Twelve Days of Hrive 'Isia Ch. 03byRedHairedandFriendly©
On the fourth day of Hrive 'Isia
"I see what you are thinking and it will only end in sorrow."
Gilraen looked over to her sister, stuck out her tongue and told her to stay away from her thoughts. Madrician frowned, but did as was asked of her, choosing instead to remove herself from the library and seek out Huro so he could help her practice her skills. With her sister's nuptials so close, Madrician was finding it harder and harder to block out the images that Gilraen was projecting.
The Princess watched her sister leave, and felt once more the safe haven of having her thoughts be her own. She knew Madrician had seen what had transpired in the cabin with Ireth and Huro, and she knew her sister had felt the emotions that were stirring deep within her when she imagined Turgon and her reenacting what she'd witnessed. It was the youngest Princess's own undoing. She knew how to protect herself from others' private musings; she just dallied too much and was often rewarded with things she'd rather forget. Gilraen shook her head, cleared what little guilt she felt at Madrician's lost innocence and went back to focusing on the man who sat quietly reading from one of her father's books.
A half hour passed before Gilraen gained the courage needed to approach Círdan. She rose from her chair, shook out her long locks, squared her shoulders, thrust out her breasts and walked demurely toward her intended victim. Once she reached his side, she waited until he took notice of her. When he failed to do so in a timely manner, her body relaxed and her arms came up to cross in front of her bosom and she tapped her toe annoyingly.
"May I help you, Your Highness?" Círdan replied more casually than Gilraen expected. He almost sounded annoyed by her presence.
She cleared her throat. "I wish to take a turn about the garden and since you are obviously the man my betrothed put in charge to guard me, I expect you to escort me."
Círdan's brow arched. He looked up, and Gilraen answered back with a haughty expression. He sighed, rose, closed the book and offered his arm. "Thank you," she answered, in a tone that reeked of regality.
"But of course."
They moved together toward the double doors that opened into the garden. Each one paused long enough to accept the warm outerwear that was offered to them via the servants. "Your mother runs a tight household," Círdan commented after helping the Princess into her hooded cape.
"She does. She prides herself on it." Gilraen did not want to speak of her mother, she'd been fortunate enough not to be alone with her for the past several days and speaking of her would most likely jinx her luck.
Once outside Gilraen shivered against the shocking cold. The promising wind from the day before had indeed released a mountain of snow onto the Lúinwë keep as well as its surrounding lands. Gilraen burrowed herself deeper into the cape she wore, and huddled closer to her escort, in hopes to ward off the chill.
"Are you sure this is wise?" Círdan asked.
The Princess paused. "What, my being so close to you? Why do you feel something?" She blinked in a fashion she hoped was seductive.
Círdan turned his head to cough. "Um – I meant this walk. It is quite cold and the snow, though removed enough for your stroll is still thick."
"Oh," Gilraen's shoulders slumped, "I'll be fine, as will you. Besides perhaps we can think of a way to warm ourselves. A hear a good conversation can often lead to warm thoughts that ward off the chill."
The couple remained silent as Círdan escorted Gilraen on a tour of the snow capped bushes, trees, and hibernating flowers. They reached a bench, where Gilraen paused. Círdan sighed, looked around and shook his head. The Princess waited. Her escort brushed the snow away with his gloved hand and waited for his charge to take a seat. When she patted the empty space next to him, he claimed it. Gilraen ignored the sound of displeasure whispered from his lips. Once he was seated, she scooted closer, hoping to capture more of his heat, as well as put her plan into action.
"Turgon tells me you are his best mate."
"I feel the same way about him."
Gilraen smiled. "Have you known each other long?"
"Since we were babes; we've trained together, fought together, hell we've even fucked the --." Círdan shifted, "forgive me Your Highness."
"It's alright Círdan. I am not a fool. I know my future will be one that I share my husband with other women. I am not happy with the arrangement, but I will accept it." She noted Círdan's frown. "In fact that is why I wanted to walk with you."
"Yes," Gilraen turned her body, so her gaze could hold Círdan's, "I wish," she pulled one glove off her hand and brought her fingers to Círdan's lips, "I wish to kiss you Círdan. To feel you pressed against me, to –."
