The Undying Lands - a surprise (part 10)

For the next few days, Ariengil would not stray farther than two metres from Harma's side. He loved her more and more for this, but would not tell her. When Ariengil's friends arrived, she bid him farewell for a while and went to talk to Dînhith. The second she had left, Harma asked the people nearby for some lengths of willow branches and some small ivy leaves.
'Dîndîn, am I doing wrong staying with Harma all the time?' she asked her friend.
'I do not mean this to cause offence, for without a true friend a person cannot discern the errors of their own action, perhaps he may like a little time to himself.' Dînhith did not believe this really, but Harma had asked her to say this so that he could prepare a surprise for Ariengil.
'Very well, that is how it shall be, thank you.'
They talked of many other things as they walked, and only returned in the evening, by which time Harma had hidden all of the wood and leaves.
Harma still seemed in a bad way, but Elrond and Tuor were tending to him. Elrond, Ariengil thought, always had a strange look in his eyes when talking to Tuor or looking at him and Tuor always seemed happy to see Elrond.
Later, Ariengil was walking past an open window when she heard the two of them talking. It was dark though, so she could not see them.
'Elrond, can you see your father from here?' asked Tuor. Ariengil was confused, so she stopped to listen.
'Yes grandfather-' *Grandfather? So that is why Lord Elrond looks so happy, and yet sad, all the time.* 'He is there, next to that other star.' *Next to a star? This is very confusing.* Suddenly Ariengil understood, Eärendil, Elrond's father was the Evening Star who is highly honoured by the Valar. Tuor was Eärendil's father, it all made sense now. Happy, she walked on to go and see Harma.
As Ariengil entered, Harma hid something which Ariengil did not see, and he looked very guilty. To cover up his guilt, he pretended that he was suddenly in pain. Ariengil rushed to his side and checked his wound. Harma was not in pain very much recently, so he grabbed Ariengil and they rolled over on the floor, laughing together. Harma kissed Ariengil and they shared a moment of reflection on their pasts and their futures, Harma hinted that he had a surprise, but would not give Ariengil any more hints.
After a late supper, they sat together outside, looking at the stars and thinking about each other. Harma was on the mend, and they decided to walk to the small patio. Bushes surrounded the patio, with a lovely bench in the centre. They sat on the bench and listened to the birds sing.
Harma slowly went down on one knee when suddenly Mereth crashed through the bushes. 'I am sorry, but I am very worried- I cannot find my brother anywhere. Have you seen him?'
'No Mereth, we have not, he is probably with Dînhith,' sighed Ariengil, the moment was spoilt.
'Ah! Dînhith, you are probably correct. Right, goodbye.' He turned to go, but then stopped and turned back again. 'What are you doing on the floor, mate? Have you lost something?'
'Lost something? Yes, that is right, I have lost something. Goodbye then,' stuttered Harma.
'Yes, goodbye.' Mereth walked off whistling while Harma scuttled around on the floor looking for what he had lost. Suddenly he picked something up, said 'aha' and popped something in his pocket.
'Shall we go back in? I am getting tired,' asked Ariengil.
'Oh, very well then.' He scooped her up in his arms and carried her off as she laughed away. At the entrance to her room he kissed her goodnight and walked off. Ariengil sighed.
The next day, Ariengil visited Frodo and they had a nice long talk about the Shire, for Ariengil had never seen it, and she told Frodo more about her family. At the end of their conversation, Harma whisked Ariengil away to a dance in the meeting hall.
Ariengil did not want to dance because she had no pretty clothes to wear, but Harma had sorted that out already and brought out a white gown which Lady Galadriel had made. Ariengil thanked her profoundly, but wondered why she had been given it.
Looking around, she saw many people looking at her and she had a feeling that she did not know something that everyone else did. 'Harma, why is there a dance on?' she asked.
'I am not quite sure,' he replied, 'I think that there is a special occasion. Would you care to dance?'
'No one else is dancing.'
'If we start, I am sure they will start.' They took to the dance floor and, as Harma had said, many couples joined them after a while. Harma and Ariengil seemed to be the centre of attention, when Ariengil asked why, he replied, 'It is because of your pretty face, your slender body and your amazing beauty- you look incredible tonight.'
'You don't look so bad yourself Harma,' she replied. He certainly did look handsome- the best looking man in the room, and the best dressed.
The music changed mood and became very slow and romantic. Harma asked Ariengil to follow him and led her to the front of the hall, up some steps and onto a stage. He made her sit on a chair in the middle of the stage and called to a friend. Harma's friend gave him two things, but Ariengil could not see them. The hall hushed and all stared at the stage. Suddenly Ariengil felt very self-conscious.
Harma turned around with roses in his arms and presented them to Ariengil with a kiss. The whole hall, which was filled completely, cheered, all except for Thaliondil and Mereth.
Harma then went down on one knee in front of Ariengil and the hall was silent.
He took a ring out of his pocket; it was made of willow, which was wrapped as tightly as possible in a circle to fit Ariengil's finger. There were tiny, tiny leaves of ivy which were entwined between the willow. Finally, there was a leaf, slightly bigger than the others, which had tinted gold edges, which lay on the top in the place a crystal would normally be. It was a beautiful ring, much prettier than any with an expensive stone, and so much work had been put into it. 'Ariengil, I have loved you for an age. Please will you let me love you for eternity and consent to be my wife?'
There was not a single sound that was heard in the whole of Menel as an answer was awaited. 'Oh Harma,' she paused and everyone waited on baited breath, 'I do not know what to say.'
'How about yes?' he asked, slightly put down.
Ariengil opened her mouth to answer...


~anything in stars (*...*) are thoughts~

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