Lindar lay sprawled out in the middle of the floor of the Hall, staring at the ceiling. Dancing was harder that it looked! Fortunately, he thought, Isilmë was a very patient teacher, and a good one, at that. After nearly two hours, he felt he had finally figured it out. Isilmë had taught him three different types of dance, and he had memorized them all to the best of his ability. According to the Queen, he would be fine. Lindar, however, wasn’t so sure. After several minutes of lying on the floor, he climbed to his feet and made his way out of the Hall and back to his room. He opened the door slowly, forcing his gaze away from his very tempting-looking bed. Now, what was he supposed to wear tonight? What did one wear to a celebration at the palace? He had no idea. Suddenly his eyes caught sight of an outfit lying on his bed. He walked over to the bed and glanced at it. It was a fancy black tunic, pants, and a pair of leather boots, and to his surprise, the undershirt was a beautiful turquoise color. He raised his eyebrows. Why on earth was it that colour? Slightly unsure of himself, he put it on and looked at himself in the mirror on the wall. Well, it looked very nice…but why was it turquoise??
He was in the middle of brushing his hair when he heard a knock on his door.
“Come in,” he requested, and the door opened to reveal Aramir. To Lindar’s great surprise, the king was wearing an outfit much like his own, but instead of turquoise, his undershirt was a pale, icy-blue. He also wore a silver circlet about his head, and Lindar noticed that his hair was neatly brushed, which seemed to be rare for Aramir.
“Good evening Lindar,” Aramir greeted. “Ready for supper?” A great feast was to precede the dancing, Lindar recalled.
He nodded, finishing tying his hair half-back. “But Aramir,” he began, gesturing to his shirt, “why-“
The king cut him off with a laugh and a wave of his hand. “You’ll see,” he promised with a secretive smile.
Lindar shrugged and followed Aramir willingly out of his room and down to the dining hall. All throughout the halls, people milled, dressed in their finest outfits. Lindar noted with slight disappointment that many of the people he passed were young men like himself. Suitors, he thought, feeling odd as he did. He and Aramir had no problems getting to the dining hall-no one stood in the king’s way, and Lindar followed closely behind.
They reached the dining hall and went in. For a moment, Lindar felt like running the other way. There were so many people; so many people to look at him and note how much he resembled his father.
Suddenly, a small bell rang, which seemed to be a sign for people to take their seats. Lindar glanced at the table uneasily. Where was he supposed to sit? He would have just as soon sat where he usually did, right next to Teleri, but tonight, that did not seem right. He was about to walk down the hall to find an open seat when Aramir took his arm and steered him to the front of the table.
“You did not think we were going to make you sit elsewhere, did you?” he asked with a grin.
Lindar grinned back and sat where Aramir directed, two seats down the table on the king’s right side. Aramir stood patiently at the end of the table, waiting for something. Suddenly he raised his hands, and all of the guests rose to their feet. Lindar quickly followed suit, glancing towards the door, which seemed to be where everyone else was glancing as well. Several silent moments passed, and then the door opened to reveal Isilmë and Teleri. Instantly, Lindar understood -Teleri’s dress was the exact same colour as the undershirt he wore, and Isilmë’s was the same colour as Aramir’s.
He stared at the princess as she entered, unable to look away. Her dress fell softly to the floor, rustling about her feet as she walked. It hung off of her shoulders and was low-cut, making it easy to see the small turquoise gem she wore about her neck. Her black hair fell down her back, softly outlining her fair, beaming face. A silver circlet, much like Aramir’s, only more delicate, sat upon her head. She smiled at the crowds of people. As if on cue, everyone bowed in respect. Isilmë led Teleri to her space at the table, at the king’s right hand-the seat of the guest of honour, which also happened to be right next to Lindar. Isilmë sat at Aramir’s left hand, and he smiled broadly at her before asking everyone to be seated.
Instantly servants entered the room, bringing tray upon tray of delicious-looking food, which they set in front of the people. Lindar finally got up enough courage to look up, and that was when he realized that Kellian was sitting across from him. The Elf grinned and winked, and Lindar smiled back, suddenly feeling more at ease.
He turned to Teleri shyly. “You look beautiful,” he told her quietly.
She blushed. “Thank you,” she responded, taking his hand in hers from under the table. “I was afraid you were going to do something silly and sit somewhere else.”
Lindar blushed in turn. “Thank your father for that,” he told her, rolling his eyes slightly, and Teleri giggled. Both paused temporarily in their conversation to help themselves to the food, and then Teleri turned back to Lindar.
“Teleri,” Aramir said softly.
“Yes father?” she asked, looking guilty.
“I am very aware that Lindar is the most, shall we say ‘interesting’ person here, but please don’t ignore your other guests.”
