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Old 06-18-2003, 05:34 AM   #81
Aylwen Dreamsong
The Melody of Misery
 
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Sting

The crack of both a broken wine glass and flickering fire had caused Dorlas to jump out of his seriously drunken reverie. Dorlas could not get his eyes to focus at first, and he blinked several times in a sleepy manner before babbling out, "Wha...what's wrong?"

Dorlas tried to slump out of his chair, but for some reason Thelian stood in front of him, separating him from Melost. Dorlas tried to speak again but all that came out was a slight gurgle and a loud belch. Then he heard Melost's voice again.

"Thelain, take him to his rooms. At this moment I cannot bear the sight of him, or of any man right now!" At this angry statement, Dorlas was half-dragged out of the room by Thelian, and hurried into his own room.

Dorlas remembered that the room was quite beautiful, but he couldn't see it again for himself as his eyes were glued shut with exhaustion as he slumped onto his bed. Dorlas wondered what he had done wrong, what he had done to make Melost so mad. Maybe it wasn't even his fault, but Melost was so angry! It hurt to think that Dorlas might have upset the balance of Melost's tempers, but then the boy realized that this ache might have been the pain in his side or the pounding in his head that slowly tingled down from his forehead to the lids of his eyes.

Dorlas went to sleep then wondering why there was such a rift between humans and elves. Melost and Arthain seemed like great friends, but how could they be so fond of each other if Melost really felt such a way towards humans?

Then it his Dorlas just before he drifted off into a restless, drunken sleep: What if Thelian turned his back on Dorlas someday? The two had become fast friends, but what if someday during the heat of battle...Thelian just suddenly decided to let any tolerance for humans drop? That was Dorlas' last concious thought before he let slumber consume him.

It was light when Dorlas finally willed himself to crack open one of his eyes. The bright light shining through the window hurt his eyes, and suddenly all the events from the previous night came flooding back to memory. Not only did Melost's words come to echo in his head, the headache returned also. Dorlas decided that he would never drink such an amount in one night again just as he picked up the chamber pot and threw up the contents of his stomach.

Dorlas quickly got himself ready after that, fumbling with his gear and equipment every now and then. When he was finally ready for the day, he stumbled out of his room and went looking for Thelian, hoping not to run into Melost and hoping that Thelian didn't feel the same way about humans as Melost did.

***
Mattius' Post

Remaining astonished with Melost's outburst Thelian poured himself a hearty amount of red wine before gulping it quickly. He had never seen him like this before or heard of such behaviour in the past. Poor Dorlas, he thought, hopefully the drink will numb his memory of events if there is any justice in the world. As he thought this he held the bottle in his hand, elvish inscribtion around the clear glass neck. There was a little left and Thelian thought of who he was going to see, Menelya. Quickly he knocked back the drink and placed the bottle on the mantle over the fire.

Although still early in the morning there was quite a lot of activity in Elrond's home. Several maidens scurried about, packing bags and bowing their heads to Thelian as he walked past. Eventually he reached the illustrous steps that led to Menelya's rooms. Taking a deep breath he ran up the stairs before lighty knocking on the door.

"Lady Menelya," he spoke leaning in to the door. There were a few sounds of movement inside the room before her voice answered.

"Enter."

Slowly Thelian slid in through the door. He had never seen the inside of her room before and it was as extravagant as any in Rivendell. Menelya wouldn't be too pleased about leaving it behind and travelling to LothLorien. Thelian's eyes began to drift around the room and eventually he caught sight of several large chests full of clothes and jewlery.

"Erm, Lady Menelya," he cleared his throat, "you don't plan on taking all of those do you?" He asked nodding at the pile.

