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Tales of the Telcontars (PG-13) Print

Written by Susana

19 September 2011 | 56124 words | Work in Progress

Title: Like a Pool Loves Fish
Author: Susana
Series: Desperate Hours
Feedback: Please use the form below
Rating: PG
Warning: AU; quick, mild spanking of young children.
Disclaimer: All recognizable elements are Tolkien’s
Summary: Sometimes a pool of water just needs fish. The young Princes of Rohan and their cousin the Lady Haleth of Ithilien think so, and so did their uncle Rúmil, when he was young.
Beta: None, but thanks to Kaylee for assistance with the characterisation of Rúmil, and for the idea of a rabbit who mustn’t be eaten by a fox, from whence sprang the idea for this story.
A/N: Set in approximately Fourth Age year 12, during a visit of Faramir and Éowyn (with their youngest daughter Haleth), to Rohan. Éomer and Lothiriel’s sons are Elfwine and Théodred.

Rohan, A courtyard of Meduseld, in Edoras, FO. 12

Lothiriel Queen of Rohan, tired from being up most of the night working out how to settle a squabble amongst certain of her husband’s riders, closed her eyes. Maybe, her children would disappear if she wasn’t looking at them anymore, and reappear in a state which did not make her feel like yelling in a manner unbecoming to a fishwife, let alone a lady. She opened her eyes; no, no they were still there, smelling of duckweed. Elfwine and Théodred, covered in mud, and between them their cousin Haleth, who was only soaked and not grimy. Lothiriel sighed, and counted carefully to ten.

Her cousin Faramir, who seemed to handle extremely muddy children having ruined their most exquisite outfits with admirable aplomb, asked calmly, “The pond had no fish; so you have been saving live fish and eels from the barrels we brought from our voyage, which were intended to grace the dinner table. And you have been releasing these creatures, two or three a night, into the garden pond.”

Five year old Prince Elfwine nodded, pleased that someone seemed to be following his explanation. Éomer-King’s oldest son and heir was quite well aware that his mother was extremely displeased. He hoped his uncle might intercede on their behalf.

“Then Snowfeet was eating them, so we had to stop her.” Prince Théodred added in his piping child’s voice. Lothiriel’s younger son was three years old, and did everything his brother did.

“They said we had to stop her.” Haleth distinguished quietly, “I told them that Snowfeet was just being a cat, and cats eat fish, not biscuits.”

“Ah.” Said Faramir to his youngest daughter, “So you are only wet because…”

“Haleth helped me pull Theo out of the pond, after he went in too deep trying to make sure the fish we rescued from Snowfeet wasn’t hurt.” Elfwine explained apologetically, “I shouldn’t have let him. I’m sorry, Nana.”

Lothiriel sighed again, reminding herself that all three children were fine, just muddy, after their morning adventure. “Elfwine, Théodred, I’m really not sure what you were thinking, but you are never to go in the pond again without an adult beside you. Is that understood, my sons?”

Elfwine and Théodred nodded, and Lothiriel opened her arms to hug them, despite the fact that doing so muddied her gown beyond easy repair. Then it was Mistress Hild’s turn to sigh, and try to brush the mud off of Lothiriel’s gown, before giving it up as a bad job.

Éowyn laughed, free and happy. “Here, Lothiriel my sister,” she offered, taking off a gauzy wrap which she had only worn over her dress because it was a gift from Arwen, “We’ll add this as an overskirt, covering most of the mud.”

Haleth smiled, “Its very pretty, Aunt Liriel.”

“Who knows,” Faramir jested in gentle good humor, “You may even start a new fashion.”

Éomer, dressed formally and nodding in response to something his elven friend Lord Rúmil of East Lórien had suggested, stopped short as he saw his children and his youngest niece. “Horselords!” The King exclaimed, “What were the three of you doing swimming…in mud…now?”

“The pond needed fish, Faeder.” Elfwine explained.

“And Snowfeet was bad, and was trying to eat them.” Théodred added.

“Elfwine and Théodred think that they owe the fish protection, because we saved them.” Haleth tried, “and so they felt they had to stop Snowfeet from acting like a normal cat.”

Lothiriel patted her incredulous husband’s arm comfortingly. Squeezing her hand, he paused a few moments before saying, “Elfwine, Théodred, that could have been dangerous. You are not to go in the pond alone; or add fish to it or…”

“Eels.” Haleth helpfully supplied.

