Chapter 6- Burning Bridges - The Tale of Minuial

As the sun rose over the Brunein, Minuial stood watching from atop her balcony waiting to greet it. The sunrise was a spectacular one filling the once darkened sky with golden warmth. The light glistened on the falls like a rainfall of mithriel. The morning air was crisp and fresh, a light breeze danced in her hair. It felt good to have some solitude in her waking hours, it gave her time to collect her thoughts. Not much was stirring in Rivendell this early and a welcome quiet befell her ears.

The new light of the day fell upon her face and seemed to renew her spirit. Her once broken body had regained much of its strength. At last she felt strength enough to walk. Perhaps she would go down and visit with Aeglos. It has been nearly four days since she last looked upon him and she felt a longing to be near him. He was one of the few things that remained familiar to her, perhaps a walk with him would help clear the dense fog that clouded her memory. She opened a chest that lay near the dressing room. The elves had made for her some new gowns. She chose a pale green one made of a soft satin and exchanged her bed clothes for her new attire. The cool satin felt good on her skin. She took a dark green cloak that lay hung over a chair and wrapped it around her. It was a little large for her, but no bother, she gathered up the extra length and draped it over her arms.

She set out down the stairs and to the stables. She was relieved to find that no one was there.

She called out to her horse, "Aeglos"

The horse nickered happily in response to her voice. A smile spread across her lips as she ran over to him

"Aeglos my dear friend." The horse snorted with delight. "Come let us go walking, before anyone takes notice of my absence." She patted him lovingly on his back and untied his bridle from a rail. She took hold of the lead and headed for the door.

"My lady!"

Stunned, Minuial looked up to see Legolas staring down at her from atop his horse.

"What are you doing here?" he demanded.

She was delighted to see him, "I am taking Aeglos for a stroll. Would you like to join us?" she asked eagerly.

Legolas wanted desperately to say yes, but he would not heed the silent call between their hearts. He stiffened, angry at his lack of control over his emotions.

"Is Elrond aware of your little trip?" he said coldly.

She looked at him startled by his tone. "I did not know I was required to seek his permission?"

Legolas dismounted his ride, with his back to her he commanded "You better return to your chambers, it is too perilous to wander aimlessly in lands you do not know."

She did not understand why he was being so curt with her. "Well if you would be kind enough to accompany me my lord, Im sure I..."

"No!" he said sharply.

He turned to look at her only to see hurt filling her eyes. His resolve began to weaken but he refused to give into it, "Forgive me my Lady, but I will not be accompanying you anywhere. I have matters I need to attend to and can not tarry any longer with you." His words still came lake daggers.

"What is it my lord, have I done something to upset you?" she stepped closer to him and reached out to touch his face.

He evaded her touch and stepped back, "If you will excuse me, I must go."

She stood there puzzled by his demeanor. The sharp words that fell from his mouth, were nothing like the warm and tender tones she felt coming from his heart. She watched him return Curonhast to his stall and close the gate behind him. Without meeting her gaze, "If you insist on wandering the wood, I will see to it you are accompanied by a guard." She stared at him with disbelief as he stood there rigid and cold, with his back to her.

"No my Lord." she said finally, "I will heed your advice and remain."

He nodded and turned to leave.

"Perhaps when you are through with your task, you will explain to me the reason behind your ill manor." she demanded.

Legolas paused for only a moment in his stride, his back stiffened as if he was struck by some unseen blow, then without a word he departed. Minuial ran after him.

"My Lord." she shouted, "I will have you answer me. Why do you speak to me so?"

Legolas stopped. He turned to look at her and found her glaring at him.

"If you will have my answer now, then my answer is you. You are the reason for my foul mood. Now go back to your chambers where you belong and stop questioning what you are told before you bring more trouble upon us!" with that he turned and left.

She was speechless as she watched him angrily make his way back up to the hall above.

She returned to the stable distraught and confused. Aeglos snorted and nuzzled at her neck. Minuial patted his nose gently. "Come my friend, I am afraid my company may be unpleasant now. I will take you to the pasture to roam instead." She led her horse slowly out of the stable and removed his lead at the gate. The horse remained at her side. "Go on Aeglos, I will be fine." she said reassuringly. He trotted off reluctantly towards the other horses that were grazing there.

"My Lady! What are you doing down here by the stables?" Boromir shouted from the stairs.

