The Undying Lands - (chapter 36)

Last Chapter- With a cruel laugh, Tarma ran off, shouting, `Now you will be the one to die,' and wiping the blood from his sword on to his cloak.

Chapter 36:

Ariengil watched Tarma until he was out of sight and then quickly left the room, taking the stone with her. She ran to Eala, who was clutching the cut in his left shoulder, trying his hardest not to scream out.
`Where is Nieninque?' asked Ariengil breathlessly.
`Who?' murmured Eala, looking up into the maiden's gorgeous blue eyes. He reached forward and stroked Ariengil's cheeks and played with her blonde hair, which fell to his face.
`The other elf who came in with me,' whispered Ariengil, as she leant closer to Eala so he could hear her. `She can help you.'
`You can help me,' he mumbled, but he clutched his wound still and coughed in pain.
`I cannot help you,' exclaimed Ariengil, `I do not know how.'
`Here,' whispered Eala as he lifted a hand to Ariengil's neck. `Help a dying elf,' he spoke softly and romantically, as he pulled Ariengil towards him and kissed her gently.
Ariengil kissed the poor elf back, but only out of pity and thanks for his help. He drew her closely towards him and looked up at her.
`So pretty, and so alone,' he spoke almost to himself, `she could have been mine if I had been a better person. Alas,' he cried, `that will not be so now.' Tears fell down his cheeks as he looked at Ariengil. Some fell to her hand, which now rested on his, compressing the wound.
The tears suddenly reminded Ariengil of Nieninque again, and she asked Eala again, more urgently. `Where is Nieninque?'
`She can help me?' he asked.
`Yes, she can.'
A light seemed to appear in the elf's eyes as the thought of living enlightened him- he thought he had a chance at a life with Ariengil. Leaning against the wall, and with one arm around Ariengil, Eala stood and walked slowly towards the dungeons.
The pair stopped outside the nineteenth door, and they entered it cautiously. At the first turning, they turned right and walked towards another door that had a little light coming from the crack underneath.
Ariengil turned the handle to the door and stepped in with Eala. Suddenly, with a loud smack, Eala collapsed- Nieninque was standing next to him with a chair raised in the air; she had hit him.
`Nieninque!' cried Ariengil in anguish, 'you've hurt him. He helped me, and he is injured. Please help him.'
Nieninque, blushing at her mistake, but with a smile on her face at seeing her friend, moved towards the unconscious elf and waved her hand over the wound. It swiftly healed and Nieninque looked up, smiling.
`You are alright,' sighed Ariengil, `and you did not lose energy after doing that.' The two sat gently on the bed and watched the male elf, hoping he would wake.
`Yes,' replied the thin maiden, `Tarma has been helping me- we work together every day. I could not remember anything that happened since the Shire, and he reminded me that we were captured by orcs and he helped us here. He is so kind.
`Also,' she continued, `he is very much in love with you,' giggled Nieninque.
`No, no, no,' cried Ariengil. `He has been lying to you. We were captured by him and,' she continued her story and told Nieninque everything that had happened since they were captured. She, however, missed out the part about Harma's death.
`That is terrible,' gasped Nieninque. `But not to worry,' she smiled, `Harma, Mereth and Nimtheryn will save us.'
`No, they will not, Nieninque,' replied Ariengil sadly. `Mereth will not know how to find us, Nimtheryn is captured here too and Harma...' she faded out.
`Ariengil?' prompted Nieninque. `What about Harma?'
`Oh Nieninque,' sighed Ariengil, `he is... dead.'
`No!' cried Nieninque. `No, that cannot be true. It is not true,' she stuttered.
`But it is very true,' cried Ariengil, `I watched him die.'
`No. I should have been there. I could have helped, it is not right.'
`No, it is not,' murmured Ariengil. She turned to Eala and stroked his hair, trying to convince him to wake.
`Ariengil,' whispered Nieninque urgently, `I hear footsteps.'

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