Author’s notes: The previous chapter can be found here.
Disclaimer: All the characters and places, the entire world, besides Aurelin, Laswing, Calenloth and Belegorn, belong to JRRT.
As always – all comments are most welcome! Please comment!
The leaves of the trees in the fair valley had turned golden and then green many times. Half of a lifetime of a Man had gone by but for Aurelin like all Elves the time had both fleeted by and as though not moved. She looked at everything with a different sight now, a look full of the joy of living. All the Elves in Imladris had noticed the change in her and all were glad. She was a fair maiden and to always see her eyes like a deep well of sadness had been grievous. Now her laughter could be heard all around the house, her singing made flowers blossom and her eyes were shining with radiance when she was dancing. She was again called Aurelin by everyone.
It was easily perceived that the change was due to the companionship of Laswing. He was an Elf not grave but merry and joking, he had the power to make everyone smile when they saw him grinning with brown eyes glinting with joyful sparks. That was exactly what the sad and sorrowful Lady of Mirkwood had needed.
Her training with the bow had almost ended. Even Laswing, who had ever emphasised that she had to be as good with a bow as she possibly could, had said to her that there was nothing now he could teach her more. They continued to perfect her skills but she already had the deadly accuracy of Elves either standing still, moving or from upon a steed. Alagos had become even more apt to her directions and she could be seen frequently riding, racing the wind.
It was a late spring night and the dark sky was filled with bright stars. Aurelin was sitting on a wide balcony railing close to her room. She had drawn up her bare feet onto the stone ledge, her light violet dress falling over the railing. She was looking at the stars, thinking about her mother and father. She hoped that they would be proud of her and in her heart was certain that they were. Her thoughts strayed to a conversation she had had years ago with her friend.
She had been resting after working with the bow when Leafspray wanted to know why she didn’t take off the stone on her forehead. “I never part from it,” was the lady’s answer, “It is my father’s gift and helps me to remember the good times with both my parents with me.”
“I somehow guessed that something like that would be the reason. This stone is far older than you. It comes from the treasury of Menegroth, gifted to your father for his service by Thingol.”
“I know, he told me,” said Aurelin with her eyes seeing times gone. “I often wonder if they are together now,” she went on.
“What do you mean?” the Elf turned to looked at her because the tone in her voice.
“I hope they have been united in Valinor. The time my father would have had to spend in the Halls of Mandos is over, it has to be. They are walking hand in hand in the woods there, I deem. That would make my mother happy again. She loved my father so much and the loss was devastating. I could see her wither like a plant without seeing the Sun. My pain was doubled. When she sailed from the Grey Havens it was a relief in a way. But it left me alone.” Only after speaking the words did she understand that she had just told him something she had not told anyone. Her heart was light, the burden of keeping her feelings inside now gone, it was as if a door had just been unlocked, its key thrown away.
“I thank you for speaking of it to me,” Laswing didn’t underestimate her openness. “Maybe you truly have had a foresight about your loved ones. They are happy in the West.”
Aurelin came back to the present. The night had grown older but the stars were still flaming. “Oh, Elbereth Gilthoniel!” she whispered softly. Thinking of Leafspray reminded her and her star-filled eyes that he was supposed to return from another message-bringing and council in the Havens. She had felt alone without him.
Under the stars and the light of the Moon her feelings were suddenly made clear: her joy of being with Gilgaer Laswing was not just of friendliness, she could see that now. She loved him.
Aurelin almost fell off the balcony. “I fell in love with him the first day I saw him, in the doorway of the Hall of Fire. I just didn’t see it,” she thought. “Oh, Eru! How could I have been so blind? He was always there beside me.”
The fair lady let herself be carried away by the wonderful feeling. Aurelin didn’t know if he returned her sentiments. She was afraid that he didn’t, since he had never given her the reason to think otherwise. “I have time, there is no need to rush,” she reassured herself.
She sat on the ledge the whole night, blending her dreams with the starlight from the sky. The Sun rose, its rays touching her hair and lighting the colour of her dress. She had decided not to speak of what she felt to Laswing. More time was needed to sort out her feelings and the prospect of actually telling him was daunting.
Aurelin had made up her mind to go to the smithies that same day. She needed knives. Wandering in the quarters of the smiths of Imladris she came upon some beautiful short leaf-shaped knives. One of the smiths saw her fingering the blades.
“Do you like the knife, my lady?” he asked.
“Yes, it is exquisite. I’d like ten like those if you are not busy with more important and urgent things.”
“Of course we will start to work on them right away but if I may say so, we could make you the long-bladed knives that many Elves prefer instead?”
“I need something different,” Aurelin explained. “But I thank you for the offer. The blades I want are mainly for throwing, the longer ones are no good for me.”
“I understand now, ” replied the Elf. “We’ll make you the knives and there won’t be a blade that flies truer.”
Aurelin thanked the smith, who promised her that the blades should be finished in six or seven days, again and bade him farewell.