Discussion in 'The Glittering Caves' started by Elora, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Elora

    Elora Dreamweaver

    Feb 2, 2003
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    ”You’ve barely touched it,” Slippery exclaimed and then, when she looked at Rin properly forgot all about dinner and came to sit on the side of the bed, ”What’s wrong? Did you quarrel with Hanasian? Only natural that you might.”

    Rin shook her head, closed her eyes but felt tears press against her lashes all the same.

    ”I made a mistake yesterday,” she whispered, ”A very big mistake.”

    “Shhhhh, now,”
    Slippery said softly as she wound an arm around Rin’s shoulders.

    Rin continued a little firmer, ”My children see it. My rangers see it. You do too, don’t you?”

    “Don’t you go putting words in my mouth now,”
    Slippery replied, ”It’s late. I daresay you didn’t get much sleep last night and, from what I know, today has been awful. You’re tired, Rin. The pressure you are under now must be terrible.”

    The words spilled out of Rin, ”Hanavia hates him! Elian’s angry with him! The rangers want me to challenge the king and banish him! He spoke to the Sons of Elrond about me today, Rose too. She gave him my drawings!”

    Slippery clucked her tongue at that, ”She was probably trying to help.”

    “She had no right! None!”

    “No, she’d didn’t,”
    Slippery said, ”But for now, you’re best served by getting some sleep. Come tomorrow, things will make more sense. They always do.”

    Some time later, with Rin’s sketchbook under her arm, she found Rose as the woman slipped from Hayna’s room. Rose started at Slippery’s sudden appearance in the hall and then her eyes fell onto the sketchbook under the Gondorian woman’s arms.

    ”Oh,” Rose said unhappily.

    ”Oh indeed. Have you seen these?” Slippery asked in a low voice.

    Rose nodded, ”Yes.”

    “And you thought handing over the bare soul of your husband’s sister without her consent or knowledge was a good thing to do?”

    “He was trying to make sense of what had happened. It’s not like she’ll tell him. You know that as well as I. He has to understand if they’re to reunite. And that’s clearly what she wants.”

    “Is it? Because right now, she has no idea what she wants. I found her in tears, Rose. Tears.”

    Rose’s head lowered at that, ”Truly?”

    Slippery growled a curse under her breath, ”Just stop helping. At least until she’s made up her mind. And make sure Cammaroth doesn’t see her tonight. I don’t want to have to deal with what will happen if he sees her in her present state.”

    “Of course,”
    Rose said meekly.

    Slippery shoved the sketchbook at the other woman, ”And put that back where you found it!”

    She left Rose behind then and set off anew. This door she found ajar and, coming from within, the sound of a woman’s voice. Slippery leaned against the doorframe and considered the scene within for a moment. Caila looked quite comfortable indeed, cosy and even smug, there with Hanasian.

    ”And there you are, Mistress Caila,” Slippery observed as the young woman’s voice fell silent, ”Did you know I’ve been looking for you all day?”

    Caila attempted to lie through her back teeth, ”Why?”

    “Lady Rosmarin is keen to have a word with you. I believe she’s made mention of that before.”

    “But I haven’t done anything to her and I told her rangers that too. It isn’t what they said it is. The only child I carry is my husband's and if he were here, he’d hold you all to account for the terrible things you’ve been saying!”

    “We only have your word for it, Caila…and if we’re to take you at your word then I struggle to understand why you’re so reluctant to speak with the Lady Rosmarin. You have nothing to hide, after all.”

    “None of this, Slippery, is Caila’s fault. None of it,”
    Hanasian said quietly.

    ”True or not, we'll soon see. Tomorrow, Caila, I expect you to attend the Lady Rosmarin before lunch,” Slippery stated.

    “What if I’m busy?” Caila asked, lifting her chin, ”What if I decide to leave tomorrow.”

    “You really do not want to make me chase you againe,”
    Slippery said and then looked past her to Hanasian, ”Now, if you please, your friend and I have business to discuss.”

