The next six days of Lindar’s life passed in such a blur that when Aramir noted that he had been in the palace for a week, he almost didn’t believe it. That wasn’t the only thing he didn’t believe, however, and topmost on his list was the simple fact that he still hadn’t been discovered. Several times he had very nearly given himself away, and the only reason he could think of that his secret was still safe was by Eru’s blessing. It had not taken him very long at all to find his way around, and much to Teleri’s disappointment, he had beaten her to the dining hall the third morning of his stay. That same morning, he recalled, had been the one in which he had learned that the princess’ birthday was coming up, in fact, it was tomorrow, Lindar now calculated. A huge celebration was being planned for the occasion, and while Lindar was rather excited, he was also nervous. So many people…perhaps he would be better off staying in his room.
He thought again of Teleri. She was, without a doubt, the most interesting and likable person Lindar had ever met. Easy-going and informal, she spent most of the day with Lindar, saying that she had never had a friend like him. There was something about the way she had said that, and the way she had looked at him… They had an array of activities which included anything from riding through the fields of Gondor -Lindar rode a borrowed horse, even though Aramir had offered him Narmo- to simply walking around the grounds, talking. In everything they did together, however, Lindar was amazed by how much they seemed to have in common. When they weren’t riding or walking and talking, they practiced together. Kellian had been quick to include Lindar in the lessons, much to the Exile’s surprise and pleasure. The Elf watched them spar, gave pointers, taught them new techniques, and broke in occasionally so the fight was two to one, and yet he still always won, Teleri grumbled one day. Kellian had only laughed and said that they would beat him some day. Lindar had wondered if Aramir was as good as Kellian, but he didn’t have to wonder for long, because just today Aramir had come down to the ring to watch the lesson and ended up sparring with Kellian. It was one of the most amazing fights that Lindar had ever witnessed, and it was only for fun. Imagine what they would be like in a real battle, he thought with envy. Teleri seemed to share Lindar’s feelings, and they both vowed that they would be able to beat the king and Elf some day.
Beat Aramir, he thought later as he walked through the gardens that evening. Beat him only in a mock battle, Lindar thought, and for the first time since he had come to the palace, he let himself admit it-he didn’t want to kill Aramir, or Teleri. He didn’t want to be a part of this plan anymore. He liked his new home and family, and he didn’t want anything to happen to them. He sighed in relief and sat down under a tree, feeling oddly peaceful. At last he had admitted it to himself. Again the thought came to him-what would Janst say? Lindar realized that he didn’t care. He had no reason to hate Aramir-the king was a kind, caring, funny, and overall very likable person. At least, he was now. What would he say when he found out Lindar’s secret? What would he say when Lindar told him that the reason he had really been in the tree was to kidnap Teleri, as bait for Aramir, so that Janst could kill him and take the throne? Lindar buried his face in his hands. It sounded so terrible, well actually, it was terrible. But I’m different now! he argued. I’m not like that anymore! He sighed loudly, so loudly that he didn’t even hear the figure approaching.
Aramir suddenly appeared out of the evening shadows. “It’s getting late Lindar. Perhaps you should head to your room. After all, it is a big day tomorrow.”
Tomorrow? Oh yes, Teleri’s birthday celebration.
Lindar smiled and nodded, then watched in surprise as Aramir sat down next to him.
“Are you alright Lindar?” Aramir asked. “You sounded upset.”
“I’m fine,” Lindar answered, long since ceasing calling Aramir anything but his name. “I’m just a little mixed-up right now.”
“Anything you would like to talk to me about?” Aramir asked in a friendly manner, running a hand through his hair.
Lindar thought for a moment. How easy it would be to just tell him and get the burden off of his shoulders.
“Aramir, I-I,” he stammered. “Well, I…was just thinking about, how kind you have been to me, letting me live here and all. And I didn’t do anything to deserve it. I guess I’m just feeling guilty.” He sighed in defeat. He couldn’t tell the king. Not now, at least. But all he had just said was true- he did feel guilty about this whole thing. Surprisingly, it was actually nice to talk to Aramir.
Aramir smiled warmly at him. “Oh Lindar,” he said with a shake of his head, “I meant what I said before. It is an honor to have you here. You are a wonderful young man. Just ask Teleri.” Lindar turned bright red and Aramir laughed. “Ahh, but tis true. I’ve seem you two together; you get along very well, to say the least.” Aramir chuckled at Lindar’s obvious discomfort and rose. The Exile followed suit, and together they walked back into the palace.
