As the four friends left the outskirts of the forest, people looked up and called to their friends. A group of people came towards the travellers and greeted them.
‘Welcome to Calenarda, the green land. I am Telmen. We all travelled here from where you have come from. Will you be staying long? You can stay for as long as you like, or you can go on, many people do.’
Mereth spoke for the group. ‘We will most likely stay for a few days, then move on, for we wish to explore.’
‘Very well, make yourself at home.’ With that, the group, except for one young girl, dispersed and went back to farming.
The little girl tugged on Ariengil’s skirt. ‘What is your name, pretty lady?’
‘Hello sweetheart, my name is Ariengil, what is your name?’ she replied nicely.
‘I am called Brethil, and I am a girl.’
‘Are you really Brethil?’ Ariengil laughed, ‘and how old are you then?’
‘I’m a big girl- I am six years old!’ She held out her hands with six fingers up, four down. ‘How old are you?’
‘I am a bit older than you- I can’t count it on my fingers, I am 3734 year old!’
‘I want to be like you.’
‘Do you really? Where are your parents? You would not like to get lost, would you?’
They walked over to two people hard at work, in the direction that Brethil had pointed and introduced themselves. The parents were very kind and offered to house the friends until they left. Ariengil gratefully accepted.
That night, there was a feast and a dance where the whole village of Calenarda was invited. It was the birthday party of a young she-elf who was to be 27 years old. She was given many presents which had all been made by friends, such as a beautiful maple chair, a hair band made of silk and a fine dress.
Mid-way through the party a young elf called Ermeled called for silence, which brought forth many groans, but he took the centre of the stage and asked for the birthday girl to come forward. Many other young elves cheered as she walked up, for she was very pretty. Ermeled went down on one knee and, holding the young lady’s hand, he spoke to her.
‘Alqua, will you do me the honour of being my wife?’ There was complete silence as the village awaited her answer, not even a bird sung.
‘Ermeled, I would love to,’ tears came to her eyes and she smiled so happily as he placed a ring on her finger. They kissed amid the cheering then walked towards the forest for more peace.
Ariengil felt a hand clasp hers. ‘Isn’t it romantic?’
‘Thaliondil-‘ she started, but as she turned, she realised it was Mereth. ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ She blushed red. Mereth started to say something, but Thaliondil approached and he hurriedly let Ariengil’s hand go.
‘What are you two doing… I mean, going to do now’ Thaliondil asked, not meaning to sound cross or rude.
‘I would like a little time to myself if nobody minds,’ replied Ariengil and she wandered away to a stone bench by a little pond. She sat in silence and thought of Harma. She started fiddling with the bracelet which he had made for her. It was made of willow, which was plaited, then a blue gem, the colour of his eyes, was woven in. She thought of what he had said before they left each other, of what had happened.
*’I love you Arien, why will you not stay here with me?’
‘There are different times for talking and staying silent, for eating and drinking, for loving and hating, for sleeping and waking and for staying and leaving. It is time for me to leave Harma although you are to stay. I love you so very much. Why can you not come with me?’
‘You know that I wish to, but my duty is to King Aragorn now.’
‘And not to me?’
‘Of course to you, but… No, there is no but- I love you as a bow loves it’s arrow, I love you as the trees love the wind and I love you as the birds love to sing. I will meet you in the havens when the time is right for me.’
‘But when will that be?’
‘We will both know when, but until then we must remain true to each other-‘
‘Always Harma, always true. There will never be a moment when I do not love you.’
‘We must remain true to each other until we meet again, then see how you feel then.’
‘I will always feel like this Harma- always.’
‘Ariengil, it is time to leave,’ her friend called to her from the distance, ‘hurry, we have not long.’
‘Oh, Harma,’ she sighed. ‘I love you.’ Tears were falling from her eyes unstoppable, unheeded.
‘Arien, my love.’ He paused to look into her bright blue eyes. ‘Take this with you,’ he gave her the bracelet, ‘so that you will not forget me-‘
‘I will NEVER forget you-‘
‘Hush, my sweet. It is so that you will not forget me and you will always feel me close to you.’
‘Harma. I do not want to leave now.’