Teleri sighed. That was obviously what she had expected to hear. “Yes father,” she muttered grudgingly. Lindar gave her a sympathetic look, and she smiled briefly at him before turning to speak to the young man next to Kellian. Lindar prepared to listen in, but instead he heard Aramir speaking to Kellian.
“The best thing about these celebrations: Sinnadar is on the other end of the room!” He said it quietly, but there was glee evident in his voice.
Lindar stared at him oddly, wondering whom Sinnadar was.
Aramir caught him staring and explained, “Typically the king and his family sit on one end of the table, and the steward and his family sit on the other end.”
Lindar nodded, hoping he looked like he understood. Apparently, Sinnadar was not the most pleasant person in the world.
A hand on his knee caused him to turn and face Teleri.
“I can’t do it!” she whispered exasperatedly. “I want to talk to you.”
“I’m honoured,” Lindar replied, and he was.
“Well, at least I tried,” she reasoned, then launched into a conversation about yesterday afternoon’s lesson, a conversation that Lindar was more than happy to participate in. They talked for several minutes, and then the young man which Teleri had ‘tried’ to talk to broke in.
“You must be Lindar,” he said, glancing skeptically at the Exile.
Lindar nodded his head slowly. “I am. And you are…?”
“Borin. Pleased to meet you.” He didn’t look pleased, Lindar noted, but he smiled and nodded back nonetheless.
“How did you know my name?” Lindar asked curiously.
“Oh, I just heard that there was a young man called Lindar staying at the palace. Who else could it be?” The tone in his voice said clearly that he thought Lindar had an unfair ‘advantage’ over the rest of the guests because he was staying with the Royal Family, and therefore, knew Teleri the best.
“Indeed,” Lindar muttered.
“Are you full Elf?” Borin asked, sounding oddly jealous.
Lindar shook his head. “My father was half Elf, my mother was full.”
“Hmm,” was Borin’s only response. “Was?”
“Yes, was. They were both killed in an Orc-attack.”
“I’m so sorry,” Borin replied. He might as well have said, ‘I’m sorry that you survived’.
Lindar only nodded, realizing why Teleri wanted to talk to him and not to Borin. He wondered if all of the suitors were as…he tried to think of a good word for Borin, but the only things that came to his mind were ‘boring’ and ‘rude.’
While Teleri spoke to her father, Lindar turned to glance at the young woman who sat to his right. She glanced up at him and smiled brightly.
“You must forgive Borin,” she whispered. “He isn’t usually that friendly.”
Lindar snorted and the girl looked pleased. “I’m Elenya. Teleri may have mentioned me to you.”
Lindar nodded, recognizing the name of Teleri’s best friend. “Of course she has,” he told the girl. “I had hoped to meet you sooner.”
Elenya smiled again as Teleri turned away from Aramir.
“You finally met him,” she said to her friend, and Elenya nodded. Lindar dearly hoped he wasn’t blushing.
“He is not as bad as you make him sound,” Elenya said with a sly smile. “What did you do?”
Teleri grinned at Lindar. “Oh, nothing,” she said smiling mysteriously.
“Nothing,” Lindar snorted, joining in. “You call torture ‘nothing’?”
The two girls laughed at the look of mock pain on his face.
Dinner continued long after most of the people had finished eating, and Lindar, Teleri, and Elenya continued their ‘game’, with an occasional unwanted comment from Borin.
Finally, the little bell rang again. Aramir rose and smiled at the people. “I know that, at this time, it is customary for the king, that being me, to give a speech in token of the guest of honour. However, I feel that anything I say will only embarrass her.” He smiled at his daughter as the people laughed. “So all I will say is this: Happy Birthday, Teleri.” He raised his glass to her, and everyone else followed suit, echoing his wish to the princess. Teleri blushed, but looked pleased just the same. “And now,” Aramir continued, “Let us adjourn to the Great Hall.”
With that, the people rose, almost as one. Aramir offered his arm to Isilmë, and she took it, leaning against him with a smile. Lindar turned to Teleri and saw her looking expectantly at him. He offered his arm tentatively to her, and she smiled and took it. Lindar paused for a moment, almost as if he did not know what to do, and then followed the king and Queen out of the dining hall.
They walked slowly down the corridor, Lindar and Teleri following closely behind Aramir and Isilmë, and everyone else following them. Teleri pressed close to Lindar, smiling up at him from time to time as she tried to look inconspicuous.
“I cannot wait until this is over,” she whispered to him. “This dress is so uncomfortable.”
He gave her a mock smirk. “I’m quite comfortable, thank you,” he said in an arrogant tone. Then he lowered his voice even further and whispered, “I know I told Irian I liked you better before, but I still think you look beautiful now.”
“I would rather be comfortable and unattractive than uncomfortable and beautiful,” Teleri scoffed, but Lindar noticed she was blushing just the same.
