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The Other by Keiliss

Author: Keiliss
Title: The Other
Rating: PG
Theme: Time in a Bottle
Elements: 394
Author's Notes: possible mini prequel to Star’s End
Summary: A gate guard watches as the Queen leaves Minas Tirith.
Word Count: 394 according to MS Word (a notorious liar)
Beta: my beta is away so please pardon the errors (eta: thanks to Himring and Linda for catching the typo)

She never truly belonged here, Elessar‘s queen. Heart-wrenchingly lovely she was, but distant and solitary, with star-bright eyes that pierced through words to pin men’s souls. Now our Elessar has performed the Mystery, after the manner of the Sea Kings of legend, and left us - he was raised by the Fair Folk and although beloved, his ways were his own - and she slips away like morning mist, leaving Gondor once more to the will and governance of men.

She is Other, not fostered by the Fair Folk as he was, but a princess born of their most high lineage. To Gondor those strange, bright people brought her after the War, not unlike a victor’s trophy for our king. My Nan once waited on their queen and said she was kind enough, spoke our tongue cleanly and had a laugh like water falling into silver. Queen Arwen though - always grave, she seemed, strange and far-seeing, her laughter only for the King and her children, or so it is said.

The children all have that hint of Other about them. Not just a ‘something behind the eyes’ as is common in the old families of Dol Amroth, but the pale skin, silvered voices and grace that are marks of the Kindly Ones. It will breed out in time, my Nan says. Eldarion’s wife comes from one of our noble Houses and their children’s children will slowly shed that strangeness. Though in truth, the youngest daughter wed the King’s steward in Annúminas and went singing and dancing north, eager for lands where her elven kin are said still to linger.

After the King’s passing, we thought Queen Arwen would retire to some quiet corner of the palace, close to her children, her grandchildren, but in the end she too must have seen there is no place here for her kind. I was on early watch this morning when she rode through the lower city with neither attendant nor escort, which was how I alone came to see her leave. She glanced my way as she passed through the great gate, her eyes inscrutable, her horse’s hooves sharp on the still air, then she turned her face to the north. It is a tale to share with my unborn children, a sight stored up in my memory, never to be forgotten: Elessar’s Evenstar, going home.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2013 06:40 pm (UTC)
Haunting and absolutely beautiful, Iggy! I love it!

How very fitting that only a minor guard would mark Arwen's departure from Gondor - and how well you expressed what would be a natural prejudice that the Elven traits she brought to the royal family would "breed out in time."

Gave me shivers, you did. Good job!!
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:28 am (UTC)
People have always been uneasy around the unknown, and I couldn't imagine the citizens of Gondor being any different. Elrond's vision in the movie of Arwen returning alone to Lorien never left me -- pictures really do speak louder than words, don't they?

Thank you for the lovely compliments, they're much appreciated :)

Jul. 16th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC)
A silver blade of a memory, sharp, cutting, but nearly painless--nearly. Beautifully written!
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:30 am (UTC)
It would be something to go back over in quiet moments, part of family history to be passed down the generations. Never to be forgotten.

Thank you so much!

Jul. 16th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
She is Other, not fostered by the Fair Folk as he was, but a princess born of their most high lineage. To Gondor those strange, bright people brought her after the War, not unlike a victor’s trophy for our king.

What a fascinating and insightful POV. Very well done! And that last line... *shivers with good shivers*
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:31 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you liked it, my dear, particularly the last line which was the seed I started from and built the entire scene around. Thank you :)

Jul. 17th, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
The alien aspects of Arwen, one of the people yet not of the people, comes through so wonderfully in the echoing prose of your words. A tone poem of her life - happiness restricted to her family only and the emptiness that remains behind after Aragorn journeys his final ride. I loved this.

