The Undying Lands - (chapter 71)

`Dînhith,' called Ariengil, the next day, as she spotted her friend. Dînhith seemed not to hear Ariengil, and kept walking into the woods. As soon as she turned a corner, she began to run. When Ariengil also turned the corner, Dînhith was nowhere in sight. Puzzled, Ariengil turned back and went to find some company. Elladan was the first she found.
`Hello, my little chum,' laughed Elladan as Ariengil approached. `Why the grumpy face?' he asked jokingly.
`Oh, it's nothing,' replied Ariengil, but she continued anyway. `It's just that Dînhith seems to be avoiding me. She ran away from me just a minute ago although I called to her.'
`Maybe she didn't hear you,' suggested Elladan.
Ariengil raised her eyebrows sceptically. `She's an elf,' Ariengil exclaimed, `she has perfect hearing.'
`I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation. Anyway, I've had enough of that scowl on your face. Let's go riding.' Ariengil laughed and agreed, so they headed to the stables.
Elladan took his horse, which was a fine chestnut stallion. `Roch,' he murmured, `it seems so long since we last rode together.' He whispered into the horse's neck with love and devotion, and Ariengil could do nothing but smile. Her smile faded as she realised she didn't know where her horse was. She had reached Lorien with Thaliondil, on his horse, not her with Silmewesta.
`You looking for your horse?' came a voice. Ariengil looked around, but did not see anyone. Looking into the shadows more carefully, she saw a man sitting on a pile of hay. He stood up and took Ariengil's hand, welcoming her warmly. He was an elf, but seemed not to care for his appearance as much as other elves, for his hair was tangled and messy, his clothes were smelly and torn slightly, and his hands were muddy. He seemed very friendly though, and Ariengil immediately warmed to him. `Yours is the silver mare, isn't it?'
`Yes, it is,' exclaimed Ariengil, shocked that the man knew that she was looking for her horse. `I wouldn't consider her silver though, but more grey.'
`No, she is silver. What an animal,' he murmured lovingly. `She is probably a descendant of the Mearas. How you came by the beast, I can only imagine,' he whispered in awe.
`If you are suggesting that I stole her, you are very much mistaken,' cried Ariengil defiantly.
`Not at all, my Lady. I would not insinuate that. I am just thinking that only Kings and Princes ever rode the Mearas, and you are not of royal line, so she could have been a gift or such like. Am I correct?' he asked with a hint of lust for the horse.
`Mithrandir broke the rule of only royalty riding the Mearas, and although she is a descendant of them, she was not a gift from the royals. My father gave her to me when I was a child, and I have always had her. If we stay for a while, you could always see if she is willing to bear a child for your stables. May I see her now please?'
`Of course, my Lady. That is a true honour, if she would bear us a foal,' he continued murmuring to himself as he lead Ariengil to her horse.
`Silmewesta,' cried Ariengil, and she threw herself on the horse's neck. In reply, the horse nuzzled her mistress on the neck. `Where's her saddle?' In reply, the man gave her a leather saddle, with a beautiful bridle. Ariengil nodded in thanks, quickly and deftly placing the riding equipment on Silmewesta.
`Elladan,' she called, `are you ready?'
`Yes, yes,' he replied, and took his horse outside, waiting for Ariengil. She turned to the man.
`Thank you for looking after Silmewesta. I'm Ariengil, and you are?'
`My name is Romen, and it was a pleasure looking after your fine mare. She is welcome here anytime.' To his surprise, Silmewesta nuzzled Romen and trotted off. Ariengil smiled, and then ran after her horse. Outside, she leapt onto her horse and galloped off, laughing. Elladan raced after her, and they left the wood smiling to one another happily.
The two rode for hours and did not return until dusk. Elladan quickly put Roch away and ran off to find his brother. Ariengil walked back to Silmewesta's stall and left her horse while she tidied away the saddle and bridle. The riding gear was kept in a storeroom beside the stables, where Ariengil headed after petting her horse. She walked into the room, straight into another person.
`I'm sorry, I didn't realise anyone was-' Ariengil stopped as she saw who it was. `Dînhith,' she exclaimed, `what are you doing here?'
`What does it matter to you?' asked her friend with a scowl on her face.
`Dîndîn what have I done to upset you?' asked Ariengil sadly.
`I think a more suitable question would be "what have I not done?" because you have not spent anytime with me, you have not spoken to me for ages and you have not even thought about me while we've been here.'
`You are wrong,' cried Ariengil. `I called to you today and you ran off, and I've been fretting about you all day. I spend time with you too!'
`Fretting about me? While you were having fun with Elladan? I think not. You spend very little time with me, and you're leaving me out. I just want to be included, please.'
`I'm not leaving you out,' screamed Ariengil. `Elladan is my friend. Are you accusing me of leaving you out purposefully? How can you think that? You are my best friend!'
`I know I'm your best friend, and you are mine, but I'd just like to be invited to join you sometimes. I don't think you'd leave me out on purpose, but you must see that I am being left out.'
