldacar, and returned his gaze to the fire’s remnants.

Thereupon, Valandil arose and said that he must be off to bed for sleep beckoned him. Eldacar, however, sat before the fire all night, and the gardeners found him sleeping there in the early morning light.

Soon after, came the time for harvest. At these times, all joined in the work, not excepting the King’s Heir and all his followers, for strong young men such as they were needed in the fields and the King’s household had many lands to be worked – both east and south of the city. Thus the days were filled as they continued to shorten and everyone had much work to do and little time to think of other things, or for long talks with one another. Nor was there time to swim in the lake, and the waters began to grow too cold for all but the hardiest. Eldacar worked as hard as any of them, and he laughed again. He watched as his companions tried to win the favor of the young ladies at court, when they would come out to the fields to assist with the work, or bring provisions, and this made him laugh all the more. His mother Queen Galeneth found that she liked this change in her son, although it was still not what she had hoped for, and she was puzzled, but King Valandil was not.

With the harvest nearly complete, Eldacar reported to his father one night to give an accounting of his fields, as well as his herds and his flocks. Valandil rejoiced, for this was the best harvest in memory. There would be much to set aside for the winter – and everyone could be generous to any in need. So he said to his son, “Great will be the Harvest Celebration this year. Only four days remain until the Eruhantale, and there is much to prepare.”

“Father,” said his son, “I will not stay for the Eruhantale this year. I must leave tomorrow morning.”

“What? Will you take all your companions and go a-venturing? Why now?”

“Father – I must do this. I will bring only a few companions with me this time, and Annuminas will still enjoy a great day, with you as king leading our people in their celebration.”

Valandil assented, and the next morning Eldacar departed, with his brother, his two young nephews and three other companions, all mounted and they rode east and then north along the shores of Evendim.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:16 pm

They rode at a leisurely pace. Eldacar had become withdrawn again, and while his companions had begun the trip with great excitement, they soon began to follow after his example of solitude and quiet, for he had told them nothing about where they were going or what he led them to. They soon saw though, that they simply began to circle the lake, and that the pace remained unhurried. At the end of the first day, they had only crossed the bridge over the spillway where Baranduin began before they took their halt – and spent the night at the road-station there. At the end of the second day, they camped at the head of the lake, and at the end of the third, where a stream flowed from the hills and tumbled down into Lake Evendim, and where they heard at all times the muffled roar of falling water. This last day the going had been harder for the horses, for the land between the hills and the lake was much rougher and trackless, but still, the pace was slow and the travel day short.

On the fourth day the men rose early, and as the sun first shone in the east, they faced south toward the mount where even then, the King was leading his people in the Eruhantale, which would begin the Harvest Celebration at Annuminas. Then they faced west themselves, looking in their hearts beyond the near mountains to those far-away places that were dear to their people’s memory. Then, each took his horse’s reins and they began to walk them up into the hills, alongside the stream. After only five or six furlongs, the stream became a low waterfall, but with an overgrown path beside it. Above that fall were a series of other falls, some lower, some a bit higher, with the water in some places rushing quickly in between and flowing more slowly in other places. On it went, a quarter league or more, and then they came upon a pool, fed at its head by another waterfall with another series of falls, or cascades, above them. At last they came to a lake, in a hidden valley. Scattered all along the shores they saw small homes, yet they saw no people. As they drew closer to the far end of the lake, they began to hear sounds, but not sounds of falling water. The sound grew louder as they went, and finally they began to make out sounds of music and laughter and great merriment.

This lake had run more or less southwest to northeast, and when they came to its end, they saw that it led into another, greater lake that ran southeast to northwest. There, on the shore ahead of them, they saw a crowd of people in celebration about a great fire, with smaller cooking fires all about. They also saw that in the middle of this lake was an island, and upon a high bluff of that island there stood a great home, like an ancient manor house or villa of old Numenor, but suited for these northern climes.

As they had evidently not been seen, Eldacar bid his men to dress themselves in the clothes he gave them. These were great black tunics with the emblems of Elendil upon them, the crown above seven stars over a white tree – small emblems on the breast for his men and a large emblem centered on the chest for Eldacar, and white leggings and undershirts for the men, but black for Eldacar. Then they mounted themselves and rode slowly toward the celebration.

Before long they were spotted. The noise of the crowd slowly waned as each in turn saw them, and a hush came upon all who watched. As there were so few of them and they seemed to offer no threat, the crowd’s anxiety changed to curiosity and they patiently awaited the arrival of these visitors. Then, striding forward through the crowd came a great man with long brown hair and beard, and he stepped ten paces beyond the crowd and stopped, foremost among those who would greet the newcomers.

“Greetings and good day to you, sir,” said Eldacar, halting as he drew near. “And may it be that you have had a great harvest.”

“Good enough for us!” said the other. “But you are not from here. I have heard of those emblems you wear. Who are you and why have you come here? For the kings have left us to ourselves these many long years.”

