|Rating/Warnings:||Rated R for adult sexual situations with some nudity; more spicy than graphic.|
|Disclaimer:||This is a work of amateur fan fiction written just for fun. No infringement is meant on the rights of JRR Tolkien or his estate.|
|Timeline:||Semi-bookverse, shortly before the Ring Quest.|
|Summary:||A young woman in Ninglorost wants to learn how to be more womanly and looks to the elves for instruction.|
|Author's Notes:||The opening quote about Ninglorost is taken from 'Scenes from a Life' by Malinorne and used with her permission. You can find a link to the entire story in the main menu and I highly recommend it to elf-loving readers.
This story is based on a scene in Mal's related story 'Breakfast', which describes Thranduil and Eadhild enjoying each other in a window, only to be witnessed by some people who are walking by on the street below. I was curious about that girl who saw them, and the consequences, and I owed a story to a fan who wanted to read about a girl named Lavender.
Ninglorost was a small human settlement situated at the foot of the Misty Mountains, not far from the Gladden River and about one hundred miles north of Lothlórien. Its inhabitants usually referred to it as "the Town", an epithet it would hardly have deserved in a less sparsely populated area. The name, simply meaning "Gladden-town" was in Elvish as was the custom of the Men of Gondor who had founded it some centuries ago.
Little else remained of the somewhat refined culture of these pioneers, who had sought to establish a base within convenient distance from all the main Elven realms in Middle-Earth. The "Town" had gradually deteriorated as it began to attract the usual rabble of villains, whores and merchants of disputable honour that was characteristic for settlements with a large number of travellers passing through.
The heart of Ninglorost was its inn, a modest establishment whose main assets were the maidservants, always willing to do everything in their power to make the guest's stay as enjoyable as possible in every respect - especially if the guest happened to be an Elf.
Lavender saw them from a distance before her mother did, and she pretended not to notice, although her heart beat fast at the sight in the upper window of the inn. Now she was possibly going to see, with her own eyes, even if only in a few quick peeks, what she and her girl cousins had only speculated about.
Whenever father brought them to Ninglorost on market day, she secretly studied the infamous structure and wondered about the goings on within, which she had heard about in giggling whispers from her cousins.
Her family had only recently moved to the area and they currently lived with her father's kin on the outskirts of this village that people around them referred to as 'the Town', even if it was barely deserving of the title 'village'. She had lived in a real town before and had been to a large city, once, but she understood how it was more a term of endearment to refer to the conglomeration of establishments beside the Anduin as the Town; it was an inside joke.
The inn was notorious throughout the local region, no matter the size of the community that surrounded it. Three roads met there, ancient roads that were no more that glorified paths, made by the elven folk of the forests and from over the Misty Mountains. Long before humans settled by the banks of the Anduin, the folk of the wood walked there, and carried boats on their backs to float downstream to the elven realms to the near south, or to the mortal cities even farther away.
This meant that elves were almost forced to travel through the town on their way to wherever they were going, and the local folk took advantage of that fact by making them comfortable with accommodations suitable to their kind. The inn was staffed by people who enjoyed the company of such unusual clientele.
When Lavender and her girl cousins would get together, their conversations always turned to imagining what happened in the upstairs rooms of the inn. Almost all of their facts came from overheard remarks made by their parents, and other grownups, and from their own observations of who came and went. From these clues, they spun their own fancy tales of how the naughty serving wenches of Ninglorost plied their trade.
"Do you think it is true that they have a special room with an enormous bed..." one of them would whisper, while the others would look over their shoulders to make sure they were not being spied upon.
"With satin sheets," another cousin would contribute, world wise and all knowing.
"And the maids get to choose the elf they want and then they take them into that room."
"Do you think that they take all of their clothes off?"
"Who? The elves or the maids?"
"Both!" And at this point, the conversation would dissolve into hysterical giggling. To imagine bare naked women and bare naked elves together, in a special room, with a big bed, was almost more excitement than they could endure.
Even though her cousins, Lily and Rose, had lived in this sheltered region their whole lives, they both behaved as if they were privy to all of life's dark secrets. Perhaps because they were pretty, and were often praised for their copper-hued tresses and amethyst-colored eyes, they thought they were sophisticated and wise. The cousins openly flirted with the young men who worked for their family during the hay-making season, burly workers, tanned by the late summer's sun, whose loud voices and flashing white-toothed smiles were intimidating to Lavender. She could not understand the attraction.
