Rúmil breathed in a breath of fresh morning air. The air smelled sweet, with a little hint of niphredil mixed with the faint scent of the Mallorn. He looked down from his flet at all the other elves, coming and going, most of them making ready for the Feast of Autumn Leaves because tonight was the last night of summer. He remembered the last Feast – the Feast of Blossoming Spring. He had worked up enough courage (with the help of Lothlórien’s finest red wine) to ask Vallairë to dance. And she had not turned him down! They had danced furiously to the rhythm, her dress twirling and glittering in the firelight, her eyes laughing. His breath caught at the thought of that moment and he sighed.
He once thought that it was only a crush. She was the only Lady that was truly his friend. And she was always kind to him and talked to him as if he were a real person.
Once, when they were little, she told him one of her secret desires and he had sat atop a big boulder beside her and listened as if it would save his life. She was 452 years old then, just a little elfling, and standing up atop the boulder, she declared that she would escape the noble life and run away to be a rufian wood elf of Mirkwood. Rúmil, being himself 503 years, had gasped at these words and had almost begun to cry because he thought she surely meant to do this. Little Vallairë, seeing that her friend was in distress, sat back down beside him and said consolingly, “But I would never do such a thing, for I would never leave you, Rúmil, my dearest friend.” Rúmil had been so relieved to hear this endearment that he jumped for joy and in his sudden excitement, tumbled over the boulder, bringing Vallairë down with him. They laughed and laughed until their stomachs hurt so much they thought they would surely perish on the spot. And Rúmil was happy.
He was sure now, more than ever, that his heart was meant for Vallairë. Her smile, her spontaneity, the way she always brought out the best in him. There was no one who could take him away from her. And so, on that happy note, Rúmil ventured out of his flet to offer his help in preparing for the festivities.