“I am Eldacar, eldest son and Heir to King Valandil, who rules over this very land from his throne at Annuminas. If Eru grants it, I will be king myself one day, and grant it I think he will indeed. I have come for that which kings ever come… to claim the very best that this land of yours may yield.”

The man seemed taken aback by this boldness, but his look of surprise was soon supplanted by a scowl. Eldacar however, had already urged his horse into a trot, and he began to look about, this way and that, at baskets of harvested grains, and of gathered fruit, and at livestock nearby and at pigs prepared for roasting over fires, as though appraising the value of all that he saw. At times he slowed and at times he sped by, and all this while, the people stood transfixed, watching this strange spectacle, and even his men hung back, uncertain of his intent. Finally, having ridden about and through all the crowd, Eldacar came back before the man with whom he had spoken and addressed him once more.

“You are Telumar, are you not?”
The man gave a single nod of assent.

“You have many fine things here Telumar, and many would account you a wealthy man. Yet there is only one thing among all this you have that I would desire.”

“What is it?” asked Telumar, his eyebrows knitting together.

Eldacar dismounted and let his horse’s reins fall to the ground. He walked toward Telumar, but then walked past him, to a tall young maiden with dark hair, now in a dress with richly woven patterns like autumn leaves. He took her hand in his and led her before Telumar.

“This – my lord, is the thing of greatest worth of all that you possess, and the one thing I would have. Thine own daughter Teleriel. It is she that I would ask as your harvest debt long overdue to the House of Elendil, and which will now be adjudged paid in full and thrice overpaid! If she will permit it.” Eldacar turned his gaze from the eyes of father to daughter. Teleriel met his gaze briefly, then blushed and turned her eyes downward – and then looked to her father as if awaiting his assent.

Telumar’s face became the grounds for a wild array of emotions. He eyed his daughter with suspicion and toyed with anger, amusement, grief, and Eldacar thought, suppressed delight. When he spoke though, it was in challenge. “I know not whether I indeed owe ought to that house, but know this. My daughter has had suitors before, and all have been found lacking. She has had no mother for many years, but she has two elder brothers. Telmung! Telron!”

Two young men came forward – the first fully as tall as Eldacar, but almost as broad as his father Telumar. The second was shorter and much smaller of frame, but long of leg.

“Come now – follow me – all of you,” said Telumar. He led them up beyond the commons where the celebration had been taking place and up a nearby hill, just a bit above the lake. At the top, he pointed to an old gnarled tree, standing alone on another hill, some two furlongs distance, across a shallow valley.

“My sons challenge any man who would take their sister from our home. He must first outrun Telron to that tree and back to this spot. If he wins that race, he must then out-wrestle Telmung.”

“It sounds a perilous challenge indeed. How good a runner is Telron?” asked Eldacar.

“He has been beaten only once – and that time he fell.”

“I was tripped!” added Telron, with a broad grin.

“Never mind about that,” joined in Telmung. “It finally gave me something to do! And I paid back many times the offense given you.”

“What does your sister say to all this?” asked Eldacar.

“She would have it no other way,” said Telmung. Teleriel stiffened proudly and Eldacar was not sure how to read that.

“She might have been taken from my house barely out of childhood if not for these two sons of mine,” said Telumar.
Last edited by Valandil3430 on Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:17 pm

So Eldacar raced against Telron. He led at first, his greater size speeding him down the hill, but Telron caught him on the uphill and touched the tree first, fully three paces ahead. Coming back, Eldacar again went more swiftly down the hill and drew even with Telron, but this time he drew forth all the strength he had, for this was a race he must win. Swiftly they both ran, but this time Eldacar went no slower going back up the hill than he had going down it, and he led by two paces as he drew near the end.

With only a short way to go, Eldacar looked at those gathered ahead of him. At any other time, he would believe he could defeat Telmung, but he would be tired after this race. So as he finished, he added to his speed, rather than slowing. He bore straight down on Telmung, ran full into him and knocked him flat to the ground, holding him there even as he gasped for breath.

The onlookers were first stunned with surprise, then erupted in laughter. Even old Telumar would protest no more, but laughed heartily. He would have joined Teleriel to Eldacar on the spot, but Eldacar would wait, for he said that he wished to satisfy his parents in the matter, and obtain their blessing along with that of Telumar. So Eldacar and his men stayed on through the harvest celebration and joined in the merriment, then returned home, bidding Telumar to join the King’s Yule celebration in three more months, and asking that Teleriel might then stay on and wed with him at the Erukyerme, to which all agreed.

Queen Galeneth first took the news with sadness, but King Valandil with delight. Not only had his son found someone after his own heart’s desire, but it was a chance to bind the different peoples of his kingdom together. So when Telumar came to Annuminas with a great measure of his people to celebrate the Yule that year, King Valandil received him with great honours, and said that to correct an old wrong, he hereby made as Royal Thanes (a new office, meaning that they would sit on Arnor’s Council as did the Princes of each river course, and as other Thanes did not), the Chief of the Northern Lakes, as well as similarly descended men of the regions of Sarn Ford and Upper Lhun. Elvish minstrels also graced the court with their presence – dressed in white and silver and gold, for they came to sing in honour of Eldacar and his choice of a bride.

