For All Paths Untaken

The capital city of Rohan, Edoras was built at the end of the valley of Harrowdale, which lay under the great mountain Starkhorn, and is the only real 'city' of the Rohirrim.

For All Paths Untaken

Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:44 am

October 4th, 2014, 4:44 am #1

Despite all their worry, the world was beginning to rebuild itself.

With Rivendell largely emptied of people, not the least of them Elrond himself, the lack of things to anchor the twins home kept them out of the very condensed valley population, most often in Minas Tirith or with Legolas's contingent in Ithilien, which suited them well enough in the aftermath of the War with Celeborn to rely on for whatever administrative matters were left to toil over. With Arwen's choice already declared, Elrohir felt the press of his own heavy on his shoulders to such a degree that it had become something of a hobby to sit and brood about it until someone forcibly took his arm and shook him out of it, though he knew he and Elladan would likely resist until Eonwe himself ascended from the skies to drag an answer out of them.

Rohan had changed since their brief campaign had sent them there, but not so much that it felt inhospitably new when a whim drove them north; the land underfoot seemed tired and worn, but that may have been the two of them just projecting onto the world around them, most of their living relatives now shipbound and headed somewhere that might well be closed to them by the time the drive to roam had left them. It was an odd feeling, and one he studiously tried not to think about when the morning after their midnight arrival rolled around and there was sun in his eyes and a room empty of his brother. Echir was curled up in a massive heap by the door; he went about his morning rituals as he ever did, dressing down in a comfortable shirt unbound by a jerkin, and toed his hound out of the way, loosing himself onto the city.

Either it was market day, or the economy had rubberbanded in the opposite direction of what it had been since the last time the two of them had been through Edoras: the causeways were flush, there was a thriving market, and plenty of cheap gossip to eavesdrop on as he made his way through the throngs, Echir dutifully at his heels despite the comparatively early hour. He secured an apple for himself as breakfast, then meandered down the main thoroughfare to Meduseld, intending only to look at it and then scurry off to find other ways to amuse himself until Elladan decided he wanted to go drinking or something.

But in the end curiosity won out—they had been present for Eomer and Lothiriel's wedding, of course, but after the couple had removed from the capital there had been little time to call on either of them privately as friends—and he approached the doorward, trying to compensate for the overly-casual picture he made in soft, rough leather hose hastily tucked into boots with a dog pressed close against his legs. It had been a common story around the clusters of people going about their morning that their lady was expecting, and the thought of the child he had known in Dol Amroth, had taught to insult teachers over breakfast, was grown and expecting her own child did the same strange things to his brain that happened when he found himself considering the inevitability of Arwen procreating.

Some of the Edain had strange rules about confinement of an expectant mother in her last few months of pregnancy; Elrohir wasn't sure if she would have necessarily put up with that, but he supposed, as he was grudgingly allowed entry and directed to a parlor to await someone to deliver his request for an audience, Echir making himself comfortable on a spot on the rug, it was worth a try. There were so few familiar faces left this side of the sea that it was almost worth the months of travel to seek out another.



let me know if anything needs to be changed, i referred to the wiki for some of this lol :X
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Joined: May 30th, 2014, 2:22 am

October 6th, 2014, 11:17 pm #2

Queen of Rohan. It was a title she was still unused to, even with seven years already under her belt in a land vastly different from her own. Lothíriel tried to be the Queen that Rohan needed; she knew they had suffered a great deal during the War, that the lands had been savaged and people had been displaced, and she poured her heart and soul into rebuilding the kingdom her husband now ruled, helping him give his people hope and the will to thrive. Their efforts did not go unnoticed: Edoras was thriving, settlements that had been destroyed by Saruman's machinations were being rebuilt, and the people were more cheerful than they had ever been. With the kingdom thriving, Meduseld was also going through changes: the hall was being renovated, added on to in order to house the King and the family that he would raise, and this brought about a cheer the hall had also been lacking for some years now.

Rohan blossomed into a beauty it had not known in quite some time.

Their Queen, on the other hand, was doing her best to survive the child growing in her and her rapidly changing body. It was coming upon the fourth month since Mearu had told her she was with child, but the Queen looked like she was at least six months along. "A strong child grows within you," the midwife had told her over her morning breakfast (which Lothíriel was thankful she could stomach now). "Min Cyning will be most pleased when he returns." And while the young Dol Amrothian knew the woman's words were true, it did not make her feel any better about her rapidly expanding stomach. With her husband gone, the Oath of Eorl being fulfilled for the (hopefully) last time, she was left to commiserate alone about the growing child and the pains and changes her body suffered daily. Thankfully her suffering was slowing down for now.

