White Flower of Doriath - Ch.3
Niphredil lived as she had before the lords came. Luthien and herself took joy in running over the wooded hills, and racing each other on horses. Luthien, though she was older, she acted younger then Niphredil.
Niphredil then did something she had never done before. She asked Thingol for permission for fighting lessons. She felt that Curufin had instilled in her a need to defend herself. Thingol was surprised, but consented.
Every day, Niphredil had lessons with and Elf call Minohtar. Niphredil found that she had a fierce determination. Minohtar was an excellent fighter and was very patient. He taught her how to shoot an arrow and hit the target, to use a sword and knives, and how to do all of it on horseback. Niphredil had never known such hard work, but she kept going willingly.
The next day, Aranwe startled her by telling here he was going to join the patrol on the outskirts of the woods of Doriath. Niphredil begged him to stay through the tears in her eyes, but he reassured he.
He said, "Thingol needs more elves on the patrol. There's talk that orcs are roaming by our borders."
Seeing the look on his sisters pale face, he added, "I'm probably not going to be fighting. Just keeping watc
"How long will you be gone?" she asked amid her tears.
"Only about 4 months." he replied.
"What if I can't wait that long?"
Aranwe smiled gently at her tearstained, yet still beautiful face. He kissed her forehead and hugged her. "Don't worry," he whispered.
After he left, Niphredil worked even harder. She practised whenever she could. About a month later, she could hold her own at swordplay.
And so two more months past, but Niphredil wasn't happy.She was just tired. She was almost empty of emotion.
Even Luthien noticed a change. She stepped into Niphredil's bedchamber, where the maiden was sitting on her bed, reading a book. "Niphredil" Luthien said softly.
Niphredil lifted her head. "Yes?" she asked.
"Are you alright? You've been really quiet and sadness lurks behind your eyes. I'm worried about you." Luthien sat next to her friend.
"I'm fine, Luthien." Niphredil said, but not convincingly. Under Luthien's probing gaze, Niphredil broke. She started sobbing, all the while stating her troubles. "It's just I've never been away from Aranwe this long. The worrying is wearing me out. I can't be happy while he's not here. I have to try so hard to keep it inside of me, but I can't do it any more." She ended in a whisper and laid her head in Luthien's lap. "Oh Luthien, I can't take it anymore."
Luthien gently stroked her hair, and wisely chose not to say anything, but let her friend cry until there were no more tears.
Niphredil felt better after Luthien confronted her, and became a bit more joyful. She grew even better at fighting, and she loved going outside and walking among the trees, admiring their beauty. The next month went surprisingly fast.
At the end of the 4th month, she awaited her brother. She waited all night, but he never came. Niphredil still did not lose hope. Every night she waited for a while, then went to sleep, disappointed, but still ever hopeful. When another long month had passed, she confronted the king.
"My lord, my brother has not come back from the patrol yet. He said he would come back in 4 months, but it has been five. I'm getting worried," she confessed.
Thingol had pity on the girl he called daughter. " I will send someone to look for him. But are you sure he's not just late?"
"My brother would come back when he said he would," Niphredil said firmly.
Thingol nodded. "Don't worry. I'm sure he's fine." he assured her. Niphredil smiled inwardly, wondering at how many times she's heard that phrase.
The next day, at sword lessons, Niphredil proudly beat the mighty Minohtar.
"Hah!" she declared. "Finally i have beaten you." She smiled at the defeated Elf.
"Yes my lady. But do not let you head get too big. There are better fighters than me in this world," he warned her. Niphredil nodded in understanding.
Three days later, the messenger returned. Niphredil hurried to the Hall to hear his news. She stood next to Thingol's throne. The messenger spoke, "Aranwe was lost 3 months ago."
"Lost?" Niphredil spoke in disbelief.
"Not dead," he said quickly. "He got separated, and was not heard of since. I'm sorry,my lady."
"Why did they not inform us when this happened?" Thingol demanded.
"They didn't think it was that important, my lord. Men die regularly in a fight," the messenger replied.
"Very well. You may go," Thingol said. He turned to the still figure standing beside him. Her face was completely blank. "Niphredil?" he spoke gently.
Not saying a word, Niphredil turned around and slowly walked out, as a person bewitched. Thingol watched her slender figure leave as a tear rolled down his cheek.