Tittlepin by elwen of the hidden valley

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Author's Chapter Notes:

Written in response to a B2Me prompt 2017


“Does Lindir really need this particular book at this particular time?” Fearwen asked with a sigh. Erestor had been searching for “The Darkening of Valinor” for some hours now and Faerwen had only recently joined him.

“He needs it for a song he is composing in celebration of Elrond's conception day. I am certain it was in this section the last time I saw it.” Erestor frowned as he leaned even further out to his left and the library ladder he was perched upon began to tilt and creak a little.

“But that is months away. Precisely when did you last see it?” Faerwen asked as she grabbed the base of the ladder.

Her husband stilled for a moment to consider. “I believe Gil-galad borrowed it just before the host departed for the war in Gondor.”

Faerwen rolled her eyes. “That was nearly three thousand years ago! I think somebody else will have borrowed it since then. Probably lots of someone elses.”

Erestor began to climb down. “Has it been that long? My, how the time flies.” Much to Faerwen's relief he reached the safety of the floor and she helped him brush the dust from his robes. “Even if they did, they should have returned it to the shelf they took it from,” he added indignantly. For Erestor there were few greater crimes than misplacing a book. He had been responsible for setting up Imladris' great library and knew where every tome should be stored. “And remind me to set some of the household staff to cleaning those top shelves. They are a disgrace.”

Faerwen took his arm to lead him from the chamber. “Yes, my love. Perhaps after we have eaten luncheon? We have been in here for hours and it is well past noon. And remind me to stop by Estel's room afterwards. I promised to teach him how to sew today.”

Erestor allowed himself to be steered toward the dining room. “Sewing? A strange occupation for one so young.”

“He will be a ranger one day and may have to spend long weeks in the wilds alone. It would be wise for him to learn how to repair his own clothes and darn a sock.”

“Will it be so soon? I forget that mortals age so quickly. I have been little involved with Isildur's kin over the years and after the first few generations they all started to look alike.”

“Erestor!” Faerwen was suitably scandalised. “That is not true and you do not fool me. I know that you adore Estel.”

Erestor tilted his head. “Estel is the exception, I confess. It is difficult to dislike him, even when he does get my wife stuck up a tree.”

Faerwen giggled. “Strictly speaking it was Celeg who got both Estel and me stuck up a tree.”

-0-

“Good afternoon, Estel.” Faerwen set her sewing basket upon the table.

Estel eyed the basket with all the trepidation of one expecting it to spring open and disgorge some huge venomous snake. “I forgot we were doing that today. I was just going to go play in the gardens with Celeg.”

Faerwen spied the cat sitting serenely atop a box on the sunny balcony. She stepped closer and realised that it was not a box but rather a large and exquisitely bound book. Tilting her head she read the title upon the spine, no mean feat when Celeg was flicking her tail too and fro across it.

“Estel, how long have you had that book?”

Estel began to study his boots. “Adar gave it to me to practice my Quenya.”

“When was that?” Fearwen asked.

“Erm . . . Just before Yule, I think.”

Fearwen held back a smile. “Estel . . . that was several months ago. How far have you got?”

Estel's bottom lip pouted a little. “I think I opened it once.” Then he raised pleading eyes to his friend's face. “But it's nearly summer and Mama and Adar let me play more in the summer.”

“And Quenya is dry and difficult.” Faerwen let her smile show. “It is a very good story, you know.” She advanced upon Celeg, who eyed her with all the disdain of a mighty queen, for the meanest of her subjects. Faerwen was not to be put off by a cat, however. “Celeg, that is not a cushion. If Erestor discovers cat hairs in one of his precious books he may have you banned from the library.”

Celeg liked the library, especially in winter. It was quiet and warm, for a fire was always set in that room in cold weather. It would not do to look too concerned about the threat, however. A cat should always appear aloof, after all. Giving a huge yawn she arose, stretched out her front legs, bottom raised, whilst making sure to unsheathe her claws briefly, before stepping down daintily and then jumping onto the balustrade. There she curled nonchalantly on the sun warmed stone.

Faerwen retrieved the book, brushing off the dust and cat hairs with her sleeve. “Erestor has been looking for this, you know.”

“Oh dear. Well, if he needs it today I don't mind if he takes it. I can borrow it again once he's finished with it,” Estel offered a little too eagerly.

“He does not need it that urgently. Lindir wanted to compose a song from some of the verses but he can wait. Your education is more important.” Faerwen set the book upon the table and drew up two chairs. “Come on. I will help you. Sewing can wait and the story of the two trees of Valinor and their destruction is actually quite interesting.”

With one last longing look at the sunny lawns below his balcony Estel clambered into one of the chairs and Faerwen opened the huge tome.

“Can you translate the title, Estel?”

Her pupil frowned for a moment. “The Blackening . . . No . . . The Darkening of Valinor?” he offered tentatively.

“Very good. Now see if you can translate the first paragraph.”

Estel sighed as he noted the size of the script and the depth of the book. This was going to be a long afternoon.

 

 




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