The brisk October air had drawn the young Queen outside with her companion when she had finished her breakfast, to the small garden connected to the kitchen. When she had time, she preferred to sit in the larger garden, to enjoy the quiet offered there and the beauty of the landscape that stretched before her. It reminded her of the garden in Dol Amroth, and so it had become her refuge when she felt the weight of homesickness upon her. Before, she had been able to enjoy this time alone. Now, Mearu made certain she was never alone: always around, somewhere, was Léan, ever faithful to the Queen and ready to help when needed. The momentary quiet of the garden was interrupted by the appearance of a page of the door warden, bringing news of the visitor seeking audience with the Queen. For a moment Léan was about to tell the page to dismiss visitor, that the Queen was not holding audience today with anyone, but she was quickly interrupted.

"Where is this visitor?" Lothíriel asked the young boy in Rohirric. It was not often she used the Westron language any more, and less often she used Sindarin. While her use of the native Rohirric tongue was much softer and gentler, she was quite an adept speaker and had surprised many in the Meduseld household the first year when she easily picked up on the language and used it fluently thereafter. The people had been pleased with it as well, glad to see the young Queen was quick to adapt to her new environment.

"Your solar, Min Cwen. Shall I send him away?" The boy knew Léan was ready to send the visitor away, and thus his question was a mere anticipation of it.

"What did he look like?"

"Your kin. Dark haired, my lady, and...different." That was all Lothíriel needed to know. Sending the boy back to his duties, she rose and moved out of the garden and back into the hall to make her way to her solar. While it would have cheered her heart to see her brothers, she knew it was not they who had arrived. They would have sent word first. And so her mind racked through the possibilities of who sought her for audience now as she made her way to her study, greeting the few people she passed with a smile and gentle nod of her head. Faramir was busy in Ithilien or Minas Tirith, tending to matters of land while King Elessar was gone to fight one last skirmish with her own husband at his side. Her father ruled in Dol Amroth and her brothers were busy with their lives. There was no one left of her blood.

Who could it be?

"You should be resting, Min Cwen," Léan said with a frown, but the rest of her argument went unfinished as soon as they appeared at the door of the solar and her Queen switched to the Sindarin tongue.

"Mae govannen," Lothíriel said then, quickly silencing the Rohirric girl as she stepped into the solar and sending her away with a wave of her hand. "If I need you, I will call, Léan, I promise." Only momentarily satisfied with this, her displeasure noted by the frown that creased her features, the young girl walked away as her Queen shut the door. The page's comment about how he looked like her kin now made sense to her: the boy had been young when the Elves arrived in Edoras to deliver Arwen to her husband, and his inability to recall such thing was not uncommon. For a moment the woman studied the half-elf before her, taking in the small things about demeanor and look to decide which Twin was her current guest. Moving to a large, overstuffed chair that was the newest fixture to her solar, she smiled at Elrohir, glad to see a familiar face. And for a moment she wondered where his mirror was...but decided that was not important, not at the moment at least. "It has been quite some time, Elrohir."
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Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:44 am

October 19th, 2014, 3:17 am #3

There was a considerable chance he'd be dismissed and he'd be lucky if he got a platitude to see him off, but as the minutes wore on, Elrohir was unsure about the tactic of understating his arrival that he'd meant as a sign it was a personal call, and not a political one. For all that the elves could go on and on about the complacency of Men in the aftermath of battle, a specter of the War, however remote from Edoras, still walked the streets, visible in its people's faces, and perhaps he had misjudged the risk he must have posed as an obvious outsider, looking half like an itinerant who'd just crawled out of the basement of a pub. That he hadn't been refused entry point-blank at the doors bordered on oversight from the staff, though he kept himself from questioning his unwarranted good luck too deeply.

Still, being sent off might end up being a thousand times less disconcerting than actually being granted audience, which, he had to admit, he'd sought completely on a whim. The wages of time and the inevitability of separation from the world he had been born into, the world he had loved and knew from the narrowest headland of Mithlond to the darkest corner of Fangorn, was something that had become painfully real in the space of the last forty years—a laughably fractional blip of his and his brother's lifetimes, but also a stark reminder that they weren't nearly as wise and unaffected as they thought they were. The vise on his heart that had taken his chest at the wedding could be bought off for extended periods of time, but he felt it tighten so insistently that it seemed to steal his breath; he moved to the window and folded his arms to lean on them on the sill, mostly resigned to the probability of being thrown back out onto the street.

