A Daughter of the King - Chapter Forty-Six
The winter passed uneventfully. Mandy played a lot with her brother, teaching him how to ride. She told him stories, mostly about how she came to Middle-earth, and her adventures with Tethcelebel and Elwen. Eldarion grew and grew, becoming more confident on his feet. Soon he could be seen running up and down the halls with Mandy chasing after him. He jabbered on and on about nonsense as young children do. Everything was new and intriguing to him.
One morning, Mandy woke to hear a horn being blown.
She leaped out of bed and raced onto her balcony. In the distance she saw a line of elves coming, the head one blowing a silver horn. She threw on clothes and ran to the throne-room where Aragorn was talking with an Elf. His back was to her but she instantly knew that it was Orophin.
"Orophin!" Mandy said in shock, coming over.
"Mae govennin," Orophin turned and smiled at her.
"What are you doing here, mellon?" she questioned, an eyebrow raised.
"As I was telling your father," Orophin turned back to Aragorn, "I bring Elves from Mirkwood and Lorien. We have come to make Ithilien prosper once more."
"My thanks," Aragorn nodded his head, smiling.
Mandy walked with Orophin, asking him about Lorien. She had not seen her friends for three months and was curious as to how they were doing.
"Why don't you ask them yourself?" Orophin said, eyes twinkling.
"Ask them myself...?" Mandy looked doubtfully at him when all of a sudden she saw Elwen and Tethcelebel. "Elwen! Celebel!" Mandy yelled out. They turned and flashed knowing grins at her.
"Hi," Elwen waved her over, "how are you?"
"I'm good," Mandy walked to her, "But what are you doing here?"
"Isn't that a fine welcome for two friends!" Tethcelebel joked, "We are here to live, mellon. For the time being."
"To live?" Mandy gasped out, sitting down heavily, "But why??"
"Because it is not our time to go to the Grey Havens," Tethcelebel said softly, "And many of our kinsmen are leaving for Valinor."
"And because we know you are here," Elwen grinned, "Can't have you getting into trouble without us, now can we?"
"Whatever your reasons," Mandy grinned back, "I am glad to have you here, mellons."
One night, Mandy was walking through Ithilien. She meandered through the trees, her thoughts elsewhere. The birds sang prettily and the flowers were all in bloom. She came to a clearing and stood in the midst of it, gazing up. The moonlight bathed the clearing in silver, giving it an ethereal feel. Mandy closed her eyes, her spirit rising within her. She began to sing.
"When weary day does shed its light,
I rest my head and dream,
I ride the great dark bird of night,
so tranquil and serene.
Then I can touch the moon afar,
which smiles up in the sky,
and steal a twinkle from each star,
as we go winging by.
We'll fly the night to dawning light,
and wait `til dark has ceased,
to marvel at the wondrous sight,
of sunrise in the east.
So slumber on, my little one,
float soft as thistledown,
and wake to see when night is done,
fair morning's golden gown."
Mandy's voice filled the clearing, rising and falling. She danced light-heartedly, her feet moving confidently and deftly. The stars shone brightly, bathing her in their light. The silver outlining of her green dress reflected the light, as did the silver circlet in her hair. Her heart was light and merry, and she was totally caught up in the dance.
The man walked in the woods, his steps soundless. His ears pricked as he heard the song--and the well-known voice. He stepped quicker, following it. He found the clearing and stood in the shadows, watching Mandy. Then, he entered the clearing.
Mandy paused as she heard his footsteps. She turned and looked at him, her eyes curious. He was still in the shadows with his cloak covering his features.
"Man ne lle?" Mandy asked in the soft tongue of the Elves, feeling that any other tongue would be too harsh in the beauty of the night. Mandy's heart skipped a beat as the man laughed, smiling.
"Do you not recognize me?" he queried in kind, "Or have I been gone too long--and you have forgotten me though you swore you would not?"
Mandy took a step back, her eyes widening. "Legolas?" she breathed.
"Aarien," he said her name, stepping into the light and pulling down his hood. There stood Legolas, his features clearly visible.
"Legolas," Mandy blinked, not quite believing her own eyes.
Legolas smiled, his gaze unwavering. "I am really here," he assured her, "you are not dreaming."
Mandy came up to him, shaking her head. "Did you come with Orophin?" she asked, "Have you been here the entire time?"
"Yes," Legolas touched her face gently, "but I cannot stay very long. I have to go with Gimli to his home."
"But when--" Mandy began when Legolas placed his finger against her lips stopping her.
