Shades of Midnight - Dance of the Candles (Chapter One)
Anyway, about this chapter, it is one of my favorite chapters. I hope you too.
And Alanduke didn't kill or hurt her. Thank you for appreciating me and please continue to tell me what you think or hope will happen and stuff. So sorry I take too long to update, I don't know how to add chapters... sigh...
I love Legolas!
Chapter one: Dance of the Candles
Years passed and Arwen bore Elassar two children. They lived in prosperity and abundance and rekindled all lost hope. They stood in prominence and soon rebuilt what was once destroyed. (Gondor) Minas Tirith is a land now of beauty and hunger never passed one's lips.
They owe it all to their wise leaders so say the people. They loved their leaders dearly and respected and honored them always.
Elassar stood of courage and was a wise leader indeed. He weighed matters and saw circumstances in different ways. He was always just and incorruptible.
Arwen was of compassion. She is wise as her mate and fair in every way. She sees what others cannot and hears and feels what is unspoken and not shown. She always is merciful.
Today though, these rulers were not in their castle. They were off to an old friend's place...
* * *
There was a feast. Tents were pitched, food cooked, music prepared and colors everywhere. Gems shown everywhere and adorned the great trees and walls of old. Indeed, all was merry.
"Gimli, my old friend! It's nice to see you," Elassar exclaimed approaching a couple of dwarves happily welcoming guests. Arwen's hand was laid on his arm and she beamed at Gimli.
The dwarf in heavy armor and whose back was turned from them slowly moved to face them. The plump woman beside him bowed in welcome and greeting.
"Is it really you?" Gimli asked his voice of disbelief. Elassar smiled and nodded. "Alas! It has been a long time. Who knew I would see you again like this?" he asked.
"How are -oof!" Elessar was taken by surprise when Gimli launched for him and enveloped him in a fierce hug.
"I never thought I'd see you again," Gimli cried hoarsely.
"I missed you too Gimli," Elassar chuckled and patted his friend's back. Gimli let him go, much to Elessar's relief for he could hardly breathe.
"Thank you for coming," he sniffed.
"It is your wedding. We had set off as soon as we had the invitation," Elessar explained.
"Won't you introduce us to your beloved?" Arwen said as she patted his cheek.
"Oh, of course. How silly of me" -sniff- "My Lord and Lady, this is Magra my wife, and daughter of Maawi. This is to whom I have surrendered my freedom," Gimli said taking Magra's hand and smiling at her.
"I am honored to meet you My Lord and Lady," she spoke in a voice that was beautiful and calm as the river. She was smaller than Gimli and had a small happy face curtained with wild red hair and eyes the symbol of patience.
"No, the honor is ours." Both Elessar and Arwen bowed. "Magra, as I remember, means faithful, does it not? Elassar smiled.
"Oh yes, and she is. Please have a seat and enjoy yourselves. We shall talk more later on. I have to welcome more visitors," Magra said politely and was about to walk away, but Arwen held her gently for a moment.
"Please accept our present for your family first." Arwen waved her hand and two maidservants came to them. She retrieved the chest from the maidservants and faced her. "Use these as you will and weave beautifully. It will always be sturdy, I give you my threads." Arwen opened the lid to reveal dozens of threads in shades of every color she knew. "Take it." Arwen smiled putting it in her arms.
"Thank you my Lady. I am grateful," Magra said and bowed low before leaving.
"I see her heart is true indeed," Arwen spoke to Gimli. "You chose wise."
"Thank you my Lady. Hmm?" Gimli felt a tug from behind and a knock on his armor shortly after. It echoed inside and nearly deafened him. He turned and tears shook him again. He gathered all three hobbits and swung them in a circle.
"How are you now, beloved Gimli?" greeted Frodo
"Well, if not better then before," Gimli answered still crying with tears of joy.
"Oh look master Frodo. You made him cry," Sam said beaming at Gimli.
"Do you think we should leave? I think he's getting angry," whispered Pippin.
"No, you silly little rascal. I'm just overwhelmed. Now then, three? Where is the fourth? Where is Merry?"
"Well, Diamond is in the brink of giving birth, he couldn't leave her now can he?" Frodo beamed.
"Look! It's Legolas!" Sam exclaimed, pointing east.
Legolas came, his expression indecipherable. He approached them. "I think you have wrongly sent a message or perhaps it was the messenger's fault," he came, his face unreadable. "It said you needed me, you were in the brink of losing something valuable. I came in haste, prepared for battle. Now I wonder, why is there music and laughter at such time."
"Well, I needed you! And it wasn't the messenger, I sent the exact message you received."
"I thought so too. Might you tell me what is going on?"
"I've lost my freedom, my friend," Gimli said cheerfully.