But it was much sooner than he'd anticipated that Échir suddenly lifted his head, the sound of his tail thumping against the ground drawing Elrohir's attention back to the door of the solar. He'd gotten the feeling that it was a personal space rather than a receiving room, but the realization that it was actually Lothiriel's dawned very suddenly, his pulse slowing thickly as she crossed the threshold, unfettered by attendants. He pulled himself up away from the wall, managing a valiant second of eye contact before his gaze was irrepressibly drawn to the massive addition to her person that had definitely not been a feature of hers when last they had met, even if in passing, in Minas Tirith.

His understanding of such things were limited to what knowledge he had haphazardly gained over many years with the women of the Dunedain, and even that didn't amount to much; by her people's reckoning she was well into adulthood, of course, but having to reconcile the Lothiriel standing only an arm span's away with the child he saw preserved in her face made him profoundly uneasy. He forced his eyes upward again, shifting and thankful when she solved the issue for him by moving to a chair, though the thought that he'd inconvenienced her when it looked like walking had to be a chore was oppressive.

"Not quite so long," he said, making up the difference in Westron and warily taking inventory of his dog, who looked perilously close to trying his luck at Lothiriel for the head rub he'd been denied from his master that morning, inching to rest his long gray body beneath the arm of her chair. When the danger had passed, Elrohir moved opposite her, taking up a less conspicuous seat at a polite distance, and cleared his throat, unsure of how to express his surprise without accidentally invoking offense. "Your—er, I'm sure… You—… you both look well."
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Joined: May 30th, 2014, 2:22 am

October 19th, 2014, 6:15 pm #4

The imminent threat of war did not linger long, at least not once the Kings had taken their place in Gondor and Rohan and began to clear the lands of the scourge of Sauron and Saurman. The people were able to start rebuilding their lives, bringing back a semblance of normalcy that they had not known for some time. There were already whispers of the title the Rohirrim called their King, aside from [i]Cyning: Éadig, the Blessed. Lothíriel was glad, even though the Oath of Eorl had drawn her husband away more than she would have liked during the first few years of their marriage, but she never once vocalized her displeasure with this. Relations between Gondor and Rohan were better than they had ever been, and subduing the lingering threat of the Easterlings and Corsairs were of utmost importance, especially for those whose lands and livelihood were closest to the enemy (namely her homeland and family of Dol Amroth). Even now, in the early stages of her pregnancy, she refused to vocalize her displeasure at her husband's disappearance--but by Varda if she did not think he should be there to suffer right along with her!

A visitor was pleasantly received, though, and the Queen had informed them that anyone who mirrored her kin should be given immediate access: it seems the door warden felt Elrohir looked enough like family to allow him unfettered access to the Queen. It was foolish to think that she was truly alone, though; outside the door were two sentries, listening to the muffled words of their Queen and her guest. At any sign of distress, they felt no remorse in breaking down the door and subduing the visitor. After all, they had the child to look after as well.

Even Léan was outside the door, and Lothíriel was well aware.

Settled into the seat, she smiled over at her guest as he took a seat and began to fumble about for words. She had found his inability to engage in conversation quite amusing when she was young, and it was still endearing even now. As he shifted his speech to Westron, she felt a twinge of homesickness. "It has been some time since I have spoken Westron," she admitted, her accent lightly tinted with the Rohirric tongue she spoke with so often. Even her Sindarin was heavily accented by the Rohirric tongue, but no matter: she loved it all.

She was nearing her thirtieth birthday, and it had been seven years since she had seen the Twins, and so for her it had been too long. Perhaps if she had witnessed time as he did she would think differently, but she knew she looked different to him now. "I look as if I carry two children, is what you mean," she corrected, the air of a dignitary long forgotten. The lands of Rohan were so much more different than Gondor: the nobles even more so. Where in Gondor there was a staunch air to the people, an aloofness that the young woman had never really learned even as she grew, here it was long forgotten. They were a hardy people, close to the land and each other, and while they were ruled by a King whom they loved, the titles did not matter. She had seen the 'higher born' working alongside those with no title, sweating and dirty just as the others, whereas in Gondor the thought of dirt sent many to their bathing chambers just to cleanse the impure ideas.

