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Leafblade

The Adventure Continues in Part 3 with The Order of the Tower Guard

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The Order of the Tower Guard

“I do so swear myself to the service of the Order of the Tower Guard.”

It was with a mixture of pride and regret that Leafblade heard his daughter speak the words of the oath. Not for the first time did he regret that Antwanette was not still living in Bree, leaving the house each morning to begin work at Hengstacer's horse farm while he did his part in the town guard. She should be living the life of a normal girl, he thought. But then these were not normal times.

He had taken his own oath to the Order not long ago after playing his role well in the battle against the Watcher in the Water. Now fair Gwynnariel Half-Elven and brother Belimawr stood beside one another at the front of the ceremonial grounds. With them stood the diminutive elf maiden Faenel. All had taken the oath. All stood now before the leadership of the Order. Cheers rained down upon the new inductees from the gathered members of the Order. “All hail the Mighty Ones!” Sandegast bellowed in his baritone, hobbit voice with arms upraised.

The crowd began to move inside the grand kinship hall where music, wine and feasting awaited. Leafblade leaned a shoulder against one of the pillars and let out a sigh. The sun was disappearing behind the hill of Bree and the festive lamps were being lit about Grimstable. Antwanette, Faenel and Gwynnariel were giggling merrily at some jest, apparently at Belimawr's expense. His unamused glower and folded arms only incited the ladies further. Gwynnariel and Faenel leapt up to wrap arms about him in an enthusiastic embrace while pressing kisses to his cheeks. Belimawr stoicly withstood the friendly, affectionate assault that the ladies had termed glomping. Antwanette joined in the assault prancing about in front of Beli with a mocking dance.

Leafblade felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see the tall, dark elf-lord Damz standing beside him watching the besieged Belimawr stare defiantly skyward.
“She's a good lass, Leaf,” he said in his deep voice and thick accent. “Ought to be proud. The Order's not before accepted one so young.”
Leafblade, arms folded, could only clinch his jaw and look down, biting back a number of bitter responses and kicking at the ground with his toe. “Yesss, mate,” Damz continued, “I know. Tending horses and singing songs while beating off the advances of ill-mannered farmboys with a stick, is it? She should be. We should all have simpler lives.”

Damz knew Leaf's frustration better than most. They'd spoken of it often on hunts and patrols. When they had returned from a sortie into Mirkwood to find members of the Order had slain the Mistress of Pestilence deep in the bowels of Moria, they had both been furious: Damz, because they had undertaken such a dangerous mission without him; Leaf, because they had taken Antwanette with them. Casandir had explained to Damz that there had been no time to wait for their return. The dwarves of Moria had located the Mistress and were determined to attack with or without the help of the Order and would likely have failed if unaided. Had explained to Leafblade that Antwanette's particular skills were crucial to their chances of success and that all possible precautions had been taken to assure her safety.

A year ago he might have throttled man or elf, lord or commoner who brought his daughter into harm's way. A lot had changed since the burning of Archet, however. More than his own child had been forced to face dangers before their time. It had still been difficult for either of them to be calmed. Ultimately, it had taken Faenel's intervention. Standing in a chair so as to look Damz in the eye and down (slightly) at Leafblade, a finger jabbing at both, scolding them for thinking she would have let anything happen to Antwanette or any of the others.

Damz now gave Leafblade's shoulder a brotherly squeeze before removing his hand and immediately breaking out in laughter. Belimawr had had enough and held his arms out away from his body. Gwynnariel playfully struggled against one arm to apply further glomps while Faenel now dangled from the other, feet kicking in the air well above the ground.
“Tell me, mate” Damz continued, “where do they make elf maidens that tiny? Does she have a dab of pixie blood?”
Leafblade rolled his eyes. “Probably the same odd place they make tall silvan elf lords with the speech of a stiff Gondorian coastal noble.”
Damz let the verbal joust slide by with a laugh and stepped toward the kinship hall. “Best hurry before the wine is near gone, Leaf. You'll be left with the dregs.”
“I like dregs,” Leaf said defiantly.
“Ahh yes,” Damz said in parting as he neared the hall. “Thought that might explain the sour puss.”

It was as his gaze followed Damz into the hall that he felt his daughter wrap her arms about him from the side and kiss his cheek. She then rested her head on his shoulder. “You look so grumpy, Dad. Aren't you happy for me?”
Leafblade sighed and gave a kiss to the top of his daughter's head. “I am more proud of you than words can say, my dear” he said into her hair before leaning his cheek there. He then glumly confessed, “I am less ready for you to grow up than you are, it would seem.”
Any further talk was interrrupted as Faenel leaped upon Leaf's back from behind and clung there with arms around his neck. The 'glomping' continued all the way into the kinhall where the celebration was well underway.

To Be Continued...

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An enticing beginning!

 

Do I guess rightly that Antwanette is an alt of yours, who your kin wanted in a run rather than your main? :-)

 

Waitaminute... "Antwanette" - nice spelling!

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