"Your Highness!" Círdan grabbed her hand and pulled it away.
"What?" she purred, trying hard to display her feminine attributes through the thickness of the cape, "You already admitted that you shared the same women and am I not to be his woman. Can you not see anything," she thrust her breasts out further, "that appeals to you?"
She watched the lump in his throat and watched him swallow it. Inside her stomach churned, the idea of kissing the man in front of her caused a vile taste to spill into her throat; she refused to acknowledge it, and instead took one of his hands and placed it on her chest. "See, Círdan, I am a woman and I have needs like a man. Why should only one man fill my bed, when one woman is not enough for my Lord?"
Gilraen pushed her chest forward at the same time as she pressed his palm deeper into her firm globe. She watched his face grow warm, and knew he was fighting an inner war. She took advantage of the situation, quickly moving her hand to cup the back of his head and force her mouth onto his.
Círdan pulled away, and rose quickly from the bench. His face was red, and his mouth gaping in shock. Gilraen bit down on her lower lip, her own skin flush from embarrassment. She heard Círdan try to speak, to form words that seemed unable to be spoken. "Just go," she whispered, lifting her hand and dismissing him, "just leave me."
Her heart ached as she watched the elf scurry away, humiliated with herself and her actions, Gilraen waited several minutes in the cold before returning to the library. Once inside she removed the cape and gloves, handed them to the waiting attendant and sat down in the chair nearest the fire.
"Didn't work out the way you expected, did it?"
She spun around and stared at Turgon. Her jaw slacked and her eyes widened. He seemed to always catch her off guard and now, he had obviously witnessed her failed attempt at seduction. Her lower lip trembled, as she turned away and focused on the flames that licked the firewood. When she felt his presence behind her, she closed her eyes and hung her head.
"Why did you take Círdan's life into your hands? Are you so selfish that you would put your needs before another man's own heartbeat?"
A tear slipped from her eyes, she shook her head no. "I just wanted to know what it was like, if all kisses were like ours." She heard his chuckle, winced at the laughter and waited for more chastisement to fall from his smirking lips. When nothing came she looked up and saw his eyes gazing back at her.
"I am not unaffected by the moments we have shared together. I find myself contemplating a life with only one woman."
"And?" Gilraen's voice seemed laced with hope.
Turgon slid down to the floor, to lean against the edge of the chair "It is not a bad picture, after all my parents seem content with the arrangement."
Gilraen smiled. They sat there, each one lost in their own thoughts. Eventually the afternoon bell tolled and Turgon pulled himself up from his position on the floor, flexed the muscles in his back and took Gilraen's hand. "Princess, we can make this work. We have only to trust each other. If you swear to end this mission of seeking bed partners, then I will seriously consider the notion of only bedding you. I will however warn you that we Celebrindal men have a hefty appetite for mating and often need release, so in times when your body is unable to service me," his fingers caressed her lips, "there are other ways..."
"Oh Mistress Ireth showed me!"
Turgon's hand dropped as a throaty growl fell from his lips. Gilraen blushed. He took her hand, tucked it against him and together they left the library. "It is the fourth day of Hrive 'Isia and I do believe it is the day where we are to give each other one gift to mark the celebration of winter. I have something special for you."
Gilraen stopped short. "Turgon, I have nothing. I was up all night fretting about how to properly seduce," she looked down, "Círdan that I did not prepare a gift for you and it looks like even that practice was for naught, for it is obvious Círdan found nothing about me appealing."
"I highly doubt that. He just knew he'd be skewered had he been caught reacting to your charms."
Her soft giggle bounced gently off the walls. "I shall make it up to you, the lack of a gift, by deplorable behavior with Círdan. I do hope you know he does not need run through. He acted a gentleman, and I the whore."
"He acted as was instructed," Turgon announced matter-of-factly.
The couple was brought up short when Gilraen stopped walking. "He knew I was going to do that? But how? I -."
"He is the only man I trusted to deny you any leeway and so I told him of your plan to seduce him, if not someone else. Believe me Princess; no other man would have had the strength to deny themselves the taste of your lips, or the feel of your breasts beneath their palms."
