Sean went upon his horse this time so it would be quicker. He rode north (or at least he thought it was north) through the silver trees. He finally came to a stop in the middle of the forest where a small lake rested. Sean set up his easel and paints, but just as Jex bent his head to drink, Sean heard a voice calling to him.
“What business have you in Lorien?”
He lifted his eyes to the trees and met two green eyes staring at him through the foliage. A whistle sounded, and several figures dressed in green leggings and tunics, which looked like something from Robin Hood but no beards and longer hair dropped like stones from the trees. They surrounded him as if he were a threat.
“Is he of our kind?” asked a long golden haired elf to the leader who faced Sean with penetrating eyes. Sean noticed the resemblance between them and guessed they were twins.
“Nay, he does not bear the elven ears. His tall stature, hair, and face resembles us though. The leader turned to Sean. “Who are you, and what is your business here in Lorien?”
“My name is Sean,” he answered. “And I am lost.”
“Well then were do you come from?” the golden haired elf pressed.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Could you lower the arrows please?” he asked.
“Rumil, what should we do?” the other twin asked.
“Wait,” he turned to Sean. “Are you good with a bow sir?” he noticed the weapon slung across Sean’s back.
The American took out the bow, fixed an arrow in it, pulled back, and released hitting expertly a narrow branch on a tree so it broke to the ground.
“Well, Sean, it seems you are similar to elves and adapt our ways, but you are mortal. Why did you come here?”
“To paint and take pictures,” he motioned to his easel, which was standing beside the lake.
Orophin inspected it. “Very beautiful sir,” he bowed. “If you wish, you may return with us to Caras Galadhon or we shall accompany you to the edge of the forest so that you may leave for your own land.”
Sean knew he could not leave the forest or he would never reach the tunnel to his own world. He replied, “I will return with you and see your beautiful city”
“You may follow us upon your horse. When we reach Caras Galadhon, I insist you wear other garments than breeches,” he eyed Sean’s jeans. Sean bowed respectfully and packed up his things and mounted Jex.
Finally, she had escaped. She sold her beautiful lilac dress for a good rope with a steal hook on the end as well as a few belongings for the journey. She would be traveling on foot, and it would take days to reach Lorien, but she finally had the courage to make the escape. She was now bound for the silver forest….
Sean awoke in the morning to the rays of sunlight streaming through his room. He thought he should know what day it is, but it didn’t matter since he would return to the exact time as he had left in his world. He promised Rumil and Orophin he would hunt with them today. As he began to dress, he suddenly heard a knock on his door.
[ “Master Sean!” He recognized Rumil’s voice. ]
Sean rolled his eyes and laced his breeches with a belt. Finally, he opened the door and saw very haggard Rumil standing before him. Sweat ran down his forehead, which seemed odd to Sean since he knew elves rarely sweat.
“What is it?” asked the human. ]
“We found a girl wandering through the woods. When we surrounded her with our bows, she became easily upset and took out her sword waving it around. I did not realize how strong she was. None of us did. She is just a thin little thing, but she has the strength and courage of a wild boar. We finally controlled her, but she keeps yelling at us within a foreign tongue which sounds like your own. Will you come meet her?”
Sean followed Rumil out of the golden city of Caras Galadhon and into the woods. They neared the top of a hill where Sean heard a loud commotion. Many of the voices were male, but he soon recognized the voice of a beautiful lady mixed within. He then realized it was not a lady but a girl. A young girl of perhaps seventeen or eighteen, and though she was bound hand and feet and face pressed against the ground, she still kicked dirt up with her feet and spat at her captors. Sean’s eyes widened as he realized it was the girl from under the water…his beauty in a dream. Her wolf stood near, though he was leashed and muzzled. Sean instantly took a knife cutting her ropes.
“Release her!” he ordered to the other elves.
Lira angrily stood pushing away Orophin with a rough gesture. She looked at the other elves and finally met Sean’s eyes. He offered her his hand.
“Where is my sword?” she asked in perfect English.
“I am afraid they won’t let you have it at the moment. They will give it to you later,” the human replied.
“Who are you?”
“You know well who I am.”
“So much for the legendary courtesy of the elves! Taking an unarmed girl and pressing her to the ground tying her wrists and feet with ropes!”
“Your forcefulness was the cause.”
“They surrounded me with bows and arrows!”
“That is the custom in Lorien if there are any unexpected visitors who have not announced themselves. They must be wary in these days.”
“What is your name?” she asked looking into his blue eyes.
He replied with a smile as he approached. “I am Sean, and I already know you as Alira.”
“Lira is fine. How is it that we understand one another?”
“It has been destined within our dreams. Come,” he offered his hand, and she took it gently.
