A Daughter of the King - Chapter Thirty-Three

"Aarien," a voice whispered in her ear, "wake up."

"Uh..." Mandy moaned, pulling the pillow over her head, "go away."

"C'mon," Frodo begged, shaking her, "please. I want to walk with you one last time in the garden before I have to leave."

Mandy shook her head, blinking. She looked at Frodo standing there dressed warmly. "Alright," Mandy said groggily, getting out of bed. She stumbled around, searching for a cloak to pull over her nightshift.

"Hey!" Elwen called from the other room, "Quiet! I'm trying to sleep too!"

"Sorry," Mandy teased back, and motioned to Frodo. She drew her cloak about her, and they stole out of the room into the garden. They walked silently in the garden, enjoying the early morning.

"Here," Frodo led her to a bench and helped her to sit down, "let's sit down."

Mandy sighed, knowing that she was leaving the next day as well. She wished that she could stay in Imladris, but even more, she wished she could go back to Lorien. "Ai," she said softly, "I have to go back to Gondor. My parents are probably wondering....I've been gone far longer than they t
thought I would be."

"M'lady," Frodo questioned.

"Oh, I am sorry Frodo." Mandy turned to him, "Do not mind me."

"That's alright," Frodo smiled, knowing how she felt.

"It's so beautiful out here," Mandy breathed, her eyes shining with joy, peace, and love. Suddenly, she chanted a poem softly, her voice like clear water flowing down rocks,
"The Sea,
Always changing, always moving.
Much like our lives,
But what would happen
If we really stood still
And saw things for what they are?
A gentle breeze flowing through the trees,
A bud opening,
A blade of grass pushing up through the dirt,
Clouds moving through a clear and perfect day.
Stop, listen,
Listen to what the Creator has made."

Frodo looked at her in awe. She seemed to shine with a bright light, and he could almost fancy that he saw a bright man standing next to her, clad in gold armor and had a crown on his brow that shone brighter than any of the Silmarils. He passed his hand in front of his eyes, thinking that it was just a trick of the light. Still, she seemed to have a light brighter than even the elves within her.

"Who are you, Lady?" he asked in a breath.

Mandy looked at him for a few seconds, not saying anything. Her eyes sparkled in mirth and joy. "I am a servant to Illuvitar, Frodo," she answered, "He counts the numbers of the stars; He gives names to all of them. Who covers the heavens with clouds, who provides rain for the earth, who makes the grass grow on the mountains. Praise the Lord from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps; Fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word; mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars; kings of the earth and all peoples..." (Psalm 147:4,8; 148:7-11). Mandy's voice had authority and love as she proclaimed His praises. It seemed to Frodo that all of the earth around them stilled, listening to her. When she finished, she looked at him, a warm smile on her face. The light in her eyes seemed to fade to a slight sparkle, her voice soft and quiet.

"Oh, Lady," Frodo sighed, standing up, "I..."

"What is it, Frodo?" Mandy asked.

"I just feel like I have no purpose anymore." he stuttered slightly, "I finished my quest. All of Middle-earth is safe now, especially the Shire. That is the reason I started in the first place, to save the Shire, but it's safe now. What do I do? It won't ever be the same like it was...I...my wounds..." he broke off, his voice cracking. He rubbed his shoulder, remembering that fatal day in October on Weathertop. It had pained him today but he had concealed it.

"Frodo," Mandy said compassionately, "I do not have any wise words like the Lady Galadriel. But you have something yet to do, I know it. Do not give up hope, Frodo. There is yet a part for you to play." As she was speaking, she placed her hand on his shoulder. He winced but then his expression turned into one of shock. Her hand was warm and seemed to shoot warmth through his shoulder, drawing out the pain and coldness. He knew that it would never heal fully on this earth, but she helped it greatly.

"Frodo son of Drogo," Mandy whispered, "you have shown that even the smallest can change the course of the future."

Frodo looked up at her as she echoed Lady Galadriel's words. She smiled reassuringly at him. "Thank you, Lady," Frodo bowed to her.

