A Daughter of the King - Chapter Thirty-Eight

The next morning, Mandy stood in front of Legolas. She didn't say a word, only looked at him. A single tear, like a jewel, slid down her cheek. He brushed it aside gently with his hand.

"I will be back, mellonnin," he whispered softly, kissing her hand. His eyes were full of love, begging her to speak a farewell word to him.

"I will be here," Mandy murmured, "May the Valar protect you, melesnin (my love)."

Legolas smiled at her. He brushed his lips over hers in a soft kiss, ignoring the fact that Aragorn, Arwen, and Gimli stood beside them. Then he turned to bid farewell to Aragorn.

"Come visit us soon, my friend," Aragorn grasped his arm, "Fare you well."

"Thank you," Legolas grinned, "and I will return." His eyes flickered over to Mandy and then back to Aragorn. Aragorn merely raised an eyebrow in teasing question, his eyes knowing. Legolas bowed before Arwen.

"Farewell, Lady," he said, "I hope to find you well and with a mighty son when I return."

"Thank you, Legolas," Arwen laughed, "May the grace of the Valar be with you."

Legolas turned and leaped onto Arod. He pulled Gimli up beside him and spoke soft words into Arod's ears. Arod started to walk forward, with Mandy watching them out of the gates. She saw Legolas wave goodbye and returned the wave, fingering the necklace he had given her.


*******************
So the winter passed. Tethcelebel and Elwen left with Glorfindel soon after Legolas had. The New Year came and went. Mandy spent many of her days wandering in the garden or helping Arwen who was starting to feel the babe in her even though she did not show. One day in early March...


**************
"Lady!" a young lad's voice called. Mandy turned to see Perya come running up to her.

"Yes," Mandy stopped, "what is it Perya?"

"The lady Eowyn sent me to find you to say you owe her a race," Perya gasped out between breaths.

"Thank you, Perya," Mandy smiled at him, "where is the lady Eowyn?"

"At the stables," Perya said, breathing more regularly.

"Go get a drink, Perya," Mandy laughed, "I know the way."

"Thanks, Lady Aarien!" Perya sprinted away.


*************
Mandy laughed, walking down the hallway. She stopped at her room and changed into her riding outfit. She hurried down to the stables, finding Eowyn sitting on a bench with her horse saddled and bridled.

"Hi, Eowyn," Mandy smiled at her, grabbing Ilma's saddle and bridle, "are you ready to ride today?"

"Of course," Eowyn returned the smile, "I am always ready to ride."

Mandy led Ilma out of the stable with Eowyn leading her horse. They walked out of the gates, stopping to chat with the guards for a few minutes. They stopped their horses at the edge of the walls and mounted up, waiting. All of a sudden, one of the guards blew a sharp whistle. Their horses leaped ahead, running full speed. The guards watched from the top of the walls, each cheering one of the girls on. Mandy and Eowyn had started racing together when Eowyn had first come back. Soon they were doing it everyday and also whenever one challenged the other, and the guards began to watch for them.

Eowyn and Mandy urged their horses on, loving the wind through their hair. They turned their horses around at the River and started back, their mounts not slackening in their speed. It was neck and neck until they came close to the gates, with Eowyn's mount inching ahead. He won by a few inches.

"Good race," Mandy congratulated her, "you won this time."

"Yes," Eowyn agreed, "and now I have one up you."

"We'll see," Mandy laughed, leading Ilma into the city.


***************
Mandy and Eowyn walked up the levels, talking happily together. Eowyn talked about Faramir, and Mandy thought of Legolas, wondering where he was. As they went down the hallways, Perya came racing up.

"Lady Aarien! Lady Aarien!!" he yelled urgently.

"What is it?" Mandy steadied him as he stopped beside her.

"It is your mother, Queen Arwen," Perya said breathlessly, "her time--she's..."

