A Maiden Faith 24

Valeth looked at her son with wary eyes. 'Aradae wants to see her today. He is ready to test her again.'<br /> <br />'I know, and I think we should send her away tonight, after dark.'&nbsp; Mordae reached inside his cloak, pulled out, and displayed the golden cross and chain. 'We cannot delay any longer, mother. You know this.'<br /> <br />'Yes, yes, it is so... But she needed to regain her strength for the journey, it is not easy and she would have tired quickly, with those wounds she has. She slept, deep, for long periods, and I doubt she remembers those times she was awake.' The Queen of the White Ladies paced back and forth, her stride swift and fluid.<br /> <br />'I know, but now is the time for action!' Mordae cried victoriously.<br /> <br />'No, not yet. First, we must take her to Aradae, and we cannot send her away until after all the others are asleep, well, at least the master.' Valeth's words spoke truth. Aradae would know that Nenuial had been set free if he did not see her.<br /> <br />'Right... Well, now that that's settled, I need to go make peace with the girl...'<br /> <br />'Mordae, I fear she will not trust you until after you give her that trinket you carry...'<br /> <br />'I know, but I must try.' He smiled at the White Lady and then turned to find Nenuial, but instead he saw Deladan coming towards him.<br /> <br />'Valeth, Mordae, we need to free her. Soon.' The fire in the man's eyes frightened Mordae. He had never seen the man of Gondor so upset.<br /> <br />'Yes, we know.' Valeth assured, she knew his past, and she felt for him. The anger in his eyes she had seen before, when Thindu had died, then there had been, beneath the fury, remorse. Regret that he could not have done anything. Now, the distress was unfaltering determination. The girl would be set free. 'Tonight, we have decided, you shall take her to Gondor.'<br /> <br />'Tonight? Are you sure' Aradae wants to see her today, what if she suffers another beating?' Disbelief was clearly painted on his face.<br /> <br />'She won't, not if I have anything to say about it!' Mordae remarked.<br /> <br />'Agreed, and she will see him, this is for sure.' Valeth nodded to her son. 'Mordae needs to go right a wrong.'<br /> <br /> Mordae nodded his thanks and departed. Striding to where Nenuial lay, he muttered. 'This could get ugly...'<br /> <br /> ********<br /> <br /> Katrina held her biting tongue as the man approached. Black hair hung to his shoulders, much like Eldarion's, only, this mans was darker and straighter. Blue eyes shone as they locked with her own. A clear complexion contorted at the look in her eyes. <br /> <br />'Nenuial. Might I have a word with you?' Mordae quietly asked. Mithita brushed her brother's hand as she left the two.<br /> <br />'What do you want from me?' She turned her face from his and smoothed out the blankets about her waist and legs. It took all her strength to hold the words behind her teeth.<br /> <br />'Only your forgiveness...' He lifted her face to look at him. 'I do not relish beating the mothers of my future bothers.' Her scowl told him that was not the right thing to say.<br /> <br />'I will not be a mother to any children of that beast. I would rather die.' Katrina felt bad for insulting his father, but surely he could see it too.<br /> <br />'I understand. Let me rephrase my earlier comment. I do not enjoy beating women. It's not right.'<br /> <br />'It's illegal where I come from,' she muttered and lowered her gaze again. 'But I forgive you, though, I will not trust you.'<br /> <br />'I figured as much, but one day, you will trust me. I promise, Nenuial, one day, peace will be made between us.' He took her hands in his. 'We're going to set you free, tonight.'<br /> <br /> Joy lit her face, but it was replaced with doubt and suspicion. 'I've read books, the bad guys always say that, and then take the prisoners to be executed.'<br /> <br /> He hung his head. It was a common occurrence, true, in some occasions, but not this one. But Katrina would not trust him. She had been wronged, and the pain was still reflected in her eyes. 'No, you don't understand. Deladan is going to take you back to Gondor, back to safety. You can trust him. I know you do. He loves you, Nenuial, you're like his sister. I don't know if he has told you his tale...'<br /> <br />'No, he has not.' She looked away to the man of Gondor talking with Valeth, a look of curiosity in her eyes.