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Midnight Guard


Short Summary: Squire Conalmir stands guard outside Princess Lothiriel's door.
Date (real-life): 2014-09-22
Scene Location: Minas Tirith
Date (in-game): December 30
Time of Day: 3 AM
Weather: Wintery


        The room is carpeted in a thick shade of royal blue, and rich woodwork of the famous lebethron trees of the Belfalas constitutes the floorboards and beams of the walls, between which are flats of whitewashed plaster spanned here and there with a painting of some ship at sea, or mountain-scape. The standard of Dol Amroth stands to one side of a great desk crafted of dark wood, and before the desk are several chairs designed for comfort. A small fire is seldom left unattended in the hearth.

        Behind the great desk is a large window, separated into twelve great panes about four square feet in size. It affords a view of the streets of the city from the fifth tier down to the Great Gates, and beyond to the horizon where the gleam of the overhead sun on the waters of mighty Anduin can be seen afar-off in the distance. The room is filled with shafts of light and sunbeams, occasionally crossed by dust-motes creating an eerie, ethereal effect.



It is the middle of the night. A lamp turned low burns on the desk, casting shadows several feet. But most of the room is left in darkness. A young man in the uniform of a squire - blue tunic and surcoat and boots spotlessly clean - stands before (or rather leans against) the wall beside a closed door. He yawns, then yawns again and shakes his head, pushing himself upright and taking a quick few steps to the desk and back. His hair is very untidy, as if he has run his fingers through it several times, leaving it all on end in every direction.


An unusual sound echoes over the stone. Not so unusual in its existence, only in it sounding now, as the door to the House Imrazor's room opens swiftly and without hesitation, but only the half-width of a child's head that quickly fills in the darkness beyond and into the room. Lothiriel peers curiously out and up at the Knight. Her gaze is inquisitive, though to which question she asks behind her little eyes, it is difficult to discern.


At the sound, Conalmir looks around swiftly, hand dropping to his sword hilt. Then, as he realizes where the sound comes from, he glances down. "Good evening - er, morning, my lady," he says, as gravely as if she were full-grown. "Ought not you to be sleeping? The sun will not rise for some hours yet."



At Conalmir's stern rebuke she pales somewhat. But it lasts only a few seconds before she brings herself up to as high as she can, tilting her chin up ever so slightly, "I.. am going out, now." the statement almost a question in its uncertainty.


"You may...clean the room while I am out."


"Sir."

"Ah, my lady," Conalmir answers. "I fear I cannot do that. I would get in trouble, you see. But where is it that you would be going at such an hour? There is nothing to see; it is dark."



"There are torches!" she exclaims, clearly pleased to have found a weakness so early in the Squire's argument.


She then sniffs, lifting her nose, "As to my whereabouts - Royal Business." She quickly glances to the side, seeing how well this tack seems to be taking.


"But you haven't got one," the squire points out. "And there are none here either." A smile twitches on his lips, swiftly repressed. "Royal business, I am quite certain," he replies. "But still, I cannot let you go out of your rooms on your own. Your father would have my head, and then my knight would flay me of my skin, and then the Steward would burn the remainder!" He manages somehow, to make this gruesome list seem almost droll.



Lothiriel's brow furrows, "I am heir to the magics of Luthien and I practice them well, young man! Do not push me too far or you shall find yourself in a worse place than that!" she says, doing her best to growl out the words, hands expertly placed upon her hips.


Conalmir considers this seriously. But then he shakes his head. "My lady, I would not mock you. But I fear that I do not believe, much, in magic. And I am far more afraid of the wrath of my Prince and my Knight. Besides, you have not told me where you wish to go, that you must do it in the dead of night and not under the sun."



A defeated, exasperated sigh escapes her lips, "I knew you would not let me go. Sir Gwendion said you had to do anything I said, but I think he lied." Her eyes narrow, "He often lies. Do not trust that man."She pulls the door closed behind her and sits down cross-legged in her nightgown. Then looks up now, eyes wide, forlorn, and, a hint of fear, "I do not want to be in my room. I do not like it much."


"Can I stay with you for a time?"


"Of course," Conalmir says readily. "What is wrong with your room?"


