In my-verse, both Celebriel, Aragorn/Arwen's firstborn child, and Eldarion, their heir and second child, have grown up to marry spouses from Harad. Karim, Celebriel's husband, was Aragorn and Arwen's foster-son (although at the time, Celebriel was being fostered by Faramir and Eowyn - that's another story, though) so her story is not unlike that of her own father, LOL! Eldarion's marriage to Jalila is dealt with here for the first time. Jalila is based on the Jalila belonging to my friend Susana, but I have not used Susana's backstory for her - Jalila here is the first daughter of the Malik of Harad, which I view (as Larner does) as very similar to Egypt.
1. Chapter 1: Do You Want To Build A Snow-Elf? by Kaylee Arafinwiel
2. Chapter 2: Morning Mystery by Kaylee Arafinwiel
3. Chapter 3: Pursuing Answers by Kaylee Arafinwiel
4. Chapter 4: Another Clue by Kaylee Arafinwiel
5. Chapter 5: I Never Said It Was Poison by Kaylee Arafinwiel
6. Chapter 6: Silver-hair and Desert Rose by Kaylee Arafinwiel
7. Chapter 7: Mystery Solved by Kaylee Arafinwiel
8. Chapter 8: Meeting In The Kitchen by Kaylee Arafinwiel
9. Chapter 9: Healing the Breach by Kaylee Arafinwiel
Written for the prompt "Snow", this chapter is a drabble-and-a-half. Chapters have gotten generally longer as the stories went on, lol!
“Nana! It’s snowing! Do you want to build a snow elf?” Lasiel shouted, racing into her parents’ room. Celebriel sighed and wished that Karim hadn’t been away on the King’s business – her husband could manage the children much better than she, though she had two hands to his one.
“Lasiel, no dinen,” she chided, “be silent and listen. There is not enough snow for a snow elf. Perhaps later. But Anor has not even put her head above the horizon. It is early for little girls to be chasing their nenith out of bed!”
Lasiel sighed, glaring at the balcony, where the grey light of false dawn was just beginning to show.
“Maybe Anor overslept, Nana,” Lasiel suggested. Celebriel shook her head ruefully.
“I think not, sweetling. She knows when it is time to get up, and Faniel will come and wake you when it is time for breakfast.”
Written to the prompt "Pastry", this chapter is a true double drabble.
When Celebriel entered the informal dining room to take breakfast with her family, she narrowly avoided a collision with her elder daughter. Aravis let out a shriek of indignation as Lasiel raced into her, tumbling both girls on their faces in the doorway. “Lasiel! You can’t do that, Naneth will be mad!”
“Naneth will be madder with you for standing in the way!”
“I was going to go find her!” Aravis protested, shoving Lasiel away. Lasiel fought back angrily, and Celebriel cleared her throat, making the tussling girls jump apart.
“Aravis, Lasiel, I am not mad, but I shall have to be very displeased if you do not tell me what this is all about,” Celebriel said, folding her arms.
“Faniel said there were pastries for breakfast, Naneth—“ Aravis was cut off by Lasiel.
“Little jam filled ones, Nana! The kind Daernana loves so much! And when we got in here, they were all gone! Just crumbs!”
Aravis’ displeasure was written across her face. “Someone ate them, and we shall have no breakfast!”
“It wasn’t me, Aravis!” Lasiel protested, and Celebriel stepped between them.
“Well, we have a mystery to solve, sweetlings.”
Who stole the tarts? Celebriel wondered.
225 words. Written for the prompt "Chocolate."
Celebriel and the girls found a trail of flaky crumbs, but it ended at the window. The balcony was far too high of a drop for any Man to risk. “The thief would have to be a bird!” Lasiel exclaimed in dismay.
“A fat bird,” Aravis argued, with a roll of her eyes. “There is no way Nana could have failed to hear if birds were pecking at our breakfast, they could not just fly off with it.”
The Princess laughed ruefully. “Yes, dear heart, you are right,” she agreed. “With the keen hearing your Daernana gave me, I should have heard any thief. That is true enough.” She frowned, and her creased brow marred her fair face. “I do not believe a human thief, or a bird, could have left by the window at all. Let us continue to look.”
