The Undying Lands - (chapter 34)
Ariengil shrunk back as far as she could as Tarma stepped closer; menacing and strong, he leant over her and kissed her pale neck as she squealed. As Tarma forced himself on top of Ariengil, he attempted to undo her dress, but the chord was tied well and he did not succeed. All the time, Ariengil was fighting to pull away, but Tarma's strength was too much and the effort in fighting back left Ariengil weary.
Tarma's eagerness caused him to fumble and he eventually broke the cord to Ariengil's dress and ripped it apart, causing the maiden to scream and kick. Tarma's weight caused Ariengil not to be able to move much, but she screamed, although to no avail.
Tarma kissed Ariengil time and time again, the blood from his lip smearing across the girl's cheeks and face, even in her hair. His foul breath heated her body where his lips rested and his eyes were ever roaming. Tarma was oblivious to Ariengil's hatred and disgust, and he seemed not to feel her beatings or to hear her screams.
The repulsive elf, in his hurry for more, broke Ariengil's bracelet, given to her by Harma when she left for the Undying Lands, and the willow splintered as the blue gem fell to the floor. With a quiet crack, Ariengil heard the lovely gem, representing Harma's eyes, snap in half.
Ariengil gasped and more hatred than she had imagined possible surged through her and she mustered all her force possible and slapped Tarma across the face. The darkened face of the stronger elf showed Ariengil her mistake only moments before he hit her brutally on her arm, and then slapped her on her cheeks. As the elf went to strike again, Ariengil screamed again at the top of her voice.
Suddenly the door burst open and Eala ran in. `Sir,' he shouted and Tarma stopped immediately. The look on his face showed the anger he had for Eala and his eyes flashed dangerously like a wild animal, as he stepped forwards. Eala seemed undaunted and stood up tall. `Sir, a prisoner has been brought in.'
`I told you not to disturb me unless it is important, what is so important that calls for interruption?' shouted Tarma.
`My apologies Sir, but,' he glanced at Ariengil, `but he seemed to know this place somehow.'
`Fine,' sighed Tarma, `but take her to the dungeons,' and he left abruptly, after a brief cough to clear his throat and within that brief moment, he regained all his lost dignity.
When the strong commander had left, Eala turned to Ariengil and she cowered as she tried to cover herself up and fix her dress. For a brief moment, the male elf's eyes lingered on Ariengil, but he blushed and turned away as Ariengil recovered herself. She grabbed the sheet from the bed and wrapped herself up tearfully.
Eala turned around. `Right, the dungeons, he says. That isn't so good,' then, sighing, he walked out of the room. Ariengil didn't follow, so he turned back and stepped forwards. As the maiden flinched, Eala's eyes lost their sparkle and he seemed sad. `I won't hurt you, my lady, but it is my duty to take you to where you must be taken.
`I will not even touch you if you do not wish, but for that, you must follow me. You can lead the way and I will direct you.' Ariengil obliged, as she had no choice, and walked slowly and painfully along the corridor.
The room was situated down a small corridor that was deserted and out of the way, so that little noise came to it. Leading away from the small passage, there was a split and the paths separated- one showing the way to the massive dining hall, and one leading to a passage with many doors.
At the end of the passage with numerous doors, each with a number painted in red, there was a gate of metal that seemed very strong and impossible to open without great strength. It was to this gate that the maiden was led to.
Eala stopped and took out a key, inserted it into the lock and then stepped back without turning it. His face seemed puzzled and he kept looking from Ariengil to the gate again and again before he spoke.
`These doors,' he pointed down the corridor, `lead to many different places. The even numbers lead to other parts of this maze, numbers one, five and nine lead out of here and the rest lead to the dining hall.
`This gate,' he gestured to the metal bars, `is so strong that not even ten elves could move it unless they have the key. There is no escape from in there.
`I-' as Eala continued to speak, Ariengil leant forward and brought her knee up to Eala and kicked as hard as she could. He screamed in pain and fell to the floor as Ariengil ran, not looking back.
Taking the first exit she came to, Ariengil fled through the door, not noting which number she had chosen. As she shut the door, she heard the elf behind her stand and shout at her to stop, but he did not advance until she had shut the door.
The corridor was flat, but dark, so Ariengil ran on without looking at her feet and without worrying about falling. Many times, she passed another few passages but chose to run on rather than to turn. Ariengil stumbled and tripped over the sheet she wore as she ran, but she continued, as she would rather face the darkness than the dungeons.
Sounds ahead caused Ariengil to slow down and she crept quietly, barely breathing through her worry. A sound of stones scattering scared her and she stopped completely, but as she saw nothing, she walked on.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a hand grabbed her shoulder and Ariengil screamed, the cry echoing down the passage. A second hand covered the girl's mouth to stop her from screaming again and she was pulled towards the captor to stop her from moving.
