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Blue on Blue
B2MeM Prompt and
For Elenbarathi and Virtuella who wanted more of Hulagu's adventures.
The familiar characters and settings are the property of the Tolkien Estate. I make no profit from this story.
Hulagu sighed as the two youths came around the corner. He tried to make himself as inconspicuous as possible, but it was to no avail.
"Cripple!" cried one youth, a scrawny lad who could not have been older than fifteen or so.
"Foreigner!" cried his companion, who appeared slightly older and was more heavily built.
"Crawl back where you came from, beggar!" cried the scrawny lad. He bent and picked up something from the gutter.
Hulagu stumbled as he tried unsuccessfully to dodge the handful of mud thrown at him. He hobbled back to the safety of the potter's workshop. It was always the youths who gave him the most trouble. The women simply looked the other way. whereas most of the older men had fought too and
"Hulagu! What has happened to you?"
"Um, I fell," Hulagu muttered.
"It was those youths again wasn't it?"
Hulagu nodded mutely then did as he was bidden, then went outside to the potter's small walled garden. He sat down on the bench outside the door and stared up at the heavens. The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.
He loved watching the evening sky then trying to recapture its changing hues in the
Yet, Gondor was his home now. He loved his work at the pottery. Master Hador was a kindly master and his daughter was surely the fairest and kindest maiden that had ever drawn breath.
His mood lightened as he thought of how concerned she had been for his well- being when he had come home with mud all over his garments. She appeared to be furious with his assailants. Did that mean she cared about
He heard a rustling beside him and looked up. Adanel was standing beside him.
"May I join you?" she asked.
"Of course, Mistress Adanel." He moved to let her sit beside him. She smelt of spring blossoms, paint, and clay.
"How many times have I told you simply to call me by my name? We are friends are we not?"
"Yes, Mis – um,
"Sometimes I wonder if we are truly friends. Nowadays, I sometimes feel you are avoiding me."
"I would not wish to
"I have none quite like you. You are unique."
"I suppose there are not many one-legged Easterlings in Minas Tirith." Hulagu laughed wryly.
"I did not mean it like that,"
Hulagu laughed again. "In my homeland, I was considered very ordinary, save that I wanted to be a potter rather than a warrior or a
"That I wish I could capture the myriad hues of the night sky on the pottery I make."
"I have often wished that too."
"I'm so sorry, Mistress Adanel." Hulagu reached for his crutch to walk away.
"I am not sorry."
When they finally broke apart, Hulagu slumped and buried his face in his hands. "What was I thinking,
"Why ever not?"
"Because I am a penniless Easterling and have only one leg!"
"And what of that?
"He has?" Hulagu could hardly believe his ears.
"He loves you as a son, as does my mother. Let us ask for his blessing now," said
Master Hador was sitting at his potter's wheel creating a vase. when Hulagu and
"Sir, I know I am unworthy, but your daughter and I would like to wed and we seek your blessing on our union."
"I fear I can offer no dowry."
"You can throw a fine pot and earn an honest living. You and my
Leaning on his crutch, Hulagu limped along the street with Dame Ioreth at his side. Since that wonderful day two years ago, when the King had publicly hand-fasted him to Adanel, the taunts and jeers had ceased. He was no longer a penniless foreigner,
"How far apart are your wife's pains, Master Hulagu?" Ioreth demanded.
"Every few minutes," said Hulagu. "
"I don't know what Master Hador is thinking of letting you hobble all the way to the Houses," said Ioreth. "Just as well it's a first baby, or it would have arrived long ere you reached me and what would the poor young mother do then?"
"Master Hador is away visiting fellow craftsmen in Dale," said Hulagu with a touch of pride. "He likes to travel now that Adanel and I have the everyday running of the pottery."
"A fine time to choose!" Ioreth snorted. "Still, it's good to see you so well recovered and talking like sensible folk
"You were kind to me during those days and I thank you," said Hulagu.
"A little kindness costs nothing," said Ioreth. "My mother used to tell me that when I was but a young lass and-"
Hulagu could only hope the baby would not arrive before Dame Ioreth finished her story.
He need not have worried, though, as the hours wore on and still his wife
Just then a baby's cry pierced the night air.
Hulagu still stared at the sky as if transfixed.
Then Dame Ioreth burst into the room calling, "You have a fine son, Master Hulagu and your wife is weary but well."
Hulagu turned away from the window. He was certain that the stars were dancing.
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