    Rebellion flashed in Caila’s eyes and she looked to Hanasian next, ”He is my friend. My only friend here. And, some might say, I’m his only friend too. Maybe he doesn’t want me to leave. Maybe he doesn’t want to discuss this business. Maybe-“

    “Maybe you should-“
    Slippery started but broke off as Hanasian held up a hand to forestall whatever glib and terrifying threat was about to follow.

    ”Caila, I appreciate your help but I think I best if-“

    “You’re not alone, here, Hanasian,”
    Caila interjected.

    ”I rather think that I am…and it is a prison of my own making. Please, Caila.”

    Slippery waited until Caila had flounced her way unhappily out of the room and then slowly shook her head from side to side.

    ”You know what Cammaroth thinks of you. You were there when he levelled his accusations. And here I find you, cosied up in your room with her? After, I might add, you’ve quarrelled badly with your wife!”

    “I did not invite Caila here. I did not invite her in.”

    “Nor did you send her away.”

    “She’s alone, Slippery. Widowed, with child in a strange place where people she doesn’t know whisper nasty things about her.”

    “Given what you’ve discovered about your wife’s experience in the aftermath of your supposed death, it seems you appreciate all to well what that’s like,”
    Slippery snapped.

    ”Are you here to berate me?” Hanasian asked wearily.

    ”Tempting. Sorely tempting. But no,” Slippery admitted with a sigh and then took stock of the man she saw before her, ”You’ve had a right day of it, haven’t you?”

    Hanasian nodded and asked, ”How is she?”

    “Confused. Distraught,”
    Slippery paused, ”Tears, even.”

    “My wife never cries,”
    Hanasian said quietly.

    Slippery shrugged, ”Never used to, you mean. The children, the rangers, the king and you, all pulling her in different directions. How much do you think the woman can bear?”

    “I’m not trying to pull Rosmarin in any direction. Don’t you think I know how much she has on her shoulders? I can scarcely believe she managed to hold it all up for all this time. And with the campaign and envoy on top as well?”
    Hanasian shook his head slowly from side to side.

    ”I haven’t the right, yet or perhaps ever now, to assist her with the king or her rangers,” he continued, ”But I thought that I could at least be a husband and father to our children.”

    Slippery let out a pent up breath, ”I know you spoke to Rose today. I know about the sketchbook too.”

    he said flatly, ”Was a mistake.”

    “She’s hurt and she’s angry and she’s every damn right to be, Hanasian. She has to learn to trust you again. Give her time. Show her patience. Be gentle. Do those things and you just might be surprised at what the extraordinary woman you married is capable of. She just might forgive you.”

    “If you were her, would you?”

    “I’d mount your head over my mantelpiece,”
    Slippery replied without hesitation, ”Then, perhaps, I might consider forgiveness.”
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  2. Elora

    Elora Dreamweaver

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    The following day unfolded such that Rin saw very little indeed of Hanasian and that, on the whole, was a good thing. At least, she thought that was how she felt about it. She did succeed in finally sitting down with Caila before lunch for a talk. In fact, Caila had arrived almost immediately after breakfast, anxious to get it ‘over and done with’ as she said. When it became clear that she was not about to be accused of all manner of unsavoury things but, in point of fact, offered a position and a safe place to live, Caila left stunned speechless for all of half an hour. That ended when she informed Hanasian of the surprising turn in her circumstances that would result in the young woman being placed in the staff of his wife’s Annuminas residence.

    ”My own room and one for the babe too,” Caila said excitedly, eyes shining, ”And all I need do is help in the kitchens. No laundry. I hate laundry! Awful work! No taverns and wandering hands neither! Aside from that, my life and my time is my own, to do with as I please!”

    “Consider, Caila, my wife’s retinue is sizeable and, when we’re in Annuminas, keeping everyone fed is no small task. Then there are her guests to consider.”

    “Oh, I know! But I won’t be in the kitchens all on my own,”
    Caila answered, ”Why are you trying to talk me out of it?”