Her face grew red. She allowed herself to be led back on the path Turgon had chosen. It wasn't until they began to ascend the stairs to one of the tower rooms that Gilraen again forced them to stop. "What are we doing here?" she whispered, her eyes grew worried. She glanced repeatedly behind them, leaned forward to try and peer around the next turn. "My mother," she turned to leave, pulling her betrothed with her, "she will slay me where I stand. We must go." Her features were pale and her pulse raced. "Have you no mercy for the treatment I will receive at her hands for defying her. I cannot be here."
"Enough," Turgon said, his voice echoing about them. "You are not to fear that woman ever again. She means nothing to me, nor should she to you. Though she may be the only capable parent, she is not the only one and I wish for you to visit with the man who sired you. That, Gilraen is my gift to you."
Gilraen's lips trembled. "But – but I've not seen him since -."
"I know. I'll be with you."
"She will -."
"Gilraen, she'll do nothing. She has already been handled and she knows better than to defy me. Our betrothal benefits her too much for her to do anything to hinder it. You do want to see him, don't you?" A trembling hand reached out and wiped at tears that had spilled from her eyes. She shook her head yes, and allowed Turgon to lead her toward her father's chambers.
Two guards stood by either side of the door. Gilraen barely recognized them as Turgon's men. Already he was taking steps to assure her of not only her safety, but the well being of her sister, and now her father. She squeezed his hand, and waited for the doors to be opened to her. When they were, Turgon ushered her in, then waited with the guards. She looked back, smiled, and closed the door, leaving her alone in a room she'd not stepped foot in for thirteen years.
Her eyes adjusted to the dimness of the room. She chewed nervously on her lip, and the inside of her cheek. Her gaze shifted from the left, to the right, not quite ready to focus on the massive bed in the center of the room. Instead she recalled the times her father would read to her when they sat on the bench under the window. A memory of them playing with toys in front of the fireplace beckoned her gaze there. She could almost hear his laughter and see the sparkle in his eyes when she would run out and scare him. Now as an adult, she knew he was never surprised, he always knew where she was, and how to find her. Even that night, when she had called out for him, he had come for her.
Gilraen reached the edge of the bed, and looked at the man lying there. His chest rose and fell, and his lids were closed. His lips were slightly parted, as his lungs drug in wisps of air. She sat down on a stool that had been placed there for her. Her hands suddenly cool, rested on one of his. She squeezed the frail bones and found her eyesight blinded by the torrential downpour of her tears.
The Princess sat there for what seemed like hours, stroking her father's hand, and pressing kisses to his temple. She found herself telling him stories about her life, as well as those of her sister, his other daughter Madrician - the girl he would never know. She spoke of the harvest, of Turgon and her growing desire for him. She spoke of how she also feared that same desire. She wished with all her heart that her father would awaken and grant her words of wisdom. When a knock broke into the haven of emotions and stories, Gilraen called out for whoever had knocked to enter.
"Princess, it is time for your father's meal and bath."
Gilraen looked to find Turgon and another waiting for permission to enter. She smiled at them both, and rose from the stool. "Can I come back tomorrow?" she asked Turgon. He grinned, shook his head and held out his hand to her. "And – and may I bring Madrician?" Again he agreed and once more her heart drummed faster. She turned back to the weak, frail man and leaned down to kiss his forehead. "I will be back tomorrow papa, and we will talk more. I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I love you so very much." She squeezed his hand again, before leaving his side and returning to Turgon.
"Thank you," she whispered before lifting her arms and wrapping them around his shoulders. Her lips found his and she kissed him deeply, not caring who witnessed her gratitude. When they parted, her gaze was full of devotion and desire. "I will never have a gift worthy of what you've given me, but I will strive to make you happy." Turgon stroked her cheek, kissed her brow and led her away from her father's rooms.
On the fifth day of Hrive 'Isia
Gilraen held her sisters hand as they waited for the servant, feeding their father, to finish her task. They both watched with anxious eyes, each thankful for the others' presence. Gilraen was mesmerized by the process of a long tube being inserted into her father's throat and the broth, laced with herbs sliced so thin one could see through them, was slowly fed into a funnel. "So this is how he survives?" she asked. The woman, a faithful servant to Eáránë ignored the Princess, eased the tube from the King's throat, wiped the broth and fluids that coated his lips and turned to leave.