With all this Telumar was greatly pleased, and he and Valandil presented each other with gifts and renewed oaths to one another. He had seen already that Valandil was a just ruler, who would not press his people with great demands, as had kings in days of old before Elendil’s coming, with whom his family had some dealings. For Telumar was himself descended of a ship’s captain from Tar-Minastir’s fleet, who fell in love with Middle-earth when he came to fight for it, and later returned with his family and those of his ship’s company, and they settled in that land where they still dwelt in this time. And they long had retained the culture of Numenor as it was in those ancient days – even its languages and its arts, untainted by those things that transpired among our ancestors in the Land of Gift. And they did not mingle in marriage with those native to Middle-earth, but only with other colonists of Numenor.

At that Yule, Eldacar presented Teleriel to his parents the King and Queen and declared his intention to wed her. Teleriel wore a dress of red, with a great flowing robe of dark green, and silver belt, broach and shoes. She also wore a wreath of mistletoe, and sprigs from it were given to the maidens of Galeneth’s court, who wore them in their hair. And there was great celebration in all the city, not least among those other young nobles and maidens of court, who made arrangements so quickly that after Eldacar and Teleriel were indeed wedded at the Erukyerme, no less than a score of noble weddings came on the Mid-year’s Day that followed.

And in these days, we perhaps think still too little of these folk and their ancient home, for it has indeed grown lesser by itself as its people have enriched our kingdom. For did not the tomes of this house pass into the great Library of Arantar? And have not three parts of these people come down from the hills and settled along the shores of Lake Evendim, and along the banks of the Baranduin, where they have become great boatmen and made the town of Portage, where the Baranduin breaks into falls at the crossing of River Road and the Ridge Road? And, after the marriage of Eldacar and Teleriel, have we not all become a united people?

(Translator’s Note: on distances used by Nolduryon, JRR Tolkien gives us the Numenorean definition of ranga – which corresponds to approximately 38 inches – just over 3 feet and just under a meter, so it could be considered similar to either, in loose terms. A league was 5000 rangar, and worked out to almost exactly 3 miles, somewhat under 5 km. Hobbits used the term ‘furlong’ – which has been commonly taken as 660 feet (the length of a furrow – such that a farmer plowing that far would then turn the plow around and work back the other way – and almost exactly 200 meters). We can imagine that the Dunedain would have use for such a length of measure and conclude that it was very likely 200 rangar – although perhaps 250. For more of Tolkien’s research into the matter, see the notes after “The Disaster of the Gladden Fields” in the collection known as; “Unfinished Tales”)

A Record of Dates:

Second Age:
1700 Telumbor, captain of a ship in Tar-Minastir’s fleet, is sent to the upper parts of the Lhun, finds the Northern Lakes while scouting out the land and resolves to return.
1708 Telumbor returns with 120 of his men and all their families, and they settle amidst the Northern Lakes.
2251 It is recorded that about this time, the Ringwraiths appear, although they had long led their peoples as kings in Middle-earth up to this time.
2350 Pelargir built in the south, drawing future Numenorean colonists away from Eriador
3319 Fall of Numenor, escape of Elendil and the Faithful
3320 Founding of Arnor in the North and Gondor in the South, opposition of Telekh (twenty-first in the line of Telumbor)
3429 Sauron comes forth from Mordor, Isildur goes to King Elendil in Arnor
3430 Birth of Valandil at Imladris, Telmir sends 500 men to join the Last Alliance
3441 Fall of Sauron, death of King Elendil

Third Age:
1 Telraen returns to the Northern Lakes
2 King Isildur slain returning North from Osgiliath
3 Word of Isildur’s death reaches Imladris and becomes widely known
10 Coronation of King Valandil, opposition of Telraen
15 Birth of Telumar, grandson of Telraen
87 Birth of Eldacar
97 Birth of Telmung
117 Birth of Telron
137 Birth of Teleriel – her mother dies in childbirth
162 Galeneth forms her court
182 Eldacar meets Teleriel and visits the Northern Lakes
183 Wedding of Eldacar and Teleriel
185 Birth of Arantar, son of Eldacar
249 Death of King Valandil, ascension of King Eldacar
339 Death of King Eldacar
341 Death of Teleriel
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:18 pm

The next installment of Nolduryon's Tales...

Tarcil

This story I know best of all, for it involves the marriage of my eldest brother, and I was there to witness the proceedings.

I was not yet 20 years of age when, at the Yule of Years 350-351 since the fall of our Enemy, my mother the Queen sent forth word that she would form her new court of young ladies beginning at the Erukyerme, and would present them to the King on Mid-Year’s Day. This announcement brought a great deal of commotion, although the timing was about right and the event had been broadly anticipated. For my brother Tarcil, who was Heir to the Throne of Arnor, was nearly of an age considered proper for a future King to marry. If all went as would be expected, Tarcil would marry one of the Ladies of the Queen’s Court.