“Or eels, or rocks, or anything else, without an adult to supervise you. Is that clear?” Éomer asked sternly.

“Yes, Faeder.” The two boys chorused obediently, gray-blue eyes wide.

“Now.” Éomer shook his head, a slight smile appearing on his face, “I’m really not sure what to do with you three…” Éomer, Lothiriel, and the Prince and Lady of Ithilien were required at this morning’s ceremony honoring the bravery of several young Riders of Rohan.

Rúmil, his eyes twinkling with amusement, offered, “Faronglas can take care of seeing my small cousins bathed and fed and napped, if it meets with their parents’ approval.”

Faronglas shook his head, but his eyes also gleamed with good humor, “As your absence at this event would be a slight, my Lord, whereas mine would not, I could certainly do so, with Mistress Hild’s kind assistance.”

Their parents accepted this suggestion quickly and with gratitude, but Elfwine and Haleth exchanged a worried look. Mistress Hild didn’t think much of children getting muddy and wet when they were supposed to be keeping clean.

“No naps.” Théodred argued, before subsiding at Haleth and Elfwine’s hissed ‘no, Theo’s.’ Théodred frowned. He and his cousins had been fighting a battle against naps this month, and he didn’t understand why today was different.

“We’re already in trouble, nitwit.” Elfwine whispered, as they followed Captain Faronglas and Mistress Hild to the nursery.

“Don’t worry, littles.” Faronglas reassured them with a kind, amused smile. “You’re not the first younglings to decide that a pool just needed fish.”

Mistress Hild snorted. It was something a young Éowyn might have done. Well, not the fish so much as getting her fine clothing muddy.

“Who was, Faron?” Haleth asked, intrigued. “The first youngling to decide that a pond needed fish, I mean?”

Faronglas laughed, “Well, as to the very first, I’m not sure, although one of my Lady Galadriel’s cousins…no, two of them, once ate several of her pet fish at a formal garden party, long ago in the undying lands, long before the sun.”

“Ate them!” Théodred exclaimed, horrified.

Elfwine was equally appalled, “But elves don’t eat live fish….why did they do such a thing?”

Even Haleth was a bit upset, “Elves aren’t cats. Snowfeet was just doing what was natural…but that was mean of poor Lady Galadriel’s cousins.”

Faronglas chuckled again, as he helped the small Princes out of their filthy clothing, and ran them a bath. On the other side of a screen, Hild was running a bath for Haleth, who preferred to dress and undress herself. “Well, they were young and foolish and drunk, and their older brother made them quite, quite sorry that they had eaten Lady Galadriel’s fish. But that was a different story, and you should ask Lord Glorfindel or Lord Ingloren for it, as they were there and I was not. However, I was there when my young Lord Rúmil collected twenty-five bright, silvery minnows from a shade-dappled stream in Caras Galadhon, to keep in a bucket. I did not, however, know that he intended them to grace his Naneth Galadriel’s pool, in her garden.”

Haleth, who knew a little about the importance of Lady Galadriel’s garden from their elven cousins, gasped, “Cousin Rúmil didn’t!”

“Oh,” Faronglas said with a smile as he handed Théodred a wash cloth, “Yes, he most certainly did.”

Approximately Year 3 of the Third Age, Lady Galadriel’s Glade in Lothlorien

Lady Galadriel ran a gentle hand over the surface of the water, allowing her mind to move freely. Soon enough, images took shape. Unrest in a strange, foreign human town, one that looked Eastern. A familiar expression on a face amongst the strangers; and then another, arguing with the first. She frowned in worry, and almost stopped breathing, she so desperately hoped to see more. If their enemy was in the East…and if she could see the faces of those who were his allies…that might be information that could help her protect her people, and their allies.

Then, exotic carpets in a market; fine horses on a field. A small silvery fish amongst the horses….Galadriel blinked. A minnow had no business in a horse field. The fish stopped to nibble at a bubble, and Galadriel realized that the minnow was reflected in the mirror. It was real.

“Now how did you come to be here, small creature?” She asked the minnow rhetorically, as two others joined it. Galadriel was perplexed, as no fish usually swum in the stream which fed her pool.

