Maldor laughed as he watched Aranethon leave in a hurry. “I didn’t think he would be scared of such a graceful swan,” he said. “I think if you’re going to use weapons more often, you should take this.” He held up the sword he had just finished earlier when she walked in. “It’s a katana. A friend of mine from the land of `Japan’ taught me how to forge this. It’s blade is so sharp that even if you draw it wrong, it will split the sheath.” Elarinya strapped the sheath around her waist. The sword hung just so at her side that she could still move quickly without tripping over it. “Amazing,” she said, her eyes full of wonder. “It’s probably strong enough to slay a cave troll in one blow and sharp enough to penetrate the skin down to its heart! I can’t wait to test its abilities.”
“Ah, but don’t forget about me while you’re slaying dragons and cave trolls left and right,” said Maldor. He kissed her cheek and hugged her. “You must return home. I don’t want your father sending out the army to look for you.”
“You’re probably right. I wish I didn’t have to leave. I wish I could stay with you. I wouldn’t have to deal with my siblings or my father breathing down my neck or my mother worrying about our relationship getting too serious.” She pulled away from his arms and headed toward the doorway. “I love you, Elarinya,” said Maldor. Elarinya turned toward him. “I love you too, Maldor.” Then she turned the corner and disappeared into the dusk.
Elarinya wandered up the road to Meldiriel’s house. She rapped lightly on the door. It slowly opened as Meldiriel’s older sister Eccaia pulled it open. “Hello, Elarinya,” she said. “We were just about to eat dinner. Would you like to join us?”
“Sure. I’d rather spend the evening with Easterling soldiers than back at my own home right now.” The warm glow of the fire filled the room, giving it a cheery feeling. The smell of minnestrone soup cooking over the fireplace filled her nostrils. The sound of Meldiriel’s baby brother Elardyn laughing as his mother held him filled her ears. She sat next to the fire and warmed her hands. She stared at them with wonder and sorrow. Those same hands had built castles in the sand as a child, picked wildflowers for her father, held her true love close, carried small children in the village, and slew those that attacked her people. Her hands would no longer do most of those things after her marriage. Her hands would be held in Legolas’s instead of Maldor’s. Her hands would never again feel his soft, dark brown curls or his firm, strong hands. Her thoughts were interrupted by Meldiriel placing a full bowl of soup in her hands. She sat down next to her and took a sip of her soup. “You were thinking about your hands again, weren’t you?” she asked. Elarinya opened her mouth to speak, but Meldiriel held up her hand to silence her. “Maldor told me everything. I can’t believe that your father would do that to you! Does he know that you love Maldor?”
“No,” Elarinya sadly replied. “I wish he did. Then he might change his mind and make Valadhiel marry Prince Legolas instead of me.” A lock of brown hair fell across her face. She pushed it back behind her ear and took a sip of her soup. “Even if Ada knew how much I loved Maldor, I would still be the prince’s bride. The prince probably just wants a bride to produce beautiful heirs, not for love.” She put down her bowl and took Elardyn in her arms. His tiny fingers grasped her finger and his brown eyes shone with delight. “But, I can’t let my people down.”
“And that’s exactly why your father chose you instead of Valadhiel!” exclaimed Meldiriel. “If given the choice, Valadhiel would most likely choose herself over the village. You, on the other hand, are giving up your own love for the sake of our people.” Elarinya handed Elardyn to Meldiriel and got up.
“Thanks, Meldiriel. Dinner was delicious, but I think I’m going to spend my last night of freedom with Maldor.” She left the house and stared at her hands once more. `Tonight,’ she thought, `these ahnds will hold Maldor.’ She made her way silently to Maldor’s house behind the blacksmith. Instead of a wooden door, his house hada dark-blue, velvet curtain. Elarinya drew back the curtain and entered his house. She closed the curtain and came to his bedroom. There slept her love, Maldor. He looked so peaceful when he slept. Elarinya sat next to him on the bed and stroked his hair. Despite his curls, she could easily run her fingers through it. Maldor rubbed his eyes and slowly opened them. He took her hand and squeezed it gently. “My dear alqua,” he whispered.
“Shhhh. Rest, my dear Maldor. You must be strong to make swords for our men in arms, and your eyes must be keen to paint their portraits.” She lay down on the bed next to him and closed her eyes. There they slept the entire night, wrapped in each other’s arms.
Sorry it’s so short. I’ve been trying to find time to write during my busy schedule.