So Fair Thee Well, My Own True Love
Rumil had reminded Tindómë, this last night before she set off on her quest, of the last night they spent together before he rode to war with the combined forces of Gondor and Rohan.
“Whoever carved this bed for Her Ladyship’s household did not have the same degree of foresight as whoever carved that bed,” he said, smiling.
This one was beautifully decorated, with a relief of branches and leaves, but solid; there were no curves and curls which would allow, so easily, something that tied someone’s wrists together to be looped over it to hold that person in place. Their own bed-head resembled, more, the one from Ithilien…
She did not answer in words but stretched herself out, like a big cat, with her hands grasped together above her head.
Rumil smiled again, and grasped her two hands in one of his, holding them in place, whilst he began to torment her with his lips and his other hand. Soon she was squirming, trying to bring her nipples within reach of his mouth, and as his finger nails traced patterns on her inner thigh she tried to twist to bring his fingers closer to her huch. He licked his lips but refused to touch the places that she silently offered to him.
This game continued for some time before he slid his cristhen into its sheath, within her, and dropped his lips to kiss her mouth.
The joining was deep, slow, and both were held at the edge of flight for long minutes before Rumil could feel that Tindómë could hold back no longer and, with a final deep thrust and a twist of his hips, he drove them together over the edge and upwards.
He rolled them both over, then, so that Tindómë lay on top of him, still joined together. He could feel her beginning to drift into sleep…
And then; “Oh!” she said, as she suddenly lifted her head from his chest.
“I’ve just remembered what is strange about the map that shows all of the world before Aman, here, got cut off from the rest of it – you know, the one Erestor showed me.”
“The thing is,” she continued, “I’ve seen a map a lot like that one before. You know how I think this world and the one I was caught in before are, like, two versions of the same thing?”
She had explained that years ago and, as there was no clear proof either way, Rumil thought it as likely as not.
“Well Giles had lots of old maps that he used when he wanted to look up demons, and to help him understand ancient languages, and things. And he had a copy of a really old map of the whole world. It was five or six hundred years old…”
Clearly, Rumil thought, Tindómë was very involved in what she was saying or the oddness of that remark, when made to an elf of over fourteen hundred years of age, would have struck her. He listened carefully as she continued.
“…and it showed all of what they called ‘The Old World’, kinda like Middle Earth, pretty clearly, if a bit squashed. And it showed ‘The New World’ to the west. That’s the continent that I lived on – North America. And California was a small piece of that – yes?”
“Yes,” he answered as he felt he was expected to do at this point.
“Well, on the old map of the world the Americas, because there are actually two whole continents, a north one and a south one, were shown just like a long narrow strip down the far side, curved around a bit. Just like that map shows Valinor!” **
Rumil could feel Tindómë’s emotions bubbling up; there was excitement, but also a degree of both worry and, increasingly, horror. He remained calm, and waited.
“I mean, what if the map of this
world is as wrong? The elves who drew it might only have known what there was within a few miles of the coast. They might have thought it wasn’t far to the other side just because they hadn’t needed to know, and hadn’t been that far!
“The sailors who drew the Old Earth map just made the new lands that they hadn’t really explored the right size and shape to fit the space they thought was there; but they were wrong. It was much, much, bigger. What if Aman is really an enormous continent, thousands of miles wide, and I have to traipse all the way across it, with Haldir, for years?”
Rumil wanted to laugh. He had to close her out of all his emotions to prevent her realising this.
“Don’t laugh!” she said.
Ah – he had not been quick enough. He gave in to the laughter.
“Meleth,” he finally said, “I do not find the idea of you being away from me for years amusing; simply your horror at the possibility of having to spend so much time with my eldest brother.”
“And there’s Spike…” she said, sounding much more serious than Rumil, “he might give up and let himself, uh, fade if we take too long.”
“I do not think you need to fear, meleth,” he answered (although very, very, privately he still thought that would solve a lot of problems…), “for have we not spoken to someone who has stood on a range of mountains, only a week or two’s travel from Tirion, and seen the sea beyond?
“The coincidence of Master Elrond’s map looking like one that… Giles… owned is interesting, but I do not think it is anything other than coincidence. Honestly.”
Before she could say more he slid his hands down her body, and kissed her. As they were both awake it seemed a good idea to return to the pleasures of the hroar. Through their bond he could feel her not quite believing him – but being happy to be distracted.
Gandalf arrived in time to wave them off, as he had promised, saying he would then travel with those returning to Alqualondë.
