Author’s Note: I decided to do a two part story on a Tolkien story, not based on that of The Silmarillion, The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this first part!
Golden-haired, wide-eyed and smiling. Lilayah sauntered down the narrow gravel path, alone. Her destination was unknown, but what she desired was the peace of the countryside, breathing in the untainted crystal air. Lilayah spun around as she felt the prescence of something… someone behind her. The glare of the sun stroked her sight and she blinked involuntarily, clearing away the black spots. She swept her hand over her eyes as the sun’s glare became stronger. A polite smile spread across Lilayah’s lips at the approaching stranger.
“Hello!” She called out gently.
The man stared at her, “Hello.” He answered quite gruffly. Lilayah’s eyes wandered downwards, noticing the canisters of paint that hung from his worn hands. The man walked past without a second glance, Lilayah frowned at this rudeness. Yet, she followed behind nevertheless, gradually making her way to his side. The man glanced at her warily and sighed.
“What are those for?” Lilayah asked, pointing to the buckets.
“I am a painter,” Came the quick reply.
“A painter! But the laws-“
“What about the laws?” He asked challenging, his eyes darting towards her,
Unaffected by his remark she continued, “The Laws state that such activities as painting is folly, for it is not real work.”
“Folly? Real work?” He laughed, “If that is so, then walking and speaking is folly as well.”
“I see that you care not for the Laws,” she spoke, pointing to an unkept garden leading up to a small cottage. That in which they had stopped outside of.
“Yes, well, I am busy. Goodbye Miss?”
“Lilayah.” She smiled.
“Yes, Lilayah. Goodbye.”
Lilayah watched as he turned into the gate and rolled up his garden. She shook her head, what a strange little man. she thought to herself. The calling of the birds pulled her away from the house, she waved at the lame man who sat in the garden of the house next door and continued down the long country path.
Many days passed before the memory of the strange man resurfaced. Lilayah had thought it necessary to visit him, being a kind and generous woman as she was. But in that day, it was quite stormy and unkind, not one that in which she desired to enter into. Though, her will was stronger than her mind, so in the late afternoon thunder, she entered into the bitter rain, bundled with many layers. She came at last to the door of the strange man’s, she looked to the side and saw a bicycle, soaked with rain and strewn carelessly across the garden.
One knock, than two. Lilayah was just about to turn and leave when the door opened. The man, clothes doused in chilly rain, his face, a deepened red with sunken eyes.
“Hello! Do you not remember me?” She asked cautiously.
“Yes… Lilayah, right?”
They stood silently, Lilayah shivered under her bundle.
“Oh! Yes, yes, come in, please.”
Lilayah stepped through gratefully into the warm, inviting cottage. The man helped her strip off her dripping bundles and helped her to the fire.
“Lilayah! Why are you out on such a dreadful day? Tea?”
“Yes, thankyou. This may sound strange, but, I came to visit you.”
The man stopped in quite a humorous position, kettle in hand, eyes wide in surprise, “Me?”
Lilayah blushed slightly, “Yes, well. I did not mean to say what I did on that day. You know, about the Laws. I respect you and your painting, I think it to be… different.”
“Oh,” he smiled as he handed her a cup, “Thank you.”
Lilayah sipped her tea, “I never got to ask you your name.”
“It is Niggle-” The man began to cough. Worried, Lilayah set her cup on the hearth and pressed the back of her hand on Niggle’s forehead.
“My! You are burning up! Have you been out today?”
“Yes, I had to go out to town for Parish-” Lilayah raised a confused brow. “Parish, he is my neighbor, my… only neighbor.”
Lilayah nodded. “Well I had to go, for his wife is sick, and the tiles on his roof are beginning to be lost by the wind. I found the doctor, but left a note for the builder’s, they are never there.”
Niggle coughed more, harsher than before.
“Come, let us get you into bed. You are sick, and you need now rest.”
Without an argument, Lilayah swept Niggle up to his room, she waited whilst he dressed himself in dry clothes, and helped him into bed.
“Now, rest. I will stay here whilst you get better.”
“Are you sure?” He asked, struggling against her, “I feel a bit better now that I am out of those clothes, maybe I am better-“
“Nonsense! Do not speak such folly, you are delirious. Now rest, I will bring you tea and soup when you wake.”
Struggling against the grasps of sleep, Niggle reluctantly gave in. His eyes slowly blinked until they were completely closed. Lilayah sighed, she propped herself against the chair on the far side of the room. She too, fell into an innocent sleep.