Rohan suited her far better than Gondor ever did.

"What brings you here? I have heard of no business needing attending to from Faramir and Queen Arwen...unless you bring news from King Elessar and Éomer of their progress?" She knew this was not likely; Éomer had yet to actually send a rider to report on the happenings when he was drawn away, but she could only hope. "Or are you here on a friendly visit?" While news would be nice, a friendly visit would be even better.
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Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:44 am

November 13th, 2014, 10:29 pm #5

How much difference a few years could make in the life of a single mortal. Elrohir had learned that particular lesson innumerable times over the course of centuries out with the Dunedain, who were not quite so burdened by their mortality as their slightly more southern cousins, but he felt it very acutely now, his eyes boring into a spot on the carpet. By the elves' reckoning, she was still a score short of majority—and yet he felt chastened as by the look he received as he mumbled his way through his greeting as though he'd gotten it from Galadriel, leaving him to frustratedly fold and unfold his hands in his lap as he struggled to find a comfortable rapport. There was no reason for this hesitance, he told himself; however infrequently their visits to Dol Amroth had been, his and Elladan's mutual friendship with her was an exhibit of thirty years; she knew better than to expect any level of articulateness from him.

He blew out a breath, then leaned back, knowing that if he lifted his eyes from the carpet they'd probably go straight back to her belly whether he wanted them to or not. "My Rohirric is likely not what my father and teacher would have liked it to be, but if you prefer, I can make a try of it," he half-laughed, a half-second of shifting light beneath the slot of the door the queen had just come through alerting him to the comically large party that must have been clustered in wait on the other side. "You have a very… attentive staff. I'm still not sure how I managed to get past your doorward."

No room for lapses in judgment so late in her pregnancy, he supposed, especially if they suspected a boy. Elrohir lifted an eyebrow at the entirely unsubtle display, muffling a smile into his hand. Life here and life in the capital must have been incomparable; Minas Tirith was beautiful, but it was also very urban, and Elrohir couldn't say that he missed the omnipresent smells of human life that seemed to live in its gutters and walls, the barest hint of which was completely absent from the Mark, or the sheer density of bodies that crowded the lower streets even at the smallest hours of the night. Even something as benign as a brief meeting would have required a multi-step process of sending over a card and gathering an attendant, and the thought of all that ceremony for a chat made him shudder. Men.

"Two children?" he quipped, an overspreading grin creeping over his mouth and making him unable to keep from glancing down at her again as if there was some tell he'd missed that it wasn't as much a joke as a self-deprecating way to reveal to him that she was, in fact, expecting two children. Was there a way to tell that kind of thing on a glance? Childbearing seemed to be a very occult business when it concerned Men; they generally didn't even know their conception dates, as far as he could tell. "You would have to have committed a serious offense against all of the Valar to deserve that kind of thing. On the other hand, if your husband wasn't back before the birth you would have double cause to push him down very high peak and I don't think anyone would call it regicide."

Arwen's name, even so casually inserted into the discussion, made him wince for all of a quarter of a second. He wondered if that particular reflex would ever leave him, though he cleared his throat again, nervously switching his gaze back to the door. Pointedly, he raised his voice a decibel and a half, stumbling over his Rohirric, tempered by his elvish inclination towards softening the harder consonants as it was. "Elladan and I aren't reliable enough to be of any use to Elessar, so if we ever bring any news to anyone, it will be as representatives of Legolas's contingent in Ithilien," he said, without a trace of irony, though that, too, touched a sore part of his heart. Rivendell, now in the care of his uncle and grandfather, played no part in the goings-on of the world when only two decades ago they had been the seat of knowledge. "So this is a social call, not that it will put your attendants at ease any."
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Joined: May 30th, 2014, 2:22 am

November 18th, 2014, 12:37 am #6

Even a scant few years made a difference in the lifespan of men: from the time Lothíriel had been wed to Éomer until her last visit to the capital nearly two years ago, so much had changed. Avariel, who had been wed before the defeat of the Dark Lord, was pregnant with her fourth child, and while both women had changed drastically since that time, maturing from the young women who were so uncertain to the wives and mothers they now were, their friendship was still strong, the bond forged in their younger years not lessened by time or distance. They kept a lively discussion through letters when they could, keeping one another up on the latest news in their homes and families, trying to lessen the times when they felt homesickness close at hand. Letters were becoming less often received and written, though. Since Avariel had settled into Ithilien with her husband, their correspondence was becoming less and less, and Lothíriel understood why--they were establishing a home and expecting another child. It was quite a bit of work to make a house a home. Something the Queen was learning every day.

