~Leaves of gold~ - Chapter 4

It was pouring with rain. Ragged clouds were hanging low from the sky. An icy wind was blowing from the north making the branches of the trees bend while birds were flying away seeking refuge somewhere else. Lykawyn, hidden in a cave, glared at the sky. She did not like rain. It made her soking wet and it also moistened the firewood. When it was raining she had to find a shelter and stay there until the storm calmed. Luckily, the area around Rivendell she was these days had many caves.

These were the last weeks of winder and spring was about to come but it was still pretty cold. Lykawyn reached for some logs and a box of matches she kept in the cave and tried to light a fire. Finally, with a considerable effort, she managed to have a small fire blazing.

She was warming her hands at the merry little flames when her keen elvish ears picked up a thud -as if something fell- and then a scream. She was startled. "Maybe somebody is in danger" she thought. She stood still for some moments, facing the dilemma to get out or not. The prospect of getting out in the rain was not ideal.

"I will go" she finally decided "If anybody is in danger there, then I might be of some help"

Meanwhile, she could still hear screams for help. Following them she saw an elf-girl hanging from the edge of a cliff. She was the one screaming. Down there, was a great chasm. Lykawyn rushed to her and helped her climb up. The girl looked at her gratefully.

"You saved my life" she whispered "Thank you so much"

"You're welcome" Lykawyn said "But, now, come on, we should not stay under the rain for so much"

She took her hand and led her to the cave. They sat near the fire and the girl asked who she was.

"My name is Lykawyn" she said.

The girl seemed to be surprised. She looked at Lykawyn in wonder. "I thought you were an an elf" she said.

"Well, yes, I am" Lykawyn replied "But I can't remember my real parents. I was raised in a village of Woodmen. That's how I bear this name. However, one night orcs attacked our village and I never saw my foster parents again"

Lykawyn realised that she was telling her story to a stranger but, oddly enough, she did not mind. She trusted this elf, although she did not know why. "What about you?" she asked "Are you from Rivendell?"

"No! Actually I am from Mirkwood" said the girl smiling "My name is Indil."

Half an hour later, Lykawyn had learned many about Indil. She was 450 years old and lived in Mirkwood with her parents and younger brother. Now, as for her being near Rivendell Lykawyn explained that for this year she had been living there, as Arwen, the daughter of Lord Elrond, was a friend of hers. When this year passed she decided to return home but her horse was a far too spirited one and she fell from it and almost broke her neck.

"And I would surely have if it wasn't for you." Indil concluded

They passed about another half an hour chatting. Soon Lykawyn got to like Indil as she found out that she was a kind-hearted and frank person and Indil got to admire Lykawyn for her knowledge of far-off places.

"I would love to travel around Middle-earth myself." she said "It must be great!"

"It is" Lykawyn said "You see places you could not even imagine that they existed and you learn so many things."

"Have you ever considered living somewhere permanently?" Indil asked.

" Yes. To tell you the truth I would much rather settle down somewhere" Lykawyn confessed "But it is a little difficult you know. I will be an outsider" she added sadly.

"What about you coming to live in Mirkwood?" Indil suggested "I can help you adjust and you can stay with my family untill you find a home for you. And don't think you are the only one who comes to live in Mirkwood. The last years many elves have come there from other places. I've never figured out why. It is a little odd but it happens, although I am afraid that those who seek the Havens are more."

"Really?" asked Lykawyn thoughtfully.

"Yes" Indil replied "So, would yoy like to come?"

Lykawyn's heart was beating fast. She knew that a reply would be decisive for her life. She, firstly, thought if she really wanted to live with other elves. Yes, she did. In fact, she desired that, very much. She loved travelling and living alone and free but she desired the company of other elves, too. Being accepted as one of them.

After all those years she had learned to be cautious and do not take too many risks but the last words of Indil about many elves coming to Mirkwood and her eagerness to help were encouraging. After all, it was worth trying.

"Yet, we have not considered your parents." she said "I do not wish to be a burden to them"

"You won't be a burden!" Indil said "My parents will have no problem at all, I know. We have offered many times hospitality to friends of us for long long periods."

"All right, then!" said Lykawyn and smiled feeling the same time very grateful"I am coming. Thank you so much, Indil."

Indil grinned. "You are welcome." she said "Let's leave now. the rain has stopped."

That was true. The storm had calmed. The clouds had been drown aside letting a pale sun shine and a rainbow appeared. They got out. A few metres ahead they found Indil's horse, a sturdy white foal, slowly eating grass, as if nothing had happened.

"Look! Here is Aisto." Indil exclaimed "I have forgotten him"

She rushed towards the horse but when it saw her it neighed and ran away.

"Where are you going?" she shouted "What a nasty horse you are!"

"He is a good horse." said Lykawyn told her "Can't you see that he is just afraid?" She whistled and, to Indil's surprise the horse came back and stood next to them.

"You can speak to horses!" she exclaimed "This is great. Many elves can but I can't."

Lykawyn was patting Aisto to calm him. "Really?" she smiled "I can communicate with horses, although I have never rode one. But now, let us go. We have a long way on."

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