A Star Shines on the Hour of Our Meeting - A Story
By the time the evening feast started, my finger was still bleeding freely, but a little less profusely. I gave a depleted sigh. Well, I, being a fleeting mortal in the eyes of an elf, couldn't very will dine in Elrond's Last Homely House in less than stately conditions. I took a nearby cloth and wrapped up around my finger tightly. My traveling companion, Hallacar, noticed this small action.
"You should let the elves take care of that, lord."
I threw him a furtive look, and then looked down at my small wound dismissively. "I've had worse."
"Indeed you have. I am only concerned for you, my lord."
"Yes, well, this is neither the time nor place for your irrelavant willit."
Hallacar had no doubt promised my father his allegiance to Gondor and myself, and I praised him for his loyalty. I just wished he wasn't so cumbrousing.
The feast began when Lord Halfelven brought up goblet and stood up. Behind him, two tall and nimble characters whose hair was a night of darklings I had only previously encountered in literature. I took them to be the twins of Rivendell. They took their places behind their father-lord and brought their own goblets to their chests.
And then I noticed someone else. If ever I laid eyes on an elf, my only regret is that she was not the first that I encountered. Her hair was a waterfall of ebony cascading far past her shoulders, that enhanced her eyes incredibly. The dark blue eyes confirmed everything for me. She was Arwen Undomiel of her people. And she was the daughter of Elrond. Faramir had often told me about the stories he read. The ones about Beren and Luthien, and the ones about Lothlorien and the beauty of the Lady of Lorien, and yes of Arwen Evenstar. I think if he saw her, he would know that his books only told half of what is real. She sat beside Elrond's seat, and was looking up at him and the twins with attentive affection that was so strong, anyone could have almost seen it.
"Free peoples of Middle-earth. I invite you to dine, be merry and let your hearts sing, for tonight, you are all welcome in and my home."
He raised his goblet, and the entire company did so with him. Myself included.
And thus, the merryment began. It seemed like everyone save myself was in the mood for celebrating, even the dwarves. I traced the edges of my goblet absently, eating a little there and drinking some here. It occured to me the only reason I was here was because of our countries relations with the elves, especially Elrond. Anything to further those already rocky ties, say for example, avoid a simple dinner, would disgrace my country and family. I unconciously gave an aggravated sigh and slammed my fist down on the table. It was loud, but not loud enough to hear above all the laughter. I went to excuse myself, but something held me down. I ran my hands through my hair, and collected myself as unobtrusively as I could. When I looked up, I found Arwen looking straight back at me.
Her eyes pierced my heart like a thousand arrows in flight, and my weak will could only resist her boaring gaze for so long. I feigned to drop my silver so I could escape her eyes. After I retrieved the fallen object, and glanced back at her, I found to my great relief, that she had struck up a conversation with her father.
The night wore on, some ultimately retreating to the warmth and comfort of their beds, others keeping the spirit alive by composing songs. After I prodded Hallacar to bed, I soon after discovered my journey had left me tattered and weathered with weary. I slowly rose from my seat, and started my way down the hallway that led to my room.
As I walked, my thoughts wandered to back to Faramir. Whatever Lord Elrond's purpose was for calling on Gondor for aid, I should have asked Faramir's company. Though he was not invited, I know he has always longed to see the elves and hear their stories.
I stopped, and observed my suroundings. Perfect. This wasn't my hallway. In fact, I didn't even know if I was in Elrond's Home any more! Funny how a small refuge can seem so insignificantly beautiful, and then you discover that it is more grandeur than the outside. I turned around slowly, so I could retrace my steps.
"If I didn't know better, I'd say you'd lost your way."
I gave a startled gasp.
"My lady! I did not see you."
Arwen smiled softly. "I see that. I also see that you are standing quite close to my father's bedroom."
I quickly looked over my shoulder nervously, and found that indeed I was standing only a few inches from a double oak doorway. My jaw dropped considerably and my eyes became wide. I became dumb. What could I say? That I had 'accidently' found my way to a powerful, magic ring wielding elf lord's chamber at a time that was well past visiting hours? Arwen noticed my discomfort with a small chuckle.
"Comfort, good man! Why it took old Bilbo almost a year to realize his chambers were not in kitchen."
I breathed a sigh of relief, and felt my shoulders relax.
She gave another comforting smile. "You're retreating awfully early."
"Yes, well, it has been a long journey, and no offense to the beautiful voices of the elves, but I think I will attire to the tranquility of your father's valley."
