“I love you Maldor,” she said, her voice wavering with grief. “I must return home. I… I’m sorry we can’t be together.” She wrapped her arms around his waist in an embrace. Tears welled up in her eyes. ” I… I have to go.” She pulled away from Maldor and strapped her sword to her waist. She went over to the table and put on her necklace. She left the house in haste, yet before she set foot outside the doorway, she faced Maldor once more. “Namarie,” she whispered. “I Melain berio le.” She disappeared through the door, leaving Maldor behind with teary eyes.
The street was bustling with people as they performed their early morning tasks. Every day at sunrise was the busiest time of day. Elarinya made her way through the crowds as they made their way to their little stalls and shops. Elarinya made her routine stop at the fruit stall to gather food for breakfast. The little elderly hobbit running the shop smiled when she saw Elarinya coming toward her shop. “Good morning, Elarinya,” she said bowing her head. “How is your family this fine morning?”
“Oh, they’re just fine, but I’m not exactly happy this morning,” said Elarinya as she picked up a few apples. The old woman handed her a basket to put them in. “What put you in such a mood, dear child?”
“Well, just troubles with Maldor.” The old woman patted Elarinya’s hand.
“There, there, I’m sure things will work out for the best.” Elarinya pulled out a few coins from her pouch and placed them in the woman’s wrinkled hand. She counted the coins and handed back a few of them. “This is too much, dear girl. You need the money much more than I.” Elarinya placed the coins back in the woman’s hand and closed her fingers around them. “No, you need them much more than I ever will. Your grandchildren need this for their food and clothing.” She gestured to a pair of children, a boy and a girl, wearing tattered clothing and skipping stones across a small pond. “Thank you, Elarinya,” said the old woman. Her curly grey hair bobbed as she bowed her head. “No, thank you for the fruit and the basket. Have a good day, madame.” She snuck a few more coins into the old woman’s hands and headed back to her house. Every step closer felt like getting closer to a Balrog’s sword, for she knew her father’s wrath would be great when she returned. At last, she reached her door step. She slowly pushed open the wooden door and went inside. Her mother was sweeping the floor when she walked into the kitchen. “Naneth,” she said softly, “I got the fruit for breakfast.” Her mother looked up from her chore and dropped her broom. “Elarinya!” she exclaimed, her eyes wet with tears of joy. “I’m so glad you’re all right.” She embraced her daughter tightly. “Yes, Naneth. I am all right,” said Elarinya. She stroked her mother’s long hair. It was brown riddled with gold and auburn like her own. Elarinya pulled away from her mother and put the basket on the table. “Naneth, I have made my decision. Where is Ada? I must tell him before the messenger leaves.”
“He’s in the sitting room having tea with the messenger and another guest. But before you even go in there, go clean up,” she said as she wiped a smudge of ash off of Elarinya’s face. “There’s a new dress hanging on your door. Don’t change into it just yet. Wear one of Valadhiel’s old dresses.” Elarinya hurried up the stairs to her room. Just as her mother had said, there was a beautiful white, sleeveless, floor-length dress made from the finest silk in all of the territory of Carrock hanging on her door. Elarinya ran her hands along the beaded neckline, tracing the cresent-moon-shaped design in the center. `Oh, it’s beautiful!’ thought Elarinya. A slip of paper fell to the floor from the left strap. “To my future wife, Goddess of the Moon. This is the dress for our wedding day. Love always, Prince Legolas,” she read. She took her eyes off the dress and the note and began to leaf through Valadhiel’s dresses. One in particular caught her eye. She held up the velvet, lavender dress against herself in the mirror. It had transparent sleeves that extended farther than her middle finger. The silver ribbons in the back dangled at her sides. Her mother came up the stairs with a basket of clean laundry for Elarinya and her sister and saw Elarinya looking at the dress in the mirror. “Do you like that one, my dear?” she asked her. “I wore that on the night that I met the King Thranduril. Of course, back then he was the prince. But instead of the prince, I chose your father. He and I had a special connection, almost like you and the prince will have.” She helped Elarinya slip into the dress and tie the ribbons. She braided little amethysts into her hair, nearly creating a crown on her head. Her mother stepped back and took a good look at her daughter. “All you need are wings and you would be an angel,” she said with a small laugh. She painted Elarinya’s lips light pink and her eyelids light blue. “There. Now you are ready,” she said as she led her daughter down the stairs. The messenger was speaking with her father’s other guest, then he fell silent. “Sir,” he whispered into the guest’s ear, “she’s here.” The guest faced Elarinya and stood in awe. Elarinya came forward to her father. “Ada,” she said as she managed a curtsy, “I have made my choice.” She faced the messenger. “I accept the prince’s offer but on two conditions. First, I must be allowed to visit my village at any time. Second, extra money is to be given to each citizen. Our people need it,” she said as she recalled the old woman and her grandchildren. The messenger bowed low. “Thank you, your Grace. How rude of me! I haven’t introduced my guest to you. Lady Elarinya, this is his Majesty, Prince Legolas.” Elarinya’s eyes widened as Legolas came forward and kissed her hand. “Pleased to meet you, malady.”
“The pleasure is mine,” said Elarinya. This was the first time she had seen the prince since he came a few years ago to visit her father. He had grown even more handsome than last time she saw him. “I will be returning to my home tomorrow,” said Legolas. “I was hoping that you would accompany me on the journey.” His eyes gazed at her with love and kindness, entrancing Elarinya. “Yes,” she replied. “But I need to pack first. I will meet you here at sunrise tomorrow.” She kissed his cheek, then stood back with pink cheeks. “All right then,” said Legolas, “tomorrow at sunrise. I’ll be there. Thank you for inviting me into your home, Lady Elarinya and Sir Rinion.” He gestured to the messenger that it was time to leave. He bowed before Elarinya, then left the house. Elarinya watched him mount his horse and ride away through the window. `Maybe this could work out after all,’ she thought.