As the sun rose in the morning, Ariengil woke gently and watched Harma sleeping. His chest rose and fell in perfect rhythm and his breathing was soft and contented.
Ariengil sighed to herself, confused about her feelings. Looking around, she couldn’t see Nimtheryn and hoped that, for some reason, he would have left and had decided not to accompany them to Gondor. But, as Ariengil turned, she noticed Nimtheryn sitting in the tree above, watching over the four asleep. He turned to Ariengil now and smiled, but she just frowned and looked away.
Immediately, Nimtheryn jumped down from the tree like a cat and crept over to Ariengil. Ariengil tried to sit up, but did not manage as pain shot through her body and she collapsed back onto the floor again.
`Why do you look at me as though I am an orc, Ariengil?’ asked Nimtheryn sadly, in the peaceful quietness.
`Because you have confused me, Nimtheryn, since I saw you in Menel- when Harma asked me to marry him- you are the reason I said no to him. If you hadn’t been there, I would be happily married by now,’ she said grumpily.
`Well, I am sorry to say this, but I’m glad.’
`Glad that you’ve confused me?’
`No,’ replied Nimtheryn gently. `I’m glad that you aren’t married. I love you Ariengil, why did you have to leave me?’
Ariengil sighed deeply. `Why did I leave you?’ shouted Ariengil, then dropped her voice again in case anyone woke up. `I didn’t leave you- you left me. Your tore my heart from my body and ripped it into pieces. I loved you. I loved everything about you- you are kind to others, you are generous, considerate, good looking, gentle, romantic the list goes on. And you ask me why I left you. Do you realise I cried for one whole week before I realised you had gone?’
`I did not know that, of course. But I didn’t leave you- why would I want to?’ pleaded Nimtheryn.
`I remember it was something to do with… unfaithfulness, honesty, trust… That is what you said, isn’t it?’ Still, Nimtheryn could not remember, so Ariengil told her memories to Nimtheryn as he slowly remembered.
*Ariengil ran towards Nimtheryn and wrapped her arms around him, hugging him close to her. Nimtheryn, however, pushed Ariengil away rather violently and looked at her with tearful eyes.
`Nimtheryn, what is the matter? What have I done to deserve that?’ asked Ariengil as she lay among the flowers on the floor. Hastily she stood up and looked Nimtheryn directly in his eyes.
`Well what have I done to deserve my heart to be broken?’ answered Nimtheryn sadly. `I know now why you have been less eager to spend time with me.’
`There is no reason other than I have not had enough time, Nimtheryn. I don’t understand.’
`Well work it out for yourself,’ shouted Nimtheryn as he turned quickly and walked away. Ariengil ran after Nimtheryn, tears gathering in her eyes. She grabbed her love’s arm and tried to stop him.
Nimtheryn, however, shook his arm violently until Ariengil let go. `That,’ he spat to the ground, `is what I think of you. You have betrayed my trust with your unfaithfulness to our love. I once thought you were honest and faithful. That is gone now,’ he cried.
Ariengil stood there staring at her love and let tears stream down her face. She didn’t know what Nimtheryn was talking about- why would she destroy the love they shared?
`I don’t understand Nimtheryn. Who said all this?’
`You don’t understand!’ shouted Nimtheryn, beside himself in anger. `What does it matter who told me? If you must know, it was Umbar.’
`Umbar? But he hasn’t been here for five years. Nimtheryn, think again. Why would I hurt you? I love you.’ Ariengil was quite right- Umbar had not been seen since Harma exiled him.
`Yes, well I have seen him around,’ came the short reply.
`He is no good,’ shouted Ariengil, holding onto Nimtheryn’s arm, worried that if she let go, she would lose him forever.
`Well, maybe you should meet up sometime then- you are no good either. Why Ariengil? Why did you betray me?’
`I didn’t Nimtheryn,’ she screamed. `Please believe me- I didn’t betray you. I can’t bear to be without you. Listen to me!’ she shouted as Nimtheryn turned away again.
`Well,’ he shouted in reply as he turned back, `you obviously can’t stand to be with me either.’ Once more, he turned and he ran away with tears streaming from his eyes. Ariengil sunk to her knees and wept.
Suddenly Nimtheryn reappeared, fiddling with his hand- trying to take off the ring he wore around his middle finger. He managed to pull it off and threw it at Ariengil, in his spite.
`You may as well keep this- our marriage… is over, I will not marry a fake like you.’
`NO!’ screamed Ariengil as she fumbled with the ring. `Keep it, I beg you. Remember me for the good times we shared, if you must leave. Please take it for me.’ Nimtheryn took the ring and shoved it in his pocket.
`Goodbye Ariengil,’ he said, sadly, and yet, also in disgust. He ran off and Ariengil watched him go, as she lay down, defeated.
Ariengil murmured to herself as she cried, `E mela lle, meltha… e mela lle. A am entulesse an ich, meleth nîn. [I love you, beloved… I love you. I will return to you, my love.]*
As Ariengil finished her story, the memories flooded back to Nimtheryn and he looked at Ariengil slightly differently now, determined that his past feelings where all wrong and Ariengil was perfect. `I… I suppose I did, but I don’t believe that now.’
`No,’ sighed Ariengil, `you don’t, but I do.’
`You believe that you are unfaithful, dishonest and untrustworthy?’ asked Nimtheryn.
`Yes. I kissed you back when you kissed me earlier. I have betrayed Harma’s trust and our love.’
`But you also pulled back and broke the kiss,’ sighed Nimtheryn.
`True, but I… I also enjoyed the kiss.’ A smile lit Nimtheryn’s face and he would have answered had Nieninque not groaned then. `Mereth,’ Ariengil shouted to her friend, `Nieninque is awake.’
Mereth woke with a start, but when he heard Ariengil’s words, he jumped up and ran to Nieninque’s side. Nimtheryn lifted Ariengil and carried her over to Nieninque. The beautiful elf woke slowly and looked up into Mereth’s eyes. A smile broke out on her face as she saw Mereth and that smile widened as she saw Ariengil.
`My friends,’ she whispered, as though she wanted to prove to herself that they were real. `Where am I?’ she asked.
`On the way to Gondor, we do not know exactly where we are,’ replied Mereth quickly, and then smiled at Ariengil, apologetic that he had not let his friend answer. Ariengil smiled in return.
Nieninque rolled over slightly and accidentally lay on Ariengil’s broken leg. Ariengil automatically screamed in pain and Harma woke up, only to run to Ariengil’s side. Nieninque was exceedingly apologetic and, before anyone had a chance to stop her, she waved her hand over Ariengil’s leg.
Quickly the wound healed and Ariengil’s leg was perfect again. However, this had caused Nieninque to use a lot of her energy and power, and she promptly fell backwards, unconscious again. Mereth sighed and stood up.
`We need to get moving,’ he said to the others as he picked Nieninque up and placed her gently on a horse. He gathered the few bags that they had used as pillows for Nieninque and Ariengil and jumped up behind Nieninque. Ariengil watched, and thought how much her good friend had changed since he arrived in Menel- he was once slightly overweight and talked far too much. Now, he was handsome, muscular and was very quiet, `What a shame that he barely ever talks to us anymore,’ thought Ariengil.
Ariengil needed help to mount Silmewesta and only held the reins with her good hand. Nimtheryn and Harma mounted too and the group set off once more.