A Daughter of the King - Chapter Sixteen
"I believe you owe me a dance, M'lady Aarien." Frodo requested.
Mandy smiled and nodded. She got up and went onto the dance floor with Frodo.
"You dance very well, M'lord Baggins." she told him.
"Thank you," Frodo laughed merrily, "and my thanks for dancing with someone shorter than you."
"Do not worry about that. Your merry nature makes up for your stature." Mandy smiled.
"Did someone say Merry?" Merry appeared out of nowhere, "I believe this is called `cutting in', Frodo."
Frodo shrugged helplessly and bowed to Mandy. "Thank you, Mandy, for the dance." he kissed her hand.
"You're most welcome, Frodo Baggins." she murmured softly, her eyes watching him thoughtfully.
"May I?" Merry asked.
"Yes, of course." Mandy shook herself out of her thoughts.
"'ey! It's my dance!" Pippin weaved his way towards them through the other dancers.
"No it isn't. I asked her first!" Merry growled.
"Merry, Pippin! Stop it! I will dance with both of you. Just be patient!" Mandy told them, "Ai! Hobbits!" She shook her head.... she ended up doing many dances with both of them.
Legolas watched them from where he was seated, laughing silently. Suddenly, he had an idea. Getting up and ignoring Gimli's questioning look, he walked over to Mandy.
"Mae govennin, Aarien." he greeted her.
"Hello, Legolas." she answered back, with Pippin eyeing him suspiciously.
"Please sing a song, Aarien." Legolas requested.
"Sing? Legolas, I can't sing." Mandy laughed, rolling her eyes, thinking about how crazy and impetuous some elves were.
"Yes, you can. You sing beautifully." Legolas argued, "Please, for your father."
"But..." Mandy stopped, looking up at Aragorn, "Oh, alright."
"Good. Come." Legolas guided her over to the musicians, casting an apologetic look to Pippin.
"What do I sing?" Mandy questioned softly, suddenly becoming nervous.
"Anything you want." Legolas nodded to the musicians.
"Ok, anything." Mandy thought to herself, "Lord, what do I sing?"
Suddenly, a soft voice rose in song throughout the banquet hall. Heads turned and conversations stopped. Legolas smiled, while all the hobbits crowded over to the singer. Aragorn heard the song and looked to see the singer. He stood as he saw Mandy.
Mandy was racking her brain for a song, when a song came to her. She took a deep breath and started singing.
"In Lorien I longed to dwell,
In Golden Wood near Nimrodel.
Where many fields of Elanor
Grace upon the forest floor,
And many leaves of golden hue
Greet the morning with shinning dew.
Between the silver trunks of trees
There blows a timeless, enchanting breeze.
Power blesses every rock and stone
By an unsurpassed people most renown.
The elves, the elves so full of grace,
Who touched this earth as the first race;
Never to die by the passing ages,
The first to put history and lore on pages.
Their faces are both young and fair,
And most have golden locks of hair.
Their sweet voices sing out in lamentation
Of those who fell under Sauron's domination.
And here abides Galadriel,
Grandmother of Evenstar Undomiel.
She controls Nenya, a Ring of Power,
Protector of Lorien from the Dark Lord in his tower.
The Fellowship came to them once in the past,
On a quest to help the world last.
Once Frodo had completed his calling,
The old world had completed in falling.
Then all power began to fade,
And the elves left Lorien an empty glade.
Their memory will forever be sung
As the time of Men had now begun.
hey crossed over the seas to the Undying Lands,
To land in Aman on stunning sands.
There they now live on the Blessed Realm's shore,
And forever sing of Caras Galadhon in Valinor." Mandy's voice sang strong and heartfelt.
Her voice filled the hall as people had a glimpse of an ancient race and people. Legolas recalled the many adventures he had had there with his sister and cousin; Gimli remembered the beauty of the Lady of the Wood. Aragorn harkened back to his childhood days spent in Lorien and Imladris. Arwen remembered the time she had spent with her mother's people, the great fun and feasting. The hobbits remembered the sadness of losing Gandalf again, and how the Wood seemed to heal their sorrow. They remembered the peaceful and joyful existence of their time there. The song lingered for a few moments longer, till it seemed to blow away on some forgotten breeze. All was silent, till the hobbits started cheering. People stood and clapped. Mandy blushed, allowing the hobbits to drag her over to Aragorn.
"Beautiful, Aarien." Aragorn smiled warmly, "Why did you not tell me you could sing like that?"
"I never thought about it. I usually sing just for myself...not really in front of a crowd." Mandy answered.
"Well, we may have you sing more often...you have a very beautiful voice that I have not heard equaled except by one." Arwen answered her.
"Tethcelebel, your cousin." Mandy agreed, "I doubt anyone would ever be as good as her." She felt a tap on her shoulder.
