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An Unexpected Adventure  by KathyG

Summary: In the spring of 2012, four American children find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar world and part of an unexpected adventure.  This story is AU, and blends Lord of the Rings book-verse and movie-verse.  This story also contains a lot of spiritual and religious content as a part of the AU elements.

Disclaimer: The world of Middle-earth and all its peoples belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien; the three films of The Lord of the Ringsbelongs to New Line Cinema and to Peter Jackson.  This story is not for profit, but is a gift for the enjoyment of those who read it.

Citations: In most chapters, there will be some quotations directly from both the books and/or the movies.  Quotations from Tolkien's books are in italics, and quotations from the movies are underlined.  Occasional quotations from other sources as well as silent dialogue, words spoken in emphasis, and passages from the Bible will also be in italics, and those citations will be footnoted at the end of each chapter in which they occur. We will also footnote research sources and credit the ideas of other people.

Thanks: We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable help of our beta, Linda Hoyland, another well-known and prolific LotR fanwriter, whose many wonderful stories also grace this site.

Chapter 67: The Place Where Lost Things Go

Pigeons were slower than Eagles, as Faramir had said, but not by much.  It was shortly after the evening meal when the first ones arrived.  Jennifer, Joey, and Merry had joined the Steward, Faramir, and Éowyn in the Steward's quarters for supper and were still there, answering some of the Steward's questions about their families and their homelands.  Jennifer and Joey had grown quite adept over the months at describing their home without putting in too much about technology that they couldn't explain.

Denethor was most interested in the way that the politics worked in the United States, with everyone getting a vote to elect their leaders.

"Do you mean to say there is no King over your nation, nor any Lords who inherit their office?"

"No, sir," Jennifer replied politely.  "Our whole country elects a President, but he also has to cooperate with other elected Senators and Representatives, and then if some people feel a law is unfair, we have a Supreme Court of judges who can make that decision.  And the states that make up our country have governors who are elected, and the cities and towns all have mayors.  No one inherits any of those offices.  And everyone over eighteen is allowed to vote and help choose which person takes office."

"Fascinating," said Denethor.  "What if someone unworthy is elected?"

"Well, they can't be much of a problem.  Some offices are only for two years at a time, and the office of the President is four years.  So, people can vote them out.  And a President can't have more than two terms.  The Supreme Court justices, on the other hand—they remain in office for life.  They can only be nominated and chosen by our Senators, you see, not elected.  But even they don't inherit their offices."

Merry leaned back in his chair, looking thoughtful.  "In the Shire, we have the Thain for the whole Shire, and my father is Master of Buckland, and all the family heads. But even my uncle, the Thain—he's Pippin's father—he mostly just rules his own family, but as Thain, he is responsible for seeing to the upkeep of the Bridge over the Brandywine and the main roads, and calling up the Shire Muster in an emergency.  And we do elect a Mayor every seven years, but only the family heads are allowed to vote."

"All this voting sounds like a somewhat risky system," said Denethor.  He paused to cough and take a sip of wine from his goblet.  "But it seems to work for your people."

Joey smiled.  “For over two hundred years, it sure has.”  He scanned their faces.  “George Washington was the first President of the United States!  He was the father of our country.  And before that, he was a general in the Revolutionary War.  We’ve had lots of presidents since then!”

Both Denethor and Faramir gave Joey a shocked look, and he grinned.

The conversation might have gone on further, but there was a knock at the door, and Denethor's elderly servant Baranor went to answer it.  He returned with two messages, which he handed to the Steward.  Denethor opened the first one, which had a wax seal on it of a serpent eating its tail.  Jennifer recognized it as a ring she had seen Aragorn wearing.

He scanned his eyes over it and nodded.  "Aragorn, son of Arathorn, confirms the victory over Sauron.  He also says that Boromir survived the battle unscathed."  He read a little further and then raised his eyes to the children and Merry.  "I am sorry to tell you, your brother and Peregrin were both injured in battle.  He gives no details in this message, but says more messages will be coming.”

