“Come, Aarien,” Legolas pulled her out onto the floor, “I will dance first with you tonight.”
“So you shall, M’lord.” Mandy laughed, “And I will not mind it.”
Legolas smiled and led her through the dance, a quicker waltz. They talked together, Legolas noticing how she smiled but her eyes seemed to have some kind of shadow behind them. Mandy glanced up at him and instantly the shadow disappeared. He dismissed it, thinking it only to be tiredness.
“What are your plans after this?” Legolas asked her, “Are you planning to return to Gondor with your father?”
“I am not sure,” Mandy mused, “I had not thought about it. I would like to go to Rivendell and back to Lorien for a while…”
“Ah…I see.” Legolas looked over at Tethcelebel talking with Haldir.
“What are your plans?” Mandy questioned him.
“I think I will be traveling with Gimli. He promised to wander Fanghorn with me if I visited the Glittering Caves with him.” Legolas laughed at the remembrance of how reluctant Gimli was to agree.
“I see, and how long will you be gone?” Mandy asked softly.
“I do not know, Aarien.” Legolas answered, looking down at her, “Not too long…besides you will have duties and won’t even miss me.”
“I sincerely doubt that.” Mandy laughed gently.
“I know,” Legolas whispered.
“Ahem…” Aragorn cleared his throat, “May I?”
Legolas bowed to Mandy and relinquished her into the arms of her father. Mandy danced with him and then was asked by others. She enjoyed the feast and the dance. Later that night, she was getting escorted to her rooms by Eowyn.
“I hope you are comfortable, Lady Aarien.” Eowyn murmured as she opened the door to the room.
“I am sure I will be.” Mandy clasped her hand, “And I thank you for your hospitality.”
“You are welcome, Aarien.” Eowyn smiled, the sadness gone from her eyes.
Mandy slept fitfully, tossing and turning. She couldn’t seem to rest. She wasn’t dreaming, but she couldn’t get the feeling of forewarning out of her head. She felt like something was going to happen. She finally fell asleep.
After staying in Rohan for four days, Aragorn and his knights, and the people of Lorien and of Rivendell, made ready to ride…
“I will miss you, my elf friend.” Eowyn told Mandy, watching her saddle Ilma.
“Do not worry, we will see each other in Gondor.” Mandy smiled, cinching the saddle.
“Ah yes, my new life to begin.” Eowyn smiled, “And new friends to enjoy it with.”
“Yes, and we will ride together, racing our horses.” Mandy led Ilma out of the stable, “For we both do not want to stay cooped up in the City all day.”
“Yes, we will ride together often.” Eowyn agreed, walking out with her, “I have enjoyed your stay with us.”
“And I did as well.” Mandy waved to her and walked towards the Company.
“Aarien…” a voice called to her.
She turned and saw Legolas holding Arod by his lead.
“Mae govennin, Legolas.” Mandy stopped.
“I am leaving with Gimli soon, and I just wanted to say goodbye.” Legolas told her.
“Oh…” Mandy breathed in, “I see…I did not know it would be so soon.”
“It will be soon, I just do not know if I could get a moment alone with you.” Legolas explained, “I have something for you.” He drew out a small box and handed it to her, “I had this made when I was young lad…”
Mandy glanced questioningly at him and opened the box. Inside was a small necklace and pendent. It had small jewels set into the chain and the pendent was in the shape of a leaf with a star in the middle.
“It’s…it’s beautiful, Legolas.” Mandy gasped, looking at it.
“It is for you,” Legolas stated, taking the necklace out and placing it around her neck, “I wanted to give it to you so that you would remember me.”
“Remember you?” Mandy chuckled, “Why wouldn’t I remember you, Legolas?”
“It is rather silly, isn’t it?” Legolas joined in her chuckle, “Ai, Aarien…I just wanted you to have it…”
“Thank you, Legolas.” Mandy murmured, fingering it. Legolas smiled down at her. He gently cupped his hand around her face and kissed her.
“I will come back as soon as I can.” he hugged her, breathing in the scent of her hair, “I will think of you often.”
“As will I, Legolas.” Mandy mounted Ilma, “I will miss you, mellonnin.” She rode off to find Tethcelebel and Elwen. Legolas watched her go and then sighed. He mounted Arod and went in search of Gimli.
Now the guests were ready, and they drank the stirrup-cup, and with great praise and friendship they departed…
“Namaarie, Ima.” Mandy hugged Arwen goodbye.
“Be safe, Daughter.” Arwen smiled, “I will meet you back at Gondor.”
Mandy nodded and galloped off to catch up with Elwen. Arwen watched the Company depart, her hand raised in goodbye.
“Have you decided what you are going to do?” Tethcelebel asked Mandy. They were walking along the path, leading their horses. It had been about three days and the Company was going to Fanghorn. Tethcelebel had offered to accompany Mandy to Rivendell with Gandalf, Elrond, and the Hobbits. Then Elwen had said she would not mind seeing Rivendell again.
