Romancing The Throne (Aranxia and Aennan) | 115 4A +

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:20 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 37 Summer

When Aennan and Aranxia arrived at Aennan’s house, Aysu and Ta’neer were already there and waiting for them. Aysu was sitting in the chair on the porch, her face turned upwards, towards the sun, and Ta’neer was sitting nearby on the sand, playing a soft melody on her conch shell. Aranxia was still learning to tell the identical twins apart, but they made it easier by dressing differently – and Aysu had no interest in music, either.

“About time you got here,” Aysu teased the two when they came strolling up the beach. “We’ve been waiting a while. You said you’d be here half an hour ago.”

“Are you in a rush?” Aennan asked her bemusedly. “I’m surprised you didn’t just swim until we got here.”

“We didn’t want to get your house all wet,” Aysu shrugged, grinning as she pushed herself out of the chair. “And now you’re going to want us to help you cook, I wager.”

Aennan chuckled. “Not in the least. I’ll take care of dinner, beginning to end.” He opened the door and stepped aside. “After you,” he grinned, bowing and motioning for Aranxia to enter.

Aranxia blushed and giggled, but she stepped into the house and looked around. It was a fairly large house, considering that he lived there on his own. The first room she stepped into was a sitting room, and was large enough to comfortably fit about eight people. The furniture was minimal, but it was still homey. To her surprise, she saw some of her own artwork on the walls – doodles and paintings that she had begun but not finished. Sure, she had given them to him, but she hadn’t considered them worth keeping.

“Interesting choice of decoration,” she laughed, turning around and waiting for the others to join her in the sitting room.

Aennan’s eyes sparkled. “I find that even the unfinished works of my favourite artist are better than some other things.”

Aysu laughed as she and Ta’neer came in. “Aennan, honestly, I would never have thought you capable of being such a flirt. You’ve never even shown a hint of it before!”

“Well, all the better for me,” Aranxia giggled.

Ta’neer closed the door behind herself as she entered, and she looked around interestedly. “Wow … you’ve done a lot with the place since you first moved in,” she commented. “Pictures and everything.”

“Aranxia’s work,” Aennan said proudly.

“Have you not lived here long, then?” Aranxia asked Aennan curiously.

“About a year,” he replied with a grin. “And the house might not be terribly large, I know, but it does come with a bit of property, which really is the more valuable part of it. Some beach, some soil, about half and half. If necessary, the house can be expanded.”

“It seems spacious enough,” Aranxia remarked, looking around again.

Aennan chuckled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck. “Well … this is just the first room,” he pointed out. “You really should see the rest before you make up your mind.”

Aranxia smiled and shrugged. “If you say so.”

“I do.” Aennan winked at her. “Why don’t you just look around while I get dinner started? Look anywhere you like, nowhere is off limits. The twins can give you a tour, if you’d like.”

“I’d like to see what you’ve done with it all,” Ta’neer spoke up.

Aysu grinned. “Ditto! To work with you, Aennan! Come, Aranxia, let’s go snoop around!”

“Just don’t break anything,” Aennan warned them jokingly, heading through a doorway to the left.

“We’ll catch up with you soon enough,” Aysu grinned, linking arms with Aranxia and Ta’neer and dragging them in the other direction.

Through a doorway was a short hallway with three doors, all of them open. The nearest room was a work room: there was a desk and chair and a shelf of books. On one side of the table there was a stack of blank paper, on the other side an inkwell, several quills, a knife, and a blotter. The bookshelf had books about transcriptions, translations, a recipe book and one book that Aennan and Aranxia had finished but were not yet putting up for sale. There was an open window, and the fresh ocean breeze left the room with a clear, pleasant scent.

The second door was Aennan’s bedroom. It was also very sparsely furnished: a single bed, a dresser, and a closet for clothes. A sprig of flowers sat in a small vase in the windowsill, filling the room with a sweet aroma.

The final doorway led to a bathing room: there was a marble tub built into the floor, empty at the moment; and some towels hung, dry, on racks on the wall. There were two windows in this room, one on each of the outside walls, and each of them were covered with an intricately carved lattice, which would prevent people outside from seeing in.

Across from the bathing room, the hallway circled round and joined up with the kitchen and dining room, where Aennan had gone while the girls had gone off to explore. These were larger rooms again, and the dining room was very well furnished. There was a high quality dining room table and chair set, and shelves with picture frames and small carvings. One picture frame had a small sketch of Aennan and Aranxia that she had done one day while waiting for him; another held a sketch of Lykor and Galanna that Aranxia had done for him; and a third had a painting of two elves Aranxia had never seen before. It was obvious that they were Aennan’s parents: she could see where he had inherited his physique, his arched brow, and his thin face.

“The only way I’ve ever seen them, to remember them,” Aennan said softly, coming up behind Aranxia. “I like Luk’s thought, though … that they could very well be here with us, watching over us.”

“It is a nice thought,” Aranxia murmured, leaning back against Aennan’s chest. “It would be wonderful if they could see what a wonderful young man you’ve become.”

Suddenly there was a knock at the door, but before either of them could move, Aysu ran for it. “I’ll get it!” she called over her shoulder as she disappeared through the doorway to the front door.

Ta’neer rolled her eyes. “I have no idea where she gets her insanity,” she quipped. “Valar know, Mother and Father aren’t like that.”

