Analsiel was shown to a large oaken door in a corridor on the third floor. The steps to her room had been broad andhigh, so she was panting, tired and grouchy when she arrived. The guard unlocked the door, handed her the key, and left her with the gruff words, “You’ll be expected in the Lesser Audience chamber in two hours. Don’t be late.”
Analsiel was dumbstruck that he would just leave her there, and for a few moments, could do nothing more than stande in the hall, with her jaw open and her eyes wide. But that was not befiting to a noble girl of sixteen. So she caught herself, and stepped inside.
To say the room was fine would have been a gross understatement. The bed was golden-toned wood, and hung with siver silk and gauze. There was a tub in the corner of marble, and bookcases lining one wall. Against the opposite wall, was a writing desk of the same golden wood, from which you had a beautiful view of the Lower City from the one enormous window. All was coloured gold and set with silver. it took away Analsiel’s breath away.
But she had little time for gawking. She was expected in the Lesser Audience chamber in two hours. So she set about preparing herslef for the most important moment of her life so far.
* * * * *
The dress that Analsiel found after her bath was as luxurious as her room. It was a pale lavender-gray that set off her ebony hair, so uncommon in Rohan, and her blue-gray eyes. She floundered trying to get into it, for at home, she had mostly worn the simple, practical dresses that were worn by Queen Eowyn. But this gown had two layers, and belts, and then she found the jewelry box, and realized she had to wear something from that too. Analsiel wanted to sit on the floor of grand room and cry, feeling every inch the country mouse. But there was nothing to be done that crying would accomplish, so she chose an amethyst ring, and a small silver circlet that rested on her pale face. Her hair she left loose, dangling in it’s dark curls past her waist. Then she gathered all the courage she had, and stepped out into the hall.
It was somewhat of an anticlimax. She did not know where to go, what direction the Lesser Audience chamber was. She sighed and walked down the deserted corridor, looking for someone she could ask directions of. At alst she saw a tall, slender elf with blond hair, and princely bearing turn into her corridor.
“Your pardon,” she said, trying to sound noble,”But where is the Lesser Audience chamber, sir?”
The elf smiled. “You must be Analsiel of Rohan.”
Analsiel blinked in surprise. How did this stranger know her name? “Yes, I am,”she replied balnkly. “And how do you know that?”
Again the elf smiled. She didn’t like his smile. It seemed condescending, as if he only lowered himself to talk to you so he woud have something to laugh about. “I have never seen your face before, and you look lost, and you are the only person asking for the Lesser Audience chamber. Other than that, I just guessed,” and again he smiled.
“Thank you for telling me all that,” said Analsiel aloofly,’Now if you would give me the information I seek, I would be much obliged.”
“Certainly, Lady, I can do better than that. I am going to the Lesser Audience chamber myself to meet you, as it were,” came the smiling reply.
“Lead the way then,” Analsiel said, and followed as he stepped ahead of her.
The Lesser Audience chamber was really not so lesser. The doors on the outside were enormous, and Analsiel was a bit unnerved by them. But the Elf said to her, “You’re not frightened are you?” with that same wicked smile, and Analsiel returned his grin with a sarcastic smirk, and gathered her wits.
“Well, my lady, this is where I leave you,” came the mocking remark form the elf. ” Enjoy!”
And with that, he was gone.
Analsiel nodded to the page at the door, who nodded back, and heaved open the great contaption with incredible strength. But Analsiel didn’t even notice, for she was now in the Audience chamber, and the eyes of the court were upon her. And at the end of the hall, sat the most beautiful woman Analsiel had ever seen. Queen Arwen.
But the herald called out her name to the assembly, and she walked down the hall, aware of every eye upon her. Outside she was, cool and clam, but inside, she writhed n this public torment. Why did this have tobe? her thoughts were hurried and rushed until she reached the golden dais upon which sat the queen. Then she could think of nothing else. The queen was dark-haired, like hrslef, but much deeper, and her face seemed carved of ivory by a master sculptor, and smoothe as cream. Her eyes were pale blue, an icy shade that shone with warmth despite its color. Her gown was fine, but only added to the natural beauty, grace, and powerful aura she wore about her already. Analsiel was struck dumb.
Then the queen spoke. “Welcome, to you, Lady Analsiel of Rohan. We greet you in Gondor with the warmest feelings to yourslef and your country.” Her voice was rich, and smooth, like soft, foreign music. Analsiel recognized the ring of practiced ceremonial words, and understood how she was to respond. “I accept your wlecome with the warmest thanks to yourself nd your country, your majesty,” she replied, and was surprised at how steady her own voice was.