Night of November 6, 3019

Frodo: *After giving Aldir Ceolwulf's sword, Frodo closed his shutters and fell deep into thought, trying to sense Ceolwulf's presence through his ring.*
Frodo: *Ceolwulf could hear him, Frodo knew, but the man was too weak to answer very much. Out of desperation, Frodo tried to strengthen and heal him through the ring.*
Frodo: *Frodo is distraught that these weak communications through their evil rings are the last words he and Ceolwulf will ever speak to each other.*
Frodo: *He wants nothing more than to mentally stay with his friend until he leaves forever, just like Sam. But Frodo has promised Aldir that he would comfort Lilandra*
Frodo: *Lilandra is in the bedroom she shares with Aldir, for they are all pretending that Aldir is sick and must stay in bed. Since Lilandra would be expected to watch over her sick husband, Frodo decides to go to her room to try and reassure her.*
Frodo: *It takes a great effort, but as he walks down the hall, he turns some of his mental energies from Ceolwulf to Lilandra*
Frodo: *He knocks on the door to Lilandra and Aldir's room* Hullo?
Lilandra: *she had collapsed onto the bed and sat there sobbing into her pillow, hunched over until she heard the knock and the voice..she darts up, sitting straight...her puffy eyes widen and her heart thuds...she stands and moves quietly to the door.....she thought the voice was of Frodo..but she was in her own fit so she asks to make sure* who is it?
Frodo: It's me, Frodo.
Frodo: May I come in? *his own voice is shaky, and he feels on the verge of tears himself. But he tries to put all that aside to honor his promise to Aldir, and console poor Lilandra.*
Lilandra: *she looks around her room and rubs her cheeks free of the streaks of tears*..are you alone?
Frodo: *lowers his voice even more* Yes!
Lilandra: *she hesitates a moment then then breathes deeply and smoothes her hands over her dress and opens the door slowly* come in Frodo
Frodo: Thank you *he slips in through the open door*
Lilandra: *she closes the door quickly*
Lilandra: i hope you mind all of your actions until..
Lilandra: until my husband returns
Frodo: Of course. All anyone knows is that I am going to check on my sick attendant, to ask you how he is
Frodo: Everything will be fine until he returns *attempts a smile*
Lilandra: *she nods in pain and her eyes look over to the bunched up blanket*
Frodo: *Then his face drops all pretense and becomes sad and sympathetic* How are you holding up?
Lilandra: *she moves some linens off of a nearby chair*....i am....as to be expected...come sit
Frodo: *nods and climbs up into the Man-sized chair next to her* It is a hard thing to wait until he returns. But better to wait with a friend than alone.
Frodo: *furtively he touches his ring and feels comforted when he senses that Ceolwulf is still there*
Lilandra: *she smiles slightly and nods* aye *she was about to sit but almost forgot her place...*can i get you anything Master?
Frodo: Oh Lilandra! This is not the time to worry about all that! Sit down and let me get YOU anything if you want something...or I can call Rian, she would be able to keep up the ruse *lowers his voice*
Frodo: *after he has spoken he realizes that the master of a household, as he is supposed to be, would not fetch things for his servants. But he still considers this all a charade, and not really his station*
Lilandra: *she takes her bottom lip into her mouth to keep it from trembling and she looks off to the side of Frodo..when she inhaled..she still smelled the scent of Aldir*
Lilandra: call whomever you wish
Frodo: *nods feeling awkward, unsure what to do...* Would you like anything? Some milk perhaps? A piece of Finduilas' bread, or an orange?
Frodo: *Food always helps any hobbit through a crisis...maybe it works for men too*
Lilandra: *her body probably needed food for she had not had any for most of the day after breakfast but she could not hold onto it*
Lilandra: No thank you Frodo.....Master
Frodo: Frodo
Lilandra: ...Frodo
Lilandra: h..how are you holding up *she didn't know what to ask but wanted to shift subject*
Frodo: *The silence is so awkward, and he doesn't know what to do to comfort her. Perhaps he should ask if she wants to be alone? but then she speaks.*
Frodo: Same as you...as well as can be expected *manages a smile* but it will turn out well...wait and see
Frodo: Aldir and Vardamir are strong and intelligent. If anyone can succeed in this venture, it is they
Frodo: *Ceolwulf is still in the prison....it has not even begun yet...Frodo sighs inwardly*
Lilandra: yes they are two very capable men *she swallows hard as she thinks of them in this cold night...she can almost hear their banter and she smiles sadly*
Lilandra: *she had not talked deeply with anyone other than her husband for the longest time..how could she grieve and feel pain and express it with a Master?*
Lilandra: i am..sorry..about your friend...but he will be brought to safety
Frodo: *Frodo's eyes fill against his will. He bites the insides of his cheeks and looks down, then takes a breath and smiles back up at Lilandra* Thank you. Yes...yes he will.