    “I’m not. Your life is yours to lead as you see fit,”
    Hanasian replied.

    The younger woman sniffed at his answer, ”It’s much better than some inn or tavern, I can tell you. You don’t get board there, for starters. And mopping up stale ale and all the other things that end up on the floors isn’t much fun either. I’ve a roof over my head, food in our bellies, a way to support myself and somewhere safe for the babe. I think Dauremir would be pleased.”

    “I think so too,”
    Hanasian answered and that was that. Caila was now a part of his wife’s Annuminas household.

    He went in search of her but found that Rin had already been subsumed by yet more work. A messenger with a fresh and apparently important missive from Eldarion had arrived and as a consequence, the Lady of Cardolan was not to be disturbed for any reason. Still, Hanasian did not want for anything to do. His children provided ample entertainment. Hayna, Adanel and the twins all wanted as much of him as they could get. Elian hovered nearby, watching but nothing more than that initially. Hanavia was like his mother, busy elsewhere and unable to be interrupted.

    Thus the days passed, one leading into the next and in that time Rosmarin neither drew closer nor moved further away. Slippery had counselled patience. She had said that the right path would show itself to her and so Rosmarin waited. While she was waiting, the Free Company of Arnor were officially withdrawn from Rhuadar and provisions for their payroll, leave and the likely wave of retirement that would enure were made. Transport for those returning to Edhellond had to be organised.

    Then there was the matter of her own household to consider. With the Rhuadar campaign ended and the threat of the Moricarni lifted, there was no reason for them to not return to their home in Cardolan. The head cook of Imladris’ kitchens would certainly agree. Yet, their estate had not been their home for a good two years. Most of her staff had come to her in Annuminas from Cardolan. As a result, she needed to make the estate ready for them again and she needed to establish an independent household in Annuminas.

    In the midst of all of that she had her rangers to manage. While Cammaroth’s declaration of ongoing loyalty had not been untrue, the depth of their displeasure had intensified until she drew them all together and heard from each of them directly. Then she set about making her mind clear. It was a simple matter of law. The pardon, she told them, would stand unchallenged. On that very day did Hanavia finally relent in his enmity towards his father. It was a subtle thawing but perceptible all the same.

    Spring found Imladris and through an open window did the sound of laughter float up and into Rin’s study. She rose from her desk and went to her window. Below, amongst garden beds that were emerging from winter’s long sleep, a game was underway. She could pick out the sound of her children’s laughter as they merrily skipped after a bouncing ball kicked this way and that. Slippery was down there too, Rose as well. So was her husband. All had their hands tied loosely behind their backs.

    Rin paused for a moment to watch them and then considered the work that waited for her. All the shelves were emptied, their contents already being ferried back to Cardolan by those she had sent ahead to make it ready for them. What remained was on the desk. Broken mills and village drains that did not work properly. Bridges that got washed away in the spring floods. A boundary dispute between two farmers. An argument over who owned the local woodland. The usual fare. It never stopped and it was always important to those who wrote to her asking for her aid. She’d not done a progress this year and so all they had were their letters to her.

    Still, somewhere between that horrible argument with Hanasian and this bright morning, months had passed. Her whole life could, and would she had discovered, pass with her at her desk. Or she could go outside and join her children. Her brother’s wife. They’d mended their fences. Her old friend. Her husband. She pushed the wedding rings around on her finger as she thought.

    Patience, Slippery had said. Just wait and see. And here she was, watching her children laugh as they gambolled around their father. Was not this exactly what she had feared had been robbed from them. The ball went shooting across the lawn and splashed into a fountain. Imladris was full of the tinkling things. Dorlith scampered blithely after it, moving swiftly despite the fact his hands were pinned behind his back. He was in the fountain in short order, the reason for his volunteering in the first place. The cavorting and tomfoolery that ensued had them in uproarious laughter below and, to her immense surprise she found the sound of her husband’s laughter wondrous to behold. Then a bubble of merriment popped out of her.

