A Language fit for a Prince|
Summary; An important visitor is coming and Eldarion doesn’t want to do his language lessons.
A/N This story is slightly AU in the fact that Elrond stayed in Middle-Earth rather than sail with Galadriel.
“Pára, parni, apárie, paruva, pare”
The boy frowned, or rather glared, and repeated the
past declension correctly “Parne”
Elrond suppressed a sigh and nodded to his grandson
“Well done.” Then he sat up straighter, steepled his fingers “now
listen carefully- this is a greeting you would use for one who has travelled
a long way” He recited the phrase.
Eldarion repeated it sullenly, leaving it bare of
any inflection and feeling.
“A star shines on the hour of our meeting”
Elrond shot him another question, determined to break
the torpor “which type of ‘our’?”
He nodded slowly and drew breath for another question
“Why are we doing this?” There was only the slightest
hint of interest
“There are two reasons, Eldarion. One, because you
need to become proficient in the Noble tongue, many of the records are
written in it. Two, because one of the few Noldor outside of Imladris
is coming on a diplomatic visit and I presume you don’t want to disgrace
your ancestors by mangling all conversation. Both your parents were
taught it, as was I.”
“Bor and Win aren’t learning and Faramir doesn’t
know it either.” The boy’s tone was bitter
Elrond’s patience snapped “Eldarion! Might
I remind you that Elboron and Elfwine are both younger than you, neither
have your elven-quick mind, and they are not Heir to the Kingdoms of
the High Edain… As for Faramir, the Elven speech was banned in Gondor
during his Father’s tenure.”
He ignored the mutter and continued “Elboron will
start learning next year, and Elfwine the year after, if his mother
has any say in it”
“It’s not even used anymore…”
“It is the main tongue of Valinor and Tol Eressea”
The boy looked at him “Where I can never go.”
“Eldarion I am losing my patience with you...”
the elf gritted his teeth but kept his voice normal this time “Declaim
the verb ‘to journey’”
“Ai” Elrond crumpled into a chair and rubbed his forehead
Aragorn looked at him “Having fun?”
He snarled a single reply in Adûnaic
then reverted to Sindarin “You were never this difficult Estel…
It’s like he doesn’t even want to try” His laugh was bitter “I
think I’d have better luck trying to stop the sea flowing… And what’s
the point of teaching if your pupil won’t learn
“To quote your words of long ago ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.’” Aragorn
looked over at him, curiosity in his eyes “Who taught you that? Gil-galad?
He shook his head “No, it was Maglor… Something
to do with switching chords at high speed if I remember correctly.”
Then his happiness was consumed again “Dari doesn’t know how easy
he has it. Elros and I were taught Quenya was foul from our first day.
It took the necessity of communication to force us to learn it.”
Faramir’s voice came from the side, where Elrond
noted him standing by one of the unofficial entrances to the study “But
Eärendil was raised to speak Quenya, or so I was taught. I didn’t
think Elwing would be so divisive as to not allow her sons to learn
Elrond smiled “You forget my father was hardly around
when we grew up. Elros and I were raised on the culture of Doriath.
We knew of Gondolin, but the Elves from there had learnt fluent Sindarin
by the time we were born. He paused “The hardest part of learning
Quenya came after Círdan and Ereinion took us in. Suddenly we were
being glared at when ever we opened our mouths, and it wasn’t just
mangling our language’ it was pure, open hatred.” Elrond
found his hands shaking as he remembered those glares and finished his
story woodenly “Erenion took pity on us and explained, being taught
by Maedhros and Maglor we’d picked up their pronunciation, TH instead of S, a pronunciation now associated with Fëanor
and his seven.”
“I’d just be grateful to learn it properly, whichever
dialect” Faramir shrugged “All I know I leant by repetition from
Adûnathôr, it’s not real understanding…” Then the steward shot
him a dancing smile “If Eldarion doesn’t want the lessons, I’ll
sit in his place.”
Elrond gave a wry smile in return “Don’t tempt
Outside the door a small figure crouched listening,
thinking his own thoughts and struggling to get his head around what
he had heard.
How can they want to learn it, all the different inflections to get
your tongue around?
He shook his head and crept away.
“No disappearing Eldarion”
“No Adar-Naneth” the boy fell into step with him but unusually
his grandfather didn’t shorten his stride to accommodate him. Half
trotting along the corridor Eldarion looked up “Selma mana Noldorin avanwa ná?”
That did cause Elrond to pause, a look of surprise
on his face “At first or in Gondor?”