There were really two types of commotion. For one, all the noble families of the realm vied to have the eligible young ladies of their family selected by the Queen. At the same time however, many who had waited to marry – those who felt they were getting on in years or who desired to marry another but had not yet done so – all were married quite hastily. It was this latter that took me by surprise, as a young man. I soon saw why however. For once this Queen’s Court was chosen, there were almost no marriages among the noble families until the Heir should choose his bride. And this was certain to take a number of years.

Tarcil, our brother Elremir, and the other young sons of noble birth were in constant training at this time – learning all the kinds of things necessary for them to know in order to be fit rulers of our people. My own companions and I, whose instruction at the time was a great deal less demanding, were too young to have entered yet into this vigorous training. However – if we were too young to have joined in with my elder brothers, we were certainly not too young to appreciate the beauty of the young ladies who began to arrive on the palace grounds of Vinyamar at Annuminas in the early days of the month of Gwirith (transl. – April). One day, to get close to these beauties, a few friends and I even garbed ourselves as servants and pretended to be porters, to carry the effects of the young ladies up into the palace to their new quarters. We carried this game on for about three or four of the hopeful future queens, before my Uncle Galendir found us out.

When her Court was presented to the King, there were 40 young ladies in all. Two were not eligible to marry my brother Tarcil – for one was our own sister and the other our first cousin, daughter of the Warden of Elostirion, who was our mother’s brother. Although they could not marry the future King, being in the Court gave them the chance to draw the eye of any of Tarcil’s Companions, who were the most noble unmarried men of the land. Besides this, having a close relative among the other ladies could be of great help to a young Heir.

The rest came from all about our land; daughters, grand-daughters or nieces of the Princes of Lhun, Fornost, Baranduin and Mitheithel, of Counts from all about Nenuial, Minhiriath, Tharbad, the Andrath and the Angle, of the wealthier Thanes at Sarn Ford, Stonebows, the West Crossroads and the South Downs and of some of the Royal Officials of the Palace itself. Even from Gondor they came – four of them from Osgiliath, Pelargir, Erui and Angrenost. There were two pairs of sisters who came – one pair from Mitheithel, and twins who were daughters of a royal official in Annuminas. All forty were between 20 and 40 years of age, young, beautiful, well-spoken, learned in lore, gifted in the arts of music. All were true daughters of Numenor. At their presentation they sang – beautiful voices lifted in song to invoke our heritage as the people of Numenor, and in celebration of summer, of beauty and of love.

My brother and his Company numbered 40 as well. They were sons of many of the same houses of Arnor – for there were none from Gondor among them. They trained constantly together, and their training was severe – in the manly arts of warfare, in the marshaling of armies in the field, in agriculture and husbandry, in sailing and in tests of endurance, in the planning and engineering of cities and in the construction of buildings, in mining and working with metals. All these things they had to master – and it was said that on mastering them, their training had only begun.

They worked hard at their training most days, save at planting and harvest times, when they worked hard all day in the fields. At times they assisted with other manual tasks to strengthen the body and to learn the skills of labor. And when they had time away from their duties, their play was hard – rough games or the hunt during the day, games of strategy and strength of will in the evening.

The ladies of the Court had training of their own to undergo. They had to grow even more learned in lore, in languages and in the arts. They learned humility in service to their Queen.

Thus my brother and the Queen’s Court saw little of one another for the next 10 years. There were formal gatherings at each of the High Days; at Erukyerme, at Erulaitale – which even then we called “Mid-Year’s Day”, at the Eruhantale, and at the Yule. At these times, the Court and the Company would make great preparations to make themselves as pleasing or as presentable as they could. Each time, they would be presented again to one another in the presence of the King and Queen, along with the greater nobles who happened to be at court. And they would dance, but one dance only – and one of those which required the dancers to frequently exchange partners. The ladies of the Court were given strict instructions to speak no word to one another at these events, nor to speak to any of the young men unless spoken to. For their part, the young men of the Company refrained from declaring which lady they found most favourable, always waiting for Tarcil to first make his own selection known.

For his part, Tarcil was not inclined to make his mind known too early. His days were still quite full. The ladies presented a welcome distraction, when those times came each three months – but there was still much to see, and much more time was needed to make his selection sure.

Indeed those first 10 years were merely an introduction to the young ladies. The duties of each group kept them active between the seasonal celebrations – and those duties were intentionally planned to keep their paths from crossing at other times.

Things began to change after that though. For the two or three years following, the duties of both groups lightened up. And they began to see more of one another, but always in groups. For more times were planned for them to come together, and at other times they might meet by chance on the palace grounds – at the Fountain of Teleriel, or in the Summer Garden. Even at their duties they began to see one another, for the Ladies of the Court might come forth to watch the Men of the Company train for battle, or come to where they worked at gathering a harvest or building a road to share food and drink with them, or to join them in celebration after a successful hunt.