- Erulisse (one L)
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
I've always hoped there was enough happiness in her marriage and with her children to make up for being a permanent outsider, and that in the end the price was worth what she gained. Thank you for a lovely, insightful review - the kind words are much appreciated :)

Jul. 17th, 2013 07:21 am (UTC)
Star's End is such a sad story...
That last line sounds almost comforting, but if this is indeed a prequel to Star's End, it's not really, is it?
At least, Arwen's youngest daughter went singing and dancing north!
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:39 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
Elrond's vision in the movie of Arwen's end, of that solitary figure approaching Lorien, gave me chills -- PJ has something to answer for there, lol. The conclusion of the story isn't comforting, no, (though there is an alternate ending to Star's End that has never been posted), but I've always hoped she found it worth the price.
I enjoyed the idea of one of her daughters gaining a little of her elven heritage. I know her children weren't included in the Choice, but maybe she got to spend time with her uncles.


Edited at 2013-07-18 02:42 am (UTC)
Jul. 17th, 2013 07:55 am (UTC)
This was just gorgeous, so hauntingly sad and lovely. I hope you will be posting it on MPTT. One tiny typo I noticed "Aldarion" should be "Eldarion."
Jul. 17th, 2013 10:09 am (UTC)
Thanks very much for the lovely review, Linda. I'm more than happy you liked how it turned out. Also huge thanks for catching the typo - I read this I don't know how many times without noticing. Fixed!
Jul. 17th, 2013 12:10 pm (UTC)
That, for me, sums up the relationship between the people of Gondor and their royal family perfectly. No matter what, Arwen was Other - and her children must have had that hint of Other about them, too.

I really like this, enormously.
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:46 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much :)

The closest I could get to imagining the impact of their marriage was if (a century or two back) an English king had taken a Japanese or Nigerian queen - beautiful, wise, cultured, the daughter of a military ally perhaps, but unlike anyone the average Englishman had ever seen.
And how alone she would have felt at times, despite her husband and children.

Jul. 17th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
I really like this. I have nothing more to say than I really like it.
Jul. 18th, 2013 02:48 am (UTC)
I couldn't ask for a nicer or more meaningful review. Thank you so much, I'm so glad you liked it.

Jul. 18th, 2013 04:20 am (UTC)
Great job! She really does seem believably alien. Beautiful, and all that, but alien.
Jul. 19th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much :)

Like nothing they'd ever seen before, yes. Not good or bad, just - different.
Jul. 19th, 2013 12:59 am (UTC)
This is incredibly haunting and beautiful! I would like to hope that perhaps she was not quite so alien as all that to the people she dwelt among--but your version is truly more realistic.
Jul. 19th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much for the lovely review.

I really hope those she spent time with on a regular basis learned to see past the differences in age and culture and that she had people outside her immediate family who made her laugh and whose company she enjoyed.
Jul. 20th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
Oh, Kei, how beautiful, poignant and sad. I never liked Arwen's end, either in the movie or the book. Always hoped her brothers, her uncle and maybe some others were there for her (in my world, Glorfindel would have been, come hell or high water).

I love the image of her daughter going north, dancing and singing! I hope she found what she wanted.

You made me think about what her life would have been like, and I think there would have been joy. Arwen was old enough to be wise, and I think by the time Aragorn actually won his throne, she had come to peace with the thought -- though the actual deed... Well, there's the rub. But I always think forward to an Arda Unmarred where I think everyone of all kindreds were reunited.

Jul. 27th, 2013 03:19 am (UTC)
I think Elrond was older and wiser and had been to men's courts. He knew there'd be bad with the good, which must have been at least part of why he was so unhappy with her choice. That, and losing her till the Remaking. I hope a few elves stayed with her, but the end of the story as the professor wrote it doesn't suggest that --- so there'd have been no one else who'd seen the years turn, spoke the language, remembered the people who had passed over the sea.

I've also always liked to think Glorfindel (and Erestor perhaps) stayed till the end to give her support.

I didn't know I'd thought about this till I started writing it, I just had a line I'd written a while back and built from that... thank you for so many kind words. Love your reviews, always.
Jul. 21st, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
This was very well written and gave me a chilling feeling too-- very interesting take on Arwen leaving Gondor through third person perspective. :)
Jul. 27th, 2013 03:08 am (UTC)
I'm so happy to know you enjoyed this. Chilling - that's a great compliment. Thank you so much :)

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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