Arwen nodded. "It is a peaceful night, my lord. Could I ask the honor of walking with you before you seek sleep?"
My first reaction was to deny her. My second reaction was to wonder why on earth a beautiful creature like herself would want anything to do with a mortal man. I opened my mouth to politely decline her offer, but unfortunately, my hesistation was all too obvious.
"You would deny a lady of Rivendell the honor of conversing with a man of Gondor?" She asked with an angelic smile.
I gave out a defeated sigh.
"Nay. I will walk with you."
She went to take my hand, and saw the cloth wrapped around my finger.
"What's this?" she asked, gently taking my hand in hers.
"A small cut. It is no bother." I tried to retract my hand, but Arwen had a firm grip and I found it hard to even try wriggling free.
She unwound the cloth gently and looked at my finger with a frown. "Where did you get this?" Arwen asked quietly.
"I see. Well, you're right. Tis no bother, I can heal it."
"Time can heal it as well, my lady."
Arwen gave me a small smile. "Ah, yes. . but time always leaves a print. ."
I gave her a somewhat dubious look, and she returned it with a serious glance.
"Even to those who do not measure it."
Arwen threw aside the cloth and wrapped her hand in mine. We walked past the halls talking of many things. Mostly things like poetry, weather, and of my journey to Rivendell. While I tried to think of something intelligent or useful to say (and failed), Arwen did not seem to mind answering a few of my redundtant questions. But when we reached the outside terrace, she spoke up.
"Tell me about your home, Boromir."
"My home?" I repeated.
She nodded. "Your family, your lands, your people, your history. Home."
I couldn't deny her. So I told her everything. Even though I had the feeling she already knew most of it, Arwen showed no signs of boredom as I told her of past Kings and Queens, the constant battles we fought. I told her of Minas Tirith and her eyes shone. I told her about my mother, and she seemed to hold a sad compassion of understanding. When I told her about the Steward and my brother, however, she seemed distant.
"Estel is always telling me of Gondor. How he would one day desire to see the statues of Argonath and look upon the Kings."
I smiled at her.
"He seems to have a unusual curiosity for Gondor."
"I don't understand what you mean."
"Oh, its nothing. Only, most elves do not hold themselves a desire to know about the cultures of men."
Arwen said nothing.
"And Estel is an Elvish name, is it not?"
She smiled. It was an odd smile, like she knew something I didn't.
"Aye, it is."
Nevermind it. It was probably some private jest she had shared with this Estel that didn't concern me. I deeply desired to know what she had lived through, all the ages, all she had seen, heard, and felt all the time she had been walking this earth.
"Would you tell me of your life?"
Arwen laughed her beautiful laugh, and my heart melted all over again. "Good Boromir, there is not enough time. I have lived roughly for 3,000 years, and that is all I can really tell you without sending you to sleep."
"Very well then. I suppose it is asking a lot."
Arwen smiled. "No, actually, I think it is only fair, I coeresed you into retelling. I was born about two hundred years after my brothers. My mother sailed away when I was nearing 2,000 because of poisonous wound. My father and I share a love for the stars, my grandmother and I see each other about every year, but we talk as if we've been together all along... and I am currently betrothen to a very good man."
I smiled. "I hope he will make you happy."
"He already has."
I hesitated again. A certain question had been following our conversation ever since I asked about her life and people. The ever observant elf noticed this.
"Really, Boromir, there is no need for hesitation, because I can prod it out of you with little effort, whatever the question."
"I would spoil our conversation terribly if I asked you."
"Ah, that reminds me. Elladan has a philosophy of men. He says that if one question goes on being a question, then a man will search the world upside down until he finds his answer."
I chuckled. "Your brother is wise. And right."
"So ask me."
"When you faced the Nine Nazgul. . . How did you ever destroy them?"
"No one has told you?"
"Hallacar told me that you flooded them out. . But none seem to have the desire to share how you did so. "
"That's because I have only told five people. My father and brothers, because they already know. Estel, because he was worried and persistant. And you."
I was confused. "But you have not told me anything."
Arwen leaned toward me, her eyes penatrating deep into my soul, and her scent wafting up to my nose so I was breathing in her. I started to feel a bit uncomfortable.
"I am going to."
Her hold on my wounded hand became more firm, and her other free hand went to the base of my neck. I wanted to panic, but I couldn't very well get out of the way, for I feared she would be insulted. My body tensed up, and all I could do was stand there.