Aennan chuckled. “Yes, but you know that she’s always been like that,” he grinned. “And you used to be as well.”

Aranxia turned to look at Ta’neer in surprise. “You? Really? What happened?”

Ta’neer blushed. “I don’t know. Things changed, I guess.”

“So this is how you prepare dinner?” came a male voice from the doorway. They all turned to see Dwr entering the dining room right behind Aysu. He was grinning widely. “Is dinner going to be ready on time, then, Aennan?”

Aennan laughed. “Well, we’ve only just arrived, ourselves, so probably not. Why don’t you all go sit while I work on it, then? I’ve just got the fire going.”

Dwr offered up a mock salute. “Right-o! Come, ladies, I shall keep you entertained while he’s getting dinner ready.”

“You three go ahead,” Aranxia said quickly, smiling. “I’ll catch up shortly.”

Dwr winked at her. “Don’t distract Aennan too much! We’re all hungry, you know.”

“I know,” Aranxia giggled. “Go on.”

As Dwr, Ta’neer and Aysu headed together to the sitting room, Aranxia returned with Aennan to the kitchen. Immediately, Aennan set about preparing the meal.

“So?” he asked as he worked. “What do you think?”

Aranxia smiled and clasped her hands in front of her, watching from the edge of the kitchen so that she wouldn’t be in his way. “You were right, it is small,” she admitted. “But at the same time it’s very nice. I wonder, though … for expanding … would it be possible, do you think, to build up instead of out?”

Aennan blinked at her. “What do you have in mind?” he asked.

Aranxia pursed her lips thoughtfully. “Well … and this is just first impressions, mind you, but … what if we were to expand the work room – make it big enough for both of us to work in there together, you with your writing, me with my painting – expand it into your current bedroom, and add a floor that’s dedicated to living space? Really, your bedroom is the only room that is too small at the moment. It barely fits your bed, and your bed is meant for only one person.”

“True,” Aennan said slowly, nodding thoughtfully. “And if we expand upwards instead of outwards, we keep the same amount of land … that is a thought. We would have to put in a stair … hmm.”

He glanced over at her. “Another option would be to sell, and buy another home that’s large enough for us as it is,” he suggested.

“But would it still be home for you?” Aranxia pointed out. “And could you find such a house with such a beautiful location? Really, I haven’t seen anywhere here with a better view than from your porch.”

“True …” Aennan became silent and thoughtful for a few minutes, preparing the meal without speaking. Aranxia was fascinated, just watching him work, but at the same time she was slightly anxious. After all, this was the first serious discussion that they’d had that was a real ‘family’ discussion.

While she watched him, she heard another knock at the door, and after only a brief moment she heard River and Jess’s voices join the others’ in the sitting room. Still she remained with Aennan, patiently waiting to see what Aennan would say next.

At length, he did speak. “Here’s a thought,” he said, turning and looking at Aranxia at last. “We don’t need to decide anything yet. We have a month, right? Why don’t we ask around, see if there are any properties along the beach that are for sale, and what their prices are. At the same time, we can ask around and see how much it would cost, and how much time it would take, to renovate this house. We can make a better decision when we have more facts, right?”

Aranxia relaxed and smiled. “Yes. That’s very true.”

Aennan smiled back at her, then, crossing the room in a few quick steps, he threw his arms around her and hugged her tightly. “You are such a gift,” he murmured. Aranxia relaxed into his embrace and laid her head against his shoulder.

“Hey! Aranxia! No distracting him from dinner!” Dwr’s voice came from the other room again.

Aranxia and Aennan both laughed softly, and Aennan pressed a kiss against the top of Aranxia’s head before letting her go. “You’d best join them,” he grinned at her. “They do have a point.”

Aranxia giggled and squeezed his hand. “All right. Don’t you take too long, then. We’re all hungry.” She winked at him, then headed to the sitting room to join the others.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:20 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 37 Summer

With Aranxia in the sitting room with River, Jess, Dwr, Ta’neer and Aysu, it didn’t take long for Aennan to finish preparing dinner for the seven of them. Aranxia helped him to set the table, and then they sat down to eat.

For a while, they talked about the wedding that had taken place the day before, then the weather, then how work was going for Dwr and the girls. Then River made a remark about her uncle’s new house, and Aennan looked at her thoughtfully.

“Come to think of it,” he said slowly, “it took less than a month for his entire house to be redone, didn’t it?”

River grinned and nodded. “Did most of the work himself,” she said proudly.

“He’s a mason, then?” Aennan pressed.

“He wouldn’t admit it,” River laughed, “but yeah, he’s a mason. A good one. Honestly, he made his own house in less than a month!”

Aennan looked over at Aranxia. “Maybe we should talk to him first,” he suggested with a slight smile.

Aranxia’s eyes grew bright, and she nodded her agreement. The others looked at them curiously.

“What for?” Dwr asked.

Aennan and Aranxia looked at each other and smiled widely.

“Well,” Aennan said softly, “that’s partially why you were all invited here tonight.” He reached over and put his hand over Aranxia’s, and smiled at their guests. “We’re going to be married.”

“Well that’s been obvious for a while,” Aysu pointed out. “Why make a big announcement about it?”

Aranxia laughed. “Because of when it’s going to happen. We’re hoping next month.”