    She slapped her fingers across her mouth, startled. Rin had not laughed for years now. It was then that her path emerged before her, bright and straight and true as if it had been there all along. Shortly thereafter Rin found herself hurrying down to the garden. When she reached them, Dorlith and the ball had been retrieved from the fountain and stood, dripping, in a cluster of children and adults. Hayna spotted her arrival first and toddled towards her without delay. The others, though, paused as if wondering why she was there.

    ”We were just playing, Amme,” Worlin assured her.

    ”I know,” she replied, ”I could hear you from up there.”

    Elian said immediately.

    ”We’ll be quieter,” Hanavia promised and at that Rin wondered how indeed her children viewed her.

    She nodded at that and realised that telling them that she didn’t want them to be quieter would only make it worse. Clearly, her arrival had disrupted their fun.

    ”Well,” she instead offered as brightly as she could, ”Enjoy yourselves.”

    Her children murmured assent, and exchanged baffled glances with each other whilst she set Hayna down again. Rin flicked a brief glance at the three adults there and turned away. She resolved that she’d not hurry no matter how badly she wished to scurry away and so she mapped out a steady, slow path back towards her office. She was so intent on this that she scarcely heard the approach of someone after her.

  3. Elora

    Elora Dreamweaver

    Feb 2, 2003
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    ”Goodness you’re fast when you want to be,” Hanasian puffed as he reached for her arm.

    ”I wasn’t running,” Rin objected.

    ”Stay,” he said, ignoring her statement.

    ”I have work to do and-“

    “Stay. Just for a while?”

    Rin let herself be turned back and she could see the others peering after them. The twins elbowed each other and began whispering as soon as they noticed she was looking at them.

    ”I’ll only spoil things,” she sighed, ”And you need this time with them.”

    “So do you,”
    Hanasian countered, ”And I’m not asking for them. I’m asking for me. Do you have to argue everything with everyone?”

    “I don’t!”

    “Oh, so it’s just me then,”
    he observed with a quiet smile, ”Fair enough, all things considered.”

    Rin frowned at that, uncertain of how to respond, and Hanasian sobered.

    ”I’m sorry, Rosmarin. I am truly, honestly, sorry. I didn’t just break your heart, I shattered it. I understand that now. I nearly broke your very-“

    Rin said urgently.

    ”I’m sorry.”

    “Stop! You cannot apologise for the rest of your life. No one can. You did what you thought best. It was a mistake. That’s all there is to it.”

    “Then stay,”
    he wheedled.

    ”I can’t. Honestly, I-“

    “If you honestly meant what you just said, you’d stay. I want you to. So do they,”
    he said and she chewed the inside of her lower lip as he asked, ”When was the last time you just stopped? And I don’t mean fall asleep at your desk, or into your meal, but just stopped? When did you last breathe, Rosmarin of Cardolan?”

    She opened her mouth to answer but Hanasian was swifter, ”So help me, if you say you’re breathing right now….”

    Rin closed her mouth for that was exactly what she had been about to say. Hanasian pushed a strand of silver hair back behind her ear, ”You know what I mean. Please don’t pretend otherwise. Just stop. Stay. Breathe.”

    He tugged on her hand again and this time she let him tow her back towards her children. The twins cheered at that.

    ”Amme’s on our team,” Dorlith announced to the others.

    ”How come?” Hanavia challenged his younger brothers.

    ”’Cause she’s mean and we called it first,” Worlin answered, grinning.

    ”That’s fine,” Elian said, ”We get Adda.”

    The way Elian smiled, just like her mother, made the twins wonder if their elder sister had not pulled the rug out from beneath them. Then Worlin nudged his brother with his elbow.

    ”That’s fine. You get Hayna too!” he declared.

    Hayna gave them a smile brighter than the sun, ”Hooray!”

    Meanwhile, Hanavia crouched to look his youngest sister in the eye, ”You’re with them, Adanel. You know what to do.”

    “Not fair!”
    Dorlith howled in protest as Adanel strolled towards him with a devious grin mirrored on Hanavia’s face.

