The merchant at the breakfast stall had two currant cakes and two mugs of tea ready by the time Antien wished him a good morning, and after parting with a few farthings Antien left cooks row for the public square. There he found Glandur reading the news along with others in the pleasant chill of the early Ithilien day.
Glandur took the steaming cup and thanked his beloved. He would have done with a kiss, but they were careful to avoid public displays of affection. Mortals abounded in all cities and villages, their numbers greater than that of Elves. Men were ill at ease, and sometimes hostile toward, what Elves readily accepted. In Rohan a couple with such a bend would be stoned if discovered, as they would in rural areas of Gondor.
“What’s the news?” Antien asked.
“A most important and unusual birth announcement, the queen has given birth to a daughter. Our Rhaviniel is mentioned; apparently the circumstances under which the queen delivered were extraordinary. Rhav is credited with helping deliver the baby. So the princess is named in her honor.”
Antien spewed a mouth full of tea and laughed too hard to apologize to the fellow at his side who was inadvertently sprayed. “Say you are joking Glandur. Poor Rhav! Can you imagine?”
“No.” Glandur answered laughing with Antien at the thought. Antien turned to the irritated gentleman sporting a good portion of tea on his otherwise fastidious clothing and made a few feeble swipes at him with the waxed paper that held his current cake. It wasn’t helping and Antien was still chortling, adding crumbs of cake to the man’s annoyance. Glandur shot him a glance that told him to apologize and be done with it. Antien mumbled his regret and stepped to Glandur’s other side.
Just then a mortal lad came along with hammer and tacks, and rolls of parchment in a sack slung over his shoulder. As he took down the old news Glandur asked, “If it’s going to be thrown out, is it possible that I might have that copy?”
“Of course Captain,” the boy answered gazing at the tall officer with a degree of awe. “And you’re not the first to ask this morning. I haven’t a single one to throw out. Seems the arrival of the new princess is making this a collector’s piece.” The news carrier carefully rolled the parchment and handed it to Glandur with a tentative bow and the hand still holding the hammer placed over his heart. Glandur thought it charming that the youth attempted to observe Elvish custom. He offered his thanks and a small coin, both of which the other accepted with a second bow before going back to his task.
Glandur had finished his cake, carefully folded its paper in fourths and place it teetering on the top of a full waste bin nearby. “If you’re finished reading Antien, let’s return our mugs and get what we need. It is becoming crowded and there will be no shortage of things to do before our guests arrive.” Antien took Glandur’s cup. “There’s no need for a lot of trouble. This is Legolas and Rhaviniel coming for a visit. All we need to add to our usual dinner is a few extra bottles of wine.”
Antien knew his words were lost on his meticulous partner, and the prince and his spouse would be welcomed with nothing less than the decorum Glandur felt they were due, an elaborate dinner and the finest wine available.
He offered to take the mugs back to the purveyor on his own to save time. It was agreed and Glandur started for the market. Antien watched him stride off. Be they mortal or Elf no one in the square matched the striking figure for beauty or grace. He always stood out among the crowd and he belonged only to Antien. Why no one had captured Glandur’s love in the five hundred years that separated them, Antien would forever wonder. He was as good hearted as he was handsome, and unaware of his merits. Antien turned to go on his errand and noticed the piece of waxed paper sitting atop the rubbish. ‘How Glandurish’, he thought and on impulse retrieved the little scrap, saving it in the pocket of his tunic.
The sun was bright by now and burned away the mist of dawn. As Antien strolled back up cooks row he noticed two females leaning at the breakfast stall’s counter. By the looks of things they were a couple of delightful little doxies, dressed in an abundance of black lace with painted lips and hair flowing freely, very young and giggling. They had emptied their purses and were counting the night’s profits. He smiled at the pair as they hovered shoulder to shoulder over their coins, and when they looked up he greeted them. The dark haired girl’s eyes grew wide. She placed a hand on her friends shoulder and let it glide across her back as she walked around her to Antien. “By the gods there’s not a one of you that isn’t pretty, but you’re as pretty as they come.” She brazenly ran her fingers though the chestnut brown hair of the Elf before her. “I’m a healer of sorts and so is my friend here. Can we offer you a complimentary spine adjustment soldier?” The other lass noticed something a kin to disapproval or perhaps surprise momentarily cross Antien’s features.
The young guard briefly studied the girl who spoke to him. “How old are you?” he asked with a sidelong look. Before she could answer the fair one stood next to her.
“My name is Fiona, and this is Calli. We are of age sir.” Fiona spoke with respect recognizing the weight of Antien’s station. Their trade was lawful but the authorities of their homeland offered little safeguard and often required duty from their pay, inequitable for this service of protection. Fiona wondered if they would not soon be required to pay tribute of the coin they earned.
“I doubt you are of age even by the standards of your own folk.” Antien challenged. He quickly realized something must have happened to their families that forced them to do what they could to survive alone. War had left many an orphan among the second born to grow to adulthood before it was natural. It was beyond elvish thought to allow the lone young ones to fend on their own. Every family had room for another child. Not so with men. Some of their fatherless children worked as servants, some thieved, and too many sold themselves. It was a tragic problem for Ithilian, just as for cities near and far which had been ravaged by fighting, and one that would not be quickly solved. Antien wished he might take back the callous inquiry. But neither girl seemed to be offended so he looked for a way to tactfully change the subject. Fiona had a strange scroll tucked under her arm. Antien asked her about it.
“Oh it isn’t a scroll.” Fiona said unfurling the roll of heavy paper. “The merchant called it a blind. It’s to hang in a window to keep the sunlight out of a room as well as prying eyes.” She demonstrated, as the hawker had, holding the paper up to the sun to show how the beams were obscured, then how the paper rolled back up.
“Ingenious, and attractive, much the same as the lady who bought it,” Antien commented. “Let’s have some breakfast then you must show me where you purchased it.”
The girls had a hardy breakfast of eggs and potatoes, while Antien had more tea. Over the months he had noticed that mortals seemed to need more food and rest than his own people. Suddenly he thought of the time. It had been a while since Glandur parted from him for the market. Just as he considered leaving to meet him as promised he spotted Glandur coming their way.
Both girls greeted his one and only by name and seemed relaxed in his company. Antien was curious, yet it was unremarkable for those they met in the market to be acquainted with Glandur. He preformed his duties to protect and keep order with an even hand and made a point of becoming acquainted with individuals, encouraging those under his command to do so as well. It was to his credit that Ithilien was gradually being tamed. Civility and beauty returned thanks to their prince and his officers.
Antien knew it was somewhat later than Glandur would have liked but he patiently indulged his whim to browse the novelty shop that sold the blinds with Fiona and Calli. The younger Elf could have lingered long investigating the inexpensive treasures in such a place, but there would be time for treasure hunting later. The purchase was made and the couples parted ways for home.
In L8Bleumer's story Taming the Wild her two OC's captured my heart. Antien and Glandur are so interesting and alive. I could not resist them. This is a day or so in the life of Antien and Glandur. These are L8bluemer's character and they can only be treated justly by her. But this is my little take on them, and my first attempt at a story.
Warnings for M/M pairing, explicit sex, maybe fluff.
Warnings for M/M pairing, explicit sex, maybe fluff.