Jess blinked. “So you mean you’re officially going to be married,” he clarified.

Aennan chuckled softly. “Yes. Officially. Next month.”

River was just about dancing in her seat. “Oh, that’s wonderful!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I’m so happy for you both! And jealous, I have to admit.” She giggled. “No need to wait …”

She trailed off, her own words reminding her of something rather important. “Wait, Aranxia – you’re getting married already, without your parents even meeting him? Are you insane? And your grandfather, he-”

“Why does everyone bring up grandfather?” Aranxia interrupted her cousin bemusedly. “It is not his business, and even if it were, he has changed. Besides he still has Regan to hope for a proper marriage. And yes, I know, Mother and Father will be very surprised, but they did send me because Uncle Eärendil and Uncle Daeron are here to watch over me. We spoke with them yesterday, and Aunt Lin and Aunt Iorlas, and we have their approval. More or less.”

Aysu coughed on her food. “More or less?”

Aranxia blushed. “They needed convincing.”

“But they did give their permission,” Aennan pointed out, “on the condition of course that we do both go back with the others to the Southland.”

“To live there?” River asked doubtfully.

Aranxia shook her head. “No. We shall return here as soon as we may.”

“Which brings us back to your uncle.” Aennan smiled at River. “We are considering expanding my house, and if he could give an estimate as to the time and cost required, we could make a decision.”

“Well, I do have to say, your place is too small for a married couple,” Dwr pointed out, “even without children. What else could you do?”

“Possibly look for another house,” Aennan shrugged. “We hope to make enquiries and come to a decision … well, when we can.”

“Hopefully quickly,” Aranxia added, looking at Aennan, “especially if we hope to marry next month.”

Ta’neer leaned forward and reached across the table, placing her hand over Aranxia’s and Aennan’s. “For myself,” she said warmly, smiling at them both, “I wish you both a long and happy life together. Congratulations.”

The others echoed their good wishes, and the meal continued on with all pleasantness.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:20 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 37 Summer

After dinner, the seven friends cleaned up the meal, did the dishes, and then headed out to the beach for some fun before they had to leave each other for the evening. Ta’neer played music for them on her conch shell so that the others could dance, and even though Aysu had partnered up with Dwr, no one missed the glances that he sent in Ta’neer’s direction – except for Ta’neer herself.

River and Jess were the first to bid the others good night, but shortly after they had gone, Aysu and Ta’neer did the same. Dwr stood with Aranxia and Aennan, waving at them and watching them go, and once they were out of sight, he turned to look at Aennan and Aranxia.

“You know,” he said quietly, more serious than Aranxia had ever seen him before, “I have to admit … I’m jealous of you two.”

“Jealous?” Aranxia blinked at him. “Of us?”

Dwr nodded. “Of your certainty. Your togetherness. How – how easy it was for you to come together, to be together.”

Aennan looked down at Aranxia and put one arm around her. “It’s as difficult as you decide to make it,” he said simply, looking back at Dwr. “About not being afraid to take risks. You love Ta’neer, right?”

Dwr nodded again. “But I don’t know how to let her know,” he said quietly.

“Just tell her,” Aranxia murmured. “Show her. With your words and your actions, show her what she means to you. I know I haven’t known you long, Dwr, but from what I’ve seen, you haven’t shown her your serious side. You’re always teasing her. Chasing her. Taunting her.”

“You’re more like a pesky brother than a suitor,” Aennan agreed with her. “It looks more like you’re trying to tell her that you don’t like her, rather than that you do. Be honest. Be thoughtful of her, mindful of her. Think about what she likes.”

“She likes music,” Dwr offered weakly.

“So do something with that.” Aranxia laughed. “Honestly.”

“I gave her the shell she’s always playing.” Dwr shrugged and rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

Aranxia’s laughter died in her throat, and she stared at Dwr in open disbelief. “You gave that to her?” she repeated incredulously. “It’s her most prized possession …”

“You know, Dwr, I have to ask you,” Aennan sighed in exasperation. “Do you love her or don’t you? Because I can completely understand why she’s so frustrated. You give her a thoughtful, meaningful gift … and then torture her the rest of the time.”

“She makes no secret of the fact that she’s waiting for you to be honest with her,” Aranxia pointed out. “Even the first time I met her, the first thing she said about you was that you couldn’t make up your own mind. You seemed very confused about the comment, but considering that you had just said something about myself and Aennan, I had thought it fairly obvious, even at the time.”

“Actually, as I recall, she did say that she wished you would make up your mind as to whether or not you were going to court her,” Aennan mused. “That was two months ago. Honestly, Dwr, I think you’re going to face an ultimatum if you don’t do something soon.”

Dwr rubbed his cheek in recollection of something for which Aennan and Aranxia had been absent. “Well … yeah … but what do I do?”

Aennan sighed and passed one hand over his face. “Valar give me strength,” he muttered, looking up at the sky. “It’s no wonder she’s so frustrated with you.”

Aranxia closed her eyes and put her hand to her forehead. “Dwr … please take this exactly as it’s meant. I’ve never said this to or about anyone before, so you need to know how serious I am. You are unbelievably stupid.”

Dwr looked stunned at their reactions. “What?”

Aennan let go of Aranxia and stepped towards Dwr, then put one hand on his friend’s shoulder.