Frodo: Maybe he will go back to Rohan, even.
Lilandra: *she smiles lightly* i hope so Frodo
Lilandra: i hope a lot of things but perhaps they are merely wishes
Lilandra: *she looks away after she says that and stands not wanting to become soft and open with him*
Frodo: *I have nothing left to hope, he thinks...but that isn't true. *There is always something to hope for.
Frodo: Perhaps they are more than wishes. There is always a chance they will come to pass.
Frodo: *Perhaps they both should stop worrying...* Well...what was the name of the place you are from, again?
Lilandra: *she walks over to the shutters...wishing to open them and see Aldir looking back up at her, but when she gets to them, she places her palms against them only*
Lilandra: Lossarnach *her voice is soft*
Frodo: *Perhaps if he gets her to talk about her happy memories, it will help.* And what was it like there?
Lilandra: *her palms slide down the shutters and she thinks of the times there with him and she feels sadness in thinking of the happy memories*
Lilandra: we had a farm
Lilandra: *she smiles to herself*
Frodo: *thinks of the farms in the Shire and brightens* Really? What kind of farm?
Frodo: What crops did you grow?
Lilandra: *still talking to him with her back to him but he can hear a lift in her tone*..we raised horses and cattle, sheep...my husband was so..so good at his work
Lilandra: a home garden...grains and hay *she sounds far off as she speaks*
Frodo: *The words "home garden" bring back long-buried memories of Sam and Frodo's mind reels...then he recovers himself* He worked with animals, then? And you gardened? Or did you divide the duties between you?
Lilandra: *she remembers watching him in the fields...can almost feel the wind in her hair and the scents of the garden*..
Lilandra: i would gather the herbs in the autumn and dry them using them for seasoning...rosemary and sage..
Lilandra: in the nights i would spin and knit
Lilandra: *she breathes deeply at the memories and rushing sensations of how vivid the sights and smells were to her now....here...her breaths become harder as she remembers how he would look as he stood in the distance and waved to her and blew her kisses*
Frodo: *Frodo hears in his mind, even stronger than Ceolwulf's inner voice: "What is it? Why it's your new herb garden, Mr. Frodo. Here, this one is rosemary. Have a smell!"*
Frodo: *But Lilandra's breathing quickens, so he turns his attention back to her*
Lilandra: *from the corner of her eye she can see the rise in the sheets of the bunched blanket and her heart pounds*
Frodo: *He notices her shoulders are moving quickly up and down, and her hands tightly grip the windowpane* Are you all right?
Lilandra: *she shuts her eyes tightly but all she sees is him..and all she feels is her husband..he is embedded in every one of her senses and she exhales deeply and manages to speak*..yes
Lilandra: i...i am sorry Frodo
Lilandra: it..it is still so soon
Frodo: What are you sorry for?
Frodo: There is nothing to be sorry for
Lilandra: you shouldn't see me in this way...i am your servant
Lilandra: i...i shouldn't even be opening up to you
Frodo: *That's definitely not how Sam saw it*
Lilandra: did...*she sighs* did Aldir ask you to come to me?
Frodo: *flushes crimson...how awkward, and he feels guilty for not coming to her on his own.* Um. Yes, he did. But...
Lilandra: *she lowers her head*
Frodo: but...I'm concerned about you too. I don't see things that way, master-servant, as you said. This is all a charade; I'm not really what they say I am. And I don't see you all as they expect me to.
Frodo: So I realize this is very awkward...but I don't know what to say....