Then she heard a splash and an elfling’s cry of surprise, and Galadriel raced with the quicksilver speed of a worried mother to the stream which fed her pool. Carefully, she fished out the youngest of her adopted sons.

“Rúmil,” the Lady of the Wood said in resigned, bemused surprise to the thirteen year old elfling.

Rúmil smiled at her sweetly, his wet hair plastered against his forehead, and his hands still clutching the wooden box that normally held his collection of animal figurines. The container was still half-full of water, and quite well-endowed with startled silver minnows.

‘Well,’ the Lady thought to herself, as she wrapped her dripping child in her own overrobe, ‘one mystery solved.’

“You, tithen ion-nin, are up entirely too late.” Galadriel scolded her son gently, “and it most certainly was not your fate to be out of bed tonight, so don’t even venture that excuse.”

“But, Nana Adriel,” the elfling protested aggrievedly, “I had to give you the fish for your pool tonight…foxes are nocturnal!”

Talan of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel, in Caras Galadhon, minutes later.

Celeborn was reading a book, waiting for his wife to return from her scrying, when he was surprised by having a rather damp Rúmil deposited in his lap.

“Apparently, the rabbit would have been eaten by the fox if there weren’t minnows in my garden pool for the fox to dine on instead.” His wife observed wryly.

Celeborn shook his head, torn between amusement, affection, worry and irritation, “I told you it was just a story, laes-nin, did I not? That it was an imaginary rabbit, and an imaginary fox?” He asked Rúmil intently.

Rúmil started to answer, pale blue eyes wide and innocent, before sneezing. Celeborn sighed, and kissed his young adopted son’s wet head. “Well, let’s get you clean and dry, elfling mine, and then we’ll have a little talk about why it’s against the rules to leave the talan by yourself, especially at night, no matter what woodland creatures are in peril.”

A short time later, Rúmil had been bathed, dried, dressed in a warm, borrowed night shirt, and lightly lectured and smacked by his adoptive Adar. Then he’d had a glass of warm milk, and was now safely and contentedly tucked into bed between his adoptive parents. It touched Celeborn’s heart to see his tiniest elfling smiling in his sleep, despite his sore little bottom.

Rúmil and Galadriel slept undisturbed through the rest of the night, but Celeborn awoke at one point during the night to three blond heads, one silver, one strawberry blond, and one the shade of cornsilk, peering into the room. “Rúmil’s fine here; go back to bed.” He told them, and they did.

Rohan, Royal Nursery in Meduseld, in Edoras, FO. 12, later that same day in the evening.

“And Lady Galadriel didn’t keep the fish, but she let Rúmil and his friends put them back into another stream in Caras Galadhon, so that they could still all be friends together.” Elfwine told his father, “at least that’s what Faronglas said.”

Éomer sat in his sons’ bed, cuddling them both. “Well, Rúmil’s fish were caught from the stream, with permission and the assistance of an adult.” The King of Rohan pointed out.

Théodred’s lip trembled, “Please, can we keep our fish? The ones that Snowfeet didn’t eat?”

“And our eels.” Added Elfwine.

“They’ll have babies.” Pointed out Haleth, “And then you can eat those.”

“Haley!” The two princes exclaimed, horrified.

Haleth thought explaining how, when one presented ideas to grown-ups, one had to always show them what benefits were in the suggestion, for them. But her Adar shook his head, so Haleth subsided.

Éomer chuckled, “Well, in order to accommodate fish, our pond is going to have to be expanded. Cousin Rúmil says that he and Faronglas could show us how it is to be done, if they had helpers…”

As the three children clamored their willingness to assist, Éomer held up a hand for silence, “It is very good of the three of you to volunteer, and I think that it is appropriate for you to help make a new home for the fish that you, ah, liberated. However,” the King’s face grew more stern, “stealing the fish,”

“And eels.” Added Elfwine, to make sure his father understood the full extent of their misdeeds.

“And eels,” Éomer added, trying very hard not to break into laughter at the poorly-hidden amusement on his brother-by-law’s face, “was very naughty. Those fish belonged to the cooks, to make for dinner for everyone, and they had to send out extra hunting parties in order to find more game to replace them.” And oh, had Éomer heard about the mystery of the missing fish, from Lothiriel and Éowyn, who had heard it from Gladwine the head Cook.