Whatever the cause of her cousins' self-assured behavior around men, Lavender willingly deferred to their knowledge about the private behavior of elves and humans. That was more interesting to her, for reasons she was too self-conscious to talk about, so she never brought up the subject of the inn when she was with them, although she never really had to.
No beauty herself, or at least not enough of one to earn the type of open admiration her cousins received, Lavender held no hope that she would ever be courted or wed, and that worried her. Was she doomed to die a spinster? And never know the touch of another?
When she was younger, in the town she grew up in, there was a woman who gave her music lessons who did not have a husband. She was not ugly, or without normal domestic skills like knowing how to cook and keep house. But she was educated and prim, two character traits that were treated with disdain by the others in the town, and even little Lavender could tell that a man would probably not fit neatly within the tidy teacher's home.
The music teacher was also an object of pity and even scorn, although it was cloaked and subtle, if any took the time out of their lives to mention her existence. Lavender took note of the remarks about the 'old maid', and it seemed to her young mind, from the tone of the overheard conversations, that the worst fate a woman could endure was to never know the touch of a man's hand, or to enjoy a lover's kiss.
For some reason, as far as Lavender could gather, being husbandless was a result of not being 'womanly', and was neither a desirable nor natural condition. However, it could be avoided only by acting more womanly, and for the rest of her life she feared growing older without ever learning how. Accordingly, although the idea of a man's hand on her body scared her, it scared her more to think that it might never happen. But her cousins' stories about elves had given her a strange new hope.
According to them, elves were enchanted by human females and were willing to be lovers with them for the pleasure of the encounter. The folk of the forest were not likely to ever court or marry a mortal maid, but they seemed to be Lavender's last and only hope to know what it would feel like to be a real woman, and have a better chance at being womanly.
Although Lavender had lived in a town larger than Ninglorost for most of her life, she had seen very few elves, and none up close. When she was very young, her family had traveled all the way to Minas Tirith, and she had seen a large group of them riding through the cobbled streets on dainty footed horses with braided, beaded manes and headstalls with tinkling silver bells. She barely noticed the riders, except for their dangling booted feet, which did not perch on stirrups. For years after, when she heard people speak about the elves; she thought of those horses.
But shortly after they had come to live near the banks of the Anduin River, Lavender had seen a small party of elves, and this time she was not distracted by any horses, because they were on foot. It was a stunning sight. They wore gray cloaks over gray leggings, their hair was dark but their skin was white, and they seemed to be made out of shadows and ice. Flowing and solid at the same time.
She had been alone, walking on a path by the river that led to blackberry bushes, and was being cautious in case there were any bears eating there. Beside her trotted her dog, Snap, a small but feisty pug-nosed terrier who behaved as if he could kill a bear, if ever allowed to, so she felt entirely safe. At the very least, he would smell one or detect it, in whatever mysterious way that dogs used to discover the presence of other living things, and would bark to alert her.
This day, instead of yapping or growling, Snap had come to a sudden stop on the path and whimpered excitedly. Not in pain, but more in the way he sounded when he would ask for a treat, a pat on the head, or to be let into the house; a happy sound of wanting to have something that could possibly be denied, with his tail wagging rapidly. She looked in the direction his muzzle was pointed and saw them, elves, standing just outside the tree line a few yards away.
Not one of them looked her way. They seemed focused on something across the river and she turned to see what was there, but all she saw was more trees. Swiftly she turned back, but the elves had vanished into the forest in that short time that she had taken her eyes off of them, and she felt instantly bereft, as if she had made and lost her first and only friends in a matter of minutes.
After that day, she had wanted very much to see another one, and had mentioned the mysterious sighting to her cousins. It was then that she had learned about the reason why elves often came through Ninglorost on their way to almost anywhere; they came to tarry at the area's only inn where they were made welcome, and where the women working there enjoyed their company in scandalous ways.
As Lavender and her mother drew closer to the inn on that particular marketing morning, she had seen someone in a window of the notorious upper story, possibly two people. Although she felt close to seeing a fallen woman for the first time in her life, there was every chance that they were normal guests, taking the morning air.
They came closer and Lavender held her breath and dared herself to have a longer look. When she was sure that she would not be seen by her mother, who was staring ahead as if she did not see anything on either side of her, just like a horse wearing blinkers would behave, she turned her head and stared straight up at the window.
Two people were standing there, a woman in front of, yes, it was an elf. A tall elf with golden hair that flowed long and spilled over his shoulders. They were both fully dressed, although the woman's skirt was bunched up around her waist. Lavender's heart nearly stopped when she realized, after only a few seconds of viewing, that the way his lordly mane shook in a steady rhythm meant they were not simply lingering by the window to breathe in the fresh air.