Eldarion saw him sigh and pushed open the door to
their schoolroom, perching in his seat before he was even asked
“I have told you of the three houses of the Eldar,
of the banishment of the Noldor and of Alqualondë...
When the Noldor came to Beleriand proper many went to Doriath, to King
Thingol. At first he was only wary of them, for he was proud of the
individuality of his kingdom and wished no strangers. Then came word
of the Kinslaying at Alqualondë.
The Teleri were akin to his folk, being those of his brother Olwë
and he was wroth. He refused access to all the Noldor save those of
Finarfin’s family, for their mother was of Olwë’s
folk. That was when he banned quenya within his realm. Gradually, in
part due to the Noldor’s ability to pick up the Sindar tongue, it
fell out of disuse. Those that spoke it were disliked by the Sindar,
and that remains to an extent”
He looked straight at his grandfather “Yet the Noldor
still use it?”
“Amongst them knowledge of it is seen as a mark,
it sets those who speak it apart as the purer and more educated…”
A stern gaze was sent in his direction “Which is why you must learn
however complicated it is.”
Eldarion made one final attempt to keep the lesson
on history rather than linguistics “What of Gondor?”
Elrond smiled, “For that you must ask your father.”
The day dawned bright, making the white stone so shiny
it hurt to look on. Eldarion stood still, putting on a convincing sulk
as his assigned manservant helped him dress, and grumbling in imitation
of the petulant noble he was. The man ignored him and
did his best job despite Eldarion’s, pretended attempts to fidget
and cause the fabric to snag. At last though the job was done, and he
was briskly handed over from the servant’s care to that of his father.
The king’s hand was un-naturally tight on his shoulder as they walked
down the passage and out in to the courtyard of the Fountain, and it
was a sharp glance he received when he looked for a reassuring smile.
Everyone is nervous He frowned, no that wasn’t quite right.
Mentally he corrected his statement; no-one knows what to expect. Then his eyes flicked over his
shoulder and he became truly worried; Not even Grandfather.
In the distance the clink of horseshoes on cobbles
could be heard, carried by the breeze from lower levels. As it grew
louder a murmur from the streets also became audible, gasps and excited
chatter. Finally a dark grey horse bounded up the ramp, its rider sitting
tall and straight as a pillar. Eldarion stared, taking in the sharp
nose and keen, piercing grey eyes that looked deep into all they saw
“Elen síla lúmenn'
Elrond didn’t manage to conceal his surprise quickly enough, his
eyes instinctively darted to his grandson, who was doing a much more
successful attempt at hiding his glee.
“I lambë sirya lambanyallo”
He nearly choked, staring openly now.
Eldarion grinned back at him and switched languages for the benefit
of Faramir and Éowyn “I greet you my lord.”
“And welcome you to Gondor” finished Aragorn.
The elf dismounted smoothly “There is no need for such ceremony,
lords... I wish to be your friend and to be addressed as such”
Aragorn bowed once and the others gave deep nods.
Then the Elf walked over to stand before Eldarion “Manen
The answer was too quiet to hear and Elrond was surprised when the
elf raised his eyes to his own, apparently seeking answers. Not knowing
the question, he had none to give. However the look in the elf’s face
suggested he’d found what he needed.
In common, with only a slight accent, their visitor spoke “I
have known many Sindar learn Quenya, little one, but none willingly...”
The eyes left him and returned to Eldarion “And I doubt you are the
first to do so....” there was a flicker in his eyes Heren
At that, cued by his smile, everyone burst out laughing. Laughter
that was only exacerbated at the outrage on Eldarion’s face.
“I did learn it willingly! I did! But it is a maze...
with no way out”
Elrond watched through tears of laugher as the elf
touched his grandson’s shoulder
“I will grant that it is a maze, but it is easier
to escape if you learn your lessons.”
Selma mana Noldorin avanwa ná? = Why was Quenya banned?
Máravë omentaina = Well Met
Elen síla lúmenn'
omentielmo = A star shines on the hour of our meeting
Quetilyë Eldarin = You speak
I lambë sirya lambanyallo = I am fluent
Manen istalyë Eldarin?
= How do you know Quenya?
Heren aica =Bad luck
Declensions of the verb “Par-” ‘to learn from a book’
“Pára, parne, apárie, paruva, pare”
Present, Past, Perfective past, Future, Aorist
Adar-Naneth = Father of Mother (Name for Elrond)
Dunelig = Little West-Star (epesse for Eldarion)