<br /> <br />'Ah, well, his sister was captured, just like you were. She was lovely, Nenuial. He followed, their parents had both died and she was all he had left. The Dark Minions took him, and neither was treated as well as you are. They were kept in our dungeons. Her name was Laurewen, but father renamed her Thindu. She was forced to marry him and bore to him a son, he's still quite young and Deladan watches over him. Father killed Thindu, right in front of Deladan. Thindae, son of Thindu, is all that the man has, so he stays here. You remind him of his sister, Nenuial. He loves you, and would never see any harm come to you.' Mordae so wanted to pull out the gold cross and present it to her, but he couldn't. It wasn't time yet...<br /> <br />'Are you serious? That's so sad!' Katrina wanted to give Deladan a hug, tell him everything would be all right. Her thoughts wandered to Eldarion. He would rescue her. Of this she was sure, he was coming, searching for her.<br /> <br />'Father wishes to see you, Nenuial. He has a test for you.' Mordae looked at the hands burned into her face. The bone white scars marred her delicate features. 'But he will not lay a finger on you. I will ensure it.'<br /> <br />'Sure you will. You did such a splendid job last time.' Sarcasm laced her thick honey like voice. She lifted his fallen face with a finger. 'I do not fear you. I do not fear death. I will fear no evil.' Her voice was low, frighteningly so.<br /> <br />'Is there no fear in your body, lady?' He looked at her with a stern eye. Everyone had a fear.<br /> <br />'Yes, I fear the Lord my God. He is the Judge of my life.' Deep blue eyes challenged him. 'You don't have God on your side, what do you fear?'<br /> <br />'The world, Nenuial, I could fear the world.' He looked away, not many would understand that, but he felt she would, for some reason.<br /> <br />'So did I, once, but no more. God strengthens me, Mordae, He holds me and protects me. He can do that for you too. He loves you.' She pulled his face into her hands, and placed his forehead to her own. 'You can trust Him.'<br /> <br /> A tear slid down his cheek. She spoke about a way to live free, without bonds of mortality and fear. How could that be? How could one trust something unseen? 'No, Nenuial, I cannot.' He rose to his feet and called over his shoulder, 'I'll be back to take you to Aradae, Nenuial, and I would not be so rude this time.'<br /> <br />'I will defend myself the way best fit.' Her answer was harsh, and her voice rough. She would not fall into a false sense of security, not again.<br /> <br /> Mithita approached her. 'I'm to prepare you, Lady.' She sat on the edge of the bed, a gown that laced up the back cradled in her arms. It was white, pure white. The sleeves were bell shaped, tapering from the elbow to the wrist.<br /> <br /> Katrina nodded. For now, she was still under their hold, and she would have to do as commanded. She pushed herself to sit up and slowly began to slide into the dress, her muscles sore and weak, her back biting at her nerves, but she would endure, she <em>could</em> endure.<br /> <br /> Mithita slowly began to lace up the back of the dress, her hands threading back and forth. She didn't say a word, and Katrina began to wonder if she was upset. Then, suddenly, the girl answered her unspoken question. 'I can no longer hear your song, lady, it has faded. Your soul does not sing to your God. You have forgotten Him.' The girl paused in her work. 'I had been drawing my hope from those songs....'<br /> <br />'What? I have not forgotten Him.' Startled by the thought, she began to question if what the girl said was true. She spoke of deliverance, but did she really believe it. Had she been leaning on the assurance that God would save her, or that Eldarion would save her?<br /> <br />'Your words are pretty lady, but they hold no more meaning.' Mithita began working on the lace again, her frustration making her fingers fly swiftly over the fabric. <br /> <br /> Katrina felt a tear slide down her cheek. The young woman was right. She could talk all she wanted, but she was straying away from the truth. Her faith had to be renewed, it was never failing, but she had forgotten her Strength. 'No, you're right, I had forgotten... I need Him like the water, like breath, like rain, I need Him like mercy came from heaven. But I had forgotten that, and you reminded me. Thank you.'<br /> <br /> Mithita nodded and her pace slowed. 'I would like to hear a song, Nenuial, I need to hear one.' There was a note of a sad, worn, little girl struggling to grow strong.<br /> <br /> <em>Oh, Mithita, you are so strong. Don?t let anyone tell you different.</em> She thought to herself, the words should have been spoken, but that could wait. 