“Tonight, when the moon sets, slip out of your window. I will be waiting for you by the shore. Then we can escape together. Well, you can escape. I can leave openly, but I still think I’ll come with you.”
Aramel nodded. That made sense. If Feawen waited for daybreak to leave, her father would probably trail her. It’s not like he doesn’t suspect her already, she thought. It would be much more efficient, even though Father will know I went with her.
“Where will we go?” she asked.
“Well, we should be establishing a place in the south, but that’s going to take time, and people. I think we should go to Rivendell first, then Lorien, to rally some people.”
“What if my father catches us halfway?” Aramel asked nervously.
“He will not.” Feawen’s tone was confident. “Now, you should get some rest. Don’t forget, moonset at the shore.”
Aramel slipped into her room.
“Let’s see, I’ll take this, and this…” Aramel was muttering to herself as she paced around her room, collecting everything she wanted to take with her.
Her father’s advisor, Curudol, passing by, heard her. He silently pressed his keen ear to the door. He was very interested in Aramel these days. From what he heard, Cirdan was planning a marriage for his daughter soon, and the ambitious young elf hoped that one day his would be the luck to wed this dark-haired elf-maiden.
“No, that’s too heavy, it’ll never do. By the Valar, I never thought running away was going to be this complicated!”
Curudol caught his breath. She was running away!
“I honestly hope Father doesn’t catch me,” Aramel was saying, “or I’m done for.”
Curudol shook his head. This would never do. Lord Cirdan had to be notified immediately!
Feawen paced around her room, which held a large canopied bed and a table with a silver mirror. As pleasant as her surroundings were, she felt uneasy. It was the feeling she always had when she had forgotten something important. What can it be? she thought. Of course! I should have told Aramel to be careful not to keep any lights on in her room!
She hurried in search of Aramel.
In the dim, torch-lit corridor, she could see a figure, ear pressed to Aramel’s door. Silently she crept behind it, then deliberately cleared her throat.
“Ahem, excuse me, sir, could you show me to the garden? I wished to go for a walk, but I have lost my way in these winding corridors.”
Curudol started, and straightened up. It was the lady who had come that day, the one from beyond the sea. “I am at my lady’s service,” he said smoothly.
He led her out to the garden.
“If I may make so bold, sir, may I ask what you were doing before I…intruded?” said Feawen politely, but in a tone that said she knew very well what he had been doing.
“Er…I…was walking” said Curudol lamely.
“Ah, I see.”
Curudol felt uneasy.
“The stars are beautiful tonight, are they not?” Feawen asked in as romantic a tone she could muster.
“They are indeed,” said Curudol, wondering.
“It is a lovely night to go walking in the garden.
Elen sila lumenn’; omentielvo” she added, almost in a whisper.
Curudol blinked, startled. It was not the sort of thing he had expected from a lady he barely knew!
They walked on for a few minutes in the starlit garden, under the starry dome of the sky, then Feawen spoke, “Now, master Curudol, I believe I can find my way through the garden. Thank you very much for your guidance”, said Feawen graciously, smiling charmingly, but her eyes were wary.
Curudol bowed and left, his mind, for now distracted from the thought of Aramel.
Feawen sighed with relief. There was only one reason that Curudol was listening at Aramel’s door; he had discovered that she was running away. Let’s hope I’ve distracted him enough so that he will forget about it for the present.
She did not like having to be coy to draw his mind away from Aramel, even if it was only feigned. In truth, she had never done anything of this sort before, namely, helping someone escape from a house.
She whispered to the star-strewn sky, “Elentari amë resta!”
The round moon was sinking like a silver coin into the sea. Feawen silently crept to the shore, waiting for Aramel. Sure enough, she was there, waiting, with a bundle of things slung across her shoulder and a sword hung on her belt.
“What’s in there?” Feawen asked, gesturing to the bundle.
“Oh, a few things I like to keep with me, some spare clothes, and food. Water we can get on the way.”
Feawen nodded. “We must be off. Curudol apparently heard you. I said a few things to him that should distract him for a time, but not for long. Let’s go!”
They started east, the sighing of the waves on the shore fading, and the night veiled them from all eyes.
“What?” Cirdan leaped up. “She’s gone? What do you mean she’s gone?”
The serving-woman fluttered anxiously. “It’s true, milord. Her room is empty, and some of her things are gone.”
“Search around the house. This has got to be a mistake.” He buried his face into his hands, looking suddenly weary, as if his cares had weighed him down.
The servants searched high and low, but found nothing. They reported back to Cirdan.
He gave a great cry of grief. “Aramel, child, why did you go away without any warning at all, leaving your father all alone? What made you leave? Was it that woman who came here today? Would you leave your father for her?” he said bitterly. And suddenly he leaped up. “Yes!” he cried as one who is fey, “It is that woman who has bewitched you! I will hunt her to the ends of the earth!”