"Sh..." Legolas murmured, "do not speak." He leaned down and kissed her softly. Mandy closed her eyes as Legolas held her close. When he drew away, Mandy glanced up at him.
"Come," Mandy whispered, "dance." She grasped his hand, leading him to the center. She began dancing, her voice rising in song again. Legolas joined her, his movements graceful and light. They danced together, their movements effortless as Legolas took the lead. They whirled and spun in the moonlight. They heard the song in the wind--its dance as it raced through the trees. They followed it, losing all track of time.
A few hours later, Legolas and Mandy sat beneath a tree. She was curled up next to him, his arm about her. They gazed up at the stars, just listening to the wind.
"It's so beautiful," Mandy whispered, "I wish this night never has to end."
"Ai," Legolas sighed, "as do I--but I have to get back to where Gimli is at. Otherwise he will come looking for me."
"And we wouldn't want that," Mandy laughed lightly though her eyes were sad, "This is the third time I've had to say goodbye."
"It won't be forever," Legolas comforted her, "I will return." He stood, helping her up.
"I love you," Mandy murmured.
"And I you," Legolas returned. Mandy's eyes closed as he kissed her, his arms encircling her. Legolas ran his finger down her cheek, his eyes full of emotion while Mandy blinked back tears.
"I will miss you, melesnin," Legolas hugged her, his hand running down her hair. Then he smiled. Legolas lightly brushed his lips against her hand. "When I come back," he whispered quietly, "I will speak to your father. And then we will never be parted." He went to one side of the clearing. Mandy did not answer him, only watched.
Suddenly Legolas gave a piercing whistle. Mandy heard Arod's answering neigh. Arod raced into the clearing, stopping by her.
"Hello, mellon," Mandy whispered, stroking his nose.
"Arod," Legolas smiled in greeting, "ready for another ride my friend?" Arod shook his mane, neighing softly. "No," Legolas murmured, "she cannot come with us this time."
"Namaarie, Legolas," Mandy said softly.
"Namaarie, Aarien," Legolas leapt deftly onto Arod's back, "May the grace of the Valar keep you until we meet again." His eyes were full of happiness and promise, the look he gave her causing Mandy's heart to jump.
"And to you, melesnin," Mandy waved her hand as Arod galloped into the forest. She did not bother to wipe away the tears that streamed down her face. Her heart ached, knowing that she would be going home soon.
"Am I going to break his heart?" Mandy cried out, "and mine as well?"
A month later, the woods in Ithilien were prospering as hadn't been seen since the days of the Great Kings. It was early February, and Eldarion's birthday was just a month away. Mandy had gone out with Tethcelebel and Elwen, helping them with the woods. On this day, Mandy was thinking of what to give him for his birthday. She wandered out into the forest, her eyes glancing this way and that. Suddenly Mandy heard a soft neigh. She crept closer to see one of the mares giving birth to a foal. She smiled, finding her present for him. Mandy came over to the mare, talking soothingly. The mare was on her feet and allowing the foal to suckle. The foal was a colt: his coat was the colour of midnight with one white star upon his forehead. His mane and tail were silvery-grey.
"This is the foal of Fuuine-suule," Mandy breathed, running her hand over it.
"And you may keep him for your brother," Tethcelebel said from behind her.
Mandy turned and smiled, "Hanta lle," she whispered, "Hanta lle."
March twenty-third dawned clear and bright. It was the perfect day for a party. Mandy woke early and quickly dressed. She went down to the forest where she did a soft whistle. A neigh answered it and the colt came trotting up. Mandy smiled as it nuzzled her with its soft nose. She slipped an elven rope around its muzzle and ears in the shape of a soft halter. She led it into the city where people smiled and children came shyly up and petted it. The colt practically danced his way through the city. Mandy led him until they got to the stables and placed him in a stall to wait for Eldarion. She then gave strict orders to the stable-hands on the care for him. She raced away to the palace so she would be there when the festivities were to start.
Eldarion giggled and jabbered as he trotted about the feast. Mandy was holding his hand but allowed him to go where he wanted. The feast was actually being held in Ithilien, and many animals were seen wandering about. Mandy and Eldarion suddenly came upon Tethcelebel, Elwen, and some of the other elves.
"Cel, Cel!" Eldarion laughed, letting go of Mandy's hand and walking towards them.
Tethcelebel turned and saw him. She smiled and picked him up, returning to her conversation with Elwen. Mandy came over, laughing at Eldarion's attempts to get Tethcelebel to notice him. He hit her shoulder to no avail, and then pulled on her hair. That made her turn and glare at him, so he just sat there silently until she talked to him.