"Oh why must he find me here." she muttered to herself.

She turned to see him galloping down the stairs toward her, "I did not expect to find you so well. Perhaps my tales hold some healing power."

"My lord Boromir, how does the day find you this morning?" she asked with a masked sadness in her voice.

As Boromir came nearer he could see despair in her eyes. She smiled weakly at him, trying to swallow back the lump that swelled in her throat. "Minuial, what is the matter?" he asked with growing concern.

"Oh, it is nothing my lord, I fear I may have taken on more than I should have by coming down here." she said trying not to meet his eyes.

"No, no, it is more than that, come, tell me what burdens your heart so." he said softly.

He was so kind to her. She knew he wanted more from her than she was prepared to offer. He took her arm,

"Come and walk with me by the river, we will find a place to sit and you can tell me what it is that saddens you so."

She could think of no words to object and found herself being led towards the river by him as if watching it all from a dream.

He was chatting idly to her but she could not hear his words. She nodded her head politely here and there, but her mind was consumed with grief. Boromir led her to a small, flat clearing between two towering pines.

"Come let us sit here a while." Boromir took off his cloak and laid it neatly on the ground. He held her hand as she sat down and then sat beside her. She had a blank expression upon her face as she stared out over the river. He watched her for quite a while, trying to choose the right words to say. The sights and grand vistas of Rivendell were breathtaking. They sat in the valley between majestic mountains that was hidden from the outside world. Colors of flowers and trees were brightly speckled throughout the landscape. The buildings of Rivendell were etched gracefully into their surroundings like vines on a great wall on the towering bank across the river from them. It was a picture of serenity.

As the afternoon sun rose high in the sky above, Minuial finally broke the silence between them, "Thank you for your kindness my lord, you are an honorable man and a good friend."

Boromir grinned bashfully as he swept a strand of her golden hair from her eyes. "As a good friend, I would have you tell me what it is that fills you with such sorrow. You can rest easy that I will hold your words secret if you so choose. "

She sighed softly, "I fear I have done something to upset Lord Legolas..... He was very curt and cold to me earlier and I can not understand why."

Boromir put a comforting arm around her shoulders, "Well, that is strange news. Tell me what was said, perhaps you misunderstood."

Something in his manner made her trust him. She had relayed most of the encounter to him when she began to weep softly.

Boromir gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "Come now, do not weep, it can not be as bad as it seems. Legolas is an honorable elf. Im sure he did not intend to offend you so."

Minuial gathered her composure, "No, there is no mistaking his demeanor."

Boromir put his arm around her shoulders and gently hugged her, "Save your tears my lady, I will speak to him and see if I can not discover what this is all about. Come, let me escort you back to your chambers." He wiped the tears from her cheeks gingerly,

"You are too kind." she sniffed.

"Ah, but my assistance comes at a small price." he said teasingly.

"A price?"

"Yes, if you accompany me to dinner this evening, I shall consider your debt satisfied."

Minuial paused a moment regarding him with friendly affection and smiled sweetly, "It would be my honor my lord."

Boromir stood up, "Good, then it is settled, let us go." he reached down for her hand and helped her to her feet.

Legolas, stood watching them return from the river from his chambers above. He could only guess at what was said, but he knew he could expect a visit from Boromir soon.

"Why do you deny your heart what it longs for Legolas?" came a soft melodic voice. Legolas turned his attention to the elf princess standing in the doorway

"Arwen! How long have you been standing there?"

Arwen gracefully made her way across the room. "I posed a question to you. Have you no answer my lord?"

Legolas stood silently his attention turned back to watching Boromir and Minuial making their way through the courtyard. Arwen stood next to Legolas and looked down into the courtyard.

"It does not have to be this way. You are choosing pain by choosing to love her from afar."

Legolas did not stray his gaze. "My lady you speak of things you do not fully understand. My hand is forced, I must choose not to love her at all."

Arwen looked up at his face, and saw distress in his expression. "I understand what I see in your eyes. Have you failed to realize that your choice as you call it causes her the same anguish?"

She saw anger creep into his gaze. Boromir caught sight of him watching them, and placed his arm around Minuial pulling her close enough to place a kiss gently upon her forehead.

"Look at how he mocks me....And she,....she does not appear so anguished"

Arwen turned his face to meet her eyes. Her eyes met his. She seemed so full of wisdom when it came to how he felt. "You can not be angry with Boromir. He wants from her what she has already bestowed upon you and you have pushed it aside. As for her appearance, you need not look further than your own heart to know what she feels."

