A Maiden of Faith - Chapter 15


Eldarion sat alone at the feast, looking up at the stars. His eyes searched them, as if looking for some answers to his questions. What had driven Katrina to leave so abruptly?

Soft feet tread near him, and someone sat on the cool stone bench, their presence calming. A gentle hand touched his shoulder. A soft voice asked, "What is that has you so depressed?"

"I don't know." He turned to see Arwen seated beside him. She was wearing a blue velvet gown with mithril sown into the sleeves' hem, and neckline.

"I think you do know, but do not wish to tell me..." She pulled her son into a hug. "Please, tell me. Like you did when you were little and told me everything."

"I can't. I don't know, it's just a feeling." He shrugged in her hold, but did not want to leave it.

"Katrina isn't here I noticed. What happened?" Something was eating at her son's heart, and she wanted to know what it was. She pushed him out at arms length.

"When I went to find her for the feast, she was not in her room. I went down to the stables on the sixth level, where Shadowfax is held. He was gone, and her notebook was on the ground. She ran away. I can only assume that she'll return, for she left her Bible and notebook."

"Did she?"

"Yes, and in a very odd manner, as if she would be returning shortly..." He looked into his mother's face. "But, she has not, as of yet."

"Something is amiss. Am I correct that that is what you believe?" She touched his face with a hand.

"Yes. I had thought she would have returned by now..." He looked down at his hands, as if they were stained. He had not been able to find her and it was eating away at his emotions, chiseling his threshold of pain into a thin ice sickle easily broken. Tears were pushing their way to his eyes, threatening to pour onto his mother.

"What else happened? There is something here you do not speak of, I can tell." Arwen took his hands in one of hers and tilted his face to look up at her.

Do I tell her of the kiss? No. Not now... Eldarion decided, so he didn't say anything.

"Eldarion, tell me. What is wrong?" Her determination was not going to falter, not when something was hurting her son. "Katrina did something?"

"No... Lothmîr, the foolish maiden..." He seethed her name, as if with great contempt. "She said some things that were very rude about Ëarannawen. Katrina over heard."

"When was this?" Arwen was appalled. No wonder the woman had been acting funny, obviously she was covering up her pain.

"Last night, after her pain was eased, I was cleaning the water off the floor... Lothmîr came into our home-"

"While you were here? That is forbidden!" The Queen rose, furious.

"I know, but she demanded that I get off the floor. I told her to leave, but she got upset. She said that she was unable to sleep, that the wretch was haunting her dreams, after referring to Katrina. I saw Katrina close her door, and I heard crying... Elfwine helped me get rid of Lothmîr, who was furious."

"Elfwine helped you?" Arwen sat back down, a hand on his arm. The smile playing at her heart was not because Lothmîr's rudeness, rather that Elfwine would help Katrina when he hardly knew her. He was a dear young man.

"Yes, he had been helping me clean the water a little further up the hall. He had said that if he slept he would dream of the plains and become homesick. So I allowed him to help me."

"What did you do after that?"

"I went into her room. She was crying and looking out the window. She did not move, so I..." Eldarion stopped, blushing.

"You did what? Held her?" A twinkle came to her eyes. Memories of Aragorn holding her after her father had departed from Gondor heading to Rivendel and eventually the Gray Havens for Valinor. She had been distraught and fearfully sad for her ada, never to see him again.

"Yes... And sang to her a song I heard you sing once... Lay down you sweet and weary head..." His voice trailed off, embarrassed.

"Ah, Into the West..." A tear threatened her now, that song had come to her after Elrond had been gone for a year. She had sung it to her children as infants.

"She, well, was upset, and said that I lied to her, like a snake in the grass. That I would bite her, and leave her to bleed to death, until she was cold, like me... I told her I would never do such a thing, on my honor. She only said that I had no honor, that only God had true honor... So, I took up her Bible, and said I would never hurt her, on it. May God smite me if ever I did intentionally... Then she wept, begging me to take it back. She pled to God to not hear my words and let me live, for I had already hurt her. She had thought that I had said those horrid things... I told her, never would I say such things..."

"She believed you?"

"Yes... I called her meleth nin, mother. She asked me what it meant, and I told her."

"What would drive you to say such a thing?" He was engaged to Lothmîr, not Katrina!

"Love..." He looked into her eyes, a pain was in his eyes that reached down to his soul. "She... She..."

