The Undying Lands – (chapter 73)

by Sep 14, 2004Stories

The newlywed couple stayed in Lorien for a few weeks, but Ariengil was itching to leave. Soon, the company decided to depart, and wasted no time in waiting. They were presently packed and ready to go.
Elladan and Elrohir had spent the whole week saying farewell to their friends, but they were looking forward to seeing their parents, who had left a few years previously. Elen was nervous, upset and excited in one go- she was a bundle of emotions.
`I’m nervous about meeting Elrohir’s parents, and I don’t want to leave my friends, but I can’t wait to go exploring and to find the Undying Lands. I wouldn’t leave at all, if you hadn’t come,’ she told Ariengil happily.
The group left at sunrise, with packs on their horses and cloaks on their backs. Unfortunately, as they left the wood, the skies opened up and rain poured down upon them.
On any other occasion, this would have dampened the company’s spirits, but they were all excited about going home and nothing seemed to upset them. Ariengil rode beside Dînhith, to prove that she did not always spend time with Elladan, and Beleg rode with Elladan, to try and get to know one another better.
The girls talked about everything and anything, just filling up time with endless chatter. Beleg and Elladan, however, found it hard to start a conversation, let alone to continue it.
`So,’ began Beleg, `Elrohir is your brother.’
`Yes, he is,’ replied Elladan in a casual tone. That was the end of that conversation- so Elladan chose to start the next. `And you like Dînhith.’
`That’s right. She’s Ariengil’s friend.’
Elladan rolled his eyes and thought, `Well that is stating the obvious,’ but he smiled anyway and racked his brain for another topic of conversation. He gave up after a while, and that rode with a friendly silence, which was also rather uncomfortable at times- especially when Elladan heard the girls giggling away and talking so easily.
Mereth led the company, and soon they came upon the mountains. He had found a quick and easy path across them, and, although it was cold and snowy, they passed safely with no delay.
As the sun sank that evening, the company were approaching a small forest. They passed through, for it seemed easier to do so, than to go all the way around it. Mereth told everyone to ride in pairs, side by side, as the path was not very large. Dînhith and Ariengil found themselves behind Elladan and Beleg. The forest was quite eerie, so they stopped talking so much, and talked in hushed whispers.
Elladan tried to listen to the girls talking, but they talked very quietly on purpose, and he could hear nothing. He resorted to humming to himself, almost inaudibly. He stopped humming suddenly, when something hit the top of his head. He looked up, into the treetops, in confusion, but could not see anything. Puzzled, he ignored it- guessing that it was just fruit or an acorn falling from the trees.
Again something hit his head and jumped him out of his reverie. He peered into the trees again, and then looked around at Beleg. Beleg was looking to his right, away from Elladan, which Elladan thought was very suspicious- it must have been Beleg who threw the object, which was probably a nut.
Looking innocently to his left, Elladan peered into the darkness, waiting for another nut to land on his head. A few seconds passed, then one bounced off his head. Elladan immediately whipped around and glared at Beleg, who looked at Elladan in confusion and shock.
`Stop it, will you?’ complained Elladan.
`Stop what?’ asked Beleg in a confused tone, which Elladan was sure was just an act to look innocent.
`Just stop it.’
Beleg nodded slowly, and shook his head as Elladan turned away; having no idea what the elf was talking about. Satisfied that the issue was sorted out, Elladan returned to humming to himself and thinking about his life. Just as he had decided that in the Grey Havens he would settle down and find a wife, another nut hit his head. He turned to Beleg and shouted at him.
`Grow up and stop it, please?’
`I haven’t done anything,’ retaliated Beleg. `Go back to your humming and leave me alone.’
They both heard giggling behind them, and turned slowly to look at the girls. Ariengil and Dînhith were doing their best to keep their faces straight, but a their lips were turned up at the corners, in a smile, and they were shaking with silent laughter. Beleg looked at Dînhith and raised his eyebrows, causing her to laugh out loud; Ariengil looked up at Elladan and caught his eye, and she could no longer contain her laughter.
`Sorry, Beleg,’ began Elladan, but he saw that he too was laughing, and soon all four of them were in hysterics.
As they left the forest, Mereth looked around for a suitable place to set up camp. They were presently setting up a fire and cooking food. Mereth rummaged through everyone’s packs for the food that they had been given by the Lorien elves. `I think we should have fish today, for it will smell tomorrow, do you all agree?’ he asked.
The general opinion was `yes,’ so he began to cook. Mereth took a pan from Thaliondil’s bag, tomatoes from Nárfin’s pack, and the fish from Nieninque’s, and then began to cook. The other elves sat around the little fire, chatting to one another, or doing their own thing- Elrohir was making a little figure out of the long grass around them, while Elen watched him. Elladan and Beleg were finally talking to one another; Nárfin and Thaliondil sat together, and Dînhith, Ariengil and Nieninque were talking.
Half way through Elladan’s conversation about fishing, he felt a nut land on his head. He looked up at Ariengil, but she was talking to her friends about their past travels. Ignoring it, he continued talking, but kept one eye on Ariengil.
A minute later, he saw another nut coming towards him, and he ducked. Standing up, he ran around the fire, towards Ariengil. She screamed and jumped up, but he threw himself on the floor, grabbing her legs at the same time. She toppled and fell over, with Elladan on top of her. He poked her sides, making her laugh and scream, and then he pinned her down.
`Help,’ cried Ariengil. Dînhith jumped up, and threw herself on Elladan, pushing him off Ariengil. Nieninque joined in and sat on Elladan while Ariengil stood up and dusted herself off, then tickled Elladan.
`That’s not fair,’ he cried while laughing. `Three against one- I need some help, guys,’ he called. Thaliondil and Beleg came to his aid, but then Nárfin and Elen tackled them too. Elrohir put down his grass model and grabbed Elen. Soon everyone, except Mereth, was lying on top of at least one other person, in a massive bundle. Mereth looked up and laughed.
`Untangle yourselves,’ he called, `dinner is served.’ With that, they picked themselves off one another and brushed their clothes down, and then sat down to eat their meal, still giggling.


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