By this time my own training, which my father the King said had been over-long neglected, had begun in earnest. A group of nobles’ sons, who had been too young to join in with Tarcil when his Company was formed, was gathered together and our training began. But still, this group drew far fewer young men than my brother’s had, and we received far less attention from the trainers than they, for the Company of a future King was more important, and the events going on in that time were of greater interest to the palace and the realm than the training of a dozen or so younger men. My own aptitude for the learning of lore and for writing had been long recognized, so most of my own duties were of that nature, and I received much of my training under our scribes and loremasters.

I have said little of my brother Tarcil himself, but until this time, we had not seen much of one another. He had always been kindly toward me though. And being more than 50 years older, had been more like an indulgent father or uncle than a brother. I being now placed in the King’s Service, Tarcil soon made me his personal messenger. My entire little Company, in fact, was attached to his larger one, and we all served him and his companions as their esquires or for whatever other duties they might require. So it was my own birth and special placement as Tarcil’s messenger that gave me a peculiar vantage point to observe so closely the turn of events that was to follow.

About this time, my brother’s Company and my mother’s Court began to see one another even more frequently. It was often I who served as vehicle to help arrange these times. For my brother might bid me go to our mother with this or that message, saying:

Mother - my Company and I have just come from the hunt. Would thee and the fair Ladies of thy Court wish to join us in partaking of its bounty?
Thy son - Tarcil


Or:

Mother – my Company and I have had hard work this day. Might thee and the fine Ladies of thy Court come down and bring us refreshment?
Thy son - Tarcil


And always my mother met his requests, just as she received them. I began to see in time that they played games with the wording of their messages – giving subtler messages to one another. For at some times, in his message to her, my brother might suggest that my mother had other duties to keep her or that she needed her rest, and ask only for the Ladies of her Court to come, and she would send them but refrain from attending herself. Or his message might say that he and nine of his companions need be attended, and only ten ladies of her court would come. I noticed at these times that my mother sent a different group of ladies each time, so that all would have their turn to come before his notice, for he had not yet especially named one of them in his messages.

At the Harvest of year 366, Tarcil’s Company prepared a special celebration for the ladies of the Court. They had been working in the fields between Annuminas and the Great East West Road and had returned to celebrate the Eruhantale in its season. Then, early the very next morning, they loaded all the Ladies of the Court onto wagons and we all departed. With us came a few servants and attendants, a small detachment of men-at-arms and our mother the Queen, and even our father the King himself. We rode nearly 25 leagues, south and a bit east, and late in the third day came to a clearing in the woods at the foot of some hills. There were forty new huts arranged in a square about the edge of the clearing; ten on the west for the Court, ten on the east for the Company, ten on the south for the men-at-arms and ten on the north for the King and Queen (who shared one large, double-hut at the center of the north row), the attendants and my own smaller company.

That evening we held a great bonfire and everyone joined in the merriment of the celebration with singing, dancing, story-telling and laughter. We stayed there for three joyous days. The only thing that seemed unusual to me is that my brother Tarcil joined less in the frolicking than the rest – although the whole thing was according to his plan. He instead spent his time with our father, seemingly in grave conversation, but most often within sight of all the other participants.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:19 pm

So we returned eventually to Annuminas. Then as the days shortened and the Yule drew nigh, my brother had me deliver a most notable message to my mother:

Oh Alatana, Queen of all Arnor – it will give my Company great pleasure if you, and Isilhist, Numeriel, Brecarwen and Gilfornien, together with all the other Ladies of your Court, will once again join us for the celebration of this Yule.
Tarcil – Heir to Arnor


This caused quite a stir among the Court, for as was often the case, I delivered it to my mother at her sitting room – a large chamber where she gathered her Court at the end of the day. Upon reading the message aloud, my mother shot one eyebrow sharply upward, while the reactions of the ladies varied from wild excitement to disappointment.

Now at previous Yule celebrations, all the Ladies of my mother’s Court wore simple dresses of white – yet lovely and elegant. This was how young maidens arrayed themselves for these times, even as they still do now. And then, as now, the young men would come dressed in bright colors of the season, and bearing ribbons with ancestral devices from their own family lines. If they should choose to do so, a young man might offer to bestow a ribbon on a young maiden as a favor, and if she accepted it, she would return the favor with a dance, by serving him some of the treats at the sideboards, by singing him a song, or telling him a tale, or even – making arrangement to meet him later at the mistletoe.

All the time since this Court and Company had celebrated the Yule together, there had been no exchanging of favors – for none of the young men wished to place himself before the Heir’s right to choose first – and Tarcil, as is most often the case for an Heir, was deliberate in making his choice.

This Yule was different though. For one, the four ladies named came last into the Great Hall, and while the other ladies wore once more their white dresses, those four came in bright dresses of blue, green, red, gold and silver – each according to their taste – yet all simple and elegant, to best describe their slender forms.

My brother stood apart from the rest of his men, with three companions; our brother Elremir and also Lindethalion the son of Mitheithel’s Prince and Celebram our cousin, the son of the Warden of Elostirion. These four greeted the Queen’s Court as they came, and when the four designated ladies arrived, greeted them especially and brought them aside to a corner, where that group remained most of the evening. But first, after only ten or so minutes, Tarcil turned to his men and gave a nod as a signal. At this, each of the Company stepped forth and walked across the room, and each approached a single lady of the Court and each offered to her a ribbon as a favor – as if they had decided together beforehand whom they would approach. Then began the merriest Yule celebration in many long years – and little could I know it at the time, but one of those young men offering a favor, and the one young lady to whom he gave it, would become one day my father-in-law and my mother-in-law.

