A Daughter of the King - Chapter Nineteen

Mandy stirred softly, yawning. It was night, and she was sleeping in a tent. She pushed the flap away and walked outside. There were many tents all over the plain. Looking out, she saw the different banners and flags, pointing out who they were. She saw the Rohan flag near the front with the white horse rearing, the Gondor Flag to the right. The Gondor flag had the white tree on it but also the seven stars, signifying Aragorn's kingship, around it. She saw the banner of Lorien, as well as the Rivendell one. The horses were all tethered near their owners, except for the elves' horses. Theirs wandered, always knowing to answer the call of their masters in the morning. Her tent was near Tethcelebel's and Elwen's. She was sleeping in the midst of the elves, though nearby was Aragorn and Arwen. She walked silently through the camp, stepping silently around the elves sleeping outside of the tents. It was quiet, except for the few groanings in sleep and the horses nickering to each other. As she walked, she noticed the faint calling of birds in the sky. She drew near to the edge of the camp and was hailed by the guards.

"Who goes there?" the guard called.

"Aarien." she answered back.

"Aarien..." the guard said thoughtfully, "Come into the light."

She stepped forward gracefully. Haldir stood there, along with another young Lorien elf.

"Mae govennin, My Lady." he greeted her, "I told you we would meet again."

"Haldir. I did not know you were here." Mandy answered, her heart sinking a bit, thinking of Orophin, "And your brother, Orophin...is he also here?"

"Alas, no, he was one of those to stay behind and guard Lorien's borders." Haldir looked at her, knowing what she was thinking.

"Oh..." she breathed a sigh of relief. She had not spoken to him since the night of the feast; and the next morning, she had been informed he had left to patrol the far borders of Lorien. She did not know if he was still hurt by her declining his proposal.

"He does not hold that against you, Lady." Haldir walked with her, "He knows you do not love him."

Mandy looked sharply at Haldir, but his gaze was one of honesty and sympathy and something else, sadness perhaps, but not of resentment or bitterness. "I know, m'lord. I am sorry that I had to hurt him." she whispered quietly, "but I do not love him."

"It is alright, Aarien. He understands." Haldir turned to her. They were now out of the camp and just on the plains, "He is still very young. He does not know whom he loves...though he will find out, one day." Haldir looked up at the sky, a queer light in his eyes, almost like sadness and bitterness, but not quite.

Mandy gazed at him, realizing how much older and mature he was compared to his brother. They had the same teasing eyes and laughing mouth. The same walk, almost saunter, and the same commanding manner, but Haldir held an understanding that Orophin had only begun to get. She suddenly understood. Haldir had loved once, but either that love had been declined or had left. She, too, looked up at the sky and gasped in wonder. The stars were twinkling and flashing, many were falling. The whole sky seemed to be lit up with the stars, dancing.

"All creation moves in a cosmic danse, Before the Lord her King ..." she murmured softly.

"What?" Haldir turned to her.

"It is a song I once heard..." Mandy replied, caught up in the dance.

"Sing it...I heard you sing at the feast and...." Haldir smiled, standing with her on top of the hill.

"I'll try. I think I remember most of it...

All creation moves in a cosmic Danse
Before the Lord her King;
And the rhythms, the reason, the rhyme
Of the danse pulses within everything.
And the universe wheels and whirls like
A dervish in perfect seven-step time.
The Lord made the Danse,
And He taught her the steps, and He
Causes the song to shine.

We must danse, danse, danse
Danse in God's honor.
We must yield all our steps unto the King.
We must danse, danse, danse,
Danse in God's honor.
Let His praises ring throughout the earth.

Jesus dansed into the world
Singing His heavenly song.
He taught the Danse to those who would
Listen and learn as He moved along.
But the steps of His Danse led to a cross
Where He died while the haters mocked on.
But He dansed through death's arms
And over hell's gates and in three days
Dansed forth from His tomb.

We must danse, danse, danse
Danse in God's honor.
We must yield all our steps unto the King.
We must danse, danse, danse,
Danse in God's honor.
Let His praises ring throughout the earth.

We must danse, danse, danse
Danse in God's honor.
We must yield all our steps unto the King.
We must danse, danse, danse,
Danse in God's honor.
Let His praises ring throughout the earth.

Haldir listened to her voice, eyes gazing up at the stars. As he watched them, they seemed to dance with the music, falling and leaping with her voice. He became aware of the birds flying by, singing with her. He was reminded of the dances in Lorien, the ones where everyone praised Illuvitar. Suddenly, he felt a great pounding through the ground. He turned and saw Shadowfax racing over the plain towards them. He tossed his mane and reared up, giving a deafening call. Haldir watched in awe as Shadowfax came right up to Mandy. She barely came up to his eyes, but she gently reached out a hand and stroked his head. He lowered his head down, and let her rub his ears. Haldir looked on all of this in amazement, for Shadowfax was the king of all horses, once belonging to Théoden of Rohan. Now, he allowed no one but Gandalf to ride him. Only some he allowed to come near him. Suddenly, Shadowfax reared again and whirled down the hill. Some of the other horses came near him, and they chased each other all over the plain. As Haldir watched, he saw that even this seemed to be a dance. It was like Mandy's song had opened his eyes to the dance of creation and the song of it. As an elf, he had realized this and had seen and heard some of it, but now...to actually see it, in all of its beauty, was breathtaking. Slowly, the song ended, and Haldir breathed once more.

"That was beautiful, Aarien." Haldir glanced at her. She smiled her thanks, but her eyes shone with a beauty and love he had never seen before. It caught him up and seemed to carry him away, and suddenly, he knew. "You are Erusen." he said in awe.

"How did you know?" Mandy queried, knowing that even she had never fully accepted the fact.

"My lady...did you not see what you did? You revealed how all of Arda praises Illuvitar. Elves can do that to a certain degree, but you...you showed all of it! Only the Erusen can do that...." Haldir threw out his hand, motioning to the horses flying across the plain and the birds flying overhead, "My lady..." He stopped. Mandy was smiling amusedly at him, not in a mean or making fun of way, just in pure delight.

"Haldir, I serve my God. I am Erusen, just as you and hobbits and men are." Mandy gestured at the stars, "I merely sing what I see through His eyes. Nothing more, nothing less. Let's leave it at that."

Haldir looked at her with admiration, "Yes, Aarien. We will leave it at that."

Mandy smiled, the light in her eyes still there, and they walked silently back to camp. She said goodnight to Haldir and crept back to her tent. She stood at the entrance for a few minutes, gazing up at the stars again. "Thank you, Lord, for a marvelous dance." she prayed joyfully. Suddenly, she had an idea. Going in, she grasped a couple blankets. She brought them out with her and lay down. She fell asleep, praising God and watching the stars.

****Author's Note****
This song is called "The Danse" by Caedmon's Call. It is on their `a call to worship' CD. I hope you enjoyed this next chapter sorry i haven't written a whole lot about what is happening back at home...i didn't think to add that in...but just wait, you'll forget about that pretty soon
God bless,

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