Author's Notes: Originally inspired by the Back to Middle-earth 2011 prompts, these drabbles took on a web and weft of their own in the telling as these things tend to do.
Disclaimer: I'm merely wandering through Middle-earth, bereft of map and compass, and loving every minute.
Rating: The drabbles themselves wander the length and breadth of the rating system, but the highest will be M for adult themes.
Part One: First Sights
She is spoiled as a black nut under autumn's loam. Her gentle manners and the elegant incline of her head as she greets Gil-galad's courtiers do nothing to conceal the way she sights down her nose at them, her fingers twisting the silk of her gown with sheer pique. She all but shudders when they take her hand to press to their lips, and the smile she gives is vacant. These are lords all, and she suffers them as if they were something to be borne only.
This little queen with sweet, mincing deer-steps crosses the hall without escort or companion as if she were king. I turn briskly about face since my officer would have my hide if he knew my eyes were directed otherwhere than down the long, dull corridor I am assigned to watch. For what purpose, I cannot fathom. No peril threatens Lindon, save the imminent flood of royal visitors that need to be housed, fed, clothed, feted: every want, need or passing desire seen to before Gil-galad's jubilee on the morrow. The local availability of meat, wine, and any other fine commodity will plunge in the space of a fortnight with all those who have arrived today alone.
My eyes slide back towards the antechamber only to startle when I realize the golden-haired wench is not a few paces from me and watching me in return.
"Good even, soldier." Her voice is clear and musical as all elf-maid's tend to be, but there is an earthier note too like the fall of leaves into rushing water. Her head has come down, and her large eyes look up at me though she is near my height.
I stare. Foolishly. I know not what to say to this fey creature, disdainful one moment and courteous the next. And to me, of all, who is little more than a doorpost with eyes to most of Gil-galad's royal visitors. Remembering myself and my place, I incline my head in the fashion my father has taught me.
"Good even…" I stammer, realizing I know not her title. The end of my words hangs like the pulse in my throat, suspended and awkward.
She smiles, and I want her to go away. She is too strange. Divine intervention spares me further speech as someone calls what I assume is her name, and we both jerk as if caught at some impropriety. I wrench myself from the confusion of her eyes and match my back and shoulders to my doorpost again.
In the emptiness of the corridor, with my stretch of duty unending until after the supper-bell rings, I mouth the name.
Celebrían. It suits her.