"M'lady Aarien, may I have this dance?" a voice asked her.
"Of course, Elrohir." She turned and gazed up into his face.
"I am not Elrohir, M'lady." he smiled, "I am Elladan, his twin."
"Oh, I am sorry." she blushed, "I didn't know he had a twin."
"That's alright. Now, may I have this dance?" he asked again, holding out his arm.
"Yes, Elladan." she took his arm and let him draw her onto the dance-floor.
They went around the floor a couple times, drawing near to Legolas and then away. He watched them silently.
"Lad, why don't you ask her to dance?" Gimli asked through a mouthful of food.
"I would if she were ever free. But certain young hobbits keep asking her!" Legolas threw a pointed glance at the hobbits standing nearby. They looked innocently at him, as if to say "us?".
"Very well then." Gimli wiped his hands and mouth off on the napkin, "If you will not, then I will." He stood and walked over to her with Legolas watching him angrily.
"Hello, M'lady." Gimli smiled at her.
"Hello, Gimli." Mandy glanced down at him.
"Will you dance with me?" he asked, doing a rather off-balance bow.
"Yes, I will." Mandy answered, casting a wearied gaze to Aragorn. He smiled sympathetically, thinking that he should rescue her soon.
They danced for a while, then Gimli thanked her and strolled back to Legolas. He cast a triumphant look to Legolas, who rolled his eyes, twirling his wine goblet. Mandy walked back towards Aragorn, choosing to walk by the tables instead of trying to weave in and out of the dancers.
Mandy froze when she hear Faramir say, "Gimli Gloin's son, have you your ax ready?"
"Nay, lord," said Gimli, "but I can speedily fetch it, if there need be."
"You shall judge," said Eomer, "For there are certain rash words concerning the Lady of the Golden Wood that lie between us. And now I have seen her with my eyes."
"Well, lord," said Gimli, "and what say you now?"
"Alas!" said Eomer, "I will not say that she is the fairest lady that lives."
"Then I must go for my ax," said Gimli.
"But first I will plead this excuse," said Eomer, "Had I seen her in other company, I would have said all that you could wish. But now I will put Queen Arwen Evenstar first, and I am ready to do battle on my own part with any who deny me. Shall I call for my sword?"
Then Gimli bowed low. "Nay, you are excused for my part, lord," he said. "You have chosen the Evening; but my love is given to the Morning. And my heart forebodes that it will soon pass away for ever." (Tolkien, Return of the King p.953)
Mandy smiled when she heard this discourse, and silently went on.
"Sam, go on." Frodo encouraged him.
"Ah, no, Mr. Frodo, I don't think so. She wouldn't want to dance with me." Sam shook his head stubbornly.
"Why not? She danced with the rest of us." Pippin joined in.
"Yeah, and you want to." Merry smiled teasingly as Sam blushed.
"Go on, Sam. Ask her." Frodo coaxed him.
"I think I would rather just have another ale, if you know what I mean." Sam got up. The other hobbits looked at each other, and nodded.
"Oh, no you don't, Sam. You are going to dance with Aarien." Pippin grasped his arm firmly, along with Merry. They shoved him forward, making him stumble straight into Mandy. The other hobbits' eyes went wide, and they all scattered.
"Sam?" Mandy held onto his arm, keeping him and her from falling.
"Aye, M'lady." Sam blushed as he looked at her anxiously, "You are not hurt, are you? Me stumbling into you like that...wait till I get my `ands on those...rascals!" He growled, looking around for any sign of them, but they all had disappeared.
"Do not worry about it, Sam. I am fine." Mandy smiled merrily.
"M'lady, would...ah, you wouldn't want to dance with a left foot like me." he mumbled, kicking the ground.
"I would love to, Sam." Mandy answered, laughing lightly.
"You would?" Sam gasped, looking up at her. She nodded.
Sam's face brightened visibly as he led her in a slower waltz.
He kept his eyes on his feet, making sure to avoid stepping on Mandy's. He bowed low to her after the dance, proud that he got to dance with the princess. Mandy curtsied and went back to the table. Sam glanced around and caught the other hobbits watching him.
"Why you!" he growled, racing towards them.
"Run!" they all yelled and raced away in all directions.
Frodo slowed to a walk, going up to Aragorn. Pippin discussed with other guards, while Merry chatted with Eomer. Sam shook his head, muttering under his breath about catching them later. He walked back and filled his mug again.
"Well, Lad. I danced with her. Isn't it about your turn now? Since everyone else, including your cousins have danced with her?" Gimli taunted, on his second mug of mead-ale.
"Thank you for those encouraging words, my friend." Legolas growled, giving him an icy glare.
