The summer past quickly and Ohtarwen was enjoying her last few days with Tethcelebel, Legolas and Elwen.
“So Ohtarwen, did you have fun?” Tethcelebel asked as Ohtarwen attempted to get her dress on.
“Oh I had the best time!” she said from inside her dress.
Tethcelebel smiled. “Here let me help you.” She got up from the bed and pulled the dress down over Ohtarwen.
“Ah! Thank you. I’m not very good with those.”
“Are you ready for your last night in Lorien?”
Ohtarwen took a deep breath. “Yes, I am.”
They walked out of the room and into the hall; Elwen had been waiting for them and Legolas just came out of his room finishing putting on his tunic.
“Legolas, you look handsome tonight.” Tethcelebel told her cousin.
“Why thank you, Celebel.” He said with a bow. “You look lovely yourself.”
They all laughed as they walked down the path towards the feast area. The open tent was filled with Elves, including Orophin; tables were laid out for food and an open spot in the middle that was for dancing. Ohtarwen closed her eyes and listened to the sounds of the music; it was like a stream trickling over the ground, meant to be their and no other place. She opened her eyes when they began to play a lively song; all the young Elves were dancing together full of happiness. Tethcelebel was in the middle dancing near Orophin and singing her heart out. Elwen and Legolas had found their friends in the midst of the dancing and began themselves. Ohtarwen sat down at the table where Galadriel and Celeborn were seated, and watched the Elves dance.
“Why don’t you go out there and dance, Ohtarwen?” Galadriel suggested.
“Oh, I can not dance as beautifully as they do. Besides, I have no one to dance with.”
Galadriel smiled and continued watching the joyous dancing, thinking her own thoughts about the girl.
Ohtarwen felt a tap on her shoulder and turned to face Rumil, Haldir’s other younger brother.
“Evening Ohtarwen. I hope you are enjoying the feast?” he asked, sitting down next to her.
“Oh yes. Thank you, Rumil.” she replied.
“Well, I couldn’t help but notice that you, one of the honored guests, have not had a dance yet.”
“I have also noticed this with you.” Ohtarwen said to him.
“Well then, may I have this dance, Ohtarwen?” Rumil stood up and took a little bow in front of Ohtarwen and held out his hand.
Ohtarwen rose and took his hand. “It would be a pleasure, sir.”
Rumil rested his hand on her waist and led her out onto the dancing floor.
Ohtarwen fell into step with Rumil and kept up with him as he guided her around the floor among the others. Her mind began to wonder as she looked up into the face smiling down at her. His eyes sparkled as he gazed at her red face. If she had not known any better, she would have thought he liked her more than a friend.
But ever since they had met in Lorien when she was but a little girl, they had been only close friends.
“You are awfully quiet tonight.” He stated, tilting his head as if trying to see into her mind.
“Oh, I was just thinking. That’s all. I can talk more if you want?” she offered. Rumil flashed one of his familiar smiles at her and laughed.
“Please do. I did not get to visit with you very much this summer. Being part of the Guard of Lorien takes up a lot of time. So tell me, what has been happening with you?”
“Oh, not much. Just enjoying the loveliness of your Golden Woods.” Ohtarwen answered.
“It is not my wood, it is the Lady’s.” Ohtarwen was silent at this.
“Yes, the Lady’s…” Ohtarwen trailed off.
Rumil noticed her look of worry. “What troubles you, Ohtarwen?”
“It was just something Galadriel said when I first came here. It has been troubling me for a while.”
“Tell me about it, maybe I can help.”
“Well, she said-” Ohtarwen was cut off when the song ended and the Elves took their seats to eat dinner.
“Meet me at the stables later tonight, we can talk then.” Rumil whispered to her.
Ohtarwen nodded and took her seat, Tethcelebel, Elwen and Legolas joined her also. Ohtarwen filled her plate high with food and began to eat.
“It always amazes me, Ohtarwen.” Legolas laughed. “You must be part hobbit, for you eat almost as much as one.”
“Dancing makes me hungry.”
“Even when you did not dance, you eat a lot!” Elwen agreed.
Ohtarwen laughed, she had never thought about how much she ate. She was glad that she was a very active girl.
“Ohtarwen, I saw you dancing with Rumil.” Tethcelebel said smiling. “You make a cute couple.”
Ohtarwen went red and rolled her eyes. “Hey, he asked me to dance, and I couldn’t very well be rude, now could I?”
Elwen leaned over to her and said quietly, “That’s never stopped you before!”
Ohtarwen smiled and hit Elwen’s arm. “Besides, I was in a good mood. You know how it comes and goes. Anyway, it’s different for Orophin and you. You see him everyday which make you and him more of a couple than Rumil and I.”
“Speaking of Orophin,” Elwen turned to Tethcelebel. “How did you two meet anyway?”
“Oh, that was quite interesting.” Tethcelebel said, sounding as if she was far away.
“Well?” Legolas persisted.
“Ok. When I was 800 years old, Haldir had been teaching me swordplay for a few hundred years. That particular day, I did not feel like doing my lesson. I chose to hide from Haldir. I went to a familiar spot where I went to be alone, no one knew about it that I knew.
“It was an old ruin in the forest. The walls were covered in vines and it was very peaceful. Well, that day, Orophin came there as well. We met, and I found out that he was also escaping from his `Common Tongue’ lessons. Ever since we have been best friends.”
“Ah, so you’ve known him for a long time. That would explain it.” Ohtarwen said with a nod.
“Alright, enough. All of you.” Galadriel told them, inwardly laughing at the conversation. “Since this is your last night together until you meet again, why don’t you all go for a walk together?”