Let me tell you though of the four ladies – all of them lovely to look upon, all learned in lore, all pleasant in voice and in manner.

Isilhist was tall and slender, elegant and proud. Her eyes were piercing and her hair was black like a raven’s. She was the daughter of the Warden of Amon Sul, but had been raised for part of her days in Annuminas. She was her father’s eldest child, her brother was too young even to have joined my company and her sister had been born while Isilhist was at Court.

Numeriel was thoughtful and quiet and her hair was dark brown. She delighted in poetry and song and had sharp insight. Her father was the Count at Tharbad and she had been raised in that city. Her elder brother was in Tarcil’s Company and her elder sister was married to the Count of Hoardale.

Brecarwen was lovely of face and form, and her hair was very light brown. She was sharp of mind, yet gentle in manner. When she came to Court, her grandfather had been Prince of Baranduin, but her father had since succeeded him. She had been raised mostly at her father’s country estate. Her elder brother was in Tarcil’s Company and her younger brother was a companion to me.

Gilfornien was beautiful, bright and cheerful, her hair a light mixture of red and gold – and she was usually the center of attention at the Court. She was the daughter of the Prince of Lhun and Fornost and had been raised at Fornost before she came to Court. Her older brother was married already.

After Tarcil had given his signal, the four young men and the four young ladies began to dance. Eight dances they had, switching partners each time, until each of them had danced twice with each of the other two. Then they returned to their own corner where seats were brought to them, and they took refreshment together, while the rest of the Hall was filled with merry-making. After many years’ absence, the traveling company of Gildor arrived – and Uncle Galendir even dressed up as Old Man Yule.

When that Yule was fully past, things continued for several weeks as they had for the past few years. Once or twice each week, my brother Tarcil would send me to our mother the Queen, asking that the Ladies of her Court come to wait upon him and his men. Finally though, as winter wore on – it was the 14th day of Ninui (transl - February) – my brother sent word to the Queen once more:

Oh most gracious Queen Alatana – please send unto my companions and me the Lady Brecarwen and the other Ladies of your Court that they may entertain and refresh us, for our hearts and minds have been burdened these past days.
Thy loving son – Tarcil


When I had read these words, at my mother’s bidding, she stood silent, but a look of worry came over her face. Her Court had gathered around as they always did – but this time the silence after the message was profound – until it erupted with squeals of excitement. The Lady Brecarwen blushed and inclined her head downward – but several of her friends gathered close about her with joy. Others though, looked downcast, or turned sidelong glances on the maiden. At last my mother spoke to me, “Take a message for Tarcil, “ she said. Her messages before had been simple assents to his requests, but for this one, she commanded me to write as follows:

Yes, my son – the Ladies of my Court are ever at your service. You might take pleasure to know that Brecarwen is a young lady of highest quality, and that she has a fine voice and is accomplished at the harp.
Thy mother – Queen Alatana


It was not long before I returned with Tarcil’s reply:

Is it indeed so? We have longed to hear fair songs of sunshine and springtime to lift our hearts. Perhaps once we have taken refreshment, the Lady Brecarwen would be agreeable to sing for my closest friends and me while the other Ladies attend to the rest of my Men.
Tarcil


On hearing this, my mother stood and turned to face Brecarwen. “Array yourself as you would like, and choose ten or so ladies to accompany you. Instruct all the rest in what they should wear as well. Prepare your harp.” Then she turned to retire to her own chamber, but stopped and addressed all the Ladies of her Court, “Brecarwen – and Brecarwen only, is to wait upon my son Tarcil this evening, and she is to wait upon him only.” Then she turned once more and began to climb a short rise of steps before the entrance to her chamber, but stopped still when she heard a voice call out sharply;
“It’s not fair!”

Queen Alatana stood very still for such a long time that she seemed to have frozen solid or turned to stone. Then she slowly turned and addressed the speaker;

“What is not fair, Isilhist?”

“Well… I… I am a far better harpist than she! And a better singer as well…”

“This is not a music contest, fair Isilhist,” the Queen answered measuredly as she slowly descended the steps she had just taken, advancing to face her before continuing with a voice now sharper than Isilhist’s. “Besides, do you not know that it can be perilous to be the first one called?” and she paused before going on calmly once more. “When my husband Arantar first named three ladies, I was not among them – but each was called once, and then dismissed in their turn. He then named five more – and I was the last one he called of them.”

The Queen drew herself up proudly, and the corners of her mouth turned up into a wry smile, “Of course, he claims now that I was always the apple of his eye, and that he did thus to test me…” and her eyes searched the faces of the young maidens around the room, resting at last on Brecarwen, who now seemed downcast at hearing this latest bit.