Tindómë voiced her worries about no-one seeming to be able to clearly pinpoint for them the exact direction they needed to travel, or the distance.
“Little one,” Gandalf said, “has it occurred to you that the exact whereabouts of the entrance to the Halls of Lord Námo or Lady Nienna may not be quite as… fixed… as, say, Valimar or Tirion? Although,” he went on with a slight smile, “I recognise that even their positions are not well mapped.”
Tindómë did not have to ask him what he meant by his remarks about the dwellings of the Valar; she understood all too well. But she did not want it to be true.
“But… but Naltatamë had no problem taking Gimli to Lord Aulë’s forge; she knew where she was going. And lots of other smiths have studied there, too. And Celebrían said she had visited the gardens of Lórien and spent time with Lady Estë and Lord Irmo.”
As he so often did, the Maia simply looked at her, implying she could figure it out for herself.
“Ceryn Manw… I mean Huitho! There are entries to those places that everyone knows because those are the places the elves are welcome, and want to visit? Are the domains of the Valar all, uh, pocket dimensions? So we could just wander around for ever and a day and not find where we are going?”
“Or you may find where you seek with little difficulty,” he answered; which confirmed to Tindómë that she was probably right, but it wasn’t terribly reassuring.
“So the last minute advice from Lord Manwë would be ‘Go West, young Key,’ and that’s about it?”
“The message from Lord Manwë is to travel without too much care for maps, and his brother will, most certainly, hear your request.”
Haldir, who had listened to the conversation without joining in before now, seemed to have picked out from this a more positive message than Tindómë.
“Well,” he said firmly, “if Lord Námo is certainly
going to hear your request, brother-wife, then we are certainly going to find him.”
He was right. Tindómë answered, genuinely, “Thank you, Haldir. Yes, of course.”
“It is obvious,” Haldir continued. “And equally obviously we are not going to arrive if we do not set out. Come, our horses are ready.”
She felt the urge to stick her tongue out and dawdle.
“He is quite right, you know,” said Gandalf.
She stuck her tongue out at him instead.
As was correct, goodbyes had been said in private; not only had Tindómë been thoroughly farewelled in their bed but she had been hugged by Legolas and Orophin. Rumil helped her, now, into the saddle. Not that she needed assistance, but it was a last chance to hold her.
He had said farewell, also, to Haldir.
“She is very dear to me, brother. She holds part of my fëa, and is dearer to me than breathing. As the Valar have decided that I am not to accompany her on this journey, I could ask no-one better. Bring her back safely to me, though, or I cannot vouch for my reaction.”
“Do you wish her mission to be successful, brother?” Haldir asked.
Ah – this was the first time Haldir had actually asked this – and Rumil knew to answer carefully. Should he say that it would be better for Spike to remain in the other world, whether this ended his existence or not, Haldir might have choices to make where this could colour his decision. But, knowing his brother as he did, should there come a point where there was disagreement between the two who travelled together, Haldir might justify his
wishes to Tindómë by quoting what Rumil wanted. It would not bode well should Haldir tell her that Rumil thought it better for this strange sister-husband to remain where he was, and lost to her forever.
But Haldir had been parent and brother to Rumil for most of his life; he would know whether Rumil was being honest in his response…
“I wish her to be happy.”
Haldir said nothing but looked at Rumil with an expression the younger brother recognised, all too well, as meaning ‘I am expecting the rest of your answer.’
“Brother,” Rumil picked his words carefully, “I wish that she reaches Lord Námo’s domain safely and quickly, and returns to me as soon as it is possible, no matter what His Lordship’s answer.”
“I, too, wish this quest to be over quickly and efficiently, and your wife returned to your side, my brother,” Haldir replied. “You may have no fear that I will drag the journey out longer than is necessary.”
That, Rumil thought, was as diplomatic a statement as his reply to Haldir’s question had been. Under other circumstances it would have made him smile.
Now he stood with Orophin and Legolas as, firstly, Mithrandir wished the two who were setting out “safe journey”, and then Her Ladyship did likewise. Behind them stood his parents, and a group of friends, each of whom did nothing more than nod solemnly as Haldir raised his arm in a gesture of farewell. Tindómë also nodded and, as the horses began to walk away, neither looked back.
Cristhen – Sindarin slang for penis
Ceryn Manwë! – Manwë’s balls!
Huitho! – Fuck!
**The maps in question –
One of the few maps showing all of the planet on which Middle earth can be found. And an early map of Earth;
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only, and all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkien, or Mutant Enemy.