Mandy didn't wait for him to finish and ran down the hallway. She burst into Arwen's room, finding Aragorn and the Healer with her. Arwen was sitting up on the bed, sweat pouring down her face. Mandy came over and grasped her hand. Arwen flashed a quick smile before she went through another spasm of pain. Mandy allowed Arwen to squeeze her hand, praying that the baby would come soon. Arwen cried out in pain as she pushed, her hand tightening around Mandy's. Suddenly, everyone in the room heard the sound of a shrill baby's cry.

"Congratulations, Queen!" the Healer held up the baby, "You have a son!" She wrapped the baby boy in a soft elvish cloth and handed him to Arwen.

Arwen took the baby and gazed down at him with tired eyes. The baby had a mat of dark hair and, barely seen, pointy ears. Aragorn gazed down at Arwen lovingly, brushing his lips across her brow.

"We have a son, Arwen," he murmured, "a son."


**********
Mandy rocked Eldarion, crooning a soft lullaby. He had grown over the two months and was wide-eyed and curious about everything. His eyes were a light grey like his father's. Mandy was in her room at the moment, when Aragorn tiptoed in. He smiled at her.

"Aarien," he said, "I have received word that Sam is getting married."

"Really?" Mandy said in surprise, "That is wonderful!"

"Yes," Aragorn answered, "would you like to go? You could ride, with an escort of course, to Lorien and from there pass over the mountains with Tethcelebel and whoever else wishes to journey with you...you might even be able to attend the Summer festival at Lorien."

"I would love to do that, Ada!" Mandy nodded, "When do I leave?"

"In a few days," Aragorn smiled, "I knew you would."
Mandy kept on rocking the baby, only now her thoughts were on the Shire and Lorien and seeing the Hobbits again.


****************
"Namaarie, Eldarion," Mandy kissed him, "I will see you in a little while." She bid farewell to Aragorn and Arwen. She mounted Ilma and, with a few guards, set out for Lorien.

They reached Lorien in four days without anything happening. Mandy breathed in the clean scent of Lorien as they passed through its woods, and chuckled at the guards' wide-eyed looks. The trees were all in bloom and the ground looked covered in white from all of the blossoming flowers. She smiled as they entered the City.

"Aarien!" Tethcelebel raced up to her, "How are you? How is Arwen?"

"Fine and the mother of a healthy baby boy!" Mandy replied laughing, "It is so good to be back here."

"It is good to see you again," Tethcelebel hugged her and then glanced at the escort, her eyes twinkling, "I see your father is taking no chance."

"Of course not!" a voice called teasingly from above them, "Last time she tried to come here, she was kidnapped."

"Elwen!" Mandy cried out, "I did not know you were going to be here!"

"There is a lot you do not know, Aarien," Elwen teased, "and I do not have the time to tell you all of it."

Mandy rolled her eyes, "She hasn't changed much over seven months."

"No," Tethcelebel grinned, "months are as days to us--you would have to stay here for a good many years before seeing changes in Elves."

Elwen met them on the stairs. Tethcelebel was leading Mandy up to the room she was to have for her stay.

"Are you going to the Shire with me?" Mandy asked, glancing at each of them.

"Sure," Elwen shrugged, "it would be good to go on a journey. We haven't been out of Lorien since," here Elwen coughed slightly.

"Since we got back from Gondor." Tethcelebel finished for her, shaking her head, "My grandmother was not happy about our running off when my uncle had an escort for us."

"I am sorry," Mandy laughed, "I am afraid that my father was too preoccupied to actually punish me for running off....he was thinking more about the orcs."

"Ah," Elwen chuckled, "I think we got him preoccupied."

"Yes," Mandy placed her pack on the bed and took off her boots, "and Eldarion is growing so fast! He will be walking by the time I get home."

"That is great," Tethcelebel said, "now come! My grandmother will be waiting to greet you."

******************
"I missed these feasts," Mandy breathed in, taking a drink of the wine.

"There is none who can give a feast like Lorien Elves," Tethcelebel started to say.

"Except for Mirkwood Elves!" Elwen interrupted.

"Yes, Cousin," Tethcelebel rolled her eyes, "I was going to say that...."

