Lerina woke up, shivering. She looked over to her window, only to find that it was open. Blowing through it was a cold, crisp wind, bringing brown curled leaves with it, a sign that winter was well on its way. She looked down at the dress she was still wearing from yesterday. It was now wrinkled, and had spots of mud splattered around the bottom of it, accompanying the loose tatters. She walked over to the wardrobe and opened it, looking for another dress. She found a baby blue one, and threw it onto the bed. It was the same style as her favourite one, an open neck, very long sleeves that flared out from her elbow, and long, so that it splayed out on the ground around her.
It was quite cold outside, so she decided to look for something else to wear over the top. Instead, she found some riding gloves that were a dark navy blue colour.
“Hmmm, these are nice,” she said, undoing the lace that held the wristband together. She changed out of the dress she was wearing and into the blue one. She pulled the gloves onto her hands and walked over to the dresser.
“My hair is so messy. I think I’ll plait it.” She brushed her silken hair, and put it into a tight plait. It fell down to her waist. “There,” she said, grabbing her lip-gloss that she had brought with her. She walked to the door, applying her gloss to her lips. She stopped suddenly. She walked over to her bed, knelt down and pulled out the sword in the sheath. She did the belt up under her dress, should she chance to see anyone and risk being questioned.
She came to the stables, hoping to sneak out and come back, before Largolian noticed she was gone, but her hopes were soon foiled, as he walked up behind her.
“So, where are you going today?” he asked casually.
“Well,” she said, turning around slowly, “I was wondering, could I go back into the forest? I promise I won’t be hard to find if you have to send out a search party for me!” she said, rather quickly.
“You really like to worry me, don’t you?” he said matter-of-factly, laughing. “Very well, only if you are back in three hours, and if one of my friends goes with you, though.”
But Lerina couldn’t have anyone at all come along, because she meant to keep her friend, Rebethian, a secret. Especially from Largolian. “But, I already have a friend coming along. Okay, I’ll see you later!” she said, hoping he wouldn’t ask any more questions. But he did.
“What friend?” he asked.
“Ah, Imrahil. Okay, um, bye!” she said.
“But how can that be? I am holding a council in half an hour, and he is going to it.” He said.
“Okay, so I lied. But Thunder knows the way back to Lothlorien if I get lost, and he wouldn’t leave me if I fell off, even though that’s highly unlikely. Please let me go.” She asked, pleadingly.
“Well, I suppose…”
He was cut off by Lerina’s reply. “Oh, thank you!” and she ran over to him and wrapped her arms around him tightly. In a flash she had let go, fetched Thunder’s saddle and bridle, and had put his tack on him. She jumped up, waved goodbye to Largolian, and cantered off in the direction off the forest.
Lerina came to the place she had met Rebethian, and found her there with her horse, Storm. “Good morning, how are you?” she asked, smiling.
“Pretty good. But you’re lucky I am actually here, without anybody coming. It was a close one with Largolian. He wanted me to take a friend with me. Then everything would have been found out. But you wouldn’t believe the adventures I had yesterday. It was amazing! I have never been so thrilled in my entire life! Although, I was extremely scared.” Rebethian listened as Lerina told of all the events from when she left her, to when she came to her horse this morning.
“Well, you seemed to have a bit of an adventure already, and you haven’t even left Lothlorien yet. Let’s get started, shall we?” she pulled out her sword, and Lerina unsheathed the one Rebethian had given her.
“This shouldn’t take too long, should it?” she chuckled. “Who am I kidding? I don’t even know how to hold this thing!” Rebethian laughed heartily, and showed her the basic stances for fighting.
“Now, this is how you should stand,” showing her the most common stance used, “always have your feet the same length apart as your shoulders. Good. Remember that whenever I teach you anything. Now, let’s learn the basic sword movements.”
