THE RETURN OF ALDIR
Morning of November 8, 3019
Lilandra portrayed by Madurz
Aldir portrayed by Wraith
Lilandra: Lilandra had went through the
day panic stricken after Vartang had left her. She thought of
all the worst case scenarios and let them haunt her throughout
the passing hours. She spoke little to anyone and kept going back
to her room to fall into unseen fits of crying. The outlook was
becoming more and more grim and hopeless and she focused on the
reality of a future of pain and hardship. Perhaps there was a
savior in this yet..but thinking of that only made her sad and
she wrapped her arms around herself. Finally the night came and
she was able to retire for the night.
Lilandra: Frodo and Finduilas exchanged knowing glances and she told them she wanted to be alone this night and that she would be well and call on them if she needed them. She forced herself to eat that night upon their insistence and her knowing she must. But each bite was hard to swallow. Her night was the same as the one before and after the wailing into her pillow and dark visions of losing her husband to the fury of his hunters, she found sleep.
Lilandra: Waking again huddled to the bunched up blanket, she rose and dressed and readied for her day of tasks and of news good or bad. She breathed deeply trying to prepare..but is there any preparation for the loss of the thing you cherish most.
Aldir: Lilandra? *he whispers as he looks to the east and sees the faint traces of the late dawn just beginning to touch the sky* I'm back.
Lilandra: *Lilandra was smoothing her hands down her apron when she heard the light tapping and her eyes grew wide and her heart began to bang painfully in her chest when she thought she heard his voice..she dashed to the window and flung open the shutters and nearly burst into tears and squealed* Aldir!!
Aldir: Be quiet love! *he whispers* and help me in!
Lilandra: *she bites her lower lip hard and she feels like she has not seen him in years. She reaches out her arms to him*
Aldir: *He puts one leg through the opening of the window and puts one hand on the windowsill and the other on her shoulder*
Lilandra: *her eyes move over him entirely wide and welled up with tears and she cannot speak*
Aldir: *He puts the other leg over the sill and turning, he closes the shutters. He turns back to her* Lilandra, it is all right now
Lilandra: *her shaky hand moves up to touch his face and she focuses at first only on his return..then she she looks him over more she notices his disheveled state*
Aldir: It is no ghost you see before you. I told you I would return and so I have. No ghost would smell as I do *he laughs*
Lilandra: *she presses her fist up to her lips and the welled up tears fall and streak her cheeks and she rushes him and wraps her arms around his neck* oh love!
Aldir: *he puts his arms around her, pulling her to him, feeling the warmth of her body on his cold body*
Lilandra: *her voice is whispered and scattered between relieved sobs* this day seemed like a year..she takes his face in her hands and looks him over as if for the first time*
Aldir: It is a cold morning, my love and I am wearing little
Lilandra: love...love you are cold...yes..yes...sit
Aldir: Yes, I need to sit and I am cold, but there are no fires in the quarters of slaves *He walks over to a chair along the wall and sits*
Lilandra: *she moves over to the bed and with a grunt she yanks the bunched up blanket from the bed and moves back over to him shakes out the blanket and drapes it over his shoulders*
Lilandra: *she kneels down in front of him and wraps it around him tightly* warm up love. then you will dress
Aldir: Thank you, my love, but before I can dress, I need a bath. Can you not smell my reek? *he holds the blanket tightly around himself*
Lilandra: i have not come to focus on anything but you..being here..with me. shall i fetch some supplies with haste for you love?
Aldir: Love, I need some tending, that is for sure
Lilandra: tell me what can i get you besides supplies for a bath love?
Aldir: A pitcher of warm water and a basin, some cloths to clean myself with
Lilandra: anything else? Are you hungry?
Aldir: No, I cannot eat, not now. I have had much orc draught. If I eat anything, I will become ill at my stomach. Go to the kitchen, warm some water on the stove, bring it back. I wish to rid myself of this smell
Lilandra: *she closes her eyes tightly wondering what he has been through..surely nothing but unpleasantries* love i will hurry back!
