It had been one week since Aralorn had first heard the dreadful and wonderful news of Ambar and Aranel’s engagement. Dreadful, because she had thought that Ambar had loved her, and wonderful because her dear friend was getting married. Loneliness caught up with her, which had been, before, merciful in absence.
Aralorn was reading a book on a bench next to a small, trickling river. She sighed, and looked at the back of her hand. The scrape, that was almost three weeks old, was merely a faint scar now.
“I find you alone once again,” Elrohir’s said, walking toward her. “If I didn’t know better, I would say that you feared company.” Aralorn smiled softly.
“Not all company,” she said as Elrohir sat next to her. There was a hint of puzzlement in his eye, but he did not press the matter.
“You must be happy for Aranel,” he said.
“I am,” Aralorn said, her smile growing. “very much.”
“And Ambar, I suppose,” he said. “did he not give you sword lessons?” Aralorn sighed shakily.
“You are correct, he did,” she said, and Elrohir nodded.
“Aralorn?” She winced at Ambar’s voice behind her.
“Yes,” she, although reluctant, obediently answered.
“I wasn’t quite sure if it was you,” he said. Two weeks before, Aralorn would have been surprised to hear that Ambar could not tell who she was from behind. Now, she wondered how he even knew her name. She did not bother to stand, let alone turn her head toward him. “Greetings, my lord Elrohir.” He now stood in front of the bench at which Elrohir and Aralorn sat on.
“Suilaid, Ambar,” Elrohir said. He glanced at Aralorn whose eyes were downcast. Again his brow furrowed in puzzlement.
“Aralorn,” Ambar said. “Perhaps you have forgotten, but your sword lesson with me starts now.”
“I have no desire to go,” Aralorn said quietly.
“Indeed?” Ambar arched an eyebrow.
“Yes,” Aralorn looked up at him. “I…”
“It cannot do you any harm, can it?” Ambar cut her off. Aralorn looked back down at the old book in her cold hands. Elrohir looked from one to the other, realizing that there was some sort of tension between them…that it wasn’t just the lesson that Aralorn did not want to attend. “Come now, Aralorn.” Ambar extended his hand in offering.
“She has no wish to have a lesson today,” Elrohir stood authoritatively. “Thank you for your concern.” His eyes were intensely locked on Ambar. Submissively, Ambar bowed his head and walked away without another word. Elrohir studied Aralorn for a long moment. Pain was streaked across her face, and it showed in all of her facial features. “Do you want to continue your lesson, Aralorn?” Elrohir asked, sitting back down. Aralorn’s eyes wandered to Ambar’s figure walking away.
“I do,” she said. Then her eyes met his.
“I would be honored to teach you,” Elrohir said. “if it would please you.” Aralorn’s face glowed with pleasure and slight bashfulness.
“It would indeed,” she said.
Elrohir was a fine teacher; more experienced than Ambar, Aralorn thought. He made it more enjoyable, as well. The two of them grew close, and she liked having a `brother’ again, even if he wasn’t by blood.
Time went by rapidly, although it seemed at times that the months crept by ever so slowly. Aralorn was in her room, still asleep in her soft bed and cool sheets. It was only dawn, and the sun had only begun to awaken. Suddenly, there was a knock from the door. Ever so slowly, Aralorn got out of bed and reached for a thin robe to cover her sleeping gown. Then she opened her door a crack, and saw Gwenneth.
“Mellon nin, I have news for you!” She said, as Aralorn opened the door all the way.
“What is it?” Aralorn asked groggily.
“Aragorn has just arrived!” Gwenneth said, quite hastily for her nature.
“…What?” Aralorn put a hand to her mouth.
“He just passed through the gate only moments ago.”
“I must get dressed…” Aralorn made way to her wardrobe. “Could you please straighten my bed?”
“Of course,” Gwenneth tidied the sheets and arranged the pillows neatly. Then she began to smooth Aralorn’s hair with a brush.
“Where did you say he was?” Aralorn asked, just finishing smoothing out her dress.
“I didn’t,” Gwenneth said with a sigh. “Perhaps just reaching the gate.” Aralorn nodded as she headed for the door.
“Oh, I cannot wait to see him,” Aralorn smiled brightly.
“Yes, I am happy for you,” Gwenneth said. They made their way outside, to the gate. Aragorn was just dismounting his horse when he noticed them. Aralorn ran to him and he embraced her.
“Aralorn,” he said softly. “it is good to see you.”
“You, as well,” Aralorn said, pulling back with a sigh. “I have missed you so very much.”
“Will you come with me?” Aragorn said, motioning to the stables and then his horse.
“Of course,” she said, looking back at Gwenneth who smiled and walked away, wanting to give them time alone.
“I have been very lonely here without you,” Aralorn said quietly. “You have been missed greatly.” There were mixed emotions painted on Aragorn’s face. She couldn’t quite tell what he was feeling.
“You have been missed as well,” he said as he set the bridle and saddle down. This surprised Aralorn a little. He must have noticed that, for he asked, “Why does this surprise you?”
“I never thought that you would be missing me,” Aralorn said, handing her brother a grooming brush.
“Why would you think that?” He asked her, furrowing his brow. Aralorn sighed.
“I don’t know. I always imagined you too busy to miss me…you seemed so eager to leave,” she said, gazing out one of the stable windows at the sun that had now fully risen.
“I thought about you almost every day, Aralorn,” Aragorn said looking her in the eye. “In anyone’s case, once met, you are not easily forgotten.”
greetings, dear readers! I apologize that this chapter took a while, too. I think I’m finally over this wall that has been making it hard for me to write, so that’s good news.
anyway, thank you so much for reading and your encouraging comments!!