"Then why do seem happy about it?" Legolas asked, puzzled.
"I must leave now and talk to my captor," he strode away, smiling to himself.
Legolas followed him with his eyes. "I cannot comprehend," he whispered.
There was a burst of laughter and he finally took notice of all the people behind him. He smiled despite himself at the sight of them. "Might I know what you find so amusing?" he asked, recognizing all.
"Gimli, our friend, got married my dear elf!" Elessar exclaimed. Legolas bowed before them in acknowledgement and nodded slowly in understanding. "I've had guessed that -" Frodo, Sam and Pippin launched at him. He dodged Pippin but fell with Frodo and Sam.
"Must you always carry yourself in elegance, o elven prince?" Frodo asked.
"I have missed all of you too. Now get off of the elven prince before he orders you off," Legolas answered.
"I believe we just received an order form the elven prince." Pippin stood up and tried to help them all up.
"From what I have heard, Gimli traveled with you, toured with you?" Elassar asked as he and Arwen sat on a fallen tree trunk.
"Well, yes, but he longed for caves once more, he longed for Gondor once again and so, we came back," he answered.
"I was with them too," Frodo said, his face wise and almost of elven glow.
"I wonder how Gandalf is." Sam asked as he seated himself on the grassy floor.
"Happy as he could be," Frodo answered and sat beside Sam, and looked at the stars.
"Dears, do you want a drink?" a sweet voice rang out, and they lifted there head to see Magra beaming at them.
"Yes please!" Pippin exclaimed.
She waved at another dwarf and faced them again. "It will come shortly -oh, dearest Legolas! I didn't see you come!" she exclaimed and, unexpected to all but Legolas, she pinned Legolas to a tree in an affectionate embrace. "I'm glad you could come! I made the sweets you like! I'll go get some," she sniffed and released him. "Oh, yes! I just remembered." She brought out candles made of blue and pink talc with ribbons of a darker shade around each. It glittered in the dark and it seemed wrought of hard work. "These are the candles of Dainu; we give the blue ones to every male and the pink ones to every female." She gave out the candles accordingly.
"There will be a dance later and you will be holding your partner's candle and keep it aflame as long as you can. It symbolizes how you couples will last or end through the years. And if you're not with anyone yet, giving off your candle means giving your life to the other and well, maybe love." She smiled at all of them.
"Well, I'll be off, giving out more candles," she said as she left them. Their drinks came shortly after. The food came with it and Gimli joined them again.
"We brought mushrooms for you, -err, sent them earlier. Did you receive it?" Pippin asked chewing on food.
"If I'm not mistaken, I could taste its flavor in these food," Sam added, referring to the delectable lump on his plate.
"Yes, I think Megra added some -most of it, in there. Thank you my friends," Gimli answered.
"I've been missing this for so long! However good the food is with Galadriel, pardon my Lady, I still missed it," Frodo added.
"We hope you liked it, we were hoping you'd send it back," Pippin came.
`Alas, my friend! I have none a gift to give you! I have come here with news of battle and so did not bring anything worth a gift," Legolas came. "But I hope this will do for the meantime." He brought out, from where they could not know for he came without a bag and wore no pocket big enough to contain them, a number of packets of lembas bread.
"Lembas!" Gimli's eyes widened in delight at the sign of these wafers. "My friend! This is yet the best I've received so far next to your presence!" Gimli held the wafers and chewed on them merrily.
Elassar and Arwen sat laughing with all of them as his hand rested on hers.
"Why have you not touched your food?" Elassar whispered.
"I, you know I can't eat meat," she answered.
"But that isn't meat, they're mushrooms!" Elassar came.
"All the more reason not to eat it! My brother told me it sprouts from the ground" Arwen answered slightly alarmed but not showing it.
"Would I or Frodo eat it if it was dirty?" Elassar came, amused.
"No, but you're a man and Frodo's a hobbit, a dear one, but look even Legolas won't touch it!" she ushered.
Legolas sat, indeed not touching his food.
"Legolas does not eat in public. It's rare that I see him eat -"He was cut off when they saw Gimli nodding his head, encouraging Legolas. He seemed used to this. Legolas picked up his fork and hesitantly picked up a portion and ate it. He chewed it slowly; his _expression was neither of disgust nor anger. A slow smile tugged at his lips as Gimli smiled in satisfaction. Legolas swallowed.
"See? It's not that bad! C'mon, taste it!" Elassar spooned half a spoonful and raised it in level with her lips, which remained shut but it was indeed trembling.
"My Lord, my Lady," came a familiar voice. Elassar and Arwen raised their heads, and there stood Eowyn and Dallamir, Faramir's daughter. They bowed.
Arwen smiled in relief and stood with Elassar in welcome.
