The Undying Lands - (chapter 72)

`Get up, get up,' cried Elen, pounding her sister into consciousness.
Ariengil groaned. `I'm up, I'm up. What's the big deal?' she looked at her sister through bleary eyes, and then a smile broke out on her face. `It's today,' she cried happily.
`Yes, it is my wedding day,' shouted Elen triumphantly. `Hurry, it will take hours to get ready.' She dragged her sister out of the bed, for they were staying indoors as the weather had dropped drastically. `Look,' she sighed, `it has snowed.'
`Oh no,' cried Ariengil. `Don't worry, we can rearrange everything- an indoor wedding is just as good-'
`Don't be ridiculous; this is exactly what I wanted. It is perfect.' She sighed in relief, and then turned to Ariengil. `I prayed to the Valar to make it snow, and they obviously granted my wish. I can't wait to be a wife,' she smiled.
`Each to her own,' murmured Ariengil inaudibly. Elen didn't notice, but ran out of the room and returned again a minute later.
`Come on, you are supposed to be up by now. Here is your dress.' Elen handed her older sister a beautiful cream dress. Ariengil held up to her body and looked at it in awe. It reached to the ground and had a flared skirt to allow her to move easily; there were two straps on each shoulder, which crossed over as they went down the back; the chest had sequins on it, in a beautiful flower pattern.
`Elen, it is amazing. Thank you so much,' cried Ariengil. She grabbed her sister and gave her a loving hug, before stepping back again. `What is your dress like?'
Elen giggled and ran out. `Come and help me put it on, please.' Ariengil followed. As she entered the next room, her sister was already donning her garment. She did it up quickly and deftly, as though she had done it many times before.
Ariengil adjusted the rest of the fastenings, which Elen had missed in her rush, and she looked her sister up and down. The dress was even better than Ariengil's, with good reason, as it would be unfair for the bride's sister to look nicer than the bride. The dress was white, with two thin straps that sat on Elen's shoulders delicately; the dress skimmed the floor and fitted Elen perfectly- it was tight fitting until the hips, where it flared out just a little; a pattern of roses was embroidered with white thread, from the hips to the top of the dress, and also along the base of the garment.
`I... you... it-' stuttered Ariengil.
`Don't you like it?' asked Elen, completely crestfallen.
`I love it. You... you look so grown up. Where has my little sister gone?'
`Of course I've grown up- I'm getting married. But I'm still your little sister so don't talk like that. I... I wish mum and dad were here. And Elure.'
`Me too, Elen. Me too.' Ariengil had tears in her eyes, but she was determined not to let her sister see them. `Right, let me do your hair. Turn around.'
Elen brightened up at the prospect of getting ready, and she rummaged through a desk quickly. She took out a white rose. `This is going in my hair- it isn't a real rose, but it looks like it. I had it made out of the same material as this dress. Can you put it in for me, please?'
`I'll try.' Ariengil busied herself with Elen's hair for the most part of an hour. She then left quickly to find a mirror. When she returned, Elen was touching her hair tentatively and cautiously. `Don't touch,' shouted Ariengil. Her sister immediately withdrew her hand as though she had been burnt. `Sorry, I didn't mean to be so abrupt, but I don't want it to fall down.'
`That's alright,' smiled Elen. `It feels nice, now how does it look? Wow, Ariengil,' she exclaimed as she looked in the mirror. `It is incredible.' Her blonde hair was caught up delicately on her head, and the rose was intertwined with her gorgeous hair. It looked exquisite, and Ariengil was proud of it. `Now it's your turn,' she cried happily. `Go and get ready.'
Ariengil obeyed, and ran off to get into her dress. She was so worried that it wouldn't fit, but somehow it had been made to fit her exactly. She spun herself on the spot, watching her feet. The skirt twirled around her, and then twirled back the other way gracefully.
Smiling happily, she looked into the mirror and she sat on the bed. She put her hands on her lap, and felt cold metal against one finger. She looked down at the ring that Eldarion had given her, but the beautiful stone and the perfect ring of gold now seemed unnecessary to her. Thinking of Eldarion, but only as a good friend, she took off the ring and put it on the table by her bed. Her fingers then rested on the bracelet that Harma had given her, and she sighed sadly. Carefully and lovingly, she took it off and put it next to the ring.
`Arri,' said Elen, who had just come into the room. `Don't take it off.'
`There is no point keeping it on,' replied Ariengil tearfully. `He is gone, and treasuring the bracelet will not bring him back. I don't want to be reminded of his death everyday.'
`Then don't be reminded of his death, but remember all of the good times you had together.'
