‘No,’ cried Ariengil. ‘How did you do that? You aren’t fooling me.’ Her eyes were fixed on the red hand mark on the male elf’s cheek. There should have been a scar there, but the cheek was just tinged red from her slap.
‘Ariengil,’ murmured the elf in a hurt voice. He stepped towards the maiden and made as though to take her hands, but she snatched them back and stepped backwards, almost tripping over. The elf stepped forwards again, and Ariengil literally ran backwards, pushing herself as far away as possible.
‘Stop it,’ she screamed. ‘Help,’ she cried. Tuor immediately ran in and held Ariengil in his arms.
‘Sssh,’ he whispered. ‘It is all right. Listen to him- let him talk. Let us all sit down for a while and talk.’ He drew up three chairs and sat down. The elf sat too, but Ariengil dragged her chair further backwards before sitting down.
‘Ariengil,’ the elf whispered. He flinched as Ariengil did too- she flinched from his soft, kind words though. ‘Ariengil, it is me- Harma. Do you not recognise me?’
‘It isn’t you. No, it cannot be- I saw you die. How do you explain that?’
‘I’m not quite sure, but I vaguely remember something to do with Nimtheryn- he is dead, isn’t he?’ asked Harma sadly. Ariengil nodded numbly, still doubting whether the elf was really who he said he was. ‘Well, as far as a recollect, he asked for his life in exchange for mine. I thought that was incredibly unfair and wrong, but he wanted you to be happy- he said that you could only be happy with me.’
‘But you are dead,’ choked Ariengil. Even after hearing the prophecy, she found it impossible to come to terms with Harma being there. ‘This is wrong, this is impossible,’ Ariengil murmured under her breath.
‘NO,’ shouted Harma. ‘Ariengil listen to me,’ he begged. ‘I am back- I have no idea how, but, by the Valar, I am here. So please believe me. How can I prove it?’ He fumbled around in his pocket quickly, and then drew out his hand. Ariengil flinched, expecting to be hit or to have a knife pointing at her. But he held a ring, made of willow and ivy. ‘Do you remember this Ariengil?’ he asked. Ariengil opened her mouth slightly, but said nothing. ‘Do you remember?’ She nodded slightly, and then vigorously.
The next second she stood and looked at Harma. He stood and looked into her eyes deeply. In a flash, they were in each other’s arms, clinging to one another as if for dear life. Harma stroked Ariengil’s hair, her back, her arms, and held her closely against his chest; Ariengil just held her love to her tightly. Neither of them noticed Tuor leave, and when they let go of one another a few minutes later, they stood apart in an embarrassed way.
Ariengil suddenly felt incredibly guilty and self-conscious, as she thought of Nimtheryn and Eldarion. She resolved to tell Harma about them, just not at this moment. They tried to find their way back to the others, to tell them the good news, but they could not find the way. At one point they thought they were almost there, but realised that they were even more lost than before. They giggled nervously, but stopped immediately with sighs as they realised how much of their relationship they had lost.
Eventually they found their way out, and Ariengil pointed to their friends. They walked across, and then suddenly noticed that they were holding hands- they had unconsciously held to each other, and now they let go as they approached their group. Most of their friends had the same reaction to Harma as Ariengil did, but Dînhith just looked on knowingly. Ariengil questioned her about this later.
‘How did you know?’ she asked quietly.
‘You told me yourself,’ laughed her friend.
‘How could I have told you?’
‘You told me the prophecy, and I knew it was true- how could it not be? Don’t worry about it- everything is perfect now,’ smiled Dînhith.
‘Perfect,’ thought Ariengil. ‘Not quite, but perfect enough. I just have to work on the relationship now. It will be weird.’ She went back to Harma, and stayed at his side all evening- both of the elves staring at one another adoringly.
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.