Then he laughs. "If you say it, my lady. Alas, that Sir Gwendion has taken the place of my knight, and I must obey him. And while he did tell me I must do as you commanded, first, he told me that I was to guard your door and keep you safe."



"You can't do that. You're just a man," she states matter of factly.


She brightens slightly, standing once more, "Where are my manners," she says, mimicking what she surely has seen dozens of times, and curtseys, "I am Lothiriel, Daughter of Imrahil, Princess of Dol Amroth and Imrazor. The Bright Flower. Servant of the Steward and of Gondor."



"I can't keep you safe because I am only a man?" Conalmir repeats, confused. "Or I can't obey Sir Gwendion?"


The perplexity remains in his eyes, even as he bows very formally in return. "I am Conalmir of Tarikhor, Blue Squire of the Swan."




"Swan Knights of Dol Amroth," Lothiriel corrects. "You never know if the person you are speaking to has heard of the Swan or not. And if you touch their life in a good way, it is best if they know that the brotherhood you serve and protect is part of the reason why you have done good in their lives."


Bemused, Conalmir bows again. "I stand corrected, my lady. But you have answered none of my questions, and now I have asked three."



"What question?" she asks, equally bemused.


"Where it is you wish to go, why it is that you dislike your room, and why I cannot guard and safe-keep your door - and yourself - being but a man." Conalmir numbers them off on his fingers. "And here is a fourth. Are you warm enough? And a fifth - Should you like to sit in those chairs yonder instead of on the floor?" A smile warms his eyes, though it doesn't make much change in his overall expression.



"No," she beams, "I like the floor. Father never lets me sit on the floor when we have guests. I do not like how my legs dangle from chairs."


Lothiriel rubs sleep from her eyes, the time of night clearly having some effect on her, then she whispers, "Monsters are in my room."


"I can feel them! They make me sleep bad." Her lips twist into a pout, "I just wanted to go sleep someplace else. And when the monsters come," her little warm hand falls on Conalmir's, "You will not be able to stop them," she says, consoling him. Another sigh, and her hand slips from atop his as she leans back into the heavy oak, pulling her knees up to her chest.


"Monsters," Conalmir repeats, but he is not laughing. "Would a light help keep them away? I could bring you more lamps, if you wish it. What manner of monsters are they? I would do my best to stop them, my lady." He sits cross-legged on the floor beside her, adjusting his sword. "To tell the truth, I rather like sitting on the floor sometimes, too. We did it quite a lot at home, when I was little."



"Maybe a light would help," she says, nodding slowly at the idea.


"I have not yet laid eyes, but never have I had such dreams. And when I wake," Lothiriel glances away, "I can hear them near still. The hairs on the back of my neck stand."


"I will bring you a lamp," Conalmir promises. "And if you wake in the night again, you may come and sit with me. Perhaps you would tell me a story now and then. I find it difficult to stay awake all these hours when it is dark."



The young princess pouts a bit, "All right. Does this mean I have to go," she breaks into a wide yawn, "I must go back to sleep once more?"


"No, my lady," Conalmir answers. "You can stay here as long as you wish."


"You are a nice squire, Conalmir," Lothiriel says, smiling as she scoots to the side to lean her head into the corner of the doorframe. "Do not grow up to be a mean, tricky Knight," she says, blinking away the tiredness.


"I shall do my best," Conalmir says, his mouth twitching once more. "But perhaps trickiness is needed in a knight, to defeat one's enemies, and such." He watches her, glancing now and again around the room, though he clearly expects no attack. Still, he checks that his sword is easily gotten to. "Perhaps you could get a little sleep here?" he suggests. "If you go and bring out a wrapper and a pillow to lean on? You will be awfully tired tomorrow, if you stay awake all night."



As the Squire looks up from his pommel, he quickly finds his words fall on deaf ears. Lothiriel's chest moves slowly with her a steady breath, her eyes shut.


Conalmir smiles and pushes himself upright once more. He dare not remain sitting down, lest he too fall asleep. But he unpins his cloak and drapes it across the little girl before taking up his station in front of the door beside her.


Date added: 2014-09-24 11:20:43    Hits: 54
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