As he offered to speak in Rohirric, she merely shook her head. "Westron is fine. Forgive me if I lapse, though, into Rohirric." It was second hand for her to use Rohirric, although the staff was quite used to bits of Sindarin thrown in on occasion--usually when she wished to say something she wanted no one to understand. "Oh, the doorward had his orders." Lothíriel smiled then, that same smile that came with the bat of lashes when she was just a young child prying the Twins for Sindarin lessons of the most improper sort. It was obvious his orders were no doubt something the man balked at, but when the Queen gave orders, they had to be heeded. "He was told that if any person who mirrored my kin were to show, they were allowed immediate access. Everyone else goes through the most trouble to try to get audience with me. And my staff is only so attentive because they fear I will suddenly turn frail."

It seemed this consensus among the people displeased the Gondorian, and for good reason.

When she had first met the people, she knew what they thought: a pretty little bird from Gondor, something delicate and not quite made of the stuff of Rohan. They were learning that they were wrong, though. Lothíriel showed them she could work alongside the best of them with no worries, from mucking stalls (something she had been quite fond of before Mearu told her she was banished from it for the duration of her pregnancy) to weeding a garden and even plucking a chicken. She might have been born in Gondor, but by Béma she was showing them she was made for Rohan! They were surprised at her perseverance and stubbornness. But really, did they truly expect anything less from the wife of Éomer?

When he mentioned the Valar punishing her with two children, she only laughed aloud then, shaking her head. She refused to switch to Rohirric still--no one knew what she was about to confide, not even Mearu. "Oh no, Elrohir. The Valar have not blessed me with twins. A son, though, is what grows within me: and Béma has blessed him mightily, for he grows larger and stronger every day." She looked down to her stomach then, caressing the swell tenderly. She spoke those words with the ease of a woman who knew, and while the others would have scoffed at the idea the Queen knew what to expect--for no man could ever predict the sex of their child--she felt Elrohir would at least believe her in her knowledge. "I am not due for some time, though, so I do not see why my staff is so fussy about it. He will come in the foaling season, I think...which is not until March or April, but they act as if I will give birth to him any second." When around the others, she never referred to her unborn child by his sex; it was easier to simply refer to the future prince as "my child" and call it a day. Explaining how she knew it would be a boy would be hard to do, although she was well aware everyone in the kingdom hoped for a crown prince.

"Please, Westron. They are the nosiest bunch. I don't want to make it easy on them," she said with a smirk, looking over at her door before exhaling. "Léan!" Immediately the door banged open and the straw-haired girl stepped in, eyeing the half-elf before looking at her Queen.

"Yes, my Queen?"

"Refreshments for my guest and I. Tea and honey, if you will, and some tarts from the kitchens as well as a bone for our guest's hound." Without another word, she motioned the girl out, and as the door shut she settled back. "That will keep her busy for all of five minutes." It was then she eyed his dog and whistled softly to get his attention. She loved animals, and always had. "So where are you staying while you are here?" she asked.
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Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:44 am

November 23rd, 2014, 10:26 am #7

The word frail and any of Imrahil's get didn't even belong in the same conversation; it took Elrohir everything to keep from laughing impertinently at the thought, though privately he wondered how it had taken Lothiriel so long to disabuse them of the notion, as he couldn't imagine she found it anything but tiresome. Even when the twins had known the latest scions of Dol Amroth's premier family as spritely children who had misadventures with swans and gave their nurses premature gray hairs, they had been products of their environment. Dol Amroth was well situated, defensible, and as provided for as its good land and general prosperity had allowed it to be, but they had always been so much closer to their people than the ruling circles of Gondor, who afforded its stewards and noble families space away from the hard reality of work.

Very distantly, the thought came to him that Arwen must be feeling something similar now. Elf-women were not so distinctly segregated from the domains of elf-men when among their own kind, but she had chosen to cleave to the culture of the Edain, and though she would be physically strong and untouched by signs of age until she chose to pass, he was well aware there would likely be similar, intensely attentive measures taken to secure the safety of her children whenever the time came.