The dining room turned up no more signs of the pastries, but Aravis tripped on the chocolate-brown edge of the ornate Haradric carpet. She pushed herself to her feet, and her hand came away sticky with red. “Blood?” Lasiel gasped in horror. Aravis sniffed disdainfully, and licked the smear away. “Cherry preserves,” she said dryly. “And look, there is another smear on the wall outside.”
The girls exchanged glances, and picked up the trail, racing onward in pursuit of answers. They were determined to find the thief and make him – or her – pay for this crime. Celebriel followed sedately behind, smiling to herself. Cherry preserves, indeed! How obvious…
Drabble and a half, written for the prompt "Sock".
The girls all but flew down the corridor, so swiftly did they race on in search of the pastry thief. They stopped in the family living room, where a stray sock, stained with red, lay under the table. Lasiel picked it up and sniffed. “Cherry preserves, and …other things.” She wrinkled her nose. The sock was not free of other stains, including what looked like chocolate. Lasiel’s eyes were fixed on the sock until Aravis snatched it.
“It’s not mine, or Naneth’s.”
Celebriel nodded. “Well, my loves, whose sock is this?” Her daughters exchanged glances, and shrugged.
“It’s too small for Abba, I think,” Lasiel said, but she wasn’t sure. “Huan can help us!”
Valar help me if Karim finds out we invited that naughty beast inside! But it really is too cold for him! “Very well,” Celebriel said. “Not a word to your Abba.”
“No,” the girls chorused.
Written for the prompt "Kitten", another double drabble. "I Never Said It Was Poison" is a trope name from TV Tropes, referencing when someone being questioned knows rather more than they should have, were they completely innocent of a crime.
The hound pup was duly sent for and brought in. He raced toward them on gangly legs, chocolate-brown fur damp with snowmelt, and Celebriel sighed as he shook himself dry. “Quiet, Huan,” she said softly. “We are trying to catch our pastry thief. Will you help us?”
Huan barked, once, and sniffed the jam-stained sock he was offered. The girls were breathless with excitement as he ran on, and followed him out of Celebriel and Karim’s wing of the royal quarters. He skidded to a halt outside the Crown Prince’s rooms.
The door had been left open, and a black kitten with white paws wandered out, sniffing at Huan disdainfully. Huan barked again, frightening her so she jumped into Lasiel’s arms, and Eldarion came to see what all the fuss was about.
“Sister! Little ones! What are you doing about so early?”
“Our breakfast pastries were stolen, Uncle!” Lasiel said indignantly. “And maybe Lady did it!”
Lady set about washing her paws, and Eldarion barked a laugh at the imperious kitten. “Perhaps she did, hmm? But she’s too small to be dragging cherry pastries about.”
Aravis raised her eyebrows and shot Eldarion a suspicious look.
“Lasiel never said cherry pastries…”
Triple drabble. This chapter focuses on Celebriel ("silver-crowned") and introduces Jalila, Eldarion's wife.
“Nay, she did not, sweetling,” Eldarion said in reply to Aravis’ remark. “But my habibi told me there were cherry jam pastries planned for your meal.” As he spoke, the scent of lilies and desert roses wafted into the hallway, and Crown Princess Jalila stepped out of the door opposite her husband’s, crossing the hall and kissing his cheek. She smiled at the girls, as brown as she, and opened her arms to them.
“Good morning, girls. I trust all is well with you?” She looked at her sister-in-law questioningly, but her smile faded when she saw Huan panting at her, the sock dangling from his mouth. “Celebriel, my dear, I do hope you have been teaching the girls decorum. Running about the halls with that beast will not turn them into proper ladies. They are princesses,” she said loftily. Eldarion buried his face in his hands as Jalila went on about what a good son Valandil was, how prince-like, how well-behaved, and how he would never think of setting beasts loose in the halls. She let out a cry when Lady raced up her skirt, clinging with tiny claws, and batted at the small animal to get her down. “Wind God and Star Goddess!” she cried. “What is this, a palace or a menagerie? All these filthy animals!”
Celebriel fixed Jalila with a cool stare. “I suggest you resign yourself to these ‘filthy animals’, sister, if you wish to remain here. Belain willing, you will learn some common decency and not try to bait me into an argument!” How glad I am you no longer share quarters with my brother! The smear of red on Jalila’s lips had not passed Celebriel’s notice, and as she stared, Jalila hastily wiped the smear away.
