I Never Found Him - --A short story by PrincessofNumenor

I left the hall quietly. I didn't want to draw any attention to myself. I wanted to be alone with my dark thoughts and feelings, to wallow in and brood on them.

Maybe just thinking about my problems and sorrows would help me sort them out in my head. But the thought of revisiting painful, wonderful moments of my recent days made hot tears spring to my eyes and tremble there, waiting to fall.

A light, cheery vocie interrupted my reverie, and I looked up into the face of my object of confusion. He was dressed in shining, richly made armor, and a helmet was on his head.

"Oh.. Hello," I said in a voice that was not my own.

"Anything wrong?" He never allowed his spirits to be dampened for a moment, not even in the shadow of death. War was upon us, and he would ride out tomorrow. Of course there was something wrong with me! But he was not mine to mourn.

The tears I held in my sad brown eyes spilled forth and rolled down my pale cheeks as I answered, "No, nothing."

He looked at me queerly and reached out to brush the tears from my cheeks gently.

I trembled when he touched me, and I know he felt it. His light, friendly embraces and touches had always meant to him what they were intended to mean; A symbol of comradeship and a brother's love. He didn't have any idea how they affected me.

"Something is wrong, Erowen. Tell me!"

"No!" I insisted, more harshly than I meant to. "Nothing is wrong."

"If you say so," he agreed reluctantly. "Well, I suppose I'll see you later, then!"

He grinned charmingly and loped away, in the direction of the armory.

I fancied I had seen something besides friendship in those deep, lovely blue eyes, but I knew that I saw it only because I wished to see it.

I shook my head in an effort to clear my head of these thoughts. Why should I care, after all? I had no lack of male attention, but I was still drawn to this man. He was not good enough for me, anyway, I thought haughtily. He was of extremely questionable character and of lower birth than I.

Why not the others, who were pure and innocent? Why him?

I loved him.

****

They rode to battle valiantly the next day. Our banner flew high and proud, and the soldiers displayed all courage and honor.

I watched from a high turret as the two forces met with a loud clash and roar. Men screamed out in pain, and horses neighed in fear, bolting wildly.

I turned away and hid my face. I could not bear it. He was out there in the midst of death and the horrors of the war, and I was afraid for him.

____

When the battle had ended at last, the plains were still and quiet, dotted with corpses of our soldiers and the enemy. The wounded lay among them. My city's army had won, but at great price, paid in blood.

One by one, as they were found, the wounded men were brought home. They either laid still in Death's shadow, of moaned and cried out in pain. Their bloodied faces were ashen gray and sweaty.

The stench of death overwhelmed me at first when I arrived. The House of Healing had long since been filled, and our brave soldiers were laid in the streets outside. The healers were outnumbered, hundreds to one.

The strong survived the wait. The weak passed into the shadow and the life beyond.

I searched their faces frantically, looking for him. I let my tears drip onto their drawn, handsome faces as I scanned them anxiously, looking for a familiar feature.

They reached out to me and clutched at my skirts when I drew close to them. I could not help them. I thought only oh finding him.

Oh, when I found him, how I would embrace and kiss him! I would tell him how much I loved him... I allowed these wonderful thoughts to course through my head like a river's water in sprind.

I never found him. I know in my heart he was slain on the battlefied that day, fighting to save his city. I'd rather ten men had died that he might live. How I miss him now!

Even remembering that terrible day brings tears to my eyes.

I never loved again. There is a woman for every man, but I lost my chance. It will not come again, because for some things, only one try is granted.

I am reaching the end of my life now. I have no wish to live. Death will allow me what life did not. I will be with him soon, and I will not lose my chance this time. I feel he is waiting for me just beyond the stony doors of Death's halls...

I will say his name with my last breath.

"Arador..."

_________________

When Erowen, a lady of Gondor and Minas Tirith, had fled in spirit to Death's cold embrace, I, her dearest friend, was given the task of seeing to her things and all that remained of her existence in the city.

I found this, a parchment that gave me understanding and answers to so many questions. Why the had never married, and why she had wasted away since the great battle nearly a year ago.

She rarely ate, and never smiled, no matter how I endeavored to cheer her. She sat listlessly in her house with shades drawn and no fires lit.

When rarely I persuaded her to attend a feast or dance with me, she sat alone, refusing all offers of partners and staring sadly at an empty chair by her side.

I understand now. That was young lord Arador's chair, and he was the one who never came back to her.

*******

Well? If you liked this type of story, I'd like to do a more involved short story with Gilraen and Arathorn. Would you guys read it? Thanks in advance for reading and reviewing this!

--Alassë

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