In the morning, Ariengil woke with tears in her eyes as she realised what she had to do- she had to leave before it was too late. She had to leave before it was impossible to leave without hurting Eldarion and herself.
The maiden left her room quietly in the early hours, and walked along the deserted corridor to her best friend’s room. She let herself in and Dînhith looked up at her smiling.
`I think it is time for us to leave Minas Tirith, Dînhith. If not today or tomorrow, then during this week,’ said Ariengil.
Dînhith smiled and nodded. `I’m glad you think so, Arri. I’d like to get home.’
`Home,’ repeated Ariengil. `Where is home, Dîndîn?’
`The Undying Lands, of course,’ giggled Dînhith. But she stopped laughing as she looked at Ariengil’s face, which was deadly still- no laugh or smile was there. `What is the matter?’
`I wanted the Havens to be a home for Harma and myself, but that is not possible any longer. I was thinking of going to Rivendell or Ithilien, perhaps for a year or two, perhaps to stay. I have friends and family there; well not family, but you know what I mean.’ Dînhith nodded- Ariengil had been taken in by a family in Rivendell, who had relations in Ithilien, so she often visited her adopted family.
`You have friends in the Undying Lands too, and aren’t we close enough to be family?’ asked Dînhith who was a little upset now, that Ariengil did not want to be with Dînhith.
`You are, but there are too many memories in the Havens,’ replied Ariengil.
`Ariengil, there are memories everywhere. In fact, your memories are all in one place.’
`Yes, the Undying Lands.’
`No Ariengil,’ shouted Dînhith, who was now finding Ariengil very childish and annoying. `You memories are with you wherever you go- they are in your brain and heart; they cannot leave you, wherever you go. But if you want to leave us, then go.’ She stormed out of her own room and slammed the door shut, leaving Ariengil on her own and feeling guilty. She hadn’t meant for the conversation to happen like that, in fact, she had wanted Dînhith to go with her.
`Well, if she wants to go to the Havens, so be it. She obviously doesn’t want me to come too,’ said Ariengil out loud. She knew she was acting like an elfling, but she didn’t care. `By lunchtime Dînhith will have cooled off and I’ll talk to her again.’
Later on Ariengil went to the dining hall and saw Dînhith sitting alone at the table. Ariengil went to sit opposite her friend. `Dînhith, I’m sorry that I don’t want to return, but it isn’t because of any of you. I want you to come with me to Rivendell; I want you to stay with me.’
`I’m returning to the Undying Lands though,’ replied Dînhith. `Along with my brother, Nárfin, Mereth and Nieninque. I asked them all earlier. If you wish to come with us, we’ll welcome you with open arms, but we are not going to Rivendell.’
`Well maybe I’ll stay here then,’ replied Ariengil in a raised voice.
`You do that, but it won’t do you any good,’ shouted Dînhith.
`How would you know?’ shouted Ariengil back.
`I might not know, but I thought I was your best friend; and best friends can usually tell what’s best for their friends. But if you won’t take my advice, then so be it. Stay here if you want. We are still all leaving, and we are leaving in five days. So you’d better decide soon.’ Dînhith stood up and left, just as everyone else began coming into the room to eat. Eldarion came and sat next to Ariengil, who now had her head in her hands.
`What is the matter?’ asked Eldarion. Ariengil didn’t reply, but stood and left- running away in the opposite direction to Dînhith. She didn’t see or hear Eldarion excuse himself and run after her. Ariengil did not know in which direction she was running, and to where, but soon she came upon a small garden with a stone bench. She sat down and cried onto the sleeves of her dress.
`Will you not talk with me?’ asked a voice behind her. It was Eldarion. He put his hands on Ariengil’s shoulders and hugged her gently, then turned her to face him. She stood and obliged, but looked down at her feet as she did not want him to see her crying. She had no choice though, as Eldarion put his hand on her chin and lifted her face upwards so that he could see her more clearly. He wiped away a few tears, and kissed her lips softly.
`Eldarion, please don’t,’ whispered Ariengil, to Eldarion’s surprise.
`What have I done wrong?’ he asked.
`Nothing. That is what is so horrible about the whole thing. You have done nothing.’ Eldarion obviously didn’t understand, so Ariengil continued. `I loved Nimtheryn for years, but for some confusing reason we broke up, and he broke my heart. I met Harma and we fell in love, but now he is dead,’ she sobbed. `And now I have met you and I love you so much, yet you say we cannot be together due to some stupid prophecy. What I want more than anything else is to stay here with you and to never leave.