`I was going to ask you to join me today, but you ran off. You can't blame me for that. I do invite you to join me anyway!'
`I'm not the only one who thinks this. Beleg agrees that you aren't as close to me as you used to be, and you are leaving me out by not asking me.'
`What has it got to do with Beleg? Beleg doesn't even like me- so how can he judge me so quickly? That is not fair.'
`What?' exclaimed Dînhith. `He's always saying that you are really nice. He has never done anything to imply that he doesn't like you, so I don't know where you get that idea. You haven't made an effort to get to know him, so don't accuse him of not liking you, because you seem to be the only one who doesn't like certain people in our group.' There was silence, and both girls looked at each other menacingly for a minute. Then Dînhith spoke again, in a softer tone. `I didn't want an argument, I just came to ask you to include me.'
`You are saying that I leave you out. You are basically accusing me off being an orc to you.'
`I never said that,' cried Dînhith. `I don't want to be left out, that is all.'
`Why don't you try and make an effort not to be then, instead of accusing me of things? Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going.' With that, Ariengil walked out, still with the saddle and bridle, back to Silmewesta. She left the gear with her horse and combed out the mare's hair gently.
Shortly Dînhith left the stables, and looked back at her friend. Ariengil purposefully avoided her eyes and patted Silmewesta lovingly and defiantly. A little later she returned the saddle and bridle, then went to find Elladan.
`There you are,' said Ariengil as she ran up to her new friend. `I need to talk to you. It's about Dînhith.'
`Yes, she seemed to be rather moody earlier,' laughed Elladan. `Shall we go and get a drink, because I'm parched.' Ariengil nodded, and they went to the brewery, were someone had just made an elderflower drink. They took a glass of it each and went for a walk.
`Dînhith said I'm not allowed to spend time with you anymore because she is jealous. She has some crazy idea that I'm leaving her out because I'm spending time with you,' stated Ariengil.
`Well I guess we have been spending a lot of time together, but we're not leaving her out purposefully,' Elladan replied thoughtfully.
`Exactly what I said!'
`So... er... are you going to stop spending time with me?' asked Elladan in a would-be-casual voice, were it not for the upset glance he gave Ariengil.
`What? Of course not. Just because she has a jealous thought doesn't mean I should stop seeing you. In fact, I was thinking that you should join us to go to the Undying Lands. I'd like Elen to go too, and as she is marrying Elrohir, I doubt she will go anywhere without him. Then you'd still have Elrohir with you too. How about it?'
`I'd love to,' he shouted, smiling happily. `Our parents wanted us to go years ago, but I wanted to stay here. But I will only go if Elrohir does. When do we leave?'
Ariengil giggled, her laughter dancing through the trees. `You're very eager! I think Elen will want to marry here, and we may take a detour- go to the Shire, or Rivendell on the way. But in a few months perhaps.' Ariengil looked up at Elladan and they smiled, then she looked away for she heard footsteps. `It's Dînhith,' she whispered. `Go back, please, because I shouldn't prove her point about always spending time with you. I'll see you later, once I've talked to her.'
When Elladan had left, Ariengil wandered towards Dînhith in an innocent way. She accidentally dropped her bracelet near to her friend. Dînhith picked it up and handed it to Ariengil silently.
`Thanks,' said Ariengil coldly, and with a scowl, and then kept walking. She had changed her mind about speaking to Dînhith.
`Arri,' whispered Dînhith. `I wanted to say sorry for what I said. However, I do believe I am being left out and would just like to be included- that is all I ask. So next time you go for a ride or something, please ask me. That is all.' She began to walk off, but Ariengil stopped her.
`I'm not leaving you out, but if you would like to join me, then just ask.'
`Well I'm asking now- please include me. I'm sorry- I don't think you're an orc, and I never said it, but... I made this for you anyway, to say sorry.' Dînhith opened her hand, where she had a bracelet. It was made of three thin pieces of material, all plaited together. There was a red, blue and a white strand. `The red and blue symbolise you and me, and the white symbolises our friendship- you know that I think that white is a perfect colour, and I think of our friendship as perfect, apart from little arguments such as this one.'
`Red and blue- am I blue because of my eyes? And you are red because of... I don't know why, but I suppose I can't be cross anymore, can I?' she teased. She grabbed Dînhith into a hug and slipped the bracelet on.
`You got the colours correct, but not the correct reasons. Do you remember when we were about two hundred, and both got identical dresses, but in different colours? Yours was blue, and mine was red. We had an argument that lasted for at least half a year, and after that we swore we wouldn't argue again, and we named those as our colours. The arguing didn't work, but we are still bound by our colours.'
`That was such a stupid argument, but not as stupid as this one,' laughed Ariengil. Dînhith looked uncomfortable, because she still felt left out, but she laughed anyway to please her friend.
They went to eat together, but there was still coldness between them for a couple of weeks- especially when Elladan was mentioned.
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