Nine years had passed and Ohtarwen had become a beautiful young woman; she was still quite mischievous, but had now learned to control it. The ringlets of her long dark hair hung down her back just passed her waist. She was tall and slim, but very strong. Elrohir and Eladan both took turns teaching her how to fight and shoot a bow and arrow; Legolas would also help when he was visiting. She had become quite skillful with the blade and bow but was still not as good as her brothers. But the skill she had, would greatly come of use to her later.
“Come now, Ohtarwen! Sit still! If you want me to finish your hair you will have to keep still!” Miredhel, Ohtarwen’s best friend, told her.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Miredhel. I’m just so excited!” Ohtarwen was sitting on a soft stool in front of a beautiful large mirror as her friend tried to braid her long chestnut colored hair. Ohtarwen was getting ready for her seventeenth birthday feast.
She spun around in her chair and faced the young Elf. “I love feasts! Everyone is so happy and joyful!” She played with a strand of her hair as she looked away thoughtfully. “Do you think Aragorn will be there?”
“I don’t know, you never can tell when he’ll be around or not. Now, Ohtarwen, turn back around or you will wrinkle your dress!” Miredhel fussed while she turned the maiden back around and continued on her hair. Ohtarwen was dressed in a light green gown that flowed down to her bare feet. Small jewels were sewn into the bodice of her dress and the sleeves were of lace. She let out a long sigh and looked out of the open doors to her balcony. Her doors faced the south where she could see the rushing waterfalls of the Bruin River. She could feel the light spray from the falls carried on the wind touch her face, she closed her eyes and inhaled taking in the scent of the trees and the flowers and the water.
Miredhel did some finishing touches on her hair and said, “There! Now you are done.” She rested her hands on Ohtarwen’s shoulders and gazed at her friend. Ohtarwen stared at herself in the mirror in wonder.
“Is that me, Miredhel?”
“Indeed it is. And if I may say so, you look beautiful, Ohtarwen!”
“I must agree with her there!” a voice said. Ohtarwen saw in her mirror a familiar friend standing in the door way.
“Legolas! You made it!” Ohtarwen exclaimed rising and hugging Legolas.
“How could I miss my `little sister’s’ birthday?” Ohtarwen smiled at him. “Here! I have a gift for you.”
Legolas turned her around and slowly placed a silver necklace around her neck.
“Thank you Legolas, it is beautiful.” Ohtarwen fingered the blue gem on the end of the necklace; silver vines that made a cage around the beautiful gem surrounded it.
“My! Brother, you never gave me such a beautiful gift.” Another voice said. Ohtarwen looked beyond Legolas and saw his sister, Elwen-Lothnar, leaning against the door watching them.
“I knew you had to be somewhere around if Legolas was here!” Ohtarwen said with a smirk.
“Well, Ohtarwen. You are wearing a dress! You look very nice.” Elwen commented coming over to the two.
Ohtarwen grinned at Elwen. “I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment of an insult.”
“Take it as both if you want, but you still look nice tonight.” Elwen told her with a smile.
Legolas rolled his eyes. “Enough talking! We have a feast to attend!” He offered both his arms to the ladies. “May I have the privilege to escort the two most beautiful Elves to the feast?” It was Elwen’s turn to roll her eyes.
“But, Legolas, I am not an Elf.” Ohtarwen said with a pretend look of disappointment.
“You are still beautiful, Elf or not.” Legolas took their hands and guided them out along the hall, down a flight of stairs and into a large open room. The walls, which were more like large open windows than walls, were covered in vines of Elven flowers and other plants. Many Elves were in the center of the room either singing, dancing, or doing both. The aroma was filled with nature’s scent and of the scent of food that was being laid out on a large table. Ohtarwen scanned the room and spotted Bilbo talking with Elrond near a table; but she did not see the person she was searching for. Elwen left her friend and brother to join the other Elves in the center of the room.
Legolas noticed the look in Ohtarwen’s eyes as he glanced down at her. “Is everything alright, Ohtarwen?”
The young maiden turned to the Elf. “Yes, I’m alright. It’s just that…” she trailed off before she finished.
“It’s just what?” Legolas persisted.
“Not everyone is here that I wished to be here.” She answered him sadly.
Legolas understood. “I know of whom you speak. I asked Aragorn to come when he was in my father’s realm but he had other things on his hands that needed to be taken care of.” Legolas told her. “He did send a present with me, though.”
Ohtarwen gazed at him, her eyes sparkling with happiness. “Really? Where is is? What is it?”
Legolas laughed. “My, you are impatient! Come with me, I’ll show you.” They walked out of the room and down to the stables of Elrond’s house.
Here, Legolas lead her to one of the stalls. “Now, close your eyes. And no peeking.” Ohtarwen did so and waited. She heard Legolas open the stall latch and his voice as he spoke to something. She heard footsteps plod out of the stall and stopped right in front of her.
“Alright. Open your eyes.” Right in front of her stood the most beautiful horse she had ever seen. He was a bit smaller than the Elven horses, but he was still very handsome to look at. His coat was dark brown, almost black; his mane was black and also his tail. Ohtarwen stroked his neck and looked into his large brown eye; he blinked and stared back at her.