The next message was from Boromir, and this one, he read aloud.

“My esteemed Father and Faramir, my brother,

“I know you are much relieved to see this message in my own hand.  I survived the battle with no injuries.  The enemy was completely routed, and Sauron the Enemy is thrown down and his tower is no more, thanks to the efforts of Frodo, son of Drogo of the Shire, and Samwise, son of Hamfast.  Their efforts in the Black Land left them half-starved and cruelly treated, but they were brought away still living and will recover, though they are still unconscious.  Aragorn is going to place them in a healing sleep, for he says rest is the best thing for them.

“Please relay to Jennifer and Joey that Kevin, son of Steven—and to Meriadoc, son of Saradoc, that Peregrin, son of Paladin—were each injured in the battle as they bravely fought to save some of our Guardsmen.  Both of them suffered mild concussions and breathed in some of the foul blood of a troll, and both have many cuts, abrasions, and bruises.  Kevin had a vicious bruise on his back.  Pippin sustained two broken ribs and a broken sword hand.  Kevin had no broken bones, yet had his right shoulder dislocated.  They will recover with the healing hands of our new King and the other healers.  Legolas and Gimli were unscathed in the battle, and it was they who discovered Kevin and Pippin.

Joey may also relay to young Bergil that his father is alive, and though slightly wounded, was able to walk back on his own two feet from the battlefield.

Our Uncle and his sons all survived the battle as well, all unscathed save Erchirion, who suffered a sprained wrist.  Please let the Lady Éowyn know that her brother fought valiantly, so fiercely he fought that he had not even a scratch upon him.

“The Army of the West will soon be moving from this broken land.  We shall be relocating to the Field of Cormallen in Ithilien for a time, to see to the healing of the wounded in a more wholesome location.  I will send more information as it comes to me.

“With great love, I am your son and brother,

Boromir”

Jennifer's eyes were filled with tears.  "Kevin's hurt!  And Pippin, too!"

Joey, who an instant before looked as though he might cry too, put his hand on her arm.  "But it's gonna be okay, Jen!  It says so in the letter, that they'll recover."

Jennifer swallowed and nodded.  "Thank God!  I just wish we could be there!"

"I know!" said Joey.  "Me, too!"

"I will be there," Merry said fiercely.  "Pippin needs me, and so do Frodo and Sam.  Can we leave in the morning?"

"No, Merry," said Faramir.  "Supplies and transport must be arranged.  The Army will need food and healing supplies and many other things.  But in just a few days, you will be able to go."

Joey straightened up in anticipation.  “I can’t wait!”

The children were dismissed.  Joey returned to the errand lads' dormitory, and Jennifer went back to the one she shared with the apprentice healers.

That night, she spent a long time on her knees, thanking the Lord that those she cared about most were all alive, and that the Enemy was cast down.

“Uh, God…”  She cleared her throat and continued.  “Thank You, God, for giving us the victory over Sauron.  Yes, I’m including us McClouds in that, because we would have been badly affected if Sauron had won, not just the people who belong here.  Thank You that Kevin and Pippin and Aragorn and Boromir and Legolas and Gimli are all alive and safe.  And that Kevin and Pippin will get well.  And especially thank You that Frodo and Sam are alive and safe, and that they were able to destroy the One Ring.  Thank You so much for all of that!”  She took a deep breath and paused for a long moment.

"And Lord, I know that a lot of our people probably did get killed or hurt a lot worse than Kevin and Pippin did.  Please welcome those who’ve died into Your Presence, though I know that it’ll be a long time before Your Son makes His Presence here known.  I don't know how that works, but I know You will take care of them, somehow, and give comfort to their families.  And I pray for the healing of those who were seriously hurt.”  She paused again, to scratch an itch on her upper left arm.

“Please help Joey and me to get to Kevin quickly.  But give us some patience until we get there."  Another moment passed while she tried to decide what to pray for next.