“Dwr,” he said solemnly, “do yourself – and all of us – a favour. The next time you see Ta’neer, walk up to her, take both of her hands, make full eye contact, and as seriously as you can, apologize for the way you’ve been acting and tell her how you feel.”

Dwr looked at him suspiciously. “It’s that simple?”

Aennan chuckled. “It’s that simple.”

Dwr pursed his lips thoughtfully and nodded slowly. “Yeah … okay.” He grinned. “Thanks. I’ll do that. I’ll see you two tomorrow, yeah?”

Aennan laughed. “Tomorrow,” he agreed. “Take care, Dwr.”

With a wave, Dwr headed off into the night.

When he was gone, Aranxia stepped closer to Aennan and slipped her arm around his waist. He looked down at her and smiled, pressing a kiss to her brow.

“You know,” Aranxia murmured, looking up at him, “that was some very good advice you gave to Dwr. Simply tell Ta’neer how he feels.”

Aennan grinned at her. “Thank you,” he murmured back. “I’m glad you agree.”

“Mm, yes.” Her eyes sparkled with mischief. “Too bad you haven’t yet followed your own advice.”

Aennan blinked at her in surprise. “I … what?”

Aranxia stepped around him so that she was directly in front of him and facing him. “I know,” she said softly, slipping both arms around his waist and leaning into him, “that it has not been so long since we met, but darling, we are engaged now – officially.” She ran her fingers in a slow circle along his back. “You have implied, many times over, what you feel, and I know it to be true … but I have yet to hear the words pass your lips.”

For a moment, Aennan was stunned; but then he realized what she meant. His eyes softened, and he drew her closer. “Aranxia,” he murmured, touching his forehead to hers, “dearest, have I told you that I love you?”

Aranxia giggled softly. “No, dear heart, you haven’t,” she whispered back.

Aennan touched his lips to her cheek, then tilted his head slightly and sought out her lips instead. Aranxia closed her eyes and lifted her head to meet him, raising her arms to put them around his neck. It was the first real kiss they had shared, and it was so sweet, so tender, that to Aranxia, it spoke the words she was waiting for, again and again, threatening to overwhelm her until at length, and yet all too soon, Aennan ended the kiss, though his lips were still brushing ever so lightly against hers.

Aranxia opened her eyes and gazed at him, breathless, her heart racing wildly.

“Aranxia,” Aennan murmured softly, his gaze tender as he looked into her eyes, “with all of my heart, my breath, my being … with all that I am and all that I will ever be … I love you.”

Aranxia bit her lower lip in an attempt to hold her emotions in check, but she felt slightly lightheaded and not entirely in control of herself. She could feel that Aennan’s arms around her were the only things keeping her on her feet. She put her head against his shoulder and closed her eyes again, and sighed softly with contentment.

“Aennan,” she whispered, “how is it possible to feel this strongly after knowing you for such a short time?”

Aennan laughed softly and held her closer. “That, I don’t know,” he replied quietly, “but I do know that it must be possible, because it has happened.” He put his cheek against her forehead. “We should get you back to the inn before you get into trouble again.”

Aranxia giggled softly. “All right … but let’s at least wait until my head is on straight again.” She looked up at him. “I believe I may feel a bit … intoxicated.”

“Oh, dear,” Aennan chuckled. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, then let her go. “Come on. An evening swim will clear your head.” He took her hand and tugged her towards the water’s edge.

“But I haven’t my swimming clothes!” she laughed, running after him.

“I don’t mind if you don’t,” he grinned.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:21 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 42 Summer

After a week of talking to people, Aennan and Aranxia knew that they were going to have a busy day ahead of them. Luk had come and looked at the house, and he had given them a price for expanding the house, both upwards and outwards, but because of the shape of the property and the way the house had been built, neither option was very practical. He had suggested completely tearing down the house and rebuilding, but that would have been the most expensive option of all, so Aennan and Aranxia had decided to look around and see the cost of such properties as might be for sale.

They began their search early in the morning, and by noon were quite discouraged. The houses they had looked at were either too large and expensive, or too small, or had no property to speak of. Both Aennan and Aranxia agreed that property was important for raising a family. They didn’t need an enormous amount of space, but they did need some yard.

They lunched at the inn, a quick meal, and then resumed their search.

“You know,” Aranxia mused as they walked along the harbour towards a house that they’d heard was for sale, “if Luk said that we would have time to tear down the house and rebuild … would we not have time to build from scratch if we simply found some property?”

Aennan arched one eyebrow as he thought about it. “You know,” he mused, “the idea hadn’t occurred to me. There’s plenty of land available, if you don’t mind being outside the city.”

Aranxia smiled. “Not in the least. And we could even build near the shore, could we not? Near the water, near the forest …”

“Shall we look into that rather than look at more houses?” Aennan asked her with a smile.

She nodded. “If it’s possible, then we should start building as soon as possible,” she reasoned, “and if not, then it takes a fraction of the time to buy a house and move belongings, right?”

“Right.” Aennan grew quiet. “I wonder … who would we talk to about purchasing land outside the city?”

“Why not some of the senators?” Aranxia suggested. “Maybe Luk, he lives out there so I’m sure he would know about the process.”

“Then to Luk we go,” Aennan grinned.

