Istari, circa 1040 Third Age by Huinare

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Story Notes:

Herein be all works pertaining to the following Back to Middle Earth Month 2012 BINGO cards: Beasty, Deep Thoughts, Landscape, Snippets of Verse, Textures, Weather.

These pieces are best read as chapters in a chronological story, but I think each section can stand on its own if need be.

12 June, updates:

– Essentially rewrote Ch 16.  Revisiting it is recommend (because it no longer sucks and it talks about Cardolan briefly, which is only fair since Arthedain and Rhudaur were both visited), but not necessary for overall comprehension.

– Tweaked Ch 18 to flow better.

– BRAND NEW CHAPTER. 19.  More to come!

Author's Chapter Notes:

A ship bears five somewhat cranky Maiar, recently saddled with inconvenient human bodies, toward the Havens.  Mildly humorous situations ensue.

Thurs 1 Mar.  BINGO # I18.  Prompts: “Hawk” (Beasts), “Hill” (Landscape), “Splintery” (Texture).

The small square-rigged caravel, like unto the fog itself, was neither white nor grey.  It resembled somewhat a Telerin ship, but not so lean.  It came incisively on through the water, though its passengers were not so certain.  The five of them peered out into the mist for signs of land. 

The tallest, greying auburn hair and teal surcoat bright against the surroundings, gestured from his position at the aft starboard rail.  “I saw the shadow of the cliffs upon the south, a day ago.”

“And I saw those upon the north,” agreed one cloaked in grey at the port rail, whose hair was already mostly grey, “I think.”

Upon his right, one in a white tabard blinked significantly, the barest hint of a grimace.  “Our sight is dimmed and blurred, Olórin.”

“Which is why I ‘think’ rather than ‘know,’” Olórin elaborated.  “Alatar and I both think we are well within the Bay of Lhûn.”

A short man with a green-trimmed brown tunic, who seemed as the youngest of the group, hopped up to crouch on the bowsprit.  Yet even he was not young, and he wavered somewhat before steadying himself.  “I don’t see anything ahead yet.”

“It shan’t be long,” another in cobalt-grey cloak and hood said calmly, still looking south, and said then no more.

“Pallando’s never wrong about these things.  The winds and currents will see us there soon enough.”  Alatar went to stand behind the brown-clad man.  “What’s the matter now, Aiwendil?”

Aiwendil spoke with a wince.  “It seems our noble boat gave me a splinter.”

“I thought this ship was freshly painted.”  Alatar ran a hand along the smooth rail until it fell upon the rough place where some of the paint had chipped away.

“We did pass through several storms,” said Olórin, also coming to stand in the bow, “Aiwendil’s habitual clambering around on everything notwithstanding.”

Aiwendil sat back on his heels, wavering again before regaining his balance, to prod gingerly at his right palm.  “It’s a very small thing, but it hurts rather a bit.  How does one get it out?”

Olórin shrugged.

“Tweezers,” suggested Alatar.  “Curumo!  I don’t suppose you have any such thing among your tools?”

The white-garbed man, also tall but leaner than Alatar, glanced over.  The hair that lay upon his back was still black, but it had gone grey and white around his temples.  “Forceps?”

“Whatever you call them.  Aiwendil’s got a splinter.”

Curumo went into the aftcastle, and presently emerged with a small implement and a long-suffering expression.  “These forceps are for manipulating visible particulate.  Please wash them when you’re done.”

While Alatar and Olórin offered helpful suggestions to Aiwendil–”Hold it by the one thing, not the two things,” “Will you not come down?  A bowsprit is no place to be poking at yourself with pointy objects,”–Curumo went to stand by Pallando at the starboard rail.

Pallando glanced up from under his hood with dark eyes.  “Not since the war on Utumno have I walked upon Endórë.”

Curumo frowned faintly, peering into mist or memory.  “Yes.  The enemy has grown weaker since then…”

“As have we,” Pallando finished for him quietly, with the hint of an ironic smile.  “Do you perceive that we ought to have accepted the terms of this commission?”

“I do not know.  What think you?”

“I know as much as you know.”  Pallando straightened suddenly, hood falling back from still-black hair.  “There’s a bird, Curumo.”

East by south, off in the wispy distance, an aerodynamic speck soared.

“I think it’s a hawk?  We must be near land then,” said Curumo.

Pallando, with an energy belied by his calm air, trotted to the others in prow.  Paradoxically, he seemed calm even in his excitement.  “Look off to your right a ways.  There’s a bird, bearing north now.  Is that not a hawk, Aiwendil?”

Aiwendil looked up from his splinter.  “I daresay it is.”  He inched further out on the bowsprit impulsively.  “If not that, an ospr–”  His balance forsook him and he topped into the charcoal matte of the long bay with a resounding splash. 

“Rope,” Alatar grumbled, running to fetch it.

Once Aiwendil had been hauled back aboard, he handed the forceps to Curumo with a grin, sodden pale hair dripping in his face.  “The splinter came out.”

Curumo’s subtly crestfallen expression shifted to one of relief and surprise.  “You held onto them.”

“Of course!”

“When did you get the splinter out–?”

“I have no idea.”

Curumo shrugged and pocketed the forceps protectively.

“Look where our hawk is pointing, friends,” said Olórin.  The bird had wheeled east, almost anticipating the ship’s own trajectory, and into a place where the fog at last began to clear.  Muted sunlight filtered through the gauze of mist to lie upon the scarps and hills that marched down eastward from the sea-broken mountains.  The five on the ship stood for a time and watched the as the fog dispersed and the land drew nearer.  Amid the grey of sea-battered stone, the green of the hills could be discerned now, fading still further off into an elusive horizon-blue.  The hawk shrank from view, a vanished speck among them.

Curumo disappeared again, and reappeared with a towel.  “You’re dripping, Aiwendil.  I think these forms take ill rather easily.  It might do to wring your hair out.”

Aiwendil accepted the towel and the counsel appreciatively.  He said to Olórin whilst the others still huddled in the prow, “Lady Yavanna told me Curumo would remember the practical things.  I never would on my own.”

“He also wishes for the Eldar to be suitably impressed,” Olórin commented cheerfully.  “A practical enough endeavor, I suppose, in which a sopping old man would be of no help at all.”

So it was that the Istari, decked in various hues and each appearing to bear his own particular wisdom–and all quite dry–emerged, stately, onto the pier at Mithlond.

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