A Maiden of Faith - Chapter 14


Eldarion burst through the doors to the kings home. Elfwine and himself hurried to the room that housed Katrina, both smiling. Not bothering to knock, they pushed the door open.

She would be sitting at her desk, reading her Bible, or writing in her notebook. Her golden hair flipping about her shoulders, or pulled back in a half-tail. She would be wearing a blue gown with silver leaves and flowers embroidered on it. Blue eyes would turn to Eldarion, and she would call to him with a soft voice. And she would hug him and perhaps grace him with a soft kiss.-

Nothing. There was nothing. The Bible was open on the desk, her pen thrown on the unmade bed. Her window was open, and a steady breeze blew the curtain into the room, like a ghost. The notebook, it was missing, too. Where would she have gone?

Eldarion came to look at the Bible it was open to Psalms, which seemed to be her favorite book. It was all ways open to it. There was a part that was underlined, so he read it.

To you, O Lord, I lift my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. ~Psalm 25:1-2

Turning, he began to leave her room. "Shadowfax! She's with Shadowfax!" He quickly told Elfwine, who was still looking out the window, as if caught by something. "What is is?" He came to stand by his friend.

"There's a commotion down there. I think we had best hurry..." Elfwine furrowed his brow and turned to leave the room in haste, Eldarion right behind him

They entered the sixth level stables of the city. There they found her notebook, strewn on the ground. Shadowfax was gone! Gone! She had run away! Gently, Eldarion reached down and picked up her notebook. With every word he read, his heart sank. Bits of the poem struck home and as he walked to the house of the king, they rang through his mind...

The love between us; I can only barely; Grasp in my small hands...

... For me, it is only starting; Though for you I hate; To look into the future; Would it be a bitter; Sorrowful mistake...

... Explain to me your; Biting angry words; Show to me; That you will hold; Me close when the pain; All fades away into; The deep pit of sorrow...

... Forget me not; Love me always; My dear, dear love...

"I wonder what that said?" Elfwine asked quietly. He could see the strange look on Eldarion's face, and he wondered what the notebook had indicated to make him forlorn. His friend had not let him read it, so there had to be something in it. He stayed behind, not taken by shock, not like his friend was.

Slowly, he made his way to the market of the level. An old woman was shouting about a man who was discourteous enough to run her into a vendor's goods. She was talking to another woman, her eyes darting to the shadows.

Obviously nothing in relation to Katrina, so he slowly made his way back up the stairs. There was something very wrong about this, but he couldn't put his finger on what it was...

***********

Katrina found herself dizzy as they walked through a twisting pathway. They were going in circles, so it seemed. Down, twisting downward. She stumbled over a stone, as a hot hand pushed her ever forward.

"Get up!" Valeth grabbed her under the arm. Her fingers were like fire, scalding her skin through her cloak.

"Hey, if you are going to tell me to get up, you had better have a good reason for shoving me!" Her eyes were as the woman's fingers, hot, burning...

"How dare you speak to the Queen of the White Ladies with such a tone!" Deladan slapped her across the face.

"Back off, I'm warning you!" She brought her hands around and thrust them into his jaw. She heard a sickening crunch as his jaw popped out of place. Cringing, she turned to the White Lady, whose eyes were lit with a merry sparkle.

"Good! Good!" Valeth cackled. She dug her fingers into Katrina's arm again, drawing more blood. "Nenuial, you are strong!" She sobbed the blood up with the cloth again. Slowly, deliberately, she pressed a hand to the maiden's cheek.

"Ow! Stop that!" Katrina smacked her hand away. "Don't touch me!"

A hand print was left on her face. At first it was as crimson as her blood, then, it became scar white. Deathly pale, the long fingers stretched over her eye, and the palm covered her cheek and the corner of her lips. It was a mark. Temporary though it was. This hand would show she had made it past the first test of becoming a White Lady.

There were four tests. Strength was the first, and she had passed...

"We'll rest here until night." Valeth shoved Katrina to the ground. "Then, we make for the Valley of Shadows..."

"Where's that?" She asked from where she lay. Deladan handed her a small wheat cake.

"In the Ephel Duath, where the Shadow grows. You will see it, and be terrified!" The woman sat beside Deladan. Casting off her dark cloak, she shifted so that she leaned against the man. Bright white garments clothed her. They were blinding. A white gown under a white cloak, like a hot white fire, they burned the eye.

Deladan looked at the girl, and felt pity. She was stirring long forgotten and painful memories...

Laurëwen had been chosen also. She had been taken by Valeth and he had followed close behind. He saw the odd woman draw blood from her, but she did not cry out in pain, but in anger. His own heart ached for his sister. She was all he had.

