Silk

A/N: Haradrim ^.^ EEEEE! MÛ MAK!!!!!!!! Silly little ficlet, nothing really. I just wrote this because of a sentence in the longer fic I'm working on, 'One Afternoon by the River', about Arathorn and Gilraen. *grin*

Disclaimer: It's mine! All of it! Mineminemine! *gets whacked by Aregeonr, Miss Cam, Tolkien Enterprises and Peter Jackson* OW! Okay, not mine. So much the worse. Pfuit! *pouts*

The scarf is dyed a fantastic bright red, a color I've never seen before, and it's softer than anything I've ever felt. I lift it to my face, and aside from feeling like heaven against my skin I notice that it smells like perfume, the cinnamon spice that the trader sells, and the round fruit that he claims is more precious than gold. It must have absorbed the scent of the trader's pack.

The trader's name is Kharaj, and he is tall, skin as dark as the cinnamon he sells and eyes a light golden-brown. His travel-worn pack lies open on the rough wooden table, displaying his wares.

There are scarves of the same incredible material as this one, and perfume that smells of exotic flowers in the midst of winter; there are necklaces of mû mak ivory, carved with images out of Haradri legend, and mirrors of silver and gilt that reflect my tired face clearly in their depths. Displayed separately, as though they were the most precious treasures, are round fruit of a strange color, smelling sweet and sharp and tangy. 'Oranges', he called them.

"Do you wish to buy the scarf, lady?" he asks, in badly accented Westron. How can I explain that it is not mere goods I crave? All my life has been within this village, and now I am too old to travel at five-and-forty.

But this man has brought some of Harad to me. I breathe in a mix of scents that cover the smell of sweat, straw and horses, and shut my eyes. Soon I am flying away to distant lands of mû maks and orange trees and dancers waving silk scarves…

Kharaj clears his throat and I come back to a small village in Gondor. The night is suddenly cold as I hand over the scarf's price of two gold pieces. I breathe deeply once again as he gathers up his wares, and there is a rush of cold air as he leaves, shutting the door behind him.

"Goods! Goods of Harad!" he calls, and his cry fades into the distance.

I finger the scarf in my hand, marveling once again at the worksmanship of it, the red dye seeming to glint against the otherwise pale colors of the room. The scarf seems to hold some warmth inside it, and I shut my eyes and bring it close to my face, smelling and smelling its mysterious scent.

Something small and white and hard tumbles out of the scarf, hitting my hand. I laugh: it is an orange seed.

A/N: Weird…just weird. ^.^