Within the enclosure of Duillond’s small library stood a fair-haired ellon garbed in blue robes, looking over maps at the table in the chamber’s center. His demeanor and raiment were none too different from the elven scholars who frequented the location. However, at the top of the steps and at the threshold of the entranceway, stood a silver-haired ellon whose stance and outfit betrayed that he was more used to wielding weapon than quills and ink.
The golden-haired ellon must have recognized the other as he entered, for he lowered his map to the table and beckoned to him.
Celebrig descended the few steps towards Glorendir. “What?”
“I just wanted to say hello,” Glorendir replied rather pleasantly as if his acquaintance’s terse manners did not affect him in the slightest.
During this exchange, another ellon strode into the library, looking around with ease as if quite familiar with the place, before busying himself near the shelves. It was only moments later that an elleth with long, caramel hair pushed open the door to the library and sauntered in leisurely. The number of occupants in the circular chamber, however, made her pause midstride and tuck her book behind her back. She debated whether to turn around and leave, not wanting to be bothered with bookish elves who pored over aging parchment. Yet, not having been in Duillond very long, there was no assurance that these elves would be like those in the expansive library in Imladris and she contemplated the fact that she might be able to return her book in peace without nosy and meddling scholars.
Celebrig turned his head to note the entrance of the two newcomers before looking at Glorendir and responding to his greeting. “Well, you have. Now, what’s this letter about?”
Glorendir continued, impervious to Celebrig’s curtness. “Oh, you received it, yes? Wonderful. It is just a little walk to stretch the legs all the way to Lake Evendim.”
Celebrig replied with a scowl at Glorendir. “I fail to see what is wonderful, but you have my attention…for now.”
Meanwhile, the ellon at the shelves, Tancamir, had picked up a book by this time and glanced up at the door, only to nearly drop his book in surprise. The Duillond library being rather small, it was only a matter of moments before the elleth, Luthelian, also noticed Tancamir. Her lips parted slightly as she gaped at first, but then they soon pressed together thinly. Feeling her gaze on him, Tancamir glanced at her sideways, looking a mixture of embarrassed and annoyed. He coughed awkwardly.
This strange interaction between the two newcomers caught Celebrig’s attention. He pointed towards them, asking to Glorendir, “Who are these two?”
Glorendir followed Celebrig’s gaze and narrowed his eyes. “Tancandil and Luthelien, or something along those lines I think.”
Tancamir stood close enough to overhear the other two ellyn and began to correct Glorendir and introduce himself properly, “Oh, I am Tancamir. Formerly a Guard of Mithlond…” But he stopped mid-sentence as Luthelian crossed the chamber towards him with a dangerous glint in her eyes. He turned to regard her approach with a wary expression.
Luthelian began with indignation in her tone, “What are you doing here?”
Tancamir replied, 'I was going to ask the same of you?'
To this seemingly innocent question, Luthelian exclaimed, 'You have some nerve!' as if Tancamir had committed a great injustice by asking it.
As the altercation began, Glorendir leaned closer to Celebrig, who seemed to be watching the exchange with mild amusement, and whispered, "I have no idea what they are doing around here." Forgetting his maps, he scooted closer to Celebrig and produced an apple and small knife from his sleeve. Slicing the apple cleanly in two, he offered half of the apple to Celebrig. “This looks like it should be entertaining.” Celebrig took the apple without any indication of gratitude and proceeded to munch on it none too elegantly. As if the two could not be more unlike each other, Glorendir meticulously cut a piece of his half of the apple and ate it elegantly, also watching the pair by the shelves with interest.
Tancamir coughed awkwardly again before starting lamely, “I…um…” He appeared to be rather at a loss for words.
His lack of response seemed to only displease Luthelian, who put a hand impatiently on her hip. “You…um…what?” she asked, raising an eyebrow challengingly.
Tancamir began again. “I traveled west to visit some friends in Mithlond and to, uhh, retrieve this.” He gestured at his silver and white hauberk, which caused Luthelian to look him up and down critically.
From the center of the room, Celebrig inquired, “These two friends?”
Glorendir snorted. “They seem to think so. They are both wrong.”
Meanwhile, Tancamir looked towards the two ellyn at the center of the chamber, perhaps hoping that they could supply him with some words that would rescue him out of his predicament.
Luthelian gave him no time to consider them. “Did you lose your lips or your hands when you went to go retrieve your hauberk?”
“Uh. No.” Under the pressure of Luthelian’s withering glare, Tancamir attempted to salvage the conversation lamely. “I am…glad to see you? I…I was planning a journey back to Imladris…”
Luthelian’s voice rose in pitch. “Glad to see me?!” This apparently was not the right approach.
Tancamir chuckled weakly in reply. “Uh…I understand if you do not feel quite the same…I should have told you I was leaving.”
Still watching quietly from the sides, Glorendir whispered to Celebrig. ‘This is better than a stage play. The acting is superb.”
Luthelian replied harshly to this, glaring at Tancamir’s hauberk as if burning a hole into it. “Yes, what is your pathetic excuse for disappearing?”
At these words, Tancamir immediately began to look crestfallen. “None, really,” he answered, staring at the floor.