“Did you do it, Aunt?” Lasiel demanded.
This 300 word chapter, written for "Argument", brings the Pastry Incident to a close, but there's still more to come! :) A joyous holiday season to all my friends (old, new and those I've yet to make), and I hope you continue to read and enjoy!
“I did not,” Jalila responded with a cool stare for the younger of Celebriel’s daughters. “Eldarion and I had raspberry pastries this morn – not that it is any of your business. What right you have to be accusing your uncle and I of being thieves...You did not accuse your beast, I notice,” she said, nodding to the chocolate-brown pup, who whined anxiously. Aravis knelt and scratched between Huan’s ears.
Valandil came out of Jalila’s rooms. “Umma, Ada, is all well?” he asked, glancing from Jalila to Eldarion. “I thought I heard an argument.”
“Your cousins dare accuse me of thieving their pastries, light of my heart,” Jalila said, extremely vexed. “As though they did not know I prefer berries to cherries any day.”
Valandil smirked and picked up the kitten. “Whereas I,” he said loftily, “cannot stand raspberries and adore cherries. Isn’t that so, Lady?”
Lady purred, batting Valandil playfully with a white-socked paw.
“Did you take the pastries, Val?” Lasiel asked cautiously. She held her cousin in rather more awe than her aunt.
“And if I did?” Valandil asked, evincing an innocent air. “What will you do to the son of your Crown Prince?”
“Beat him with pillows,” Aravis snapped. “That was our breakfast, Valandil!”
“I’m a growing boy,” Valandil said with a grin. “How about I get you into the kitchens to get some more?”
“All right,” Aravis conceded. “But we haven’t let you off!”
Valandil nodded, and set off at a clip down the corridor with his cousins in pursuit – this wasn’t news to him!
Behind the children, Celebriel and Eldarion exchanged reminiscent glances. “Were we ever this much trouble for Ada and Nana?” Eldarion asked, once he had stopped choking back a laugh.
“You were worse, ‘Dari,” Celebriel said mildly, and set off after the children.
500 words, written for prompt "Laughter". Celebriel and the children take some time to relax in the kitchens, but have a surprising visitor...
Laughter rang throughout the Citadel kitchens. After breakfast, Celebriel’s daughters had coaxed their cousin into making pastries and chocolate biscuits for Mettare, and Valandil had gamely obliged. Puffs of flour and handfuls of sugar found themselves arraying the royal children’s clothing as often as it landed in the bowl. A friendly argument began about who had baked the most biscuits, and the girls teamed up against Valandil as they worked. Celebriel allied with her nephew against her daughters, to make even teams as well as to supervise.
Mix, knead, roll…the dough became a rhythm. They began cutting out circles with the top of a cup, until they could cut no more from the dough, combined the leftovers, and rolled it again, continuing. When they could cut no more circles from the biscuit dough, Valandil came up with the idea of combining the circles. Under his direction, the biscuits assumed a canine shape. “They are like Huan!” Lasiel giggled, and Celebriel smiled at her nephew as they put the biscuits in the oven.
“That was well done, Valandil.” She paused, finding his excitement had faded. “What is wrong?”
“Umma will scold. She says baking is not…princely.”
Celebriel sighed. “Valandil…there are many things I do not understand about Jalila,” she said. “But I do understand that in Harad, princesses and princes were expected to act in a certain manner, as it befitted their station. That is not untrue,” she added. “Still, our customs and traditions are different. She will always look down on me, I fear, because Karim and I are ‘tainting’ you.”
“Because uncle was forced to steal, or because he was a slave?” Valandil demanded. “That is what she says. I know it is true. She leaves out the ‘forced to’ part. But I know my Umma.”
“Then hear, brother-son,” Celebriel said formally, in the Haradric style, and Valandil paid rapt attention. “Karim ibn Elessar – for so he would name himself – is a worthy Man, a well-beloved husband and a loving father. He was a rich man’s son, once; that man was called away to war in the name of a god he never swore by, and yet he could not refuse. That man never returned, and his lady and heir were turned out for their unfaithfulness to the Eye. He left Karim nothing, not even his name. Nothing, that is, but a name – Bey Hayram, a lord of the North, called Thorongil in the barbarians’ tongue, as he saw it. Bey Hayram had taught him, and his father, certain…truths.”
