The Undying Lands - (part 14)

`You have decided? That was quick,' said Ariengil. `Well? Are we staying or going?'
`Going.' At this, Harma swept Nárfin into a big hug and thanked her profoundly. Nárfin and Ariengil were a bit shocked at this, but tried not to show it.
`Will you excuse us Harma, we have a lot of friends to say goodbye too.' At this, the two girls walked off. They walked up to the fountain and stepped up. Nárfin coughed loudly and everyone looked towards them.
`I would like to thank you all for such a great evening; it was truly a night which I will remember forever. Thank you to my mummy, daddy, darling brother and sister, Ariengil, my soul sister, and of course, to all of you.' At this, she was applauded and cheered, but she carried on. `I have always loved living here, in Caranlad, with all of you, you are truly great people, but Ariengil is going home and I will accompany her. We will be staying in Menel for a while, possibly exploring other parts of this haven, but we will visit you sometime. We hope you will visit us too. Thank you once again for everything. If I do not manage to say goodbye to you personally, I am sorry, but goodbye to everyone and my love is with you all.' Everyone was in shock, so there was a silence until one person clapped. Then another person clapped, and yet another, until the whole village was clapping and cheering.
The girls jumped down and ran to Nárfin's family. They had a very tearful goodbye then went on to say goodbye to their friends, they left Bragol talking to Harma for Harma had become his idol.
The girls were given many gifts, kisses and hugs and then went to pack. Nárfin seemed very excited about leaving her home, but Ariengil was going to miss Caranlad an awful lot. Within an hour, they were ready for they had to travel fairly light.
The three travellers packed their belongings onto their horses and mounted. The villagers were gathered around and cheered and waved as the three left- Harma on Tincothulé, Ariengil on Silmewesta and Nárfin on her horse Lhach.
After two days of riding, the riders returned to Menel to great cheers and a wonderful welcome. They trotted to the stables and left the horses, Harma thanking the stable hand profoundly. The stable hand, however, had a new horse and gave Tincothulé to Harma. As the companions entered the great hall, Dînhith looked up and a smile broke across her face. She ran towards her friend and they embraced.
Tears came from Dînhith's eyes, `I thought I would never see you again, mellon nîn.'
`I'm sorry. I missed you.' Thaliondil heard Ariengil's voice and watched the two friends talk and moved as though to join them, but was stopped by Mereth.
`Let them be for the time being.'
Nárfin who had long been introduced was now becoming uninterested in the conversation between Ariengil and Dînhith and so she took a brief look around the room. There was a gradual build up of people around the two friends now and they were becoming encircled as people came to greet Ariengil or listen to her story.
Only a few people were not in the circle. Two men stood out especially. There was a nice looking elf with brown hair and was wearing a tunic, but the other elf was who Nárfin had dreamed of meeting for her entire life. She had never seen him in a dream, but she had imagined him- tall, strong and muscular with long, blonde hair. His tunic was the same brown as his stunning eyes and they shot straight at Náfin's heart.
Nárfin breathed in, prepared herself and walked towards the men. The exceedingly handsome one, who she now noticed looked very much like Dînhith, started walking towards the outside of the circle of people.
Thaliondil walked on, not noticing Nárfin. He could not find a way into the circle, so he circled it as Nárfin followed him trying to look inconspicuous. Eventually, Thaliondil stopped and Nárfin edged her way towards him and knocked into him as if by accident. `Oh, I am truly sorry. How careless of me.'
`Not to worry,' replied Thaliondil, barely looking at Nárfin.
`So, do you know these two?' asked Nárfin breathlessly.
`Yes I do.'
`How?'
*Why?* he thought to himself, *What is it to you?* He answered Nárfin politely though, `One is my sister and the other I have known since I was a child.'
`I thought she was your sister, you look very similar.'
`No we do not,' replied Thaliondil stubbornly, offended at the thought of looking like a woman, although she was his sister.
`Have you not noticed it before? You do look very similar.'
`No we do not.'
`But you do-' Nárfin trailed off as Thaliondil glared at her then walked away. Nárfin felt rather upset that he had shunned her away so quickly, so she followed and changed the topic.
`Have you ever visited Caranlad? That is where I live- lived.'
`No. What do you mean lived, where do you live now?'
`I will be living here.'
`What?'
