Ariengil was awake long into the night, trying desperately to fall asleep, but never actually drifting off. She was wide-awake, and all she wanted to do was sleep. At one point, she was so restless that she decided to get up, but it was still around midnight, so she went back to bed a little later. The excited maiden finally fell asleep about two hours before she had to get up again.
She was deep asleep when Elen pounced on her. `Get up, get up,’ cried Ariengil’s younger sister.
`I’m up, I’m up,’ replied Ariengil, thinking that this seemed exactly like Elen’s wedding day- beginning with Ariengil being pummelled into consciousness. She groaned and rolled over.
`Come on, you should be wide-awake and excited,’ laughed Elen.
`I got practically no sleep,’ groaned Ariengil.
`I know how you feel- the same happened for me. But you have to get up, come on! You are getting married,’ she cried.
`Yes, I am,’ shouted Ariengil happily. `All right, I’m out of bed.’ She crossed to her mirror and looked in it, smiling beautifully. Her smile vanished as she peered closer to the mirror. `No,’ she gasped. `I have black rings under my eyes because I haven’t had enough sleep. I look terrible.’
`No you don’t, stop being silly.’ She thought for a while, and then started fiddling with Ariengil’s hair. `Anyway, you will have someone to do your make up.’
`Me of course,’ giggled Elen.
`What?’ asked Ariengil, her face dropping completely. `But you can’t do make up,’ she cried.
`How would you know? And you’re supposed to say thank you, not be mean to me,’ replied Elen grumpily. `I won’t do it if you don’t want me to, but good luck doing it yourself.’ She began to leave the room, but Ariengil ran after her.
`I’m sorry, Ellie, I just didn’t know you were capable to do it. I’d love you to, but only if you are good at it. Please forgive me.’
`All right, you’re forgiven. Now go and wash your hair.’
Hours later, as Elladan walked past Ariengil’s room, he heard giggling and screaming. He tiptoed up to the door and put his ear to it. Suddenly the door opened and he fell to the ground. He looked up, at five girls all dressed up splendidly.
`Out,’ cried Dînhith.
`You can’t see us yet,’ giggled Nieninque.
`What are you doing?’ asked Nárfin.
`You aren’t ready yet,’ cried Elen. `Go and get ready.
Elladan stood up humbly and just stared at them. He nodded glumly and left quickly, hearing the girls burst back into giggles as they shut the door. He rolled his eyes, laughed happily and ran off to his room.
Everyone was in a frantic rush all morning, and by midday everyone was almost ready. Ariengil was fretting about every little thing- from the weather, which was perfect, to the guests. Her friends had to do everything possible to stop her from running out of the room every few minutes to sort out a `problem’.
`Ariengil!’ shouted Elen, after Ariengil ran to the door for the seventh time in half an hour. `Right, that is it,’ she exclaimed. `You are going to sit down here and let me give you a massage. You certainly need it.’
`But I have to sort out the dessert for the meal,’ began Ariengil. She was abruptly stopped by Dînhith.
`You have cooks for that! And Elen is correct- you need to relax. I can’t honestly say that I know how you feel, but I can guess. You need to calm down.’
`Yes, thank you Dînhith,’ Elen said, `you are right. Now listen to your best friend, Ariengil. She knows what she’s talking about. On my wedding day I wanted to run about checking absolutely everything- I was even worried about the birds singing in the middle of the ceremony. You can’t fix everything, and it will not matter in the slightest. Please relax and trust us that everything will be sorted.’
`Oh,’ sighed Ariengil, `I’m so sorry. I must seem so stupid. Very well, I’ll relax and let everyone else do it for me.’ She sat down in a chair and looked at Elen, who smiled in return. `Oh no,’ cried Ariengil, jumping up, `I haven’t sorted out the flowers that I am going to hold.’ She ran towards the door, but stopped as everyone shouted her name in a threatening way. She blushed and sat down on her bed.
`I have them here,’ cried Nárfin in exasperation. `Now sit down and shut up,’ she joked. Everyone laughed and Ariengil nodded with a smile.
A couple of hours later, everyone was outside- Harma stood in front of a crowd of people, with Falquan, Beleg, Mereth, Thaliondil and Elrohir near him. Next to him was Elladan, and on the other side of Elladan were Nárfin, Elen, Nieninque and Dînhith.
They were all looking through the gap in the crowds of perfectly lined up elves. Everyone turned their heads and looked towards the back of the people. Ariengil blushed as hundreds of people turned to stare at her. She suddenly felt extremely self-conscious and she was terribly worried about tripping up or looking stupid. Someone wolf-whistled, to her further embarrassment, but she continued walking with her cheeks blushing a deeper red.
Harma smiled broadly as he looked at his love, his future wife, his Ariengil. She looked radiant, with her blonde hair falling down in slight ringlets to her shoulders and beyond. Part of her hair was swept up and styled on her head, and decorated with a butterfly hair clip; the rest of her hair fell to her bare shoulders.
She was not smiling, but her face still looked beautiful- with her beautiful blue eyes standing out more than ever, and her rosy cheeks radiating warmth. He could still see her beautiful and distinguishing features through the thin and dainty veil over her face. All Harma wanted to do was to run to her and sweep her into his arms, but knew he had to resist. She was holding a bunch of red roses to her, and they contrasted with her brilliant white dress. Ariengil looked up and saw Harma staring at her, and she blushed a third time, now smiling happily.