Their parents had died, and they had no family. It was just the two of them. He watched out for her, making sure no bad would happen. That day, he had failed. Valeth, the treacherous woman, had taken hold of her. His only choice was to follow, there was no other way.

Laurëwen had passed the first test, and it made pride swell in him. He had had no idea what the tests would do to her...

The master had taken her, hurt her. She had no defense, and Deladan had no way of reaching her. The Dark Minions had found him, and imprisoned him.

The dark cloaked men, the son's of the White Ladies and the master. They were a formidable enemy, and they had over powered him. He was taken, and his sister needed him...

**********

Help! The silent cry was resounding in his mind. She was bleeding, reaching for him, calling for him. Nimril, please! Her voice so fair, yet never had it been so sad, not even when their parents died.

"Sister!" Nimril sat bolt up right. "Laurëwen!" Her voice was so vivid in his mind. He could feel her pain, her suffering.

"Shut your mouth!" A Dark Minion slapped him across the face. "She's going to die anyway, all weak ones do..." He sneered, a wicked laughter spilled from his lips.

"Laurëwen..." He sank to his knees, tears streaming down his face. Her defiance was so vivid in his mind, her utter determination. Wandering into memories, he remembered how she used to be... She had had her hair so delicately woven into a silver circlet. Her golden locks gleaming in the early moon light. The red gown so radiant on her... She was gone. The last he had seen her dress like that was night before their parents' death. After that, she wore only dull blues and grays, her hair never twisted and interwoven with jewels. Her eyes, though they had been wondrously deep blue, were now the sorrowful dingy blue-gray. Now, she wore the stunning white, her hair forced back into twists, a bright cloak drawn about her slender shoulders. Though, her eyes, they were filled with a power, they were full of sorrow, hurt, pain, they were the windows into her soul. She had been fierce, able to wield sword and bow, her fists as vicious as daggers. Her strength was great, even in her sorrow. Now, she had the burning hands, the piercing gaze, the deep warmth... She was lost, forever.

Years had passed, when one day, she came to him. "Nimril," she said with pity. "The master, he wishes to see you... He has named you Deladan. I am Thindú, for this is the name he has given me. Come, he will not wait..." She touched his hand, and drew him into a strong embrace, marking him. It was painful to hold her, though, it hurt more to part with her, as it was with all White Ladies.

When they came to the master, he was seated with one White Lady on his knee. As they approached he shoved her away with such strength that she fell to the ground. He took note that it was the woman who had taken Laurëwen, Valeth was her name...

"Deladan. You will go with Valeth to bring me new wives. Together, you will make a dangerous team, and you will succeed." Then with fiery eyes, he turned to Thindú. She bowed her head, as if she knew the blow to come. Then, he killed her. Right in front Deladan, he killed her...

**********

"Deladan?" Valeth reached up and stroked his jaw. "You are remembering. Aren't you?"

"Yes." He looked over at Katrina. She lay, huddled up against the wall, and soft words, that he could barely hear and not understand, came from her moving lips. Her short golden hair falling over her face, for she seemed to care little. "They are much alike, Nenuial, and Thindú... Laurëwen..."

"Hush, speak not her name. It hurts you, and I would see you strong, not pained." She kissed his arm where it draped across her chest, over her shoulders. Her lips burned his skin, but the pain he had learned to ignore, for the sweetness of her caress lasted longer than the flame.

"It still hurts, Valeth. I can still see her die in my arms when she fell back. She was my sister!" He leaned his head down to rest on hers.

"I know. I have seen my brothers perish. It is a tactic he uses. Kill the sibling, it make the pain your fuel and pain is the greatest motivator, besides that of love. He has none of that though, so pain is his objective." She pushed against his chest. "The White Ladies and I have hated him, so we are disloyal. He hurts us, Deladan. He cares little for what we wish, what we need." A tear fell down her cheek, and it left a crimson stain.

*********

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever..." Katrina recited the Psalm she had been required to memorize in first grade. How she needed it... She spoke so inaudibly that none would be able to understand her but God and herself. Then, in a soft voice, "The Lord is my light and salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?"

None shall you fear, My daughter... My love for you is greater than the sea, than the air, than the earth. You are My child. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. I will protect you, I am your hiding place, I surround you with songs of deliverance... Soft hands brushed her face. You, I have not forgotten. O daughter of the Most High! Seek My face, I will guide you through the paths of the righteous.

"Thank You. I trust in You, O Lord of Zion!" She looked up, and in her minds eye, she saw Him. Glorious in appearance and might. His splendor portrayed in all the lands...

**AUTHOR'S NOTE**
Hello... Sorry it took me so long to post this chapter... What'd you guys think? I hope it was easy to understand. Oh, and I made Deladan's tale as vague as possible, you'll find out more of it later.

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