When Kalem woke up, they were gone. The matresses and blankets were stacked neatly in a corner, the trundle was under the bed. It was beyond Kalem how the hobbits, men, elf and dwarf had managed to do that without waking her up. The early morning sunlight streamed in through the open window and it was strangely warm for December.
Kalem got out of bed very quietly, tied her apron and rebraided her hair, having slept in her clothes, as usual. She was starting breakfast when Alanel flounced in.
“The Lord wants to see you. I will finish breakfast,” the older girl said shortly.
“Then be quiet about it,” Kalem snapped, “Dina is still sleeping.”
Alanel rolled her eyes, Kalem glared at her murderously before making her way to the Study.
When she came in, the Lord looked up, “Ah, Kalem, I wanted to see you.”
Oh, no, Kalem thought, but out loud said, “Me, milord?”
“Yes, you see your cooking skills are impecable…” The Lord’s voice trailed.
“But?” Kalem didn’t know what made her so bold, but with a sinking feeling she knew where this was going.
“But I need only one kitchen maid and Alanel is older. I also do not like your way of taking control of my kitchen, this habit of taking in travelers for the night.”
How had he known? Then, the answer came to her, Alanel.
The Lord finished, “I am sending you to the fields until I see fit to return you to the kitchen, Dina as well. Dismissed,” He waved his hand towards the door.
Kalem walked out and down the stairs, dazed. She didn’t mind being sent to the fields, though it was one of the worst insults her Lord could inflict upon her, but Dina? Dina’s mother had always been sickly. The fever that took her life would have barely affected anyone else. Dina too had always been rather thin and frail, and was ill often. Who knew what field work would do to her young body? Children worked just as hard as adults in this manor.
Dina was eating her porrige when Kalem came in, “Strider and his friends had to go,” the four year old said matter-of-factly, “but they left you a letter, look!” She help up a sheet of parchment, rolled up and tied with a string.
Kalem took the letter from her and unfolded it. It was written in Sindarin, with a flowing hand.
We thank you sincerly for alloing us shelter for the night. Unfortunalty we must make haste to the mountians and could not stay to make an official farewell. Our regards to you and Dina in any case.
(Here the script changed. It became darker, as if a stronger hand were writing.)
Kalem, if you, for whatever reason, need to escape the manor do this. Travel North and a little East for about three days, until you reach the Fords of Bruinien. Cross the river and you will come to Rivendell, or Imladris. Enter it and ask to speak to the Evenstar, Arwen Undomiel. When you see her, tell her who you are and the Estel said to come. She will understand.
Peace to you,
We thank you again,
Kalem furrowed her brow, Estel? What was Strider talking about? Oh well, now she had a way out. SHe and Dina were leaving and never coming back.
“Alanel is getting to water. She said we are going to the fields, is that true? I don’t want to go to the fields.”
“We are not going to the fields, Dina. We are going to Rivendell.”
The (Final) End