‘I am ready for whatever you tell me Arien,’ said Thaliondil.
‘Perhaps not for this. I will not blame you if you hate me, but please promise never to repeat what I will tell you now,’ whispered Arien.
‘I will never hate you or tell anyone your secrets.’
‘I already said-‘
‘Fine, I promise.’
‘Good. I will start from where we first met.
‘We met in Lothlórien, under the trees and you told me you loved me. I did not love you, or anyone at that time, but I felt flattered and so I told you that I loved you too. I should not have done. Time passed and I did fall in love with you- with your looks, your honour, your chivalry and most of all, your kindness.
‘You introduced me to everyone you knew, for you were so proud that I loved you in the same way as you loved me. But when you introduced me to your best friend, Umbar, I knew that he was bad. He tried to take me away from you, he even managed for a while, but I fought against a force, which he had somehow placed around me, and I succeeded in losing him and loving you again.
‘He would not leave me alone. I felt scared going to sleep, in case he was near, I felt scared waking up, in case I saw him that day and I was scared of meeting you in case you were with him.
‘This fear developed and I eventually became scared of everyone and everything- even my food, I was afraid that he had poisoned it or something. That is when you realised that something was wrong- I had not seen you for a few weeks, I was quieter than normal and I was not eating.
‘When you spoke to my father, he was very angry with me for not seeing you- he wanted me to marry you.’
‘You should have told me, I would have helped you through it, we all would have,’ said Thaliondil softly.
‘I was scared!’ shouted Ariengil, ‘I was scared witless.’ She paused and controlled herself then begun again.
‘Then one day he came and visited me. I was alone- father and mother had gone to a dance, the servants were outside and I was alone. Totally alone. He came while I was washing. He frightened me more than ever. I was screaming for help, screaming for him to leave me alone, screaming for him not to hurt me.
‘He came close to me, but didn’t hurt me, he caressed my skin but it felt like torture. All the while, I was screaming. I was screaming for you.
‘Finally, he hit me for screaming. I started crying more than before, whimpering and cowering on the floor. I was praying that the Valar would send you to save me, that you would stop him from hurting me, but nothing happened- you never came, you never stopped him.’ Ariengil broke down, her legs collapsed and she fell to the floor, crying, distressed because of the terrible memories brought back again. She cried and cried until she could cry no more, then started again with Thaliondil’s arms around her to comfort her.
‘Harma then came, for he was visiting a friend nearby and wanted to see me. He came up to my bedroom and entered just before Umbar hit me again. He saved me and told Umbar that if he ever returned, he would be killed. Umbar left and no one except Harma and I knew why.
‘Harma then turned to me but I was so dazed that I thought he was Umbar, I was screaming again, over and over for you but you still did not arrive.
‘Eventually I calmed down because I realised that Harma was not going to hurt me, but I still hated him for a while because I was scared of him. Now I love him and realise that he was the one who came, who stopped Umbar. He was the one who arrived when you did not.
‘That is why I hated you for so long, and stopped loving you. I know now that it was not your fault, but I still blamed you. I am sorry.’ Once again, she burst into tears and cried for the hatred of Umbar, for the love of Harma and for poor Thaliondil who was so helpless and upset when she stopped loving him.
She looked up suddenly for she hurt a twig crack- someone in the forest near by had been listening. She looked around, but even her elf eyes could not see anyone. She looked at Thaliondil, who seemed sad. He hadn’t heard the noise- maybe she had imagined it. Thaliondil stepped closer to her and she hugged him and let out a few last tears. She suddenly felt very safe and knew that she would always trust Thaliondil again.
Thaliondil was sad that Ariengil had not trusted him, but feeling the warmth of her body against his, he felt content for the moment. Thaliondil looked up as he thought he heard a rustle in the bushes. Ariengil hadn’t moved, so he figured she hadn’t heard anything, he was probably hearing things.
‘Ariengil?’ he asked, ‘have you ever loved me since?’
She stepped back and looked into his eyes. She opened her mouth to answer but stopped as she saw Dînhith creeping away out of the corner of her eye. Thaliondil looked towards Dînhith too, but did not actually see her. ‘Shall we go back to the party? It is getting late,’ said Ariengil.
Thaliondil sighed. Would he ever find out how Ariengil really felt about him?
‘Thall,’ Ariengil stopped him. ‘Thank you for listening and understanding.’
‘Anytime.’ He leant down and kissed Ariengil on the lips. For a fleeting moment she thought he was Harma, but then pulled away, embarrassed. She walked towards Dînhith who was talking to a handsome elf and was trying very hard not to look suspicious.
‘Dîndîn, will you walk with me?’