"Lady Aarien?" a soft voice addressed her.

Mandy went deathly pale as she recognized the voice. She turned to see Orophin standing behind her.

"Mae govennin Orophin," Mandy said, her voice wavering.

"Will you dance with me?" Orophin asked, his eyes pleading.
Mandy looked at him steadily for a moment, unsure. Then she nodded. He held out his hand and led her to the dancing. They danced in silence for a few minutes before he cleared his throat.

"I...I wish to apologize for behaving the way I did when you were here," Orophin said, looking down at her, "I was not thinking...you were different than anyone I had ever met...I..."

"Orophin," Mandy cut him off, "you are forgiven...it is alright. I don't hold anything against you."

"Hanta lle, Lady," Orophin smiled.

He finished the dance and brought her back to her seat. He captured Tethcelebel for the next couple dances. The feast went well into the night, with singing, dancing, and feasting.
Towards the end of the night, Mandy went back to her room and read for most of the night, and then she fell asleep on the balcony.


************
The next day, Mandy left for the Shire with Elwen, Tethcelebel, and some other Elves that Galadriel sent with them.

"They will also go with you to the Shire," Galadriel had told the three of them.

"But..." Elwen had started to protest when Tethcelebel jabbed her with an elbow.

"It is alright, Elwen," Galadriel smiled, "Most are going to the Grey Havens and won't be returning with you." Her eyes were sad, as if wishing she was going as well.

They rode easily out of Lorien and towards the Mountains, heading to the Shire.


*******************
After a four day journey, they started to pass through the Old Forest.

"We are getting close to the Shire now," Tethcelebel told her.

Elwen glanced around at the woods, "This forest is alive. Can't you feel it? It is like Mirkwood or Fanghorn."

"Yes," Mandy murmured, her eyes looking about. Suddenly, they came to a large hedge that went stretching along either side.

"This is where the Hobbits live," an Elf told them, "but we must wait for nightfall to pass through...most do not believe we exist anymore."

They went down along the hedge till it broke off, and there were rolling, green hills, covered in wildflowers. They waited in the shadows. They were invisible to anyone who did not where to look. The Elves watched the Hobbits silently, laughing inwardly at their actions. As the shadows started lengthening and the sun started to go down, they led their horses over the hills, towards the river. They mounted the horses and entered the river noiselessly. Mandy watched the river carefully, allowing Ilma to pick a path. The water came up to the horse's belly, soaking Mandy's legs. She felt Ilma start to swim. She turned around and laughed out loud. She saw Tethcelebel, but it looked like she was floating on the water: her horse had disappeared, enveloped in the shadows.

"Quiet," Elwen urged her, "you will wake them up!"

"Sorry," Mandy whispered, concealing a smile.

The horses scrambled up the banks of the river, shaking off the water. The Elves entered the forest where there was an old paved road going through it.

"It is the road to the Grey Havens," Tethcelebel answered Mandy's unspoken question, "This leads to the Sea." Tethcelebel's voice had a longing in it for Valinor.

"We will leave you at Hobbiton," the head Elf told Tethcelebel.

They rode softly but quickly down the path. They talked
together, voices light and sounding like songs. Their voices carried on the wind and flew threw the forest. Suddenly, the head Elf stopped.

"Hobbiton is that way," he told them, "You should turn down that path. It will lead you to Bag End."

"Hanta lle," Tethcelebel said softly, "May you find rest and peace in Valinor!"

"And you, my Lady," the Elf bowed his head and turned his horse back down the path. The four Elves rode down the path, their voices carrying on the wind, singing a song of Valinor.

"Well," Elwen said after they had passed out of sight, "let's go surprise Frodo."

***Author's Note***
hi! surprised?? didn't think so anyway...hope you liked this chapter! i'm sorry i didn't include more about when Tethcelebel and Elwen were with her, but....i was running out of ideas; and i didn't want to bore you by forcing something to happen i made up when Eldarion was born...i couldn't find it anywhere!! so if i'm wrong, sorry and please correct me!!
thanks
celebel

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