    ”You work with the cards you get dealt, kid,” Slippery informed the lad and bent to check everyone’s hands were still tied – especially the twins, ”You know the rules.”

    “There are no rules,”
    Rin said as she held her hands out for Rose to tie back.

    The two former Cats considered each other for a moment and then exchanged a nod. They split then, each with their teams, and the game kicked off anew. Though it was still spring, it did not take long for the heat to rise. This was particularly so for the one player that had taken the field in the multiple layers of clothing required of nobility. Even so, that did not mean that Rin welcomed the discovery that Hanasian had not only untied his hands at some point in the game but set them to ferrying her bodily to the very fountain Dorlith had been cavorting in earlier.

    ”Fountains,” she exclaimed as she squirmed in Hanasian’s grip, ”Are not made for games.”

    “Why do they make fountains,”
    Hanasian thought aloud as he carried his wife closer, ”What actual purpose do they serve?”

    “No! Hanasian, no! This is against the rules.”

    “There are no rules. You said so yourself. And no,”
    he said finally as he paused at the fountain, ”It is not different when you say so.”

    And just like he dumped her into the cool water. It was not deep and when she surfaced again, the water came only to her knees. But behind Hanasian her children were cheering. Hanasian was laughing and, to her enduring amazement, so too was she.

    ”Brigand! Lout!” she called him.

    “Thief!” he replied, climbed into the fountain himself and kissed her, hard, right there in the lapping water.

    ”Are you breathing yet,” he asked against her lips as he unraveled the loose bonds at her wrists.

    ”No,” Rin replied as she used her newly freed hands to pull him back to her, ”Try again. Only properly this time.”
  4. Elora

    Elora Dreamweaver

    Feb 2, 2003
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    We all like a bit of closure to our tales, a piece of symmetry to counter our lopsided, messy, rambling lives. Nice, neat endings all packaged in crisp brown paper and charming rustic twine. Wholesome.

    And utterly fabricated.

    A deceit. Contrived.

    But then so much of life is woven out of deceits – those we tell each other and particularly the ones we whisper to ourselves. So perhaps this, by comparison, is a small indulgence. Forgivable.

    But only if it is good.

    If you’ve read this far you are either a glutton for punishment or you actually want to know what happened next. Perhaps both. Well, do I have a treat in store for you! Here is what happened next.


    Filled with arguments, some of them truly stupendous like great billowing summer storms filled with the crackling ozone, stunning light and stupendous noise. Filled with laughter, giggles, chuckles and guffaws – some of them unkind, many of them inappropriate (the best kind of all). Curses, imprecations, protestations, declarations and boring letters and a small mountain of accounts. Tears too. Moments of adulation, exhilaration, jubilation and terrification.

    Is that a word? It is now. Because that is life. Unpredictable in most ways bar the most prosaic. Food had to be gotten and then eaten. Clothes had to be made and then worn. Days and nights had to come and then wheel on by, sometimes grindingly slow or breathlessly fast. Children grew and so did their parents, although in very different ways.

    And yet it would a bridge too far to suggest that peace found its way into the lives of Hanasian and Rosmarin. That is too optimistic by far when there are no less that six children under their roof.

    There was the time the twins brought home an egg that did not turn out to be a chicken or a goose after all – not that Dorlith or Worlin were overly surprised given they’d located the egg in a hole in the ground and not in a nest at all. That was certainly exciting. Especially when the egg’s occupant sought a new home somewhere in the house.

    There was the time that Adanel accidentally burnt down her mother’s workshop. The kitchen garden was nearly lost too. Thankfully, the turnips were saved –to Elian’s vast disappointment. No one really knew where Elian’s malice for turnip had arisen from, only that it was as vast and enduring as the ocean they lived beside.

    Inevitably, as the children grew up those on the other side of life’s fulcrum began to slowly sink into time’s rising tide. The Dirty Three were first to go, sadly proving Rosmarin’s misgivings about their distillation practices well founded. At least it was a quick end when the still they had established in the cellar of the Forsaken Inn blew up. Once what little could be found of the three reprobates had been decently set to rest, and the smouldering ruin of the Inn made safe, it emerged that at least the Dirty Three no longer had to worry about making their retirement venture profitable.