Frodo: *fingers his waistcoat feeling like a clumsy child*
Lilandra: *she nods and turns to face him again but leans her back against the wall*
Lilandra: i can not comfort you too much about your friend and for that i am sorry
Frodo: *shakes his head quickly* Oh, I don't expect you to. I came here to comfort you...I'm sorry that I'm not managing that very well *sad smile*
Lilandra: i have all faith in my husband and Vardamir...but as i have done before
Lilandra: i must prepare myself for awful things sometimes
Lilandra: it is a painful process
Frodo: *she is right, he knows. But he is supposed to say cheerful things, comforting things. Should he agree with her? He simply nods*
Lilandra: *she looks to him then away..feeling odd..she knows they are both in their own grief*
Lilandra: you have done what he has asked Frodo and i thank you, but you do not have to feel compelled to stay
Frodo: I'll do whatever helps you most right now. If you would rather be by yourself, I'll leave, but if you'd rather talk I'll stay.
Lilandra: *she averts her eyes away from the heap of blankets..how was she supposed to sleep next to it..feel the pliable weightlessness of it against her leg...no dip in the mattress...no warmth...she looks up*
Lilandra: what?
Frodo: Ah...I said I'd leave if you wanted to be alone, and I'd stay if you wanted to talk more. *feeling more awkward by the minute*
Lilandra: *then in her a stir of rising heat as she looks to Frodo* what did you have to say about this..journey?
Frodo: *Alarm tightens his chest at her sudden change in manner* I...I told Vardamir it was a great risk and I didn't think it was possible... but I let him go in the end
Frodo: When he talked about including Aldir...I said I would leave that up to him. And I was there when he asked Aldir to join him. Aldir decided to ask you first...*trails off*
Lilandra: *her stare sticks to his eyes* of course i would not expect you to object
Frodo: *feels very uncomfortable under her gaze...her emotions are understandable...so are his...what is the reality here, when all is white hot chaos in their minds?*
Lilandra: *again the cold, unfeeling heap of material haunts her and she moves closer to Frodo* tell me Master
Lilandra: tell me the truth
Frodo: *his heart races*
Lilandra: you value Ceolwulf over any of us and would risk any number of slaves to save him
Frodo: *flushes*
Lilandra: perhaps i too should have joined them?
Frodo: Oh! *tries to keep from becoming angry*
Frodo: I didn't want to risk anyone. It was not my idea. I tried to talk Vardamir out of it!
Frodo: Ceolwulf....Ceolwulf is....I know him better than...most of the others, so...when friends are closer....that makes a.....bond...
Frodo: He....he called me his little brother.
Frodo: We WERE brothers, just as the uncle who raised me when I was a boy was a true father
Frodo: That is what is behind what you sense
Lilandra: *she sees that his tone has risen and she reels a bit remembering that they have to keep up a lie...but he continues to relieve his pain and shout....she breathes harder as the colors start to blotch*
Frodo: I...didn't mean to offend any of you by it
Frodo: No one has seemed to care if Ceolwulf and I were friends or not before.
Frodo: I didn't realize it would...make things harder.
Lilandra: *her steps are uneven as she makes her way to the bed and sits*
Frodo: *runs his hands over his face* I didn't want to risk either of them. I confess I have strong feelings towards Ceolwulf but I didn't want to risk your husband and Vardamir!
Frodo: Ceolwulf saved my life when we were in Nurn. He took an arrow for me and almost died. That was how it started.
Frodo: But everyone is of equal value, of course!
Lilandra: *Frodo's emotional and hurried words echo and become a mumble as her eyes flutter and she slips off of the bed and thuds onto the floor*
Frodo: *stops immediately as Lilandra suddenly faints*
Frodo: Oh! Lilandra! Wake up! *slides off the bed, crouches next to her, shakes her gently*
Frodo: I'm so sorry! Wake up!
Frodo: *He looks wildly around the room, and sees a washstand with water and a rag in it. He wets the rag, wrings it out, then smooths it over her face hoping the cold will wake her up*
Lilandra: *her hears his voice slowly echo from the depths and become clearer as light flood back into view..and first the pain in her head where she hit then the fact she was on the floor and she realized she blacked out*
Lilandra: oh! *she closes her eyes and begins to cry*
Frodo: *gasps softly in alarm at first, then bends over her again* Oh Lilandra, I'm so sorry. Are you all right?
Frodo: Are you sick? Did you hurt yourself? Oh dear!
