A Prince or a Pauper

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:28 pm

It wasn’t difficult to get out of the palace. Not for a little boy that no one seemed to notice. He took from his room his coat, the knife Eldarion gave him, the very one he defended Calista with, a few coins and a fossilized rock that he had found years ago. It was one of his prized possessions and he never left the palace without it. It had a place of honor on his nightstand along with his knife.

It was a chilly morning but it looked like the sun would be out fairly soon. He scrubbed his eyes clear of tears as he walked down the cobbled roads. Merchants by the scores were setting up their mobile shops and carts for the day and already hawkers began crying their wares above the din of horses, carts, men and women who moved about all over the city. Guards passed by him but they hardly looked at him in his plain, brown coat. If he had worn the coat of...of the station his father had given to him they’d likely recognize him for certain. Evenso he kept his head down when they passed by him though none gave him a second glance.

---------------------------------------------

Elessar had helped Nauriel up and helped her back to her chair. He had some hot tea brought and waited to speak until she had cried herself out and calmed down. He served her the tea and bent down to one knee before her.

“He’s a smart boy my darling wife. He would have figured it out eventually. All he needs now is time. When he realizes everyone he knows will not treat him different, he will come around,” He said softly as he wiped a few strands of hair from her face.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:48 pm

As Asterin collided with this person she lost her grip on the coins she was holding tightly onto and heard them hit the ground with a series of clinks. She immediately rolled over and scrambled to get them back. Her stomach was already grumbling with hunger and she could not risk stealing more coins from her mother. If she was caught she didn't want to know what she would do to her. Her mother wasn't a happy woman. She had been forced into marrying her husband by her father to elevate her station, but she was in love with a simple blacksmith's son. She drank to make herself happy and didn't seem to care about Asterin.

"I...I'm so sorry," she told the young boy as she quickly counted the coins to see if she had gotten them all. Unfortunately, she was missing two coins and she looked over to see them picked up by a man that she didn't want to mess with. She cursed under her breath and sat down on the ground in defeat. "I guess I'm going hungry today," she muttered to herself.

----------------------------------------------------

Nauriel allowed her husband to help her up off of the floor and back into her chair. She slowly managed to calm herself down. Elessar would know that she wasn't sleeping well at night since the poisoning and that was likely part of the reason for her emotional breakdown. She accepted the cup of tea but just let it sit on her lap untouched.

"I hope so. I want to do right by him and give him the best life possible."

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:27 pm

Elessar watched her for a time silently and after a few moments she looked at him, looking at her.

“We are safe here Nauriel. The city is safe. We have patrols everywhere and Eomer is doing his best to crush the Northmen once and for all. We did our part in the Harad. And do you know what they are saying? Kressara was a hero during that conflict. Her and her companions. Kressara...your daughter did that. Saved countless lives. I think she got that from you. She’s a survivor. ‘We’ are survivors. And no matter how hard it gets, or how strong the opposition is, together we will face it...and defeat it,” He assured her then kissed her hand.

-----------------------------------------

Elfwine was knocked down soundly and he had to shake his head to clear it of the cobwebs that rattled around up there. He looked up from where he sat and saw the prettiest girl he had ever seen!

“Uh...I’m sorry!” he said as he rubbed the side of his head. The tumble created a scratch there and it hurt...a little. “I’ve got coins...I’ll buy you something to eat...uh...if you want,” He said then got to his feet. I’m...Elfwine, what’s your name?” He asked trying to greet her properly and he extended his hand to her.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:37 pm

Nauriel reached out and gently placed her hand upon his cheek and caressed his cheek lovingly with her thumb. "I am so proud of her. She shall receive a hero's welcome when she returns home. Oh! That reminds me we received a letter from her yesterday," she said as she stood up and walked over to the large desk that was on the opposite wall. She retrieved the still sealed envelope and handed it to her husband. "I didn't get a chance to read it yesterday." She paused a moment while he opened the envelope and sighed a little. "I hope that she will get over Gowen someday and open her heart up to love again."

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Asterin looked at the boy and saw he was about her age. He seemed nice enough...especially if he was going to buy her some food. However, she also felt rather embarrassed about it. She took his hand and thought his name sounded familiar but couldn't quite place it. "I'm Asterin and you don't have to buy me anything...I'm sure my mother will have something prepared when I get home," she lied. She didn't want him to know the truth about her mother.

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:45 pm

Elfwine smiled as he listened to the girl. Asterin, he heard her call herself. He kinda liked that name he thought. “Asterin,” he repeated though his voice said the name fondly. “Well, do you like honeycakes?” he asked and saw the girl nod sheepishly. “I know a merchant that makes the best ones!” he said quickly then took her hand in his and led her into a run down the street.