The dress was a masterpiece in itself- it seemed to represent a softness, yet a dramatic feel at the same time; and it still portrayed love and romance, just through the way it clung to Ariengil’s body. The top was flattering and led to the rest of the dress, which was long and sweeping. Her dainty shoes had little white roses on them, and as she approached Harma and offered her hand, he saw a white rose at the base of her back, on the dress.
In awe, Harma bent and kissed Ariengil’s hand and they faced Elladan. Harma kept sneaking glances at his betrothed, for he felt he couldn’t take his eyes off her. She also looked at Harma several times, for he looked amazing. She felt proud and honoured to be standing beside him on this day. They both looked expectantly at Elladan, who welcomed everyone. He turned to his two friends and smiled at them happily.
`My friends,’ he began, `I bless you both in the name of Eru, and ask that you will both live prosperous and happy lives together.’ He turned to everyone watching. `Is there anyone who does not agree with me, and has a good reason for these two people not to wed and live together forever?’
There was silence as everyone held his or her breath. Ariengil’s hand, in Harma’s, was shaking slightly, but the moment passed and Elladan continued. `I am pleased to continue then. Harma and Ariengil, please take a goblet of wine. Right, and take a sip. This wine represents the blood flowing in your veins. May your blood always flow strong, inside of you, and one day may the blood from both of you bring you a child. Swap goblets please, and take another sip.’
The couple did so, smiling at each other. Ariengil grimaced at the taste of the wine, but smiled anyway. Elladan continued. `You have swapped wine, as though the blood in your veins have been swapped. This makes you one with each other, as the blood in your own veins flows in your loved ones veins.’
Ariengil smiled, and Elen took the cup from her; Dînhith gave Ariengil the ring that she had asked to be made for Harma. Harma, in turn, gave his cup to Thaliondil and took the ring for Ariengil. Elladan proceeded.
`These two rings represent the two of you and the circle of love between you. It shows a bond and strength between you. Harma, would you like to pledge your love?’
Harma nodded, and took Ariengil’s hand. He slid the ring onto her finger and looked into her eyes. `Ariengil, this is going to be hard for me to say this- not because I can’t think of anything to say, but because I have too much to say. If I could express my love for you in the way I would like to, we would be here for centuries.
`When I look at you, Ariengil, I see the sun, the starts, the moon, the Gods and everything perfect in the world. I swore that I would protect you while there is life in this body, and I swear that again. If anything ever happened to you, I would not survive.
`I love you, Ariengil, and I know that you are the only one for me. Ilúvatar blesses us and believes this too, I know, because otherwise how could I have returned to you and be standing before you now?
`Ariengil, it is impossible to put my love into words, but let me tell you this- I would do anything for you because you are my one and only. I love you and cannot wait for our lives together. Thank you, and I love you. I know I keep saying that,’ he laughed softly, `but I really do love you and always will.’ He held Ariengil’s hand and squeezed gently, as though to tell her he never wanted to let go. She smiled and blinked back a tear.
Elladan nodded at Ariengil, signalling that it was her turn. She looked down at the ring on her finger, which was beautiful- it was a gold band, and had a heart engraved on it with the letters A, for Ariengil, and H, for Harma either side. She took Harma’s hand and put the ring in her hand on his finger. It was a gold band with an engraved ivy leaf on it, like the one from her engagement ring.
`I lost you once Harma, and I must never lose you again. I love you and need you by my side forever. I will show you how much you mean to me, for the rest of eternity. I love you,’ she whispered.
Elladan smiled. `Short and sweet,’ he murmured to himself. Looking up, he announced: `In Ilúvatar’s name, I can now pronounce you husband and wife. Congratulations.’
Harma leant forward slowly, as did Ariengil, and they kissed gently. It was as if no one else was there- all they thought of was one another. They then heard cheering, and felt flower petals thrown over them, and so they broke apart, blushing. They held hands and smiled lovingly at each other.
`Shall we go to our feast, my wife?’ whispered Harma. Ariengil beamed and nodded happily. Everyone followed them, and they all went to the meal. Ariengil and Harma never let go of each other, and danced the night away. They left everyone else fairly early and went to spend some time alone together.
`Harma, my love,’ began Ariengil.
Harma kissed her lovingly. `Yes, my wife.’ They smiled at one another, and whatever Ariengil was about to say was forgotten as they kissed again and again.
Eventually Ariengil continued: `Harma, it is the last day we will spend here. And if Galadriel is correct,’ Harma tried to interrupt, but Ariengil didn’t let him. `If Galadriel is correct, then we may never see these lands again, which means we will never see our friends again.’
`Please, Ariengil, let us think about this tomorrow. I do not want this evening spoilt, please. And I can cope with never seeing another living being in my life, as long as you are with me.’
Ariengil smiled and nodded, kissing Harma’s lips softly. He swept her up into his arms, and carried her to their bed. `Ariengil, I love you more than anything, more than I love everything else put together. Nothing at all will conquer my love for you, please know this.’
`Oh Harma,’ whispered Ariengil. `I know, I know. I love you so much and we mustn’t let what Galadriel said come true- we have to be together always.’
`Maybe she meant that we will live in Middle Earth together for eternity. Maybe she meant that, because I am not going to leave you, my love, ever.’
`And I will never leave you too. I love you.’
`And I you,’ whispered Harma. He kissed her softly, gently and lovingly, and together they spent their last night in the Undying Lands.
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.