“Lord,” she finally said, “now that the War is over, and Sauron is no more, please fix it so that Mom and Dad and Kaylee and Megan—and Lucy—can be with us once more.  I know Mom and Dad and Megan are here somewhere in Middle-earth, even though I don’t know where.  Please bring them here, and Kaylee and Lucy, too.  And please keep them safe on the way here.  Sauron may be dead, but there may still be orcs and trolls and other evil creatures out there who could harm them.  Please keep them all safe from them while they’re traveling here to join us.”

She stopped again.  “In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Exhausted, she clambered into her bed, and was soon sound asleep.

-oo000oo-

Joey woke up the following morning with a sense of joy.  For a moment, he could not remember why—and then he did.  The War was over!  Kevin was hurt, but Boromir said he would be okay, and it was the same with Pippin.

He was also glad he'd had the chance to let Bergil know about his father being mostly okay before they went to sleep the night before, but he wished he knew about Sador's brother.  He knew the younger boy was very worried.

He sat up and looked around.  He must have slept late, because the dormitory was nearly empty!  "Where is everybody?" he wondered aloud.

Just then, Dame Ioreth came bustling in.  "Good morn, young Joey!  'Tis time to rise and wash your face and get dressed and go down for breakfast."

"You mean I didn't sleep late, ma'am?"  Joey stretched his arms above his head.

She shook her head.  "No, everyone else woke early.  A messenger rode in last night from the battle.  A list of those who died is posted at the gate to the Sixth Circle, and everyone has gone down to look at it, to see if those they know are listed."

"Oh."  Joey realized then that some people were going to be very sad today.  He quietly got dressed and washed his face.  But he didn't have much appetite now.  He would go to the gate and try and find Bergil and Sador.

He walked slowly to the gate; there were many people standing in lines to get the chance to see if they had a family member on the gate.  One of the Citadel scribes stood by the list to help each person find the name or names (or not) that they were looking for.  He was also there to read the names if the person could not read.  Joey caught sight of his friends over to one side and went to them.  "Why aren't you in line?" he asked.

"We already looked at the list.  Sador's brother is not on it," said Bergil, "and we know my father is alive, thanks to you."

Joey grinned and turned to say, "Sador, that's great!"  But then he noticed the other boy's face.

"Yes, but they told us to keep checking the list each day, since the wounded people might get added later, and we do not know if he might be injured."  Sador looked troubled, and Bergil nodded agreement.

"Oh."  Joey hadn't thought of that.  He furrowed his brow and bit his lower lip as he thought about that for a moment.  "Well, I think he’ll be OK.  I don't know why; I just do."

"Thank you, Joey.”  Sador gave Joey a wan smile.  “I hope you are right.  My brother is all I have; I do not know what will become of me if something has happened to him."

Joey frowned.  “I know what you mean.  I don’t like to think about anything happening to Kevin, either.”  After all, if they did not get back home, he and his brother and sisters would be stuck here on their own.  He was sure that Aragorn would take care of them, but still…  His thoughts began to drift…

"Joey!"  It was Jennifer's voice.  "I just came from Dame Ioreth.  She says there were more messages in the night, and Lord Faramir wishes to see us—and you, too, Bergil!"

The day grew quite busy then, for Faramir had received a list of many things that would be needed at Cormallen.  That was the place, he told them, to which the wounded would be evacuated, and the leaders would make the plans for the return to Minas Tirith, and for Aragorn’s coronation.  There were messages and errands aplenty.  But best of all was the news that not only would Jennifer and Joey accompany the supplies, but so would Merry and Bergil.

-oo000oo-

Merry and Bergil made their way down to the armoury.  Faramir had sent orders to have a replacement helmet made for Pippin, as his was badly damaged in the battle, and had to be damaged even more to be removed.  The skill and materials to simply mend it were not available in Cormallen, and so Aragorn had requested a new one be made if possible, in the short length of time allowed.  The work had begun nearly as soon as the message arrived, and now Merry and Bergil were to check on its progress.

The clang of the hammers and tools and the smell of the hot metal let the two know they were nearing their destination.

