Meldiriel kicked a stone across the dirt road. “I’m bored,” she complained. “There’s nothing else to do. We’ve done every fun thing possible in this village.” Elarinya also kicked a stone across the road and it hit a bucket with a loud clang.
“Meldiriel,” she said, “there’s one thing we haven’t done yet: sneak into the palace and spy on the prince” Meldiriel stared at her in surprise.
“Are you nuts!?” she asked me. “What if we get caught? We’ll be on the run for… for… I don’t know, a long time!”
“That’s the fun part!” laughed Elarinya. “Plus, it’s also a chance to meet Prince Legolas and possibly get enlisted in his army.”
“I don’t understand why you want to join so badly. You could get killed before things get spicy between you and Maldor.”
“Shut up. It was a little kiss at his older sister’s party. No big deal.”
“Right, and I’m the queen of Gondor.” They both laughed in unison. “You know you like him. Admit it.” Menelwen shook her head.
“All right, maybe we’re more than `just friends’, but just maybe.” They ran up the road, hoping that Elarinya would not have to go home for one of her father’s meetings. Her mother’s voice came from up ahead.
“Elarinya, come inside!” she called. Elarinya ran to where her mother stood on the front porch.
“All right, Naneth. Namarie, Meldiriel! I will see you tomorrow!” she shouted. Meldiriel waved at her, then ran back to her house down the road. Elarinya went inside with her mother. She had no idea what the future held for her, that this may have been the last time she and Meldiriel went exploring together. “Is anything wrong, Naneth?” she asked.
“A messenger from Elven Halls is here to speak with your father. He wishes for your presense as well.” She thrust a blue-and-purple silk dress into Elarinya’s hands. “Now go get cleaned up and join your father in his meeting room.”
Elarinya dipped a cloth into a bucket of warm water and wiped her face. Her skin was pale underneath the dirt and dust from the road. `If this is so important, then why have me there?’ she thought. `I’m the youngest and only Valdhiel and Aranethon are usually allowed at Ada’s meetings. So why me?’ She quickly changed into the satin dress. When she was finished putting it on, she heard someone rapping at her window. She rushed over to the window and pulled back the curtains. It was Maldor, her long-time friend. She opened the window. “Maldor, how’d you get up here?” she asked.
“I climbed up the vine, like you and I did a couple weeks ago because you got home late from Daeralda’s party.”
“Ai, Daeralda’s party,” sighed Elarinya. A while back, Maldor’s older sister Daeralda threw a big party. On that night, Maldor had taken Elarinya to a glade not far from the celebration, and he kissed her. (That’s what Meldiriel was ranting on about.)
Maldor took Elarinya in his arms and kissed her firmly on the mouth. His scent of apple blossoms and cinnamon spice filled her nostrils. He released her from his embrace and looked at her lovingly with his big brown eyes. A streak of blue paint was smeared on his cheek. “Maldor,” she laughed, “what were you painting this time?”
“Well,” he said, “my younger brother and his friends got a hold of my brushes and paints. I think you know what happens next.” Elarinya ran her fingers through his dark curls.
“Maldor,” she said, “you really shouldn’t be here. My mother, she won’t approve. I mean, you’re a human and I’m an elf.” Maldor sighed and took her hand.
“Alqua,” he said, (He called her by her pet names.) “we can be together and we will. We’ll run off together and start our own life. We’ll be together forever.” Elarinya’s mother knocked on the door.
“Elarinya,” she called through the door, “hurry up! Your father’s waiting for you downstairs.”
“Just a minute, Naneth,” said Elarinya. Maldor placed his hand on her shoulder.
“That’s strange,” he said. “Your father usually never lets you join in at his meetings because you’re too young.”
“Yeah, I know. Some messenger is here from Elven Halls. Naneth says that Ada requests my presense. Why me? Why not my older sister Valadhiel? Or my brother Aranethon? I have a life- alife that I want to spend with you, Maldor.” The doorknob began to jiggle.
“Elarinya!” shouted Valadhiel. “Don’t forget that your not the only one who owns this room! Let me in!”
“Oh shoot!” exclaimed Elarinya. “Maldor, you have to leave before Valadhiel finds out you’re here!” She kissed him lightly and he disappeared out the window.
Valadhiel continued to jiggle the door handle. “Let me in, you little-” Elarinya ran to the door.
“Sorry, Valadhiel,” she said as she opened the door.
“Save it, Elarinya,” snapped Valadhiel. “I know that you were up here with Maldor. I don’t understand why you love that blacksmith’s son so much. All he does is paint, paint, paint! You should have you sights set on Prince Legolas. He’s more handsome than Maldor will ever be.”
“You obviously have not seen Maldor’s portfolio. His works are so beautiful. I have asked him to paint me a landscape of where we first fell in love.” Elarinya smoothed out the wrinkles on her dress. “I have to join Ada in one of his meetings. Boy, am I going to have fun,” she said sarcastically.
Elarinya came down the stairs. The messenger stopped speaking and stared at her in awe. “Sir Rinion,” he said, “she is more beautiful than you say.”
“Yes, Habriston,” said Rinion, “My youngest is more beautiful than words can describe.” He held Elarinya in his embrace. “Hello, my dear dulin. My don’t you look beautiful. You look like your mother did at your age.” He released her from his embrace.
“Thank you, Ada,” she said.
“My dear Elarinya, you have been a wonderful daughter and leader to me and the village. Now I ask of you a large favor.” He gestured to Habriston to speak.
“Lady Elarinya, your father tells me that your village has been attacked several times by armies of the North. King Thranduril offers an alliance with your village in return of your hand in marriage for his son.” Elarinya’s eyes widened in fear.
“Me!?” she exclaimed. “Why not Valadhiel?> She is more beautiful and deserves this honor more than I.”
“Elarinya,” said Rinion, “I have chosen you because you have gained favor among our people. Maldor, the blacksmith’s son, has your portrait on display in his studio window. The prince has seen it and is captured by your beauty. He knows that behind your graceful figure burns a fiery spirit. He can tell by looking at a person what their personality is like. You have gained his favor as well.”
“Do you accept the King’s offer,” asked Habriston. Elarinya’s thoights raced around in her head. `If I agree to his offer, I will help my village. But then Maldor and I can never be together. If I don’t, I can be with Maldor, but my village will be in jeopardy.’ “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it for a while.” She left the room and ran out of the house, her eyes wet with tears.