A Meal Together

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:29 am

Calaren suspected that she would say what she did. He turned to lay on his side and rested his head on his hand which was suspended by his elbow. His naked body still glistened wetly from the wild lovemaking that occured just a few minutes ago. “That’s because they take after you,” he said with a smile and then sighed. ‘Alright, dinner won’t wait forever,” he said reluctantly and got up off of the bed. As he did he gave her a playful swat on her behind and only just managed to avoid her reposte and he giggled as he moved to the closet where his clothes were.

With all of the fanciful finery the royal dining room was prepared for the nights festivities. Crystal and bone china, silver and gilt in all of its splendor waited for the family to dine. There were 3 minstrels as well who played soft, soothing music form the corner of the massive room. Just outside in the hall there was Calista in a silk, light blue dress with white embroidery on the bodice and hem. Her dark hair was done up and she wore sapphires and firedrops on her neck and in her hair. Einor in his Captain’s uniform stood across from Ariana who was dressed in pink silk had only a little violet embroidery on the bodice and neck. Her hair was down in curls that spilled down her shoulders. Meliara was there as well next to her in a deep yellow dress. She fidgeted already bored of just standing there waiting and Ariana leaned down to whisper to her. Laenaya was next to Ariana in a deep red dress that was a brushed velvet. Her hair was done up though part of it was also down to one side and her dark curls dangled down at her shoulder. Gulbrandt was in dark gray pants with a sharp black coat almost a twin of what Kaled wore though he tugged at the collar of the coat uncomfortably. Across from him was Calene in a floral patterned silk that showed just a little too much bossom. It was a newer style, less demure than most and her red hair was down about her shoulders and back.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:39 am

Calista deeply missed her husband and prayed to the light that he was alright and safe. Looking at Gulbrandt and Einor she could imagine him engaged in both deep conversations with them to more lighthearted stories. She could almost hear his laughter in her ears. However, tonight was not a night for sadness or worry, but for happiness and joy. Calene had not been back to the city since leaving with Deshane and infant Kaled almost seven years earlier. And Narisa and Calaren were visiting, which was a special occasion as well.

She began to wonder where Narisa and Calaren were when they both appeared and walked down the hallway towards the rest of the waiting group. Narisa was dressed in a dark green dress and Calaren in gray. Both Narisa and Calaren seemed...flushed and couldn't keep the grins from their faces. Calista smiled and rolled her eyes, already guessing what had just occurred. They always seemed like newly weds, just barely able to keep their hands off of one another, even though they had been married for a few years now. They were very much in love...that was more than evident and not having any children meant that they had less worries and stress. She was happy for them, but wouldn't trade her twin boys for anything in the world.

A moment later Serethiel and Conleth appeared. Their love and affections were far less overt and much more private. However, one just had to watch the way Conleth looked at Serethiel all the time to know exactly how he felt and the same was true of Serethiel. The couple had been through a lot during the time they had been together and had come through it as one of the strongest couples Calista had ever seen. The only other relationship that truly compared was that of her father and mother in law, the King and Queen of Gondor.

Nauriel walked arm in arm with her husband, partly for support, but mostly because that was the way they walked together. Nauriel and Elessar were both dressed in silver, and though they didn't wear their crowns it was more than evident who they were. The only adornment Nauriel wore was the necklace Elessar had found in a cave and given to her a few years later as a coronation gift. She wore it on special occasions and tonight was certainly one. Elfwine was there as well and was dressed in a dark gray suit, although he was clearly uncomfortable in it.

As Nauriel and Elessar approached all conversation stopped and everyone bowed or curtsied. Nauriel's eyes gazed over the assembled group with pride. Theirs was a family to be proud of. However, as her eyes found Meliara, Kaled, and then Elfwine she noticed that they were uncomfortable in their clothes and already seemed bored. An idea suddenly came to her and she motioned for the three children to come to her and she crouched down in front of them.