“No, I haven’t.” Mandy answered, looking at her, “I think I will go with you to Rivendell.”
“That will be great fun, Aarien.” Tethcelebel smiled, “You will enjoy Rivendell. Oh look, there is Fanghorn.” Tethcelebel pointed to the forest, “And Treebeard as well!”
Mandy glanced ahead and saw that she was right. She smiled, remembering how Treebeard wanted her to wander with him. The Company camped along the edge of Fanghorn, resting. They knew that goodbyes were going to be said here, so most were not in a hurry to leave.
Then Legolas repaid his promise to Gimli and went with him into the Glittering Caves, and when they returned, he was silent, and would only say that Gimli alone could find fit words to speak of them…
It had been another four days, and many were getting ready to part company with Treebeard…
But all save Legolas said that they must now take their leave either south or west.
“Come Gimli!” said Legolas, “Now by Fanghorn’s leave I will visit the deep places of the Entwood and see such trees as are nowhere else to be found in Middle Earth. You shall come with me and keep your word; and thus we sill journey on together to our own lands in Mirkwood and beyond.” To this Gimli agreed.
“I see that you will be wandering with Legolas, my dear Gimli.” Mandy teased.
“Aye, though I wish it wasn’t to be.” Gimli muttered, “I have no wish to see walking trees with eyes!”
Mandy laughed gleefully, “Do not worry, Gimli. As long as you do not chop any trees down, you should be safe.”
“What’s this?” Legolas came up, “Are you comforting Gimli?”
“I do not need any comforting!” Gimli roared angrily, “Come, let us go and get this over with!” He stomped angrily over to Arod.
Legolas winked at Mandy and then grew serious.
“I will come back to Gondor, Aarien.” he told her, “Do not get into trouble.” He smiled at this statement.
“And how would I do that, my lord? By staying with your sister and cousin?” Mandy grinned back, “I will look for you, Legolas and thank you for the necklace.” Mandy leaned up and kissed him on his cheek. She then turned and went to find Ilma. Legolas walked over to Arod and Gimli.
“Well, are you ready to go, Lad?” Gimli asked gruffly.
“Yes, let’s go.” Legolas leaped nimbly up onto Arod and pulled Gimli up. He nudged Arod with his knees, and they disappeared into the forest.
A few days later, Aragorn took leave of Celeborn and Galadriel…
“Namaarie, Ada.” Mandy hugged him, “I will come back to Gondor in about a month.”
“I know, Daughter.” Aragorn smiled, “I want you to have fun at Rivendell, and don’t get into trouble.”
“I won’t.” Mandy laughed, “After all, I am with Elwen and Celebel.”
“That’s what concerns me.” Aragorn teased her, “But I will watch for you in a month.”
“Have a safe journey back,” Mandy whispered, “May the grace of the Valar go with you.”
“And with you.” Aragorn answered and mounted his horse. He waved goodbye and rode off with his knights.
Mandy sighed, gazing up at the stars. She was thinking about her family…she had not thought about them for a few weeks. “Lord, I wonder how they are doing…” Mandy prayed, “I wonder if I’ve been missing for a long time back home…or if it’s like Narnia, and I haven’t been gone at all.” Mandy smiled as she mused about this.
“Hello, Aarien.” Elwen sat down next to her, “What are you laughing at?”
“Nothing, just something from…an old story I read when I was younger.” Mandy answered vaguely, “What brings you here?”
“Oh, Celebel is talking with Galadriel, and my brother is gone, so I decided to come and talk with you.” Elwen answered, eyes twinkling.
“Ah, I see…” Mandy laughed, “Are you coming to Rivendell with us?”
“Yes, I think I will…I have not been there since…” Elwen stopped, her eyes growing dark, “Since a long while.” Mandy gazed at her, troubled by the dark look that seemed to have come across it, but then Elwen shook her head and her face brightened, “Besides, it gives me something to do.” She winked and then yawned, “I think I’ll go get some rest…”
“Quel du (goodnight), Elwen.” Mandy said and continued looking up at the stars. She got up and saw Lady Galadriel in the distance. Not feeling ready for bed, she walked over to her.
“Hello, Aarien.” Galadriel greeted her with a smile.
“Hello, Lady Galadriel.” Mandy sank to her knees beside her. The Lady was sitting on a stump and had a book in her hand.
“M’lady…” Mandy started to ask.
“Yes?” Galadriel gazed at her unwaveringly.
“Would you tell me about the Erusen?” Mandy questioned, returning her gaze.
Galadriel smiled softly, glancing down at the book in her hand, “Yes, I will. I wondered when you would ask.” So saying, Galadriel told her this story….
sorry for the cliffie, guys. this chapter was getting too long already, don’t worry, i’ve posted the next chapter, so it will come up tomorrow (hopefully)! also, there are some direct quotes from the book, so they are Tolkien’s words, not mine