Aldir: *he sighs and nods his head*
Lilandra: *she goes over to the door and looks to him once more and opens it and exits, closing the door behind her..her mind swimming as she makes her journey to the kitchen*
Aldir: *He thinks to himself, though it is chilly in the room for there are no fires, still it is far warmer than the air outside. And how good my bed looks to me, there across the room. How I long to lie upon its softness and pull the blankets up tight about me**
Lilandra: *she talks to no one and does her deeds and fills up a pot of water and heats it on the stove..in the meantime she gathers some cloths and the basin and pitcher. When it is heated she pours the water into the large pitcher and places the pitcher inside the empty basin and holds the basin with the cloths and hurries back through the halls to their room..so much on her mind. she steadies the supplies in her one arm and opens the door. she closes the door and places the basin and cloths upon the table and fills it with the very warm water*
Aldir: *Not wanting her to see the wound on his side and the many cuts and bruises on his body, he tries to think of a distraction to get her to leave the room*
Lilandra: *she spreads out a large cloth on the floor for him* come love..let me help you
Aldir: *He thinks, I will ask her for wine. Perhaps I can clean myself before she can see, for we keep little wine in this room and she will have go to the wine cellar and fetch it for me*
Lilandra: *she dips a cloth in the basin and lets it soak*
Aldir: Lilandra, I am very cold. Could you please fetch me some wine from the cellar?
Lilandra: *she looks to him* why did you not ask me when i was out of the room? *she smiles* are you sure you can..i thought you couldn't stomach anything?
Aldir: *searching through his brain for some excuse, he says* The wine might settle my stomach.
Lilandra: *she moves over to him and places her hands upon his shoulders* all right my love
Aldir: *he sighs, glad that his ruse is working*
Lilandra: *she moves out of the room and begins to walk down the hall*
Aldir: *He watches until he is sure she is out of hearing distance and then he rises from the chair, takes off his cloak, and then his sword belt and boots. He bends down and pulls the dagger out of its sheath and then cuts through the bandages wrapped around his middle. He tosses them under the bed. He walks to the trunk along the wall and takes out a clean sheet and nightshirt*
Lilandra: *making her way she remembers she spotted a bottle in the kitchen and she would not have to go as far as the cellar..and the sooner she could get back to him, the better..she moves into the kitchen and retrieves that bottle and begins to go back to her room*
Aldir: *Placing them on the chair, he takes the wet rag from the basin and washes his down over his face, neck, chest, stomach, lower abdomen and then down his legs*
Lilandra: *she sighs and groans as she forgot a goblet and she moves back into the kitchen and fetches one and then continues back to her room*
Aldir: *He quickly takes the dagger and cuts the sheet into a long strip and wraps it around his middle and ties it in the front*
Lilandra: *her footsteps become louder as she approaches the door*
Aldir: *He puts the nightshirt over his head and lets it settle around his body. He bends down to his sword belt and puts the dagger back in the sheath and then takes the belt and hangs it on the wall. He walks back to the basin, takes the rag, and cleans his feet*
Lilandra: *she opens the door and moves inside* Aldir! why did you not let me help you?
Aldir: I was very dirty, Lilandra, and it took a lot to make me clean *he says with an amused smile*
Lilandra: *she bends and takes the rag from him* give me that..*she stands and moves back to the basin and dips it in and wrings it out*
Aldir: *he looks to the cloak and boots on the floor* I forgot. I should have hung my cloak in the wardrobe
Lilandra: i was not gone long...surely you could have not done a thorough job
Aldir: Yes, Lilandra, I was very thorough. I even put on a clean tunic
Lilandra: *she moves back over to him and lifts his leg and cleans his other foot and looks up to him*
Aldir: See? I was able to clean all the dirt. All except my hair. That will have to wait until another time. And I have not shaved since I left here two days ago
Lilandra: come love..i shall do that now. move your chair to the table
Aldir: Love, it is very cold. Where is my wine?