"Happy Birthday, Eldarion," she said in Elvish, tickling his chin.
"Cel! Cel!" Eldarion just said, trying to grab a handful of her hair.
"Oh no you don't," Tethcelebel laughed, using her other hand to get her hair out of the way, "That is my hair. You can't pull it out." She handed him to Elwen, "Here, why don't you go see Wen?"
"Wen," Eldarion giggled, settling his head against her shoulder, thumb in his mouth.
"Well," Elwen grinned, shifting him to her other side.
"He looks quite comfortable," Mandy said.
"Yes he does," Tethcelebel looked at her, "how is his gift?"
"Very well," Mandy smiled, ruffling his hair, "And growing just as fast as he is."
Tethcelebel laughed merrily. Then horns blared. "It's time for the feast!" Tethcelebel cried out.
"Come on," Elwen shook Eldarion lightly, "the guest of honour cannot be asleep!"
Eldarion stretched and looked about tiredly. The girls just laughed and walked with him to the table. There they relinquished him to his mother and father. They went to the spots where the other Elves were sitting.
"What did you get for him?" Mandy asked curiously.
"This," Tethcelebel held up a necklace made of mithril. The pendent was the White Tree with the stars around it.
"Elbereth," Mandy breathed in wonder, turning it over in her hands.
"This was made by my father's finest craftsmen," Elwen laid out a pair of knives. The blades had intricate designs going up and down them while on both hilts were written in Elvish: May the Valar always guide and protect you, Son of Aragorn. They each had a neatly woven sheath that had leaves going up and down it.
"Knives??" Mandy gasped out, "but he's only turning one!"
"I know that," Elwen rolled her eyes, "which is why they are only practice knives. They are not really sharp."
"Oh," Mandy raised an eyebrow.
Their attention was suddenly drawn to the center as Aragorn stood, raising his hands to silence the people.
"Friends," Aragorn began, "I want to thank you for coming to celebrate my son's first birthday. It is barely two years since the defeat of the Dark Lord, and we are celebrating happy times. Enjoy the feast!"
Cheers and applause erupted as the people went back to eating and drinking. Families at a time came up and gave their gifts to Eldarion. Tethcelebel went up with Orophin and handed Eldarion the necklace. Arwen murmured her thanks. Elwen brought out her present.
"Knives?" Arwen raised an eyebrow, unable to suppress a grin, "What an interesting gift, Elwen."
"They are only practice knives," Elwen grinned, giving them to Eldarion, "and he'll grow into them."
"Thank you, Cousin," Arwen smiled, "he will learn from the best."
Mandy turned and went swiftly down to the stables and led the colt out. She brought him up to the gardens. As she led him forward, Eldarion's eyes went wide. He climbed out of Arwen's arms and went straight up to the colt. He stroked the nose of it and laughed as the colt nudged its head against him.
"This is your master," Mandy murmured in Elvish, "guard him with your life." The colt looked at her for a few seconds and then rearing up, he neighed. Mandy smiled and set Eldarion on the colt, letting the colt walk back to Arwen and Aragorn.
"Hanta lle," Eldarion's soft voice rang through the crowd.
The people erupted into cheers and applause while Eldarion laughed with delight from atop his new horse. Mandy glanced around, smiling. It had been a good day for a party.
"Elbereth!" Mandy laughed out loud, "I sound like a hobbit!"
"Well, it's good to hear you laugh again." Orophin came up to her, smiling.
"Thank you, Sir," Mandy grinned back.
"Now, seeing as Legolas is not here," Orophin looked about, eyes twinkling, "Or is he?"
"Not that I know of, Orophin," Mandy flushed, a little annoyed.
"Ah well then," Orophin drew her towards the dancers, "I am going to dance with you."
"Doesn't a man usually ask first?" Mandy raised an eyebrow.
"Alright," Orophin shrugged, "May I have this dance?"
"Fine," Mandy laughed, "but only because I feel sorry for you. It seems that Tethcelebel has deserted you."
"Thank you," Orophin grinned and led her in the fast dance.
"I wonder where Legolas is at..." Mandy thought quietly, offering up a prayer that he would be safe. She then enjoyed the rest of the party, dancing with many of the Elves and Men including Eldarion.
there! he made an appearance. hope you all are happy
the song she sang is from Loamhedge by Brian Jaques i think...
luv to all of ya!