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Inside the Golden Hall

AraCelebEarwen

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Aralindo had been laid on her back but had rolled carefully onto her right side and brought her left arm safely across her chest. Her sleep was still deep enough that she could not yet feel much of anything.

The scent of smoke and something cooking was slowly pulling her back from unconsciousness. She thought for a moment that she was back in Imladris and that everything had really only been a dream; only as she tried to move did her aching body swiftly destroy that hope. Her eyes locked shut, part from pain but mainly from the fear that if they opened, the softness and warmth surrounding her would vanish.

Had she not heard someone in her dreams? The sound of weeping had almost frightened her, but her heart heard something her mind had missed. The voice could only have been Tirivel’s, but the cried words could not now be remembered.

Tears began to flow; a quiet moan brought on by the stiffness and hunger that plagued her, enough that she felt almost sickened. But it was the sudden flash of a man’s face that made her tighten into a curled and shaking ball. It was just a dream. It could not have happened... The tears choked her, making her cough and pulling her further from sleep. Strange though, was this her ragged cloak that kept her so warm now? Slowly, almost unwillingly, her eyes blinked open slightly; her vision blurred, she found that somehow her cloak had been replaced with a soft blanket; a light and rugged scent hung about the warm cloth and tickled her nose. The warm light of a fire danced just out of sight. Someone was nearby, of that she now had no question.

The sound was only a whisper; she had hardly any real strength left to her voice as it had not been used well in a long while. “Please... Is anyone there?” She felt her eyes close again, her thoughts drifting in and out of a confused, sleepy fog.
 

yhwh1st

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At the sound of her voice, Tiriviel jumped to her feet and quickly made her way to Aralindo. "Yes, yes. I'm here. Everything will be alright now." Tiriviel quickly reassured her. Her voice was strained with the effort to hold back tears. Aralindo's eyes opened and there was a dazed and slightly confused expression in her eyes. "Are you hungry? Can you eat?" A slight nod was sufficient to convince Tiriviel and she turned to her pack to retrieve the last of the lembas. It will go down easier than the meat. I'll see how she does with this before I offer her any of the cony. Moving back to Aralindo, she lifted her head to her lap. "Here, drink this. It will help you feel better." She said this as she raised a mixture of the healing oil and water to her lips. Once she finished, Tiriviel helped her lean up against a nearby tree. "You look as though you haven't eaten for days." She handed her a piece of lembas. "Eat slowly." They sat in silence as Aralindo ate. When she had finished the bread, Tiriviel said, "I thought you had been killed." Tears came into her eyes and she couldn't stop the tremor in her voice. Aralindo gazed at Tiriviel, her eyes were more clear but she still seemed very weak.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Slowly eating the last little bit of bread, empty eyes looked up at the face that had hidden from her, only the soft and pleading voice had ever given her dreams hope. “Am I...sleeping again? I... are you...” Her voice fell as she tried to think clearly, one cold hand clung to the chain around her neck, a tear sliding down her pale cheek. “I...I ran, Tirivel. I though...' She paused a moment, "No one was left, no one.” Trembling, she shut her eyes against a wave of faintness and pulled back from her cousin. Of all the thoughts spinning through the maze of her mind, one now hit her stronger then the others. 'If this is no dream, then...’ “A man... a man found me. I saw his face... I... I thought...” Pulling her knees to her chest, Aralindo buried her face in her arms and tried to breath, dizziness and a sick feeling creeping over her.
 

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Alarm was evident on the elf maiden's face as she tried to calm her cousin. "Do not fear for his life. I have healed him and he is sleeping on the other side of the fire. He will live. Now come lie down. You are exhausted and must rest. We will talk more on this in the morning." She helped to settle her comfortably under the blanket. Tiriviel glanced at the fire and saw that it was beginning to die out. Tossing the last of the dry wood on the fire, Tiriviel then sat down to finish cooking the meat, and settled in for a long watch.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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"Thank you..." Aralindo whispered as her eyes drifted shut. "I am sorry, he did not deserve what I did... Avatyara nin..." The last words faded as she fell asleep; one hand holding the little flute and chain close to her heart. No dreams haunted her that night; nothing but a deep, peaceful sleep. The night passed and the sun finally brought its warmth to the land, chasing away the shadows and lightly touching the faces of the sleepers. Aralindo stirred only enough to pull the soft blanket up to block the light and slept on a while longer.
 

Daranavo

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His head pounded as if he had been struck a mighty blow upon it. He awoke shivering and his side stung him when he tried to sit up. He felt altogether weakened, hungry, and extremely thirsty as well. He looked and saw Tiriviel nearby looking back at him.

