The Undying Lands – (chapter 80)

by Jan 9, 2005Stories

Harma and Ariengil decided to marry very quickly, because, after all of their experiences, they realised that they had to cherish their lives and make the most of the moment at hand.
The preparations for the marriage were made quickly and efficiently, and soon it was only a week until the wedding. Harma was still constantly trying to convince Tuor to allow him back to Middle Earth to find Tarma. Tuor was adamant and would not allow any elf back to the mortal lands, whether another war began or not. After so few elves returned from the war against Tarma, Tuor had chosen to take no notice of the mortals, for they only seemed to disrupt the peace of the Undying Lands. For this reason, he wanted to refuse Harma access to Middle Earth.
Towards the end of the last week before the wedding, Harma asked the older elf to follow him one night. Tuor followed with no comment, and the two elves walked in silence to Ariengil’s room. They entered quietly and Harma went straight to the bed, where Ariengil was asleep. He turned to Tuor and signalled for silence. Tuor sat down and watched the maiden.
Ariengil twisted and turned, tying herself in knots with her sheets, as she slept. She cried out a few times, and raised her hands to shield her from someone in her dreams. `No,’ she screamed, through mumbled words. Most of the words were nonsense and did not make sense, but occasional words were correct. `Tarma stop,’ she cried. She shook and trembled, then flinched as though she had been hit. Tears fell from her eyes as she slept, and she pushed herself against the sheets tightly as though she was backing away from someone.
Harma looked at Tuor with one eyebrow raised. His look had a lot of meaning in it, and Tuor understood straight away. He nodded once, then stood and left the room. It was settled- Harma and Ariengil were returning to Middle Earth.
Harma walked straight over to Ariengil and put his arms around her, with some difficulty. She hit him a few times, but eventually relaxed and slept peacefully until the morning.
As she slept, Harma watched her. There were lines of sorrow ridden across her face, and shadows under her eyes. All that Harma wanted to do was wipe away the sorrow and make Ariengil happy forever. He watched her lovingly as she murmured something in her sleep.
`By the Valar, I swear that I will never let you come to harm again, while there is still life in this body. I will destroy Tarma so that he may never hurt you again,’ Harma whispered. He reached up to rub his sleepy eyes, but his hand shook and he found himself wiping away tears; tears of anger, of hatred and of sorrow.
Harma did not sleep that night, for Ariengil’s dreams became worse as the sky darkened. She screamed aloud and struggled with her sheets during the night. When the first rays of sunlight appeared, Harma finally fell asleep, and Ariengil calmed down slightly. She woke long before her love, and she watched the rise and fall of his chest as he slept.
Again she thought of Tarma and of all of the terrible things that had happened to her; and again she prayed that it would all end. She felt that the end to the sorrow must be near, and she thanked the Valar for Harma.
`You will destroy him,’ she murmured with a smile, and she pushed a lock of hair away from Harma’s face, `and then we can live happily together.’
She gasped quietly and covered her mouth as she realised something: `But Tarma is your brother. You cannot possibly kill your own twin. I love Elen more than anything, and you must love him deep down. Oh, my love, it is not fair.’ Harma stirred slightly, but fell asleep again, clutching Ariengil’s hand tightly. `I have decided,’ she told Harma, though he did not hear. `I cannot tell you what I have chosen, but it will make everything all right. I love you.’
The beautiful girl flicked her tears away delicately, then slowly unclenched Harma’s hand and left the room. She put on some dark and comfortable clothes, though not a dress, and crept through the semi-darkness. She snuck to the armoury and stealthily unlocked the unguarded door. With a brief scan of the room, she identified her own weapons, and grabbed her bow, arrows and sword.
There was an archery range in the Havens, which, in the daytime, was often popular, but the weapons were used under strict conditions, as the Havens were so peaceful. Ariengil made her way there quietly, and then looked around. No one was there, and as it was fairly secluded, she could probably shoot for quite a while.
Carefully she drew one arrow from her quiver and placed it up on the bow. She looked down the perfectly horizontal line, at the centre of the target. Smiling cruelly, and yet sadly too, as she pictured Tarma standing in front of the target. With a swift flick of her fingers, she released the arrow, which landed right in the centre of the board with a soft thud.