[ June 22, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 06-18-2003, 01:16 PM   #82
Amanaduial the archer
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Eye

After coming away from Isildur, Arthain had wandered Rivendell's corridors for a while, but, disliking the sniggers of the servants, despite their outwardly polite appearance, had retired to his room, attempting to read some more of the well-thumbed but little-read book he had had with him for a while. But he couldn't concentrate- this wasn't his room. The elegant balcony, the way it faced out onto a patioed, ordered, bare-seeming courtyard, the way the walls were a stylish cream and the carvng on the door of plants that it was doubtful any man would ever see...this wasn't a home to him, and he was restless there. When in the book a character whom Arthain was sure he had never heard of was brought in as obviously a main character who had been there for some time, Arthain gave up. Putting down the book, he stood from where he had been sitting in a cream armchair, and walked swiftly from his room, hoping to avoid anyone.

After thoroughly losing himself in the citadel, he turned and came out in a courtyard. The sound of water running down and through a miniture, crafted waterfall could be heard softly, and silver birch trees overhung backless white benches. But, more importantly for Arthain, there was no one else there.

Seating himself on one of the stone benches, he mused on what was really making him uncomfortable; Isildur's words. They had disturbed him, in their harhsness but also, although he didn't want to admit it even in his own mind, in their closeness to his own thoughts of late.

Sighing, the captain closed his eyes, letting himself relax in the quietness of the courtyard. Why all these sudden doubts? Never before had he thought such things in such earnest of his and Melost's friendship. In the past...but in the past they hadn't stayed close, not over the last few years. Had these feelings and tensions been present before- was Arthain simply looking back on those times with rose-tinted glasses?

Arthain tried to let the gentle sound of the water wash over his own mind, to wash them into some sort of sensible order. But they were interrupted- the sound of fine skirts swishing against each other and the stone floor made him turn almost guiltily, as if caught somewhere he should not be. But the owner of the skirts simply smiled warily at him before sitting down beside him.

"Is anything wrong, master Arthain?" Anwanelme's voice was soft and seemed anxious. Why was she anxious for him, after the comtempt she had shown at the start of dinner? But they had talked well. He turned, smiling at her, veiling his thoughts, or so he hoped. His hand was gripping the edge of the bench beside him and, as Anwanelme sat, she held her hands one over the other, laying them on the bench. Just like before at dinner, their hands were very close. Arthain couldn't help noticing. Her slim fingers lay just a few inches from his rather more worn hands. How would she react if...

"You have persuaded your mother, Mistress Anwanelme?"

His subject change did not work. Anwanelme smiled, cocking her head to one side, still puzzled. "You have not answered my question, Arthain."

Arthain grinned, but her words struck a different chord, and a rather disconcerting one at that. Subtly but definitely, he moved his hand slightly away from hers. "Quick, Lady Anwanelme, quick." He grinned again, then shrugged. "I...well, I suppose I am just uneasy about the ride tomorrow, odd though it may seem."

"Anxious about going to Lorien?"

"You know my thoughts well, Lady, is't true what they say about female elves being able to read minds?" He joked, hoping she did not see his real surprise. What, no jibe?. She smiled slightly.

"Just Galadriel- the Lady of the Golden Wood Lothlorien." She laughed slightly at his expression, the sound playing a melody with the sound of the water. "Do not worry, she will not bite."

"It is my first time that I will ride to the Golden Wood, and I do not doubt that it will be my last."

"Do not worry, Arthain. The wood is beautiful, not intimidating. The Lady is a good and kind host, although she may seem a little disconcerting at first to your peop- to you." The hasty change was made quite smoothly but did not go unnoticed, but Arthain did not mention it. "Besides, you are there in good company, and under well respected command."

Anwanelme's hand had somehow moved closer to Arthain's again. He felt somewhat uncomfortable- he had seen Melost's expression before- but how could be move it without seeming rude? Anwanelme had comforted him though- not just with her words, but with her concern, and with her thought for him and his worries. He smiled, nodding slightly at her. "I thank you, Lady. You have made my mind more easy, indeed." And he was surprised to realise that these words were true.

She smiled back, then stood, her skirts gently rustling again as she did so. "I am glad of that, Arthain. But I cannot stay- I have an engagement to keep." She turned to leave then, as an afterthought, offered her hand to Arthain. Surprised but ever the gentleman, he took it, brushing it lightly with his lips. She smiled once more, nodding him goodnight, then was gone.