One of the blacksmiths was standing outside, pouring a ladle of water over his head, and he saw them approach.  He recognized Bergil, in his livery as an errand lad, but not Merry.

"Oi, young Bergil!  You know you should not be bringing your friends around here to show off."

"But Master Héostor! This is Meriadoc of Buckland, who helped Lady Éowyn of Rohan to slay the Chief of the Nazgul!"

The smith looked more closely, seeing the maturity in Merry's face, and his ears and feet.  "My apologies, my Lord!  You are kin to the Ernil i Pheriannath, are you not?"

"I am.  He's my first cousin.  It is on his account that we are here, for Lord Faramir asked us to check on the progress of the helm you are making for him."

"Not I.  I mostly make swords and knives."  He gave Merry a shrewd look.  "I am sure a warrior like you should have a worthy blade for your prowess and made to your length."

Merry shrugged.  "I've struck a few blows with it, but the last stroke I made was also the last for my blade, for it withered away into dust after it hit that foul Black Rider."  He turned towards the inside of the smithy, from which were still coming many loud clangs.

"Go on in, sir," Master Héostor said.  He turned and grinned at Bergil and gave a wink.

Bergil and Master Héostor followed Merry inside the smithy, where the heat and noise were even greater.  He introduced them to another smith, Master Galion, who stood up from the anvil where he had, in fact, been hammering away at a small helmet.

Merry had never seen an anvil quite like that.  Instead of flat, it was rounded, and next to it was another rounded anvil somewhat smaller.

The smith picked up the piece he had been hammering on and held it up.  "What do you think, my Lord?"

Merry shook his head, but said nothing about the form of address.  This was just one of the ways of Gondor he'd have to get used to.  He hated to think what Sam would say about a hobbit of the Shire being "my Lorded" about, even the Son of Brandy Hall.  Instead, he examined the piece of metal carefully.  "That's the upper part of the helmet?  It rather looks like the helmets the Guardsmen wear by the fountain, except for the lack of wings."

"You have a good eye, sir," the smith replied.  "Not many would see that at this stage.  Say, no offense, but is your head about the same size as the Ernil i Pheriannath?”

"Fairly close," Merry answered.  "I take it you'd like to use me to check the fit?"

"If you would be so kind?"

Merry nodded and stood still as the smith lowered the helm down over his head.  It actually fit somewhat better than his helm from Rohan did.  "It's comfortable enough—a little loose, but of course, there is no padding in it yet."

"That is true.  Wait just a moment, if you please."  Master Galion turned and picked up another piece which would protect the nose and held it up to the helmet.  He took a piece of charcoal and made a mark on the upper helm.  "There it is, does that seem right?"

"Yes, Master Galion.”

"This piece is almost finished.  The entire helm will be ready by sunset, once I can get back to work!"

Merry laughed.  "I am glad to see that you are dedicated to your craft, Master Galion.  We will get out of your way and let you get back to work."

-oo000oo-

Jennifer and Firieth were on the way to pick up some medical supplies.  They had already been to the apothecary, and each carried a basket filled with herbs as well as some bottles of tonics and potions and boxes of powders, and some jars of salves and balms.  They had two servants from the Citadel following them, for their next stop was to the storehouse of the Houses of Healing, where they would pick up the many fresh linen bandages and cleaning cloths which had been bundled up for transport.  

Firieth looked at the list they were carrying.  Most of the herbs and medicines had been in stock at the Houses of Healing.  But the Herb-master had sent them down to one of the apothecaries in town to see if they could find the rest of the items on that list.  They would go there after they had sent the servants back with the linens and bandages.

"I wonder what Lord Faramir needed Joey for?" Firieth asked. 

"I don't know, actually," Jennifer said.  "He just said he needed Joey's help to find something in the Citadel."

"How mysterious!  I wish I could be going, but I am needed here in the Houses of Healing.  I will miss you, Jennifer."

Jennifer smiled wistfully.  "I'll miss you, too, Firieth."

