Alenor swung her legs towards the stall door of Sunrise’s stall. Sunrise was looking at her mournfully, possibly asking where were the treats that Elrohir always gave him. Elrohir. The thought entered unbidden in Alenor’s mind. Elrohir. Where was he? Did he get there all right or was it just a trick? Not wanting to think about that Alenor pulled herself away from those thoughts. As she pulled her thoughts away she heard the coming of light feet. Not as deaf as stones now eh? Alenor asked herself, remembering all the times she had missed the light tread when she was in her thoughts.
“Arwen’s face is red, and has a handprint on it,” Legolas said lightly as he could muster coming to stand beside the stall entrance. Alenor ignored him, though she felt her shoulders tense at his coming footsteps. “She did it didn’t she?”
“Yes,” Alenor answered quietly. She looked at the hand that had slapped her aunt’s face. There was a light smearing of blood on her palm where she must have split her lip.
“You slapped her too right?” Legolas asked. Alenor nodded closing her palm but Legolas noticed her actions. He came and pried it open against her resisting fingers. His fingers trailed out the blood. “Ah I see. Her lip is split too.”
“I didn’t mean too,” Alenor whispered brokenly, holding back a thousand tears that came when she even thought that she had hurt her aunt. “She didn’t care though!” She felt Legolas’s hand tighten over hers and she looked up into his face.
“I happen to know that Arwen did care. Alenor it was just her way of getting even. Aragorn got her mad to the point of how Aragorn was scared. Do you follow me?”
“I think so.”
“Good. So Arwen knows that Aragorn’s terrified of crickets. Who doesn’t? Anyway his extent of fear goes to the point of Arwen’s anger at his insult. As it is you, me, Arwen and Aragorn and possibly Aragorn’s little messenger know about what happened.”
“I understand Legolas now,” Alenor said sighing and pulling her hand away from his grasp. “Thank you. I just got so mad when I saw Aragorn like that and Arwen acted as if nothing had happened.”
“I know, even if you hate it Alenor you still are a child,” Legolas explained gently. “And you still have so much to learn in this world. I’m older then you and I still have things to learn. It takes time, you are a child, but wise, but there are still so many things you need to learn.”
Alenor gave a shaky laugh. “You’re lecturing me now?” Alenor asked, small smile crept on the corners of her lips. She looked past Legolas to Sunrise, who if possible looked even more mournful when the second Elf to show up hadn’t brought any treats. “Do you think Midnight’s getting fat?”
“What?” Legolas blinked. He looked to where she looked and laughed. “Yes probably. Now let’s get this blood of your hand. It doesn’t suit the delicate Elven features.”
“All right,” Alenor agreed.
Legolas helped her off the stall wall. “Everything will be all right you know,” Legolas assured. “I suggest you apologize to Arwen though. She’s very upset.”
“I will,” Alenor promised in a quiet voice. “I will Legolas don’t worry. I have to do it myself right?”
“As soon as this blood is gone,” Legolas agreed. “Now come on or it will be next summer by the time we get to the Healer’s House.”
Alenor gave a small laugh at this. “Lead the way my lord,” she teased feeling considerably better after their conversation.
“With honor my lady,” Legolas laughed giving a gentleman’s bow taking his hand from hers. With a grin, throwing off the serious look he offered it again. “My lady?” With a roll of her eyes Alenor laughed and accepted it.
“My lord,” she replied smoothly.
“Uh oh the two lovers!” they lifted their heads up. Grinning mischievously in the doorway stood Rana. “Should I getting a private room ready for. . .”
“RANA!!!!” Alenor shouted cutting him off. “Do you dare utter that last words you will land face first in a pile of horse manure!”
A look of mock concern flew to his face. “And ruin my beautiful Elven complexion?” he asked in mock horror. He gave an exaggerated flip of his hair. “After all, all the she-elf’s in Rivendell want me.” He looked at her with wide mock horror that made Alenor ground her teeth.
“Mine’s better,” she shot back. “My ear tips are more noticeable, are you sure you not half-Elven?”
“Are you sure your ears won’t grow too big for you to stand?” Rana shot back with a triumphant grin.
“Oh I’ll be able to stand, at least I’ll know better when my half-breed brother comes running and complaining that his fair Elven complexion is ruined by some dirty Ranger’s face complete with Dwarven beard!”
“Enough you two,” Legolas said with a half-serious face. “Before you run out of insults. You need them for later.” He knew well enough that they were only teasing each other, but it did seem real enough.
