That was a normal enough question, Beleg thought, running his fingers slowly over the edge of a dulled knife. Many of the questions Túrin asked him were simply that. 'Beleg?' It usually meant, 'Where are you, Beleg?', 'Are you sure that's right, Beleg?', 'Are you going to feed me, Beleg?', 'What are you thinking, Beleg?', 'Are you utterly insane and mad? You cannot expect me to do such a thing. Can you, Beleg?', or some other dreadfully uncomplicated variation along those lines. This time it probably meant 'Where are you, Beleg?' since the poor, dear little mortal was trudging about painfully dutifully peering up with hopeful eyes into the branches of every tree.

'Over here, Túrin,' he called from the shrubbery where he had seated himself two hours back, muttering half-abominations at the clouds, although they were supposed to be directed at Mablung. Mablung, however, had not been there, which could be considered a good thing.

A good deal of leaf-rustling and twig-snapping later, Túrin's head popped through the bushes surrounding the Elf. 'Beleg?'

'Yes, my good man?' Beleg patted the green moss beside him, slipping the knife away as the young teen settled beside him.

Turin leaned back against the trunk of the oak tree they sat beneath and gazed sullenly at the sky. 'Beleg?'


Pursing his lips for a moment, Túrin shut his eyes. 'What's a marriage?'

Beleg slipped the knife from its sheath once more and sliced a few innocent fallen leaves as he considered the question. 'Well,' he said finally. 'It's when two people love each other very much and want to spend the rest of their lives together.' He pressed the tip of the blade hard against his finger. 'This ought to be sharpened. What if we see if you can?'

He turned to Túrin who was still pressed against the tree, a frown now working its way across his sharp face.

'Ah.' He drew his knees up and hugged them tightly, resting his chin on them, not answering the question.

'Eh, Túrin?' Beleg asked again, nudging his arm lightly.

'Are we married?' Túrin asked the question with no warning, not even looking at him.

'No,' Beleg said, taking half a second to answer him; it took him another five to realize what the boy had just said. 'I beg your pardon?'

Túrin dropped his gaze, looking down at his hands, which twisted about each other on his lap. 'Well, I love you very much, and I want to stay with you forever, and you love me very much and...' he did not finish the sentence.

'I want to stay with you forever?'

The boy looked up, half afraid. 'Are we married?'

'Well…' Beleg looked at the clouds that he had been insulting not long ago for an answer that he did not get (and probably did not deserve) and sighed. 'Túrin,' he said slowly balancing the words, patting the boy's knee. 'I think you might want to talk to Thingol about that.'