“Kyla,” he gripped her shoulders. “I know you recognize this place even as I do. This is the Ford of Bruinen.”
“It can’t be. It just can’t!”
“Daro! Man le!” [Stop! Who are you?]
Before their eyes, on the opposite side of the river, stood a man clothed in elvish attire wearing a long dark cloak. Out of it peeked a flame of golden hair, and he carried a long glinting sword. Orlando turned to the man understanding his words and replied.
“Essenya Orlando. Máravë omentaina. Nai i Valar nauvar as elyë.” [My name is Orlando. Well met, and may the Valar be with you.]
The stranger approached crossing the ford at a light speed and came to their sides his sword still loose in his hand. “Mana cáral sinomë?” [What are you doing here?]
“Áni apsenë herunya. Lye are wanwa. Boe ammen veriad lîn.” [Forgive me, lord. We are lost. We need your protection.]
“Lye nar melons?” [You are friends?]
“Lye nar melons.” [We are friends]
“Hotuli tar ni.” [Come away with me.]
The man led them across the ford and through the path leading to Rivendell. When the great city arose before Kyla’s eyes, she clutched onto Orlando nervously and then looked at her ring. He wrapped his arm around her encouragingly as they followed the elven man through the gates and into the marvelous city of stone, marble, and pearl. He led them through several courtyards with streaming fountains until they finally came to a small building, which looked much like a library. He ushered them in and bid them farewell. Inside stood an elvish man with long dark hair and fair features. His face was so perfect, it seemed nearly chiseled out of a sculpture. He closed the book he was reading and faced them.
“Melons, Inye ista au lya tuluva.” [Friends, I know of your coming.] “And I also understand your language.”
Kyla looked up surprised as he continued. “The lady must rest. She is sick and weary.”
“I am not sick,” she objected, but even as she said it, Orlando pressed his cold hand to her forehead, and it returned burning hot.
“She is confused and weary from her traveling which brings on the sun sickness. My brother shall take her to her room.”
A soft hand took Kyla’s, and Orlando released her though she continued to try and cling onto him. The elf she now looked upon seemed much like the one she had just spoken to, but his eyes were green. This one had blue eyes. When her knees buckled, Eladdan picked her up and brought her from the library.
“Do not fear, Orlando. She shall be well taken care of,” Elrohir stated. “Come and drink with me to your health, and you may tell me of your arrival here.”
I was burning, but freezing cold. How could it have come upon me so fast? I felt like a limp rag doll as he carried me into a room and tucked me into a bed. I wanted Orlando with me. I didn’t want to be alone. Why wasn’t he here with me?
My eyes fluttered open, and I saw two people one sitting beside me grasping my cold hand and the other standing above me.
“She has awoken. That means the fever has dissipated.”
I looked at my hand feeling a burning sensation on one of my fingers and realized it was the ring. It was now shining with an ethereal light, which seemed to captivate me and hold her in its rays.
I smiled at Orlando as he pressed a wet cold cloth against my forehead.
“Where are we?” I asked remembering only vaguely of our coming to Rivendell.
“You are safe within this elven haven,” the elf bowed pressing a hand to his forehead. “I am Eladdan. Forgive me if I struggle with your language. Your friend has taught me much, but I still have much to learn, and you will learn elvish as well.” His voice was smooth and melodic flowing into me and nearly wiping my senses.
“Kyla,” the familiar voice and touch brought me back to reality.
I smiled at Orlando. The memories were returning, slowly but surely. I simply hated the memories of the nightmares, and yet I had none when I lay asleep here. I took in my surroundings seeing white iron windows spilling fresh light into the room. Everything was golden and silver at the same time, and I could not think of a time I had been more comfortable. Transparent white sheets were folded around the bed I slept in. I looked out of the windows seeing mountains and thin flowing waterfalls surrounded by lush green trees. Other figures dressed in much the same garb as Eladdan were walking about near. I sat up widening her eyes.
“Orlando, they’re elves,” I uttered finally.
“I know,” he did not seem surprised or concerned.
“Is this another one of your amazing pranks?” I asked. “You dressed up everyone, built an exact replica of Rivendell.”
“No, these people are real and so is this place.”
“But how could we be…”
Before I could finish, I turned back to Eladdan examining him thoroughly. His hair was long, dark, and soft stretching to his shoulders. His eyes seemed to carry the wisdom of many ages, but his face was young, fair, and handsome. He wore a silver circlet upon his head, and his clothes were of royal garb. At his neck, was fixed an elven leafed brooch, which held a gray mantle together. I could imagine any girl fainting at the mere glance of his emerald green eyes.
“Kyla, I know this is difficult for you to understand,” Orlando continued, “Let me see your ring.”
I touched the soft band of gold around my finger but found I could not remove it. Orlando spoke to the elf again, and the Prince took my hand twisting the ring around and examining the runes. He turned to Orlando and spoke to him in elvish for several more minutes. Orlando finally turned back to me.
“He says the runes on the ring could only have been made by the Valar. They sent it to you for safekeeping. That is why you were fated to try it on and not to remove it.”