Lilandra: *she moves over to the table and takes up the bottle and fills the goblet and brings it to him*
Aldir: *His stomach already burning from the fiery contents of the orc draught that he had consumed only an hour or so before, he looks to the wine goblet and he feels his stomach begin to turn*
Aldir: *He takes it from her hand* Thank you, my love. *he holds it to his lips and slowly begins to sip the goblet's contents* This will be enough love. It is beginning to warm me already *he says as he hands the goblet back to her*
Lilandra: *her eyes look over him in disbelief that he is actually back with her..she takes the goblet from him and put it back on the table*
Aldir: Now let me sit here and rest and look at you. It has been so long since I have seen you
Lilandra: would you like me to wash your hair?
Aldir: No, my love, it is far too cold for that. Perhaps tomorrow or the next day
Lilandra: *she moves in front of his seat and kneels and looks up into his eyes*
Aldir: *He reaches his hand out and touches her face, stroking it*
Lilandra: *her eyes flutter closed at his touch*
Lilandra: perhaps you want to get under the blanket love?
Aldir: Nay, love, let me tell you first what has happened
Aldir: Our friends are free, Lilandra. Free at last. Vardamir and Ceolwulf ride north now
Lilandra: *she smiles and she places her hand over his*
Lilandra: That is wonderful news Aldir. the mission was successful
Aldir: Vardamir is well and unhurt. Ceolwulf suffered at the hands of the guards but his injuries will not prevent him from riding
Lilandra: *she nods silently* i hope so much that they continue on with luck and protection
Aldir: He is weakened from the blows that they dealt him and his back still bleeds from the whip
Lilandra: *shaking her head and thinking that could have been their fate as well if things went awry*
Aldir: But Vardamir doctored him with yarrow and lard and he drank orc draught, which strengthened him. Yes, love, they have a chance to get away now
Aldir: *He does not tell her about the huge campfires that he saw nor of the hounds that he heard, fearing that it would alarm her*
Lilandra: And you my love..how did you lose your garments?
Aldir: My love, several orcs fell to my blade and my garments were soiled by their blood. I took the clothing of another orc and wore it until I reached the city, where I shed it for I did not want to wear it home. I would not relinquish my own cloak though for the cloak of an orc and I wore my own back
Lilandra: *she shivers at the thought of the group of orcs..a number she did not know..but it chilled her to think about*
Aldir: *Congratulating himself for his half-truths, he feels that he has deceived her for the time, he looks at her and smiles*
Lilandra: And you escaped unhurt?
Aldir: A few slight scratches my love, nothing serious. I bandaged the worst, a few scrapes
Lilandra: *her hands rest on his knees and she stares up at him with unmeasurable love*
Aldir: *He moves his hand down across her face and strokes the softness of her cheek*
Lilandra: Darling..i admit..i feared the worst
Aldir: *He shudders inwardly when he thinks of how he lay upon the cold ground the night before, the snowflakes pelting his face and thought that he would die and never see her again. He hopes she will not ask about the handkerchief that rests in the inner pocket of his cloak, for then she will see the truth, nor of the parchment that saturated with his blood, crumbled to a sodden mass when he reached for it beneath his tunic*
Lilandra: Frodo came to me..and Finduilas...they were supportive
Aldir: I would expect so of Finduilas, maybe Frodo too, though I still do not quite believe his many tales
Lilandra: his tales i do not know of..but i find him to be more and more sincere
Aldir: His words can say anything but the proof of his sincerity will lie with his future actions
Lilandra: *she nods* yes *she thinks of the morning before* love.. yesterday morning..i seemed to lose all hope i had salvaged
Lilandra: that wretch...Vartang...
Aldir: Was he here!