“But take heart, child!” she said with an encouraging smile, as she strode from Isilhist to Brecarwen and placed her hands upon the maiden’s arms. “This is your chance – what you have prepared for. Now go… make the most of it!”

“Isilhist,” the Queen said at last, “take up your own harp and join me. You shall keep me company tonight, for I shall not go down with the others – though I desire to hear the harp myself.”

Humbled – or out-maneuvered, Isilhist obeyed. Once she had gone, the room burst into a flurry of activity. Brecarwen would wear a green dress she had made against such a time as this. She chose ten friends to assist her, telling them to gather flute, chime or other such instrument and to wear their silver gowns. Numeriel and Gilfornien were among them. The rest she permitted to wear any dress of their choosing, which was most generous. Quite forgotten, I stood there enthralled, as the others began to make their preparations and Lady Brecarwen brought forth her golden harp – until she spotted me herself and ushered me swiftly from the room.

That evening was quite remarkable. The Ladies came down to the hall where we most often received them in winter, the fire burning brightly on the hearth. First they served all the Men of Tarcil’s Company – and my own companions as well – but Brecarwen served Tarcil only, as our mother had commanded, and the other girls kept their distance. For their part, the Men insisted that the Ladies join them and refresh themselves as well, which had become the common practice. When all had had enough to eat, Brecarwen rose to her feet, and with a nod to her chosen friends, she removed the cloth cover from her harp and gathered those friends about her at the place beside the fire where such music was played. Before her sat my brothers Tarcil and Elremir, as well as Lindethalion and Celebram – the same foursome from the Yule Feast. But all others around the room grew silent and turned their attention on Brecarwen. Some drew closer that they might better see and hear.
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Postby Valandil3430 » Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:20 pm

And Brecarwen sang and played her harp, while the other girls harmonized with voice or played the parts of the other instruments. She sang first the ancient “Ballad of Andor” – recounting how the Edain first came into Beleriand and allied themselves with the Elves against Morgoth, and of Beren, and Tuor and Earendil – of the coming of the Valar, the defeat of Morgoth, and the Land of Gift to which the remnant of the Edain sailed, led by Elros Tar-Minyatur. And when she had finished, all was still. For if the singing of the Queen’s Court at their introduction was like the beautiful sounds of songbirds in spring – on this night it seemed to my companions and me that we must be hearing something like the Music of the Ainur at Arda’s making, so entranced were we.

Following a few murmurs of approval, Brecarwen began with her second song, “The Song of Andunie” – devised by a minstrel for Elendil some 400 years past, with his own fall later added by the same muse. From Silmarien daughter of Tar-Elendil onward, she sang of the majesty of that house, and of how they remained Faithful in the days that darkened Numenor, of Amandil’s heroism, and how at the Downfall, Elendil and his sons led the last of the Faithful forth to a new land, where this Princely House became the Kings of Men – then on to the War with Sauron, Elendil’s fall and the fate that befell Isildur, and how hope sprang to all remained with the line of Valandil. Brecarwen’s voice rose and fell with the words of the song, and the strumming of her harp rang clear throughout.

These two songs had been expected – but at the short pause of contemplative silence after the second, Brecarwen leapt straight into a third, a song of love in the four seasons – first going through the seasons of the year; spring, summer, autumn and winter – and then through the seasons of life. This one was not usually sung in the noble houses of Arnor, for it was a simple country song. But it was lively, and was played so well, and with such joy, by Brecarwen and her friends that many of the men and some of the ladies, joined in the chorus with singing and clapping and stomping. It was over too soon for most, for we all wanted to hear it again.

But once it was finished, Brecarwen’s smile vanished and she looked up as she played slowly and thoughtfully. “This is a song of my own devising,” she said simply before she began.

Now, some of the other maidens of the Court had chuckled to themselves, or rolled their eyes or folded their brows in expressions of disgust when she played the third song – it being a simple country song. Those same young ladies grew livid when they heard the words of this fourth song – for what they thought its unabashed forwardness.

It was about water. It was about the melting snow of the Hills of Twilight, and how that filled the great Lake Evendim, where those waters brooded long and deep – long and deep until they found their release by joining with the waters of the River Baranduin that beckoned to them, spilling themselves into them and running and dancing along them in joy and in peace, until they reached their destination of the Sea. So – it was about water, and all the words spoke of water – but in all the words and phrases were cleverly hidden meanings, which all gathered could readily perceive as an appeal to join the House of Arnor’s Kings with that of Baranduin’s Princes. The words and music were woven so well together though that I forgot myself as if under a spell and began to imagine that I was the water itself, which the song spoke about on the surface.

When she had finished, she stood to her feet and dipped in a slight bow. All were expectantly silent, awaiting the reaction of Tarcil. But he stood almost immediately and gave his approval with his applause, wherein they all then joined. He beckoned Brecarwen to him and thanked her for her lovely performance, then stood by as his three companions thanked her in turn. After the last one, Elremir, thanked her, the four of them turned slightly away and Brecarwen stood there alone. But then she looked up and saw Tarcil just three strides from her, laughing and talking with Lindethalion, and she stepped up to him, reached up and kissed my brother Tarcil on the cheek.