Lilandra: *she reaches her hand up to Frodo's face* you care master? *she cries more* could it be you care...you feel this..this pain...i feel it in you...so deep
Lilandra: ohh *she moans in her crying* ohh this can not be
Frodo: Why of course I do. Why wouldn't I? *perplexed and concerned*
Frodo: *He takes her hand gently*
Lilandra: *she was speaking freely and not sure what but her heart was spilling over emotion what was not containable*
Frodo: Shh, there there. It will be all right.
Lilandra: *her hand squeezes his tightly as she stares into his eyes*
Lilandra: you know loss
Lilandra: i know loss
Lilandra: i know much
Frodo: *nods, and is silent, for this is not the time to think of his own losses, and she needs the chance to talk freely.*
Lilandra: i have not thought of any of these pains for i have had Aldir to lean on, to escape in..to think about as i work all day, knowing i can retire for the night in his arms
Frodo: *understanding dawns on him and he smiles sadly as he nods again*
Lilandra: so much loss Frodo now comes back to me and pain..pain i have not felt in two months here
Lilandra: pain not felt because for two months i have had him to go to
Frodo: I know it is...cruel hard. Sometimes...all you can do is ride it out, until you feel better.
Lilandra: *she is silent for what seems a very long moment as her mind spins and rolls with thoughts and thinking of time spent here and her eyes widen a bit*
Lilandra: *then the breaths increase and she clenches his shirt and begins to wail again*....nooo
Lilandra: .....Aldir
Lilandra: oh no *she moans and clings to Frodo*
Lilandra: oh no, no, no *she buries her face into Frodo side and sobs* no ..Aldir..why now
Frodo: *His heart breaks for her. He is surprised when she clings to him, but he holds her as he would a crying child, and tries to comfort her*
Frodo: *He is not sure what he says...probably "shh" and "it will be all right"...but his mind burns with her intense emotion. All he can do is be there, and pat her shoulder.*
Lilandra: *her words are muffled as they are spoken into his body...she would think better of her actions if she could think straight now..but she can't..no..not now* oh why has this come upon me now?
Lilandra: *she releases him slowly with shaking hands*
Frodo: *softly* I don't know...but you aren't alone in this.
Lilandra: *she rolls to her hands and knees and clutches the bed sheet and crawls up it and into the bed*
Lilandra: .....leave me now Frodo
Frodo: Leave you alone like this?...
Frodo: ...I could get Finduilas
Frodo: That might be better
Lilandra: *she curls herself up*
Frodo: You fell....are you hurt?...I just want to make sure
Frodo: that you're all right
Frodo: because I pro---*he doesn't want to remind her*
Lilandra: *she moves over to the rolled blanket and drapes her arm over it*
Frodo: *A fine job I've done of comforting her...if only I had done my duty, back then, she would still be on her farm with her husband*
Frodo: *how many thousands of widows and orphans have I made through my failure?*
Lilandra: *she speaks low inaudible whispers into the blanket*
Lilandra: *she knows not what to do...what to think...she only aches..but she knows Frodo is still in the room*
Lilandra: sleep.....must sleep
Frodo: Lilandra..all right, I will go now...but I'm going to send Finduilas in to you. You seem to know each other...maybe she could help.
Frodo: I'll say that you need help keeping watch in here, that you need a rest.
Lilandra: *she says on a sob* thank you..Frodo
Frodo: You're welcome...sleep well, Lilandra.
Lilandra: you as well
Frodo: Thank you
Frodo: I'm going for Finduilas now.
Frodo: *He slips out the door and trudges through the kitchen*
Frodo: *The tingle of intense emotion is draining out of him, leaving him exhausted*
Lilandra: *she hears the door shut and she closes her eyes and inhales deeply the scent of the pillow* ...Aldir...oh you MUST come back
Frodo: *He goes into the kitchen and finds Finduilas cleaning the dishes from dinner*
Frodo: Finduilas *he says softly to her* Lilandra needs help watching over Aldir. His fever seems to be rising.
Frodo: *Finduilas nods and goes in to check on Lilandra. Frodo returns to his room*
Frodo: *He and Lilandra spend the next hours grieving in much the same way...Lilandra clinging to her pillow with Aldir's scent, and Frodo to his ring that links him to Ceolwulf's mind*

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