A Sea of Stars-a tale of dangers and love: Chapter Twelve

The dark and dampness creeped inbetween the fine stitches of cloth that made up her cloak. She shurgged the cloak higher on her shoulders and drew the hood up over her gold mantled head.

She no longer wore the dirty and stained traveling clothes. She instead doned a deep blue, shimmering dress. The dress had a low sweeping neck line. It swished and murmered on the behind behind her with each ascending step.

She was traveling up a long, never ending spiral flight of stone stairs into what seemed to be nowhere. Up and up she walked but they never appeared to end.

She climbed the steps slowly for the darkness was pressing in on her very heavily and there was no visibility whatsoever. She kept her arms outstretched with her fingers just barely gracing the walls to either side of her. Her eyes peered forward but her gaze peirced neither darkness nor shadow.

Around and around she turned in the ever tightening spiral path of the stairs. She noticed that her fingers abruptly stopped running along the roughly hewn stone walls but instead were now sliding gently along a smooth and somewhat damp surface.

Had she a light, she would have seen that the walls were now blacker than even the deep night that surrounded her. Her fingers curled around the ends of the walls when she realized they were ending.

She soon realized that the walls had stopped to form a large doorway. Her fingers traced the large arch. A candle suddenly leapt to life infront of her. The flame seemed to float in mid air, supported by neither table nor human.

The candle began to bod slightly. She realized that the candle must be held by a person approaching her. She stood stock still. The candle stopped. Silence crept back into the room. Nither person spoke.

The silence began to make her want to sigh or cough...anything to bring back the joy of sound to this desolate place. The person seemed to be surrveying her. A cold voice broke the uncomfortable silence.

"You seem to be lost, my pet," said the voice. "You don't know where you are...correct?"

She stood silent. She realized that the voice was female. Barely. Though the voice was inhumaly chilling, it still carried that familiar female finesse. Under laying the cold of the voice was a slight tenor note.

"Who are you," she demanded in a voice braver than she was. Her voice must have showed her doubt in herself, for the woman chuckled quietly.

"I am the one who will haunt your nightmares for all eternity."

The woman stepped forward and brought the candle closer to her face. Shadows were thrown across her sharp nose and square chin in the flickering flame's glow. She saw the woman bring up her hand and snap her fingers. The sound echoed, reverberating loudly through the still air and off of unseen walls.

Many more hundreds, no thousands, of candles leapt to life around the hall. She bit back a cry and her hand flew to her mouth. Before her stood the most inhumany beautiful woman she had ever seen.

The woman's face cracked to form a small smirk. Dark hair laced the shoulders of her pitch black dress. Her shoulders were thrown back proudly behind her.

She reached one hand across her midle and quickly drew a long, tappered, dagger from it's invisible sheath at her side and beneath her cloak. The woman clutched the dagger in a firm fist by her hip.

Her smirk grew to a cruel and menacing grin. She aproached the now trembling girl before her. The woman suddenly lunged. The girl screamed loudly.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Earwen bolted upright with beads of sweat sliding silently along her hair line and down her nose. She cut her scream short as soon as she saw the guards stop their ceaseless pacing outside her door to stare at her through the small glass square.

She sighed and threw herself on her back once again. Earwen closed her eyes and reflected on what had happened. She remembered talking to Meneldil through the hole in the stone wall separating their cells.

The guards had come in and taken her away, up a long flight of stairs to a very large room. Earwen remembered three, long wooden tables running the length of the room.

The guards had thrown her down next to one of these tables and ordered her to do something in thier native tongues. Earwen didn't know this language despite her many years of studying all the languages of Middle Earth and was left to decifere the meanings of their wildly flailing arms.

She eventually had gathered that she was supposed to eat the small scraps of bread and drink the small mug of water waiting on the table beside her. Earwen ate it gratefully.

As soon as she was done wolfing down her mean, she was escorted to another, more welcoming room. This room was no smaller than her spacious cell but was richly decorated with wooden paneled walls and an Oak dresser. A desk sat in one corner of the room, facing a tall paned window that looked out on the beautiful snow capped peaks of the Misty Mountains. Other furniture, such as a chair, a vanity table, and a basin table were also located throughout the room.

The drapes were a rich golden color with the bed coverings matching almost perfectly. As soon as Earwen had stepped across the threshold, the thick wooden door was slammed behind her.

She jumped but quickly recovered. Earwen was pleased with her new dwelling. She strode quickly over to the drapes and ran them through her hands. They were of Elven making, she would never mistake the feeling of that material and the vine and leaf design.

She threw herself onto the four poster bed and the last thing she remembered was her head falling on a soft feather pillow. She had fallen asleep right then and there in her dirty traveler's clothes.

Earwen sighed and sat up again. This time she realized that she was naked beneath the silk sheets. The fabric felt wonderful on her skin yet she was a little more self conscience. She saw her clothes resting in a pile at the end of the bed on a wooden chest.

She threw her legs over the side of the bed. She tucked the sheets under her arms to cover herself and slid her feet into soft slippers she found waiting on the floor beside the bed. Quite suddenly, the door was thrust open and two of the beasts threw a green and gold mass into the room. Meneldil.

Earwen sat startled for a moment. Then the realization of who it was hit her. She cried out, stood and ran to Menldil, leaving her nakedness unheeded. She threw her arms around him and he hugged her tightly.

"Earwen," he breathed into her hair. "I never thought I would be able to hug you like this again."

She showered his face with kisses, his eye brows, his eyes and finally lingeringly on his lips. He kissed her back and his hands fell to the crook of her back. She finally pulled away to look deep into his eyes. She laughed and hugged him one last time before turning away.

He smiled and turned his back to her while she searched the room for a robe. She finally found one and shrugged it on. She walked back towards him while she tied the sash around her waist.

Earwen drapped her arms loosely around his neck once again.

"I'm so glad you're here. It grew awfully lonely in that cold old dungeon of mine."

Meneldil laughed and bent forward, kissing her again. She pulled him closer. He wrapped his arms around her back tightly, never wanting to let her go. Earwen wrenched her lips from his.

"You should rest, love," she said kindly.

"Earwen don't worry about me, I am quite capable of taking care myself," Meneldil retorted.

"Here," she turned away and pulled the sheets back on the bed. "Now you have the perfect place to rest."

He chuckled to himself and walked around to the other side of the bed. He stripped off his clothes and climbed into bed. Earwen joined him and pulled the sheets up around them.

She wormed her way against his body. He draped his arms casually around her waist. Earwen's cheek rested against his now bare chest. Together they fell asleep in eachother's arms.

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