“Safe from who?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
Kyla breathed in the fresh air of Rivendell as she walked amid the marble courtyard with its flowing fountains and marble pillars. She had changed into the dark blue gown provided for her after bathing and admitted it was very comfortable. She would need to accustom herself to wearing these dresses anyway since she had no more of her own clothes. She also had met Elrohir, who was very much like his brother but bore sapphire blue eyes instead of forest green. They seemed to care greatly for Orlando though she did not know why. Was it simply because he spoke elvish? No it was something more. Kyla too learned to speak elvish well. It was like a second language to her now, and she learned it almost as easily as she learned English.
“I picked these for you because you are the prettiest girl I’ve seen.”
Kyla turned to see a little girl who could hardly be past seven standing in front of her. Long golden tresses fell to the child’s waist, and in her hand she held a small bouquet of wildflowers. Kyla smiled and took them breathing them in.
“I was named after Yavanna but you can call me Ana,” the child took her hand and swung her white pinafore from side to side like a bell.
“Do you live in Rivendell?” asked Kyla.
“Yes, with my mum and father.”
“And how old are you?” inquired Kyla.
“I am nine hardly more than a baby.”
“Well, you have a full immortal life to live,” noted Kyla from the girls tipped ears.
“So do you.”
The American paused and looked into the child’s pale blue eyes seeing the sincerity in them a truth Kyla barely knew herself. The child spoke rightly, and somehow Kyla realized it. Unwittingly, she raised her hand to her ears to ensure they were not pointed. They were not, but still Kyla looked at her hand seeing the soft glowing ring, which betrayed all doubts. She was stuck timeless here. She was immortal.
She heard the voice but didn’t answer knowing he would come inside anyway. She stood in the dark room with only a couple candles lit the fire making eerie shadows along the walls. She was dressed in nothing but her simple transparent nightshift and looking at the shining ring upon her finger. She faced the window and let the fresh breeze rustle through her dark waves blowing them towards her face. She felt his soft hand touch her bare shoulder, but still Kyla did not turn.
“Why are you here? You did not come down to eat with us,” Orlando spoke.
“I am stuck, Orlando,” she finally turned and he saw fresh tears lingering upon her face. “I’m ever living now, immortal, undying and perpetual.”
“How do you know?”
“The ring. It is because of this ring I wear. It delays life. I can no longer feel it.”
He slowly raised his hand to her cheek and stroked it softly wiping the tears away. She did not object as he took her into his arms and embraced her. She tried to ignore the pain letting him simply hold her and make it disappear. It finally did fly away when he kissed her.
I felt his lips upon mine, and he turned his face to change the angle and soon the depth. My mind soared away and I forgot everything else. I could feel the hosts of stars twinkling about me in the heavens. He lifted me up to fly to lands unknown. A simple kiss but one having so much affect. My knees buckled from my lack of sleep and food so he swept me up in his arms and laid me carefully on the bed. He covered my cold body with the sheets, but as he was about to leave I gripped his arm strongly urging him to stay. Orlando took a spot beside me and I set my head on his shoulder. If only to know he was there beside me, my pain was gone. I fell asleep on his shoulder, but during the night I recall his arms wrapping tenderly around my waist.
I woke up to the golden sunlight pouring through my room. Orlando was beside me, and he looked beautiful as he slept. I carefully removed his arm and stood up regaining my balance from the previous night. My head felt lighter not as troubled. A dull pain was there as if a burden had been placed on my shoulders, but I now knew it was for a purpose, and I was here for something. I was also gladdened that I was not sent alone and without someone to help me. I looked again at Orlando seeing his eyes closed and began to remove my shift so I could change into something more respectable. Before it got halfway down my back, I heard his voice and nearly jumped.
“No, don’t do that, Kia.”
I turned around a blushing grin upon my face. “You were supposed to be asleep.”
“Well, I woke up.”
“Hey, I didn’t have to warn you,” he rolled his eyes and stood up. “I was also not the one who grabbed my arm last night and screamed out for me to stay. I take it you are doing better.”
I nodded. “Good,” he replied. “I found a place yesterday I’d like to take you to.”
“All right. If you want to sleep still…” I began but he cut me off.
“I’m already awake, Kyla. I will meet you in the courtyard soon.”
I stripped off her shift when he left and slipped into the white sundress provided for me. The sleeves were short and the material light perfect for outdoor activities. Some silver thread was spun into the material at the neckline, which I admired. After washing my face, I cleared my thoughts and met Orlando in the courtyard. His hair had grown longer and now framed about his neck. His appearance had certainly changed neither for the better, nor for the worse. His garments were now the same as elves, the royal tunic and cloak as well as the beginning of a few braided hair strands. A surprise washed over me as I realized more had changed to him. Now I knew why the Princes of Rivendell trusted him so much. Beneath his dark curls, were two perfectly tipped ears. Orlando smiled politely and took my hand to kiss it acting the exact part of an elf.
“Your ears,” I simply muttered.
“I know,” he touched them self consciously. “It seems you are not the only one who is changed in this world.”
“Doesn’t it seem strange?”
“It was very miraculous when I first arrived, but now that it has been weeks, I have accustomed to the fact.”
“What do you mean…weeks?” I stuttered.
He smiled. “You were asleep a very long time though to you it must have seemed like minutes. To the rest of us…well…”
“Orlando, are you saying that I slept for weeks on end without eating without rising?”
He nodded. “But how could that be?” I asked.
“I do not know. The twins of Rivendell believe you are a goddess or an angel of the Valar in human form. I have stayed and I will continue to stay until we discover our purpose here. For now let us enjoy it while we can.”