Anwanelme's final gesture surprised him- she was indeed not the cold, predjudiced human hater that he had first feared her to be. But she was like Melost in some ways indeed- a way of cocking her head to one side, one eyebrow raised, when she was reinforcing a question, the way she had not let her question drop. They would make a beautiful pair, a wonderful couple, he thought, but was not sure what his feelings were over that. That puzzled and surprised him- what other feelings apart from happiness for his friend and his, well, new aquaintance?

The sound of quick feet surprised Arthain, and he stood, turning. The owner of the feet seemed to be just out of his range of sight though. Moving quickly to the corridor, he looked down to where it had come from, but only saw a glimpse of someone turning a corner. But he feared the worst- the tunic of the runner had been all too familiar, what he had seen. No, there had to be more than one tunic like that here? But in his heart he knew, and imagined what it must have looked like, himself and Anwanelme, sitting together, talking and smiling, hands closed then, as she departed, him kissing her on the hand, gratified. What it must have looked like- to Melost.
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:41 PM   #83
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Sting

What it looked like to Melost was that trouble was brewing. He strode purposely the the corridors, unable to think or to notice the beauty and tranquility of Elrond's home until he reached Anwenelme's chamber. He knocked on the richly carved door harder than he had intended and a delicate-looking Elf-maid timidly opened the door for him, her eyes wide with curiosity and interest. He nodded stiffly to her and asked that he be announced to the Lady Anwenelme at once. She curtsied and smiled prettily, dimples appearing to frame an already beautiful mouth.

Melost shook his head as though to lcear it. "What am I thinking? She's only a maid-servant!" "Be quick, girl! I have no time to dally, I must see her at once!" She dipped her head, then left the roomher back stiff with indignation. After a few moments had passed, Anwenelme appeared and he gazed at her, his heart tight with pain and doubt. She stood still and look him look at her, though she was curious. Why was he so reticent about approaching her?

"Melost, come to me...come here and kiss me!" She extended her hand, the hand she had given to Arthain only a very short while beforehand. He felt sick at heart as he took her hand. then pulled her close and kissed her hard as though to show her...or perhaps himself, that she was his and his alone. She drew back, astonished. "Melost! You would make so free with me before we wed?" In those words he heard the echo of Menelya's sense of decorum and propriety, yet he had felt the fire in her kiss....and he hated himself for what must be said.

He took her by the shoulders and looked into her eyes. "I saw you with Arthain, sitting with him on one of the benches. You were talking and as you left, he kissed your hand. Tell me why my dearest friend would to this with my betrothed." She could not mistake the pain and suppressed jealousy in his voice. She stepped gracefully away from him and laughted lightly. "Come now, Melost. Is he not close to you, is he not important to you? Then I must treat him in the same manner, for I would not bring you shame." Anwenelme turned again to him, as though a thought had just occurred to her. "Surely you aren't angrymy love? You are an Elf, an immortal! What can this mortal possibly mean to me?"
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Old 06-18-2003, 08:47 PM   #84
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Anwanelme looked at Melost, unable to believe the words of her betrothed. Did he truly believe that she would have feelings for a mere mortal?

"Melost, I.... How..."
With a sigh she turned from him, the underlying accusation she had just heard in his words gnawing in her mind.
Ever since he had returned here, all he had done was to command her, not even once asking her how she felt or what she wished to do.
Even Arthain had shown more interest in what she had to say and that had both hurt and surprised her.

A thought struck her mind and she gazed at him, her eyes narrowing. As soon as his king had called for him, he had jumped from his seat and went to him, leaving her alone with Arthain, his best friend and now he was jealous because they had been talking well?
She took a deep breath, suddenly angry with the way Melost apparently thought he could treat her.

"I have been patiently waiting for you, having endured my mother's remarks and change of moods, every day hoping that this would be the day you would return to me. Finally you have and this is how you choose to reward me for that?"

Melost opened his mouth to say something but Anwanelme cut him off.

"Without asking me what I wished to do, you forced me to dine with your friends, then you left me alone with them. Did you not expect me to speak with a mere mortal, is that it? Since you have returned, you have barely spoken to me, Melost. You have commanded me! And now, because I have been speaking with someone else, you are jealous? And that in spite of him being your best friend?"

