As the sun rose so did the army, calling to one another to get ready for the big day. Nimtheryn, Ariengil and Nieninque were asked to report to a large, white tent nearby. They entered and were aware of an authority there too- they felt his royal presence before they saw him.
King Eldarion turned to face the three elves and they bowed low to him. He motioned for them to stand and they did so, waiting for him to speak.
The King was tall and muscular, with a thoughtful face, with distinguishing features. His voice, when it sounded, was deep and resonating, and he was every bit what a King should be.
`Mereth told me that you know where our enemy is situated. Is this correct?’ asked his Majesty.
`Yes, your Highness,’ replied Nimtheryn politely. `It is about two days marching from here- we ran here in about a day, with a night’s rest in between. It is situated very close to Helm’s Deep.’
`Helm’s Deep,’ exclaimed the King, `then we are not in the best situation at present- we could all be in danger. Hantal,’ the King called to a guard standing outside. He strode in and bowed low. `Order everyone to be ready to move. I will speak to them all from the top of this hill,’ he pointed out of the tent to a nearby hill. `Go. Now.’ Hantal left quickly, running to find commanders and leaders.
`Nimtheryn,’ continued the King, `I wish for you and Mereth to be beside me in battle. I need you to tell me where we are going, and I wish for Mereth to be there with me. Tell him please. You are dismissed.’ Nimtheryn bowed and left, glancing and Ariengil first. The girls turned patiently to the King and he resumed.
`I have heard from Mereth, if you’ll excuse him for saying so, Nieninque, that you are an elf with extraordinary powers. Is this so?’ Nieninque nodded but said nothing else. `As I thought. You, too, will fight beside me. Not for my benefit, but for Mereth’s. He thinks very highly of you, you know?’ Nieninque blushed, but nodded as she curtsied. `You may also be excused.’ Nieninque curtsied again and left.
`So, Ariengil,’ began the King. He turned to face the wall of the tent, with his back to Ariengil, but turned again to look her in the eyes. `There are two reasons that I wish for you to fight beside me,’ Ariengil blushed with pride but waited for the King to continue. He did so, but seemed not to be able to look Ariengil in the eyes again. `The first reason is that I wish Harma to fight beside me. It is his brother who we are fighting, and my dear father respected Harma highly.
`The second reason you will not expect me to know. Do not question me on how I know this, but I do: you are a descendant of Lúthien, are you not?’
Ariengil gasped as the King turned directly to her, daring her to lie to him. But she could not. `Yes, your Majesty, I am. My mother was Arienna, daughter of Rheog, daughter of Elured. He was one of the lost sons of Dior and Nimloth, and Dior was son of Beren and Lúthien. The two sons, whom they lost, were left to die in the wild, but my great grandfather survived. He did not know who his parents were for a long time, but he did know. But why is this of importance to you, may I ask?’
`I cannot tell you now, my dear, but I have heard of a prophecy. One, which could lead to a dire end or could lead to blissful harmony. I shall tell of it one day, but not this day.’
`A prophecy?’ stuttered Ariengil. `About me?’
`Yes my dear, about you and your future. Primarily your future child, but not all prophecies actually come true. Today may discern this. Now you need to leave and prepare yourself to fight. I will see you later.’
Ariengil curtsied, but she had so much anger inside her- if there was a prophecy about her, she should know. It was only fair. `I will find out,’ she said allowed in an angry whisper, `it is not right that I do not know.’ In her anger, Ariengil did not notice someone in front of her and collided straight into him.
The elf grabbed Ariengil’s wrists quickly and stopped her from falling. She smiled in thanks and looked into his eyes. She did not see fear, but she did see worry. Ariengil presumed that every elf here would be feeling the same as the war approached. She, herself, was worried for her friends, although not for herself. The elf stepped back and introduced himself as Malta and he smiled sweetly.
`Nice to meet you, Malta,’ replied Ariengil. `I am Ariengil. I am so sorry to have bumped into you like that. I was absorbed in thought,’ she laughed.
`Not at all, it doesn’t matter. Shall I walk you back to your camp?’ he asked kindly.
`Thank you, that would be nice,’ Ariengil replied, and pointed towards her friends’ camp, which was being packed away now. They began walking and chatted away amiably.
Nimtheryn looked up as they approached and came over to Ariengil, kissing her on the lips and looking at Malta meaningfully. Malta smiled at the two of them and announced he was to leave. Ariengil stepped back from Nimtheryn and leant up to give Malta a hug. He was very tall, so she had to tiptoe, but he leant down and hugged her nicely. His dark hair blew around and mixed with Ariengil’s blonde hair in the wind, causing Nimtheryn to scowl at them.
Ariengil looked at Malta in his deep, dark eyes and spoke to him quietly before he left. `I wish you luck, Malta. May the Valar be with you this day. It was nice meeting you.’
`It was very nice. I hope to bump into you another time,’ replied Malta with a smile on his face. He walked off smiling and Ariengil thought of him for the rest of her life as the happiest man she had ever met. When he was out of sight, she turned to Nimtheryn sharply, who had put his arm around her waist now, and pushed him backwards.
`Nimtheryn,’ she shouted, `why do you have to be jealous of my friends? I only just met Malta and the first thing you did is you tried to prove that I am yours. Well I am not.’
`I’m sorry Ariengil. Please forgive me. I was, as you said, jealous, but I can’t help my feelings. I love you,’ he replied sadly.
`Argh,’ she cried, and walked off. On her own, Ariengil began to think of likely stories that the prophecy could be. The best she came up with was her saving the King. It was laughable and she did not believe there could possibly be a prophecy about her.
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.