He opened his mouth to tell her that he thought she was beautiful all of the time, but they had reached the Great Hall, and he was forced to look away from Teleri in order to find out what he should do next.
Aramir and Isilmë walked to the end of the Hall where the thrones were set. Lindar watched silently as they walked up the three small black marble stairs, across the dais, and then up two more stairs. Together they turned to face the people, then sat down. It was then that Lindar noticed that he and Teleri were the only ones on the dancing floor. All of the other guests had pressed to either side of the Hall to watch Teleri dance. With him. He swallowed nervously as Teleri turned to face him, a bright smile on her face. Off in one corner, Lindar spotted a small group of musicians, instruments ready to entertain the guests and provide music for dancing. The conductor turned to the orchestra and signaled for them to start. Instantly, sweet, beautiful music floated from the corner into the room. Lindar glanced around again. There were so many people, and all of them were staring at him, well, sort of. Surely, he thought, one of them has to notice. He half expected to hear someone cry out in anger or fear, but there was nothing, only silent expectation. Taking a few deep breaths, he bowed to Teleri. She bowed back, then rose and stepped forward, letting him place his arm around her and take her hand in his. The steps Isilmë had taught him flashed through Lindar’s mind, and then the dance began.
Dancing with the princess was unlike anything Lindar had ever done. They swept across the floor, moving with the soft music that seemed to place the entire hall under a spell. Lindar stared into Teleri’s eyes, struck by what he saw there-a look he could not name, for he had never seen it before. She smiled softly and leaned closer to him as he carried her across the floor. He felt for a moment that he was floating, and it took all the will he had to stop himself from looking down to check. Gently he tightened his grip around her waist, almost afraid she would vanish if he let go.
When the music ended, Lindar was startled that it was already over, and even more startled that he had not messed up once. He smiled brightly at Teleri as he bowed, wishing suddenly that he could dance with her again as the sound of applause rang in his pointed ears. Slowly, more and more people moved onto the floor, and Lindar found himself alone in the middle of the dancers as Borin approached and asked Teleri to dance. Since she could not refuse, she had agreed to dance with him. Lindar turned and made his way across the floor and leaned against the wall, watching. Suddenly, a movement at the end of the room caught his eye. Aramir and Isilmë stood up from where they had been sitting, walked off of the dais, and joined in the dancing. Lindar was unable to keep his mouth from hanging open at the sight of Aramir dancing. Not that it was funny, in fact, Aramir seemed to be a fine dancer, but it was just…Aramir.
“Didn’t think you would ever see that, did you?” a voice whispered in his ear, and he turned to see Kellian grinning at him.
Lindar raised his eyebrows and shook his head. “No, I didn’t,” he admitted.
“At least he can dance. The last time, Isilmë made me dance with her.” He shook his head and rolled his blue eyes.
“Oh, you can’t be any worse than me,” Lindar consoled him, trying not to laugh.
The Elf gave Lindar an odd look. “Worse than you? You’re a very good dancer, Lindar. I am much worse.”
Lindar, unable to contain himself, burst into quiet laughter. At Kellian’s questioning look, he explained that this was the second time he had danced in his life. “And the first time was this afternoon.”
Kellian’s eyes widened and he burst into a fit of laughter that got him several annoyed looks from other people who were standing around. He didn’t seem to care.
Lindar and Kellian watched the dancing in silence for a while, and then Lindar spotted Elenya, standing further down the room, watching. On sudden impulse, he excused himself from Kellian and made his way over to her.
“Would you dance with me, Milady?” he asked her, bowing slightly.
Elenya’s eyes sparkled in pleasant surprise. “I would love to, sir,” she said, bowing back.
He took her arm and led her onto the floor, finding an open space in the dancers. Dancing with Elenya was different than dancing with Teleri, but she was still easy to talk to, and Lindar didn’t feel at all uncomfortable. He quietly told her what Kellian had said, and she laughed and told him that the Elf wasn’t that bad.
When his dance with Elenya was over, he turned to walk off the floor but stopped suddenly when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning, his smile widened when he saw Teleri grinning at him.
“Are you too tired to dance with me again?” she asked.
He shook his head. “Never,” he promised, taking her hand.
They swirled around the floor and somehow ended up next to Aramir and Isilmë.
“Having fun?” Aramir asked.
Teleri smiled. “Now I am,” she said, resting her head on Lindar’s chest.
“You’re a very good dancer, Lindar,” Isilmë said with a completely straight face.
Lindar could not stop the laughter that erupted at Isilmë’s comment, and to his surprise, she joined right in. Aramir and Teleri looked completely confused.
Teleri frowned. “What is so funny? You are a good dancer Lindar.”
“I think we missed something,” Aramir told his daughter.
