Fey and Fiery Part 5 Reconciliation.



I heard him move nigh mid afternoon. He had slept long, and I hoped well. I had sat beside him most of the night, watching, questioning myself over what I had done. Oh, he had told me the fault was his. It was not. The reaction was his, but I had initiated the whole problem. Why had I brought a Woman back to our home?

 I heard his footsteps as he crossed from the study nook to the main hall. He stood by the door, shrugged at me and stretched his arms. He certainly had more colour to his face, and his eyes were brighter. 

“The damage is all in hand. I have had Filignil send for a carpenter and plasterer from Celondim. The indentations in the wall and broken wood and furniture will be repaired later today. The glassier cannot come until the morrow, but you can sleep here or in the new hall if you wish.”

He looked around the room and nodded. 

“All will be as it was,” I said.

“Perhaps.”

“Parnard found King Finwe’s head under the bed.”

Estarfin looked at me and frowned. 

“It is delicate work to put the statue right, but it can be done.” 

He frowned again, then said, “I was ….angry. I apologise if I broke anything of great value.” 

(Only later it was that I found out ‘clumsy’ was the better word, as he damaged nothing intentionally. Though the clumsiness was unlike him, and likely brought on by his temper?)

“Estarfin…what happened yesterday….it was my fault. My thoughtless actions made you angry, and for that I apologise. I have no excuse.”

He looked at me closely, almost as if he didn’t believe me. Almost as if he had blamed himself for it all. 

I lowered my eyes with shame. “Do not hate me for it.”

“I do not hate you, Danel, otherwise I would have never been as angry as I was,” he spoke softly. Then he walked over to the pond in the middle of the room, and slowly washed his hands. 

I followed him, desperate to know I was forgiven, despite my shallow responses to him. 

“I did not understand,” he said. “To be honest, I still do not, though my temper has cooled. He  used his damp hands to pull his hair back from his face, and turned to regard me again. There was no anger in his eyes, only confusion. 

“ I am the reason you lost control. I acted without showing you any regard, though I know better, and my heart is torn. I wanted to find help for Parnard, that he may learn music. But if I look inward I see I was ignoring you. I can only think I have walked alone for so long it is a little strange to have another…so close? Another I would think of as much as myself. I cannot promise I will never fail you again, only that I will endeavour never to do so. I cannot hurt you without hurting myself.”

He nodded slowly at me, but still looked unsure as to why.

“When you set out those three choices…to acknowledge any one of them would be to say I cared not for you. They were not truth. I have never meant to hurt you. Never. This place is your home if you want it to be, yours and Parnards.” I gestured at the room around me,  but was implying the whole homestead. 

“Do I ask too much of you?” he suddenly questioned.

‘No!’ I called in my thoughts before I could vocalise it. “No, never have you done so.” In truth he placed no restrictions on me, save the one. No Men.

He moved to sit on the stone rim of the pond. 

Then I said something I had been pondering. I knew it was something he would not accept, but I needed him to know he belonged here. That it was not my home alone. 

“If you are in any doubt about who is in charge here, I shall transfer the deeds to all the houses to you, on the sole condition that Parnard may remain.”

I watched his reaction. As expected, he frowned. 

“You believe I covert these Halls?” he said incredulously. 

“No. Never have you given any hint you do so. Nor, do I believe it is in your nature. But I do believe my actions have caused you to doubt what I say….that this place is as much yours as mine. “

He sighed, and ran a hand through his hair.

“I came of this place by good fortune and timing, not of my making. But I will not have you think I command… and as for me thinking you a fool…”

“I was angry when I spoke thus. I can be direct at times and spoke simply to the only possibilities that I saw,” he responded. 

“I know. I tried to explain there could be a fourth reason, but I would have been better holding my peace until later.”

He looked down at the tiles on the floor.

“Do not shut me out. I know what I have done.”

He looked back up at me. “I have not. I am still here. I have not ridden to the coast, or fled to Imladris.”

I knew it. He had already forgiven me. This was about understanding, and I was pressed to make things right in that respect. 

“You do not flee anything,” I said. “In that you are wiser than I, for there are times I would almost hide away rather than face a problem. I want to make things right between us….I want you to understand me…”

He nodded. “I, too, want to understand.”

“I have pondered much in the early hours. Your words that this is my home alone have stung me. The only way I can show you it is not so is by offering you the Lordship of these Halls.”