-------------------

Elessar read the letter quickly and then read the letter again. His eyebrows rose then he frowned then they rose in surprise. “Would you like me to read her letter to you?” he asked as he looked up from it.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:50 pm

Asterin felt her mouth water at the thought of honeycakes. That was a luxury she didn't often get to enjoy. She could only take such a small amount of money and she needed it to buy bread and meat. She didn't dare ask her mother to buy or make honeycakes. She was surprised when the boy took her hand and led her in a run down the street. "Where are we going?" she asked with a laugh.

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Nauriel had not noticed her husband's expressions while reading the letter because she had been busy sipping her tea. It had taken a few weeks for her to actually trust drinking a cup of tea again. "Oh yes, that would be lovely."

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Post by Conleth on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:07 pm

Dear Mother and father,
I know its been too long since my last letter but I much news to share. First off I’ve arrived in Edoras and im staying with Queen Lindariel in our house apartments. She is doing well and from what I’ve heard, the war had been hard on these people. Many have died and every day bodies of the dead are brought back from the front. Gondor’s aid, once again could be the turning point to Rohan’s victory Father. Please send as much help Gondor can afford.

On a happier note I’ve found ‘the’ assassin. She was discovered by a man named Boraden and in the brief fight to apprehend her I was forced to kill her and her comrade. She was a Northman and she will no longer be a threat to our family. I truly hope you are doing better mother. I am filled with guilt for not being there with you during your recovery. I hope to remedy that soon but first I have something else to share.

I met a man here in Edoras. A man that I’ve been having dreams about for some time now. A man that was having similar dreams about me. His name is Boraden (yes the same man that helped me kill the assassin) and long ago he was found by the Northmen and raised by them but I strongly believe he has the blood of the Dunedain within him. He is a good man father, an honorable man. And well...I married him here in Edoras. Queen Lindariel presided over the wedding.

Please do not be upset with me. I’ve finally found love mother. And like you and father, there is a strong bond between us. I can’t wait for you to meet him,

Your loving Daughter,
Kressara


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Elfwine only ate one honeycake but Asterin ate two and still seemed hungry so he gave her his second one. They were sticky on his mouth and hands so he removed his handkerchief and wiped the honey off while she quickly ate the last one. He offered his handkerchief to her.

“Those are yummy, aren’t they?” He asked and giggled as she wiped herself clean. “Wanna go to the gardens and feed the ducks? I’ll get us a loaf of bread,” He said then moved up to the elderly shopkeeper once more. “One loaf of bread please,” He said and gave her a few more coppers and took the bread that she wrapped in white paper. “Where are your parents Asterin? You won’t get into trouble or anything will you?” Elfwine asked. He definitely didn’t want her to get in trouble because of him.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:17 pm

Nauriel listened as Elessar read Kressara's letter aloud. It was nice to hear from her and know she was doing alright. She was more than a little relieved to know that the assassin had been found and killed. It wouldn't stop her from living the rest of her life with the effects of the poison, but at least that murderess wouldn't harm anyone else. She raised her cup to her lips and took a small sip, but nearly spat it out when Elessar when on to read that Kressara had gotten married in Edoras. Her eyes grew wide in surprise and shock, but she let him finish reading the rest of the letter. Once he was finished she sat back in her chair and was quiet a moment.

"I guess Kressara has more of me in her than we thought."

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Asterin didn't want to appear greedy in front of her new friend, but she was terribly hungry and couldn't stop herself from practically stuffing the two honeycakes into her mouth. She could see Elfwine looking at her and when he gave her his second honeycake she nearly felt tears come to her eyes. She wiped her hands and mouth clean of the sticky honey and crumbs while Elfwine went to get a loaf of bread to feed the ducks. It sounded like a pleasant way to spend the morning.

"Well Pa is out fighting. I haven't seen him in close to a year. And Ma...well she won't miss me. What about you? Where are your parents and how do you have so much money to spend on honeycakes and bread?"

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Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:38 am

“I don’t like that he is a Northman. But I will reserve my judgements until we actually meet the man. It was ‘kind’ of her to let us know of her marriage,” He said dryly and obviously displeased that she couldn’t have waited until she returned to Minas Tirith. “I think you’re right, she has your impulsiveness...along with several others of our brood,” He said disappointedly though his heart wasn’t really into the disparage. Elessar had a very difficult time being angry or disappointed in their children. He said as he handed her the letter to reread it at her leisure. He said nothing about the assassin. Her death had not lessened his anger with the Northmen. And he would send more soldiers. He didn’t just want them defeated. He wanted to crush them into oblivion! For what they did to his beloved.