His thoughts drifted back to the moment that he had sat back against a tree and was bleeding to death. He felt as if he wanted to die. He remembered Tiriviel bent over the woman that lay near him now as she tried to help her. He turned his head to see her as she slept then turned his gaze back over to Tiriviel. He remembered thinking that if he were to die just then, at least she would be the last thing he would ever see. He thought her the most beautiful creature he had ever seen then, and he thought the same now. He had tried to speak but his throat was very dry. He had a pained expression in his face as he struggled to speak to her. Tiriviel moved to him and knelt down by his side and moved her ear close to his mouth. His body shook as he strained to speak. "Thank you."
 

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Tiriviel pulled away slightly, and looked into his eyes. "I now owe you the life of my cousin, as well as my own." Understanding lit his features, Tiriviel then leaned forward and gently pressed her lips to his brow. "Thank you." she whispered, but could not keep the tremor from her voice. She felt the trears well up behind her eyes but refused to let them flow. This man needs rest, not a weeping woman. Pulling herself together, Tiriviel said "I have something that will help you to recover your strength." Rising to her feet, Tiriviel retrieved her phial and mixed a few of the precious healing drops into water, then walked back to Daranavo. Kneeling next to him, she raised his head to her lap and helped him drink.
 
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AraCelebEarwen

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is this alright?

Cold fingers tightened slightly around the smooth little flute, her eyes slowly blinking open as sleep crept away. The cool morning air filled her lungs as she took in a slow breath, careful stretching sore muscles.

Her head spun as she slowly sat up, one hand pressed to the ground for support. The sun was growing bright, beginning to warm the blanket and the quiet figure that it covered. Aralindo had only just caught sight of the two, not sure if she should try to speak or stay silent and let her cousin care for the man.

Deciding on the last, she pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders, her mind drifting to what was in her hand. Holding it out, the light touched the silver of the flute and the chain before she let it fall into her lap as her shoulders sagged and head bowed.
 

yhwh1st

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Once he finished drinking, Tiriviel saw that sleep was beginning to take him. Pulling the cloak back over him, she gently slipped away.
The fire had been out for several hours, Tiriviel was about to go in search of more wood when she saw Aralindo sitting up. "You're awake." she said in surprise. "You must be hungry. Can we talk while you eat?"
"Yes."
Tiriviel gave her some of the meat she had cooked the previous night, and sat down. "What do you remember of yesterday?" she asked, but as soon as she did, she regretted it. She was not sure how much Aralindo could recount without taxing too much of her strength.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Taking the piece of the meat, she managed a small smile in thanks but it soon faded as Tirivel's question came. Aralindo's gaze went blank and drifted for a moment to the sleeping man. It took a little before she could speak, her eyes fell back to her hands as she shook her head. "Dreams have haunted me... I thought it was another..." A shudder caught her at the memories. "Something hunted me... My arm..." She stopped mid thought, bringing her left arm from under the blanket and running her fingers lightly over the place that had hurt for so long; a sparkling teardrop landed on the fading cut. "You always were gifted with healing." Dull blue eyes raised to look to her cousin's face, a very faint sparkle only just showing it's self.
 

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The desire to know what happened was so severe that more questions escaped her lips before she could stop them. "Where did you go after the fight? What happened? I-I thought that you..." Her words hung in the air as she felt the tears prick behind her eyes.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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Her arms wrapped around her cousin, still half lost in thought but joy washed over her at the warmth of the returned hug. Tears ran freely down Tirivel's face as Aralindo's head rested on her shaking shoulder.

They stayed still, letting time slip past before Aralindo pulled back, knowing that the news would have to be told sooner or later. "I do not know what happened. You saw how fast they came... You know how many they were... Maanafea... He... I would have stayed. I should have fought at his side." No tears washed away any of her pain, none were left to fall.

"The monsters murdered him! I could only watch as they... he... He told me to run, Tirivel. I could only run... I knew not where I was, nor where I am even now..." She was looking around the slight clearing, wondering that she had though to be so close to home yet now to not know this part of the land. Again her gaze fell on the sleeping man.

"No one should have to suffer for doing what is right. If it was not for him finding me... If I had not missed....." A shallow breath slipped past her lips, the bit of meat held out as she had no stomach for it now. Shaking her head tiredly, Aralindo leaned back against the rough trunk of a tree and closed her eyes.

"Please, is there anything warm to drink? Might you make some broth? It has been a while since I had any and you are so good at making it." A weak smile crept across the pale face, fading just as quickly as it had come.
 