Ariengil picked the bracelet back up and put it back on, feeling more complete with it on. Her sister was right. `You act older than you are, you know? You are very mature for... for a... a-'
`A three thousand, seven hundred and thirty-two year old,' laughed Elen. `I'm only two years younger than you, so don't mock me!' She ran and gave her sister a hug, and they laughed together for a while, before Elen remembered the importance of the day. `Oh no, we've lost about an hour of our time, hurry.'
A couple of hours later, someone ran into the room. `Quickly; it is almost time,' they cried, and ran out again. Elen looked sideways at Ariengil and they both screamed happily, then jumped up and down excitedly.
Before they knew it, they were outside and walking towards the lake. Elladan had chosen to tell everyone where the lake was, for such an occasion, and it was perfect for the wedding. Seats had been set up around the lake and on the centre of the lake, which had frozen over, there was a huge display of flowers. At the head of the lake was a crafted terrace with roses artistically placed all over it. Elrohir stood on the terrace, looking nervous; Elladan, two little girls and another man accompanied him.
`Are you ready?' asked Ariengil.
`Yes, yes,' cried Elen. `But my hands are shaking and I don't know why,' she cried. It was true- her fingers would not stay still and were very warm.
`Just nerves, but don't worry. It will be perfect. I love you so much.' Ariengil hugged her sister for the last time as a youngster- in less than an hour Elen would be married and would be an adult, in her sister's mind.
`Not as much as I love you,' replied her sister with a grin.
`I seriously doubt that,' thought Ariengil, thinking of all of her family, Harma and all other friends she had lost. `Now go and get your man,' she whispered. They both took a bouquet of flowers and Elen walked towards Elrohir, with Ariengil following.
Elrohir turned to look at Elen and was speechless. He smiled timidly and as his bride came towards him, he held out a hand and helped her onto the terrace. Elen gave her flowers to one of the little girls, while Ariengil gave hers to the other child. She then stood next to Elladan, who smiled contentedly at her.
`Welcome, friends,' called the other member on the terrace. He was to conduct the ceremony and wed the couple. `I thank you for coming to this special occasion, to witness the joining of Elrohir and Elen in marriage. I bless you both in the name of the Valar, especially in the name of Irmo, Lord of visions and dreams. May your visions and dreams be successful in your future together.
`May I have the cups of wine please?' he asked. Elladan took one cup and gave it to Elrohir, and Ariengil took the other and gave it to Elen. They were quite heavy, in gold chalices, and filled with red wine. Ariengil grimaced, for she disliked wine, and was glad that Elen was to drink it, not herself.
`The wine represents your blood, may it always flow strong and one day may you have a child with blood from the both of you. Take a sip,' he whispered. The couple timidly took a taste then looked at the man expectedly. `Now swap cups and take another sip.' They did so, and looked at each other over the tops of their glasses.
Ariengil took the cup from Elen, and gave her a ring- the one that Elen had given her earlier. It was a plain gold band, with a heart engraved on the top.
`Do you have your rings?' asked the man. Seeing that they did, he continued. `These rings represent a tight happiness between the two of you, it represents the circle of love between you and it shows a bond. Elrohir, you may begin.'
Elrohir nodded and took a deep breath. He looked into Elen's eyes and smiled timidly. `I love you more than anyone could imagine, and I promise you that I will always be here for you, will always look after you and will love you every second of everyday for the rest of my life. My family is your family, my friends are your friends, and I am yours forever. I am the happiest being alive at this moment, thank you for everything.' A few people whispered amongst themselves, and a few sighed happily. Elrohir took Elen's hand and gently slipped a band of gold onto her finger. It had a glaze of green on a small section, which Elrohir said was a melted stone.
Elen now took the ring from her hand and put it on Elrohir's finger. `I once thought I had lost everyone and everything, but I was wrong. I thought that there was no point in living, that no one cared and that I was all alone. You showed me how wrong I was and made every second worth living- you even brought my sister home. I could not live without you, and I am so glad that we will be together for eternity- but even eternity isn't long enough to show you how much I love you.' Elen sniffed and brushed a tear out of her eye, then looked into Elrohir's eyes.
Elrohir leant closer, and they kissed each other passionately. Ariengil smiled and looked over at Elladan. He was looking at the couple jealously, as though it was unfair that they could have such a passion for one another. He felt Ariengil's eyes on his, and he looked up. Ariengil raised her eyebrows and tried not to smirk; Elladan also fought hard to keep his face straight, then nodded at her. They smiled, then turned back to the couple and cheered. Everyone else stood up and cheered too. The man conducting the wedding had to shout to be heard.
`Congratulations, you are now a married couple in the name of Ilúvatar.'
Elen turned away from Elrohir, but still held his hand, and she grabbed Ariengil into a strong hug. Elrohir was hugging Elladan and everyone was laughing happily. Everything was perfect, but for the agony in Ariengil's heart.
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