Rebethian had taught her a good deal that morning, as Lerina was a very fast learner. However, she had to leave after two hours of training. “Oh, crap! I’ve got to go! Largolian is gonna kill me! I bet I’m already late!” she sheathed the sword, did the belt up under her dress again, and jumped up onto Thunder. “Thanks for everything today, Rebethian. I’ll see you same time tomorrow. Bye!” Rebethian waved her off, and Lerina galloped as hard as she could make Thunder go, until she was back at the stables, although that didn’t take very long, for she was not very far into the forest, and Thunder was going like a bullet. She stopped Thunder, jumped off him, and led him into the stable, when she thought of something. Wouldn’t Largolian have been waiting for her at the stables to ensure that she had come back? She led Thunder out of the stable again, jumped up onto him, and cantered in the direction of the pavilion where the last council was held. She stopped when she came to the tall Mallorn, and led her horse around until she saw it. She jumped off Thunder, and walked up ever so softly to the entrance, and stood a little way away from it. She heard voices inside.
“We must leave soon, or else our cities will fall. There will be nothing left of them if we leave in a week. We must leave at least tomorrow.” She heard Imrahil’s demanding voice.
“There are a lot of plans that we have made that need work. We can’t just leave all of a sudden without preparing anything.” came Largolian’s voice.
“What plans? All we need are provisions, and they are easily packed today. We have made most plans, and only one or two need work. We could leave tomorrow, or even tonight. I think it is quite possible, and all the elves that are to help are ready at any time. The elves from Mirkwood are already on their way, and they are arriving tomorrow. The elves here are ready, I really don’t see any reason that stops us from leaving tomorrow.” Legolas said.
“And we really do need to get there soon. Gondor, Dol Amroth and Ithilien can’t afford to loose any more time. There’s no point in leaving later, and everyone being dead, is there?” said Beregond.
“Well, it may be possible, but if so, we need to get ready now. It’s only just afternoon, but we need to decide on a certain course of action. What do you think?” Largolian asked them all.
“I, for one, agree.” Said Imrahil.
“As do I.” Said Legolas.
“I also agree.” Said Beregond.
“Well, first decide on a course to take so that we may get into Gondor to help them.” At this moment Lerina came into the Pavilion.
“Um, hi guys. Sorry to interrupt, but, Largolian, I am back, and can I go back into the forest? I’ll be back in another four hours? Please?” everyone turned around and looked at her.
“Well,” Largolian looked thoughtful. “I guess you could. You kept your promise. But make sure you’re back in time.”
“I will. Thanks!” she ran back to Thunder, and jumped up onto him. She galloped as hard as she could, and soon came back to the place she usually met Rebethian at. Fortunately, she was still there, just about to get onto her horse.
“Back so soon?” she asked, grinning,
“Rebethian! I just found out some horrible news! Largolian is leaving tomorrow morning! What am I going to do?” Lerina blurted out.
“Well, you are going to learn more of sword fighting, and then you are going to go home, and practice with your bow and your sword, until you have to go to bed. And then you are going to wake up tomorrow when the others are leaving, see which way they head, practice all day, pack a lot of provisions, and head in the same direction that same night. Got it?”
“Um, I think so. But do you think that I will be able to make it on my own?”
“Oh, you’ll meet help on the way. Don’t worry. You are absorbing everything very quickly, and you’ll be great by tomorrow. But promise you’ll come see me before you leave tomorrow night.”
“I will. Alright, teach me, I need to know as much as possible if I am going to make it.”
“Wait. I was going to wait a little while before I gave this to you, but since Largolian is leaving so soon, I’ll have to give it to you now. Here, have this.” She revealed a bundle wrapped in black cloth. “Don’t open it until you get back to your room.”
That afternoon, she got through pretty much everything she needed to know, although she was not the best at it. She said goodbye to Rebethian, and galloped back to the stables. She put Thunder away, and ran to her room. Rebethian had given her a target to use in her room so she didn’t shoot the walls down or anything. When she got to her room, she locked the door, and got the package out immediately. She unwrapped it, and found a pair of dark brown pants, a long sleeved baby blue top, a dark olive green tunic, a pair of boots, a belt with a leaf-like clasp, some leather cuffs with intricately carved gold lines forming the elven sign of peace and a cloak with a hood that tied around her neck, and fell down so that the tip touched the ground. “Whoa! This was the last thing I was expecting! Now I’ve got the proper clothes, a sword, a bow and a quiver of arrows, and a horse! Now all I need is some knives.” She chucked the wrappings of the bundle onto her bed. She looked up slowly as it made a clanking sound. She walked over, and lifted the wrappings loosely. Out fell two daggers. “Oh, well now I’ve got everything.”
