Elaine was in a canoe, rowing down the rushing Anduin, and she loved it. She rose up her arms and gave a shout to the sky. She closed her eyes and leaned back in the canoe, enjoying the feel of the current taking her downstream. She sat up suddenly, remembering just how far downstream she was. Up ahead she saw the river drop off on a steep slope, and she heard the Fall of Rauros as they crashed down the slope. The sky grew dark as she turned around and tried to paddle back up the river.
She strained her muscles as she desperately paddles toward the shore, but the current was too strong. Great clouds gathered in the sky as the thunder crashed and hail started to fall. She reached up to block the hail, but she let go of the paddle, she was swept…
Elaine sat up in the bed; she grabbed her forehead where a rock had hit. She threw off the covers and stepped onto the hard floor, she shivered as she felt the cold floor on her bare feet. It was early March and the temperature wasn’t very warm this time in the morning. It was, in fact, the day before New Years, and today was her brother’s birthday. She looked out side and saw that it was still dark. She quickly went to her closet and brought out her pants and shirt that she kept hidden under the extra blankets her mother kept in her closet.
Elaine quickly dressed and fished out her pack from under her bed. She stepped on the rock her brother had thrown at her and she slid toward the window with it. She jumped in front of the window and yelled, “Happy Birthday!” She threw the rock at her brother, but he ducked behind Matthew, the rock hit him squarely in the head, “Ouch!” he cried. Elaine put her hand in front of her mouth, “Oops, sorry, that was meant for Eldarion, it was his birthday present.”
Elaine grabbed the rope she had stowed away under her window seat and tied it to a little hook that she had installed, just for this purpose. She threw the rope down and started out the window. She was almost to the bottom when she realized that the rope was to short, she didn’t dare try and jump on the hard ground beside the palace.
Eldarion sighed as her heard his sister gasp, “Just jump will ya, we’ve got to get out of here before dad or mom hears us.”
“I’m brave, not stupid.” Elaine shot back.
Matthew decided to put in his input, “I think you’ve got it backwards.” Elaine glared at him but didn’t say anything. She brought her hand to her mouth and whistled, a black horse jumped over the low stable gate and galloped up to, well under, Elaine. She let go of the rope and landed on his back with ease. The black stallion tosses his head and Elaine whispered, “Good El Nino, good boy.”
Eldarion grunted, “Finally, where’s your cape?” He was everything but pleased that they had taken so long. Elaine rolled her eyes, “their rights here in my pack, lighten up will ya, I mean, and it is your birthday.” Eldarion rolled his eyed, “Okay fine, put on and let’s get to the fall before anyone spots us. Elaine rolled her eyed and dug out her cape, she put it on and snapped the leaf broach around her neck, and it was a Lórien cape, a gift from her Great-grandmother Galadriel. Elaine still found it hard to believe that she had Elven blood, though she did look the part.
Eldarion and Matthew mounted their horses and they rode away, if Elaine was with them they always made sure that they were behind the rocks close to the fall, the outlook at the gate couldn’t see that far. As they passed the great gate of Minas Tirith Elaine marveled at its beauty, It was made by the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, and she had heard tales that it was more beautiful and stronger that the one before.
As they made it to the rocks they stopped and released their horses that went to graze behind the rocks, where the grass grew sweet from the water of the Anduin. They sat down and Matthew let out a yawn, which set of Eldarion and Elaine. Matthew lay down on the grass, “What time is it?” Elaine stood up and walked to the rocks, she climbed up and pointed, “It’s almost sunrise, about hmm, we have enough time for a tournament then we have to go back for the preparations.” Matthew and Eldarion looked at each other with shocked expressions; Matthew looked at Elaine, who was smiling triumphantly and asked shockingly, “W…w…hat kin…d of tournament?” Elaine smiled and walked towards them, patting her long sword Esther that hung at her belt, “What other kind is there?”
