Arod galloped easily and swiftly towards Lothlorien. Mandy stirred and woke up. “Hmm…” she mumbled.
“What?” Legolas glanced down at her.
“I didn’t say anything.” she said, sitting up, “How much further?”
“We’re still a day’s journey from Lothlorien. You will like it. It’s very beautiful.” Legolas eyes gazed far off.
“Legolas?” Mandy tapped his shoulder, “Where were you?”
“Oh, I was just thinking about my home, Mirkwood.” Legolas smiled, “It’s quite different than Lothlorien.”
“Oh. I would love to see it.” Mandy took a deep breath, “I love the woods and how clean they smell.”
“Yes, so do I.” Legolas answered, “We’ll rest for awhile.” Arod halted and immediately bent down to graze. Legolas slid off and turned to help Mandy off.
“Laa, Legolas. Amin indem. (*No, Legolas. I can get off myself.*)” she brought her leg over and slipped off of Arod, “En, kena? (*There, see?*)”
“Ala, Mandy (*Yes, Mandy*).” Legolas turned to hide the grin forming on his face. Mandy looked around.
“Do elves get cold?” she asked.
“No,” Legolas answered, “but are you cold?”
“A little.” Mandy admitted.
“Here.” he pulled off his cloak.
“I cannot take this. It’s yours.” she protested even as he put it on her.
“Do not worry. I am fine without it.” Legolas smiled at her.
Mandy watched Legolas talk to Arod. She knew he had stopped for her and for Arod. Sighing softly, she wrapped the cloak closer around her. She walked over to Legolas and Arod. She stroked Arod’s nose.
“We can keep going. You don’t have to stop because of me.” she told him.
“Arod needs to rest. And I know you probably wanted to stretch your legs.” he answered.
“Hantale, Legolas.”* she laughed, “But you don’t have to go slow just for me.” “Amin nyalata (*I’ll remember that*).” he smiled back. Arod had wandered off, leaving Mandy and Legolas.
“Takalwa an (*It’s beautiful here*).”* Mandy looked around in awe, “Ta enyala amin osta (*It reminds me of home*).”
“Y lle merne ana wanya osta? (*Do you want to go home?*)” Legolas asked, standing next to her.
“Ala, Amin le.”* Mandy looked away, “Er Amin noa Amin veta sinome tenna enyaare. Amin uume istaay Eru tyanin anna simome, er Amin noa Eru si mituure (*Yes, I do. But I think I could live here until then. I don’t know why God caused me to be here, but I know God is in control*. ).”
“Lle tas veta an (*You will like it here.*).”* Legolas comforted her.
Mandy smiled, “Hantale, Legolas. Sii, tenwanya. Amin mere sina Galadriel (*Thank you, Legolas. Now, let’s go. I want to meet this Galadriel*).”
Legolas whistled and Arod came pounding back.
“Kalainis Amin? (*May I?*)” Legolas asked, lifting her up onto Arod.
“Ala, lle tyaro (*Yes, since you already did.*).” Mandy teased, “Noro, nin mellon! (*Ride, my friend*)” Arod snorted and jumped forward, knocking Legolas back.
“Lle voite kola- mirima fea, Mandy (*You have a carefree spirit, Mandy*).” Legolas laughed and raced after them.
Arod galloped hard with Mandy urging him on. The hood was down and her hair flew about her. She loved the feeling of freedom. Several hours later, Arod slowed to a walk as they entered the outskirts of a forest.
“Hantale, Arod. Mammen na lye, nin mellon? (*Thank you, Arod. Where are we, my friend?*)” she slipped off him and walked forward.
Arod followed her. She pulled the hood up and strained her ears for any sound. Suddenly, she heard the soft tread of footsteps. Turning to Arod, she leaped onto his back.
“Larka, Arod! (*Swiftly, Arod!*)” she called.
Arod reared as hooded figures appeared around them. One caught Arod’s mane, “Naer, mellon (*Be still, friend.*).” he calmed the horse.
Mandy looked about her, realizing she had no weapons and Legolas was too far behind to catch up in time. “Why do I have to be so impulsive sometimes?!” she thought angrily.
