Story by Zhie
Betaed by Charlie
Art by Mark Medved & Color by Zhie

“And why have you opened this fine establishment?” asked the ellon who stood beneath the tree, sipping a glass of lemonade. He was answered by the little elfling who sat with his hands folded behind the table that had been built for him by his older brothers. On the table were a number of tall glasses and a large pitcher that was less than half-full.

“Well, I live in a really nice place,” began the elfling, whose name was Rumil. “The trees are really, really tall. My daddy keeps watch of everything there- he runs the place real well. But he’s not really in charge. See, there’s this elf named Amroth who’s the king, but he hasn’t been for a while.”

“Oh?” questioned the elf with a smirk. “I had thought Amroth was still king.”

“Well, I mean, for very long. He hasn’t been king for too long of a time so far. His daddy was King Amdir, but he went to a war and didn’t come back. So now, Amroth is the king, but he hasn’t been the king for too many years. Amroth is really nice, but he’s not here very much. My daddy is here all the time, though.” Rumil caught an elleth walking by out of the corner of his eye. Hastily pouring a fresh glass, he lifted it up and leaned over the table, calling out, “Excuse me, pretty lady, can I interest you in a refreshing drink?”

The elleth smiled as she came back around to the table. “I do not think that I have any money with me at the moment, young sir,” she said to him, but the ellon was already reaching in his pocket.

“I can take care of that for you,” he offered, handing Rumil a coin after the lady took the glass from the elfling.

Giving the ellon a nod in thanks, the elleth drank from her glass. “Mmmm, this is delicious,” she complimented the elfling, giving the ellon a hidden wink.

Rumil beamed. “Thank you!” he said proudly. “I made it all myself. Except Haldir carried the pitcher down from the tree, and the glasses, too.”

“What are you going to do with your earnings?” asked the ellon as Rumil pulled a battered tin cup from the ground beside his chair and dropped the coin into it.

“It has to do with my Adar, like I was talking about. Here’s what I thought. I figure, King Amroth is happier traveling than he is being here, but he ends up coming back a lot for food and stuff because he’s not really very rich. So, I thought I would make enough money to buy the city from him. Then, he would have lots of money and my daddy would finally have a kingdom,” explained Rumil.

Peering down into the tin cup, the elleth said, “You don’t have very much in there yet.”

“It’s just a down payment,” Rumil told her. A cool breeze blew through the trees of the mellyrn, and Rumil looked up at the darkening sky. “What a pity, Orophin said he would be back to help me put everything away, but I think he has forgotten me.”

“I sent Orophin out to the borders to deliver a message,” recalled the ellon. Finishing the rest of his beverage, Lord Celeborn set the glass down on the table. “What can we do to help clean things up, Rumil?”

Rumil pulled a basket out from under the table and placed it atop. Celeborn carefully set the glasses into it with Rumil’s aide as Galadriel finished her drink. “Darling, if you could see to the pitcher?” Galadriel nodded as Celeborn folded up the blanket that had served as a table cloth and handed it to Rumil, who was already clutching the tin cup. “I think your hard work has earned you a ride up the stairs, don’t you think?” Rumil grinned and nodded as he was hoisted up to sit on Celeborn’s shoulders.

Galadriel carried the basket and pitcher while Celeborn minded his son on their way up the stairs. “You know, Rumil, you need not worry about buying me a kingdom.”

“Wouldn’t you like a kingdom, though?” asked Rumil sleepily.

“Kingdoms are nice,” replied Celeborn, “but I already have everything I could ever want, and no amount of money can buy the sort of happiness I have.”