`I must leave though, for if I don’t leave soon then I will never be able to leave you for I love you too much. So I have decided to leave at the end of this week.’ Eldarion shook his head and was about to interrupt, but Ariengil continued. `I am leaving Eldarion, for I must. You know I must too. I wish to go to Ithilien or Rivendell where I have friends and family, but all of my friends wish to return to the Undying Lands.
`I do not want to return there because I have too many memories, and if I ever leave Middle Earth, I will not return again and I will never see you again. If I go to the Havens, I will not be able to see you or visit you, and you definitely will not be able to visit me.
`So I have three options- to go to the Undying Lands with my friends, and never see you, my love, again; to go to Rivendell or Ithilien and never see my friends again; or to stay here with you and never see my friends again, and lose my immortality. I would do that for you Eldarion, but you say that I cannot due to the prophecy.
`So there is nothing for me to do. I cannot choose between my friends and you, and I hate this pain inside of me. Eldarion it isn’t fair,’ she cried, and threw herself on Eldarion, sobbing and pouring with tears. Eldarion just held her and comforted her until she calmed herself.
`Much though it pains me to say this, you must go with your friends. You have many more lifetimes than me to live, and you will not need me and you will probably not remember me. Do not forget the prophecy, and do not forget your friends- they are important. You must go with them,’ he sobbed, `and you must forget me. Go to the Undying Lands with them, before it is too late.’
`I would never forget you, Eldarion, not even if I lived as long as the Ents. They may forget what the Entwives look like, but I will not forget you.’ Eldarion laughed through his tears at this comment, and smiled slightly.
`Will you return to your Havens?’ he asked.
`I can’t just leave you though, Eldarion. I can’t forget you.’
`Don’t forget me then, but do leave me. It will hurt at first, but we will cope. I will always remember you. Just remember I love you, Ariengil. Will you do that as you leave?’
`If I must leave then I will remember that. I love you too, and I will remember you wherever I go.’ They held one another closely and felt their hearts beating against each other’s chests. Eldarion leant closer to Ariengil and placed his lips on hers. They kissed passionately, holding each other tenderly, knowing that their love could not last.
`Your Majesty,’ came a cry in the distance. Ariengil and Eldarion pulled away and looked at each other longingly. `Your Highness, where are you? You are needed to begin the meal.’
`They do not need me really, do they?’ whispered Eldarion into Ariengil’s ear. She shook her head with a smile on her face, and bit her lip to stop herself laughing. `Then quickly follow me,’ whispered Eldarion. He grabbed Ariengil’s hand and they ran quietly out of the garden and stood on the other side of a row of bushes. Eldarion peered around the corner, then quickly withdrew again, giggling. `I think he saw me,’ he squealed. They both laughed and ran as quickly as possible away from the garden and down the hill. Suddenly Eldarion pulled Ariengil to the right and they jumped into a bush. It hid them completely, and had a small clearing around the base of the bush, where they hid.
`Sir?’ came the voice again. The couple watched a youth running along, looking for the King. As his brown hair passed out of sight, Eldarion and Ariengil burst into laughter.
`We are just like children,’ giggled the King.
`Like little elflings,’ squealed Ariengil as they both crouched down. Suddenly the boy came back around the corner and they were silent again. The boy walked slowly back to the dining hall with a puzzled look on his face. As soon as he entered the building Eldarion and Ariengil crept out again. They stood out of view from the building and held hands.
`You have leaves and twigs in your hair,’ laughed Eldarion as he reached up and picked them out of Ariengil’s long hair.
`And you have some in yours,’ giggled Ariengil. She too reached up and ran her fingers through the King’s hair, pulling out parts of the bush. They smiled at one another then began walking again, back to the garden.
`Ariengil,’ began Eldarion, and he stopped just inside the garden, `I want us to make these last few days special as we probably won’t see one another again after this; don’t object- you know it is true. So don’t talk about what will be in a few years, but we’ll just take these last days as they come. Is that alright?’ he asked.
`Yes, Eldarion, and that will start now,’ giggled Ariengil as she looked up at him longingly. Their mouths found each other’s and their lips caressed each other’s as they held their beloved closely.
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.