The Undying Lands - loneliness (part 20)

Nieninque sat on a tree stump and looked at Ariengil with emotional pain in her eyes. Ariengil's eyes were pleading with Nieninque. Ariengil needed her help.
Ariengil opened her mouth to speak. `Why?'
`Why? I just can't help, I'm sorry,' lied Nieninque, knowing what Ariengil meant.
`You can, you just don't want to. Can you not see I am dying? Orudruin just died... It was you, wasn't it? You helped that man when we were with him. Why can't you help me?'
`I... I don't know what you are talking about. Seriously, I don't.' Harma ran into the clearing and Ariengil decided to leave this conversation in case Nieninque was telling the truth.
Harma ran to Ariengil and knelt by her side. `Why are you here? You mustn't be here. You can't. Look at yourself- you... you're dying!' he cried, in shock.
`I know I'm dying. You have to face that though, as Orudruin said. I am not afraid of dying, I am afraid of being forgotten by my friends.' At this, she looked at Nieninque, pleading once more.
Harma, however, was jealous again, of Ariengil spending time with other men. `Who is Orudruin? Why... When... What...' he stuttered. Suddenly Nárfin slapped Harma roughly across the face. A red mark was left on his cheek.
`This is not the time Harma. Can't you see Ariengil is dying? Who cares who she spent time with?' shouted Nárfin, hot in the face and very cross.
`I am sorry, my love. I am sorry. I am sorry for asking you to marry me, I am sorry for going to war, I am SORRY! I am sorry I brought this upon you- it is my fault. I love you and I have hurt you. I am sorry. I... am.... sorry.' Harma could not contain himself and cried and cried as he kissed Ariengil's face time and again.
Thaliondil, Mereth and Beleg ran into the clearing, followed by Dînhith and another she-elf. The men stopped as they reached Ariengil and stood about a metre away, all in shock and all upset. Dînhith, however, ran straight up to her best friend and hugged her for at least a minute.
`I am so sorry I ever said anything against you Arri, you know I didn't mean it, don't you. And you Nárfin? I'm sorry.' She turned to Nárfin and gave her a hug as well, to Nárfin's shock, and happiness, to being accepted.
Dînhith sat by Ariengil's head and held her hand as the men approached and spoke to Ariengil. Thaliondil and Mereth were completely devastated, but Mereth seemed quite interested in Nieninque- he too could tell that she was different and there was something mysterious about her.
A while later, Nieninque left to be alone. She walked towards the edge of the forest and sat on the dead grass, burnt by the orcs, and she sat all alone. That is how she felt too- all alone, completely alone. No one knew her; no one cared for her; and no one wanted her. She was so very alone.
Tears streamed down Nieninque's cheeks and one fell to the floor. Where it had landed, flowers sprung forth and the grass grew again. She sighed; cross with herself for letting a tear fall, took out her little bottle again and collected her tears again.
Mereth, standing behind a tree, had seen all of this. He stepped out and held onto Nieninque's arm to stop her from leaving. `You can help Ariengil, can't you?' he asked roughly.
`You know that answer already. Why did you ask?' she answered sulkily.
`I want your confirmation. You can, can't you?'
`Yes I can. Are you happy now?'
`Why will you not help her?'
`Because I am scared!' shouted Nieninque. Suddenly, a wind surrounded her and she was lifted slightly above the ground. She dropped back down as she calmed down, `I am scared,' she said quietly.
`Scared? Scared of what? Of helping people?' asked Mereth crossly, undaunted that Nieninque had just risen off the ground.
`No! I'm scared of being ignored, of being laughed at, of being seen as a freak, as a witch. I'm scared of never having friends, of never having anyone to be there for me. I am scared of dying lonely. I look at all of you, so close to each other, all of you loving each other and each other's company, and then I look at myself. Lonely... sad... depressed. The only way I have ever made a friend is by helping them. I don't want that. I want to make friends by them accepting me, them liking me, and them loving me. Would you like a life where your only purpose was to help people- no time for fun, no time for friends, no time for ANYTHING? I don't. I want to have fun and I want to have friends. Hate me if you want, everyone else does, but that is the way it will be.' Having finished her speech, Nieninque's legs collapsed and she fell to the floor, shaking and whimpering.
`We don't hate you, but if you won't help then fine. We will help our friend ourselves.' Mereth walked back to the forest, stopped and turned back once more. `We help our friends and people who we would like to be our friends- so don't expect us to help you if you won't help us.' With that, he left Nieninque to think hard about what was right to do, and what was wrong to do.
Nieninque knew she didn't have long if she was going to help Ariengil- should she, or shouldn't she?
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