"How would you three like to spend some time together...just the three of you? Away from all of the adults..."

Meliara immediately looked over at her mother and Ariana smiled and gave a little nod. So did Calene and Elfwine already was on board. "Alright then, Jayne will take you all back to change and then you all may eat and play in Elfwine's room. How does that sound?"

All three children were already more excited and so Nauriel motioned for Jayne, a servant, to escort the children back down the hallway.

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:07 am

Elessar paused at each of his daughters to kiss their hand and say a few words to them in soft tones as if his words were for them alone. He took a bit longer with Calene who appeared to have difficulty keeping her tears at bay after the brief exchange. Conleth and Serethiel also would not be denied an opportunity to hug and speak to each one of their granddaughters. Having everyone there like this was a rare gift and Serethiel would not be rushed this night. After several minutes the double doors to the dining room were opened and the soft music that had been playing suddenly stopped. Elessar and Nauriel entered first ollowed by Conleth and Serethiel. Then Calista with Calene arm in arm. Behind them was Narisa and Calaren then Ariana and Einor who nearly tripped upon the hem of Narisa’s long dress. Behind them was Laenaya and Gulbrandt. As each person made it to their chairs they noticed that the long, tall flutes were already filled with a pale, bubbling liquid they all knew well. Elessar picked his up and then everyone followed suit after him.

“This is a…” He began but Nauriel had an odd look on her face and reached over and touched the top of his wrist. Her look grew into a smile and the main doors to the dining room suddenly opened. To everyone’s surprise Beren entered in pale green pants and a long-sleeved white shirt. To his right Ithilwen was there in a long, white dress that seemed to glow with a pale, blue light.

“Well, now you all didn’t go to all this trouble for me did you?” Beren said smoothly and as he bowed to the king and queen, Ithilwen curtsied low and gracefully. “My queen...Nauriel...sister,” He said as his eyes welled up with tears. “I came as soon as I could get away. Seeing you...alive and happy warms my heart,” he said as Ithilwen released his hand and he moved behind the women. He continued forward to where Nauriel stood and put his arms around her and kissed her cheek. Elessar gestured to the servants and hastily they set to placing 2 more table settings at the large table. In only moments everything was laid out and arranged for the newcomers. Seeing them together made Ithilwen want to tear up as well as some of the other women and she raised a hand and wiped a few tears away.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:49 am

Nauriel had Beren and Ithilwen sit close to her. Her brother and sister-in-law had come when she had been poisoned, but had unfortunately not been able to stay long. Nauriel was glad that they had been able to return for a longer visit. Knowing how close she had been to death made her want to spend more time with her loved ones. She and Elessar would not be in this life forever and she wanted to slow down and savor every minute she had left.

A few toasts were given and the first course was brought out and conversations broke out around the table. Ariana looked over at Narisa and Calaren who were sitting across from them.

"Were you able to sell all those horses you brought with you?"

Narisa smiled and nodded. "We actually sold all of them in just two hours and each one for more than we wanted. We did keep one though. We would like for Grandfather and Uncle Elessar to see if they think these horses would be better for the soldiers. They are very fast and have great endurance and strength."

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:19 am

The topic of horseflesh brought Gulbrandt into the conversation, his breeds were actually a competitor of theirs and there began a civilized discussion of which traits were more favored by soldiers. However it was Ithilwen’s statement that brought everyone to a sudden quiet. “So Calene, how far are you along?” She asked as she prepared her spoon for another spoonful of soup. Her comment was conversational and passive but it seemed to have a much stronger reaction to everyone else and now everyone was looking at Calene with great interest.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:47 am

Narisa and Calaren often worked closely with Brandt and though they produced different breeds with different traits they supported and helped one another since they were all passionate about horses. However the conversation immediately died down upon hearing Ithilwen’s question directed to Calene. Calene hadn’t really been ready to reveal this information but now it was out there and everyone was looking at her. Most people there knew of her difficulties in having another baby.