Lilandra: no... he came to the kitchen where Frodo and i were
Aldir: They must know by now that Vardamir has gone and took the horses
Lilandra: yes *she nods* and he kept questioning me about you
Aldir: Did he touch you? Did he lay one hand on you? *his eyes flash warnings*
Lilandra: *she shakes her head* no..but his remarks were leading..as they are with all the women here.. but aside from that *not wanting to upset him* he asked of your friendship and loyalty to Vardamir. i answered well enough for him not to come in here and question you
Aldir: Good, my love. He is very dangerous and it would be hard to evade him
Lilandra: i know that....but he is not here now
Aldir: If he suspects that any of us had a part in Vardamir's escape, he will doubtless have him taken to the Citadel for questioning, and if he uses torture... *his voice breaks off* No one can stand to that
Lilandra: Aldir he left with others to go after you all
Lilandra: though his thoughts were that is was just Vardamir
Aldir: *He questions himself as to what he should tell her, and decides since she already knows that much, he will tell her about the camp he saw*
Aldir: Yes, my love, halfway here from Osgiliath, just a few hours, I passed their camp
Lilandra: *she lets a small nervous exhale escape her lips*
Aldir: They tarried for the night and that will give Ceolwulf and Vardamir more time to make their escape
Aldir: The Valar are with us
Lilandra: *she tenses a bit in worry for her friends*
Lilandra: darling is there anything to trace them to you?
Aldir: Nothing, for there were no survivors among the orcs. They all lie dead, covered now by the snow that still falls. The snow will hide the tracks of the third man and the third horse
Lilandra: darling...your cloak...i must throw it into the fire. i want not a trace
Aldir: Trace? There will be no trace. I left nothing behind that I did not burn. You would burn my best cloak?
Lilandra: does it not have orc blood on it? at least let me wash it
Aldir: *His shoulders sag at her words* There is much orc blood and it will take much to clean it. Burn it. My other cloak will serve me well enough
Aldir: But my love, the handkerchief that you put into my pocket. I found it. It is covered with orc blood. Let me first get my cloak. I do not want you to see their foul blood on your handkerchief
Lilandra: *she smiles and hope it brought him pleasant thoughts of her while he was away*
Aldir: I will get up and go to the wardrobe and get it and put the handkerchief away
Lilandra: you don't have to get up love. i can take care of that..rest
Aldir: No, you should not look at it. Their blood reeks. Can not the cloak be burned later?
Lilandra: *she nods* yes...later love
Aldir: All things can be taken care of. Just let me rest here on the chair. If any others should come for me and ask for me, tell them I am still sick
Lilandra: i do not intend to leave you yet Aldir..Finduilas will understand
Aldir: Can you stay with me a while longer before you leave to attend to your morning tasks?
Lilandra: oh yes Aldir..i will stay..i am not sure i will leave at all today even
Aldir: *He thinks to himself... Late tonight, while she sleeps, I will leave her and take the bloodied bandages from under the bed. I will go to the kitchen at a time that none will be there and toss them into the embers of the fire in the hearth*
Lilandra: *she kneels up higher and takes his face between her hands* Aldir..you are so pale
Aldir: It is because I am still cold
Lilandra: i was so worried
Aldir: I promised you I would be back, and do I ever break a promise to you? *he says, pleased with the success of his subterfuge*
Lilandra: yes of course you always keep a promise..but some things cannot be promised..such as safety from enemies
Aldir: Perhaps someday I will tell you the full tale of our adventures and the things that I saw
Lilandra: i would like that. you know i like nothing kept from me
Lilandra: *her mind reels and her stomach knots a bit*
Aldir: *He looks at her with what he thinks is a sincere, honest expression on his face and hopes that his countenance does not betray him*
Lilandra: *she tries hard to hold back her rising emotions*
Aldir: So the news of Vardamir is out, but they think him only an escaped slave. Let us hope that it will be many long hours yet before they discover that Ceolwulf has been rescued. This will make the Enemy enraged and he will have his minions search for him until they scour the land
Lilandra: I worry for our friends *she touches his hair with her hand and lets the locks curl around her fingers and she sighs* oh Aldir..*she thrusts her arms around his waist and embraces him*
Aldir: *He grits his teeth as her arms squeeze his side*
Aldir: My love... I am a little sore. I fell off my horse
Lilandra: *she lifts herself slowly, releasing him and stares at his face*
Aldir: The beast was unruly and it was difficult to control him. I landed on my left side and there is still some soreness there
Lilandra: *she tilts her head questioningly at him*
Aldir: I think I must have fallen upon a gnarled root that was jutting from the ground but no ribs are broken. It is a small matter
Lilandra: perhaps you should let me take a look at your wounds, though small..i rather see
Aldir: To call this scratch a wound would be a vast exaggeration. The skin was barely broken through
Lilandra: *she searches his eyes*
Aldir: *He hopes his eyes do not betray him. He tries to hold his gaze with hers*
Lilandra: Aldir...promise me you are not being false
Aldir: *He keeps looking at her* False? About what, my love?
