As she jumped off her horse and looked around, Aldariel took a deep breath of the alder -scented air. She turned to the tall, willowy figure beside her. “It’s good to be back.” Her dark-haired companion nodded, hazel eyes dancing. ” Aye. It has been too long since we walked in the Leafer Kingdom.”
Oh please Deliphy.” Aldariel grinned, ” You would have been just as content if we had stayed in Lorien.” Her sister shrugged and commented innocently, “I have no idea what you’re referring to.” Aldariel gave her a light shove. No longer able to contain herself, she burst out laughing. Deliphy soon joined her. Both of them dropped to the ground holding their sides.
After a few moments, when she had gained control, Deliphy commented soberly, “You know, I already miss him.” Aldariel righted herself and gave her sister a hug. Haldir will still be there when you get back.” “I certainly hope so.” Deliphy dropped her eyes. ” I hope he doesn’t find someone else.” Aldariel snorted, “Not likely. I practically had to drag you two away from each other when we left.” It was only there for a fleeting second, but Deliphy had seen the pain in her sister’s eyes. She wanted to kick herself for being so careless. Aldariel’s wounds were still new, and she had involuntarily reminded her of the person who caused them. Why didn’t I think before I said that? I’ve got to be more careful, Deliphy thought as she watched Aldariel stand and walk over to her horse. Poor thing… ” Hey! Are you going to help me get these packs off?” Aldariel called over her shoulder/. “Coming!” Deliphy yelled back. As she approached Aldariel, she felt she needed to say something. ” Look, Aldariel…” “Don’t.” Aldariel interrupted angrily, don’t even go there. I don’t want to talk about it.” ” Okay,” Deliphy replied calmly. She’s just going to have to find a way to heal by herself. I can’t do it for her, Deliphy thought sadly.
Aldariel and Deliphy led their horses through the tall archway of trees that framed the entrance to the palace. They had left their packs with the perimeter guards. Sudden Deliphy shrieked and took off running toward a tall, imposing, figure standing in front of the palace doors. Aldariel hung back and smiled as her sister exuberantly hugged their father. Her father’s guards were astonished at the Princess’ lack of protocol. Aldariel hid her grin as she slowly led the horses up the ivy- covered path toward her sister and father. Deliphy just seemed to have that effect on people.
A light breeze whispered through the trees. Aldariel sighed and closed her eyes. Although she loved to travel abroad, she always enjoyed coming home. Lorien was the most beautiful creation of the Eldar, but the elves there had always seemed to be slightly arrogant, and their lifestyle confining. Not that Aldariel didn’t love the Lorien elves, that wasn’t the case at all. They were as much a family to her as her own blood, not to mention the fact that Galadriel was her grandmother; But there was just something about the Leafer Kingdom that spoke of the wild and freedom. This highly appealed to the Princess.
Aldariel bowed to her father as she reached her sister’s side. Maliphy motioned for his daughter to rise and put his arm around her and Deliphy. Turning to the assembled crowd, he said, “Behold, my daughters, the Princess Aldariel and the Princess Deliphy have returned home!” The crowd burst into cheers. As Maliphy continued his introduction, Aldariel glanced out over the sea of faces, eyes resting on familiar, dear faces. Suddenly her eyes alighted on a new face; a tall handsome elf standing near the back of the crowd, Looking at him took her breath away. She could see that she wasn’t the only maiden who felt that way. Embarrassed, Aldariel averted her eyes to her sister, who met her eyes with the same concern she had shown earlier. Maliphy’s speech was coming to a close, “We shall now have a great feast in their honor!”
Deliphy grabbed Aldariel’s arm and pulled her to their place of honor at the banquet table. Harps were being played, and Aldariel knew that in a short while, she would be called upon to sing. She sighed. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like singing, she thought bitterly. Oh well, I’ll just have to endure it, I suppose. She took her seat as the first course was passed around. Aldariel noticed a small grouping of elven- maidens. As she tried to get a closer look, she saw that the same blonde-haired, blue-eyed elf that had captured her attentions earlier was in the midst of them. Having noticed what her sister was looking at, Deliphy commented, ” That’s Legolas Greenleaf, Son of Thranduil, Prince of Mirkwood. It looks like he’s rapidly gaining popularity here in the Leafer Kingdom. Suddenly, a minstrel appeared at Aldariel’s elbow, motioning that she come with him. As he stood her near the harps, he asked her to sing. Here goes nothing, She thought.