“Only a few weeks. Deshane doesn’t even know yet. But I think Laenaya has similar news,” she said hoping to get the attention off of her. Laenaya looked over at Brandt and gave his hand a loving squeeze. “Yes, we are expecting an addition to our family this fall.”

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:51 am

Nauriel’s spoon fell from her hand as Calene spoke and when Laenaya imparted her news Nauriel’s expression changed to wide-eyed excitement. Elessar smiled and beamed with pride for his two daughters. “Calene, I think it’s high time you and your family joined us here at court. I will have apartments set aside for you and I will have the finest tutors for my grandson,” he added and Nauriel’s smile went from surprise to hopeful in the King’s request. “Oh yes, please Calene, it would be so grand to have you here,” Ariana said with more than a little enthusiasm. The men, Gulbrandt and Calaren were joined by Conleth in the discussion of horses and breeding but their words were softly spoken compared to everything else. Laenaya’s expression however was not to happy. For she knew of the recent trouble Calene had had with Deshane and it was on this very subject. She reached over and squeezed Calene’s hand in support for her.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:28 pm

Calene was not happy when the attention was turned back to her, particularly when the subject was changed to the idea of her moving back to the city. She felt Laenaya's hand enclose around her own and give it a supportive squeeze. She looked over at her and gave her a little smile to let her own she appreciated her support before looking back to her parents and sister. "As much as I appreciate how much you all would like for me to return to the city, my home is with Deshane. We have made a good life together and I am happy there with him. I do, however, plan to not have another six years go by before coming back to visit. My plan going forward is to visit once a year for a few weeks. However, I am considering having Kaled come and live here for a time. He is lonely without any other boys his age to play with and it is time for his lessons to become more in depth and for him to start weapons training. Deshane and I have talked about this, but I will speak to him again when we return home."

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:20 pm

Elessar listened but what he wasn’t saying was that after the war was over, he had need of men like Deshane and that this conversation would be revisited again. He smiled at Calene, she was so beautiful he thought. “We shall speak on this again Calene,” he said as he gestured with his cup toward her.

“Narisa...Calaren...Gulbrandt…” He began and all the horse talk ceased when they heard their names. “I intend on having the royal stables expanded as well as the grounds around it. Beren and I,” He gestured and Beren nodded to him. “Have decided to make this a priority. Our need of horses for messages and scouting will be greatly increased after the war, thus the crowns need for horses greatly increased as well,” he said. “Two breeds in particular, the fast stallions and the larger quarter horses and Durens for farming and hauling,” he said. “It is my hope that after the war men will put down their weapons and bows and pick up shovels and hoes to feed our people. It is my wish that no man, woman or child goes hungry,” He said and Einor, Beren, Conleth and Gulbrandt all lifted their glasses to that statement. However a moment later all of the women did as well surprisingly. And Calista’s voice was among the loudest as they all said ‘Here, here!’ In almost perfect unison.

“As the days of this new age continue on, the people will look to us...we here at this table and to my son Eldarion who shall rule in my stead when I am gone, to rule them. The steps that I have taken, my hope is for a long and lasting peace to this land and to our people,” Elessar said.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:15 pm

And with that everyone burst into applause and raised their glasses. The wine that had been at Laenaya and Calene’s places had been discreetly replaced by non alcoholic beverages. The dinner continued on and the conversation shifted from one topic to another. Serethiel leaned over to speak to Beren and Ithilwen. “How are things in Gehenna? Conleth and I have missed being there.”

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:16 pm

Surprisingly it was Ithilwen that answered first though Beren was listening now. Before he had been talking to Elessar and he paused to answer the question.

“We’ve made improvements almost everywhere mother,” Ithilwen said enthusiastically. “We have a granary warehouse now and most houses and buildings are now mostly stone with tiled roofs and wooden flooring. The main thoroughfare through the town has been re-cobbled in brick and the wall and guard towers have been reinforced,” She said.

