The Undying Lands - (chapter 74)

The food was delicious, and Nieninque produced a brilliant drink to go with it. She had hidden it away in her bag and was saving it for a while, so they had it with the meal. It tasted a bit like wine, but was very sweet. After eating, they chatted for a while, but as it started to get dark, they began to settle down to sleep.
Everyone drifted into a sleep fairly quickly, apart from Ariengil. Her eyes began to close, but every time they shut completely and she felt ready to sleep, she jumped awake again. Eventually, she decided to go for a walk to tire herself out. Perhaps then she would be able to sleep.
Walking away from the group, she headed in a random direction. Sighing, she looked up at the stars. The sky was as clear as a pool of water, and there were no clouds covering the twinkling stars. Ariengil smiled as she recognised different formations of stars, but being alone was no fun. Ariengil looked back at her friends and her heart warmed as she realised how lucky she was that so many people loved her and looked out for her. Yet, as she smiled, tears came to her eyes.
'Harma,' she whispered to the night, 'you should be here with us. Iluvatar,' she prayed, 'please look after Harma, for I believe that he is with you. I miss him, tell him that please.' Ariengil half expected someone or something to reply, but the silence of the night gave no answer.
The sad elf turned back to walk to her friends, but she stopped suddenly, with her heart suddenly pounding in her chest, for there stood a being over her friends. The person was crouching, presumably looking at her friends, or looking for something. Ariengil swiftly reached her blade from the small scabbard by her waist, and she drew her dagger out. Then, being as silent as possible, she ran towards her friends. The creature looked up just as Ariengil threw herself at it. The two rolled away from her friends, but not after the creature let out a cry. The cry told Ariengil that it was human, and so she swiftly found the person's neck, and put her sharp blade against it.
'What are you doing here?' screamed Ariengil.
'Woah,' cried a familiar voice, 'how is it that you always seem to be attacking me?'
'Elladan,' moaned Ariengil. 'I'm sorry, but I thought you were a stranger and was thinking of everyone's safety.'
'No, no,' laughed Elladan as he stood up. He helped Ariengil up too, and they brushed their clothes down. 'I couldn't sleep, and when you left, I thought I'd leave you alone for a while. So I was just standing up, when I was attacked!'
'What is the problem?' asked Elen, in a very sleepy voice. The two elves had woken up their friends with their cries and exclamations, much to their friend's dismay.
'Nothing,' whispered Ariengil, and she tiptoed away as her friends fell asleep again. Elladan followed quietly, keeping out of sight of the maiden. He planned to creep up on her when she was alone, but thinking about it, he changed his mind- after what had happened just now, and whent Ariengil had thought he was Tarma.
'Ariengil,' he called gently. His friend started, but then relaxed and looked around for Elladan. She spotted him quickly and went to sit by him. 'Are you all right,' whispered Elladan.
'Oh, I'm fine. I was just thinking. About Harma,' she added. Elladan knew that the subject of Tarma's brother was rather touchy, and he never mentioned it without Ariengil starting the conversation about it. Therefore he knew that he should just listen, and not really talk. He nodded now, and, right on cue, Ariengil continued. 'I feel... I don't know. I think I feel more alive than I have done for a while. And I feel guilty, confused and sad that I feel this, because I've lost Harma. Therefore I should be feeling terrible. But I did feel terrible until a couple of days ago. It's strange. Every time I turn around, I expect to see Harma, yet he is never there. Oh, ignore me- I'm talking nonsense.'
'No, I won't ignore you. I don't really understand what you are saying, but I'm sure there is a reason for these feelings.' With an unspoken decision, the two friends walked back to the company and lay down. Elladan fell asleep again rather quickly, but Ariengil was awake for a little longer. As she drifted to sleep, she saw a flash of pictures in her mind: Harma dying in front of her again; Nimtheryn lying dead beside a tree; Nimtheryn speaking to Ariengil in her dream; Eldarion saying something- possibly the 'prophecy'; and then a couple of things that Ariengil couldn't remember ever happening- her looking at Harma strangely and stroking his cheek as though she was surprised that he was there; and lastly Harma and herself being joint in marriage. The pictures were not so much visual, as sensual, and in the morning she had forgotten them.
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