“Sure, we could take the path we did at the beginning of the summer, remember?” Legolas suggested.
“Yea, that path is beautiful at night.” Tethcelebel said as they all got up from their seats and left the tent. The forest was silent and peaceful; crickets chirped nearby, a single nightingale sang softly before it went to bed for the night. The night sky was black and gray as cloud passed unnoticed.
As they walked, they talked together, not wanting the night to end and morning to come when they would have to say good-bye to each other.
“This summer passed so quickly.” Ohtarwen sighed.
“I know what you mean.” Tethcelebel said. “Though, most summers pass quickly. But this one raced passed.”
They came to the lake and sat down, very near the spot they had before. They all sat in silence, relishing the beautiful night.
Ohtarwen thought about going home, spending time with Arwen and Miredhel. It would be nice to talk to Miredhel again; she missed her dearly.
The moon rose high in the sky, letting the time pass by slowly until it was very late and it began to grow cold.
Ohtarwen shivered and drew her legs close to her chest.
“We should get back. It’s later than I thought.” Legolas said.
When they returned, the feast was done and everyone was gone. They friends said good night and went their separate ways. Ohtarwen lingered behind, waiting for everyone to leave so she could go meet Rumil at the stables.
When she was alone, she picked up her cloak that she had left on her chair and put it on; then made her way to the stables. She slowly opened the door as quietly as she could. As far as she knew, the stable was empty, for she could not hear a sound. Ohtarwen walked over to Falmar, who nudged her happily.
“How are you, mellonnin?” she asked rubbing his nose. Ohtarwen felt a tap on her shoulder and turned around and saw no one. When she had turned all the way around, she finally saw Rumil standing next to her laughing.
“Every time! It always works.” He chuckled. Ohtarwen laughed at the joke played on her. She was a good person to play a joke on.
“Saddle your horse, we will talk while we ride.” Rumil told her. Ohtarwen pulled the saddle off the rack and set it on to her horse. When she was ready, she swung her leg up over Falmar’s back and grasped the reins.
“Ready?” Rumil asked her, also on his horse.
“I am if you are.” She replied. They kicked their horses into a run and raced out of the stables and out into the forest. Ohtarwen’s hair was like a flag in the wind as they dashed through the woods. The horses were neck and neck, each trying to pull ahead of each other only to have the other do the same. Finally, the Elf and Human came to a river and stopped their horses to let them drink.
“Why is everything with you and me a competition?” Rumil questioned, patting his horse’s neck.
“I am very competitive.” Ohtarwen answered with a smile. “I’m not going to let a man beat me. Would you let a woman beat you?”
“No, I would never hear the end of it.”
“There you go. We are both locked in an epic competition until Judgement Day and trumpets sound.” Ohtarwen said dramatically with a wave of her hand. “Or, until the Valar decides to take my life from me.” She became quiet when she said this.
“What is it? What’s the matter?” Rumil asked guiding his horse closer to Falmar, his smile disappearing.
“Remember how I said Galadriel said something to me? Well, she told me not to deny my destiny.” Ohtarwen looked at Rumil, hoping he would know what it meant.
“Maybe my destiny is not to live. Maybe I don’t have a purpose here…” She trailed off again. Rumil put his hand on her shoulder comforting her.
“Don’t say that. I’m sure that is not what Galadriel meant. Maybe you should ask her?” he suggested.
“Yea, I’ll ask her tomorrow before I leave. Thank you, Rumil. I needed to talk to someone.”
Rumil smiled. “Any time. Just tell me and I’ll listen.”
Ohtarwen and Rumil turned their horses around and headed back.
The next morning, Ohtarwen rose early and went to find Galadriel. She went to her room but found it empty. She continued to walk the halls until she saw Galadriel standing out on one of the balconies alone. Ohtarwen softly came up to her and stood next to her.
Galadriel turned to her and smiled. “What is it, Child?” she asked.
“Are you alright?” Ohtarwen persisted.
“Why yes, of course. What troubles you, Ohtarwen?” Galadriel again asked.
“How do you know I’m troubled?”
“I can see it in your eyes. I know what has been bothering you. Many people you have asked for advice; each have not satisfied your wonder. Come, walk with me.” Galadriel guided Ohtarwen from the balcony into the hall and down into the woods.
“Lord Elrond and you have both told me about my destiny. But I do not understand.” Ohtarwen glanced at the Elf Queen.
Galadriel was silent for a moment, but a smile remained on her face. Ohtarwen did not persist, but walked along with her until they reached a descending flight of stairs carved into the stone. The shrubs had grown over the steps hiding them from view until you were upon them. At the bottom was what looked like a small birdbath, but when Ohtarwen looked again, she realized it was Galadriels mirror. Behind it was a small fountain, a silver pitcher sat on the wall near the fall.
Ohtarwen stood near the mirror watching as Galadriel, seeming to float across the ground, went to the pitcher and dipped it in the water. She then turned to Ohtarwen and gazed at her keenly.
“Do you have the courage to look into the mirror?”
Ohtarwen now was a little frightened. “What will I see if I do?”
Galadriel held the pitcher above the mirror and poured the water in.
“One can not say, for not even the wisest can tell. You may see things that were, things that are, and things that have not yet come to pass.” She held the pitcher in her hand and waited to see what Ohtarwen’s decision would be. She could see that the girl was scared; she also knew what Ohtarwen would see and knew that would frighten her more. Ohtarwen’s mind was filled with many thoughts about what she would see. `Things that were, things that are, and things that have not yet come to pass’ kept echoing in her mind. Ohtarwen took a step forward and slowly edged towards the mirror. She placed her hands on the edge, and looked in.