"What, my son?" Calming herself, Arwen looked into her sons eyes with a cool smile. Whatever it was, she would not remain angry for long. She much preferred Katrina over Lothmîr.

"She kissed me..."

"What!" Arwen rose to her feet again. "She kissed you? That is..." A pondering look came to her eyes. "Wonderful!"

Now it was his turn to be surprised. "I don't understand..."

"You hold her heart, and she yours! Lothmîr will not want to share you! She is selfish! Oh, this is wonderful..." She bent over and hugged her son.

"But, now she is gone..." He bit the inside of his lip.

"Gone? Why would she leave?"

"I,... I don't know..." He looked back up at the sky, something wasn't right...

***********

Valeth hauled Katrina to her feet. "Come on, we have a long journey ahead of us. We must travel under the cover of darkness..." She drew her black cloak about her shoulders, and pulled the cowl up over her head, hiding her face. Then, she cast the maiden's cloak about her shoulders and drew the hood over her head. Grabbing her wrist, she looked into Katrina's eyes. "Do you fear your destiny?"

"I don't fear you, if that's what you mean..."

"No. Do you fear being a White Lady, like myself?"

She hadn't known this was what she was to be, the thought was terrifying, but she knew she could trust God. "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?"

"The master. He... Causes much pain." Valeth shuddered, remembering how he had turned evil... That day had been terrible...

***

Valeth had once been known as Ivorwen, when she was still very young and had Elvish blood in her veins. She had married Kalenen, of Mirkwood, when just barely two-hundred years of age. They had had a son, and he grew into a fine young man by the name of Ëarenen.

Ëarenen had died in battle, and Kalenen's heart grew bitter. He cursed Eru, and everything else, even Ivorwen. She wept for him, begging him to calm himself, but he would not listen. Hatred burned in him, and his touch became like fire.

He struck her one day, and she decided that he was not the only one who lost their son, she had mourned him too. So, drawing herself up, she yelled at him, "May Morgoth take you, you sorry excuse for a husband! You are not the only one to lose a son! I wept bitterly in the cold of night, but you were consumed with hate!"

Kalenen took her by the arm and made the fire of hate course through her veins. "Valeth, I shall call you! For you have power! My Queen, the White Lady!"

He took her into the Mountains of Shadow. The hate made him powerful, beyond reckoning. He taught her the hate, making her skin burn with an undying fire. Her tears he turned to poison, so if she cried she would be burned, and he would know it...

Then he had sent her to find more wives for him, clothing them all in white. He made the fire live in them, devouring the goodness in them... Elves, mortal women, even Dunedain women if she could get her hands on them... And husbands for his daughters, clothing the girls in gray and the men in black. Having her bring wives for his sons...

**********

"Much pain..." Valeth squeezed her eyes shut, stopping the oncoming tears. She had once loved him, now, that love was turned to hate.

"I'm sorry..." Katrina could see the hurt in her face. "You know, you don't have to follow him. God can make the pain go away, if you let Him."

"No. Why would God love me? Me, who has killed many..."

"He can use anyone. He used several murders, thieves... He can use you too. He used me." She reached her bound hands out and brushed a strand of loose blonde hair out of Valeth's face.

"You do not understand... I was an Elf once. Now I am evil..."

"You don't look like an orc to me..."

"No, I wouldn't. I guess I'm still an Elf, but much hate is in my veins, thanks to him. My hate is greater than anything in me."

"It doesn't have to be. My love for God is greater than the sea. You look like a fair Elf, to my eyes. Your heart could be renewed to the state it used to be in."

"Hope is lost for me..." Valeth thrust her to Deladan, who took her by the arm.

"I wouldn't remind the Lady of her past," he whispered. "It was happy, but then it became very sad. She was his first wife, before he was evil."

"Before?"

"Yes, they had a son, but he died. Trust me, Nenuial, you do not want to know her story, it is a sad tale, just as it is long..."

"I see..." Katrina looked over at the Elven woman, who was now crying. Crimson marks scarred her face and even as she looked at her the marks turned bone white. What pain was this? That this woman would stay with a man who was no more, with hope in her heart that he would return. Perhaps bitter hate with the hope of striking him down for the pain? Or, maybe it was a veiled love...

*AUTHOR'S NOTE*
Hey, what do you think of Valeth now? Is she good or bad? I'll let you decide while I figure it out... : )

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