Finduilas is a hunter. She’s mighty and fierce and brave and can even hunt a bear! The herb garden out the back of the kitchen is no wilderness, but it is still full of fearsome and rabid beasts!
She waves her spear at the bear.
The bear wags his tail and slobbers up her cheek.
“Huan!” she complains, “no! You’re a bear! Be a bear!”
Huan tilts his head to one side and then growls questioningly.
“Yes! Good boy,” she gestures with her spear again, “and now I hunt you!”
The stirring spoon she took from the kitchens is not very sharp. Huan whines as she pokes his leg with it.
“Raaar!” she pokes him again.
Huan leans forwards, catches his teeth in the back of her dress, and picks her up.
“Huan! No! Stop! Huan! Put me down! FATHER! UNCLE FINROD! HELP!”
Huan carries his prize through the hallways, head erect and his tail plummed proudly out behind him. His claws tick tick tick lightly on the stone flooring, then his paws thump as he trots over a rug that managed to survive the trip from Valinor, leaving garden-dirt prints behind.
Through passageways and up a staircase they go. There is a constant hissing rumbling noise but Finduilas ignores it in favour for the loud doggy breath right in her ear.
Finduilas whines, not uncomfortable but unhappy with her situation. And this isn’t a part of Nargothrond she’s allowed to go!
They go trotting into a bedroom and Huan puts Finduilas down in a dog bed.
“Bad! Bad dog!” she glares at him.
Huan huffs, trotting over to the rug and wriggling his way under it till he’s covered in brown fur….
It has a bear’s head.
Huan growl-whines hopefully, head down and rump wiggling in the air excitedly, before he trots back over, tail thumping against the sides of the fur.
Finduilas hefts her mighty spear up.
The bear growls and swipes a paw at her, trying to bite her feet off!
Huan nibbles at the embroidery on her slippers, tugging off one of the ribbon daisies on it.
“Alas beast! Thine time has come! Now I shall avenge my poor Daisy!” she declares. Huan howls as she hits the bear head hanging off one of his shoulders with her wooden spoon.
Then he rolls over onto his side.
And licks her hand when she comes over.
Finduilas scrambles up onto his side and strikes a triumphant pose.
Slow clapping from the doorway startles her right off the hound, tumbling down his side. Huan leaps up, nosing her with a worried whine.
“Cousin Celegorm,” she mumbles, righting her dress and trying to fix her curls and hide her wooden spoon spear all at once.
“Cousin Finduilas,” Cousin Celegorm is very tall, and looms from the doorway with his hair all bedraggled and wet all around him, the usually fluffy silver strands stuck all over his cheeks. “Do you often defeat Huan in battle?”
It’s started raining outside; it must have begun while Huan was carrying her through the keep. Cousin Celegorm must have been caught by the downpour. She shuffles her feet.
She’s not allowed in this part of the fortress. And this must be Cousin Celegorm’s bedroom.
She looks at the bear skin rug again. Yes this must be his bedroom.
“Yes…um…no….well…he lets me…”
“So long as you do not hurt one another I do not mind,” she nods, staring down at her feet. Father says she musn’t talk to her cousins when she can help it. And she musn’t disturb them.
She doesn’t need to be told that though. They’re scary and strange; too tall and too …too…
Too something she doesn’t have the vocabulary for yet. But they remind her of bad thunderstorms, when she’s sure that the next boom of noise will be enough to rattle Nagothrond to its foundations. (Of course the next boom never is, but that doesn’t stop her curling up with her favourite doll, waiting for it to happen because surely it will.)
“Huan,” the hound shakes off the bearskin and trots over to his master who runs fingers over the hound’s head, “why don’t you take Finduilas to the conservatory? It’s better there to play.”
The hound huffs, and before Finduilas can react her dress is caught in Huan’s careful mouth again and she’s being carried off.
“And Huan! I’ve taught you how to play dead properly! None of that silly business I just saw!” Celegorm calls after them.