The Days Ahead - Chapter 1

<p> Waves beat against the seashore in rhythm with her breathing. The hem of her skirt was floating in the water while her feet dug into the sand. Her hair was being blown about her face by the gentle breeze. In this moment, it felt like nothing bad could ever happen. She tilted her face up to the sky to look at all the stars. <br /> <br /> Strong hands grabbed her by the shoulders. ?Lothiriel,? a familiar voice whispered. <br /> <br /> 'Father?' She turned to bury her face in his shoulder while his arms wrapped around her. Eventually, she looked up into those sea-grey eyes she had known all her life. <br /> <br /> Prince Imrahil ran his hand over her hair soothingly. 'What are you doing out here, my dearest?' He could see a tear forming in her eye, and it made his heart ache towards her. <br /> <br /> 'I was praying to Eru, father. Praying that He would protect you,' her voice cracked as she spoke. <br /> <br /> 'What's this?' He tilted her face up to look at him and smiled down at her. 'My warrior princess is crying? Best not let your brothers see this!' <br /> <br /> Lothiriel laughed a little at this. 'No, they mustn't know. Will you keep my secret?' <br /> <br /> 'Of course, it'll be our little secret.' He pulled her head to his chest in one last embrace. 'Now, my dear, will you return to the farewell feast with me?' <br /> <br /> She nodded. It took all her strength to let go of him. He tugged her hand into the crook of his arm and then covered it. 'You won't face this alone, Lothiriel, although I am more than confident in you.' <br /> <br /> Prince Imrahil led his daughter back towards the pavilion. They could hear music coming from the party. It was soft and soothing at the moment, likely a ballad. <br /> <br /> 'What do you mean, father?' She felt uneasy, more so than she had for the earlier part of the evening. The farewell dinner had made her feel cheerless, and that had been her reason for retreating to the seashore. She always felt peace there. <br /> <br /> 'I have instructed Elphir to remain here with you.' Imrahil did not look at his daughter when he said this. He could feel her anger when she gripped his arm tighter than he was sure she had intended. One thing was certain; she was not frail like other girls. <em>The results of growing up without a mother?s touch.</em> He closed his eyes at the thought of his late wife. They were forced open when he felt Lothiriel yank her hand from his arm and whirl to look at him. <br /> <br /> 'How could you? Don't you realize that this will dishonor him?' Her eyes were on fire, and Imrahil couldn't help but smile. 'I don't find this funny, father. It is a serious issue.' <br /> <br /> 'I completely agree with you,' he said as he was stifling a laugh. <br /> <br /> 'Then you will let him ride with you to Minas Tirith?' A glimmer of hope entered her eyes. 'You won't make him stay here to watch the women and children?' <br /> <br /> 'No, he will stay here.' <br /> <br /> 'Father!' Frustration leaked into her voice, and she could feel her hands balling into fists. <br /> <br /> 'My dear flower,you have many thorns.' He had seen her hands curling, and pointed to them. <br /> <br /> Lothiriel relaxed. 'My apologies.' <br /></p> <p>'Apology accepted.' Imrahil held out his arm for her to take. They continued towards the party as he explained his reasoning to her. 'My journey will be a dangerous one, it will be full of darkness. I cannot take you with me, for obvious reasons. You are my daughter, and it would not be proper to bring you along on a trip with all men.' <br /> <br /> 'That doesn?t explain why Elphir much also remain.' <br /> <br /> 'I cannot leave you here to fend for yourself. I doubt that Dol Amroth will be left alone forever. If your brother is here I will be able to rest assured that you are safe. Also, what would become of our city if all of its heirs perished?' He patted her hand. 'It will be better this way.' <br /> <br /> Before Lothiriel had a chance to protest, they stepped onto the pavilion where the feast was being held. A rambunctious tune was being played now, it made her head throb. Her brothers seemed to like it though. <br /> <br /> Elphir was swinging a lady about with a smile on his face. She was unfamiliar to Lothiriel, but that didn't mean much. Her time was spent mostly in seclusion. It wasn?t that she was antisocial, she just preferred being out of doors with her horse on the beach. <br /> <br /> Erchirion was dancing with one of the little girls. He always had a soft spot for children. One day, Lothiriel was sure, he would be a wonderful father. The little girl's curls bounced about her face as he twirled her in his arms. She smiled at the sight of them. <br /> <br /> Then there was Amrothos. He was dancing with Melanna, just as she would have guessed. They had been courting for nearly six months now. She prayed their time together wasn't coming to an end. <br /> <br /> The familiar ache returned to her heart. She felt like the world was coming to an end right in front of her eyes,and they hadn't even left yet. <br /> <br /> Imrahil kissed her on the top of the head just as the music came to a flourished end. 'Now, go and be merry. We don't leave until the morrow, my dear.' <br /> <br /> Suddenly, Erchirion was by her side. 'Dearest sister, would you honor me with a dance?' His grin was lopsided, and she could tell he was trying to cheer her.&nbsp; She accepted his outstretched hand with a little laugh. <br /> <br /> The rest of the evening was spent with her being passed from brother to father, back to brother again, and so on. Her family kept her in a tizzy, which was what she had needed best to wear her out. For that night, Lothiriel of Dol Amroth would need her rest to face the days ahead of her. <br /> <br /> <br /> ~Author's Note~ <br /> This story takes place DURING the War of the Ring, unlike my other story A Maiden of Faith. (which I will be continuing) Hope yall enjoy it. <br /> ~Nim</p>
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