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'tis my birthday, and, to the woe of the rest of the world, I am officially a legal adult. I can do quite a few things now, though I still cannot rent cars, hotel rooms, drink, or gamble. At least in my state/country. Anyways, in the ways of Hobbits, I am bestowing a little gift to you all- a little prompt ficlet.
This one is inspired by all of the King Elessar/OC interaction fics that I have read; my greatest inspiration would certainly be Allee and her Innkeeper ficlets. Those are awesome.
I have written this OC innkeeper before, but he is in an unpublished tale of mine. One day I will get it out, but for now, hope you enjoy it. This is the first meeting between Aragorn and the OC.
Another slightly humorous one, once again playing on the concept that Aragorn and Arwen are not perfect. My thanks to my parents, their beautiful, 20+ year marriage drawing constant inspiration for the Imperfect Perfect Couple concept.
And yes, I have given up with trying to limit the word count here, as well. What can I say, when my Muses are awake, they are awake.
Prompt 29: Guest
Aearhil of the Stone and Sea Inn could read emotions well; it was a skill that came with serving hundreds of different people over the years as an innkeeper. While he had only been in Minas Tirith a few months, the people of the City were very alike to those in his old home in Anfalas. So he could immediately tell that his newest patron- a tall, cloaked man- was not in the best of moods. He could see it in his tense position and in his swift steps to a table in the back of the common room. With that knowledge in mind, he approached the stranger with both courtesy and caution, hoping that whatever bothered the man would not be taken out on him.
Thankfully, his worries were unfounded. He quietly and politely asked for a drink, though Aearhil could see that, despite his calm voice, his body was still tense. The ale would do him good.
He went back behind the counter, picked up a mug, and started to fill it up when his wife’s shrill voice called his name. He sighed, put the mug down, and went into the kitchen. Judging by the tone of her voice, she did not sound happy.
She was not. A couple minutes later, he came back into the common room, his ears still ringing from the tongue lashing his wife had given him. Aearhil was not quite sure what she was angry about- something about food, or another insignificant subject. She was in one of those moods, and he was going to avoid her as much as possible. Thankfully, the common room was empty except for the cloaked man, so there wasn’t a large crowd to hear him be verbally abused by his beloved.
He finished filling up the mug and brought it over to the man. “I am very sorry about the delay, sir,” he said as he set it down.
“No apologies are needed,” the cloaked man insisted, a small smile on his lips. “I completely understand your plight, Master Innkeeper.”
“Just Aearhil, please,” the innkeeper insisted with a wave of his hand. “Do you have a wife then, sir?”
“Call me Strider,” the man replied, bringing the mug to his lips. “And yes, I do.” He took a long drink from the mug and immediately began to relax. Aearhil smiled and took a seat across from Strider.
“Then you do indeed understand my plight. My wife, bless her, has a fiery temper at times. I do try and avoid her then.” Strider nodded knowingly, and Aearhil, seeing that he looked much more relaxed than when he entered, took a guess at what was bothering him when he had first arrived. “Are you in the same situation as I am in?” the innkeeper asked slyly.
Strider did not seem all that surprised by the question. “I suppose you could say that, yes,” he said, an unreadable expression on his face.
Aearhil nodded in understanding. “Women, especially wives, can be mighty fearsome at times. I imagine every husband has to hide from their wife at some point in time. I would bet that even the King has to avoid his wife at times.”
Strider, who was in the middle of drinking the ale, immediately started coughing and choking on his drink. The innkeeper winced in sympathy, and waited for the man to catch his breath. Once the other man was breathing again, he continued. “I am serious though; I heard the king has an elf for a bride, and if elf women are anything like my wife, he must have his days where he hides from her.” Aearhil frowned. “Where would a king hide, though?”
“Who knows,” Strider said with a chuckle and a smaller sip from the mug. “I imagine he has some spots. Somewhere in the City, perhaps.” He shook his head and downed the rest of the ale. “Thank you for the ale and the company, Aearhil.” He put a couple coins on the table and stood up, “but now I must go back home and face my wife.”
“You are a brave man, Strider; I’ll still be avoiding mine,” Aearhil said with a chuckle. Strider smiled and went for the exit. “If you need some extra help, I always find that flowers do the trick!” the innkeeper said after him. Strider nodded in thanks and left the inn.
Once outside, he laughed out loud. He was feeling much better after the ale and the friendly company of the innkeeper. All he had to do now was face his wife and her queenly wrath.
He went to turn back to the second gate and make his way up to the Citadel, but stopped. Instead, he turned around and made his way to the first level. He needed to find a florist; then he’d be ready.
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