"Better too much than too little, maybe," he said with a shrug, though his tone must have given away that he thought it was, at best, completely incomprehensible. Especially as it seemed that while she knew she carried a son and heir, they did not—but he refrained from saying so aloud, his eyes falling to the window again. The blood of elven foremothers seemed to manifest in later generations in strange, sometimes inscrutable ways, but he could remember his mother talking about Arwen as though she were already a young child long before she had actually been born; the simple fact of gender seemed a given by comparison, oddity among Men as it was. "But I am glad for you. Initially I thought the Mark might be so fundamentally different from Dol Amroth that you'd find it hard to acclimate, but it's easy to see you've taken to it as well as it's taken to you. Maybe we'll return in time for his naming. I'm not actually sure how Men do that kind of thing."

If he had half as much luck with Valinor, he'd drop off an offering at Oromë's doorstep every day until the end of eternity.

The order, half excuse to buy them some private time that it was, suffused him with a slightly embarrassed flush; apparently she had not forgotten his keen interest in pastries. He coughed into his fist and listened for the sounds of the footfalls fading out from behind the door, Echir under the arm of Lothiriel's seat sprawled out, his tail beating at the floor, perhaps more from the excitement of loud voices than anything else.

"I'm glad to see your hosting skills are mostly unchanged from when you were… eight?" he teased, admittedly much more awake with the promise of fruit tarts within his grasp. "We stumbled into some inn near the city limits sometime during the night. This time it's just the two of us and an elven companion, so we're not forced to stop to rest as often, but we thought we'd make use of the city being nearby." There had been a drinking contest sometime between then and the morning, but that would likely reflect very badly on them, and as he was still trying to salvage his reputation from their first meeting when he had given in to the easy vice in teaching inappropriate Sindarin to two high-born ladies, he decided it was best to keep that unspoken.

On the other hand, being a middleman for delinquency had always come easily to him. And maybe that would do the both of them some good now.

"Did I see a garden on the way into the Hall? I'm sure I must have," he ventured in very quiet Sindarin, just to be sure, shooting an entirely unsubtle look at the door he had come through. "Or your stable, which, being a stable of the Rohirrim, is probably full of interesting things, and fewer servants. And fresh air." Grinning, he inspected his nails with a beatific half-smile. "Your son could do worse than spend more time in the sun."
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Joined: May 30th, 2014, 2:22 am

November 23rd, 2014, 5:03 pm #8

"I prefer too little attention, honestly, but I suppose I understand why they heap it upon me." Lothíriel did understand why they were so careful, though: a child in the womb was a delicate matter, and Mearu knew to keep a closer eye on the Queen. After all, nearly seven years had passed since her marriage to the King of Rohan. Most had expected a child within the first year of their marriage and an air of disappointment had hung over the hall and the city's residents when no child was born. With each passing year and the prospect of a child becoming less and less of a possibility, the residents wondered if there ever would be an heir to the throne. Then the day had come when the news of the Queen's pregnancy reached the ears of the people and their had been much rejoicing. This was not the first time she had been with child, though, but that knowledge was shared only between the midwife and the Gondorian. Since her marriage there had been a few pregnancies, but they had suddenly ended without warning and the Queen had been left distraught every time she learned of her loss. After all, it was she who had dreams all those years ago of a son. Not even Éomer knew of those early pregnancies, for his wife could not and would not impart her grief upon him as well. Perhaps it would have been best if she did, for after every loss she felt the weight of no child burdening her more and more, causing undue concern about their marriage and her ability to produce an heir. But now there was to be a son, the child she dreamed of who she loved now without even meeting him, and the land was ready.

When he mentioned his hesitations concerning her adjustment to her new home, she smiled. "The Mark suits me much better than Gondor ever did, I think." It was the truth, too. She was of a temperament that seemed to fit in more easily among the Rohirrim and everyone who ever met her who hailed from the land of the horselords seemed to be both surprised and pleased to learn that their Queen was more like them than they expected. She was nothing like Morwen, and Lothíriel suspected that everyone feared she would be when they first learned their new Queen was of Gondor. She had shown them she was not, though. "Sometimes I long for the sea, for the smell of salt water and the feel of sand beneath my feet, but Rohan is beautiful and a land unlike my own. It has its own seas, of course...fields of green for as far as the eye can see. I love it as if I were born here and raised here." And she did. It was her land now, the land of her husband and his people. There was no sense in feeling a disconnect from the land or the people who inhabited it.