Shouts were heard down the corridor and Ariengil's captor looked from side to side in worry, before stepping back into a neighbouring passage and pulling Ariengil violently with him. No sooner than he had done that, then men with swords and daggers ran past.
When Ariengil heard no more sounds, she tried to kick her captor as she had kicked Eala earlier. Her captor, however, was ready for this and stepped back quickly before turning around and pulling Ariengil backwards into him.
`Do not,' he breathed, `be stupid. I am trying to help you.'
Ariengil looked up in surprise and stopped struggling as she realised she heard Eala's voice. He looked down comfortingly and she peered up through the dark to see his eyes looking at her reassuringly.
`Now follow me,' he suggested gently. `I'll keep you safe.'
Cautiously Ariengil followed the tall elf through lots of passages, sneaking along the sides of walls, peering around corners and barely speaking until Eala nodded and stepped through a door.
Ariengil realised she was right in front of the dungeons and she stepped back in alarm- she had been tricked. `No,' assured Eala, `you are still safe. There is a hiding place right here,' he pointed at the wall.
Ariengil laughed. `Do not fool with me, there is no way that I can hide by a wall.'
`No,' he replied calmly, `not by it, but in it.'
Ariengil still had a frown on her face, so Eala dug around in his pocket. He brought out a dark brown stone that seemed black in the middle, and it sparkled slightly in the light. He handed this to Ariengil with a smile.
`This stone shows hiding places for those who cannot see them normally. There is one right here, right in front of you. Think of someone you love and shut your eyes, holding the stone directly in front of you. Do it now, we don't have much time.'
`Why someone I love?' asked Ariengil.
`Only good people can love, and this stone is only to be used for those who are good. Go ahead.'
Ariengil shut her eyes and remembered the first time she and Harma had met.
*As Ariengil seated herself on the mossy floor in Lothlórien, Harma stepped out from the trees nearby. He breathed in as he looked on the beautiful maiden, his eyes full of wonder and love.
`My lady,' he began. Ariengil looked up in shock, as she had not heard him approach, as her mind was so full of hatred for the elf who thought he loved her- Umbar.
`Who are you, stranger?' she asked gently, looking at the new elf with interest.
`My name is Harma, and you, beautiful maiden, would be who?'
`I am Ariengil, and it is an honour to meet you.'
Harma walked to Ariengil and helped her to stand. She shook with the cold and Harma drew his arms around her, his warmth encircling her, his eyes devouring her and his sweet smell being her breath. She knew she was in love.*
`Well done.' Eala spoke gently to Ariengil and her eyes opened quickly, tears flowing from her eyes as she felt those dear moments drifting away, just out of her touch. She looked up into Eala's eyes and, in embarrassment, away again. In front of her, a veil had appeared and she stepped forward towards it.
The cloth-like veil was soft to the touch and felt like water trickling over her hand. Ariengil stepped inside and looked back. Eala nodded silently and smiled, then turned quickly and ran off; as he did so, the veil darkened slightly and Ariengil knew the door was once again hidden.
The room that Ariengil was now in was spectacular- the roof climbed for many, many metres, and an intricate carving was at the top. Although the room was dark, the carving, of a sun, seemed to give out some light, causing everything it touched to shine. The room was very big and was as Ariengil imagined Moria to be- she had heard tales from her friends who had visited it.
The chamber seemed to be supplied with everything Ariengil would need, from swords and shields to food on a grand table. Ariengil smiled at her luck, but settled herself in a chair by the door so she could see any comings and goings around the maze.
The veil was such that from Ariengil's side, you could see everything although it was slightly darker, but from the side looking into the room, you saw just a wall of solid stone.
Ariengil realised this when suddenly an elf ran past. He had exited room number twenty, with its number shining like blood. The elf tripped and fell, and rolled over before standing up again, scorning at his stupidity. He stood right in front of Ariengil, who breathed in suddenly as she was face to face with the scary being. He scowled at the wall, kicked it and ran off again.
As Ariengil marvelled at the ingenious of this invention, she heard footsteps. A quick estimation by the maiden, told her that there were at least two people coming, and they seemed to be dragging something.
True to her guess, seconds later, two strong elves dragging a third elf, trooped past, followed by Tarma. Tarma opened the metal gate of the dungeons with his key as the elves dropped their charge to the floor.
The injured elf rolled over, moaning and muttering something. `I want to help you... find... help you,' he mumbled.
`Well,' sneered Tarma, `we won't be having anymore of that. You need discipline.' Nodding to the two elves, they picked up the prisoner and begun to drag him away again.
Two distinct, bright eyes looked around frantically and blonde hair flicked around as the captive sadly watched his escape route vanish. Only then did Ariengil recognise the crystal eyes, the golden hair- it was Nimtheryn.