The Undying Lands - Part 2- a friends' journey

Dînhith sat in her place very elegantly and helped herself to an elvish dish in front of her plate.

'I'm ever so sorry that I was so long, but I objected to the no weapon rule. I think it unjust and unfair- how am I ever supposed to practise my archery? My brother I suppose will think the same. They took my bow and quiver of arrows rather roughly- if there's a scratch on them then I'll... I'll-'

'I don't suppose you will actually do anything seeing as there is a rule of peace too,' cut in Mereth.

'Once again, an unwise rule- how on earth can you expect no one to disagree, shout, or argue? It is impossible.'

'I'm sure we'll manage. I am Mereth, son of Mananca. And you are Dînhith as I heard you say. I think we should just learn to get along in this haven, then we will probably cope unlike how we did in Middle Earth.'

Dînhith seemed fairly satisfied with this answer and so she contented herself in her meal. Not much else was to be said for a while except for comments on the decorations or delicious food.

'My new companions,' Tuor cleared his throat to order silence, 'I hope you have eaten well. When you are completely finished, please clean your plates and gather in the courtyard to our left. Aldawen will, once again, guide you.'

Slowly, the dining hall emptied and the new arrivals wandered onto the beautiful courtyard. The courtyard was paved in what seemed to be crystals, and there were terraces as two walls, covered in ivy. The rest of the courtyard was in the open air, leading down a hill towards a deep blue lake. A river flowed down the hill, with a lovely path next to it, this river flowed into the lake.

'This is the river Aramon, a healing river and yet also a river to relax in or by. The lake, yonder, Ainalin, is the source of wonderful magical powers, but only for those who know the skill. Those trees you see next to the lake are the Trees of the Valar. They are the most sacred things created. Treat them with more respect than you treat yourself.' Aldawen led everyone to the trees which were breathtaking.

Three trees were there, one white, one silver, and one gold.

'I will explain their history: This white tree is the tree of Nimloth and is the living link of the ancient past in this land. It is a sign of nobility and the wisdom and goodness of the Valar to mortal men, for they gave Nimloth the Fair, the first one, to the Númenorians as a gift. It never radiated light, but it gave hope and good will to those near. In Gondor, a sapling grows from part of this tree and blooms as a sign of the Valar's protection over them.

'The silver tree is named Isil, named after Isil the Sheen, the mightiest of its kind, for this is just a cutting- it has been used to make great lanterns, which will never fade. Although you see this small tree here, the greater one has been borne over the whole World and is named the Moon.

'The gold tree is named Anar, after Anar the Golden, also the mightiest of its kind. This too is a fragment of the greater tree- it too has been used to make great lanterns. Along with Isil the Sheen, Anar the Golden sits over the World and is named the Sun.

'Tilion the Maia hunter and bowman carries the Moon and Isil the silver flower, carries Anar, which is also called Rána.

'I will now show you the rest of this small part of the land.'

Aldawen led them through a forest, across an open meadow and past a valley. In the distance, someone sighted a mountain and another spotted a volcano. There was nothing which they saw which was not beautiful, stunning or incredible. They were then led to an immense building, which seemed very homely to Frodo. There were even a few hobbit bedrooms there. Once again, they met with Tuor who stopped to greet them once more.

Frodo was becoming tired, although he seemed to be the only one. Everyone was being shown to their room, if they wished to sleep there, for if they didn't then they could sleep outside on the moss or anywhere they pleased. Many wood-elves wished to sleep outside- some preferred to sleep in trees, but there were no flets (platforms) and so they asked to be allowed to build some in the time to come.

The night passed away very peacefully- Frodo had never known a night so peaceful afore. His dreams were pleasant and safe, when they were troubled previously.

As dawn broke, the elves rose singing joyfully, looking forward to the day ahead. Everyone ate in the building through which they had passed previously. Some more elves, whom had not arrived the day before, were also breakfasting. As Tuor entered the room, many people nodded, raised their hand in greeting or offered a place for him to sit at, for he was good company.

Tuor, however, headed towards Frodo, Mereth and Dînhith, who were sitting together, and sat with them.

'I trust you slept well' he asked.

'Very well, thank you, sir. This is a truly wonderful place, so at peace,' replied Frodo.

'I slept in the open- I cannot stand sleeping indoors. The air was so warm, refreshing and lovely. My brother and I were so at ease,' replied Dînhith.

'It is all perfect, thank you. How did you sleep?' asked Mereth.

'The same as always, thank you,' came the short reply. Mereth suddenly felt guilty as though he was prying.

'What are you planning on doing today?' asked Tuor.

'I'd very much like to explore the land, preferably a bit further than we were shown yesterday. Thaliondil, my brother, and Ariengil, my best friend, will join me,' said Dînhith.

'Very well, and you two?'

'If it is allowed with you, Dînhith, I would care to join you,' Mereth said.

'Of course, and you Frodo? Will you join us?' she asked.

'I'm very sorry, but I'd rather stay here and become accustomed to the land close to, and the people here,' he replied. Although he wished to join them in his heart, he thought it better not to interfere, for they were all elves, he would be excluded, although not purposefully, and would rather stay with Bilbo.

Very soon after, Frodo and Mereth met Thaliondil and Ariengil. They were very friendly and Frodo wished more than ever that he could change his mind, and go on their little adventure. When provisions were packed, in case the four trekkers were away for more than a day, they said goodbye to Frodo and set off towards the forest.

'I wonder what this forest is called. Do you think they have animals to hunt?' asked Thaliondil, looking around eagerly.

'I heard a conversation about it, it is called Númentaur- west wood- and I suspect is has animals, though you have no weapon to hunt!' replied Ariengil.

'I suppose you are correct, still, it looks interesting to me! I'll race you two to the outskirts' shouted Thaliondil as he ran off. Ariengil and Dînhith chased after him. The race between the two siblings was very evenly matched, for they were very close and probably trained together. Ariengil, however, was only a childhood friend and was a Lady and hardly ever ran, so she was slower. Mereth felt left out that he was not asked to join in the race, but could not help laughing at the friends playfully wrestling each other to the forest floor, so soon he joined in and they all enjoyed a taste of youth again.

When they had all calmed down and rested for a little while, they wandered a little further into the wood. It was very quiet and, of course, like the rest of the land, peaceful. Presently they all collapsed on a bed of moss.

Some time later, Ariengil stood up quietly, so as not to wake the others who were sleeping for a little while, and walked towards a clearing which she could see through the trees. There was a circle of white boulders, with one in the centre, which was shaped slightly so that she was able to sit on it comfortably. Looking at the other rocks, she noticed that they had writing on them. There were nine in the circle and they formed a sentence: *Nai tiruvantel ar vayuvantel i Valar tielyanna nu vilya.*

'May the Valar protect you on your path under the sky. What a beautiful translation, how sweet,' she spoke to herself in the silence.

'Much like you,' a voice said as she felt a strong hand on her shoulder.

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