"Ah, don't take me wrong. I just meant that since it is you she favors, why haven't you asked her?" Gimli hastily explained, not liking the dangerous look in Legolas's eyes.
Legolas glared at him, then smiled good-naturedly, "I know, my friend. Forgive me." He slapped Gimli on the back, "And I think I will ask her to dance, now that everyone's had their turn." He winked and got up. As he came near the table, he stopped. He watched Aragorn hold out his hand to Mandy. She took it and was led out onto the floor. Legolas refused to look at Gimli as he sat back down.
"Bad timing, Lad." Gimli shook visibly with undisguised mirth as he watched Aragorn sweep around the floor with his daughter.
Aragorn was silent as they danced. "He looks so...different. Like a king should look." Mandy thought, "I wonder what possessed him to make me his daughter? It certainly wasn't my actions...or my words...I know I have made a fool of myself more than once in front of him, which isn't the first time. So I wonder why...." She mused thoughtfully, allowing herself to be guided along the dance floor.
"Aarien?" Aragorn queried, noticing her thoughtful gaze.
"Yes, Ada?" she answered, smiling.
"What are you thinking so hard about?" he returned the smile.
"I was just wondering what posse...ah, made you want me to be your daughter." she stuttered, feeling the red creep up her face. She shook her head angrily, wishing that her blush would fade away.
"I see." Aragorn laughed, "well, I think it was your care-free nature and light heartedness. Not to mention that you had no kin, no country, and you were from some other world."
Mandy laughed, shaking her head, "I must have seemed pretty pathetic to you, huh?"
Aragorn smiled and brushed her cheek with his hand, "No, you seemed like a daughter any father would be honored to have." he said, "And I am honored to be the father of you, my daughter." He gently kissed her brow.
"Hanta le, Ada." Mandy brushed at her tears, "And thank you, Lord, for blessing me with him while I am here. He reminds me of my own dad."
"Go on, Lad. I think twould be alright for you to cut in, now." Gimli urged.
"I think you are right, Gimli." Legolas tapped Aragorn's shoulder. Aragorn turned and nodded to him. Legolas started to dance with her. Aragorn went back and bowed to Arwen. She stood and walked with him onto the floor.
"Well, you finally asked me to dance." Mandy teased, allowing Legolas to lead her.
"What makes you say that?" Legolas questioned.
"For one thing, I saw you glaring at the hobbits. Another, I watched you try to ask me before Aragorn did." Mandy smirked, "You have very bad timing for an elf. And I was waiting for you to ask me. I was beginning to think you wouldn't." Mandy liked the firmness that Legolas held her waist and guided her around the floor.
"I see. I didn't realize I was that obvious." Legolas said, coughing slightly.
"You weren't. Only to those who knew, like me and Aragorn and Arwen and Gimli...especially Gimli." Mandy answered, laughing.
"Ah..." Legolas smiled, "I think I understand now, Aarien."
"Good, I think." she smiled merrily, "And now let's stop this conversation before it goes into a fight...which may happen, seeing as we're both stubborn elves and quick-tempered."
"Speak for yourself, Aarien." Legolas teased, ignoring Mandy's glare.
"Thank you, dear sir." Mandy retorted back, "You know, I'm trying to make a good impression, but you're making it very difficult."
"Why, by Elbereth, do you need to make a good impression?" Legolas asked, almost unbelievingly.
"Well, because...I don't know. It just seems that every-time I am with you, I always fall or yell or..." her voice trailed off as she saw him laughing, "What are you laughing at?"
"I am laughing because of you, my dear sweet Aarien. You do not have to make a good impression to me. I like you for the way you are, not because of you being Aragorn's adopted daughter or even for being an elf." Legolas smiled, "I have loved you since I first saw you, back when I caught you out of that tree, hurt as you were."
Mandy gaped at him, shocked. Her mind was in a whirl as she tried to think it through. "Oh...I have been so stupid!" Mandy growled to herself, pulling away from him, "I...thank you for the dance, Legolas, but I...I must go." She raced out of the room, her face red, and out of the palace. She went over to the White Tree and paced around it, thinking.
Legolas watched her go. Gimli saw the whole thing and came over.
"What did you say to offend her?" Gimli asked.
"I...I don't know. She just ran out." Legolas shook his head confusedly.
"Well, don't just stand there. Go after her." Gimli rolled his eyes, thinking that sometimes his friend could be really dense. Legolas glanced at him and then ran after her. He asked the guard which way and followed her till he saw her out by the Tree.
*** Author's note***: This was a longer chapter than I usually do, but I hope you enjoyed it. I couldn't find any good place to leave it off, so I thought I would just treat everyone to a long chapter My thanks to Laurelindorenan -- The Elves of Lorien and Their Passing for the use of this poem. I hope I put it to good use