‘Now?’ she asked, obviously dreading the conversation coming, and not wanting to leave the lovely elf who was flirting with her.
‘I would appreciate it.’
‘Very well.’ She turned to the elf, ‘Goodbye, I hope to see you soon Beleg.’
The name Beleg rung a bell in Ariengil’s mind, but she ignored it for she had more important matters to think of. ‘He seemed nice.’
‘Oh, he was. Very friendly. He comes from Mirkwood, has a sister called-‘
Ariengil stopped her because she knew her friend was just avoiding the confrontation which was about to follow. ‘Why were you spying on us?’
‘Oh Arri, I didn’t mean to, I followed the two of you and was going to scare you, but I heard you talking and it sounded so serious- I couldn’t intrude, but I couldn’t leave because you would think, I mean, know that I had been spying. I didn’t want that.’
‘Your brother still has a lot of feelings for me.’
‘I know, do you have any for him?’
‘I really do not know. Dîndîn, I forgive you for spying. But please never tell what happened to me.’
‘Oh, I forgot to say sorry. Sorry. And thank you for forgiving me. Of course I’d never say, but why didn’t you come to me? I understand you being scared of Thall because he was best friends with Umbar, but why were you scared of me?’
‘I do not know, I really do not know. If it happened again, may the Valar forbid it doesn’t, I would look for you. Truly I would.’ The two friends hugged each other tightly; glad that they still had each other to talk to, even if there was no one else. ‘So, shall we get back to the dance? I would very much like to meet your new friend.’
‘As long as you don’t steal him away from me.’
‘I do not understand.’
Ariengil was thinking so hard about where she knew the name Beleg from that she almost walked into Mereth. ‘Mereth, what did you say your brother’s name was?’
‘Beleg, why?’ The two girls looked at each other and laughed.
‘Follow us,’ they ran off eagerly searching for Beleg. When they found him, he was in as much confusion as Mereth. The girls made the two men shut their eyes and led them towards each other.
When they were allowed to open their eyes, the two looked at each other in surprise.
‘But… You…Rohirrim…Dead?’ stuttered Mereth.
‘Brother?’ asked Beleg. The two hugged each other, for at last they were reunited. Ariengil was very happy that they were not glaring at each other, for Mereth had suggested that they hated each other. The two of them walked off to find out more about their whereabouts over the past one and a half thousand years.
‘I trust you are well?’ asked Mereth.
‘Yes, I am well thank you,’ replied Beleg.
‘We presumed you were dead. Culfëa was devastated- we all were.’
‘No, I could not stand to return home when I would not be welcomed by my father.’
‘You still had your mother, sister and me.’ There was silence for a while. ‘What happened to you?’
‘Why was I presumed lost you mean?’ Mereth nodded. ‘We were in a vast battle against wolves, wargs, orcs, trolls, you name it and they were there. My horse became crazed and rode so fast towards the edge of a cliff. We obviously went off. I was badly injured, but I did not fall too far, and I could not move for a few days, except for moving and arm to reach food and water from my knapsack. After a while, I was almost completely better, but I had no steed and so I had to somehow walk to the nearest safe lodging.
‘It took me a long time, for I was a long way from anywhere. When I reached it, I was tended to and stayed with a family of farmers for a while. When the old mother died, I felt it was time to move on for I had overstayed my welcome.
‘I travelled from place to place, never really having friends, a place to stay or proper food. I eventually found some rangers who I stayed with for a while, they taught me a lot and we travelled a lot, then I eventually found my way to Círdan the Shipwright and sailed here. I have been here for around two hundred years. It is a very nice place with very nice people.
‘Will you be staying in this part for long? Your friends seem very nice, I might ask one to dance later.’
‘We will probably be moving on fairly soon.’ They arrived back at the party and Beleg went straight to Dînhith and asked her to dance. She accepted gratefully and the waltzed off. Ariengil sat down with a drink but it took Mereth a little while to gather up enough courage to ask her to dance. She was very pleased that he asked her and they danced for a while. Soon though, Thaliondil asked her for a dance. The three of them stopped on the dance floor as Ariengil spoke to Thaliondil.
‘I think that first of all, you should apologise to Mereth for lying to him and embarrassing him.’
‘I am sorry about that Mereth. I think we got off on the wrong foot and I carried it a bit far.’
‘Not to worry. You take this beautiful lady for a dance. I will have a rest.’ It was very hard for Mereth to say this because he had seen Thaliondil and Ariengil together earlier by the fountain and was very jealous.
The party ended very late and the four companions found Brethil asleep in her mother’s arms. They followed the family to their lovely house and were shown to their rooms.
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.