-oo000oo-

Joey followed Lord Faramir and Labadal through some musty corridors he had never seen before.  All the rooms back here seemed to be storerooms, and both the Lord and the servant seemed to know right where they were going.

"Ah!  My Lord, here we are," said Labadal, pulling out a large brass key from the pouch at his belt.  He inserted the key and turned it, pushing the door open at the same time.

Joey was surprised that the door didn't creak, and when they stepped in, there was no musty smell and no dust, and one of the high windows was partially opened.

Faramir turned to the servant.  "I see you have been busy, Labadal, since my brother went away."

The old man smiled.  "Rather say, my Lord, since you came here yourself to fetch your mother's mantle the other day.  I felt there might be more needs to enter this room now, so I brought up a couple of the chambermaids, and we gave the room a thorough cleaning."

"What are we trying to find?" asked Joey.  "My Lord," he added.  It was hard to remember to use the titles all the time.

Faramir laughed.  "Well, you are well supplied with clothing and pages' livery by my brother, but Pippin's livery has been through battle, Merry has very little clothing, and from what my brother said in his last message, poor Frodo and Sam have little more than rags.  Although the cloaks given by the Lady of the Golden Wood seem to have been spared to them."  Joey furrowed his brow as he thought about what Faramir had just said.  Faramir smiled at him.

"In some of these chests lie clothing that once belonged to my brother and I when we were your age.  We shall see what we may find that will fit our hobbit friends."

That made sense to Joey, so Faramir showed him one chest.  "That one has some of Boromir's childhood things—see what you can find that might fit either Sam or Merry."  Joey nodded.

Labadal unlocked it for him, and then Joey went to look into it, trying to find what might fit Sam or Merry.  Their build was similar, though now Merry was quite a bit taller than Sam.  He tried to imagine Sam's reaction to seeing both Merry and Pippin almost a head taller than they had been.

He found several pairs of what they called "trews".  They would probably hit Merry at about the same place as his hobbit pants, but would likely go to the ankle for Sam.  They looked like they might fit okay at the waist for both hobbits, since they laced up.  He didn't know anything about what kind of cloth they were, but some of it was fancier than others.  He set aside a pair of yellow ones, a pair of cream-colored ones that felt kind of like soft leather, a set of green ones, and a set of bright blue ones for Merry.  For Sam, he put aside two pairs of light brown, one of which also felt like soft leather, and a pair of dark blue and one of dark green.

Then he started pulling out some tunics and shirts.  He was about to sort out which ones he thought Merry would like and which ones he thought Sam would like, when he heard Labadal exclaim, "I have found it, my Lord!", so he turned around.

Labadal had found a chest that was different from the others, more like a flat box. 

Both Faramir and Joey went over to look as Labadal gently placed it down on the floor between them all.  After unlocking it with a tiny key, he lifted the lid.  There inside, right on top, was a mail shirt.  Except that it was made of gleaming golden scales rather than silver rings, it resembled the mail shirt Frodo had been wearing in Moria.  Labadal lifted it and held it up.

Faramir glanced at Joey.  "Do you think it will fit Sam?"

Joey nodded.  "Except I don't think he would want to wear it.  He’d think it was too fancy.  You know how he is."

Faramir looked amused.  "Do I?  I think it would take more than one meeting to know how Master Samwise Gamgee 'is'.  But yes, I do sense that he is a modest person, if that is what you mean.  Still, this garment was requested, and I daresay if he is given it to wear, he will wear it."

Joey nodded.  Especially if Frodo told him to, or maybe Aragorn.  Not so much if anyone else did, though, he thought.  He turned back to his sorting, until he had chosen four shirts each for Sam and Merry.  He could tell that Faramir was finding clothing for Frodo and Pippin.

Faramir opened another trunk and glanced at Joey.  "Come over here, Joey," he summoned.

Joey left the things he'd sorted neatly folded on the floor and walked over to where Faramir knelt by the trunk.  "Yes, sir?" he asked.

