Character: Estel and OFC
Source: …somewhere in Middle-earth
Disclaimer: Tolkien created this world - he named names and drew maps… Kortirion merely slips notes into the margins.
By the time they boarded an Umbar-bound ship at Pelargir, Estel wore the blue silk head-cloth of a Rhunish desert fighter easily, while she had again adopted the nose-ring of a female slave. As his servant she’d be invisible – no one would remark that she negotiated passage onboard, ordered clothing and gear, food… a master needn’t bother with trivialities when he owned a good slave.
Estel had baulked at the concept at first, but finally agreed when she pointed out that on the dusty plains he supposedly came from, such arrangements were normal, to behave otherwise would attract unwanted attention.
Estel was enchanted by his first views of the sea. After emerging from the Mouths of Anduin, the merchantman sailed close to the coast; it was some hours before Estel felt the yawning roll of deepwater. The ship pitched… Estel discovered he had no sea-legs.
The day became a miserable affair. She fared no better, but at least she knew what to expect. That night, they shared an awning on deck, exhausted. The sea had flattened to a rippling silver tray, flickering beneath moonlight.
“So… what do we seek?” she whispered.
“A legend hidden in plain sight… according to Mithrandir…”
Later, blessed relief came with dry land… though it marked the beginnings of real dangers, it felt good to stand on solid ground.
Estel played his part, silent, proud… too proud to deal with mere inn-keepers, or dicker over prices for horses and livery – no one queried that the tall female slave did her master’s bidding so efficiently… why else keep such a plain wench with big hands and feet? Her ‘mannish’ looks weren’t to their taste.
They stood atop the huge city walls … before them Umbar’s plains, and beyond… distant Haradwaith…
“The stars look strange…” he mused quietly.