Mandy lowered her head. They sat together in silence for a little longer until her ears caught the quick footsteps of more Hobbits.

"Your kin is approaching," she told him, standing up.

"I know," Frodo grinned, "I heard them as well." They walked back up the path when he suddenly stopped. On impulse, he grabbed her arm, "Lady?" he asked swiftly, "will you come to the Shire and wander it with me?"

"Yes," Mandy nodded her head, "I will come to the Shire. When you least expect it, Frodo Baggins."

Frodo smiled happily, walking with her back up the path. They greeted the other hobbits and went in for breakfast.

A few hours later, Mandy waved goodbye to the Hobbits and Mithrandir, watching them ride out until she couldn't see them anymore. She sighed softly, wishing they could have stayed longer. She turned back when someone called her name.

"Aarien," Elwen called to her, while she and Tethcelebel walked up, "they are gone then?"

"Yes," Mandy nodded, her eyes sad.

"I wish they could have stayed," Tethcelebel said softly, "I fear that we have many more goodbyes before long."

Elwen looked from one face to the other. "C'mon now!" she cried, "Don't be sad today of all days!"

"What's so special about today, Cousin?" Tethcelebel asked, smiling.

"Why," Elwen whirled around, "I get to be out of bed!"

They laughed, walking down the path in the garden. They strolled along the riverbank, enjoying the freshness and coolness of the air. They found a small enclosed area by the river. It's view hidden by trees. They dangled their legs in the river. They had taken off their dresses and had on only their shifts.

"Ai," Mandy sighed, "I have to go home tomorrow."

"Maybe," Elwen's eyes glittered mischievously.

"What are you up to, Cousin?" Tethcelebel's voice had a warning note.

"Me?" Elwen's eyes went wide with innocence, "Why would I be up to something, Celebel?"

"Because I know you," Tethcelebel grinned back, "And you're up to something."

"Well, if you must know," Elwen retorted, "I think we should sneak out tonight and go to Gondor ourselves."

"What?" Mandy gasped in disbelief.

"Oh no, not again," Tethcelebel groaned, "Don't you remember the last time we did that?"

"Which one?" Elwen teased.

"My point exactly," Tethcelebel said.

"Oh come on," Elwen rolled her eyes, "we're adults. It's not like they're going to beat us or anything."

"That's never stopped them before," Tethcelebel said wryly, "Besides, Gondor is a long journey."

"Nah," Elwen laughed, "not if we ride hard."

"Not if we ride hard...?" Tethcelebel shook her head in disbelief, "We have to go over the Mountains, over the Anduin, through Rohan if not Lorien, and the Wilderness. Not a long journey." Tethcelebel looked steadily at her cousin.

"Alright," Elwen conceded, "So it's a long journey, but I still think we should go."

"And if we get caught?" Tethcelebel asked, but Elwen knew she was going to go.

"Ah," Elwen smiled, "we'll worry about that when we come to it. What say you?"

"Alright," Tethcelebel rolled her eyes, "I'll go. It should be fun."

"Fun," Mandy mused, "not exactly the word I would have used, but I'll come too."

"Good," Elwen grinned.

"Elwen," Tethcelebel said out of the corner of her mouth, "you know we will get caught...right?"

"Of course," Elwen smirked, "but we'll give them a chase for their trouble. Can't have them catch up to us too easily, now can we?"

"Of course not," Tethcelebel and Mandy laughed.

They sat, not speaking for a few seconds. All of a sudden, Elwen shoved Mandy into the river. Mandy came up sputtering, "Elwen!" Elwen and Tethcelebel were laughing uncontrollably on the bank, watching Mandy come out of the river.

"Aarien," Tethcelebel laughed, "you looked so funny!"

"Thank you," Mandy snapped good-naturedly. She crawled out, shaking out her shift which had wrapped itself around her. Smiling, she stood behind them, soaking in the sunlight.

"Aren't you going to sit down, Aarien?" Tethcelebel asked.

