This short story takes place sometime during the last few chapters of 'Dust'. Rumil, along with so many other Ithilien Elves, is sorting out his possessions and deciding what to take West with him...True Likeness
So many pictures. He had drawn so many pictures over the years; given so many away, casually, to the subjects; whilst others had been intended, from the start, for archives and histories. Rumil sat on the floor considering which should now be sent to Imladris, to Eryn Lasgalen, to Minas Tirith – even to Édoras.
They would take many with them to show Her Ladyship, Master Elrond, and Lady Celebrían the lives of family members they would never meet. But there were many other pictures to take for himself, for Tindómë, or to show Haldir when they met again.
Here were some of Éomer King and his queen; they would take two or three of these with them, for Tindómë, Orophin, and Rumil himself had all liked the great king of the Riddermark. The others could go to Édoras. Here were pictures of Éowyn gardening; he would keep one for Tindómë as the two had been friends.
And so it went on. The children as elflings, Orophin and Lithôniel celebrating their binding; these would go West to show Haldir – and Rumil’s parents should they be there also.
Pictures of friends on the fences, pictures of friends starlight bathing… some he would send to those who remained here, some he would probably burn as there were too many to take with them.
Favourite pictures of Tindómë, of Orophin, of the children – all those would go, of course. He opened another folder and smiled; this was a favourite of his – Orophin sleeping with his head on Tindómë’s breast, that night in the Hornburg. That one would certainly go with them.
Another folder… He paused. What to do with these? Orophin with an elleth. There were plenty such over the years and probably many of them could be burnt but…
As he considered, Tindómë came in and, as usual, leant over his shoulder to see what he was looking at.
“Oh my! Elbereth Gilthoniel!”
“No…” he said, “Not quite…”
The pictures showed, very clearly, Orophin indulging in the desires of the body with Arwen. Here she had his grond in her hand, her head dipping towards it, mouth open. In another sketch she straddled Orophin as he lay on a very familiar bed, his hands bound to the headboard and a silk scarf covering his eyes, and then one in which the positions were reversed.
“Elo!” Tindómë said. “I didn’t know…”
“It was before Aragorn was born… whenever she visited for two, three yéni, we…”
“We? Oh, of course, you must have been there too… are there any pictures? And Haldir?”
He leafed through the folder and passed another to his wife. As was often the case, his own presence in the picture was less clear than that of the others, but he knew it showed Arwen sandwiched between himself and Orophin, with Rumil’s grond deep inside her whilst Orophin had his within her tightest entrance. Tindómë recognised Rumil as the second elf without difficulty.
“And Haldir?” she asked again.
“No. Oddly, never Haldir. He was already Marchwarden by the time Arwen used to share such pleasures with us. I think he felt it would have been… difficult. She was His Lordship’s granddaughter and, had she taken things too seriously, it might have made Haldir’s position awkward. We were just ordinary wardens – we had no such qualms! Neither did any of the other wardens with whom she went starlight bathing over the years…”
He passed her another picture. This one showed a group of four entwined together with the water lapping around their hips – none of them were Orophin, or Rumil for that matter, but the long dark hair and the profile of one of the ellyth showed that she was clearly the Evenstar.
Now both Rumil and Tindómë spoke together.
He began, “I do not know what to do with them, meleth…”
Whilst she said, “Oh, poor Arwen, it must have been so hard for her…”
“Oh, no,” Rumil said, choosing to misunderstand his wife, “she seemed to manage to find a great deal of pleasure without Haldir…”
“That is so not what I meant!” Tindómë said. “It must have been hard for her to give such freedoms up when she married Aragorn.”
Rumil thought about that, briefly.
“No, I do not think so, meleth. She loved him. I did not find it so hard to give them up when I met you…” Then he thought of that favourite picture of Tindómë and Orophin, “well, more or less give them up…”
“Mmm… I guess,” she answered, but she did not sound totally convinced.
“I do not know what to do with them,” he said again.
She looked at him questioningly.
“Well, they are not really suitable to put in the records for her parents, they were more… private. But I do not feel, now, that it would be right to destroy them, when there will be no more pictures of the Evenstar… ever.”
And almost from nowhere Rumil felt tears come. Tindómë’s arms were around him; she wept too. And then her hand sneaked inside his tunic to find his handkerchief. She dried her own eyes and then his.
“These are as much her as the ones of her wedding, or her children’s weddings… perhaps more. And, yeah, not really the thing to give her parents, I guess. But we will keep them,” Tindómë said. “And make sure that someone always remembers another side of who she really was.”
Elo! - wow!
Grond - 'club' - elven slang for penis
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of the Tolkien Estate or of New Line Cinema. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.