Faramir drew out a tunic somewhat larger than the ones he had been sorting for Frodo and Pippin.  "I believe that the things you came with are somewhat threadbare, and you are beginning to outgrow them as well.  I know you have a set of livery from my brother and a couple of sets of shirts and trews, but that is not nearly enough."  He took out a shirt of silky grey and held it up against Joey's chest.  "What do you think, Labadal?"  Labadal nodded and smiled.

The next thing Joey knew, he was also laden with clothing that Faramir indicated was to be his.  He didn't really think he'd need that much, but Faramir was insistent.

Joey smiled.  “OK, thanks.”  These’ll be nice, he thought, gazing down at the outfits Faramir had given him, but what am I going to do with them when I go home?  I can’t wear them in Oregon!  I’ll have to give them back to Faramir, and how am I gonna do that without hurting his feelings?

There was underclothing as well, and there were belts and pouches, hats and shoes (for Joey, since the hobbits did not need them).  He had as much as he thought he could carry and then some.  Faramir and Labadal had also taken out some adult clothing—"for the wounded," Faramir explained.

There was another stop along the way back, a room Joey recognized, since that was the room where a good deal of the pages’ livery was kept, looked over and mended by two elderly seamstresses.  There Joey was given two new sets for himself, and four new sets for Pippin were chosen to be slightly altered, to reflect Pippin's status as a squire.  Joey could barely see over the load in his arms, but both Labadal and Faramir were equally laden.

-oo000oo-

Éowyn and Jennifer had been given Firieth as a guide for the next errand they had been sent upon.

"So, who is it we're going to see?"  Jennifer asked.

"Lord Faramir told me to take you to see his aunt, Princess Lindiriel, and his cousin, Lady Lothíriel.  Because time is short, he said, they will help see you ready for the journey," Firieth said.

Jennifer looked around in amazement at the large stone houses that all ran opposite to the outer wall of the City.  They were fancier than any houses she had seen since arriving in Middle-earth.  They were built of gleaming white marble, and there were iron gates in front of them, although the gates were open. The distance wasn't far.  Firieth led them to one of the Houses.  There were huge pots of flowers and herbs scattered around a courtyard of stone.  They went up and knocked on the massive front door.

The door was opened by an elderly maidservant, her hair shot with grey, and the three of them were ushered into a large entrance hall.  There was a sitting room to the left, and Jennifer could glimpse two women sitting in chairs side by side next to the fireplace there.

Éowyn took charge.  To the maidservant, she said, "We are Éowyn of Rohan and Jennifer of Ore Gon.  Lord Faramir sent us here with a message."

She proffered the letter Faramir had given them to the servant who nodded and took it to the older woman in the sitting room, telling them, "My lady, it is Lady Éowyn and Lady Jennifer, sent down by Lord Faramir with this message."

Both women stood, and the older one beckoned to them.  "Welcome to the Minas Tirith house of the Prince of Dol Amroth.  I am Princess Lindiriel, and this is my daughter, Lady Lothiriel."

She noticed Firieth, who had stood back.  She was only to serve as guide, and so had tried to remain inconspicuous.  But Princess Lindiriel beckoned, and blushing, Firieth approached and offered a curtsy.

"I am Firieth of Lossarnach, here to study as an apprentice healer.  My Lord Faramir asked me to guide the Lady of Rohan and Jennifer—er..."  She blushed even redder.  "...Lady Jennifer to your home, since I knew the way."

"And very well done, child," the princess said gently.  She looked at her servant.  "Hiril, would you bring us some refreshment?  And Firieth may go with you to the kitchen and have some refreshment as well."

"Poor child," said the princess after Hiril and Firieth had left the room.  "I fear that I embarrassed her by my notice.  Now—"  And she gestured at a couple of the other chairs in the room.  "—please be seated, and I shall see what my nephew has to say."

