They had reached Lorien. They were safe. Nenlosse has come to her destination in safety, Legolas and Indile had completed their quest. Nenlosse had been found unharmed, and Indile was free from the grief and uncertainty that, for two terrible days, had haunted her existence. But it was not over yet, for Fate and Destiny had not yet been fulfilled.
Indile awoke in a bed that was not her own. She felt strange, for she had no memory of ever falling asleep and she did not know where she was, though she supposed Lorien. They had been close to it when she began to feel sleepy.
Pushing back the light blanket that covered her, she rose, wondering what she should do, where she should go, and where in Arda was Legolas?
Just then, the door to her chambers opened slightly, and then completely, revealing a she-elf holding a dress, comb, and other such things.
The maiden introduced herself as Morelin, servant to Galadriel. Explaining her errand, Morelin told Indile that the Lady had sent her to see to Indile’s needs. “Galadriel is with your mother now, talking with her,” Morelin said. “By the time we get you bathed, dressed, and combed, perhaps your mother will be finished.”
“Thank you,” Indile said. “I fear it is two days since my last real bath.”
“Well, my dear, that can soon be fixed! Go into the next room, ” the talkative Morelin said, pointing at a door, “and I will make up your bed and lay out this dress for you while you bathe, for I have gotten you water. Everything you need should be there.”
“Thank you so much,” Indile repeated, gratefully.
“You’re quite welcome, dear!” Morelin replied. “Now, go along with you! I’ve heard you came with a very handsome prince, so we must have you looking your best!”
Indile smiled and shook her head, going into the next room to take her bath.
Nenlosse and Galadriel had been closeted away, deep in discussion, for a good deal of time. So long, in fact, that the servants outside the door were beginning to talk of it.
“But what is to be done, my Lady?” asked Nenlosse. “It surely cannot be allowed to stay in Middle-earth. I fear it should not be safe anywhere. Even I felt the call of its beauty, and I am not easily tempted by jewels.”
“Not even safe in my own Lorien or in Rivendell..” murmured Galadriel. “But nay, you are right, my friend. There are too many Elves, Men, or Dwarves that would be lustful of it and be easily corrupted by the power and glory this jewel possesses.”
Nenlosse nodded. “But what is your thought?”
“It must be taken to Valinor where it should have been all these ages. If Feanor my uncle had trusted the Silmarils to the Valar from the time they were completed, many lives and much trouble would be spared,” Galadriel replied.
“Who then shall take it?”
“I shall. I can trust no one else, though many are trustworthy, I am sure. My heart has yearned for the sea of late. My time here is over. But my Lord Celeborn has not felt the call of the sea. He is not ready to leave. Hard it will be to depart for the Havens without him.” Galadriel’s voice grew sad.
“My lady, it may be that he will not allow it to be so. Perhaps he will go with you,” Nenlosse said, trying to comfort the Lady of Lorien.
“Perhaps.. But come, my friend. You are weary, and your road has been hard. Narewen,” Galadriel said, opening the door to call a younger looking elf who did not appear to have come of age yet.
“Narewen, take my friend Lady Nenlosse to a talan where she may rest in peace, please.”
“Yes, my lady,” Narewen replied, glancing at Nenlosse. She began walking, so Nenlosse followed her.
Legolas had spoken with Lord Celeborn and relayed to him all that Thranduil had told his son to say.
Celeborn had thanked Legolas for bringing the messages and then given him leave to go where he would in Lorien until the members of his party awakened.
Legolas was pleased, for there was no better rest for him than walking among the great mallorns of Lorien. Always had he loved them, even from the first time he saw them, but since that time he had traveled and seen more, and now he appreciated the mallorns all the more. Their like was not to be found in Middle-Earth, and this Legolas now knew.
As he walked through the forest, he reached for a low limb and used it to swing into a tree, landing, much to his surprise, on a flet and with it an astonished Haldir.
Haldir stumbled back, nearly off the flet, but managed to keep on his feet. “I never knew you to be clumsy, Prince Legolas,” he said.