Eldarion and Matthew jumped up in unison and drew their swords; Eldarion looked at Matthew and had a quick brainstorm, “A running tournament. Let’s see who can get out of here the fastest!” He and Matthew took off across the plains with Elaine close behind, she laughed as she neared them soon with her long strides and fast pace, she sheathed her sword and jumped on top of them, what she didn’t have in strength she made up for in skill and height. The boys rolled over and tried to knock her off but she was in and out, before long they were all fighting each other with Elaine right on the bottom. They continued to fight but stopped when they heard someone looking at them.
They looked up and saw Elladan and Elrohir standing in front of them with a rather comical expression on their face. Elaine was on the bottom with her feet rapped around Matthew’s head that was on the top, Eldarion was in middle pinning Elaine down but he was having trouble with Matthew who was beating on his back. They all looked up with a gasp but sighed when they saw who it was, they unraveled and Eldarion and Elaine stood up to hug their uncle’s. Elladan smiled at them and pocked Elaine in the nose, “You shouldn’t be out here, you better not let your dad know.” Elaine expression turned from happy to shock when her uncle talked about her dad, “Please, please, please, doesn’t tell him, please.” She got on her knees and begged her uncles. Elrohir laughed, “I know now why he didn’t want you out here, it would have been an embarrassment to him to know that his daughter beat both the heir to the king and to the Steward” Elaine let out a sigh of relief but Matthew and Eldarion glares.
Elladan smiled at Eldarion, “She doesn’t beat you all the time, does she.” Eldarion sighed but didn’t say anything, Matthew turned because he was blushing. Elrohir quickly changed the subject, but he was quite humored. “So Eldarion, was my brother lying, or is it your fourteenth birthday?” Eldarion smiled, “Nope, I’m fourteen today, I get to go on a trial quest soon.” He was very delighted about this. Elladan smiled and hit brother playfully, “I told you so.” Elrohir glared at him. From over the hill a great horn sounded, and after it another sounded, over the hill came a great host of many people on horse back. Elaine whistled and jumped over the rocks, she could vaguely be heard saying something about Illuvatar and trouble. Eldarion looked at Matthew and they too left, “Sorry Uncle Elladan and Uncle Elrohir, we have to go, now!” They too called their horses and took off toward Ithilien where Eldarion had spent the night with Matthew.
The host arriving was very large, with Elrond, Galadriel, Celeborn, and King Eomer rode in front. Elrond looked over as a hooded figure passed them and jumped up on a rope and quickly climbed up and jumped in the window. He shook his head as they entered the gates; he noticed that Elladan and Elrohir had joined them. They rode through the gates and to the palace, they all dismounted and their mounts were lead away, they entered the thrown room where Queen Arwen greeted them, “Hello, welcome again, friends and family, to Minas Tirith. Please make yourselves at home.” The guest milled and mingled as they talked of old times, not to long after the host from the Lonely Mountain and Mirkwood entered and they were greeted and welcomed.
Elaine quickly climbed the rope and fell into her room, he mother knocked at the door and she quickly pulled down the rope, she jumped in bed and covered her head with the blankets. Arwen entered and sat on the bed. She grabbed the corner of the blanket and pulled it down gently; Elaine was faster and pulled it back up. Arwen decided to use a different tactic. She grabbed both of the blankets and pulled them down fast; Elaine made a grab for them but was caught in the rope which she had pulled in bed with her. Arwen sighed and shook her head, “Elaine.” Elaine sat up, “Please, please, please, don’t tell dad, please.” Arwen shook her head, “Okay, just this once.” She gave a warning glare as she left the room, “Get up and dressed, the guests are here.” Elaine nodded and went to her closet. Arwen walked down the hall waking Abby and Hannah, Elaine’s sisters as she went, she couldn’t believe her daughter’s strong will and stubbornness.