“We’re able to hold a garrison of troops with the added barracks in case Gehenna needs to be a staging area for men, horses and supplies for either Rohan or Gondor and Ithilwen has been working with many of the outlying farms and most now have small towers with oiled ropes that lead up to an oil basin. If anyone sees a raid or is having troubles they can light it and the fire can be seen by a guard tower for miles,” he said. “The thing is, we put those projects forward before the war and by the sounds of it we most likely won’t need them now but the farmers feel alot safer with them anyway,” He added as the servers began making their rounds with the main course dishes. “It hasn’t been the same without you mother...and father too,” Beren said with a smile.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 8:31 pm

Serethiel was quite impressed as she listened to Ithilwen and and Beren explain all the improvements and safety features that they had added to the village. She and Conleth had been planning improvements to the village before he had been magically possessed and nearly died. Then the improvements had been put on hold and they had moved here. She had known that the village would be in good hands with them.

"That's impressive," she replied to Beren and Ithilwen as a server took away one of her plates and put down the main course. "Conleth and I are very proud of the both of you. The village is clearly in very good hands. How long do you plan on staying in Minas Tirith?"

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:19 pm

“Just a few days. Nothing is ever quite done and there are far to many things happening not to guide the people through them,” Beren said.

Eldarion took a large bite out of a chicken leg. Boraden tossed a bone into the bushes and Kressara ate with a knife and fork with her plate balanced on her thighs. Soldiers and guards were all around them and the large nearby bonfire did much to add light to the darkness.

“We’re preparing for a major push tomorrow...Kressara I’ll be leading the horseman and infantry who’ll make up our anvil. I’d like you to lead the archers and pikemen who will be the hammer. And take them from the flank,” He said as he bit into another piece of chicken, a breast this time. Boraden continued to eat...with his hands but at least he wiped the excess grease on the napkin he had on his lap. “So you’ll need to stay out of the fighting on this one sister,” He said. The last offensive she and Boraden were in the thick of it carving a large swath around them with their swords. The battlefield had been chaotic and a squad of horseman almost mistook them for the enemy and ran then down. That would not happen if he could convince her to keep her sword sheathed from here on out.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:31 pm

The introduction of Eldarion and Boraden had been intense to say the least. Eldarion was protective of his sisters and when he learned that Boraden had been raised by the Northmen Kressara though he was going to punch him. However, she was able to calm her brother down and the two men went off together for a few hours and talked. They still weren't best friends, but at least they understood one another.

It had been a few days since the last offensive and Kressara was growing anxious and had spent hours pacing until Boraden had offered to spar with her. That had caused a large crowd of soldiers to gather and watch. The two of them were fairly equally matched, but Kressara did end up beating him. She accepted a kiss as a reward. Now she was thinking about tomorrow and she was more than ready to get back out onto the battlefield. However, when Eldarion told her that she would not be engaging in the main fighting she had a genuine look of surprise and then a look of confusion and anger.

"What do you mean 'you'll need to stay out of the fighting on this one'? Is this because I'm a woman? I am a better fighter than nearly everyone you have! I won't sit to the side."

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Post by Conleth on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:42 pm

Eldarion wiped his mouth and handed his plate to a soldier who took it and Kressara’s when she offered it to him. “May I speak to you Kressara?” He began and Boraden took another bite of his chicken. “Alone,” He said as Boraden sucked the last of the meat of the bone and then shrugged, picked up his plate and stood. “I’ll see if there’s any more…” He said and stepped away from them and headed toward the fire. Eldarion removed a hardened leather flask from his pocket, uncorked it and took a sip. He offered it to Kressara.