From the side, Glorendir remarked astutely to his observation partner, “I think he actually has a reason. He is just too wrapped up in his inner drama to say anything!”
“You may call me a coward. I certainly merit the title now.” Tancamir looked awkwardly back up at Luthelian. Then he returned to staring at the floor and his forlorn expression seemed to stir the sympathy within Luthelian, as she remained silent for once and let the guise of anger slip from her face briefly.
The stagnating silence between them did not seem to reassure Tancamir any more than her yelling, so he attempted conversation again. “Er…Might I ask why you are here?”
Unfortunately, his placating efforts only served to disperse the glimpse of sympathy in Luthelian’s expression, and her annoyance reared its head again, unforgotten. She sidestepped his question and retorted to his previous comment scathingly. “No, you do not merit the title of a coward. Cowards at least run from something.”
Tancamir flinched. “I…” He trailed off, glancing helplessly again at the other two ellyn in the room.
Instead, the two proved unhelpful as they continued making their own observations of the situation while Tancamir sighed, left to defend himself.
“He is just going to stand there and simper!” Celebrig looked on with increasing befuddlement.
Glorendir winced. “She is merciless, and he has absolutely no self-respect.”
Yet, towards Luthelian, Celebrig held a different opinion. “I like her,” Celebrig remarked, laughing.
“Of course you do.” Glorendir said matter-of-factly. He was not surprised, given his silver-haired companion’s own temperament.
Luthelian’s verbal slaughter had not abated in this time. “Perhaps when you went to go pick up your hauberk, you left your mouth behind! I will assume you are a mute now, since you cannot tell someone when you are leaving or why you left in the first place.”
At this, Tancamir seemed to find some confidence. Truth and facts were easier to explain than emotions and reasons. “My sister went East over the Hithaeglir to Lorien, which I am sure you know. I would have joined her, but...”
Luthelian tapped her foot impatiently during this pause while Celebrig came up with his own theory as he watched from the side. “…But he got told to go home and straight to bed?” Glorendir chuckled at this and Celebrig responded with a shrug.
Tancamir continued with surer footing in the conversation. “I encountered a patrol of my old friends, the Dúnedain, when I was out hunting by the banks of the Bruinen. I followed them north, where we had other things to deal with.” He paused to shrug before concluding his story. “A letter reached me afterwards from Mithlond. That is all.”
The casual, offhand gesture of his shoulders was not lost to Luthelian, whose eyes flickered again with annoyance. She touched her fingers to her temple and closed her eyes momentarily. Glorendir acutely picked up on this reaction from where he stood. “Oh, he was doing well. The shrug killed it, though.”
“Let me get this straight...you were dallying around the river, saw some old friends, completely forgot yourself and scurried after them?” Luthelian’s voice quivered with barely contained frustration.
Tancamir retorted as best as he could. “There were urgent matters at hand! There was a troll incursion from the Coldfells!”
Here, Celebrig coughed loudly, interrupting the conversation, and unknowingly providing respite for Tancamir from the increasingly heated altercation with Luthelian. "So, you two lovebirds here for the trip to Evendim, or did we get to see this comedy for free?"
This only merited a glare from Luthelian, who had reluctantly taken her glower off Tancamir and whipped her head towards Celebrig to give him the same look for his interruption. Tancamir, on the other hand, took great interest. Whether it was his desperation to turn to other topics of conversation or his genuine affinity for Evendim, he inquired further with a sheepish look, “Did someone say Evendim?”
Celebrig grinned at Glorendir with an expression that spoke of mischief, and Glorendir seemed to entertain similar ideas, for he whispered in return, “I did not invite them, but I would not at all mind to see this play unfold!”
Celebrig responded to Tancamir. “That's right, big lake..lots of Dúnedain..big ruined city?”
The continued discussion of this topic only seemed to raise Luthelian’s ire more. A shadow like a dark storm cloud brewed over her brows as she scowled at Celebrig and Tancamir – at the first for interrupting her conversation and at the second for freely embarking on it to avoid responding to her. Celebrig noticed her expression. “Nice smile you got there, Ruindol.”
Glorendir also did not help. “Are you interested in joining?” he asked Tancamir.
“I would be willing to serve as a guide, or companion if you wish,” Tancamir offered with an awkward smile. “I have a great fondness for that land and its sights.”
Glorendir received this news happily, unaffected by Luthelian’s mood. “That is wonderful! The more the merrier. The lady is coming too, I hope?”
His cheerful impassiveness seemed too much for Luthelian and her patience ran out, a sarcastic quip escaping her. “Oh, that sounds exciting. Another chance to run off at the slightest sound of something that strikes your fancy!”
Tancamir glanced warily at Luthelian and awkwardly began to walk away from her slowly, instinctively knowing that he could not impose upon her self-restraint any longer.
Luthelian flipped her long caramel tresses behind her shoulder with a toss of her head. “Do whatever you want. Clearly, you are going to act like a lost hound chasing the next adventure that passes in front of your nose!” With this, she turned on her heel and marched out of the Duillond library with the book she was going to return still in her hand.