Telwen’s Extraneous Tales: A Picture Worth a Thousand Words
“Make yourselves at home,” Tel called as she handed a kettle to Rose.
Lodi and the elf, Celirdagor, were sat in the small study across from the kitchen hunched thoughtfully over an elaborately carved chess set. Firelight danced along the pale gold walls, setting the twisting vines alive as soft laughter drifted through the house. The raven-haired captain had eased his tall frame into the wicker chair by the fire and was turning his pipe over in his hands when a knock sounded sharply at the door. Tel’s copper head popped through the delicate archway which divided the kitchen from the sitting room. Her blue-gray eyes met his silver gaze questioningly.
Aelred’s eyebrow quirked upwards, “And just who might be calling on you at this hour of night?”
Pressing a hand to her chest, Telwen batted her eyelashes at the captain. “Oh one of my many suitors I would imagine.” Beside her the little hobbit dissolved into giggles as Aelred shook his dark head.
His gaze swung back to the door as the knock came once again, more forcefully than before. “Better see who it is.”
Wrinkling her freckled nose, Telwen moved to the door, shooing Aelred back into his seat when he moved to follow her. Swinging the heavy door open she smiled as she saw the small neighbor boy from down the lane.
“Hi there Miss Telwen, my ma says she’s sorry for sending me so late but she was wonderin’ if you…” the boy paused, his green eyes widening with wonder, “wow Miss Telwen that’s a sure nice painting you got there.”
Tel’s eyes followed the boy’s over to the wall upon which hung a large oil painting of a knight, black armour shining in the sun and her long golden hair flowing. “Ah yes, that is one of my favorites too Brent.”
“Who is it?”
Pausing, Telwen tapped a finger along her chin thoughtfully. “Well you see, that is Marwen, a famous shield-maiden of the Mark.”
Brushing a sandy lock of hair from his eyes the boy plopped down onto the rug. “What did she do?” he asked reverently.
Smiling Tel settled into the chair, the fire glinting in her eyes as she leaned forward. “It all happened a long time ago. Marwen was just like any other girl in the Mark. Her family bred horses for Folca King, son of Walda. Now Folca was known not only for his hunting prowess but also for his hatred of orc kind as it was they who had slain his father and he avowed to hunt down any remaining orc in the Mark. Her father and brother joined an eored and went off to help the king fight. With both gone to war, it fell to Marwen to protect their herds from the orc bands that yet roamed the land.
“One clear spring day, when the rivers were wild and swollen from the melted snow, a cry sounded from one of her stable-hands. A war band had been sighted. Like any good maiden of the Mark, Marwen raced home, donned her brother’s armour and took up his sword. Astride the sturdiest steed they had she rallied the farmers and their families. Together they met the orcs head on and routed them utterly. ‘Marwen the Fierce,’ they called her and hailed her a hero forevermore.”
After giving Brent the sugar his mother had sent him for and sending him back along his way with apologies to his mother for keeping him, Tel felt a tug on her sleeve. Rose stood beside her, her hazel eyes thoughtful.
“I’ve seen that painting many a time but I never knew the tale. Is it really Marwen the Fierce?”
Tel caught her lip between her teeth and shrugged apologetically. “I do not truly know,” she replied sheepishly, “In fact I do not know even if there ever was a Marwen. But it was a nice tale though, was it not?”
Rose began to laugh so hard she snorted, shaking her strawberry curls. “Well you had me fooled, wherever did you come by it then?”
“Well you see one time I was in Bree-town when this mysterious..”
“Telwen,” came Aelred’s voice from across the room, “it is the truth I believe she wants.”
“Oh right,” Tel replied in a tiny voice, “sorry. It just was so much more interesting than the actual story.”
“Well, what is the actual story?” asked Rose impatiently.
“I found in in a trash heap in a back alley in Bree.”