Legolas frowned. There had been a time when he and Haldir had called each other ‘friend’. But then Haldir had played with the heart of a girl Legolas thought he was starting to love. Haldir had played, but both elves had lost. The maiden had been young by elven standards and unused to the unique temperament Haldir displayed. He had turned the maid’s heart to him, away from Legolas, but then he had left her, breaking her heart and spirit. She died that selfsame year. Legolas had always blamed Haldir for her death, and in truth, he was responsible, but Haldir would not take that responsibility upon himself. Since that, he and Legolas had barely even spoken.
I suppose it was impossible to avoid him forever, Legolas thought.
Legolas pretended he hadn’t heard Haldir’s remark, and tried to speak to him in a friendly fashion, ignoring the frequent arrogant comments made by his former friend.
The conversation had touched on everything else and finally came to the point which Haldir most wanted to discuss: who the girl was that had been riding with Legolas.
“So? Who is she?” Haldir pried.
“Her name is Indile Almiel. I had not ever seen her before in my father’s realm though she has lived there all her life. But as I was walking in the woods three days ago, I came upon her. She had just received news of her parents’ death. We rode together to the place, only to find that her father was the only parent among the slain. She decided to set out immediately to find her mother, so I went with her, thinking it an ill thing that an elf-maiden should go out into the wild alone. We found her mother the next day and rode on until we met you,” Legolas finished.
“Ah! So the woman who spoke was her mother?”
“Yes. She told you so, do you not remember?”
“Nay. I was distracted,” Haldir returned in a sly tone.
“I observed it,” Legolas muttered.
“She is a beautiful maiden, this Indile.”
“Yes, she is. But, I must go, Haldir, for surely she is awake now.”
“Farewell. And.. Legolas,” Haldir said, as Legolas jumped to the ground. “I am sorry about what I did to you, with the girl.”
Legolas gave a half smile. “All is forgiven, Haldir.”
“Thank you, my friend.”
Indile had finished her bath and had dressed and arranged her hair with the willing help of Morelin, who proceeded to inform Indile of all Lorien news and gossip while helping her dress.
“So, my dear, I think you are ready. Go find this Prince of yours and let him see how beautiful you are,” Morelin said with a wink.
Indile thanked Morelin again for her kindness and help and descended the stairs that wrapped around the great mallorn that held her talan. Wondering where Legolas was, she spotted him coming through the trees back into the city. He had not seen her, so she quickly went through the trees, taking a circuituous path and coming up behind him. She followed him for a few minutes in complete silence, but at last she became amused.
Great elven warrior, she thought. He has not heard, seen, or become aware of my presence. If I were an Orc, he would definitely be having a bad day.
But then the thought of her being an Orc and following Legolas caught up with her and a muffled giggle escaped.
It was enough to alert Legolas that somebody was behind him, so he turned around to see Indile in a fresh white dress collapsing in laughter.
“What..?” he started to ask, but Indile was laughing so hard that she could not have answered if she had wished to.
Finally regaining her composure, she told Legolas what her thought had been.
He became amused also at the thought of Indile as an Elven Orc-maiden following a great warrior prince about all day, the prince never suspecting.
“Ah! Goodness,” said Indile. Becoming more serious, she asked, “Have you seen my mother, Legolas?”
“Nay, I have not. I think Galadriel sent her to rest.”
“Oh. I wished to see her, but it was not important, and I daresay that rest is what she needs more than anything right now.”
“Yes. But.. Indile, I am quite sure that you do not need more rest. You got quite a good nap on the horse before we took you upstairs. You got heavy all that way up, you know.” Legolas gave a mischievous smile.
“I am sorry! I did not think I would ever sleep on a horse, so I sat still instead of moving around to keep awake. I apologize.”
“Indile! It is alright. I did not mind.” He hugged her playfully, meaning his words.
An elf-maiden appeared, causing Indile to pull away from Legolas with pink cheeks. “Greetings,” the maiden said. “I am Narewen, servant to Galadriel. She requests that, as friends, you two join her and Lord Celeborn for the midday meal.”
“Of course,” Legolas replied. ” I am Legolas Greenleaf, and with me, Lady Indile Almiel. We will come with you at once.”
Narewen gave Legolas an appreciative glance before walking toward a talan, motioning for them to follow her.
“Lady Indile Almiel?” Indile murmured to Legolas as they walked.
“Of course, my lady,” Legolas said as they climbed the stairs.