She practiced for three hours after that, trying to remember all that Rebethian had taught her. Each hour, she got better and better until she knew them all of by heart. I need to hit something though, instead of air all the time, she thought. Then she got a brilliant idea. She went to her bed, which was all neatly made, ripped the sheets and blankets off, tied them all together into one big bundle and hung it from the door of the cupboard. She then used all the moves that Rebethian had taught her, and hit the bundle again and again. By the time she was finished, it was close to 10 o’clock at night, and she was hot and sweaty and very tired. She dropped her sword, which clanged on the ground, and she collapsed onto her bed.
“I’m too tired for this. I can’t go on. Besides, I’ve got all of tomorrow to practice, and I am getting the hang of it. I’m going to bed. I wonder where Largolian is?” as if in answer to her question, she heard footsteps coming down the corridor towards her room. Although he was still right at the end of the corridor, Lerina could hear him quite well. “Oh crap! He’s gonna wonder what I’ve been doing if I don’t tidy this up!” she untied the bundle from the cupboard and roughly made her bed. She grabbed the sword, the bow and quiver of arrows, the clothes, and the knives, and shoved them all under her bed. Just in time too, because Largolian walked in at that very moment.
“Oh, hello. Um, I’m afraid I have some bad news. We’re leaving sooner than expected.” He had a very solemn expression as he said this.
“Oh, really? Oh, that’s too bad. I’m kind of gonna miss you.” Even though she already knew about it, she was rather upset all the same.
“You will?” he sounded surprised. “Well, I guess that I will miss you too. But don’t worry, I will be back, nothing bad will happen.” Even as he said this, he had his doubts as to whether he would be unharmed, let alone if he would return.
Tears welled up in her eyes; try as she might to hold them back. Even if she had only known him for a little while, she had grown so close to him, and quite accustomed to seeing him almost everyday. “Well, I at least shall be able to see you off in the morning, shan’t I? I mean, even if I’m still asleep, I would want you to come and wake me up to say goodbye. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I missed out on saying goodbye.” She couldn’t stop one tear from rolling down her cheek, eventually dropping onto her dress. “I don’t want you to go. Please take me with you!” she was desperate to stay with him, and to never say goodbye; however even though she didn’t hear him at that moment, for her mind was whirling with horrid thoughts that he would never come back, she knew that he had said he could never take her with him.
She then cried freely, and Largolian came to her and draped his arm over her heaving shoulders. “Don’t worry, I will be fine.”
“But how do you know? That’s what my father said just before he… he…” she said between sobs. She couldn’t go on.
“Before he died?” Largolian whispered after a while.
She sobbed harder into his tunic, and he held her for a while, himself feeling quite emotional.
“You need to sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He said after she had calmed down a little. “You needn’t worry. I’ll be fine. I shan’t be to long, at the most a couple of months. And what’s more, you’ll be safer here than you ever will be if you came with me.”
“It’s not me that I’m worried about. I don’t want to loose another close person in my life. I don’t even want to think of what I would do to myself if anything ever happened to you.”
“If you keep worrying, you’ll just be one big wart.” A few little giggles. “I’ll see you tomorrow. And don’t worry, I’ll come and wake you if you still sleep.” He squeezed her gently, got up and walked to the door. “Goodnight, Lerina.”
“Goodnight, Largolian.” He walked out of the room. She was exhausted, so she changed into her night shift. She blew out the candle and slipped into bed. Although she was tired, however, she could not sleep, and the thought that Largolian would never return pounded in her head, until she cried again; and she cried and cried, until she eventually feel into a light, uneasy sleep.