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yhwh1st

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"Of course!" she exclaimed, quickly coming to her feet. "How silly of me not to think of it myself!" Retrieving a pan from her pack, Tiriviel cooked the remainder of the meat, saved the juices and made a simple broth. Pouring it into a bowl she brought it to Aralindo and said: "We will remain here for about two days, then travel on to Imladris. We should arrive in about four days." She watched as Aralindo took the bowl and began drinking the broth.


Immages flashed through her mind of her cousin stumbling through the woods wounded and almost helpless. She shook her head to clear it and sat down across from Aralindo. When she had finished the broth, Tiriviel told her to get some rest. "The sooner you regain your strength the better."
 
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AraCelebEarwen

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The warm broth washed away more of the unforgiving chill that had held her in its grasp. Hunger faded and eyes began to drift shut, her head slowly sagging to her shoulder as sleep wrapped its healing arms around the young elven woman.

Time passed differently for each. Tiriviel caring for and watching over the others, sleeping only in the light of day when she knew all was would be well. A day and a night came and went. Aralindo soon found that she had strength enough to walk around, helping her cousin watch the fire while they talked.

Both were careful to let Daranavo rest undisturbed. It was Tirivel that would approach him when he stirred, Aralindo watching silently or fetching clean rags and water when the bandage had to be changed. Biting her lips shut, Aralindo tried to stay still as she watched the bloodied rags be pulled back, reviling the place were the blade had pierced his side. A shudder ran through Ara as Tiriviel placed a hand on her arm, silently letting her know that she did not have to help any more just then.

That evening the quiet crackling of the fire was not the only sound. A light, sad tune floated on the cool air. Her eyes closed and fingers remembering their way, the song grew from her heart. Unstopped by pain and fear, Aralindo let the flute's sweet voice dance freely as she had not yet the strength to.
 

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The days and nights passed by him as he slipped in and out of a fever induced deep sleep. He dreamed of the past and of his part in all that has happened. Several times he had weeped openly and Tiriviel could do nothing but make sure he was warm. He accepted no drink or food during this time and his face became quite pale and gaunt. Once she had a fright as he slept with his eyes open and it appeared for a moment that he had died during the night. She knew that he simply had no will to live. She felt the darkness wash over him when his dreams turned into terrible nightmares. She knew he would not survive another night this way and so she took matters into her own hands. While Aralindo was asleep she came to a knee beside him. With the skill of her ancesters she closed her eyes and concentrated on him.

It did not happen immediately nor did the sensation of his thoughts in her own mind give her comfort. She viewed him at the moment where he layed still after falling from his horse. She felt what he felt. A terrible sorrow and anger intermingled with a desire to kill the man that approached him with a readied crossbow, poised to kill him. She struggled to pull him from the moment.

Tiriviel began to think of her home in the fall. The leaves blew in the light, fragrant breeze around them. He layed asleep in a lounge as she traced the curves of his face with her outstretched fingers. He was peaceful and he dreamed of a time when he sat across from his sister at the family table for supper. He was a younger man and still held his love for the people around him. He knew only prosperity and craved the wind in his hair as he sat atop a quick black mare which served as his mount then.

The magic that encircled the two was as if she had tasted the sweetest nectar from a fresh spring honeysuckle. Slowly, she felt the darkness seep from him like a oily ooze that covered his entire body. He took in a strong breath and he smelled the scent of a flower that he did not recognize. With his eyes still closed and as he still layed in the lounge in the dream he spoke to her. "What...what kind of flower smells like that?" It was then that Tiriviel amazed as she also began to smell the flowers. She smiled and leaned her face down to his ear and as she did her soft hair tickled the side of his face. In a whisper she said, "Come, and walk with me Daranavo." The sound of her voice brought him from his restful slumber. She lifted her head slowly back up and opened her eyes. She felt his warm breath on her face as he looked up at her. The magic subsided and the scene shifted back to the camp. The fire crackled and sputtered behind her and it silhouetted her in the darkness of the night. Daranavo coughed and said in a dry voice, "What's a guy gotta do to get a drink around here?" He smiled, chuckled and coughed.
 

yhwh1st

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Chuckling a little herself, she rose, retrieved her water skin and knelt beside him once again. Sliding her arm underneath his broad shoulders she helped him lean forward to drink. When he had done she made him more comfortable and gave a slight sigh. "What took you so long?" She asked, her eyes sparkling with merriment. "You didn't think I'd let you go without a fight? Did you?" Daranavo smiled slightly and stretched out his hand. Sliding hers within his she gently massaged the back of his hand with her finger, thoughtfully moving it in a circular motion. Looking into his eyes, she spoke more seriously. "For a brief span there, I began to doubt my own skill as a healer." Her eyes again took on a mischievous twinkle. Her right brow quirked and her lips trembled with a suppressed smile. "I don't know what I was thinking." she said, drawing a surprised laugh from him. Joining in, Tiriviel realized how wonderful it felt to have a few precious moments in which to forget the troubles of the world.