Lilandra: *she knows he is a stubborn man who would save her grief at any cost..Such is the way of a proud and caring man*
Aldir: Indeed, I fell off the horse
Lilandra: *she places her hands on his* you are still pale...and yet your hands are warm
Aldir: *He thinks to himself... Another half-truth this is, but half a truth must suffice*
Aldir: I have been too long in the cold. My hands are just now arming up and my face will catch up with them later, I am sure
Lilandra: *she bends her head down and places her cheek upon his knee* i have missed you so
Aldir: *He puts one hand upon her hair and toys with a strand of it* I have missed you beyond belief
Lilandra: *she closes her eyes and thinks of the hell she was in without him and thoughts of never having him again*
Aldir: Yesterday morning about this time, I was probably standing watch in an old abandoned guard house in Osgiliath near the road. I thought so much of you. There was little to do, save to look and occasionally go back to where we kept the horses and rest. I thought of our farm and the warm summer sunshine as my servants and I used to go through the hayfields with our scythes to harvest the hay. And then after it was cut and dried in the sun and wind, we raked it and then placed it upon wagons drawn by horses and hauled it to the barns or left stacks of it in the fields through the winter. I kept warm, thinking of our farm and you and the soft summer sunshine. *he settles back in the chair*
Lilandra: *She smiles as he speaks of these times..she breathes heavier wanting so badly to tell him of the worries she had..of the pain she felt...of......her eyes open and she catches a glimpse of something. she stares darts her head up and stares intensely at him and then rises to her feet*
Lilandra: *her breaths increase as she keeps her gaze on him then backs up towards the bed. she falls to her hands and knees and reaches under feels the shred of material, which she caught out of the corner of her eye and pulls at it, and with it, is dragged the blood soaked bandage*
Aldir: *Oh no, he thinks, I am found out!*
Aldir: Love, that is nothing but a part of the sheet that was soiled by orc blood. I do not know what was in my mind to bring it back. Leave it there, I will burn it on the morrow
Aldir: It was what you wrapped about the supplies that you collected for me. Do not touch it. It reeks of orc filth
Lilandra: *she trembles as she stares at it and her hands move to grab it..she turns it over in her hands*
Aldir: *he settles back in the chair again, closes his eyes and waits for the inevitable to befall him*
Lilandra: *she looks to him with horror in her eyes*
Aldir: There must have been men among the guards. I just did not notice in the midst of the fray
Lilandra: *she drops the bandage back to the floor and stands and walks over to his chair* how bad is it *her voice quakes*
Aldir: *he keeps his eyes closed* Not bad at all love. Just a scratch. I have bound it once again. There is nothing to see now
Lilandra: *she shakes her head* that bandage was filled, and for you to hide it..it must be bad
Aldir: *He sinks his head back into the chair, his eyes still closed* My game has been found out *he sighs*
Aldir: *He sinks his head back into the chair, his eyes still closed* My game has been found out *he sighs*
Lilandra: *she lifts his face up to hers* Aldir..look at me. what happened?
Aldir: *he brings his head forward and looks into her face* An orc pulled me off my horse. When I was on the ground, he slashed at me with his knife. Vardamir killed him and saved my life. I have had wounds before, my love, and I have lived. You do not need to see it, at least not now
Lilandra: *she closes her eyes and tries to imagine the fighting..the brutality of the killings..the twist in her love's face as the blade bit his flesh..and her friend Vardamir...she exhales and looks to him with so much emotion written in her expression*
Aldir: I could never deceive you, could I, love?
Lilandra: *her head moves from side to side* no..darling. i worry about you. i do not want you to hide anything from me. we suffer together love
Aldir: The wound is bandaged now. You would not want me to undo the dressings, would you?
