Hey look, aren't I great! I didn't wait a whole year to update this time, ^_^
Sorry about the wait everyone, all I can say is two weddings (an uncle and a cousin), complications with a pregnancy (my sister in law), a grandmother with meniairs disease (kind of like alsimers but with dizziness and nausea as well), UNI assessments and temporary parenthood of teenagers while my mum was in Perth for two months taking care of my sister in law and her new baby, and now suddenly sharing a house with my toddler nephew, added to all the shit that was already going on,,,, well, be happy I'm updating at all people.
In better news I am having awesome fun in UNI at the moment, three units and two of my major assessments are writing and illustrating a picture book and writing a 3000 word original short story,,, and that's the part that's supposed to be work, lol ^_^
Disclaimer: I don't own it so nya, (pokes out tongue) but I do own my picture book and you can't have it, (blows raspberry)
Chapter quote: If everything is going according to plan, you've missed something.
It seemed that Aragorn had informed the healers and through them almost everyone in the stronghold, that I was his sister. Since the healers through watching him heal people with the Athelas plant and the rest of the fun things that had happened during the battle had a very good idea that he was the king come back to Gondor I was being treated like some kind of princess. Normally this would have been annoying but bearable and maybe interesting. However being carried about on a chair with my leg in a splint when the men carrying me should have been resting, being fed fresh fruit when I knew food was short and people were starving, being constantly attended by healers when I knew that down in the main city people were sick and dying and sleeping in the a lavish bedchamber with velvet drapes and a feather bed when I knew people were sleeping in the streets after their homes had been destroyed in the siege made me feel terrible. Whenever I could I sent whichever healer was with me down into the city to help where she could and sent what food I could with her to share out. I also categorically refused to be carried about after the first couple of days and demanded crutches to walk with and told the soldiers who had been assigned to me to go and sleep for goodness sake and then go and help where they could do some good. When I finally got some time to myself I went back down to the healers building ad asked what I could do to help while sitting down. The ladies were horrified at first but when I insisted they set me to tearing bandages and chopping herbs on a board on my knees. While I was there I met up with Eowe`n, who seemed to me to be displaying classic signs of depression, luckily the noble fellow who kept visiting her seemed to be doing a fairly good job of pulling her out of it. I remembered vaguely that he was a prince of somewhere or other, something to do with swans I think. She seemed nice enough despite the depression but a bit too preoccupied with her own loss at the moment to be good company so I left her to her own devises. The other major reason for me to hide out in the healing rooms was the other nobles. There were a whole heap of nobles in the city after the siege, allies who had come to help out and been injured and were now staying to recover and help clean up and rebuild. Now all these nobles had herd the news about Aragorn and were anxiously awaiting his return, hearing rumours that the king's sister was in the city made them all want to meet me. I had sworn all the healers to secrecy about where I was hiding during the day and informed the two guards who insisted on following me around and guarding my rooms that I did not want to see any of the noblemen who kept asking after me in the hope of meeting me. They were most effective in discouraging unwanted visitors and always informed me of who had tried to get to me on any given day. They were very determined to stay with me as well; I was pretty sure one of them was one of Aragorn's rangers which would explain him being so determined to stick with me he must have been ordered to. He was a tall thin dark haired fellow, named Saedd and since he carried a longbow and a couple of knives without a sword I figured that the bow must be his specialty. He didn't talk a lot but he would do a little half smile thing every time I had the pair of them help me sneak down to the infirmary so I wouldn't be smothered by noblemen who only wanted to talk to me because I was supposedly the king's sister that made me think that maybe he didn't mind his job so much. The other fellow was one of the royal guards, he had the silver tree tunic and he sometimes wore the funny winged helmet thing as well. His name was Glenovan and he was the more talkative of the two. He explained to me that he was the younger son of a minor nobleman and he had chosen the military as a career because he couldn't bare the thought of going into politics like his elder brother and it gave him a great many opportunities for travel and adventure than any other. However his skill had earned him a high rank guarding the steward and while it was a great honour it was also rather boring. It seemed guarding the new kings sister was just as big an honour and according to Glenovan a great deal more interesting.
After about a week of waiting tensely I was beginning to get a little worried, I wasn't sure exactly how long I had left before Frodo got to mount doom and did the deed of destroying the ring but I knew it wouldn't be long and I was worried that something I had done might have changed what was supposed to happen. I tried to distract myself with working in the infirmary and walking in the gardens. My leg was healing fast and while I was still in the splint I had graduated from crutches to a walking stick and it definitely didn't hurt nearly as much any more. It was only a couple of days later that we saw the lights of a volcano erupting in the distance and heard the thunder of the explosions. By morning the sky had cleared and there was a great deal of speculation about what might have happened. I breathed a sigh of relief, even if anything else had changed because of my presence the ring had been destroyed and I could rest easy about that at least.
The day after the explosions and light show I was sitting in the infirmary as usual, chopping herbs this time. Saedd was standing near me and Glenovan was standing outside keeping watch in case of nobles while I worked. There came a sudden commotion from the direction of the gates, evidently someone important had arrived and was making their way up the levels. I asked Glenovan to go and look in case it was Aragorn returning and he set of at a run to find out who the fuss was about. What he told me had me running for the gate like my life depended on it, a group of elves had arrived he told me, all tall and blonde but the tallest one road a white horse wearing bells and they led the largest warhorse he had ever seen. It could only be Glorfindell, and probably Haldir and Rumill and Orophin as well.