With a snort Alenor gave an exaggerated flip of her hair as if tossing it to the wind showing the delicate braid woven in her hair and brushed past her brother. At the entrance to the stable doors she only paused long enough to comment back to Legolas: “My lord were you not escorting me to the Healing Houses to take care of my most serious wound?” Looking at her brother Legolas shrugged and laughed.
“The lady commands,” Rana looked out. “You’d best go.”
Legolas bowed deeply. “As you wished my lord,” he said humbly and unable to keep a silly grin off his face departed from the stables. He found breathing easier now that Alenor was hopefully off the list of the anger for the time being.
Aragorn hung his head hoping that no other Elves would recognize him. He was tired of the `are you okay?’ and the `Do you know who could have done this?’ it made him what to scream. He wasn’t sure who had put the crickets in his bed, he had a guess, perhaps Arwen, though he couldn’t see her doing it for some reason. She had been mad with him though. With a groan Aragorn dug the heels of his palms in his eyes. Eru! But he was so embarrassed with the act he had put on this morning; he had never realized the extent of his fear until then.
“I hate crickets,” Aragorn groaned.
“Aragorn?” he raised his head. Anethia was looking at him with expectant wide ocean blue eyes. “Candy?”
“One moment,” Aragorn told her, feeling better that his little messenger wasn’t asking if he was all right. He soon found the bulging bag of candies at his side. Taking he dropped two into the Elven child’s hand as her eyes went wider, upon seeing them. Taking one himself Aragorn put it in his mouth and let the sweetness drown out everything else. That was perhaps why he had always liked them so much, to drown everything other emotion out of his head. With a start he noticed Anethia was still looking up at him. Right, candy, messenger service, and then more candy! Eru and Valar will she ever made a good messenger when she grows up if she first doesn’t eat all the candies. I’m glad I got her in my service.
“Right then,” Aragorn smiled. “I need you to run to Arwen and make sure that she comes this time. You will not leave the room on any reason. If the Lady offers you candy you don’t take it. If you come back with her and have none of her candy I’ll give you half the bag.” He held it front of her face. She jumped clapping her hands, pure innocence on her childish features. “Run along, be careful not to choke on the sweets.” She nodded and darted off. Sucking contentedly on the sweet in his mouth Aragorn replaced the tempting bag at his side. Okay Arwen we’re settling scores once and for all.
It wasn’t long before he heard returning footsteps. Opening his eyes Aragorn turned his head and grinned. Anethia definitely was loyal. In a grip as tight a child could hold she had Arwen’s wrist and was dragging her to Aragorn. Arwen’s face was pure bewilderment, it looked as if she hadn’t even got out of bed. Her sapphire blue dress looked wrinkled and her hair was tangled and a mess, a rarity to see in Rivendell.
“Aragorn, the Lady Arwen’s here,” Anethia said proudly stopping before Aragorn. He tried to keep a quick grin from his face. Her own golden curls a mess the Elven child looked up blinking, one hand still holding Arwen’s wrist and the other open expectantly towards the sweets.
“I see that Anethia, good job,” Aragorn praised. He reached down and poured out half the bag as promised into the girl’s hand. The one hand still holding Arwen let go as she cupped her hands watching the sweets fall with a wide amazing eyes. Aragorn himself was reluctant to part with so many, but knew he could steal some from the kitchen when he got the chance, that is of course if the cooks didn’t realize him first and shoo him out with the broomsticks.
When he was done Anethia’s hands closed greedily over her treasure and hurried off where she could enjoy them in peace.
“You’re going to make her sick Aragorn,” Arwen said, somewhat snappishly. Her hands had immediately gone to her hair where she was attempting to make use of the mess that it was.
“It keeps her loyal,” Aragorn shrugged. “Where were you? Sleeping?”
Arwen glared at him. “If you want to know I’m still upset over yesterday!” She crossed her arms giving Aragorn her best glare.
“Do you realize how enchanting you look while you’re glaring?” Aragorn asked nonchalantly, popping a sweet into his own mouth. “Want one Arwen? I plan on settling this you know.”
Arwen made an exasperated cry and snatched one. She was still glaring at him. “Okay Aragorn stop it now!” she ordered. “If you want this settled I’ll tell you it already is!”
“It is?” Aragorn asked. “So then it was you that somehow ended up placing the crickets in my bed?”
“With help,” Arwen said tightly. They stopped talking staring at each other for a good long ten seconds.
“Then we called it even?” Aragorn asked finally. Arwen nodded stiffly. “Good.”
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.