“Nothing,” she lied. Elarinya hoisted herself onto the horse’s back. “If you’re as clever as they say,” she challenged, “why don’t you figure it out?” She rode back to where Habriston stood, the white blossom at Legolas’s feet. Legolas stooped to retrieve it. It lay limp in his hands with a petal falling off.
Elarinya rode fast across the clearing, her horse’s side heaving with effort. She rode on past Habriston until she could no longer see or hear Legolas, dodging trees as she went. She slowed the horse, realizing how fast she was going, and let him rest by a gurgling stream.
“You are a mighty fine stallion,” she said to the horse as she patted his neck. “But you’d look absolutely handsome if you bore the blanket of my village instead of my belongings. Where I am to find a blanket of the Silver Dragon in these parts, I do not know.”
She sat down beside the stream. The soft gurgling sound reminded her of people talking as they performed their chores, people in her village. Elarinya removed her slippers and dipped her feet into the stream. The water was quite cold at first, but soothing nonetheless. She gazed at the stream at saw a surreal reflection of the world around her.
“Everything looks so different in there,” she said to herself. “Then everything looks the same out here.” A small light flew by. Small giggles came from it, like a child at play.
‘A fairy,’ thought Elarinya. She held out a finger for the light to land on. “Hello there, little fairy.” Elarinya was careful to not breathe so hard that the fairy fell off. The little fairy brushed himself off.
“I’m not little,” said his small melodious voice. “I’m near grown to normal size. The name’s Linc by the way. And you are?”
“I’m Elarinya. I’m nearly grown too, but not quite. My half-sister Valadhiel is more mature, older, and prettier than I, though.” Linc looked her over from his spot.
“You’re definitely more pretty than some of the fairies I’ve seen ’round here. Except for Azalea.” Elarinya set Linc on a leaf. “Say, uh, what are you doing out here all by yourself? Shouldn’t you be, like, riding with your husband or somethin’? Or are there children lurking in the bushes? Had a bad experience with children once. They tried to tear off me wings and sell them for 2 copper pieces! And they worth much more than that!”
“No, Linc. Well, sort of. I’m traveling to Thranduril’s halls with my fiancée, but he has to stop in Rivendell first. I don’t understand why, though.”
“He’s prince, right?” Elarinya nodded her head. “Well,” he began, “he’s gonna be doin’ a lot of official business and you won’t know about a lot of it.” He paused for a moment, then began to ramble. “I need a drink. How ’bout you, Miss? Want a drink? I hear the ale in Bree is mighty fine.”
“No thank you, Linc. I don’t have the time to travel to Bree, but it was a generous offer. I have to continue on with Legolas. In my opinion, he’s all right, but he’s not Maldor.” Linc eyed her suspiciously.
“Who’s this ‘Maldor’-lad?” Elarinya gazed off in the direction of her village. “Ah, I see,” remarked Linc. “He’s the lad back home that you truly love, ain’t he?” Elarinya sighed.
“Yes, he is,” she replied. “A crafter of swords and shields, yet his hands are gentle enough to cradle a small bird. Fierce when angered, yet kind all the same.” Linc stared in the direction of her gaze.
“You’re one of those Silver Dragon peoples, aren’t ya?” he asked.
“How’d you know?”
“I flown that a-way many times in me life,” he replied. “Last time I was there, Sir Rinion had a third addition to his bunch o’ munchkins, as if Aranethon and Valadhiel weren’t enough.” Linc shaded his eyes as he looked up at the sun.
“Well, I best be going. Azalea’s waitin’ for me back at the home with Estee, a sweet girl.” His wings fluttered and he was up in the air. “See ya soon!” he called down to her. Elarinya waved to him as he disappeared into the trees. She retrieved her horse and led him back to Legolas and Habriston. When she emerged from the trees, Legolas immediately rushed to embrace her.
“Thank Eru!” he cried.
“Uh, Legolas…can’t breathe.” Legolas let her go, then he held her firmly by her shoulders. “What do you think you were doing?” he asked her firmly. Elarinya pried his fingers off one shoulder.
“I was trying to escape you and your behavior, Master Legolas,” she replied. “I know you were embarrassed to be defeated by a woman, but that’s still no excuse for courting. In my opinion, your attempts to court were just to patch your pride.” She finally pried his other hand off her shoulder and mounted his horse.
“Now, shall we continue, or are we going to stand here until we turn into trees?” she asked him. Legolas hoisted himself up behind her. “I guess you have made up your mind,” she said quietly so that Legolas couldn’t hear. She gently squeezed the horse’s sides with her leg, and they started off at a jog. Within an hour, they reached the Ford at Rivendell. The sons of Elrond waited for them at the bridge.
“Greetings, Legolas Prince of Mirkwood,” said Elladan. “Welcome again to Rivendell.” Elrohir helped Elarinya off her horse.
“Thank you, sir, but I believe I could have managed,” she said. Elrohir shaded his eyes with his hand.
“Don’t you recognize an old friend, Elarinya?” he asked her, “because I remember you. You led on us on some of our more wild adventures when you were merely five years of age. And you’re still shorter than me.” Elarinya brushed away his hand.
“I remember you, Elrohir,” she replied. “I can still tell you apart from your brother, even when you are wearing identical clothing.” Elrohir playfully ruffled her hair.
“So what brings you to Rivendell?” he asked her as they crossed the bridge.
“I’m here with Legolas. He’s my fi… my fian… my fiancé”
“Yes, he is. And it wasn’t my idea either. He’s my last choice for a suitor.”
“Then where am I on the list?” he asked playfully.
“Hmmm…I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it. I don’t tend to fill my mind with such things. I prefer to focus in other more important things like archery and sword-wielding and horsemanship.” Elladan and Legolas caught up to them, with Habriston at the rear. Legolas draped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. The twins snickered at Legolas and Elarinya. She blushed and slipped out from beneath his arm.
‘Stop blushing every time he does something flirtatious!’ she thought to herself. ‘What is wrong with me?’ Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of hoof beats coming up behind them. Elarinya turned around. The horse was drawing nearer, his rider bent over at the waist out of exhaustion. A silver dragon decorated his tattered blankets.
“A rider!” she cried, “From my village!”