One of them stepped out from the woods, his hood down. She could tell immediately that he was the leader and an elf.
“Why have you entered into the realm of the Lady of the Wood?” he asked in the Common Tongue.
“I did not know I had entered.” Mandy answered in same.
The leader’s eyes took in her dress and caught sight of the cloak. His eyes flickered with recognition that it was Lothlorien.
“I would see who the intruder is. Please put down your hood.” he ordered her. Her hands shaking, Mandy pulled the hood off. Her features were clearly displayed. The leader gazed at her.
“Man na le? (*Who are you?)” he asked.
“Amin li Mandy.”* she answered softly, “Amin mesta oLegolas Greenleaf ana Lothlorien (*I am Mandy. I travel with Legolas Greenleaf to Lothlorien.*).”
“Legolas Greenleaf? Mammen si Legolas? (* Where is Legolas?*)”
“Legolas siatsa amuan amin . Arod lemba ava Legolas (*Legolas is catching up to me. Arod left without him*).” Mandy blushed.
The leader looked at her, then burst into silvery laughter. “Amin li Orophin. Amin tasa hauta lle an Galadriel (*I am Orophin. I will take you to Galadriel*).”* he took hold of Arod, “Na yaleste. Amin lemba elda anLegolas (*Be at rest. I left behind an Elf messenger for Legolas*).”
He led Arod deeper into the woods. Mandy glanced about her in awe. Orophin did not say anything, but noted her glances, taking everything in. He wondered how he had never heard of her, for she was an elf with beauty that was rare.
Legolas continued running. Finally, he entered the woods. “Her tracks lead into Lothlorien. I wonder if…” he thought, following the tracks.
“Daro, Legolas!” a voice commanded him. Legolas turned. The messenger stepped forward. “i wen hauta an Galadriel. Lende.(*Stop, Legolas. The maiden is going to Galadriel. Come*)” the elf turned and strode deeper into the woods. Legolas followed him, thinking, “I hope Mandy isn’t frightened.”
Mandy’s eyes opened wide as they approached Galadhrim.
“Wow. That’s awesome!” she thought. Orophin noted her face full of awe.
“Tal kalwa.” (It’s beautiful) he stated.
“Ala.” she answered as the gates swung open easily and silently.
Orophin led her through the gates. Other elves glanced at this elf-wen dressed as royalty. Mandy also glanced about her, trying to take everything in. Then she caught sight of Galadriel and Celeborn. She gazed at them, full of wonder.
“I can’t do this.” she thought, looking around rapidly for an escape.
Orophin stopped Arod. He lifted Mandy down easily. At any other time, she would have scolded, but she was too preoccupied to do anything. He brought her over to them. She didn’t know what to do.
Galadriel gazed into her face, “Welcome, Mandy.” Galadriel guided Mandy over to Celeborn. Mandy immediately felt at ease and nervous with Galadriel.
“Where is your companion Legolas? Was he not to bring you here?” Celeborn asked sternly, but his eyes twinkled slightly.
Mandy blushed, “Ah…”
“He is here.” Legolas ran up. Mandy turned in surprise to see him.
“I see.” Celeborn glanced from one face to the other, “No matter. Welcome to Lothlorien, Legolas. I hope it is under better times than your last visit. Welcome, Mandy. You have many questions about yourself. Kalainis lle tuuva senda si nome (*May you find rest and peace in this place*).”
“Hanta le.” Mandy answered, lowering her eyes.
“Come. I will show you where you are to stay.” Galadriel led her up the stairs that were winding around the biggest Mallorn tree. She stopped at one floor.
“Here are your quarters for as long as you wish.” Galadriel smiled, ” Sinome, Aarien.”(rest, Sun-Maiden).
“Sun-maiden?” Mandy thought, “I’m no sun-maiden.”
She glanced around and smiled in relief at the bath already prepared for her. She set Legolas’s cloak on the bed and pulled off her dress. “Thank goodness,” she breathed in a sigh of happiness, “I had forgotten how good a warm bath felt.” She basked in the warm water, scrubbing her waist long hair. Then a knock came on the door.
“Who is it?” she called through the door.
“It’s Legolas, Mandy.” Legolas answered.