Valandil’s mouth fell open. This was news to him. “Daeradar knew Uncle Karim’s father?”
“Even so; he was a boy at the time. Through him, Karim came to foster with Adar, and if the Haradrim now call Adar Malik Fayruz, acknowledging him as a king, cannot their daughter Jalila do the same?”
“Yes, my lady.”
Celebriel whipped around, and found Jalila in the doorway, the white-socked kitten sitting by her side. “Sister?”
“Forgive your servant, if you will,” Jalila said.
At 600 words, this falls squarely into "ficlet" territory.
The "Sun Lord and Lady" concept came to me as a result of Linda Hoyland's"Moon God and Goddess" references in Tahir/Adiva fics. Jalila is here termed "Daughter of Harad" in an analogy to the British term "Princess Royal".
More of Karim's backstory comes out, too.
Due to Larner, I see Harad as being heavily influenced by Egyptian culture and the names of the gods reflect that. Bast, or Ubaste, for instance, was viewed by the Egyptians not only as a cat but also a sun goddess, in the form of a living flame - the very form, we are told by Tolkien, that Arien clad herself in."
“Why do you name yourself ‘servant’ to me, Jalila?” Celebriel asked, looking intently at her sister-in-law. Warm silver-grey eyes met Jalila’s bistre, and the other woman averted her gaze.
“I have been guilty of many offences against you and yours, my lady,” she said. “Not least, of undermining your husband’s place. I am a daughter of Harad, as you say—“
“The Daughter of Harad,” Celebriel said with a faint smile, “for are you not Malik Jalil’s eldest daughter, named for your father, and the delight of his eyes?”
Even Jalila would own that she blushed down to her stockings. “Princess Celebriel, truly, that is nonsense. Abba would be most displeased to know I had dishonoured my new family so. I never connected your husband with Karim ibn Salil.”
“Umma?” Valandil turned to her questioningly.
“Salil, may the Sun Lord and Lady honour him, was the youngest grandson of my great-grandfather’s brother,” Jalila explained to her son. “He was of noble blood, but not royal as his father was. The Bey Hayram dwelt in his father’s great house many days and nights. My great-grandfather knew of this, but he did not know of Bey Hayram’s teachings, or that Salil no longer worshiped the Eye. He would have had them…sent away,” Jalila said carefully, remembering the princesses were present, “if he knew that.”
“But the Eye was bad!” Lasiel burst out. Jalila gave a hollow laugh at the younger Princess’ honesty.
“You have no idea how bad, child, and may you never know,” she said. She stroked Lasiel’s hair, and went on. “Salil was a good swordsman, but he often said he could not in good conscience give his life for the Eye. The Sun Lord and Lady would have him, should he die.”
“We know the Sun Lady as Arien, Aunt Jalila,” Aravis put in. “But I did not know she was married.”
“We call her Amaunet,” Jalila replied. “She is the wife of Amun, the Sun Lord. They are gods of great power, and their wrath is hard when they are driven to anger. But here in the Northlands, they seem less forbidding,” she said reflectively.
“Karim tells me Amaunet is also the goddess of new life, and I think Arien would smile to see us at peace. What say you, sister?” Celebriel asked Jalila, resting her pale hand on Jalila’s chocolate-brown one. “Shall we end our strife and forge the bond between our families anew?”
Lady batted at Jalila’s leg, and the Crown Prince’s wife did not scorn the small kitten, but picked her up this time. “Amaunet is also Ubaste, the goddess of hunters, a great lioness,” she said musingly. “Ubaste has sent me her servant to teach me humility. Karim is due to return in the morning. He and I will make offering to the Sun Lady at mid-day tomorrow, so she may judge our hearts.”
Celebriel smiled at the news. “I think Eldarion and I will join you, and bring the children.” She and Eldarion had considered carefully what it meant to raise heirs of Southron blood, and felt that it was only right the children be taught to embrace their Haradric heritage as well as that of Numenor, so long as it did not lead them into evil.
“What does a goddess eat, Aunt?” Lasiel asked, for her Abba had explained ‘offerings’.
“Whatever you wish to give, so long as it is done in pure heart,” Jalila replied. Surely Amaunet would scorn nothing from this innocent child.
“Pastries?” Lasiel suggested hopefully.
The women laughed together, and their children’s hearts were lightened by the sound.
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