`I know, isn't it great?' Nárfin mistook Thaliondil's sigh of dismay for a remark of shock. Shortly the circle of people dispersed for Ariengil had finished her tale. Thaliondil ran up to Ariengil and held her hands. He looked deeply into her eyes but could not tell her feelings. He pulled her close and gave her a very long hug before Harma gave a quick cough to remind the two of them that he was still present and Thaliondil stepped backwards. Harma immediately held Ariengil's hand but she shook it off.
`Harma, I have friends other than you and Dînhith, you know. Stop being so protective.'
`I am sorry Ariengil, but I do not want to lose you again.'
`I love you Harma- I sincerely doubt you will lose me again.' As they kissed, the hall erupted into cheers. The two of them blushed red and left the room to have more privacy.
Dînhith, Mereth, Thaliondil and Nárfin chatted to each other for a while as Mereth tried to find out more about Nárfin and her background but she barely listened for she was staring at Thaliondil for a long time. Mereth sighed and left to go to his bedroom. When he was bored he resorted to writing in his book. At present, he was drawing more than writing and he continued his picture of Ariengil. It was an amazing picture, but if ever she saw it, Mereth would die of embarrassment.
After another hour of drawing, Mereth's hands were covered in ink but he had perfected the picture to be almost the exact image of Ariengil. Suddenly the door flung open and Ariengil ran in.
`Oh Mereth, I am sorry, I did not greet you. What is that you are hiding? Let me see please.'
Reluctantly Mereth showed her. Ariengil gasped. `This, Mereth, is amazing. It is truly wonderful. But you have drawn it incorrectly.' Mereth looked up, surprised.
`How?'
`I do not look as nice as that.'
`You are correct, you look nicer- your hair is fair and flowing, your eyes are deep and beautiful, your face is incredible, your figure is perfect- you are just amazing, one of a kind.'
`Mereth!'
`I have not finished. Your speech is wonderful, your voice is like the singing of a nightingale, your kindness is more than adequate, you smell like a breath of fresh air, everything about you is perfect, down to the last fingertip.'
`Mereth, you flatter me highly but I have never flattered you or done anything to make you feel this way.'
`You have no need; being in your presence is an awe to me. Being in the same room as you is amazing, I even feel privileged to be in the same world as you. This, Valinor, is where you belong- you come from heaven Ariengil. That is why I drew you, I needed to express your amazing beauty even if it was just on paper.'
`I- I am lost for words.'
`You have no need to speak, I understand you completely Ariengil, I know what you are feeling at it is only gratitude, but it should be me who is so grateful- I have the honour of being your friend and that is truly a high honour.'
`I think you have made a mistake. It is my honour to have such a caring friend, such a wonderful man to be there for me always.' Mereth stood up as Ariengil came closer. They embraced as true friends do.
Harma had been walking down the corridor and heard only `such a wonderful man to be there for me always,' and saw his love and Mereth embracing. Jealousy and anger rose through his body, a strong tingling feeling going from his toes to his head, as he thought that Ariengil- HIS Ariengil- was in love with this childish Mereth.
*No, I am seeing this in the wrong perspective, Ariengil loves me. Just me.* he thought. Ariengil stepped outside of Mereth's room and walked straight into Harma.
`Harma- how much did you hear?' she seemed worried, that proved to Harma that she loved Mereth.
`Oh, I heard enough Ariengil,' he spat. `Good bye.' With that, he strode away before she could notice the tears in his eyes.
`Harma, wait! All I said was he was a good friend. Do not do this Harma. It is you I love.'
`Prove it!' he shouted and stopped. Turning around, he wiped away the tears. `Prove you love me and not him, did you only return to see him and not me?'
`No! I returned for you and only for you. Gerich meleth nîn, gweston lû vara nîn, [You have my love, I swear upon my spirit] do you believe me?'
`Henion [I understand] and I am sorry for my outburst. I love you so very much, you do know that, don't you?'
`Yes Harma, I do.'
`I think you do not. I love you Ariengil, to the sun and back uncountable times. I love you more than words can express- I feel so stupid not being able to express my love, but you are worth more than all the treasures in the world, more than the Valar are worth and more than anything I have ever even dreamed of. Ariengil, please, I beg you, marry me.'
Tears sprung to Ariengil's eyes. `Harma, please stop asking me or you will destroy what we already have- I will not and cannot marry at present. We will both know when the correct time is, when it comes.' Harma opened his mouth to say something, but Ariengil would not let him have a word, `Just leave it Harma, you are spoiling it.'
Ariengil left silently while Harma stood in the corridor alone. He felt unloved and very upset. If Ariengil loved him as much as she said, why would she not marry him?

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