`Hello, Gimli dear!" Eowyn came and kissed the dwarf's forehead. "Pippin!" She bent and embraced him.
"Where is Uncle Meriadoc?" Dallamir asked, her eyes twinkling.
"Diamond can't be left," Pippin explained.
"Oh the dear. Mother, I shall visit them after this." Dallamir smiled. "So, you came as a couple, my Lord, my Lady?" she asked Elassar and Arwen, seating herself beside Sam and Gimli.
"Eldarion and Eleonar are with the guests. Eleonar is with Magra," Arwen answered, bidding Eowyn to sit beside her.
"Where is Faramir?" Elassar asked, securing Arwen's hands and keeping them from disposing of her untouched food.
"He was delayed by a messenger, he will come shortly after," she answered. "Brother!" Eowyn stood to welcome Eomer and Lothliriel, who came hand in hand. Elfwine came from behind them, the grace of and elf and the features of a rider, handsome indeed. Eomer and Lothliriel embraced Gimli and Elfwine came with a smile on his face. He whistled, and a white horse came and stood beside him.
Gimli's mouth fell open. "Isn't this, Arod?" he whispered in disbelief.
"One of him at least. This is Aron, we give him to you in hope that you ride to Rohan with dear Magra soon," Eomer smiled and gave the reigns to Gimli. Gimli came forward and petted the dear horse.
Megido came later with Eldarion and Eleonar. She was embraced and welcomed. She gave candles and soon signaled the band to play. She bid them to take their places.
They all lit their candles and walked on to the quadrangle. Elassar held Arwen's hand, kissed it gently and with a bow, walked her for a dance, holding each other's candle.
The music came on sweet and slow, filling the air with warmth. It was dark and only the moonlight, the stars and the candles shone.
Gimli and Magra danced in the center holding each other close, Gimli wore a very satisfied smile, and Magra with a glad one. They danced holding each other's candle.
Sam and Rose too were dancing, Pippin too was with love. Eomer and Lothliriel were somewhere off dancing, and pretty much everybody on the dance floor was in love.
Frodo, Legolas, and Eowyn sat amongst themselves, Faramir being not yet there. They watched as golden lights danced in pairs on the dance floor. Dallamir, Elfwine, Eleonar, and Eldarion left later, walking towards the dance floor.
"I shall go out wait outside for Faramir, I will see you later," Eowyn smiled as she stood and walked away holding both her candle and Faramir's.
Frodo looked at Eowyn. "You know Legolas, if there was something I would like to change and add in my life... it would be a family," Frodo stated, looking wistfully at the dancers and smiling to himself. "I want somebody I could come home to, maybe even a son or a daughter. How about you Legolas?" he asked looking at the elf who was intently watching the dance floor.
"I wonder," he looked at Elassar and Arwen dancing in the moonlight happily. "I have always wondered," he whispered. "I'd be going for a walk dear friend. I would like to see Gimli's woods." He stood and with Frodo's nod, left.
Legolas walked deeper into the woods until the music was drowned out. He walked towards the stream and walked silently, listening to the whispering trees and the murmuring stream. He looked at his blue candle, a blue ribbon wrapped around it. He smiled with Magra in thought. The sweet dwarf.
He heard footsteps coming his way and he sat, silent and unmoving. He watched and saw a form come his way. Glowing in the silver moonlight was long hair that almost swept the riverbed with its length. Her voice broke the silence as she sang a beautiful melody, her voice heartbreaking.
Legolas tilted his head in wonder. The wind blew and the form turned quickly. And they held each other's gaze.
He felt as if he had plunged into water so deep as he looked into her eyes. They were blue as midnight.
"An elf!" they both exclaimed. Legolas stepped off the rock he had been on and walked towards her.
"I'm glad to see one of my kin again! Most of us moved to the Grey havens now. What kept you here? Where are the others? Are there others? " Legolas asked, overjoyed.
She looked at him, somewhat in wonder, bafflement and speechlessness. An elf was talking to her. "One of your kin? Are you not an elf?" she asked finally finding her voice.
"Why of course! Why, are you not too an elf?" Legolas asked her eyeing her face that elven in texture and her hair that was glowing raven. An elf indeed.
"I am not an elf. I simply look like one. You, however, are an elf. No, I take it back. I don't look like one, I refuse to look like one," she answered.
"Oh but you are and you do! Why deny the obvious?" he smiled, took her hand in his and steered her towards the stream. He pointed at her reflection. "Do you not see?"
She looked indeed but for a while looked at his hand that held hers. They were soft and delicate; so was his reflection, beautiful and delicate, glowing gold in the moonlight. Very unlike her.
"Of course I see, and I see me, a plain Ecijan. Now please let me loose." She stepped away from him.