“Yes, you did,” Isilmë said amidst tears of laughter, burying her face in Aramir’s tunic to muffle the sound.
Lindar raised his eyebrows at the Queen, then explained to Teleri and Aramir what was so amusing. By the time he was done, all four of them were biting back laughter unsuccessfully.
Teleri shook her head and chuckled. “Oh Lindar,” she smiled, brushing her hand across his face, “That is so sweet of you.”
Lindar blushed and thanked her, pulling her closer as they swept across the floor.
“Admit it, that wasn’t so bad,” Lindar said to Teleri as the two walked down the hall to the princess’ room. The celebration was over, all the guests were gone, and Teleri had declared loudly that she was never wearing a dress again.
She gave him a half-smile. “Ok, it wasn’t so bad. Dancing with you was the best part.”
Lindar shook his head. “No, I think the best part was watching you dance with Kellian.” He laughed at the memory. After Lindar had told her what Kellian had said, Teleri had invited Aramir’s best friend to dance, and when he refused, she had ordered him to. Having no choice, Kellian had reluctantly agreed and danced with Teleri. He wasn’t a bad dancer either, and Lindar told him as much. His only response had been to joke that Lindar would be sorry he had ever said anything. At least, Lindar hoped he had been joking.
Teleri laughed as well, then sighed. “It wasn’t that bad,” she repeated, “but if I had my way, I would have done something completely different.”
“Like what?” Lindar asked curiously.
Teleri thought for a moment, then answered. “I would have gone on a midnight ride along the beach, and up to the Point to stare at the moon. Just you and me, no one else.”
Lindar stared at her in surprise. “You’d bring me along?” he asked.
“Of course! It would not be the same without you.”
Lindar was silent for a moment, then he suggested quietly, “Lets do it.”
Teleri stared right back at him. “What?”
“Lets go on that ride you just told me about.”
“Lindar,” Teleri sighed in exasperation, “Do you know what father would say?”
The Exile shrugged his shoulders. “No, but I’ll go find out. Meet me back here in ten minutes. Wear some riding clothes.”
Before Teleri could protest, Lindar turned and trotted down the hall in the direction of the king’s room. In all honesty, he really had no idea what Aramir would think about his daughter and Lindar going on a ride together at night. But it couldn’t hurt to ask…he hoped. He reached Aramir’s room in minutes and knocked softly on the door. Isilmë opened it and smiled at him.
“Come in Lindar,” she invited, opening the door further.
Timidly, Lindar entered the room, glancing around in awe at the grand room he stood in. A bright fire was lit in the fireplace on one wall, casting odd shadows about the walls. Lindar closed his eyes and felt the warmth of the fire on his face.
“What can we do for you, Lindar?” Aramir’s voice asked, and Lindar opened his eyes to see the king standing in front of him.
Lindar stared down at his feet and nervously rubbed his arm. “Well, uhh, well…I, well actually, Teleri and I, we were wondering-“
“Spit it out, Lindar,” Aramir said with a smile. “I won’t bite.”
You might, Lindar thought. He took a deep breath, then blurted out, “Teleri and I want to go on a ride. To the beach. Tonight. I mean now.”
Aramir raised his eyebrows. “I see. And this is obviously Teleri’s idea about what a birthday celebration should be, hmm?”
Lindar nodded, smiling slightly. Aramir knew his daughter well.
“And she made you come to ask me?”
Lindar shook his head. “No, she told me that she wanted to go on a ride, and I said why not? She didn’t think you would let us.”
Aramir chuckled. “And what she doesn’t know is that her father and mother did the exact same thing many times.” Lindar’s head snapped up in surprise. He saw Aramir look over at Isilmë, and she smiled as a look passed between them. Lindar was even more surprised, however, when Aramir walked forward and stood face-to-face with him, so close that they were almost touching. He put his hands on Lindar’s shoulders.
“Look at me,” Aramir said firmly, and Lindar raised his eyes to meet the king’s. For a moment he thought he saw fear and…something else in Aramir’s eyes, but it vanished and was replaced by a stern but kind expression. “Can I trust you to make sure nothing happens to her?” Lindar knew he was thinking about what had happened to Isilmë years ago. He blinked once, then nodded solemnly.
“Yes, milord,” he answered.
Aramir smiled and backed off. “Then you may go. On one condition, no, two. One: you ride together, on the same horse. And two: you ride Narmo. He’s as good as any chaperone I can send.”
Lindar laughed nervously, still unable to believe that Aramir was letting them go, then bowed slightly. “Alright. Thank you, milord.” He turned and made his way to the door.
“Aramir!” the king called after him.
“Right, Aramir, sorry my Lord. I mean Aramir!” Lindar threw up his hands in exasperation and ran down the hall to find Teleri.
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
Chapter 4: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9913.html