‘We have made our decisions, it is time. I love you.’ He leant down and kissed her gently on the lips. He ran his hand through her hair and stroked her cheek. ‘Together always and always together.’
‘ARIENGIL! Hurry,’ shouted her friend. Ariengil turned from Harma, tears flowing down her pale cheeks, her throat now dry and her head in pain.
She turned one last time to look at her love and whispered, ‘Together always and always together.’ Then stepped onto the ship. Her friend wrapped her arms around Ariengil as she shook with grief. The last thing she saw was Harma waving her off, tears flooding his eyes and pouring down.*
‘Arri?’ Ariengil shook herself out of her memory and her thoughts to see Dînhith looking into her eyes, worried for her friend.
Ariengil smiled. ‘I’m sorry, I was just thinking of Harma.’
‘You do still love him, don’t you?’
‘More than anything- I care for him more than I care for myself.’
‘And that is saying something!’
Ariengil gave her friend a playful shove. ‘Don’t joke please Dîndîn.’
‘I’m sorry.’ With Ariengil using her baby name, Dînhith could not possibly joke around, for Ariengil only called her Dîndîn when she was very upset. ‘I see that Mereth AND Thaliondil have the hots for you then!’
‘Yes- I was hoping that they would both be my friends, but they seem to want more.’
Dînhith murmured in reply, jealous of her best friend that she was always the more popular one. She shook herself mentally, hating herself for being jealous- she should be happy for her friend, not sad that she had no attention herself. Ariengil had slipped back into her memory, so Dînhith became bored quite quickly and wandered back to the party. Ariengil did not even notice her go, and she didn’t notice Mereth arrive either.
He sat next to her and waited for a little while until she noticed him. ‘Hello Mereth.’
‘I came to say that I am sorry about earlier.’
‘That is fine.’
‘But it is not, truly I am sorry. I didn’t mean to, also I didn’t realise that you and Thaliondil were together.’
‘WHAT?’ she stood up suddenly. ‘Who said that?’
‘Thaliondil did, I am sorry, was he not supposed to tell me about the two of you?’
‘THE TWO OF US?’ she was hysterical by now. ‘THERE IS NO TWO OF US!’
‘Please be quiet! I’m sorry, but please keep your voice down.’
‘Of course, but when did he tell you this… this lie?’
‘After I… I held your hand.’ He blushed at this, but Ariengil did not- she was too worked up.
‘How rude. How could he? He knows that I do not love him anymore- I love Harma. Where is he? I’ll kill him.’ Although she only meant this metaphorically, people nearby became suddenly silent and regarded her as a crazed person. Ariengil did not notice this though and marched off to find Thaliondil.
He was in the centre of a circle of girls, all giggling, finding him rather attractive. He was dancing and singing and they were all cheering him on. Ariengil pushed through the circle and confronted him.
‘Is it true that you have been deceitful about us? About our friendship?’
‘Please, Ariengil, not now.’
‘Not now? Why not now? If you are rude enough to lie about me then I will be rude enough to embarrass you in front of your… lady friends.’
‘Fine, I did lie. Are you happy now?’
‘No, I am not happy. Why did you do it? Why?’
‘I was jealous,’ he shouted, then lowered his tone. ‘Can you not tell, I am jealous of Mereth, of Harma, of any man you talk to. I still love you Arien.’
A crowd was gathering now, for many people thought that Thaliondil was about to propose as Ermeled had earlier. Thaliondil apologised to the crowds for their sudden outbursts and asked Ariengil if she would accompany him on a walk. She complied although she was a bit scared that she would have to admit to anything. They walked in the opposite direction of the pond- towards a patio with a fountain on it. They sat on the edge of the fountain and Ariengil dipped her hand in the water. It was cool and refreshing.
‘Arien, why are we not together now?’
‘I love Harma now, that is why.’
‘That is not why Arien, and you know it. You met Harma for the first time, two years after you stopped loving me, and you hated him then.’
‘You would like me to tell you why I stopped loving you?’
‘Yes, I would.’
‘Very well, but this might come as a shock.’
~things in stars (*…*) are memories or thoughts~
~please leave comments for me to read- suggestions for improvements too please~