It took Daranavo another full day of rest to feel well enough to travel. On the last morning the three companions discussed the direction in which they would travel (though most of the plans were made by Tiriviel and Aralindo, as Daranavo did not know the lay of the land). Both of the elves decided that the best rout was to continue directly north and find a place to ford the river Loudwater, for the fords of Bruinen were in a branch of the river that lay farther to the north. "Once we reach the river," Tiriviel said, "we should follow it a short distance to the east where I believe there is a place that may be shallow enough to cross. From there, we will have about an hour's ride to Imladris."

They quickly settled the matter and were soon off. Tiriviel and Aralindo on Hurin, and Daranavo astride Gaidon.
 

AraCelebEarwen

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They road on at a steady pace, Aralindo sitting in frount of Tirivel while Daranavo followed just behind and to the side. The two women talked softly in their own tongue. Their voices bringing something of a confused smile from Daranavo for he could not understand what it was they conversed about as it seemed to bring both smiles and tears.

Sunlight danced on the water as the three finally came to a crossing. Tiri’s arm tighten warmly around Ara as her little form grew tense, a tremor running through her at seeing that they were so close to the place she had long called home. Whispering quietly to Ara, Tiri could feel the shadow that closed back around her cousin.

“Is something not well?” Daranavo asked as he came up beside them. Looking from one to the other, he could plainly see the blankened expression on the youngest and, though she smiled softly, the sadness that showed in Tiri’s eyes. “There are some things that must find healing in their own way...”

Letting the horses find their footing, it was a short time before they came up the other bank. Though they road for most of the final distance, Tiriviel knew that it would be good for Daranavo to enter on foot. At her advising, he dismounted only to reach out and lift her down to walk beside him. Though they had reason enough to enjoy the sights and sounds around them, Aralindo heard none of the bird song, nore did she see the thickening of the ancient trees a moment before they opened to show the place before them.

“Welcome to Imladris. And welcome back my ladies.” The voice seemed to come from the air its self before a patch of rich greens and silvers stepped forward. The elven guard bowed to Tiri and nodded respectfully to Daranavo before turning an honest gaze to Ara. “Why so sad, mylady? You are home, and you are welcome. We have heard the news and, thought it is a sad loss, we are more then glad to see that you both have returned safely to us.” Strong hands reached up to grasp the young elf around her waist, effortlessly lifting her down.

A feast was planed and set out for that evening. Platers of the freshest fruits still seemed to sparkle with dew. Trays of cheeses, meats, breads and many other things covered the wide tables. Crystal goblets filled with cool wine would never be found empty as large jars were set out, making sure there was no lack of the rich drink. An array of moon white flowers climbed over and through majestic trellises, scenting the light breeze with their sweet perfume.

Having found their rooms well cared for, one being gladly supplied for Daranavo, the three were able to rest, wash and change out of their worn traveling things. Rich silks and Fine leathers took the place of dirty clothes and rags. Day gave way to dusk and time came to gather for the celebration.

The sight of Tirivel coming down the passageway, a soft blue and silver dress wrapped around her, long hair and light fabric tossed playfully on the edge of the breeze, brought a glittering smile across Daranavo’s face. In a moment he had caught her up in an embrace. Lighthearted and free, she knew that the shadows and pain had left him. Past things had faded, never again to haunt him. Holding tightly one to the other, they shared in a strong kiss before she took him by the hand and ran laughing down the hall.

The skirt of the soft green dress waved around her feet, the gentle touch as unnoticed as the soft music and scent that danced on the air. Aralindo sat out on one of the many balconies, unmoving and silent as memories played in her wandering mind. A quiet sound came and went, one that would have told of someone being there had she been able to hear it. Her eyes blinked open in surprise when her hand was it was lifted up. His eyes shown down at her, a pleading smile lighting his features as a soft kiss was placed on the back of her upheld hand. A warm blush crept across her ashen cheeks, his smile bringing one back to her as she was brought to her feet. Together they walked from the room. His stong arm leading her away from what had been and twords what was to come.




i termara​
the ending​
 

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