Elaine quickly ran to her closet and pulled out the nearest dress, luckily it was one of her favorites. The dress was long and slender; it flowed out at the bottom giving it a sweeping look. It was a dark blue and had dark red stones. The stones followed her long sleeves on both sides and connected at the cuff. There were more stones at the bottom that followed all the way around the bottom of her dress. The seam was low cut and v-ed at her neck. She quickly dressed and went to the tall mirror in the corner of her room, she stood and admired herself in front of it, she only wore dresses when she had to and despised of most of them, but this dress was her favorite and she only wore it on special occasions. The dress had once been her mother’s and Elaine, who was surprisingly good at sewing, added more material on the bottom when she got too small. Elaine looked at herself in front of the mirror and frowned. She gave a look of delight when she remembered what was missing, she went to the corner of her room, where there was a little chest, she opened a drawer and took out a small necklace of red stones, and she hooked them around her neck and again went to the mirror.
After experimenting with her hair she was satisfied and started down the steps, her room was many floors up and as she neared the fourth floor she realized she had forgotten her shoes, she rarely wore shoes, but her mother and father willed her to wear them when she was to be in front of a crowd. She ran many the many flights back to her chamber and retrieved her shoes. As she exited her room she heard music from downstairs realizing she was late she grabbed her dress and sat down on the banister. She gave a push and slid down the banister; she had had many years of experience and kept her balance perfectly, despite her garb. As she neared the first floor she noticed Aragorn standing at the bottom of the stairs talking with Legolas and Gimli. Elaine put her arms in front of her face and cried, “Look out!” She tried to slow herself down but she was too close. Aragorn turned around but didn’t have time to move. Elaine landed on him and they, plus Legolas and Gimli, fell to the floor in a pile, with Elaine sitting on the top. Merry and Pippin, who had been beside the ale, fell on the floor laughing. Elaine stood up and put her shoe back on. She curtsied and left the room before her dad had time to say anything.
Elaine entered the thrown room and quickly found her seat, Arwen gave and encouraging look at her wardrobe but her eyes also clearly stated that she was late. As Elaine sat down Hannah and Abby came running up to her, they jumped on her lap and showed her the guest list, “Looky, looky!” one-year-old Abby exclaimed. Elaine held it up and scanned the names of the guests.
Celebrain (Who had returned from the Grey Havens)
Marian (Eomer’s wife)
There were many more names but Elaine didn’t have time read them all for her dad entered the room. He held up his hand and everyone quieted. “Today is the day before the New Year. Today is also my son, Eldarion’s birthday.” Everyone clapped at this. “Welcome friends and family again to Gondor, I hope you have a pleasant time.” Elaine rolled her eyes; I wish he’d get on with the good stuff. She let her mind wander as she scanned the people in the room. She noticed Merry and Pippin still at the ale, Elaine knew that soon they would be nothing but trouble, but for that she was glad they were good scheming partners. She looked over in the corner where Matthew was. She noticed beside of him a tall and handsome Elf. She scanned the list again and her eyes fell on the name Adan. Her eyes got large as she again looked at the Elf, no, convinced herself, it can’t be. She couldn’t believe it was really Adan, she had not seen him since she was nine. She stared at him for a moment. He looked over at her and waved, she blushed and turned her head away, she silently scolded herself, why was she acting like this.
“My daughters,” Elaine tuned back in to the speech, “Will show you to your quarters where you can wash up, there will be a feast at noon.” Everyone clapped and Elaine stood up, Hannah and Abby came over and she sent them up to check the rooms to make sure that they were ready. Her parents had left so she stood up on top of her dad’s throne. She cleared her throat, “Okay Everybody!” Nobody listened so she put her fingers in her mouth and whistled shrilly. Everybody stopped talking and looked at her. Elaine was not fazed and clapped her hands, “Okay everybody, I need you to make groups for me, Elves on the Right, Hobbits on the Left, Humans up here near the thrown, Dwarves down there near the door, and everything else in between, yes that’s you Matthew.” Adan and Eldarion laughed at this remark and Matthew sent a glare her ways, which she quickly sent back. Hannah and Abby came back and she sent them to take the Dwarves to their room. Elaine stood back up on the thrown, “Okay Everybody I need the couples, children, singles, etc, etc, into different groups.” They quickly did so and Elaine sent Abby and Hannah off in different directions and she led some also.
She returned to her room after everyone was suited and fell on her bed. She would rest for a moment then go back down to the river, where she knew they would be waiting for what was to come.