The princess and her daughter sat in their original chairs, and Éowyn took one chair next to Princess Lindiriel, while Jennifer took the seat next to Lothiriel.  Lady Lothiriel was a lot closer to Jennifer's age than Éowyn, Jennifer thought, and she hoped that perhaps the two of them could be friends.  Éowyn sat quietly while the princess read the rather lengthy message, but Lothiriel decided to make quiet small talk with Jennifer.

Hiril arrived with a tray of small cakes, and goblets of wine.  Jennifer took two of the cakes and the goblet, but she just wet her lips and pretended to drink.  Thankfully, the cakes were moist and very good, tasting faintly of orange and rosemary.

"Jennifer is a very lovely and unusual name," Lothiriel offered quietly.

Jennifer smiled.  "Thanks.  It's rather common in my homeland; not so much here, though.  But I think your name is beautiful; it sounds like an Elvish name."

"Many names in Gondor are of Sindarin origin, but even more so in Dol Amroth.  The legend is that our family line has Elvish blood."

"Really?  Wow."  Jennifer was also trying to keep her voice down.  "What is the legend?"

Lothiriel grinned.  It would be nice to tell the story to one who had never heard it.  "Long ago, there was a horrible storm, the kind that we call Ossë's wrath*.  It blew up from the sea to the mountains.  My ancestor Imrazôr went out to check the damage caused by the storm, and as he searched the debris, he came across a lovely Elven maiden.  She was in a swoon on a mountainside, soaking wet amidst the debris.  He and his search party took her back to his home, and she was nursed to health.  Her name was Mithrellas.  They fell in love and wed, and she bore him a son and a daughter.  One night, she simply disappeared.  There are many thoughts about what happened to her, but no one really knows.  The son of Imrazôr and Mithrellas was the first Prince of Dol Amroth."

Jennifer sighed.  "I wish that romantic stuff like that would happen where I come from.  In real life, I mean.  We have lots of romantic stories, but they aren't real."

What Lothiriel would have said in reply, Jennifer never learned, for just then the princess finished reading her message and looked up at Jennifer and Éowyn.  

"Well, I see that Lord Faramir would like me to help outfit the two of you for your journey.  He seems to feel you may not have all you need?"

"Alas," said Éowyn, "I have but two gowns here in the City, both given me by Lord Faramir.  I have two shifts, and of course, the armour and garb I wore here.  The latter has been cleaned and repaired in the Citadel."

Princess Lindiriel looked at Jennifer, who blushed.  "I had plenty of traveling clothes when I left Lothlorien, plus what I had coming from Rivendell.  I lost a lot of it when I was captured by Orcs in Rohan.  And it seems I’ve had a growth spurt—I kind of have outgrown a lot of my things.  And I just have two dresses—I mean, gowns—that someone’s found for me since I got here."

"Well, we are to remedy that."  The princess stood and said, "Follow me."

She led them back to the entrance hall, and up a staircase.  There she summoned another maidservant, and the women soon found themselves in what appeared to be a giant closet filled with trunks and wardrobes.

Three hours later, Éowyn, Jennifer, and Firieth left the house with two servants trailing behind them.  The servants were laden with clothing.

"So, we'll all be travelling to see everyone together?" Jennifer asked.

"My brother has asked me to come."  Éowyn's reply lacked enthusiasm.  "But I have yet to decide if I am going to honour his request."

"You don't want to go?"  Jennifer had a suspicion.  

"If Éomer had been wounded, or our cousin Éothain, I would not hesitate.  But they are hale and hearty, from the word I have had.  They do not need me there."

"And someone needs you here?" Jennifer asked with a smirk.

Éowyn blushed.  "I have yet to make up my mind, Jennifer daughter of Steven.”

-oo000oo-

*A/N: I borrowed the term "Ossë's wrath" from surgicalsteel.  In Unfinished Tales, we are told that it was in just such a storm that Amroth's ship was swept from shore.  Nimrodel's party was lost in the mountains at the time.  I am imagining here that Mithrellas is found unconscious afterwards, alone and separated from the rest of the party, as Imrazôr and his people are surveying the storm damage.  DR.





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