By now, the other elves were all fatigued from the constant struggle this Lira had given them. They decided to postpone the hunting trip for later in the day. Sean and Lira went further into the heart of the forest. Wolf followed behind at a slow pace, and they walked on in silence for some time until Sean finally broke the silence.
“Why have you come here?” he asked.
“I have come to escape affairs at home. That should be enough,” she replied with a measure of gruffness.
Sean snickered to himself. “Though every word that comes out of your mouth is met with sarcasm, irritation, or anger, your presence is soothing to myself.”
“What do you want of me?” she inquired.
“I want to know who you are and why you keep haunting my dreams,” he answered.
“And may I know the same of you?” she folded her arms across her chest.
“I will tell you all about me if you do the same. Is there any harm in getting to know someone?”
“Yes, there is. You may get to know the person’s true faults and discover you should never have seen them.”
“We are all born and bred with true faults, Lira. The trick is learning to help each other in overcoming them. How can you be so sure we are not meant to know each other when we both have seen each other in our dreams?”
“They are dreams. That is all.”
“I consider it fate.”
“A fool’s belief,” she held her head up proudly.
“If there is no destiny, how is there hope?”
“I believe what I see and hold in these hands,” she snarled. “Nothing more nothing less. I see what stands before me.”
“But do you really see it?” he approached but she took a step back. “Look at my eyes,” he commanded, and her violet ones slowly drifted up to mix with his own. “I am not of your world and yet I come to be here. How is that not fate?”
“Where do you come from?” she asked.
“A world you would call a fairy tale, make believe, artificial, a fools belief,” he replied.
“I don’t believe you,” she turned.
“But you wish to.”
“And why is that?” she touched a white budding rose as they entered a blooming garden within the middle of the forest.
“Why else would you have traveled to Lorien to find me?”
She turned around glaring at him, but there was no tone of arrogance or anger in his eyes. It was pity, and her expression softened.
“I cannot deny that it is strange we have met. But for what purpose?” she inquired.
“I do not know. But we could discover that together if you are willing.”
“No,” she answered quickly. “We do not need to know. And I do not have the time to discover anything. If you wish to survive in this world, you must lie, cheat, and steal. Times are different than they were before.”
“So you are simply going to leave and become a thief? Lira, look at what you’re doing. Where are you going with your life?”
“That is what I hate!” she exclaimed. “You want me to have a wonderful life full of great things. But what can you give me? This world has not done a thing for me, which is why I must fight the world.”
“Fight the world, Lira. Not yourself?”
“That is it!” she rushed past him. “This conversation is over!”
“Lira, wait,” he grabbed her arm before she could take a step further.
She tried to escape, but this time he did not let go, and they each felt a surprising sensation run through their bodies when their skin touched. It was not pain, yet it was not pleasure. She frowned, but he tilted her chin up.
“I will help you in any way I can,” he looked into her beautiful violet eyes.
“I don’t want your pity. And I do not need your help.”
“Perhaps, but do you want it?”
He focused on her eyes and did not need her to tell the answer. Sean slowly and softly released her. Lira opened her mouth to speak, but could not find any words. She looked into his ocean eyes once again, and slowly nodded and then walked away. Sean followed after her, and they returned to Caras Galadhon where he escorted her to a room just opposite of his. He lifted her hand to his lips and bid goodnight to her, and Lira closed the door and locked it behind her. Sean sighed and walked into the courtyard where he could see her from her window. He noticed her silhouette in the candlelight. She proceeded to blow out each candle until one remained. The candle burned long into the night….
Sean went to her room the next morning and walked in silently finding her still asleep. He decided to let her rest, but opened the window so a fresh breeze would pour through the stuffy room. She looked amazingly beautiful with soft dark curls spread out on her pillow her hand resting in one and her other draping across the white fabric of the bed. Sean knelt down beside her bed and kissed her head softly as if she were a treasure. He left the room closing the door softly behind him. Making his way down the hall, Sean entered his room and fetched his easel, paints, and notebook. On his way down the stairs, he met and Rumil, who was walking up.
“Good morning,” the elf spoke in elvish and Sean understood the words.
“Greetings to you as well, Rumil, can you tell me where the stables are? I trust my horse was well kept.”
“Aye, he was. A fine steed. The stables are yonder,” he pointed to the right. “A small wooden building. You would need to be blind in order to miss it. Are you leaving, Sean?”
“No, I’m going out for a ride, but I’ll be back later. I’m going to do some painting and some writing.”
“I shall ready lunch for you then instead of breakfast. I imagine the lady Lira will be dining with you today.”
“I don’t know. Only if she wishes.”
Sean and Rumil exchanged a brief farewell, and the American made his way to the stables where Jex was stabled up. His white horse looked beautiful with his mane shiny from grooming and polishing. Sean ran his hand across the horse’s silver neck.
“Well, my friend. I guess we will be here for much longer than I thought.”