Lilandra: are you sure it is clean thoroughly love..and you did not clean it with too much haste to hide it from me
Aldir: It is stitched, my love. Vardamir practiced his leechcraft on me. He boasts of his skill but I was not too impressed at his stitching
Lilandra: *she lets a sad laugh escape* He will be missed
Aldir: The wound still seeps a bit, that is true, but it will soon heal
Aldir: Love, the day must be full up by now. Perhaps I should lie down a while
Lilandra: you will let me change it tonight
Aldir: Yes, tonight
Lilandra: oh course my darling *she offers her hands to him*
Aldir: *He takes her hands and begins to rise from the chair*
Lilandra: *she walks with him over to the bed and pulls down the covers for him to slip underneath*
Aldir: The floor is cold upon my feet *he says as he climbs into the bed*
Lilandra: *she smoothes her hand over his face* love...you better be all right. i will do everything in my power to take care of you
Aldir: *He settles down on the mattress, his head lying on the pillow. He sighs* The bed feels good after two nights lying upon the ground
Lilandra: *she smiles down to him then eases herself onto the bed as well and drapes her hand lightly over his shoulder and sighs as she is so happy to feel his mass again and not the bunched blanket*
Aldir: Lilandra, just do not touch the left side
Lilandra: i won't my darling *she strokes his hair with her fingertips*
Aldir: *he closes his eyes* It is so good to be back, once again
Lilandra: it is so good to have you back...*she hesitates* do you think they will be all right?
Aldir: If they can keep their pace and get far enough to the north, they can possibly outrun their pursuers
Lilandra: *She sighs and closes her eyes and brings her lips to his cheek* Aldir...the road to freedom was within your reach
Aldir: But the road to you lay in another direction. I could not go with them. I thought of it, yes, but I could not leave you
Aldir: I fear now the handkerchief you placed in my cloak is ruined beyond all hope of salvage, as was the parchment Frodo gave me
Lilandra: you need it not now love..you have me. but love i am sorry your road led you back here to slavery
Aldir: I am not, for what would freedom be without you? Freedom would be a hollow, empty word without you
Lilandra: Life here in slavery would be unimaginable without you, torturous and grim *her heart begins to pound again*
Aldir: I should have told you that I was wounded but I thought to hide it from you for a while at least, for I feared the shock, upon other things, would be too great for you to bear at this time
Lilandra: *she gnaws the inside of her cheek*..yes....i understand
Aldir: But now you know of it. You will see the wound tonight when you dress it
Lilandra: perhaps you and i should have tried to escape
Aldir: Love, the journey would be a long one for you and you would be in too much danger when the rescue of Ceolwulf was made. I did not want to lose you to the swords of our enemies, but pray now love, since you know that I am wounded. Let me take your hand and place it over the injury so that I can feel the warmth of your hand upon it
Lilandra: *she swallows hard and gives him her hand*
Aldir: *he pulls back the cover with one hand, and taking his other, he places it on her hand and guides it to the wound and lets her hand rest there*
Lilandra: *she lays there with him..her eyes furrowed with worry and fright of the moment that it happened, her hand lightly resting upon the wound*
Aldir: The touch of your hand upon my wound brings me comfort
Lilandra: *she moves her face in closer to his and lets her lips brush over his and she sighs his name*
Lilandra: i would rather die than be without you
Aldir: *He moves his other arm about her waist as his lips meet hers*
Lilandra: *she kisses him with tenderness at first then passion in her intense relief that he is with her once more*
Aldir: *His eyes smile into hers as he moves his lips away and says against her cheek* My adventure is over now, love, and I am glad to be home once again in your arms
Lilandra: *she looks over his face which she loves so much..of the man she loves so much..and she breathes deeply* Aldir.....i *she sees he needs to rest*...i...am so glad you are back
Aldir: I am back to stay, love. My days of adventure are over but as I have seen once again today, life with you is adventure enough *he laughs and closes his eyes*
Lilandra: I love you *she kisses the top of his head*
Aldir: I love you too *he mumbles as he drifts slowly into sleep*
Lilandra: *she stays with him until he falls asleep and she is comforted by his even breaths*
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