Satisfied, she whipped out another arrow. Again, she concentrated on the centre, and again a picture of Tarma appeared in her mind. The arrow forced its way into the board, less than a finger’s width from the last arrow. Ariengil fired another two arrows, each landing in roughly the same place. Slowly, though, her temper rose as she pictured Tarma; and eventually she was shaking with rage.
`Tarma,’ she murmured, `you will pay.’ She trembled and this time her arrow flew straight past the target and stuck in a tree. She cried aloud and threw her bow down, then ran to pick up her arrows.
She took her time pulling the ones from the target, for they were rammed in very hard. She plucked them out one by one, and then she turned around to take the last arrow out of the tree. Where was it? She looked at the tree where she thought it was, then to another and another, but it was not there. On closer inspection of the tree that she was sure it hit, she saw a notch in the bark. It had definitely hit the tree.
Therefore someone had removed the arrow; therefore she was being watched at that precise moment. A twig snapped somewhere in the forest behind her. She whipped around and peered into the dark. She saw movement, but pretended she didn’t so that the person would come out into the open. Before stepping away, she shook her head as though she thought she was imagining things, and then stood in the middle of the archery range. She put down her bow and arrows, and drew her sword.
With one eye on the forest, she trained with her blade. In swift and quick movements, she flicked the sword around her body with perfect precision. Once to the left; once to the right; she threw the blade to her left hand and did the same, and then spun the blade in front of her. Now she fought an imaginary person, dodging their attacks, and blocking their imaginary sword, and finally cutting off their imaginary head. She stabbed the sword into the ground and leant on it, with her hair hanging over her face.
It was then that the person from the forest left the shadows. Ariengil breathed a sigh of relief as she saw Tuor; but then she realised that she had taken her weapons without being allowed them. He didn’t seem too worried about this breach of the peace though, and just sat down in front of her.
Ariengil stood up, flicking her hair behind her and pulling the sword from the ground at the same time. She sheathed the sword and sat down with it on her lap. Neither elf spoke for a while, and then Tuor broke the silence.
`You are good with your weapons.’ Ariengil made no comment, so Tuor continued. `What, may I ask, do you plan to do with them? For I can tell that this is not just training.’
Ariengil looked at Tuor and nodded slowly. `You are correct that I am not here solely for tuition. I plan to protect myself while I am in Middle Earth again.’
Tuor smiled and nodded, though he knew that Ariengil was not telling the whole truth. `Here is your last arrow- it was very hard to take out. You have a strong shot. I would appreciate it if you returned your weapons when you have finished, but I shall give them to you when you leave here. Do not stay away for longer than you need, for I do not feel that you should really go at all. Be safe, my child.’
Ariengil nodded and thanked the older elf, who stood and walked away quietly. A few minutes later she left too, taking her beloved weapons with her. She laid the bow and arrows carefully in the armoury, and then looked at her sword. It was chipped and scratched, to her disappointment, and it was a little too small for her liking. She still loved it, for it had been with her in her first battle, in fact, in all of her battles. Kissing the blade, she laid that down beside her bow and left again.
An hour later, she had bathed, redressed and found her friends. Harma was still asleep, but he joined the group after breakfast. He sat beside Ariengil, and squeezed her hand gently. She smiled in return and bit into a piece of bread. Dînhith was sitting beside her, writing on a sheet of paper. Ariengil smiled again. She had asked Dînhith to be her wedding planner, as well as her ring bearer, and her friend had set upon this task with such enthusiasm. Nárfin, Elen and Nieninque were chosen as bridesmaids, unexpectedly, and they were busy making dresses outside.
Every person in the group of friends was to take part in the ceremony, and Elladan was to actually wed the couple, for he had worked with priests as a child, so was allowed to wed the betrothed in Ilúvatar’s name.


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Found in Home 5 Reading Room 5 Stories 5 The Undying Lands – (chapter 80)

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