The Undying Lands – (chapter 48)

by Feb 17, 2004Stories

When Ariengil had calmed down, she returned to the camp and spotted Dînhith in a line for weapons. She stood next to her friend and they chatted amiably as they waited. Ariengil listened to her friend’s tales of love and sighed, laughed and asked questions in all the right places, making Dînhith smile happily.
Soon they reached the front of the line and were both allocated to different people. Ariengil stood in front of a tall, male elf and he looked her up and down then turned around. Ariengil peered over his shoulder at all the weapons and armour and her smile faded. It was obvious that there had not been a war in an age, for all of the armour was slightly rusted at the sides and the blades were not particularly sharp. There were bows, but only about ten arrows for five bows.
The man seemed undaunted though, and took a helmet, a set of chain mail and a scabbard. He turned to Ariengil and asked her to put them on. She obliged and, although the chain mail was slightly too large for her, she smiled in thanks. The man turned away again and picked up a sword.
Ariengil took the sword and swung it to her left and her right. It was a light sword and sat well in her hand, with a fine handle to grasp. She sheathed the sword and looked up again. The man was now holding a bow. He handed this to Ariengil and she slung it over her shoulder along with an empty quiver.
`I’m sorry, my Lady,’ began the man, `but you will have to make some arrows for we do not have enough. I see you have a dagger; that may be useful to make them. Good day.’
Ariengil smiled and walked off, meeting up with Dînhith who also had chain mail, a helmet and a bow. The bow was originally hers though, from the Grey Havens, as it had been returned when she left to fight. Dînhith had about twenty arrows, but not enough to share, so they set about finding perfectly straight wood to make more.
`This is an impossible task,’ cried Dînhith after a while- they had found no perfect wood, and then realised that they needed feathers as guides for the arrows. Ariengil laughed at her friend’s dismay.
`Nothing is impossible, see, that man is making arrows,’ she pointed to a dark haired man, dressed in a tatty coat, and they walked towards him. He smiled as they approached and motioned for them to sit down.
`Thank you,’ said Ariengil as they sat beside him, on a log. He sat whittling the wood into straight lines, and then he cut slits at the end and attached feathers. Ariengil offered their help, but he declined.
`Nay, but I likes to work by me own, if yee know what I mean? It’s as I know there be only one man to blame when some sort goes wrong. Take some arrows me friends, if you be liking to.’
`Thank you,’ replied Ariengil and took a few. `What is your name, friend?’
`My name be Harma. After me cousin. Take more than that if you like. In fact, take the lot- I work so quickly that I’ll have more in a while. What’s the matter lady? You be pale.’
`Oh, sorry,’ replied Ariengil as she shook slightly. `I knew a friend called Harma. He died very recently,’ she sobbed.
`Not meaning to upset you ma’am,’ replied the man. `I can’t help me name, if you get me?’ he joked.
`Oh, not at all. Sorry about this. Are you sure about the arrows?’
`Sure as sure can be, ma’am. I’ll be seein’ ya on the battle, won’t I?’
`Perhaps,’ replied Ariengil. They gathered up the arrows and shared them between the two quivers and stood up. `It was nice meeting you, and thank you for the arrows. Farewell Harma.’
`Hold on,’ cried Harma. `I ain’t had your names yet,’ he laughed.
`I’m Ariengil and this is my closet friend, Dînhith. Good luck today, Harma. I hope to see you again.’ They left the strange man to himself as he made more arrows, and walked off together. Ariengil felt sorry for the man, sitting alone, but she made no move to ask him to join them for it scared her that her Harma had the same name.
As they rejoined their group, Ariengil spotted men on horses approaching. They were shouting to everyone to be ready within the hour and there could be no delay. Ariengil suddenly felt dread and fear inside her. Before sunset, she could be dead, as could her friends. Although Ariengil loved Harma still, and wanted to be with him, she did not want to die herself; she shuddered at the thought.
The group were ready to leave very soon, and did not need the whole hour. Nimtheryn reported to the King, and was given five horses for himself, Ariengil, Mereth, Nieninque and one other of their group. Ariengil asked Dînhith to ride with them, much to Nárfin’s dismay, and she accepted. Nárfin did not dwell on this for long, for Thaliondil came up to her.
`Nárfin,’ he began, as he held her in his arms, `today could be a terrible day for us all. I promise that I will stay beside you until the end. I would die for you, and if I do, I will die beside you. That I swear.’
Nárfin bit back a sob and screwed up her eyes to stop the tears from coming then looked at Thaliondil in the eyes. `I love you Thaliondil and I will die inside myself if you die. I will be beside you through everything. I love you.’ Thaliondil took Nárfin’s hands in his and kissed her gently.
The same thing was happening with every couple around them- elves and men were embracing their loved ones and their friends. Dînhith and Beleg were embracing and Ariengil felt she should leave them alone. She went over to Thaliondil and Nárfin and politely coughed so they realised she was there.
`I do not wish to say farewell, but if I don’t and we do never see one another again, I will regret it here, in Middle Earth, or wherever I will go when I die. Farewell my friend,’ she said to Nárfin, `I will think of you for the rest of my life, whether you are with me or not. My dear, dear friend, I do love you and I wish with all of my heart to see you again.’
Nárfin could not reply for tears were streaming down her face and her voice seemed not to work. Ariengil turned to Thaliondil. No words were needed and they embraced each other in a strong hug as tears finally fell from Ariengil’s eyes.
When they stepped back from one another, Ariengil spoke again. `Thaliondil, protect Nárfin. Make sure you bring her, and yourself, back alive to me, or I will never forgive you. I love you both, may the Valar protect you.’ Ariengil turned away and visited each of her friends in turn, giving them her love and remembering every detail of each of their faces.
When Ariengil reached Dînhith, her friend knew what was coming and bit her lip to stop the tears. `No,’ she cried before Ariengil even opened her mouth. `I do not wish for you to say anything because whatever you will say will sound like the end. I do not want this to be the end, so do not say a thing.’ Ariengil nodded silently, but tears came as she hugged her dearest friend closely, wondering if that was the last hug they would have together.


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