Analsiel turned over and groaned. “Go away!” she called in a voice muffled by her pillow, to the fool who was knocking at her door so early. “Go away and never come back!”
The knocking stopped and a voice came through her door.
“Is it alright if I just come back in an hour?”
Analsiel groaned again, and heaved herself out of bed. “I’m coming, Nori.”
She opened the heavy door and admitted her blonde friend. Nori looked as sleep-tousled as Analsiel knew she must be. She smiled at the mortal girl and they sat down on Analsiel’s bed. “So,” said Analsiel. “What was so important you woke me up at this hour?”
Nori smiled. “I was purely wanting to be nosy and cruel. Especially about the ball last night…” she trailed off, with an evil look on her face.
Analsiel screeched softly, blushed, and hit her friend with a pillow. The pillows were all silk and stuffed with the softest feathers, so the impact was light, but Analsiel’s point was made. After that first dance with Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood, she had not stopped dancing till the end of the ball. Elves and Men alike had asked her for dances, until at last she staggered up to bed and she had lain there without moving till Nori came.
“Well, I thought I’d ask!” said Nori in a pitiful voice. This earned her another whack with the pillow. “Ow!”
“Oh please, you are not hurt!” cried Analsiel, laughing as she beat on her friend with several pillows at a time.
Nori ducked, fell off the bed, and lay there, breathing hard, until she said, “Only my pride is injured, and that will heal.”
Analsiel laughed and joined her on the floor.
After a while, Nori left, and Analsiel stood to get dressed. She was going to tour the palace on her own, as Nori was going to visit her parents in the city. So she put on a shift of light blue, and then an overdress of deep green. She left her hair down, save for an ornamental comb of ivory that added a regal look to her dress. She tried on the dark blue slippers she found at the bottom of her warddrobe, but they were too small, so she donned her old boots, and set out to explore her new home.
She ought to have set out more carefully, for just as she walked out of her room, she stepped onto two elves, and then fell over herself, most ungracefully. When she got up, she found herself face to face with Firndil and Legolas. They were both brushing off their rather fine garments and looking at her curiously. That is, Firndil was looking at her curiously. Legolas stared at her annoyedly until Firndil started to speak.
“Lady Analsiel,” he said kindly. “Forgive us, we did not see you.”
Analsiel blushed and then laughed. “And how could, Master Elf, when all along I was hiding behind the door, waiting for some handsome Elf to walk by, that I might jump on him?” Oh, Help! she thought. I am actually flirting with him!
Firndil laughed, but Legolas’ scowl only deepened. “Lay Analsiel,” he said,”If I may ask, where were you going that you stepped out so quickly from your room?”
Analsiel smiled a dazzling, fake smile. “I was going to explore this place, if such ambitious actions are allowed?”
Again Firndil laughed, and held out his arm. “Well, lady,” he said, smiling, “If you will come with me, I will show you to breakfast, and then through the castle!”
Analsiel happily accepted this offer, and the two of them left Legolas glowering in front of her door.
It was past supper when Nori returned form the city, full of worries that her new friend would have had difficulties settling in and making friends. So she was very surprised when she entered Analsiel’s chamber and found her two closest friends, Quelleanon and Firndil, happily playing chess and drinking tea with the girl.
“Nori!” cried Analsiel happily, as she leapt up and hugged her friend. “How are your parents?”
Nori was a bit taken aback, but she said, “They are fine.”
Firndil and Quelleanon smiled at her. “Come and play chess with us,” Quelleanon entreated. “Ana is a master, and even with two of us playing against her, she’s slaughtering us!”
Nori was overcome by giggles, but she sat, and the three of them were soundly beaten by their own dear Ana.