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!”
She ran back to the horse with Legolas and Elrohir close behind her. The horse slowed by the river to take a drink, for it had been ridden for many hours. The bloodied rider fell from his horse. Elarinya rushed to his side and brushed back his tangled hair. She gasped when she saw his face.
“Maldor,” she whispered. At hearing his name, Maldor opened his eyes. They were bloodshot and dull. No longer did the livliness he once had prance in his dark eyes. It seemed like Elarinya could see his life dragged away slowly from his hands by crude chains of Hell.
“Lady,” he whispered. Maldor couldn’t see her face. His vision had blurred, and all he could see was the shape of a young woman. “I tried, Lady. I tried.”
“Tried what?” Elarinya asked. “Maldor, what happened to you?”
“My village, it was taken over by orcs. Evil men plundered each house, stealing our young women. I tried to kill them, Lady. It was no use.” Maldor’s breathing had slowed a great deal and his eyes began to lose what was left of their sparkle. “I now wish I had seen my love before she had gone. If you see a woman of great beauty, Lady, and she bears the emblem of my people, please tell her…” Elarinya felt his body trembling violently.
“Yes, Maldor? Tell her what?” she asked, his shivering hand in her own. The last of his warnth left him, as did the last of his soul. Maldor wouldn’t answer her questions, nor did he acknowledge her. The chill of death was everywhere in the gardens of Imladris. Elarinya sat beside his limp body, squeezing his hand even tighter. She wanted to cry, but she could not. Her eyes felt as dry as his were before they closed forever into a restful sleep.
“A sleeping soul,” Elrohir muttered, “he has seen too much grief. He derserves this long awaited rest.” Elarinya dropped his hand and stood up. Her hands hung loosly at her sides, still wanting to reach for his hand.
“Elarinya,” said Legolas. Elarinya swallowed the lump in her throat and let her tears run freely. With not so much a glance, Elarinya raced back aross the bridge with her head in her hands. Her sobs could hardly be heard by the keen ears of Legolas and the twins, but it seemed to echo in their hearts. Legolas started to run after her, but Elladan stopped him.
“Leave her be for now,” he said. “It’s best to leave Lady Elarinya to grieve alone.” Legolas wanted to follow her eagerly. What kind of man would he be to let her go off alone and have naught but her tears to comfort her?
“A terrible one,” Legolas muttered to himself. “I’d be a terrible man indeed.”
Elarinya ran and ran, not caring where she went. Her feet skimmed across the grass and the wind made her eyes sting, but she didn’t seem to notice. All she could feel was the pain in her heart for Maldor’s death. Through her tears she could see a carpet of elanor blossoms beneath her feet, and she slowed. This is where she had come to often before. Many familiar memories were made here. Her first summer in Rivendell was spent in that little glade, her first kiss was given beneath the silvery-green roofs of the trees, her last hours in the peaceful valley was spent here as well. Elarinya sat beneath the largest tree, an ancient aspen that stretched to the clouds. Warm tears fell down her cheeks and onto her shoulders as she grieved for Maldor.
“My Love,” she sobbed quietly, “my dear, dear Love.”
[Life can be pleasant as it pleases. But it can be cruel and snatch away everything you’ve ever had. What am I to do now? Everyone I knew and loved at home is gone, everything I had, everything I cherished was ripped from my hands. Why me, Eru Illuvatar? What have I done to earn ill favor? Am I here to be tortured until death relieves me of my eternal pain? Oh Lord, please spare him. Take my soul instead!] Elarinya slowly raised her head and wiped her eyes.
“Take my soul instead,” she muttered. “That may be the solution.”