With renewed purpose, they picked up the pace, and it was not long before they were outside the city, at the door of Luk’s new home. They could tell that there was also a woman living here, now: the windows had curtains hanging in them now, and there had been more flowers planted as well.

Aennan knocked at the door, and before he had even stepped back to wait with Aranxia, the door was opened by Lily, who welcomed them warmly and invited them in.

“Now correct me if I’m wrong,” she beamed at the two of them, gesturing for them to sit on the couch, “but a little birdie told me that you two are planning on getting married next month!”

“Would the little birdie happen to be the second of your three new grand-nieces?” Aennan grinned back at her, his eyes sparkling.

Aranxia giggled. “Well, it’s not like we asked them to keep it to themselves or anything,” she reminded her fiancé.

“Very true,” Aennan grinned. He turned his attention back to Lily. “And as a matter of fact, that’s why we’re here. My house is far too small for more than one person, Luk said it will be rather expensive to expand – and dangerous, because of the structure – and there aren’t really many houses for sale, and none that really suit us. So we were hoping to talk to him about settling outside of the city, and find out what’s all involved with that. Is he around?”

Lily looked towards the hallway. “Yes, he’s … um … Luk?” she called out.

“Yes?” came a reply from somewhere in the back half of the house.

“Visitors,” Lily called back. “Aennan and Aranxia have an important question for you.”

“Oh! I’ll be right there!”

Within a minute, Luk had joined them in the sitting room. “Welcome back,” he greeted them warmly. “Have you come to a decision about your home, then, Aennan?”

Aennan smiled and nodded. “Actually, we were wondering about the process for building a new home, having some property of our own, outside the city. We were thinking, near the shore, sort of like my current home is.”

Luk’s eyes sparkled brightly. “No process at all!” he answered cheerfully. “Outside the city walls, no one owns the land. Settle and build where you will. Would you like me to come with you and plot out a site? Help with plans for the house?”

“We would be very grateful for any help you can give,” Aranxia said warmly. “Thank you.”

“Do you have time this afternoon?” Luk asked them. “I’d imagine you want to get started as soon as possible.”

“Yes,” Aennan agreed. “If you have nothing else on your schedule …”

“Nothing at all,” Luk grinned. “We’ve only just finished lunch, so give us a bit of time to clean up, and I’ll be with you.”

“Oh, you go ahead,” Lily shooed her husband towards the door. “I’ll take care of it. Off with you! Go on, go on!”

And off they went.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:21 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 45 Summer

Aennan had spent the morning working, though more slowly than usual, his nerves too anxious for him to be able to really concentrate. Lin and Eärendil had told him the day before that Aranxia’s parents wanted to speak with him in person – though how, he still wasn’t quite sure – and all he knew was that it was going to happen after lunch today, and that all he would have to do was meet Lancaeriel when she came to the library.

Truth be told, he was amazed that Amanya had even agreed to give him the time off. Sure, he would not be leaving his office, but he wasn’t going to be working, and wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to work after the conversation was complete.

At lunch time, Aranxia asked him if he was feeling all right, and he gave her a vague response about his work being on his mind.

Then lunch was over, and he returned to his office and waited.

The wait was not a long one, and before he was ready (though he had to admit, he could have been left to wait for a year and not been ready) Lancaeriel appeared in his office with a large bag over her shoulder.

“Good afternoon, Aennan,” she greeted him warmly. “Are you ready for this?”

Aennan’s heart was pounding, and he knew that there was no way to hide it or the way that his hands were shaking, but he nodded his head. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” he said, taking a deep breath.

Lancaeriel smiled sympathetically. “I’m sure it won’t be as bad as you fear,” she murmured. She motioned for him to sit at his chair. “I’ll set up the mirror against the wall, that will provide the best view, I think,” she decided. She pulled a large rectangular mirror from her bag and set it on the edge of Aennan’s desk, leaning it against the wall so that it was sitting up nearly straight. She checked the angle by looking into the mirror from behind Aennan, nodded to herself, and then reached forward to touch it. The surface rippled slightly, and then Aennan’s reflection was replaced with the faces of a man and a woman, dark elves both of them, sitting at a table in what looked like a bedchamber the size of Aennan’s kitchen, dining room and living room put together.

There was no question as to who those two elves were: Aennan could see very clearly where Aranxia got her looks. Her mother, though obviously older, was every bit as beautiful as her daughter, and had the same shape of face; and her father shared Aranxia’s smile and warm eyes.

“Good morning,” Lancaeriel greeted the two warmly. “It looks as though you were waiting for us this time.”

“We’re eager to meet our future son-in-law,” replied the man with a warm smile. “Before he becomes our son-in-law.”

Lancaeriel smiled and gestured towards Aennan. “Prince Aranel, Princess Tinúviel, meet Aennan,” she introduced him.

Aennan bowed his head respectfully to Aranxia’s parents. “It is an honour to meet you,” he told them sincerely.

“Likewise,” the prince replied, equally sincerely. “We understand that our daughter is quite taken with you, enough that she is willing-”

“-eager-” Tinúviel corrected her husband.

“-to marry you without our knowledge of your existence,” Aranel went on, though he did nod at his wife’s interjection.