"Six," she corrected him after thinking a moment on when she first met him. She had, indeed, been only six years old when she first met the sons of Elrond and they had first taught her the most inappropriate things that were appropriate enough to teach a six year old. As he mentioned their current abode, she nodded her head, aware that he was probably holding back other details from her he felt were inappropriate to mention. She had been privy to many a drinking contests since coming to Rohan, watching first as her own guards attempted to out-drink the Rohirrim on their own mead and failing and then watching as the Rohirrim battled against one another to see who could last. It was all amusing to watch, especially when the more hardier men of Gondor failed miserably in their competitions.

Still, she would press no further. "You are welcome to stay in the guest rooms here, if you'd like," she offered then, not pressing the matter. "You are always welcome to stay in the guest rooms, after all." They were the brothers to the Queen of Gondor, after all. They did not have to reside in inns when more comfortable housing was available.

When he questioned her about the garden or stables in Sindarin, she knew what he was up to. A soft chuckle escaped her and she wormed her way out of her chair easily, speaking in the same soft Sindarin he adapted. "Oh, my garden is lovely. And there are fewer servants." She fetched a piece of paper to write a quick note for Léan, telling the girl to keep the refreshments in her solar but she needed air and that Elrohir would escort her outside for a bit. She also wrote, and underlined more than once, that there would be no need to summon the guards to come find her, that she would be fine. "Come, my friend, there are quieter paths we can take to the gardens." She held out her arm for him then as she moved aside a heavy tapestry to reveal a door that led into a small hallway which led directly into the gardens.
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Joined: March 15th, 2014, 12:44 am

December 8th, 2014, 12:09 am #9

It was hard not to react to the vivid image of the sea that had intruded on the conversation, Elrohir's breath thinning with a strange, unnatural suddenness. A few years ago even the vaguest suggestion of what their kin called sea-longing was enough to make him explosively angry about the inborn desire for a place that had never been his home that seemed to dog him no matter what he did, but in the wake of Elrond's departure west and Arwen's east, he found now that it only exhausted something very abstract in him; how people like Glorfindel and Celeborn could wake up each morning and go about their daily business with that hanging over them was almost impressive. At least he and Elladan had the freedom to buy time away from it with every stupid late-night drinking game, every four months doing nothing in Minas Tirith—their visit now was merely the latest in a long line of hiding places, journeys they made to run from what they couldn't yet accept was inevitable.

"I can't believe Elladan would teach a six-year-old all those terrible things," he managed, half-smiling tightly and dredging up as many minute details of the memory as would come to mind to take him off the immediacy of the pressure that lay over his heart. But in this, he supposed, she was right; Rohan was so vast and green, its culture so far removed from every other they'd come into contact with. Perhaps one day they'd come back in the fall, ride through the same endless fields that would be soft and gold and just about to go dormant for the season, and the memory would be enough, at the very end. In a vague way he was suddenly a little jealous of her, that the tide of her life had brought her here; she had the luxury of building a family who would take to the land, too, and growing old and dying, something so simple and uncomplicated that it almost seemed worth the physical design flaws of being mortal to have such a capacity for contentedness.

All of that, of course, immediately vanished at the thought of giving up their tiny mouse-hole inn rooms in favor of more intimate quartering. No doubt it would actually be leagues more comfortable in every direction, as their current rooms could boast only a dingy little fireplace and hard ticking for bedding, but Elrohir laughed once and shook his head. "We might take that offer another time, but we have a bad habit of arriving one night and flying the next; it will probably be easier on your staff if we remain where we are."

Not to mention it wouldn't look good if they stumbled back too drunk to do more than vaguely gesture people, as was often the case when they were out with Men. One had to be prudent about these kinds of things, when you were very closely (and very visibly) related to the ruling couple of the reunited Kingdoms of Men. But as he suspected, from the telling but tactful silence she'd given him, that she had a general idea of what went on in those inns, he refrained from saying so aloud. He had a strict daily quota of one act of truancy a day, and as the Queen was rising, strangely unencumbered despite her precariously large belly, it seemed this was going to be today's.