Were they doing what she thought they were doing? In broad daylight? How shocking, if true! Instantly she felt her cheeks glowing, as she struggled to absorb what she had only fleetingly witnessed. Beside her, almost in her ear, she heard a man say, "Look at that wench!" And she stopped in her tracks, certain that he had noticed her naughty staring and that he would point out her obvious flustered condition and its cause.
However, the man, who looked disheveled and as if he had not slept yet, was gesturing up at the same window where the golden-maned elf and the woman were standing, and whatever else they were doing as well, instead of at her. With his elbow he nudged his equally unkempt companion, as he spoke, "That point ear is really giving it to her!"
Her mother gasped at the language, and Lavender saw the color drain from her face, but she did not speak or in any other way acknowledge that she had heard the slurred words of the disrespectful man. They walked a little faster to put the men, who reeked of ale and were obviously drunk, behind them far enough to be out of their reach.
Lavender wished she had Snap with her; he would have protected her better than her mother, whose only response to rudeness was silence and a frown. But those vulgar words hung in her ears like the resonance of a tolling bell. Echoing and echoing. The envy and the admiration in the drunken man's voice thrilled her, "That point ear is really giving it to her." She would never think of horses when she thought of elves again.
Her cousins made her repeat every detail over and over, even though at first they had dismissed her tale and almost refused to believe it. They too had never seen or heard of such activities taking place where all of the public could see, if what Lavender described was truly lewd behavior and had no other, more innocent, explanation. And they might have convinced themselves she had not seen anything more than a serving wench and inn-guest enjoying the sun on a bright morning, if not for the words of the drunken man.
"There are not many elves with golden hair who visit here, at least that I have ever seen," remarked Lily almost at once, but she had to admit that the term 'point ear' was pretty specific.
"Are you sure he wasn't just leaning over her to look out of that window?" Rose nearly sneered when she asked, she was that convinced of Lavender's naiveté. But, like her sister, she had to admit that there was not much else the elf could have been 'giving' the serving wench, in the posture described, and with the moans that were heard, besides 'that', whatever 'that' was.
Although they had all seen rural-life romancing involving barnyard animals like hens and a rooster, or pastured cows with a bull, they were really none of them quite sure about all of the details when it came to people, and they assumed an elf would be not too different from a man. It seemed there should be more to it than there was with the animals. The use of hands, for instance, and kissing.
Merely relating the tale had been such an embarrassing ordeal for Lavender that she was almost sorry she had mentioned it to her doubting cousins, but they finally admitted, grudgingly, that they were sorry they had missed the event and a bit put-out with themselves for not rising early enough to join in the visit to town.
"How do you think those women are hired?" Lavender held her breath after she finally found the courage to say such a thing out loud. She tried to ask it casually, as if she was just curious about such arrangements and not from any personal interest, but she was sure her more well-informed cousins would see right through her and know she was asking for herself.
Luckily, the both of them, once they had admitted that she had seen what she thought she had seen, were too interested in hearing another recitation of the morning's events to have even noticed her question. She decided not to ask it again, yet, when they made her start over, at the beginning, and repeat every single thing she had heard and seen.
If Lavender had felt braver, once she had finished retelling everything, she would have asked again how women found employment at the inn, but she could not bring herself to ask twice and risk exposing her underlying desire to find a way to get into the inn, and find an elf to take to that fancy room with that big bed, and maybe even to find out what one looked like bare naked.
That lordly elf with the golden hair haunted her for days afterwards; he was handsome, and virile, and had seemed proud of the display he had made of his lust for the lucky wench in his grasp. Lavender tried to imagine what was taking place under the lifted skirt, but the mechanics of the ways adults made love were a mystery to her. But intriguing. He was very different from the gray clad party she had seen at the forest's edge, but they were all more interesting to think about than any of the men she had seen in the town, who would never look twice at her anyway.
But haunting her along with the image of the handsome elf was the woman he was with, and the way her face was slack with pleasure and the moans of satisfaction she emitted. A strange heat would sweep over Lavender when she recalled the scene, a tingling sensation that seemed to settle between her legs and at her breasts. If it was true what her cousins said, that the maidservants at the inn could have their pick of the elves who visited there, then she had to find a way to work there. Before it was too late and she turned into a spinster. But how?
To be continued in Chapter 2
Posted: July 19, 2005
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"Long live Thranduil, great Elf-king of Greenwood!"