Tarcil turned his attention to her, but found no words to speak. Brecarwen blushed once more and lowering her head, turned to leave. But then Tarcil’s friends began to laugh aloud, and jostled and pounded him, but Elremir only gave him what seemed like a very knowing look. “Wait, fair Brecarwen,” called Tarcil after her – and even on his face had grown a broad smile. “Attend me still… please.”

She turned and joined them, sitting together with them, and Tarcil offered his cup to the Lady Brecarwen. But Celebram leaned over to Tarcil and spoke quietly into his ear. My brother looked about the room until he found me. “Nolduryon!” he called – I was already on my way there. “Take a message for me to our dear mother.” And this is what he bade me write:

Mother – my Companions and I have enjoyed a delightful evening already. We do, however, miss your presence, along with that of Lady Isilhist. Is she well?
Tarcil


Before long, I had his reply:

My son – Lady Isilhist has remained faithfully by my side tonight, for I did not wish to appear tonight for so long, before such a large group, and yet I desired to hear the harp myself, at which she is quite capable. Shall I send her down to play for you as well?
Queen Alatana


My brother looked perplexed on hearing this, and thought for several moments before composing this response:

Dearest Mother – the goodness and kindness of Lady Isilhist are known to us all, and her faithfulness to you is commendable. I can believe that she is skilled at the harp, but alas, I cannot find it out for myself this evening, for fatigue overtakes me and I must soon turn in for the night. Still my friends ask after her. It would please me if both you and she might come down at once together. Then Isilhist might stay while I escort both you and Brecarwen back to your own chambers, for she has had especial duty this evening and might wish to retire herself.
Tarcil


When I read this last to my mother, she quite suddenly jumped up from her chair and a wave of excitement passed over her face. She turned to Isilhist with a simple, “Let us go… now.”

I led them down to the hall, and when Tarcil left with Brecarwen and our mother, I was told to come along with them. First I walked behind, beside Brecarwen, while Tarcil spoke in low tones with our mother. But at one point, they stopped, faced each other and embraced, and then Tarcil motioned for me to offer my arm to our mother, while he held his own for Lady Brecarwen. They fell further behind us, but before they dropped from hearing, I could make out these words my brother said to her:

“It was at my brother Elremir’s insistence that I first named you – and I called you out tonight as a favor to him – and, I thought, for him. But I see now that he had you in mind for me. Brecarwen, when you kissed me as you did, I saw in your eyes how you loved me. What is more, I knew suddenly what I had never known before – that I loved you also. That sudden knowledge caught me by surprise, but it is good to know my own heart at last – and I cannot help but think that there is no other Lady in all the Queen’s Court that I could have chosen as I have chosen you…”

And I heard no more.

After that evening, Tarcil and Lady Bercarwen kept themselves apart. Meanwhile, the rest of his Company and the Court began to see much more of one another – but without the two of them. In fact, when he left with Brecarwen that night, it was the first time he had left his Men with the Ladies of the Court, and they all took that as the signal that it was.

When three more weeks had passed, Brecarwen was packed one morning with all her things, as if prepared for a journey. I watched from a high window as Tarcil bid her farewell – holding her two hands together in his. She was sent home to her father’s house. Word has it that he did not understand at first, and thought his daughter had somehow disgraced him – until she told him that he was to await a visit from the King’s Heir one week after the Erukyerme. And Tarcil the King’s Heir came at that time, with an escort of knights and with gifts for her father. For a week he stayed, and then he asked if he might marry the Prince’s daughter on Mid-Year’s Day.

And so things went. My brother Tarcil dismissed his Company for two years – or to not return if other duty kept them, and my mother released the Ladies of her Court. No less than 25 of them married Men of the Company, including Gilfornien, who married our brother Elremir, Numeriel, who married Lindethalion, and Isilhist, who married Celebram our cousin. Our sister Lastorien married Brecarwen’s elder brother and our cousin Celebloss married Numeriel’s brother. All 40 were married within the next 5 or 10 years, for some married a Thane of their father, or another of noble birth who had been selected for them. Two ladies of Gondor returned to their homes to do so, but two others married Men of our land and remained in the north. One lady even married a companion of my own, though she was 3 years older than he. But all, of course, attended the wedding of Tarcil and Brecarwen that bright summer day.


A Record of Dates (all Third Age):

276 Arantar weds Alatana
280 Birth of Tarcil
290 Birth of Elremir
333 Birth of Nolduryon
339 Passing of King Eldacar, King Arantar’s coronation
351 Queen Alatana forms her court
367 Tarcil weds Brecarwen
372 Birth of Tarondor
435 Passing of King Arantar, King Tarcil’s coronation
500 King Tarcil’s visit to King Romendacil at Osgiliath
515 Passing of King Tarcil, King Tarondor’s coronation
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Postby Arassuil » Wed Jul 09, 2008 5:46 pm

Again, a good read! You sure put a lot of effort into the details!
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