He looked surprised I was still pursuing that course.  “You saw where I dwelled, I showed you… I have no desire for  such lofty halls ..”

“I know.”

There was a hint of frustration in Estarfin’s voice, as he seemed to struggle to keep it calm. Indeed, I could be very frustrating. Did I not know that? But I sought clarity.

“I know you do not,” I repeated. “I do not offer because I think you want it, but to show I mean what I say. This place is nothing to me without you. It is no home if I drive you away.”

He was watching me closely. Then he tried to explain his thoughts again. 

“Danel, I do not seek for Lordship of this or any other place. It is a title I have never earned, and shall never. These bricks and stones mean nothing. I stay because of you. You and Parnard. Yet you brought a mortal here.” He sighed again. 

I closed my eyes. “Yes, and there is no way I can undo that, no matter how much I wish I could. The halls matter not. My point was that you know I do not desire any command either. If I had been thinking clearly for one minute I would have sent the woman away. I did not show you I understood the one thing you have told me is set in stone. And yet you stay with me? I am not worthy of you. Yet I so much want to be.”

We sat in silence for a few moments, then he spoke again. “Do you remember the pine trees, when a wind was blowing through them in the winters of Thargelion?”

I nodded. I could picture those dark sentinels on the heights clearly. 

“Some bent with the wind, bowing to it, yet remaining standing. Others did not, and cracked.”

I nodded again. I was listening. I was remembering.

“I fear I am no longer capable of bowing or bending, if I ever was. I will not relent in duty or belief. You know that.”

He looked at me.

“I do.” And did I not know his thoughts regarding duty and belief, for most stemmed from the days of our youth. Most were the same as mine, though not all. 

“Yet I do not, can not, expect the same of others.”

“I understand,” I said. He had never asked me to feel the same about Men as he did, though I knew he thought me naive.

He nodded.

“The trees that survived the winter were those which bent the most…but also the strongest. It was the weaker ones that did not bend that fell.” I said. I do not speak against your commitment to duty,” I said. “Nor your beliefs. They are all part of who you are.”

Estarfin straightened up. “It would be unseemly for me not to accept your apology, so I must.” he said. 

‘Must?’ That cut me, though I suspected he had not meant it to. I looked him in the eyes again. 

“This gale shall not topple me, though it has been a sore test.” he shrugged. “A clumsy metaphor.”

“I know not what to say. ‘Thank you’ seems appropriate.” I lowered my eyes that he had ended with such words, when I had thought….

“Time. Give me a little time,” he said in a softened voice. He made a small smile. 

And I thought he had relented, a little, and would not have me so sad. 

“Take what time you wish, Lord,”  I replied, in an equally softened voice.

He turned to look out the window. Already the rose hue of twilight was fading to the black of night. 

“You were well intentioned, I can see that.” he turned back to me. 

“Thank you. Though intention has no place alongside thoughtlessness.”

“Yet was I not thoughtless to level accusations against you in my anger?”

I looked at him and gasped slightly. He had heard me after all? I ventured a small smile in return. 

“I started it. You should have had no reason to accuse me.”

“It was ungallant of me,” he replied. 

“Why  should you be gallant when I was acting like that?”

He just looked at me, but I knew.

“Because it is who you are. You are more noble than I. I do not want to hurt you in any way, and that is more than enough reason to make me change. I am still a little flexible, you see.” I straightened myself up, and stretched my arms a little. 

“I am but a smaller pine on the mountainside, or a rowan tree, clinging tenaciously to a cliff.”

He smiled slightly. “That is a wiser path to take I think.”

“Under a harsh gale I can sway into taller trees and damage them. I need to firm up my own roots to compensate. But I can stand when others are swept away by the storm. All the more so when next to a strong pine.”

He grinned slightly at yet another clumsy metaphor. 

“Just do not leave,” I whispered. 

He inclined his head. “I shall head for the coast in the morning, but return in a day or so.”

He looked through the window again, and I looked too, seeing some of the bright stars gracing a moonlit night. Possibly it was over bold of me, given the recent days, but I would end that evening on a better note. I held out a hand to him, not expecting it to be taken up. 

He looked at me.

“Will you walk with me under the stars this night?” I asked. 

He was  thinking. Then he stepped forward and took my hand. “It would be a pity to waste Tintalle’s efforts to brighten our thoughts.”

“We can dance again?”

“Perhaps.”

Outside, we stood as trees of Thargelion, as sentinels for awhile. He gave away little, but he was there beside me, steadfast and strong.