I ran, I forgot my walking stick, I forgot the splint, I forgot that I was hiding from nobles, I just ran to meet them. I was so glad that he was alive that I could hardly breathe, and by the time I reached the gate I had tripped down stairs at least three times, my hair was a mess and my leg was beginning to throb. But when I saw him standing by the gate, looking pale and rumpled like he had ridden all the way from Lorie`n without stopping I couldn't seem to move for a moment. He must have heard something because he turned and caught my eyes across the courtyard. I couldn't help myself, I grinned like a loon at him and I was pretty sure I was crying at the same time. He seemed to almost not believe what he was seeing for a moment then he shouted my name and came running towards me, sweeping nobles and guards out of his path as he came. I ran as well dodging bodies in my way and when I reached him and he swept me up into a fantastically tight hug I couldn't help bursting into tears of relief as he held me tight and murmured elvish words at me that I didn't understand. He was here and he was alive and in that moment that was all that mattered to me. I didn't even once think about what might have happened to the twins.
We rode for Gondor with as few stops as possible, riding day and night only stopping when it was necessary to feed and water the horses. It was not an easy ride; the closer we drew to our destination the more frequently we encountered roving bands of orcs, fleeing the battle at the white city. We avoided them when we could and the few battles we did engage in were short and bloody but resulted in no injuries. I am not sure how many days we rode for; I was told later that it was almost a week. Time had no meaning for me during those terrible days and I moved through them as though in a thick fog. I knew my friends worried for me but it seemed like too much effort to try and reassure them. I had energy only for one purpose, to ride to the white city and find out for certain if the lady Anwe` still lived. I could hardly credit that I had not noticed my growing affection for her until she had been so brutally torn from me. I had valued her friendship deeply but I had not realised that my affection had grown into love until her apparent death had left such a gaping hole in my spirit that it left me feeling utterly empty and alone. As I road I didn't dare to hope that she might return my feelings, the thousand prayers I sent to the Valar were that this impossible hope be true and that we would find her alive when we reached our destination.
When we finally reached the gates of the white city it was nearing midday and there were workers clearing the streets of the debris of battle and builders well at work repairing buildings. We began to work our way upwards and at each level we asked for word of lady Anwe` or of any Elven lady that may have arrived in the city. However we got no hopeful news until we reached the higher levels. Estelle, going by the name of Aragorn, had found an Elven lady amongst the injured and had declared her to be his foster sister, demanding that she be treated with the greatest respect. He had even left one of his rangers to guard her and ordered the palace guard to appoint a guard as well to see to her safety in his absence. We were told she had rooms on the royal level but that she had not been seen outside of the infirmary since the rumours had started and so it was speculated that she was deathly ill. We headed for the infirmary at speed, at the gate the guards demanded that we leave the horses and proceed on foot, however Tiny objected to this and we were delayed trying to get him to stay where he was meant to. Our strangeness drew quite a crowd and it was clear as more and more people came out to stare at us that the rumour mill was working overtime.
There was a sudden commotion at the foot of a set of stairs leading to the infirmary building, I glanced around, expecting to see yet more nobles coming out to gawk at and delay us. Instead I saw the most glorious sight imaginable. Lady Anwe` stood at the foot of the stars, she had obviously run to meet us; her dark hair was in disarray, her skirts liberally smudged with dust and her cheeks flushed with exertion. She was looking directly at me and smiling with such radiant joy I could not contain my reaction. I swept aside guards and bystanders alike as I rushed towards her, watching as she dodged around the people blocking her path. I may have called her name; I have no clear recollection of those few moments until I reached her. It felt like an eternity but finally our paths met and I swept her up into a crushing embrace. She buried her face into the groove between my neck and shoulder and grabbed handfuls of my tunic clinging to me as fiercely as I was to her laughing with joy even as her tears soaked the collar of my tunic. I'm not sure how long I stood there holding her, swaying slightly and muttering nonsense endearments to her in an elvish dialect that she had not yet learned and so could not possibly understand. But I realised after a time that she was speaking as well. Her words had me hold her even more fiercely and murmuring reassurances, even though I realised suddenly that I was holing her quite a way of the ground and it might be uncomfortable for her. She had spent the last week afraid that I had been killed in the battle; her story of the future made no mention of me after the battle so she had no guarantee that I would survive. Having been sent away by the sorceresses spell before the end of the battle she had no way of knowing that I was completely without injury until I received the terrible blow of believing her to be dead.
She had still made no move to release me and I myself was in no hurry to let her leave my arms. However it had to be uncomfortable for her to be dangling in the air from where I held her so I moved over to the stairs and without releasing my hold on her set her on a high enough step that she could lean comfortably on my shoulder without my having to bend over her. Keeping one arm firmly around her waist I reached up and gently stroked her hair. The action made her look up at me and my breath caught to see her smiling radiantly at me with tears still soaking her eyelashes and rolling down her cheeks. I reached up with my free hand and brushed the tears away, when she leaned her head trustingly against my palm I could no longer contain the impulse, cupping her cheek gently in my hand I leant down and I kissed her.
Wow, cool, I haven't lost my touch for evil cliffys, ^_^
Just a quick shout out to those who reviewed the last chapter,
The Fluffy Muffin Queen
Your awesomeness is beyond belief and I hope to hear from you this chapter as well.