A morning in Rivendell
Daylight slowly filtered in through the drapes of Elrond's house. The elf, still asleep in the wide bed of the guest room, mumbled something and pulled the blanket over her head, unwilling to wake up.
Suddenly the sound of a startled bird outside made her listen up. She opened her eyes wide in shock. "Oh no... Nemben..."
Without warning, she catapulted herself out of the bed, looking for the child she was supposed to be taking care of. But the spot where she expected the cradle to be was empty - and looking back she for the first time saw the bed she had been sleeping in. Not a cot in the corner of the room as would befit a nanny, but a real bed, wide and draped...
Standing in the middle of the room with the blanket still wrapped around her, she gaped in confusion as the memories of last evening slowly filtered back. Had it just been a bad dream? It felt like one - the travel with Lady Malliel and her husband and child, back from Lórien to join the festivities in the Halls of Fire. Lord Andarne had gone on ahead to Rivendell, and they had taken the last miles of travel alone. Then, at the ford, the commotion... yrch and wargs bursting out from behind every bush. It had all gone so fast - Eirien could only remember Lady Malliel shouting at her to protect Nemben and throw herself at the enemies. Her last memory of Malliel was to see her being overwhelmed by a few orcs at once before she turned and ran as swift as he feet would bear her into the forest, towards the mountains.
She could not quite remember how she had crossed the ford and got to Imladris, but suddenly she had seen the Homely House rising up before her. Not knowing where else to turn, but remembering Andarne speaking about the Hall of Fire, she had burst into the halls...
She gasped as she remembered. There had been so many people! All of them, staring at her and Nemben. Lord Andarne was there, as well... he had taken a look at her and guessed what happened.
Eirien frowned a little as she remembered the lord's reaction. He had not done anything - just sat there and cried. In the meanwhile, all the great Elf-lords and Ladies had sprung to action, organised scouting and rescue parties... He had not even wanted to hold his child!
But... she blushed - she had not been much good either, had she? She had just run when she was told to, and then cried and made a show of herself. Her teachers would be so disappointed in her, and her behaviour.
But they had been so kind to her, even so. Lady Mirineth told her how good she had been to bring the information here. And Lord Eglanel... She blushed fiercely.
Remembering her duties, she wondered where she was and how to find Nemben, her ward. She could not remember how she got here yesterday, into this strange room and bed. A quick look around the room revealed that it was a guest room, one of Lord Elrond's many rooms. Well, that was good - she only had to walk out of the room and find the downstairs guest rooms, then.
But whose? There were strange belongings in the room - not strewn around or messy, but neatly arranged in piles and stacks. Picking up a little courage, she padded around in the room - still barefoot - to look at them. A travelling pack in the corner, and a beautifully carved walking staff. There were many books stacked in a corner of the small writing desk, and some scrolls and letters to the other side. A beautiful feather lay next to an inkwell - not the one provided with the desk, but an expensive-looking crystal one, certainly belonging to the owner of the room. A half-finished letter was in the middle of the table, and Eirien fought her conscience on whether or not to take a look at it.
Her curiosity won.
Thank you for your most recent letter. The news you tell me are worrying, but not unexpected - it was only a matter of time for the old grudges between Rohan and the Men of Dunland to flare up again.
Regrettably, my company is still honour-bound to defend our own woods to the North and cannot afford the contingencies to join on this front at the moment. However, I have sent a delegation to aid a friend who I believe is friendly to your cause. I cannot at the moment write more.
About the search for my sister, there are no news. I am afraid my duties as Tûr of the..."
Eirien's mouth formed an O as she held on to the back of the chair in front of her, her knees suddenly feeling as soft as mud. Her face blushed crimson.
She had slept in Lord Eglanel's bed...