Aranel felt his face growing warm, and he lowered his eyes. “I know that we should wait, that I ought to have first met you and gained your approval …”

“We understand,” Tinúviel interrupted, and when Aennan looked up again, he saw that the princess was smiling at him. “The situation was explained to us. Aranxia never does anything without much careful thought, so that in itself tells us quite a bit about you. And Lin, Eärendil and Lancaeriel have told me a lot about you, enough that I can say that I trust you with my daughter.”

Aennan felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders, and he relaxed enough to smile. “Thank you.”

“That being said,” Tinúviel added, making Aennan’s insides twinge again, “we do have some plans to make.”

Aennan blinked. “Um … plans?” he repeated.

Aranel put one arm around his wife’s shoulders. “We’re going to need to come at least a few days before your wedding,” he told Aennan seriously. “Get to know the place a bit … get used to seeing different races … you need to understand that aside from those who are visiting your city, we’ve seen no races but light and dark elves.”

“Which begs the question,” Tinúviel added, leaning into her husband, “and please, I hope you don’t find this an offensive question, but … what race are you?”

Aennan chuckled softly, grateful that the question was such an easy one. “Trust me, when you live here, it’s a very common question. I am a water elf, full blooded.”

“Fascinating,” Tinúviel breathed, her eyes sparkling.

“But back to plans for our visit,” Aranel chuckled. “We would like to meet your parents, if they live in the city with you.”

Aennan smiled ruefully and rubbed the back of his neck. “I’m sorry, but I’m afraid they died before I had the chance to know them,” he apologized. “I’m sure my brother and sister-in-law would be very happy to meet you, though. Unfortunately, their house is not large enough to have other people stay with them. There is an inn, but that’s where Aranxia is staying … I suppose it depends whether or not you would like your presence to remain secret until our wedding.”

“You’re the one who wants to keep it a surprise,” Tinúviel replied with a laugh.

Aennan chuckled. “True … well, your visit will still be a surprise, so perhaps it’s still fine if she knows you’re here. I do have to warn you, though, the inn is a bit pricey, and they won’t accept your currency here.”

“What about the ship?” Lancaeriel put in. Aennan jumped, startled. He had forgotten that she was there, behind him. He turned to look at her and tilted his head slightly.

“I hadn’t thought of that,” he mused.

“Wren and I may have to go there ourselves after Aranxia leaves the inn,” Lancaeriel smiled, “which was why I thought of it. She’s been funding our stay through her work with Aennan.”

“It would be fun,” Aranel admitted. “I’ve traveled a lot, but I’ve never been on a ship. I know we won’t be sailing, but it’s better than nothing.”

Aennan was finding himself quite surprised by Aranxia’s parents. They were nothing like he had expected. They were every bit as friendly as easy-going as Aranxia herself, and more open. He felt at ease with them, and they had only just begun to talk.

“The ship it is, then,” he agreed; and they continued to plan what the royal couple might do in their time there.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:21 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 45 Summer

Aennan finished his work about half an hour after he and Lancaeriel had finished their conversation with Aranxia’s parents, and he tidied up his desk, cleaned his quill, entered his progress into his log, and got ready to leave. When he went downstairs, Shiro had already disappeared for the evening, and he headed towards the door. Amanya, unsurprisingly, was still working at her desk. Aennan felt a bit sorry for her: he knew that she had no one to go home to, and so no reason to stop working; he had used to be like that, and he knew what she was missing.

“Good night, Amanya,” he called to her, waving as he passed.

“Good night, Aennan,” she replied, looking up from her work. “Did you finish what I asked you to do today? Lancaeriel was up there with you for quite a while.”

Aennan stopped in his tracks and blinked at her. “Of course I did,” he replied, a little hurt by her implication. “Don’t you trust me?”

“Of course I trust you,” the librarian assured him, “but you’ve been getting a lot of visitors of late, and I just wanted to make sure-”

“- that I don’t get distracted from my work?” Aennan interrupted her. He was angry now, angrier than he had felt in a very long time, and the interruption was evidence of that. He never interrupted people, always showing others the greatest respect and deference, especially his employer; but this was not normal circumstances.

“Amanya,” he said, turning to face her squarely, “in case you had forgotten, I am getting married in five weeks. There are things that need doing before that time. I have a house to finish building, a dinner to plan, and in-laws to meet. Not everything can be done in the little time there is after dinner. I had thought that I could count on you for support, considering your claims that I’m like a son to you. Please don’t mistake my meaning: I’m very fond of you, and grateful for all that you’ve done for me. But also remember: I am not here because I have to be. I am here, translating and transcribing, because this is where I want to be. If my work is dissatisfactory, then tell me so. If you do not wish to pay me for the time I occasionally take to talk to people, to organize things, then don’t. I am not asking you to. All I ask of you is that you don’t try to frighten away everyone who wants to speak with me. Honestly, how many people do you talk to during the day? I know that your work is all that you have, but forgive me for having something more to look forward to.”

His face was very flushed by the time he finished, and his fists were clenched at his sides. Perhaps that last comment was a low blow, he realized too late, but he found that he wasn’t very sorry for it. That might come later, but now he was just being tactlessly honest.

“My job is no longer my priority,” he added, forcing himself to calm down. “I have a fiancée, soon to be my wife, and she is my focus. If I will not be allowed to take an hour here and there to spend time with her, to meet her parents, to prepare the home where we will be living, then perhaps I should seek alternate employment, somewhere where family comes before work.”