    Some five years after that, and still young, Lochared joined them. One moment he was shouting instructions at a pack of new recruits and the next he was silent and unseeing forever more. There was nothing anyone could have done. Loch went from the world and the Free Company of Arnor as suddenly he had arrived all those years ago. Rose was never the same after that. Word came from Rhuadar that Berlas had settled down with a local lass. Not long after he laid himself down in his marriage bed were they laying him into his grave. At least he went happy, they said.

    Videgavia went peacefully, in his sleep, on a dark wintry night. The Daleman had always been a quiet man, but never a peaceful one. His final years had seen him retire but even that had not brought him peace. Hanasian knew why that was. Videgavia never stopped waiting for the other boot to drop – namely, that Rosmarin would uncover the full nature and extent of his involvement in Hanasian’s two year disappearance. Hanasian swore to him that he would never divulge it yet Videgavia knew all too well how difficult it was to keep anything from the Lady of Cardolan.

    This all sounds very sad, of course, but that is the nature of life. It is not permanent, unchangeable and enduring. It is not all beer, rainbows and puppy dogs. But let us look now to the next generation before we become too maudlin.

    Hanavia was determined to follow his father’s footsteps until his father’s apparent death in Bree. That experience shook the eldest prince of Cardolan deeply and in the wake of that Hanavia turned his attention to his mother’s path. He was not a healer like her, but he soon proved adept at other aspects of her duties. His love of history was more like his father than he knew and Hanavia became engrossed in the history and lore of Cardolan. The enormity of what the realm had faced, and indeed the renewal begun by King Elessar and his mother, was stupendous. He could conceive of nothing better than to continue that and he set himself to that just time. No one was surprised, then, when the Lady of Cardolan formally declared Hanavia to be her heir apparent and the day he became Lord of Cardolan in his own right was one the proudest of her life.

  5. Elora

    Elora Dreamweaver

    Feb 2, 2003
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    Elian pursued her music all the way to Minas Tirith against her parent’s wishes. Determined, headstrong, the eldest princess of Cardolan soon found her footing in the city and rose to become one of the southern court’s pre-eminent bards. Dorlith and Worlin always had a clear path – if not to prison than into knighthood. They took duty first in Rohan, but returned north to Arnor to become some of the first Knights of the new Cardolan realm. Under their hand, Cardolan’s ranks flourished anew.

    Adanel surprised no one to became a healer and there was only one place she wished to be – at the side of the best healer in the Reunited Kingdom, Lady Rosmarin of Cardolan. She happily remained at home and, aside from the small fire incident, soon rose to be reckoned amongst one of the leading healers of Arnor. She took up residence at Annuminas where she established herself in her own right. And then there was Hayna and what Hayna loved best of all was the art of growing food. He settled happily in Edhellond and with the local farmers there, established a sheep and cattle cartel that traded as far south as Umbar and as far north as Lond Daer.

    As for Hanasian and Rosmarin, no sooner had the children all seemed to find their feet did the grandchildren descend. As time giveth so too did it take. Hanasian first, to Rosmarin's deep and abiding grief.

    In truth, no story truly ends. Rather, they reach a juncture at which we can pause, blink and take stock of where we are.

    So breathe deeply, readers dear, for such a point have we reached as Rosmarin, bent by age, reaches Tharbad. Restructured now and set to rights, it resembles little of those early days she recalled. But beyond that settlement lies the road and the forest their paths had first met. She and Hanasian, as if the fates or the Valar he spoke of from time to time had deigned it. Even as she treads those paths, she can feel him. That sense of anticipation. As if he waited, just around that curve in the road or the bole of that tree. And so, wandering, Rosmarin laid herself down not very far from the place her path first crossed with that of Hanasian. And when she was found, her face was set into a smile so sweet that that they had to look away.


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