“Ooh…” Mandy shrieked as she slipped trying to get out, “Uhh!” Her feet slid on the floor and she fell with a crash.
“Are you alright, Mandy?” Legolas called, “Do you need help?”
“No! I’m fine!! Just a minute!” Mandy yelled, wrapping her hair in a towel and pulling on a robe.
Fumbling with the belt, she finally opened the door. Her face was flushed, her hair was cascading down her back, escaping the towel she had vainly tried to capture it in, all in all she made quite the picture.
“Yes?” Mandy asked, shaking her hair out of her face. Legolas hid a smile.
“Lord Celeborn asked if you would like to join them for the evening meal.” he said.
“Oh.” Mandy laughed, “Well, I’d be delighted. Provided I can find some clothes fitting for the occasion. Mine are pretty messed up.”
“I’m sure Lady Galadriel can provide you with something.” Legolas laughed lightly, “I will inform Lord Celeborn.” Mandy closed the door and leaned up against it.
“Ow. That floor hurts.” she grumbled, rubbing a sore spot. Looking around, she saw the mirror. “Oh, good.” she walked over and found the brushes and combs. Grabbing a brush, she ran it through her hair. “Legolas must think I’m the clumsiest person. I wonder if elves are supposed to be clumsy?” she thought and laughed a little. Then, another knock at the door.
“What now?” she grumbled, walking over to the door. She opened it and saw a girl who looked about her age, standing there. She had the features of Galadriel, but her eyes were carefree.
“Galadriel sent these up to you and wanted to let you know that I am here if you need any help.” the elf smiled warmly at Mandy.
“Thank you so much. Could you put those on the bed?” Mandy held open the door.
“Yes.” her voice was light and silvery.
“How old are you?” Mandy asked.
“About two thousand and one hundred years old, same as my cousin Legolas.” the elf answered laughing at Mandy’s look.
“You….you’re two thousand years old?!” Mandy sputtered.
“Yes.” the elf answered, “I am Tethcelebel. And you are Mandy. Legolas already informed me.”
Mandy raised an eyebrow, “He did…?”
“Yes. He has taken quite a liking to you.” Tethcelebel smiled at her, “Now, let’s do something to your hair.”
Tethcelebel pulled the brush through her hair. She took strands of it from above her ears and braided it back. She secured it with a circlet of plain leaves.
“Now, what dress do you like?” she asked, holding them up.
“Wow. I don’t know. How formal is it?” Mandy laughed, glancing from one to the other.
“It’s to be a feast welcoming Legolas and you to Lothlorien.” Tethcelebel answered, picking out a dress, “How about this one?”
“It’s beautiful.” Mandy breathed. Tethcelebel helped her put it on.
“We usually go barefoot here…” Tethcelebel said.
“Oh, that’s fine. I love being barefoot.” Mandy looked at herself in the mirror, “I really am an elf.”
The dress was pure white with small clear jewels outlining the bodice, neckline, and sleeves. There was a white, film-like belt that complimented her waist. The sleeves were long and billowed out at the elbows. There was a faint pattern of silver leaves all over the dress that made it glimmer in the light.
“This is beautiful on you, Mandy.” Tethcelebel smiled, “Now, I have to go get ready also.” She left the room with a whisper of her skirt.
“Wow. Lord, am I an elf?” she wondered to herself thoughtfully.
She glanced around and saw the dresses still lying on the bed. Going over, she picked each up and hung them in the closet. She smiled as she found the riding outfit. “Maybe I could find a horse here for my very own…”she mused.
At the knock, she called to come in. She turned at the intake of breath. It was Legolas. He had changed into more princely robes, and she stared at him.
“You look beautiful, Mandy.” he said, smiling.
“You don’t look bad yourself, Legolas.” she teased back at him.
He laughed. “I came to escort you down to the banquet if you are ready.” he told her.
“Alright. I seem to remember promising to let you escort me to a feast.” she grinned as she took his arm, “I should keep my part of the bargain since you are keeping yours.” She took a deep breath as they came to the outskirts of the feast.
“Well, here I go.” she laughed nervously.
“Lle ya tereva (*You will do fine*).” Legolas encouraged her. He led her into the room.