“I have soldiers Kressara. And don’t think I didn’t hear about you and Boraden almost being trampled to death by our own men!” He snapped angrily. “I need commanders out there. People who can lead. If that hammer isn’t set up, they could crush the anvil,” Eldarion said.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:48 pm

Kressara wasn't sure that she liked how Eldarion spoke to her husband, but she let it go...for now. She watched him step away and then looked back at her brother. She crossed her arms over her chest and refused the flask. "I am a fighter, not a commander! What happened the other day was an accident and Boraden and I are fine. But let me guess, you would put him out onto the field. If you won't let me fight then Boraden and I will leave and we will fight on our own."

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Post by Conleth on Fri Apr 05, 2019 7:21 am

“Kressara…” Eldarion said in a softer tone and put his hand upon her left shoulder. “You’re so much more than just a sword. The men respect you and they will follow you. The force we will be facing will crush me if the hammer does not come down upon them when it needs to. I trust you, that's why I need you there,” he said plainly. “Will you do this for me?” he said but his voice was more serious than before.

Boraden was watching them as he finished another large piece of chicken. Soldiers moved here and there behind him and around him and everyone gave him his space. He was not popular among the men but they had seen him cut down Northmen just like everyone else. That didn’t stop them from considering him a traitor though...to his own people. Boraden just didn’t care a whit of what anyone thought however. He was Kressara’s husband and she was his responsibility regardless if she hated it when he told her that or not. She was one with the sword but there were other things to consider than just cutting men into sausage.

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Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:23 am

Kressara listened to her brother and his softer tone did cause her to relax somewhat and to really listen to him. Kressara had been very well trained with a sword and knew how to fight better than most men, but she was still quite young and had a lot to learn and figure out about herself. She considered everything for a long moment before she slowly nodded in agreement. She then glanced over at Boraden. "He will want to be with me."

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Post by Conleth on Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:34 am

“Thank you Kressara,” And gazed over at Boraden who was placidly looking in their direction. Eldarion only raised his eyebrows the way he always did when he silently judged one of his sisters. He never would judge them openly, even when they were all children and defend them vehemently when he felt they did not deserve their punishments.

“I know you are as eager as I am to be done with this. But father…” he began then winced not wanting to tell her everything just then. But he thought she deserved the truth. “He...just doesn't want to defeat the Northmen. He wants us to crush them like the Haradrim. We are to give no quarter and rundown any who flee,” He said. It was completely unlike Elessar to give such an order but they had poisoned the queen their mother and he would see them completely destroyed for it. “Hold back as many horsemen and you can for that nasty business,” he said as he began to put on his gauntlets. “Today we avenge mother. Today we fight for peace and Gondor,” He said and gave her one final nod and headed toward where his guards waited with his horse. Boraden tossed the cleaned chicken bone into the fire and wiped his hands and face of the grease then tossed the soiled napkin into the fire as well as he moved up to Kressara. He could feel the grim resolve through the bond but her face told that tale as well.

“By your expression wife I’d say that you have agreed to whatever your brother asked of you. Agreed but doing so has darkened your heart. As always, where you lead my love, I will follow,” He said and placed his large, calloused palm on her chest between her breasts.



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Post by XslvrstarX on Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:49 am

Kressara watched her brother walk away and sighed as she considered what he had told her. Somewhere in her heart she had known it all along, but hearing the words said aloud made it undeniable. Such an order was not like her father, but this was not an ordinary situation. The Northmen had poisoned and nearly killed her mother. It had been done intentionally and with the desire to kill her and thus cause her father to become undone. And Kressara knew that it wasn't just her mother who had been a target, but her aunt Lindariel, Queen of Rohan as well. Though her aunt had not been poisoned, the murderess had killed several innocent people before she had found her and ended her reign of terror. Her mother wasn't the only one who deserved to be avenged, but those innocent people who had died deserved it as well. She thought about Gulbrandt and Boraden, but she knew that they both had made their choice and had walked away from the Northmen because they had both seen the truth.

She felt her husband approach her and she looked over at him. She looked deeply into his eyes with a love that would always burn for him. She leaned up and kissed him for a long moment before pulling back. "I love you Boraden and I always will."

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