Naneth's Surprise

Naneth’s Surprise

Torech Besruth, Falathlorn, Lindon
37 Coirë in the Reckoning of Imladris

(That’s the 17th of March, for everybody else…)

Well, Book, here’s a long entry, but I think it’s important – because Naneth surprised me!  Remember I wrote how I figured out how to get past Naneth’s doors and enter the Sanctum?  Well…

This morning, Naneth and I were walking through the Enclave – that’s what Ada named the valley where the Lair sits – and she was doing like she always does, using every waking moment as a lesson in lore.  She pointed across the river to where you can see Duillond perched above the valley and yes, she was talking about how she helped build the Archives there…

“Naneth, you’ve told me a hundred times,” Bainiel said, “how you were the Curator and all, but what does it matter now?  You’re still a librarian, in our house, so why bother with Duillond?  Isn’t Mistress Parfiolossë running things now?”

“Yes, she is,” Seregrían replied, “and we are not just colleagues, but friends as well.  We correspond often.  And not only she, but also my former colleagues at Imladris…”

Bainiel fought to hide any reaction to the word saying, “But that was so long ago, don’t they even remember you?”

Seregrían gave her daughter a sidelong look.  “You’re asking if Elves forget things, just because of time?  The years have been long, Bainiel, but each time I return to the Hidden Valley is a reunion with old friends.  One dear friend is a minstrel, Nimorn, he who taught me the harp long ago.  Another is a caretaker in the stables, named Cormanor…  ah, that name made you start?”

“Erm, I – dunno what you mean…” Bainiel stammered.

“Oh, I think you do.  There are only three ways you could know that name:  my telling you before, which I have not; having met him yourself, which you could not; or reading his name somewhere in a letter, perhaps?”

“But… Naneth...”

“And the only way you could have read his name in a letter, means that you saw it on my study – in the Sanctum…”

Bainiel bristled.  “And what makes you think any of this is true?  What, a little bird told you tales?”

“Yes, precisely,” Seregrían said.  She turned to face the trees above the manor and let out a shrill whistle.  After a mere minute a majestic bird could be seen winging its way toward the two Elves.  Seregrían extended her hand as the eagle approached.

“Windwalker!?  You’re a sneak for my mother?”

“Nothing as underhanded as that,” Seregrían said, “he merely confirmed my suspicions, when I suspected the Sanctum had been entered.  Only your father and I can open the doors, and since he and your brother are abroad, well…  and now, come with me, daughter, we have much to discuss.  Sûlpadron, “she said to the eagle, “hold yourself ready, for I shall soon have a message for you to bear.”

“I shall await thy bidding, LadyRedElf,” the eagle replied.  “Mind thy dam’s word, Fledgling, that is my counsel unto thee!”  And with a flurry of wings, he flew towards the gabled spires of the manor.  Bainiel followed her mother back to The Lair, cowed into silence and dreading what was to come.  Entering the Gallery, they turned to the guest chamber with its bookcases – and its secrets.

Seregrían stood before the bookcase, her arms crossed and gave Bainiel a withering look.  “I’m waiting…”  Bainiel knew that her mother was waiting for her to speak the incantation that opened the doors, but her voice caught in her throat.  Exasperated, Seregrían drew herself up and commanded: “Fennas Seregrían!  Edro na beth nin!”  At which the bookcase slid sideways to reveal the stairs leading to the Sanctum.  The two climbed the stairs, and Seregrían sat in her white chair behind the study, bidding Bainiel stand before her in audience.

“Now, you’ll get your chance to speak in a moment.  But first.  Windwalker overheard you give the command while I was away - you’ve heard me use the command enough to have learned it, don’t deny it.  But if you’re looking for the ‘sneak’, you can blame both Cormanor – and yourself.  Cormanor wrote me just recently, asking why I had not replied to his last letter – which I could not locate.  I wrote him explaining that I never got his last – he wrote back, outlining that he had been pleased to have met you in Imladris!

“Furthermore, I noted that several items on my study had been disturbed; books open to different pages, letters moved from their accustomed stacks.  And then, there were the hairs…”

“What!  Hairs!?” Bainiel cried.

“Yes, daughter.  You have the habit of running your fingers through your hair when you’re reading.  I found these,” Seregrían showed a few strands on the study top, “resting upon a bookmark.  Bainiel,” she said looking into the girl’s eyes, “did you really think I wouldn’t notice?”  Bainiel was caught, and she knew it – but in that moment she threw caution to the wind and spoke her heart and mind to her mother.

“Naneth, you’ve been giving me only scraps and pieces of lore and book-learning – when am I actually going to learn something that’s not in one of your books?  Ada took Ardanion on that trip to Belfalas, he got to go!  And I got a letter from him last week – he’s having adventures with Ada!  When is it my turn?  Why am I being caged here? 

“And Ardanion is even meeting with Grandmama, it’s not fair!  He’s learning from Ada, and Grandmama was going to teach me, she said so!  I was going to learn the runes from her.  How long am I going to have to stay here!?”

Bainiel was on the verge of frustrated tears, her breath coming in gasps.  Seregrían allowed her to speak, waiting until her venting was done.  When she spoke, her voice was filled with a compassion that Bainiel could not recall hearing, and caused her to listen intently.

“Daughter-mine, you have misunderstood everything.  You are not being caged here; you are being trained, both by me and your father.  I knew of your adventures in the Breelands – now stop, let me finish! – your father told me all about how you were chafing at remaining here, and he convinced me how right it was to let you ‘sneak away’.  He can always convince me, you know…”  she said with a tender smile.

“I have had good report of your first adventures abroad, from many people who know me, and now know you.  Bainiel, I am pleased with how well you’ve conducted yourself.  But answer me one thing:  why on earth did you go to Imladris?”

Bainiel shrugged, took a breath and plunged forward.  “It was because you wouldn’t teach or show me anything about the runes!  I couldn’t learn in letters from Grandmama, so where else, I thought, could I go?  Well, once there I met a very gifted elleth named Mirwen – “

“Indeed?  I remember Mirwen from my time in the Scholar’s Guild – she’s well-versed in ancient writings, including runes, if I’m not mistaken.”

“Oh very much!  She even showed me a few things I was getting wrong, and I learned better control over specific rune-casts, and all! 

Seregrían leaned back in her chair, looking over Bainiel’s enthusiasm as she spoke of her learning.  “So, your father was right again; and even Sûlpadron calls you ‘fledgling’, ready to leave the nest and try your wings.  Well, that’s decided.  Bainiel, I want you to begin packing what gear and luggage you need for a long journey.  You and I are about to depart – for Imladris!”