She had known it all along. All she could do was live her life here as best she could, while searching for the answers to her questions, without letting them overwhelm her.
She stood up from her bed and walked over to the coffee table next to the sofa in the bay window, where Gwirithiel had left the peppermint juice. She drank it, and felt refreshed.
Aurora went to the wardrobe to open it, found a white dress in it, and put it on. It was simple, but suited her well. It had a full skirt with a slight train, a pearl-embroidered cream silk belt tied in front, with the loose ends hanging down. It was scoop-necked, with delicate embroidery around the neck; the sleeves were large and bell-shaped, with a band of trim, of the same design as the belt, around the arms, just above her elbows.
At that moment, she heard a knock on the door.
“Who is it, please?”
“Oh! Please come in!”
“Did you sleep well?” asked Arwen, once she’d closed the door behind her, “You do look refreshed, compared to the last time I saw you.”
“Yes, I slept well, as soon as I had lain down, in fact.” She preferred to keep her visions a secret. What surprised her, though, was that she didn’t have many of these visions. Where these visions really a sign that she might one day go back home? It troubled her. What would people in Middle-earth think if she suddenly vanished? What about Legolas? If something flourished between Legolas and herself, how would he react? She knew her own heart would be torn between the joy of finding her parents and her home again, and the desperation of leaving this almost idyllic world, and Legolas, behind.
“You seem rather troubled,” remarked Arwen. Aurora looked up to her, and realised that whilst she had been musing over her situation, Arwen had been observing her.
“I’m alright, thank you,” she answered, smiling faintly.
“Let’s not talk of such things yet. Come! Let me show you some of my favourite gardens,” offered Arwen.
Aurora agreed, relieved. Arwen led her through corridors, staircases and paths to a garden. The sun was lowering in the sky, but it was still a glorious day. The fragrances of the last roses of the season were wafting towards them. The autumn plants were flowering, with there flaming shades of red, orange and yellow.
“I spoke to my father about you, and he will receive you tomorrow morning, whenever you wish,” informed Arwen.
“Well, thank you very much for your help.”
“It’s always a pleasure to help, and I have long wished to help Legolas.”
“What is wrong with him? He seemed quite happy to me.”
“We were once lovers, until I met Estel. When I told Legolas, he was heartbroken, and from then on, he lost all interest in the world that surrounded him. He has since tried many times to convince me not to break our betrothal. Even though I felt very guilty about his despair, I could not lie to him. Even now, he still holds hopes that my heart will change. I have remained friendly towards him, regretting that I am the cause of his pain.”
“I see. But do you really think I can help Legolas?”
“He cares very much about you. I knew from the first time I saw you together. And you are enchanting company when you put your worries aside. I believe you would make a wonderful couple.”
A moment of silence passed…
“Yes, I know you need time to settle down and find your place here, but Legolas will give you time. He knows you are troubled.”
Another angel passed…
“Estel is mortal, isn’t he?”
“Yes, he is, but I would live one lifetime with him rather than try to forget him. Although my father will only give me away to the King of Gondor, he is happy for me. Elves envy men that they do not live to see their environment wither and die. I will die, once Estel has passed away.”
As the ladies passed close to a fountain, Aurora dipped a hand in the water and sprayed Arwen, who, fortunately, understood it was a game. Arwen ran to the other side of the fountain and sprayed Aurora. Legolas was bemused as he watched the two girls running around and spraying each other in the garden in front of him, laughing. Legolas ran in behind Aurora, caught her waist with both hands, and carried her to his other side, to put himself between her and Arwen. Aurora screamed in surprise, and splashed Legolas with water, laughing. Legolas faked a dejected grimace, and Aurora feigned to console him. Seizing his chance, Legolas splashed Aurora. Arwen and Aurora avenged Aurora by splashing so much water on Legolas that he was soaked. He pinned Aurora to the ground. “You’ll pay for this,” he said. Aurora rolled over, and found herself on top of him. “Oh really?” she answered, playfully. She rolled off and jumped up, to find Legolas already running towards her. She escaped him, laughing, and almost dancing.
“One would think you were elflings!” exclaimed Elrond, who happened to be walking by, and laughed with them.
“I’m sorry to put an end to your amusement, but Elladan and Elrohir are back for a short time, and they would like to speak to you, Legolas. They are waiting for you in the Hall of Fire.” And with that, Elrond and Legolas walked away.
Aurora and Arwen walked on, and sat on a bench a while, in silence, admiring the valley. The air grew cool, and the two ladies decided to go back to their rooms to get ready for the evening feast.
Aurora’s gown was a pastel green silk, and reminded her slightly of Russian Court Dress. It had a scooped, off-the-shoulder neckline, and the bell-shaped sleeves were slit open all the way down the front. The skirt was full, with a short train, and a decorative belt, pointed at the front, hung on her hips. She plaited her hair into a tiara, although she knew her hairstyle would be out of place in Rivendell.
She wondered whether to wear her pendant or not, when Arwen once again knocked on her door, and entered. She wore a simple but beautiful silver-grey gown, with a silver circlet.
“Do you think I should wear my jewel or not?”
“I think you had better wait until you know what it is before wearing it. You don’t yet know what the consequences may be. And you look regal enough without it!”
The two ladies laughed, and left the room, as numerous bells rang to call them to the banquet hall.
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.