Amanya stared at Aennan, her bi-coloured eyes wide with shock. She seemed quite incapable of speech at the moment, and Aennan decided to give her the night to think about what he’d said.

“I’ll see you in the morning,” he told her coldly; and with a slight nod of formal respect, he left.

He had to admit to himself, when he felt the warmth of the sun hit his face, he felt a lot better now.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:22 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 47 Summer

The day following Aennan’s threat of quitting his job, Amanya did not speak to him once, even to return his cheerful “Good morning” when he arrived and his quieter “Good night” when he left again in the afternoon. He couldn’t be certain, of course, but in his opinion, she almost looked afraid to speak to him.

She nodded a silent greeting to him the next morning when he arrived, and he wondered just how badly he’d frightened her – or insulted her. Now that he was thinking about it, he had made a very personal attack on her, saying that her work – the only thing she really had to look forward to – was unimportant to him. That bothered him, because he knew that the work was important – not only for her but for everyone – and he didn’t want her to feel as though it wasn’t.

Finally, he decided to talk to her about it. He had just finished transcribing a chapter in a book about medical techniques, and since Aranxia was due to meet him soon for lunch, he didn’t bother starting onto the next chapter, but tidied up his work, logged his progress, and headed downstairs to speak with Amanya. The librarian was, as usual, sitting at her desk, hard at work, and Aennan approached her quietly. When his shadow fell over her work, she looked up at him. She seemed somewhat surprised to see him before her, and her brow furrowed slightly, the only indication she gave that she was uneasy about seeing him.

“Yes?” she asked him softly.

Aennan took a deep breath to calm himself and exhaled it slowly. “I … wanted to apologize,” he murmured, “for what I said the other day … about you having only your work. I made it sound as if it wasn’t important. I know it is, and I know that my work is important, too … important to you, important to me, important for the people. It’s the gift of knowledge, the shared knowledge of the past several thousand years, from various nations, and knowledge is the greatest benefit to people – any people.”

He paused to gather his thoughts, but he could see that Amanya was thinking deeply about what he had already said. Then he went on:

“What I meant to convey was that – as important as all of this is – there is now a person in my life whom I love very much. The books, the transcriptions, the translations … they are ink on paper. If they have to wait another hour, another day … they can wait. They have no sentience, they can’t become impatient. But when it comes to being with another person, someone you love more than anything else … being away from her when we have so much that needs doing … that’s taking away a precious gift. Nothing is greater than being with the one that you love.”

He leaned forward slightly. “Amanya, I meant what I said the other day … I love my work here. I’m here because I want to be here. I know how important it is. But when my interactions with people are restricted, I start to feel trapped, and it loses its appeal to me. Yes, you’re my employer, and yes, you’ve helped me and my brother and sister-in-law more than I could ever hope to repay you for. But that doesn’t make me property, a slave. All I’m asking is that you allow me to get things ready for my wedding. I’m not ignoring my work, and I’m not leaving things. I’m not going to leave, and if my work slows for a while because of this, then I can promise you that I will catch up on it after my wedding.”

He paused and waited for her to respond, to say something – anything – but she didn’t. After a moment he turned away, ready to leave for his lunch. He had already taken two steps before her voice stopped him. He turned halfway and looked back at her again. “Yes?”

Amanya looked upset, but in a different way than she had been upset two days previous. This was more a concerned kind of upset rather than insulted or angry. She hesitated a moment, then murmured, “Have a good lunch.”

Aennan smiled grimly and nodded, and he again turned to leave. He was about to take his first step this time when Amanya’s voice stopped him again. “And-”

He turned to look at her again, curiously this time, and tilted his head. “Yes?”

She hesitated once more, then said softly, “And … take the afternoon off. Take an early weekend.”

Aennan blinked at her, then smiled gently and nodded. “Thank you. Very much. Have a lovely weekend. I’ll see you Elenya morning.”

Amanya nodded back and offered him a faint smile. “And you.”

Aennan left, eager to see the look on Aranxia’s face when he told her that he didn’t have to work for the next day and a half.

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Post by Nara-pyon on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:22 pm

Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Year: 116 F.A.
Status: 2 Autumn

Morning dawned bright, and by the time Aranxia and Aennan arrived at the ship to pick up Aranxia’s family for the day, they had already gone for a morning swim and eaten breakfast together. When they showed up on board, Aranxia’s hair was still wet, though she had changed into proper clothes, and Ruel, the first to greet the two of them, eyed her hair but said nothing about it.

“Good morning, Neko,” Aranxia greeted her grandfather with a kiss on the cheek. “Is everyone ready to go?”

Ruel smiled, one of his rare genuine ones. “Just about,” he replied quietly. “I think your sister had a bit of trouble waking up today, but aside from her we’re all ready.”

Aranxia’s eyes sparkled and she grinned up at Ruel. “I still can’t believe you all came,” she laughed. “It’s so surreal …” She turned back to Aennan and hugged him tightly. “And you, keeping it such a secret.”

Aennan grinned. “It was worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on your face when you turned around and saw them.”

Aranxia giggled at him, then waved to the rest of her family as they emerged out on deck. “Good morning!”

The others returned her greeting, and Regan asked sleepily, “Have you already bathed this morning?”

Aranxia laughed. “Even better. A morning swim.”

