Note: I subtitled the last chapter wrong! (Eek!) THIS is Chapter Ten, The Truth – the one subtitled Chapter Ten is actually Chapter Nine, The Forming of the Fellowship. I’m really sorry if that confused anyone!
Novarwen opened the door to her room and stopped short. Theryn was sitting on her bed. “What in the name of Iluvatar are you doing here?” she demanded.
“Legolas told me you’re going to Mordor.” He stood up and walked over to her.
“Not as a vacation!”
“Novarwen!” Theryn held up his hands. “Calm down. If I wanted you to yell at me, I wouldn’t have come.”
Novarwen went red. Why do I always do these stupid things around him? she wondered. I didn’t before.
Theryn walked back to the bed. “Are you sure you want to go?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m sure.” Novarwen looked at him, surprised. “Why are you asking?”
“Why do you think?” He looked at her. “I don’t want you to be hurt.”
“I’m not going to get hurt.” Something was different, something was definitely different. Novarwen could feel it in the air.
“That doesn’t stop me from worrying.” Theryn began to pace. “I’m afraid you will get hurt, that you’ll get killed. For four hundred years I’ve worried about you.”
“Why?” She was harsher than she had meant to be, but his lies were hurting her, stabbing her in a place she’d thought was healed. “Why did you worry about me? You were the one who left! You didn’t even have to give me a second thought!” She was crying, much to her embarrassment – the last person she wanted to cry in front of was Theryn. “Just stop lying to me!”
“What do you mean, I was the one who left? I didn’t leave, I – Novarwen?” Theryn took her hand. “Novarwen, is that what they told you? That I left? That I wanted to leave?”
Beyond the ability to speak, Novarwen could only nod. Theryn reached out and hugged her. Novarwen cried into his shoulder.
“I – will you let me tell you what happened?” Theryn asked. “And will you believe what I tell you?”
“Of course,” Novarwen said, not much louder than a whisper. “I don’t know why I believed them in the first place.”
Theryn pulled a chair over and let her sit in it. Then he sat in one himself and began.
This isn’t the whole story. It’s only the part I know. I’m sure there’s more to it than what I know, but I can only tell you this. Four hundred years ago – do you remember that the Elves from Lothlorien were supposed to come to Mirkwood? Well, Irithion sent me out to greet them. They’re far away from the palace, he said. They need a guide to bring them here. So I went.
It was a very long way to where Irithion had told me they were, and by the time I got there, no Elves were anywhere near it. I thought, Perhaps they’re a little ways off, so I looked for them, but I found no one.
I headed back to the palace as fast as I could, which, considering that I couldn’t remember the path I had taken, was not very fast. But I eventually got there, and I headed straight for the council room to yell at Irithion for sending me to the wrong place. But Lirthin – you remember him? The old Captain of the Taurroch? All right – he told me that Irithion had announced that I was henceforth banished from the palace. To this day, I don’t know how he got it past King Thranduil, and I suppose I’ll never find out, since I can’t go back. But that’s what happened. Just so you know now.
Novarwen stared at Theryn, aghast. “That’s what happened? They tricked you into leaving, and then – ” She was speechless for a moment, then yanked her shoe off and threw it hard against the wall. “Sorry,” she apologized. “I just…needed to do that.”
Theryn grinned. “Like I said, you haven’t changed in four hundred years.” This time, Novarwen grinned back.
Then the grin left her face. “They told me that you left because…you’d changed your mind.”
Theryn’s eyes widened in shock. “They what?” he demanded. “They said that?”
Novarwen nodded. “And I believed them. I don’t know why, but I did.”
“You thought I had left you?” She nodded again. “Oh, Novarwen!” Theryn sprang up and threw his arms around her. It was wonderful to have him holding her again.
Finally he let her go. “So…will you still go with the others?” he asked with a small smile.
Novarwen returned the smile. “I gave my word,” she replied. “But now that I know the truth, I promise I’ll come back.” She grinned. “And then Irithion will be in lots of trouble!”
Theryn grinned back. “Good.” Then he bent his head and kissed her. For an instant, Novarwen thought they were back in Mirkwood. She put her arms around Theryn and kissed him back with all her heart.