Wary of the child though Lothiriel didn't seem to be (Elbereth, if it was going to be like this with Arwen—), Elrohir hastened up, too, tempted to move close to offer a shoulder as a support before he remembered only a second in advance that he didn't want to be party to the kind of excessive and unnecessary attention, so he stopped, drawing up beside her with another sheepish glance away. As she began to advance on the wall, however, he moved after her, his dog reluctantly pulling himself up from the carpet to follow. One eyebrow went skyward, but he only grinned and refrained from commenting on the novelty of a rather… too convenient exit out of the room, ushering his dog through first and pausing to offer his arm to his host. "Is it wise to be giving out state secrets to outsiders like this?"
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Joined: May 30th, 2014, 2:22 am

January 4th, 2015, 5:04 pm #10

Even though Lothíriel's own Elven heritage was far removed through many generations, in the beginning of her stay as Queen she had felt the sea-longing herself. It was a gentle tug on her heart strings, the first time the longing hit, when she dreamed of blue waves and waters crashing against sturdy rock outcroppings that had long survived the harsh beatings given by the storms of the years. The pungent aroma of salty air had invaded her dreams and made her feel warm, content. She had only thought it to be the beginning of homesickness, since it was the first time in many years her stay outside of Dol Amroth was extended longer than a few months, and had shrugged it off with a smile. The dreams became more frequent, though, and soon her heart was weary from the desire to see the sea and feel the warm spray of salt water. When winter hit, things seemed to worsen as the cold settled in and snow covered the land. She could not confess to her husband of the longing, for she was unsure how to put into words what pulled so taught at her heart strings. It was Mearu who had noticed how the Queen's pallor had faded, how her eyes were darker and haunted by homesickness, and it was Mearu who gave subtle hints to her King about how to cheer the Queen up.

By the time the snow had melted and green grass began to grow once more, a caravan had arrived in the capital bearing supplies. Among the supplies, though, were bath salts from Dol Amroth, derived from the sea that was so very much part of their life force. After one gloriously long soak in the warm waters that smelled of home, Lothíriel felt infinitely better. Her spirits immediately lifted, her pallor had warmed again, and the haunting of the sea had abated. It was still present, though, ever in the dark recesses of her heart, and when the haunting came forward, she always found herself in the solitude of her bathing chambers with the bath salts, calling forth memories of better times to push back the longing.

It was becoming easier to deal with, the longing, and the time passage between the desires were less and less now. She could focus on more pertinent things...like the child growing in her.

She snorted at his comment, taking the offered arm as they moved down the quiet hall to the door that led out into the garden. "State secrets? When these chambers were redone for some Queen or another, everyone knew of this passage. It was to give the Queen easy access to her gardens, for the Queen of the time loved the gardens. Besides, I know who will be to blame if some drunken elf comes stumbling into my chambers through the gardens." She smirked at him, fighting back a laugh. The gardens they were moving toward had suffered some neglect over the passing of years, as a Queen had not occupied her throne for quite a few years in Rohan and so the state of the gardens had gone downhill quickly, at least the parts of it that did not serve the kitchens with the vegetables that grew. That part of the garden was nearest to the kitchens, sequestered by wooden fences to keep roving animals from eating the vegetables that grew there (and the hounds that occupied Meduseld from tearing it up in their attempt to catch the hares and other animals that had once bee prone to snacking on the food). Everything had changed when she had come, though. While she was no expert gardener, not by a long shot, Lothíriel had requested that the gardens be given more care and attention, and so a gardener had been drummed up to aid her in her work, one brought from Dol Amroth in the first year to help both Rohirrim and Dol Amrothian gardener decide what would thrive and grow best in the soil.

It was a magnificent garden now, although some of the plants were going into their dormant rest to survive the chill of winter that was coming.

As they stepped outside, the Queen smiled, pleased with what lay before her. New herbs and shrubs and flowers had been planted, all serving a purpose in some way or another for either the kitchen or the infirmary, and so had new trees in the first year of her work, to offer shade to the gardeners or the Queen if she so desired it when outside. The garden had been expanded over time, though, various tiered levels cut into the hillside behind Meduseld in order to contain the newest plantings. And while the newer levels held the same herbs and plants the others did, there were added additions not seen in the top tier: willow trees, five in total, in various marked spots, each with a woodwork bench beneath them intricately carved with scenes of horses and the sea upon them. It was for the first willow tree on the tier below the top that the Queen moved with her slow pace. "You should come in the spring or summer, when things are in bloom. It is beautiful," she remarked to him, settling down on the bench then. She pat the seat beside her, smiling at him, before looking out over the sea of grass that was beginning to turn on the plain below.
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