"Yes," Mandy answered, "after I do...this!" So saying, she shoved both girls into the river. Tethcelebel shook her head as she came up, while Elwen laughed. They looked at each other and smiled. They both came up to the edge of the bank, where Mandy was laughing. They grabbed her arms and pulled her back in. Mandy shrieked, falling into the river again. They fought in the water, shoving each other under or splashing each other. They didn't notice anyone coming up.

Legolas was walking around, trying to find his sister. He knew that Mandy had gone to say goodbye to the Hobbits and Mithrandir. He saw his friend, Galad, and also Elrohir and Elladan.

"Greetings, Legolas," Galad said, smiling as he saw Legolas's look, "you seem to have lost something. What is it?"

"My sister," Legolas answered, smiling.

"Ai," Elrohir laughed, "well, I saw them walking down the river. Since they have not yet returned, I would say they are still down there."

"Let's go find them," Legolas grinned, eyes twinkling.

"Alright," the others agreed. The four of them walked silently down the riverbank, listening for any sound. They soon heard the girls screaming and laughing. Legolas, Galad, Elrohir, and Elladan smiled at each other.

Elwen was sneaking up on Mandy when she caught sight of the boys coming silently up. She swam swiftly over to Mandy. Mandy laughed but then glanced at her curiously because Elwen's face was vexed.

"What is the matter, Elwen?" Mandy asked, looking at her.

"Legolas and his friends are here," Elwen said softly.

Mandy's eyes went wide, glancing about the bank. Tethcelebel quickly sank under the water, motioning for Mandy and Elwen to do the same. Elwen swam over to some trees so she was hid from view. Mandy dove under the water and came up by Elwen.

"Hopefully they will go away," she murmured softly.

"Most likely they will get bored," Elwen answered back, "but it would not do for us to get out of the water with them here."

Mandy looked down at her shift. It was a thin white fabric, made to be cool underneath a dress. It was see-through on normal days, but when it was wet...she shook her head. They might be here awhile.

"They hid," Galad muttured.

"Come," Elrohir grinned, "let us hide ourselves. Then they will think we are gone, and when they get out, we will scare them." They nodded and sank back into the trees, out of sight from the river.

"They have gone," Mandy said, wading out from the trees. Tethcelebel came up, gasping in breath.

"We should go now," she whispered, "we have lingered too long."

The three girls climbed up the bank, finding their dresses. All of a sudden, they were startled when Legolas and company jumped out from the trees.

"Legolas!!" Elwen shouted, "Turn around!"

Legolas, Galad, Elrohir, and Elladan were just as much startled as the girls when they saw them in only their shifts. Legolas and Galad turned around, their faces burning in embarrassment. Elrohir and Elladan lowered their eyes.

"My apologies, Ladies," Elrohir said.

Tethcelebel had pulled on her dress, looked at them and then back at the other girls. Her eyes had a merry twinkle.

"By Elbereth!" she said in mock anger, "Cousins, you are in trouble. Wait until your father finds out. You are supposed to be adults and too old for this sort of thing."

Elrohir's lips twitched.

"Alright," Mandy chuckled, "you can turn around." Legolas and Galad turned about.

"Please don't tell Lord Elrond," Legolas asked.

"We should, Brother!" Elwen's face was angry, "twould serve you right to get in trouble!"

Tethcelebel placed a calming hand on Elwen's shoulder, "But we won't. There really was no harm done, aside from a few embarrassed men."

"Yes," Mandy smiled, shaking out her dress.

"Ahem..." Elladan cleared his throat awkwardly, "would allow us to escort you back to the house?"

The girls looked at each other and nodded. They all walked swiftly up the path back to the house...not noticing Elrond watching them thoughtfully. His eyes twinkled at the sight of the boys, who were obviously embarrassed somehow. He shook his head. "When will they ever grow up?" he wondered aloud.

***Author's Note***
hi everyone! hope you had fun with this chapter. the poem Mandy says is part of a longer one I wrote. It's called "Listen". I just cut out a few lines that didn't pertain and all that. I also used some Bible verses (NASB version).
God bless you guys!

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