She leaned over to my ear, and in a deep melodic voice "Daedelos al mandra mani fein karas, lheithian e naeg ar esta e falla.* "
Arwen paused a moment, before leaning back. I must have been quite a humouress sight to hold, because I was shaking like a leaf does in the wind, and if I had been leaning over the balcony any more I would have fallen over. Arwen was smiling with a hint of mischief in her eyes, and I could only wonder what affect her words had done on me.
"Are you familiar with Melian the Maia?" she asked casually.
I was totally unprepared for the question, and while I knew the answer from learning it from Faramir, I could not remember it. Thankfully, my shock stricken face provided for me, and Arwen answered.
"She was the incredibly powerful Queen of Thingol, she protected the land of Doriath by using the Girdle of Melian. Melian also had a rare but forceful wrath that any one whom she inflicted it upon would face dire consequences. Through the ages, her descendents called upon her magic to dispel any foes or enemies that they should feel threatened by. "
I didn't know what relevance this had to anything at all. I was starting to wonder if all elves were this baffling.
Arwen smiled up at me sweetly. "I am a descendent of Melian the Maia."
It all came tumbling down on me. "So thats how you did it! You destroyed the nine by flooding them out with the power Melian's blood."
"But why flooding them out? You are more than capable to destroy them without your ancestor's power."
Arwen paused. "I am not like my brothers. I do not scout for danger, and bear no weapons. I came to young Frodo's aid because he was in peril. It is most likely the only time I will carry a weapon."
I nodded. "You remind me of someone."
She smiled sweetly. "Who?"
"My brother Faramir."
Arwen laughed. "I'm sorry, my lord, but I hardly see the likeness between a woman like myself and a man of Gondorian blood," she joked.
I laughed as well. "You are both peaceful and pessimistic when it comes to fighting. Faramir hates fighting, in fact if our country didn't need it (and if he wasn't so good at it) I'm most certain he would lay down his sword in a heartbeat."
"Then we are alike. We fight when we need to, and keep our peace at other times. I should like to meet your brother Faramir someday."
I laughed again. "When I return to Minas Tirith, I will tell him that. Know you will be the death of him, for his heart shall stop the second he hears Arwen Undomiel of Rivendell wishes to gain his acquaintance."
Arwen blushed. "I do believe your brother thinks too highly of the elves."
I shook my head. "I thought the same before I came here. Now I know his lore does not do you justice."
Arwen was silent a moment. "I am so intrigued by your race, Boromir."
"Is that why you're studying me?"
Arwen gasped in mock surprise. I just laughed. But she gave up in the end.
"I admit it. I am guilty. Can you blame me? I find you to be a most interesting race."
"The feeling is mutual, lady."
Arwen sighed and pointed her fair face at the stars in the West. Her look was wistful and almost sad. I yearned to know what she was thinking, but I could only wonder.
"One day. . " she murmured thoughtfully.
"Excuse me, my lady?"
Arwen came out of her trance and gave me a sad smile. "Perhaps one day, our people will become friends as strong as kin."
I had a strange feeling that is not what she wanted to say, but nodded in agreement.
Arwen sighed and smiled. "Well Boromir of Gondor, I do believe it is well past your bedtime."
I laughed. "Our meeting has left me wide awake!"
"Ah, but I suggest you get some rest. Tommorow will truly be a day of strong revalations, and you need all your strength to meet them."
Her words seemed queer to me then, but after The Council of Elrond, I knew exactly what she meant.
"Until tommorow then, Lady?"
She nodded. "Tommorow, son of Gondor."
I almost started to walk towards my room, when Arwen's hand touched my shoulder.
"Boromir," she said softly.
I turned around and Arwen smiled at me warmly.
"A star shines on the hour of our meeting."
Often I had read the Elvish words for friendship, and hoped that one day I too would hear them. I just didn't expect it from Arwen Evenstar.
"A star shines on the hour of our meeting." I repeated softly.
Arwen gave me a soft kiss on the cheek, and started off towards her room.
I placed my hand where her lips had traced my skin. It was odd, that all the poetic and beautiful things I could have been thinking did not pass my mind. Well they did, but only as I lay awake replaying the whole encounter to myself. But at the moment I could only think of the warm and tingling feeling in my hand.
I spread out my palm in front of my face and gave a small ironic laugh.
My cut was gone.
*Daedelos al mandra mani fein karas, lheithian e naeg ar esta e falla.
Fear not, noble man of the White City, let peace of the elves heal you.