"You're another elven friend of Magra?" he asked, eyeing her candle.
"Yes! And please stop insulting me. I am not an elf!" she answered, frustrated. "I'm sorry. I must leave."
"Insult?" he asked following her as she walked in haste, her dress flying behind her.
"Stop following me, leave me be. Why are you not in the dance? Surely an elf of your, your, your," she waved her hand vaguely. "position, rank has a loved one," she asked stopping to look at him, in panic now because he seemed sure she was an elf.
"The same reason an elf of your position is out here," he answered, amuse as she denied more and more.
"Leave me be then," she answered finding herself and recovering from the amazement of seeing an elf, an elf whose beauty and grace surpasses all men's measures. She stepped back and tripped as her skirt was caught on a bush's thorns.
"I will if your wish. Might I ask your name?" Legolas said as he walked to her, helping her up and picking up her candle.
"Mayumi," she lied, hiding it with a smile. She got her candle from his hand and walked towards the woods.
Legolas followed her with his elven eyes and, after a while, walked back towards the dance. He looked towards the dance and settled. He sat himself upon a rock and eyed his candle ¾this wasn't his candle. It was pink. Legolas looked to where Mayumi disappeared and shook his head; it was too late to come to her. He hid his candle, nonchalant about it and watched...watched the dance of the candles come near to an end.
* * *
Sam looked at the candle in his hand and lifted his gaze upon Rose's face. Their candles had burned long enough, almost satisfactory.
The pink candle died out first, and Sam sucked in his breath upon realization. Rose looked at him too with sadness in her eyes.
"I'm sorry to have to leave first," she whispered.
"I think we can sit down now," Sam answered. They walked back and sat beside Frodo.
"Now dear, it's okay. I'll go get your drink. Mr. Frodo, please hold this for a while." She handed Frodo the candle and kissed Sam's forehead. "I'll come back soon," she smiled and left, leaving Frodo with Sam's candle.
Eomer and Lothliriel danced close. They swayed on the dance floor. Neither noticed Lothliriel's candle in Eomer's hand flicker and die, and then after a while Eomer's candle died, and yet they still danced.
Gimli and Magra danced with their candles between them. It burned so long, but it was satisfactory. Both died at the same time though neither gave heed to them.
Elassar and Arwen danced, looking into each other's eyes. Their candles were lively and burned brightly and long. Elassar noticed his candle flickering and embraced Arwen, their candles burning behind each other. He kissed her hair and lent his cheek on her head. She now leant on his chest, listening to his heartbeat.
"There is no use in hiding it dear, we both know how we will end," she murmured.
"For once I refuse to think of something, not even speak of it. I do not want you to suffer," he answered.
"We both know what is and what will be Elassar. You would go first, to eternal peace then I shall come after you. You will wait, will you not?"
"If I were to say `till my dying day', it would be useless. So, I will wait, until forever."
"Forever comes and goes dear one," she murmured.
"But not for me...for us. You are my forever and if forever comes too soon or too long, I shall wait. Let us just hope, it doesn't come yet near."
"Hoping against hope is not all too good. Time will come that we both shall pay. It is a wonder, being an elf, time never mattered. But now, I dread each going sunset, no matter how much beautiful it is."
"Dread it not, for with each sunset it is but another day and another memory you can always come back to ¾" he stopped as they both sensed his candle die and an answer within cleared all doubts that clouded his heart and thoughts. He smiled bitterly as he planted another kiss on Arwen's brow.
"Love is worth everything we pay," he whispered. Arwen's eyes stared back at him, realization danced. And for a moment they just stood there looking at each other. Tears swelled in her eyes and fell richly down her porcelain cheeks. She smiled back and let him wipe her tears dry.
"Of course," Arwen answered and came back to the embrace. Arwen's candle died but neither took notice for they danced and filled this moonlight place with memories.
* * *
They sat together over the fireplace, chatting happily in memories of the past and the evening. Everyone laughed and talked. They were in Gimli's cave that was amazingly cozy and homely. It had some noticeable elvish touches and it glittered golden with the fire. They sat round the fireplace and still there was Elassar coaxing Arwen with the ginatan, the mushroom lump that Arwen still so desperately refused. The spoon was a touch away from her mouth when the door burst open.
"My Lord, I bring ill tidings," Faramir stood before them, his face full of worry.
Elassar raised a brow. "Can it not wait?" he asked as Arwen held the plate and spoon away from him, giving them to the eager Pippin.
"It would only take minutes." Faramir smiled, seeing and recognizing all. "But now isn't a very good time to discuss these. Greetings to all," he bowed and took Eowyn's hand. "Sorry to have kept you all waiting," he said. And with that, they all, again, rejoiced.