“We’re sorry, Faeder.” Elfwine apologized, “Its just that the pond needed fish.”

Éomer sighed, and continued his scold despite his son’s adorable, sad face, framed by chestnut curls. “My dear son, I know, but you can’t just take action without talking to me or your mother, or Hild, or some other adult. It would be like if I just decided to move our herds of horses without telling anybody. It would worry the Riders and the horsekeepers, and cause no end of trouble.”

“And none of the three of you are yet strong enough swimmers that you should have been past the shallowest part of the pond, for any reason.” Faramir added, his gentle gray eyes pinning each of the children intently.

“Are we in trouble, Ada?” Haleth asked breathily.

“Obviously,” muttered Éomer, before continuing in a more fatherly fashion, “For muddying your fine clothing and stealing, all three of you are to go to bed early every day this week. And you’ll help the cooks with their chores, for the rest of the time Haleth is visiting.”

The children nodded solemnly.

Éomer looked to his eldest son, and sighed. Théodred was truly too young to have known better, about the pond, but Elfwine should have been more responsible. Éomer opened his mouth to tell his heir that he’d earned a smacking, and Haleth interrupted, “Its not fair just to smack Elfwine. If you’re going to smack Elfwine, you should smack me, too. But not Theo.”

Elfwine, who didn’t want to be smacked, still appreciated the noble gesture. And he agreed, “Yeah. Theo’s too little.”

“I’m not too little!” Argued Theo, even though he also didn’t want to be smacked.

Faramir’s eyes said, ‘I told you they would say that; they’ve become close, these three,’ and Éomer sighed gruffly.

“Elfwine, Théodred, I will smack you both, but just a little smacking.” Éomer told his sons in a kind but very firm tone, “But if either of you ever do anything so dangerous again, I will spank you soundly, and your Nana may have something to say, as well.”

Wide-eyed, the Princes of Rohan nodded. Hating the task before him, their father gently moved Elfwine aside, and laid Théodred over his lap, lightly smacking the little boy’s bottom though his night shirt a handful of times. Théodred yelped in surprise, but didn’t wail as he had the one other time he’d been spanked, for dashing in front of a horse. Théodred was vaguely aware of his brother saying that he had been brave, and of Haleth getting a similar spanking from Uncle Faramir.

When Éomer gently righted Théodred, and cuddled him for a moment, Théodred had tears in his eyes, but mostly from having disappointed his Faeder, rather than from the mild sting in his bottom.

Then Éomer handed Théodred gently to Faramir, who was reassuring Haleth, but had room to hold Théodred on his lap, too. Haleth took his hand, and Théodred watched unhappily as his Faeder spanked Elfwine, just a little harder than he had Théodred. Elfwine also got three more smacks.

After the children had been comforted and tucked into bed, Elfwine asked worriedly, “Ada, do you still love us? Even though we stole the fish, and were naughty?”

“Of course I do, my beloved sons. I love you both like a pool loves fish.” Éomer answered seriously, stroking his sons’ soft curls again, before bidding them fair dreams.

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Anna , Nerey Camille , Minx , delphae , missouri car insuran , LN Tora , ebbingnight , Tess , Tonia , Milagro , Nida , Fermin , Bianca , Harrison , Seth , Dwain , Leanna , Marsha , Elaine , Jeff , Mohammed , Florrie , Theresa , Jay , Adriana , Annmarie , Jamika , Cyrus , Kandy , Ginger , Lisa , Jestine , Sheree , Jesus , Tyrone , Ulrike , Kindra , Angelika , Kathrin , Barbra , Nicholas , Krystyna

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6 Comment(s)

NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

Oh these are wonderful. Eldarion is such an astute child :)

— Maria    14 October 2010, 02:28    #

A very interesting beginning. I look forward to reading more!

— Ria    14 October 2010, 04:05    #

I love these father-son moments, they’re so perfect and heartwarming.

— Anna    20 December 2010, 18:55    #

Just lovely!

— Linda    11 January 2011, 10:58    #

This is so lovely to read! It’s light and bright and makes me smile or chuckle during reading. Very enjoyable, I hope you update soon.


— Aneyrin    2 February 2011, 16:56    #

Cute, cute, cute story.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

— lille mermeid    16 May 2011, 16:50    #

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