Something rang true in her words. There was a long silence before Legolas spoke, "It matters not, the damage is done. Besides, her memory has failed her, perhaps she already has a husband."

Arwen laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, "The damage you speak of is easily mended. It is up to you to repair the breach. Asking yourself if she has a husband will not change how you feel. You are en elf Legolas, you can not cast love aside, you can only pretend to."

Arwen was right, he could deny it no longer. No matter how hard he tried not to, he already loved her. He held his head in his hands. He was so confused about what path to take. One thing he was sure of, was that he needed to go to her and set things right between them. That was the first step he needed to take. Arwen sat with Legolas by the window in silence for a long while.

A knock came at the door. Arwen answered it.

"My lady. I seek a word with Master Legolas if you would be kind enough to excuse us."

Arwen slid out the door as Legolas responded, "Boromir, I was expecting you to call upon me."

Boromir entered the room, growing tension evident with each step "Then we can exclude the usual pleasantries and get straight to the point." anger was present in Boromir's voice as he continued, "What you have done to that poor girl is inexcusable. You have been lucky enough to win her heart, but you take it and toss it aside like some trinket you grow bored with... I would give everything I possessed to be in your position. I have fallen for her as well, but she will never consider me for anything more than her friend, at least so long as you possess her heart." Boromir's fury grew stronger with emotion, " If you do not want her love, then dispose of it honorably, not like a coward. Whether you care for her or not, I will not stand for any further injury you intend to inflict upon her. You will taste the cold steel of my blade before you foster any more suffering."

Legolas glared at him. He was enraged by Boromir's perception of him, and unknowingly more angry with himself, "Do not threaten me Boromir, I know what my obligations entail."

Boromir's tone became even more menacing as he further closed the distance between he and the elf, "Then you would do well to abide by them, for my threat is not empty." he snarled.

"Is that so? Then do as you will Boromir, I do not fear you." Legolas growled indignantly. The air grew thick with tension as they stood angrily glaring at each other.

"That will be quite enough!" Elrond was scowling at them both from the door. "Need I separate you two like children? No swords will be drawn or hands raised here. There are far more pressing matters in the days ahead that will call for such things. Until such times come I will not suffer anymore of this behavior. For now if you two can not find a way to exist here together in peace, then I suggest you stay out of each others way."

Legolas, feeling foolish now offered his apologies, "My lord Elrond, forgive my behavior, I have not been myself today."

Legolas took a deep breath and turned to Boromir, "My friend, I am sorry. What you speak of is true, I have not been honorable. I will seek to right my wrongs with both you and Minuial."

Boromir nodded, "You need not apologize to me, I am not the one you have wronged. Make things right with her and I will harbor no ill will."

Legolas shook his head in agreement.

Elrond addressed them both now, "I suggest you dress for dinner, we have guests arriving this evening, and will be having banquet in the great hall."

"Is it Lorien my lord?" Legolas asked hoping desperately it was not.

"No Legolas, it is not. The party from Lorien will not arrive for another two days I expect. Tonight we host the dwarves." Elrond smiled.

"Dwarves!" Legolas exclaimed.

Elrond answered with a hint of sarcasm, "Yes, I am afraid so. Dinner will be formal dress..... Come Boromir, I have some things I would like to discuss with you before our guests arrive."

"Yes my lord, I will be with you in a moment, I have some words of good will to share with Legolas." Boromir replied.

"Very well." Elrond said as he departed.

Boromir waited silently for Elronds footsteps to fade into the distance before turning to Legolas, "My friend, to show there are no hard feelings, I will have you escort the Lady Minuial to dinner in my stead this evening."

Legolas was overwhelmed by what he knew was a generous gesture his friend was making and grasped Boromir's shoulder as elves do with friends, "Thank you, that is a very noble and generous gesture. I promise, I will not waste the chance you are giving me, nor will I forget your kindness."

Boromir grasped Legolas' shoulder in return, "Think naught of it. Just bare in mind, if you falter this time, I shall not be so generous again."

Legolas smiled, "If she will have me, I will not falter."

"Then it is settled." Boromir walked towards the door, turned back to the elf, " I love her enough to step aside my friend...I truly prey that you and she find happiness together." and with that he left.

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