“He’s beautiful! What’s his name?” she asked.
“Falmar, Aragorn said he had a spirit just like yours.” Legolas said with a chuckle.
Ohtarwen laughed with him. “Can I try him out?”
“Aragorn told me he was still a little skittish, maybe I should try him out first.” He offered.
“No, I can do it. I’m sure he’s not too bad.” Ohtarwen slowly pulled herself up onto the horse. At first, Falmar didn’t seem to notice her; but when Ohtarwen nudged her heals into his side, he suddenly became aware. He rose up into the air and let out a long scream. Ohtarwen held onto his back and mane waiting for him to settle down. Her knees were locked around his ribs so that she would not fall off. Falmar reared a few more times; then, seeing he was defeated, he settled down and stood still. Legolas watched amazed, he had never seen Ohtarwen act this way with a horse.
“Now do you think he is skittish, Legolas?” Ohtarwen asked with a chuckle.
“No….I don’t think he is.”
Ohtarwen softly nudged Falmars sides again and the horse began to trot around the courtyard. He then broke into a gallop, enjoying the freedom his new mistress was giving him. Falmar stopped in front of Legolas and Ohtarwen jumped nimbly off his back onto the ground.
“We really should get back to the feast, they might miss you.” Legolas told her.
“You’re right. Tell Aragorn thank you for me the next time you see him, Falmar’s wonderful.” Ohtarwen hugged Legolas. “Thank you.”
Together they put Falmar away and headed back to the feast. Elrond greeted them as they came in.
“I was wondering where you two went.” Elrond looked at both of them, he paused at Ohtarwen and her undone hair and flushed face
“I was showing Ohtarwen her gift from Aragorn.” Legolas told him.
“Ah, I see.” Legolas left and Elrond spoke with Ohtarwen.
“Come with me, Ohtarwen.” They walked to a bench away from the feast and sat down. “What do you know about your parents?” he asked.
Ohtarwen thought for a moment. “My father was Maenem, and my mother was Aaecien. My mother died when I was two, and my father broght me here to live with you. Why?”
“You do not know all there is to know about your parents.”
Ohtarwen looked at him trying to figure out what he was saying. “What do you mean, Elrond?”
He drew in a deep breath. “Your father and mother were Dunedain.” He paused to let this sink in and then continued. “Your great grandmother was Aragorn’s aunt. You are closely related to Aragorn.”
Ohtarwen studied the floor, rolling this thought over and over in her mind. “So, why are you telling me this now?”
“One, I wanted you to know your true blood line; two, I wanted to be sure that you would follow your destiny.”
“What do you mean, destiny?” she asked troubled.
“It is not for me to say. You will find it, trust me Ohtarwen.” Elrond comforted her, placing his hands on hers.
Just then, from a corner of the room, a small crowd of Elves started clapping. They looked over and saw Bilbo rising and getting ready to recite a poem.
“Quiet everyone! Bilbo is going to recite a poem!” Elrond laughed, rising with Ohtarwen and walking closer. The elves around him hushed and waited for the old hobbit to start.
“Ah, thank you, Lord Elrond.” Bilbo smiled, stood and took a bow. He put his hands in his pockets, and cleared his throat. “This is a poem about birthdays and the birthday girl.
Friends and elves,
We are here to celebrate the seventeenth birthday of a friend to all,
She is nearly full-grown and is very pretty!” Cheers and laughter followed this while Elwen jabbed Ohtarwen in the ribs, “I have known her for all of her life here at Rivendell. Birthdays are special times, but even more so for young children, elflings, humans, and hobbits, seem to enjoy them more. So, here’s to all the children and children in old bodies, have a wonderful birthday and another great year! Many more to come, Ohtarwen!” Bilbo grinned and sat down amid clapping and cheers.
Ohtarwen came and hugged the old hobbit and told him thank you.
When the music started up again Ohtarwen decided not to think about what Elrond had told her and to just relax and enjoy herself. Elwen ran to her friend and pulled over to a group of Elves and soon Ohtarwen was dancing and singing with her friends. The voices of the Elves rose into the air. The moon rose, the stars began to shine and they continued to dance late into the night. The songs of the Elves could be heard all through the valley, echoing over the water. It was early in the morning where there were only a few twinkling stars that could still be seen when the last few Elves went back to their homes and went to bed. Ohtarwen stayed behind and helped pick up a few things. Elrond watched as she wearily bent over to pick up after the feast.
He slowly walked over to her and laid his hand on her shoulder. “Ohtarwen, you are tired, why don’t you go on to bed? We can clean up in the morning.”
Ohtarwen smiled. “Alright Elrond. Thank you so much today.” She kissed him on the cheek and headed to her room. Silently she walked down the moonlit path and found herself in the gardens that were below her balcony. The moon cast a bluish light over all the area, Ohtarwen walked over to a bench and sat down. She sighed happily remembering things of the following night; she curled up on the bench and was soon lost in her dreams.
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.