"Isa – I asked you a question." Gilraen stared at the woman's back.
Isa turned, and glanced back at the lifeless figure that stared at the ceiling above him, his eyes occasionally blinked. "Yes, Princess."
The Princess heard the annoyance in the woman's voice. "And are you the only one that cares for him?"
Gilraen felt ashamed and embarrassed for not knowing the ins and outs of her father's care. In fact, the more she thought on it, very few of her father's friends, and companions had ever been allowed into his chambers after the accident.
"I am the only one that feeds him. Dushanal takes care of his bath, and personal needs. Your father's body functions, he just cannot move, or speak, he is most likely not even aware we are here."
Isa and Gilraen both turned to the one that had whispered the word. "Madrician, what did you say?" Gilraen asked.
The young girl looked to her sister and then over to Isa. Her gaze fluttered down, her lids lowered submissively. "I was thinking to myself, sister, about a conversation I had with one of the boys from the village. I did not mean to speak out loud. He told me a falsehood and I just realized it."
Gilraen frowned; Isa rolled her eyes, muttered something about Madrician being soft in the head, then turned to go. "Dushanal will be here in twenty minutes, which is usually when your father's body expels what it must."
The Princess watched as Isa left the room, and then turned to face her sister. "You have less time than that to tell me why you called Isa a liar and why you lied to me about some boy in the village." Gilraen waited for her sister to answer.
"She lies. He's very much aware of what is going on around him," Madrician answered, pushed past her sister and moved to climb onto her father's bed. She leaned over him, stared into his eyes and studied his features.
Gilraen watched in awe and confusion as her sister reached out and stroked her father's hair, tucking strands of gray and white behind his ears. "You can hear him?" Gilraen whispered and found herself more jealous of her young sibling than she'd ever been before, even the love Madrician received from their mother was nothing compared to what she was unable to share with her father. Tears welled up in her eyes; she brushed them away and moved to sit next to their father, opposite of her sister.
"What does he say?" Gilraen asked. She licked her lips in anticipation and fear. Would her father demand she leave? Did he hate her? Blame her? What did he think as he lay in this bed for years, no one able to hear his words, because they were trapped inside his mind?
Madrician turned to her sister; her own tears had left stains on her pale cheeks. "He has missed you and he knows you were here yesterday, and wishes you did not feel guilty – it was not your fault."
Gilraen sobbed and more tears fell. "Sister there is more." The elder princess nodded her head, encouraging Madrician to continue. "It is mother – she – she poisons him."
Wide eyes full of shock and disbelief flew to Madrician's innocent features. "You are mistaken," Gilraen whispered, looking to see if by some slim chance someone had slipped into the room unnoticed.
"No, sister, our mother, with the help of Isa keeps him in this state. He fears her and has for years lost all hope of ever being heard."
"But how - why?"
"The broth. I knew Isa was doing it, I read her thoughts, but I could not stop her. He asked me not to," she nodded to their father. "I heard him too, as soon as we entered his chambers. I heard his weeping, his cries for freedom. He has been trapped, and now as he speaks to me, he worries that his mind is too far gone to lead his people, even if we are able to stop our mother."
"But I don't understand. She loves him, why poison him?" Gilraen leaned toward her father, and brushed his bangs away from his eyes. "Why father? Why poison you?" She glanced to her sister, urging her to share with her what her father was thinking.
Madrician swallowed, licked her lips and closed her eyes. "She was to be sent away – she had been with another – another man and –." Madrician turned her head away.
"Go on," Gilraen demanded.
"I am not his daughter."
The statement was but a whisper but Gilraen heard it. She looked down at her father, then back to her sister. "You – you are an offspring of an affair?"
The younger girl nodded her head, her lips trembled, and her fingers curled into tight fists. "Fath – the King – he found out and was going to have mother banished. But soldiers came and told him that the village children had been climbing on the rocks, and had left you there. So he left before he could give the order. He told her he would deal with her and her bastard daughter when he returned."
Gilraen heard the ache in her sister's voice. She reached out to caress her hair, and offer her comfort, but Madrician pulled away. "You need to keep Isa away from him, and Dushanal, she takes pleasure from your father – against his will."