Author’s Note: At last! It feels good to have finally made a start on this story. I hope you guys like it! I double-dog promise that the next chapter will contain a lot of Boromir and Faramir.
* * *
“My child, you must go!” Belenor said quietly, looking his daughter in the eyes and forcing himself to be strong. “Osgiliath is no longer a place for children.”
“But I want to stay here with you and mama!” Sanorë whimpered, her large brown eyes filling with tears. “I don’t want to go and live with Uncle Belegnor and cousin Ioreth! I don’t want to be a healer!”
These protests were growing common, along with the fights. Not a day passed when Sanorë didn’t ask to stay in Osgiliath.
“My daughter, it is simply not safe for you here anymore.”
“You’re just saying that,” Sanorë countered, hands on her hips.
“No, darling. Soon there will come a day when I and my men are not able to hold the city, and I do not want you to be here when that happens! You’ll be killed, or worse,” Belenor explained patiently, once again.
“That’s not true! Those creatures will never make Osgiliath fall, and you know it. You just don’t love me! You just want to get rid of me,” Sanorë screamed, losing her temper.
She was pleased to see how visibly her father was hurt by that. She didn’t take any notice when he said, “Oh, yes I do. I love you more than my life, can’t you see?”
She continued, “Why don’t you make mother leave?”
Her father didn’t answer that question. He stood up wearily and said calmly, “Sanorë, for the last time, pack your things. You are leaving tomorrow, and that is the last I will say on the matter.”
Belenor limped away, favoring the leg that had been wounded in battle less than a week ago. Sanorë was too busy storming down the hallway and slamming her door to notice.
* * *
Sanorë woke early the next morning. She looked glumly at the closed, locked trunk sitting by her door, and then gave her room a depressed glance. It looked so bare without all of her favorite trinkets sitting around. They had been taken down and stuffed into her trunk, she supposed. Her mother had probably done it.
She got up slowly and dressed in the riding habit that was laid out for her in a nearby chair. She pulled her brown boots on and braided her brown, wavy hair, confining it.
Troublesome mop, Sanore thought, giving her hair an irritated look. It had gotten longer than she wanted, reaching far down her back, and though everyone seemed to like it that way, they didn’t comprehend how annoying it was to wear every day.
Walking heavily out of her room, Sanorë saw her father, uncle, and mother sitting around the rough wooden table, talking gravely.
Sanorë gave a small cough, announcing herself before going to them. She’d learned about the dangers of eavesdropping before, and didn’t care to repeat the experience.
“Ah, Sanorë!” her uncle cried, springing from his chair to engulf her in a rib-cracking embrace. “It is good to see you!”
“It is nice to see you as well, uncle,” she said distantly, ignoring the look of disapproval on her mother’s face and detaching herself from the hug.
She sat down noisily at the table and stared at the bowl of fruit. “Will Ioreth be there when we arrive?” she asked, simply for the sake of making conversation.
Her father looked relieved that she was at least making an effort.
“Yes, dear, she’ll be there,” her uncle answered. “She’s taken a day off from the Healing Houses to prepare for your arrival.”
“That was very kind of her!” Sanorë’s mother, Eroleth, observed, in that overly cheery voice Sanorë despised.
Sanorë gave her mother an irritated look. Ioreth only did it because I’m a new set of ears to listen to her babble, Sanorë thought, considering how talkative her cousin was.
But aloud, Sanorë agreed, “Oh, yes, very kind.”
Belenor beamed. “I’m sure you will be very happy while you are there, daughter!”
* * *
After loading Sanorë’s trunk into his cart, Belegnor bid his brother and sister-in-law farewell and safety and waited while Sanorë hugged her father and mother.
“Good-bye, papa. ‘Bye, mama,” she said quietly, kissing them both.
Without another word, she turned away and mounted the horse her uncle had brought for her. She kicked it in the sides and said, “Let’s go.”
Her horse, a pretty bay, broke into a trot and her uncle slapped the reins against his horse’s rump with a last, grave, “Take care of yourself, Belenor. Eroleth.”
* * *
The ride to Minas Tirith was long and boring, in Sanorë’s opinion. She had amused herself for a while by watching the birds flying overhead, but that entertainment had long been worn out, and now there was only the grass to watch.
The Citadel was within view, as always, but it never seemed to get any closer, not until they rode through the gates.
Sanorë fell in behind her uncle’s cart and followed him up the winding road, offering pinched smiles to the people who waved merrily at her and her uncle as they passed by.
At last, her uncle turned his cart down a narrow side street and stopped in front of a humble stone house.
“Well,” he announced, “here we are, Sanorë! Why don’t you go on in and explore a bit, and I’ll see to your horse.”
Sanorë bit back the comment that sprang to her lips (“I’m too old to ‘explore’..”) and went inside.
She hadn’t taken two steps when she was hit by a formidable body.
“SANORE! Darling! It is so marvelous to see you!” it screeched loudly in Sanorë’s ear, hugging her tightly.
Sanorë couldn’t help but smile. “Ioreth! How are you?” she said, submitting to the hug and returning it.
“Wonderful, just wonderful,” Ioreth declared happily. “I just can’t wait to show you the House of Healing! I love the work so much, and I know you will too. I’m sure it will be very different from the way you know things from Osgiliath, but here in the city, we…” And Ioreth was off on a tangent, talking gaily about Minas Tirith and the divine healer, her instructor.
Sanorë listened attentively, smiling and murmuring in all the right places, but she couldn’t help thinking, Well. Here we go…