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Elfwine pointed upward to the top level. “Up there,” he said then looked down at his feet and sighed. “But they aren’t ‘really’ my mother and father,” he said disappointedly and he kicked a small stone in aggravation. “They don’t know I’m gone either,” he said and then opened up the parcel and ripped the loaf of bread in half and gave her the larger. The ducks in the small man made pond and even those that lounged nearby it began quacking and waddled over to them. There had to be at least a score of them along with some light brown baby ducks. Elfwine tore off a piece of crust and tossed it into the group of ducks and they all fluttered atop one another to try and get it. As they each fed them, smiles quickly grew upon their faces.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:26 am

Nauriel took the letter and quietly re-read it. She then folded it back up and put it back into the envelope before looking over at her husband with a little smile. "Well, I feel I should remind you that my father never actually met you before we were married and my mother only really met you in passing." She could sense her husband's anger and wanted to re-direct his focus to something more pleasant.

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Asterin followed Elfwine's finger as he pointed up towards the palace. Her eyes grew wide as she finally realized who he was. He was a son of King Elessar and Queen Nauriel. She became quiet as she took a piece of the bread and began feeding some of the ducks. She had heard that he was actually adopted, but had lived with the King and Queen his entire life. "Well, they love you...right?"

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Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:53 am

Elfwine only shrugged as he continued to break off bits of bread and tossed them away from him at the hungry ducks around their legs. He did raise up his gaze then and gave Asterin a considering look. He noticed that her dress looked as if it had been mended several times and her hands and face looked as if they hadn’t really been clean in a long while. Her hair too was somewhat missed and windblown as if it hadn’t been washed or brushed in a while.

“Do yours?” He asked not wanting to offend her but her question made him think about what he didn’t want to think about right then.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 21, 2019 11:00 am

Asterin tore off a few small pieces of bread and tossed it into the water for the ducks. She smiled a little as she watched them dash for the pieces. She glanced over at Elfwine when he asked her if her parent's loved her and he would see her expression change to a look of sadness.

"My pa does...I think, but he's never around. My ma...well...no...she doesn't love me. I pretty much have to fend for myself and steal money from her in order to buy food. My guess would be that your parents do love you, even if you are not theirs by blood. They didn't have to keep you, but they did and that says something I think."

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Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:01 pm

Asterin’s words held a hint of sadness in them yet she didn’t appear to wallow in her sorrow like he felt he was. Her tone was upbeat more than anything else and delighted in something as small as a Honeycake or feeding these ducks. He was about to tell her so when two older boys stepped into the garden behind them. One looked to be their age just a bit taller than Elfwine was while the other was at least 11 by his estimation and nearly a hand taller.

“Where’d ya git tha money ta buy tha bread Asterin?” The smaller boy asked with an irritated sneer. The taller one just stood there like a tree with his arms crossed over his chest. Elfwine turned and his eyebrows raised in surprise at seeing them there. Asterin only scowled and narrowed her eyes. “Asterin, you know these boys?” Elfwine asked but before she could say anything the younger boy lurched forward and pushed Elfwine backward. With a splash he fell into the pond and the two boys laughed uproariously at his dismay.

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As they lounged on their balcony Calista with her nanny Breanne appeared at the doors that led back into the large room. Each woman held a small boy in their arms who smiled when they saw their grandparents. “If we’re disturbing you we can come back another time,” Calista said chuckling as she bobbed Cassian up and down as she held him. Alistair seemed more fidgety and Breanne had to readjust her hold on him as he reached out for his ‘Ohma’ The word he used when he was referring to Nauriel. However this time he only whimpered, “Mmmm! Mmmm!” To her. Elessar smiled brightly at see the new arrivals and he stood incase Nauriel needed help to stand herself.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:38 pm

Asterin knew there was little she could do about her parents and so she promised herself that she would live the best life she could. There was no sense wallowing in what could not be changed. She was determined to make her own destiny and way in this world. She was already far more independent than most girls her age. She had learned how to mend her own clothes since her mother never seemed to have the time or desire to do so. She had also learned to cook and bake some. She vowed that as soon as she was old enough she was going to leave that house and never look back and she wanted to make sure she was well prepared.

She continued to tear off small pieces of bread for the ducks, but became aware that she and Elfwine were no longer alone. She looked over her shoulder at the two boys that had suddenly appeared. She knew them both well. They were brothers who liked to cause trouble and she didn’t like them. “It’s none of your business where I got the money Daelin!” She then turned to Elfwine, but before she could respond to him Daelin shoved Elfwine backward into the water. Asterin’s eyes widened in surprise and anger. She grabbed Daelin’s arm and practically threw him into the water in response. “How do you like that Daelin?”

Elessar had suggested that he and Nauriel sit out on their balcony to drink the rest of their tea since it was a very nice day. They each had taken the day off just to spend with each other. Nauriel was still worried about Elfwine, but her husband continued to re-assure her that he would be fine and would come back to talk to them when he was ready.