Luthien tilted her head slightly and murmured, “A morning swim for our desert-raised princess?”

Aranxia giggled again, but this time didn’t reply. It seemed to her to be an amusing but redundant question. “Come on,” she urged them all instead. “Lykor will be leaving for work soon, and we’d like for him to meet all of you.”

“We’re coming, we’re coming,” Aranel assured her, his dark eyes sparkling. “I have to say, Aranxia, I’ve never seen you so excited before.”

Aranxia blushed and bit her lip to keep from giggling again. “Well, I’m getting married in less than a week to the person I love more than anyone in the world; you, my family, are here, which I hadn’t expected at all; and you’re going to meet Aennan’s family. Honestly, Father, what’s not to be excited about?”

Without further ado, they left, heading towards the middle of the city, where Lykor and Galanna’s house was located. As they walked, Luthien, Tinúviel, Aranel and Regan peppered Aennan with questions about the city and the culture. It was still an amazing thing to them that people here were quite willing (and happy) to marry people who were not of the same race as them – not only different races of elves, but even elves and humans together! They weren’t even yet used to seeing the different races walking around the streets together. Regan also asked about Galanna’s illness, and Aennan explained the circumstances of his sister-in-law’s condition.

At length, they arrived.

“Now Ruel,” Luthien said sternly, turning towards her husband and giving him the look, “don’t you cause any trouble in there. Perfect behaviour.”

Aennan overheard the comment, and he knew what Luthien was referring to. Aranxia had explained to him her grandfather’s intolerance of those who were not Dark Elven, and especially of those who were not Elven at all. He didn’t pretend to understand it, but he knew that it was the prevalent attitude of his continent as well, so it had not been a surprise.

Now he turned and smiled reassuringly at Luthien. “Don’t worry,” he told her in an assuring tone, “I’m sure he will be just fine. After all, people are individuals. I’m sure he wouldn’t judge Galanna based on her race, just as he would not have the entire elven race” – and this he kept deliberately general rather than naming a specific branch of the race – “judged based on the actions of one individual, either.”

He looked intentionally away from Ruel, but all of the Aldriches took note of the stunned expression on Ruel’s face. Without hesitating, Aennan knocked on the front door of the house, opened it, and led the way inside.

“Aennan!” Lykor said in surprise upon seeing his brother. “A week off to prepare for your wedding, and you come here first thing in the morning?”

Aennan grinned. “Well, we wanted you to meet Aranxia’s family. They arrived yesterday.” He turned and motioned for everyone to come in and go into the living room, and introduced them as they entered. “Aranxia’s sister, Regan; their parents, Tinúviel and Aranel; and Tinúviel’s parents, Luthien and Ruel.”

Aranxia was the last one in, and she closed the door behind her and took Aennan’s hand before the two of them joined the others in the living room. Aennan was glad to see that Galanna was already in the room as well, as it meant that only one set of introductions would be necessary – and also because it meant that if anything adverse came from this meeting, Lykor would be there for his wife’s support.

“Regan, Mother, Father, Nako, Neko,” Aranxia smiled widely, “this is Aennan’s brother, Lykor, and his wife, Galanna.”

Ruel smiled thinly while the others all greeted each other warmly. Once the greetings were out of the way, Aennan spoke up again.

“This changes our plans for the wedding,” he told his family. “Your house simply isn’t big enough to host even just the nine of us … so we’re going to be having our wedding at our new home, outside the city. It’s big enough that we can invite all of you, plus our friends. And Galanna, you’ll be able to come, too – Ruel is a blacksmith, and he and Aranxia’s cousin, Andarien – a gearsmith – have agreed to make you a means of transportation that will make it easy for you to leave the house.”

Galanna blinked. “Leave the house? Really?”

Lykor sank to the couch next to his wife and looked at her in disbelief. “That would be wonderful,” he murmured. He looked up at Ruel. “But how?”

Ruel cleared his throat, almost nervously. “I have a nephew who has seen something people from his world use if they can’t walk, or can’t walk far,” he replied slowly. “A chair with wheels that has handles so that it can be pushed by someone else. He has described it to me, and I feel confident that given the proper materials and a bit of help, I will be able to make this for you.”

Galanna’s eyes sparkled, and she leaned forward slightly. “I haven’t been out of the house in almost fifteen years,” she said softly. “Thank you. So very, very much.”

Aranxia was watching her grandfather closely throughout this exchange, and what she saw now on his face was surprise, followed shortly thereafter by wonder.

It really made her wonder what was going through his brain right at that moment.

“I don’t mean to run,” Lykor apologized, rising from his seat, smiling widely, “but I really do have to get to work now. Have a wonderful day, all of you. It was good to meet you all, and I do hope to spend more time with you. Why don’t you all come here for dinner tonight?”

“Do you need help preparing it?” Aranxia asked him quickly.

Lykor shook his head. “No, I’ll be fine. Come around twenty-three hours.”

“Will do,” Aennan agreed. “See you then.”

Lykor leaned down and kissed his wife before leaving the house, leaving his wife alone with their guests.

“So,” Galanna smiled brightly, adjusting the blanket that lay over her legs and leaning forward eagerly, “please, tell me all about yourselves.”

Aranxia’s family settled on various chairs and made themselves comfortable for their visit.

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