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Leaving home; Coming Home  by Mirkwoodmaiden

Ch. 7 – Honors bestowed

The next morning at breakfast Arwen gave Éowyn the name of her favorite jeweler on the third ring of the City.  Faramir immediately chimed in as he was layering marmalade on a slab of buttered wheat toast, “What is this?  An errand?  Shall I join you?”  

Éowyn had to think quickly because the nature of the shopping trip would not do to have Faramir accompany her.  “It is to be an errand to look wedding finery, nothing more.  Then I shall back before you know it!” 

“Well then, if it is to be a quick excursion it will a good excuse to stretch my legs,” Faramir said, not taking the hint.  Éowyn cast a quick look at Arwen, silently communicating the need for help.

Arwen acted quickly, “Nonsense!  You would be bored.  It is an outing that we had talked of earlier.  Women shopping together.  There would be nothing for you to do.”  She looked at Aragorn who had been drinking coffee, munching on toast, minding his own business while looking over some letters when she caught his eye.  Aragorn inwardly sighed.  The women were planning something, what he did not know and wise man that he was he knew he did not need to know.

“My lord Steward, remember we were going to go over the dispatches from Ithilien this morning.” Aragorn stated as he ate the last piece of toast and swallowed the last of his coffee and proceeded to get up from the table giving Arwen a pointed look.  Arwen returned the look with a smile signaling all the mischievous inscrutability of the Elves he grew up with.

“That is right, I remember now.  Ah well, my love.  It looks like I will not be able to accompany you after all.”  Faramir sighed swallowing the last of his coffee and retaining the marmalade-laden slab of toast for the journey to Aragorn’s study.  He bent to give her a coffee-flavored kiss and followed his Lord.

Éowyn exhaled, “That was close!” She looked at Arwen, “Thank you.”

Arwen smiled, “Not a problem.  Now what is this errand that we are now going on.”

Éowyn sighed, “You need to keep this secret!”

“Not a word!”  Arwen avowed.

They talked.  Éowyn had wanted to venture out onto the street just the two of them but it was not something that Arwen was going to allow.  “You are in my City now and I want assure that you are safe.  Besides if we are attended it will raise no suspicions.  If we are unattended it will raise eyebrows.”  She then summoned Dolthriel, a tall willowy girl who had a very self-assured way about her to attend them.  “Besides Dolthriel is the sole of discretion, are you not Dolthriel?”

“Aye my lady.  I follow your lead in all things,” the maiden answered quickly and affectionately and with an intelligent light in her hazel eyes.

Éowyn sighed and then nodded her acceptance of this course and they finished their breakfast at a clipped pace ready to be off on the errand.

As they left the confines of the Citadel and the King’s House Éowyn patted her pouch to make sure she had what she needed.  Thus assured they set forth. The cobbled streets of the upper levels of the White City had sustained less damaged in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and she could see the austere grandeur of the city.  Though she had not been born to living in cities of stone, Meduseld, grandest hall in all of Rohan, was built in beautiful shades of wood light and dark, she could see why Faramir held this city to be most beautiful.  It had a certain strength to it, the houses, the streets and its people all bespoke a certain resilience.  They might bend but they would never break.  Éowyn admired that. 

Walking down the tiers Arwen and Éowyn fell into easy conversation, speaking of weddings and preparations and such.  Éowyn began, “I have never seen Éomer so flustered as he was last night when speaking with Lothíriel.  When he spilled that wine on her I could tell how mortified he was.”

Arwen nodded her agreement, “I can tell you that when we held conversation at table last night I doubt he heard a word I said, so busy was he trying to listen to what Lothíriel and Beregond were laughing about.  I thought to put him out his misery so I switched the conversation earlier than I would normally!”

Éowyn laughed, “It was a mercy, but that only lead to the wine incident.  I have to say I really am warming to Lothíriel.  Not many, if any would have acted the way she did after Éomer splashed her with wine.  It was more than a drop I can tell you.  I saw it happen.”

Arwen nodded, “I had met her a few times and I saw her spirit.  And I also saw the kinds of gadflies who were trying to get her attentions.”  Arwen rolled her eyes, “They were, in my estimations, completely unworthy.”  Dolthriel chuckled a little.

Arwen looked at her lady-in-waiting walking just behind them, “Aye, Dolthriel.  Was it not so?”

“Aye, my lady.  They were “interesting” if I may venture so!”

“Quite right!” The Queen of Gondor confirmed.

“Thankfully for Éomer that was so.” Éowyn stated.  Arwen just smiled.  She looked up and saw that they were at the jeweler’s shopfront. 

“Here we are.” Dolthriel stepped forward to open the front door setting off tiny chimes to inform those inside of their arrival.