Lindar lay in bed on the next morning, waiting. Teleri would be here soon to wake him up, he thought with a smile. She always came to wake him, whether or not he was still asleep. It had become more of a game than a wake-up call, but it was one of which they never tired. Absently, Lindar stared out the window and was surprised to see the sun so high in the sky. Odd, he thought, Teleri should have been here by now. She should have been there an hour ago, he decided after studying the sun’s position. Confused, he rose and pulled on a fresh pair of clothes. He pulled his light brown hair into a loose ponytail and left the room, trotting down the hall in search of Rhee. Lindar checked the dining hall, the Great Hall, and even went as far as to go down to the ring and check for her there, but she was no where to be found. On his way back up to the palace, two things occurred to him. One, it was Teleri’s birthday today. And two, he hadn’t even thought to check her room. Rolling his eyes at himself, he made his way down the hallway to her bedchamber. He reached out to take the handle of the door, but it swung open before he could do anything, and he found himself face-to-face with Teleri.
“Lindar!” she cried at the same time he cried “Rhee!”
“I’ve been looking for you all morning!” Lindar exclaimed.
“Missed your wake-up, did you?” she asked with a smile.
Lindar nodded and grinned back.
“I’m really sorry Lindar. I was going to wake you up, but they told me I had to stay here and ‘get ready.’ Honestly, I don’t need all day to prepare.” She sighed in exasperation.
Lindar nodded sympathetically, then questioned, “Who is ‘they'”?
Teleri nodded her head into her room, and Lindar peered in. Standing in the princess’ bedroom were Irian and several other women that Lindar did not recognize. Apparently, they were there to help get Teleri ready for the celebration. Lindar grimaced.
“Sorry I interrupted,” he muttered to them, not really sorry at all.
“I’m glad you did,” Teleri said, then, “Excuse me for a moment,” to the women. She shoved Lindar out of the room and closed the door behind them, leaving the women waiting impatiently. “Uh, Lindar, I have…something to…to ask you,” Teleri stammered, clearly embarrassed.
“What is it?” he asked curiously.
She looked down at her feet. “Well, tonight at the celebration, I-I have to start the dancing. It’s a tradition, the guest of honor and her partner always have the first dance, and well, I was wondering… Would you dance with me?” She blurted the last part out in such a way that it was obvious she was nervous about his response.
Lindar was taken aback. She wanted him to dance with her, him of all people? He blushed slightly. “I-I’d be honored by that, My Lady. I mean Teleri.”
Teleri’s face broke into a wide, relieved smiled, and she rushed forward to embrace him. Lindar hugged her back, but pulled away quickly when the door to Rhee’s room opened. Irian put her hands on her hips.
“My Lady, can you please hurry along? I’m sure the young man would prefer to see you dressed up anyway.”
Lindar shook his head. “No. I like her the way she is, thank you.”
“Well I never…” Irian huffed.
Teleri giggled and whispered ‘Save me!’ in Lindar’s ear before turning to go back into her room. “I shall see you later, Lindar.”
It was not until Lindar was standing in the middle of the Great Hall later that day, simply looking around in awe, that a sudden realization hit him. He didn’t know how to dance- at all. His eyes widened as he pictured himself dancing with Teleri, or rather, trying to. What was he going to do!? He couldn’t embarrass her in front of all those people, but he didn’t want to admit the truth to her either. He closed his eyes and tried to picture a couple dancing. It was quite impossible, for he had seen exactly one dance in his entire life. Finally, in desperation, he did the only thing he could think of. Slowly he began to twirl around the floor of the Hall, dancing with an invisible person. It was so difficult! How was he supposed to teach himself to dance when he didn’t know the first thing about dancing?
His depressed thoughts were interrupted by laughter floating to his ears from the doorway to the Hall. He spun around, face bright red as he realized that someone had been watching him.
“You know, dancing with yourself if hard enough when you know how, but it must be impossible if you don’t.” It was Isilmë.
Lindar sighed and sat down in the middle of the floor, burying his face in his hands. Isilmë laughed again. “You don’t have to dance tonight, you know that.”
“Yes I do,” he muttered.
“Oh? How come?”
“Because Teleri asked me to dance with her,” he mumbled into his hands.
“What?” Isilmë asked, sitting next to him.
He looked over at her. “Because Teleri asked me to dance with her, for the first dance. And, and I don’t want to embarrass her, but I didn’t want to say no either.”
Isilmë put one arm around his shoulders. “That’s very sweet of you, Lindar.”
“Only until I have to dance,” Lindar mumbled.
Isilmë laughed and rose to her feet, pulling Lindar with her. Once up, she took one of his hands and placed it at her waist, then took his other hand in her own. She put her free hand on his shoulder and smiled at his confused look.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Teaching you to dance.”
Lindar shook his head. “I don’t think it will do any good.”
Isilmë laughed. “Yes it will, you’ll see. Now, first off…”
Chapter 1: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9681.html
Chapter 2: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9811.html
Chapter 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9866.html