She and Elessar were relaxing and reminiscing about when their children were younger when suddenly Calista and the twins with their nanny, Breanne, appeared. Nauriel smiled brightly at the group. “No, you aren’t disturbing us at all,” she said as she allowed Elessar to take her hand and help her up. She smiled and took Alistair into her arms. “We always have time for these handsome boys.”

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Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:18 pm

Daelin was caught completely offguard and he fell back into the water. Apparently he was extremely afraid of water for he flailed about and began to panic as Elfwine calmly looked over at him. He was completely drenched but he didn’t understand what was happening as the boy flailed about. The boys older brother moved toward the pond but before he could get there Elfwine stood then tugged Daelin forward onto his feet. Both now standing the water only came up to their thighs and Daelin grimmaced with embarrassment.

“I was afraid of the water too...until my brother Eldarion taught me how to swim,” Elfwine said with no hatred in his voice or in his face. “Are you alright?” he asked the boy and Daelin nodded as he got out of the pond. “You’re gunna pay fer that Asterin,” The older boy said angrily and took a step forward but his younger brother moved and got in front of him. “No Roland...less jus go,” Daelin said as he wringed out his shirt. Elfwine thought a moment and then looked over at them. “Do you guys like honeycakes?” He asked…

Daelin licked his fingers as the 4 of them sat on empty barrels that were stacked off to the side of the road. They watched carts, soldiers and horses pass by them and he wouldn’t meet Asterin’s eye as she had been staring at him as if she had no idea what he was. It was far past lunchtime now but Elfwine wasn’t sure he wanted to say goodbye yet to his new found friends. Especially Asterin who had defended him from Daelin. After talking to the boys they came to find out that they had an abusive father who often hit their mother. Roland had often tried to intervene and as a result, garnered a strapping and sometimes even a beating for it. More and more Elfwine felt as if he had been living a very easy life. No one ever hit him, even when he tried to sneak cookies or, as he was want to do, running in the house and broke something. It wasn’t fair in his mind that he had so much and they hardly had anything and there was little he could do about it.

“Well, I best get Asterin home guys, if you’re going to be around tomorrow, maybe we can do something fun,” Elfwine said as he hopped down off of the barrel. Asterin still narrowed her eyes at them as she hopped down too and they walked away from them and headed down the street.

“Here Asterin,” Elfwine said and took her hand in his. He dumped the remaining coins he had into her palm. “I don’t like it that you go hungry. So you won’t be anymore,” he said as if it was just something that wasn’t going to happen.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:32 pm

Asterin wasn't sure what to make of this situation with Daelin and Roland. The three of them had never gotten along and when she had tried to be friends with them once before they pushed her away, claiming they couldn't be friends with a girl. She didn't trust them, even though Elfwine seemed to. They may not have had a great life, but she didn't either. However, she did like Elfwine she decided and hoped that they could be friends.

After parting with Daelin and Roland she walked with Elfwine back down towards her house. She suddenly felt Elfwine take her hand and was shocked to see him pour his remaining coins into her hand. It was more money than she had ever held before. "No...I can't take your money..." she said as she tried to give it back to him.

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Post by Conleth on Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:46 pm

Elfwine refused her attempts to give the money back. “You’re smart Asterin, hide it, make it last,” He said and stopped to look at her. “The thought of you going hungry...well...I don’t like it. We can’t choose our parents. And I was very lucky to have the ones I have. If you don’t mind, may I see you again? Maybe tomorrow?” he asked looking at his feet. He felt an odd sensation now when he was this close to Asterin. He hoped that they could become best friends.

---------------------------------

Alistair nuzzled into Nauriel’s chest and seemed to relax as she held him. “Breanne, could you make tea for yourself and Calista please?” He asked kindly. “At once my King,” He said and stood immediately to do as she was asked. He turned to Calista who was hiding her worry about Eldarion. He had left with their soldiers to aid the Northmen. Elessar leaned forward and squeezed her hand. “He’ll be alright girl. You’ll see,” He said reassuringly. And tussled Cassian’s hair playfully.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:05 pm

Asterin finally gave up trying to give back the money and carefully slid them into a pouch and tucked it into her pocket. She looked at Elfwine and then suddenly hugged him. She hugged him tightly for a moment and he would feel how skinny she really was. "Thank you," she whispered to him before pulling back. She looked up at the sun and knew she was incredibly late getting home. "Yes, I would like that. Should we meet at the pond again?"

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Nauriel smiled down at the young toddler in her arms and gently brushed back the hair from his face. The twins both had Elessar's grey eyes and she thought it made them both incredibly handsome. They were going to break some hearts when they were older that was for sure.

Calista tried to relax, but her mind was firmly on Eldarion. "I'm just worried about him. I haven't heard from him in a week and I know the fighting has been bad in Rohan."

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