A voice sounded from behind some partitioning that separated the back of the shop from the carved wooden counter in front, “Telion!  There is someone at the counter!” a few minutes passed, “Telion!  Where is that boy!”  A little man appeared from around the partitioning wall, at first looking a little flustered at the interruption, bellowing, “Where is that boy!”  He stopped short when he looked up to see Arwen, the Queen, gently glowing, at least to his dazzled eyes.  He immediately dropped to a knee.  “My Queen!  I do beg pardon for such a greeting!”  Arwen went to him and brought him from his knee.

“There is no pardon to give, Master Taethion,” Arwen proclaimed, her voice melodic, “We have come upon you without announcement, it is mine to apologize.”

“No, No My Queen—

At this the boy Telion burst into the shop proclaiming, “Master Taethion!  I was unable to get the jug of Oxtail Soup you asked for,” he started to unload the food stuffs from a satchel he was carrying, “but I was able to get the four meat pies from The Three Casks, he tried to charge me for five but—” the boy stopped short when he realised they were not alone and just who their company was.  Telion’s mouth hung open as he gazed on the radiance of the Queen of Gondor.  “My Q-Queen!” the boy stumbled through the words as he dropped to a knee. 

Arwen went to the boy and brought him up from his knee was well.  “It is time, My Lady Éowyn, to explain what is your request.”  She looked at Master Taethion, “May I present, Éowyn, Sister to the King of the Mark and the betrothed to Lord Faramir,” she looked at Éowyn, “Taethion, Master Jeweler.”

Éowyn bowed her head to the Master Jeweler.  She turned to the boy, who had snatched his cap off his  head in respect, “And you are?” Telion’s eyes went wide.  Nobody of the Quality had ever asked his name before.  Telion gulped and said in a near whisper, “Telion, my lady.  Apprentice to Master Taethion.”

Éowyn smiled kindly, “You are training to become a jeweler?”

“Aye, My lady.” Emboldened by her kindness, he spoke again, “I want to make beautiful things.  To erase the ugliness that had come before.”

Éowyn paused at that comment and really looked at the boy.  She saw within his eyes pain and memory. Well she could understand that look, “Did you fight?” she asked with a voice full of intense memory. 

The boy looked back at her seeing in her eyes the same pain and memory, he shrugged, “Did what I could.  Ran arrows and water.  Defended myself at need.  Got this when I came too close to the fighting.”  He lifted his thick sandy-colored hair to reveal a scar that ran down the side of his face that had healed unevenly. “My mum stitched it as best she could.”

Éowyn became thoughtful, realizing that not everyone who was injured had had access to the King’s healing as she had.  Arwen said, “You received this in the service to Gondor and to the Light?”

“Aye, My Queen.” 

“Then it is we who honor you.” Arwen bowed her head; Éowyn and Dolthriel followed suit.  Telion, who was totally overwhelmed that the Quality should be even acknowledging him, just stood there grasping at his hat.  Éowyn looked him in the eye once more sharing a bond that only those who had endured the fighting could share.  “Study well and you will see success.” 

“Thank you, my lady.” Telion nodded again. 

Éowyn smiled and then pulled the river stone bracelet from her pouch.  “These stones, while they are only river stones to the eye are precious in my family.”  She told the jeweler and his apprentice the story of the river stones from when she and Éomer were only children.  “So you see.  I want the best two of these stones to be made into two rings to be placed on Lord Faramir’s finger and on my own at our wedding ceremony in five days’ time.  And the rest to stay as part of this bracelet.  Can you do this in time.”

Master Taethion reverently took the bracelet from Éowyn’s hand.  He cast a trained eye upon the piece, “I do believe so, My lady.  And thank you for entrusting us with this charge.  We would consider it an honour for us to perform this service for you.”

“I and the Lady Éowyn thank you, but nevertheless you must allow me to compensate your time.” Arwen said lyrically at least to their ears.  She withdrew a small pouch of gold and laid it on the carved wooden counter. “This is to be a gift to you and we cannot receive it back.”

“Thank you, my Queen.” Master Taethion bowed with his hand on his heart, he then redirected his gaze to Éowyn, “Which stones should I use, My lady?”

Éowyn stated, “That I will leave to your expert eye, Master Taethion.”

“It shall be done, My Lady.  And many happy wishes to you and the Lord Faramir, a very good man I might say.  A very good man indeed.  So happy am I for you both!”

At that pronouncement Éowyn smiled a tearful and happy smile, “Yes, he is Master Taethion, Yes he is. Thank you.”  Measurements were conducted and discussed and soon Arwen and Éowyn departed.

Master Taethion watched from the storefront as they made their way back to the Citadel on the seventh level.

“Pure Goodness those two, Telion,” he said, referring to Arwen and Éowyn, “Pure Goodness.”

Telion looked after the two women and their servant, thinking about the brief bond he had shared with the Lady of Rohan, “Aye, Master Taethion, Aye indeed.” 

~*~*~*~*~*~





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