'Alright. What would you like to hear?'<br /> <br />'I do not care, lady. Something uplifting, like all of your songs.' She slowly began to twist Katrina?s hair into plaited braids and lovely twining strands.<br /> <br /> <em>I looked for love in every single situation<br /> For something, someone<br /> That would last a lifetime, a love that never dies<br /> And I find</em><br /> <br /> <em>You know when I wake, when I rise, when I pray, when I <br /> Curse You and You love me the same<br /> And You know when I stumble and fall, and You?re there<br /> Through it all<br /> The only unchanging one</em><br /> <br /> <em>I looked for faith on the edge of my roof<br /> No fear, daddy?s here<br /> Still I struggle to trust You with the rest of my life<br /> When I could just fly</em><br /> <br /> <em>You know when I wake, when I rise, when I pray, when I <br /> Curse You and You love me the same<br /> And You know when I stumble and fall, and You?re there<br /> Through it all<br /> The only unchanging one</em><br /> <br /> <em>I looked for God...</em><br /> <br /> <em>You know when I wake, when I rise, when I pray, when I <br /> Curse You and You love me the same<br /> And You know when I stumble and fall, and You?re there<br /> Through it all<br /> Unchanging one</em><br /> <br /> <em>You know when I wake, when I rise, when I pray, when I <br /> Curse You and You love me the same<br /> And You know when I stumble and fall, and You?re there<br /> Through it all<br /> The only unchanging one<br /> The only unchanging one</em><br /> <br />'Thank you, Nenuial.' Mithita leaned around her and smiled. 'I liked that one.'<br /> <br /> Katrina nodded, 'Yeah, it's a lovely song, I should have remembered it before. It has a good message.'<br /> <br /> She didn't say anything, but she draped a heavy white cloak over Katrina's shoulders. Helping the wounded woman to stand, she turned her towards a mirror. 'This is your new life. May your God carry you away.'<br /> <br /> It was the first time she actually looked at the dress. From under the cloak she could see the gown, the torso was interwoven with silver thread. Even though she was fully dressed she still felt naked. Something wasn't right with this, it was wrong. Her hair was a marvel, all on top of her head intricately woven in tiny braids and small twists, leaving her neck bare. That was it. Her cross. It was gone, and she would never see it again... Katrina watched a tear slide down her cheek in the mirror. For the first time, she saw the handprints on her cheeks. Hideous and ugly, glaring in contrast with what she thought was pale skin, but was really tan. That cross, it had meant so much to her, it was her symbol of salvation, so that others knew who she was, so that she knew who she was and was reminded of it everyday of her life. Her grandpa and grandma had given it to her and she had held it close to her heart. It was probably her most treasured gift from them, and they had given her so much. Gone. She had had it for so long, since she was nine years old and as it aged it looked even lovelier, gleaming in the sunlight, delicate and special. She fingered one of her rings, the ring her mom had a duplicate of that she wore. Would she ever see them again, before death? Or would she forever have to live with only a memory of what she left behind? They were precious to her, each and every one of them. As she looked at herself, she saw her eyes dissolve into her dad's deep blue, caring, loving, and protective eyes. They had the same eyes. Knowledgeable and God fearing, strong and tender and glowing, the same eyes. The sapphire ring on her left hand drew her attention, her brother had been so young when she was given that, he had been eleven and he had been so proud that it was from him as well as her parents. Her other rings had been from just her parents and he had been oblivious. Jake had given her a big kiss on the cheek when she told him she loved it. The twinkle that had been in his eyes was unforgettable. The white stone on her right hand gleamed in the poor lighting. The birthstone of her birthday and her mom's. Their shared day of April 19 set in the stone of white zircon. The good and bad memories encrusted in the ring. Things she would never forget, things that always would be in her mind, reminding her of them. 'Yes, may He take us all from this barren land of shadow,' she finally said. 'May He deliver us from this valley of darkness.'<br /> <br /> *AUTHOR?S NOTE*<br /> Song by Todd Agnew called Unchanging One
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