Her face suddenly grew dark and sadness shone from her eyes as she remembered what he had just told her and her voice was chilly when she spoke again.

"Have you been spying on me, Melost?"

A startled look appeared on his face but she cared nothing for it.

"You said you saw me speaking with Arthain and can even tell that he kissed my hand when I left. Why did you not come and sit with us, then? He would have been pleased to speak with you, his friend."
The way she said the word 'friend' caused Melost to wince as there was no way he could mistake the blame in her voice.
Unable to say anything, Melost turned away and as he did so, Anwanelme thought she saw a hint of guilt in his eyes and that only confirmed her suspicion. Suddenly feeling cold inside, she turned her back to him and crossed her arms.

"I would expect Menelya to do such a thing, but never you, Melost! I think you better leave now!"

Trying hard to keep her voice calm and her anger under control, Anwanelme could feel her own nails dig into her arms as she waited for Melost to leave the room, but she heard no movement and she was getting impatient. When she suddenly felt his hands on her shoulders, she lost her temper.

"Leave!"

She heard her own voice cut through the air like a knife as she nearly screamed at him and a short moment after, she heard the door to her room being opened and then closed none too gently.
With a loud sigh she threw herself on the bed and wondered if she had done the right thing. What he had revealed had shocked her, but she couldn't help but think if she might have overreacted.
No, she had not. He had no reason to be jealous and there was no excuse for him to act the way he had.
Now she could only hope that he would talk with Arthain. If he really considered him his best friend...

[ June 21, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 06-21-2003, 10:21 AM   #85
Daniel Telcontar
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Sting

The dawn came, and Isildur stood an a small hill, facing the thousands of troops gathered on the plains south of Rivendell. The many tents had been removed, and his soldiers stood, ready for march. Again, a sensation rose in him as he saw their many faces, faces with determination and valor. Each of them stood without making a move, clutching his weapons. They knew what were ahead of them, yet none broke the quietness by moving, not even allowing his expression to change. Isildur walked down, between their ranks, and now and then nodded when he recognised a veteran of earlier wars. These men would bright up and smile, their faces shining with pride, knowing that the King remembered them. Their morale increased, their hearts making ready to die for their King.

Next to his own men, Gil-galad's troops were gathered. Clad in his silver armour, Gil-galad was a splendid sight, fully earning his name "Radiant Star", and even Isildur had to work not to bow low when their gazes met. Instead he turned around, and continued his own inspection. Gil-galad turned and looked at Elendil, who sat mounted with his knights, and both made a small bow, and smiled at his ally.

Finally Isildur reached Arthain's regiment, and he recognised the captain. He stopped in front of him, and delivered a last message.
"Soon, you will depart with the elven escort. When you arrive in Loth-lorien, join your group south of the river Nimrodel. If you do not know where that place is, I do not doubt your elven friends can show you the place."

The emphasis on the words elven friends were hard to catch, but Arthain caught it. And he did not doubt why Isildur had spoken thus. But before he could respond, the King had moved on, not knowing the turmoil he left in his young captain's heart.

[ June 22, 2003: Message edited by: Daniel Telcontar ]
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Old 06-21-2003, 08:51 PM   #86
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Sting

Bewildered and shamed, Melost withdrew from Anwenelme's chamber and as he walked blindly down the quiet hall-ways in the light of a false dawn, Melost had a premonition. It seemed to him that he was in a wood, lying face-down in the mud. The face of a dark-haired man stared down at him, then he blacked out. Am I dreaming of my death, of lying wounded in battle? Where is Arthain?" Melost shook his head as he struggled to return to his senses. He wandered outside into the crystal-clear air, a pale yellow light had just started to tint the edges of the surrounding hills.

Altogether, it was a most serene and peaceful sight, yet it brought no comfort to the soul of Melost. He slumped down beneath a spreading willow tree without knowing how he had gotten there. "Have I been that cruel?" he asked the emptiness around him, "Have I brought that much pain to the one who I carry above all in my heart? If indeed this be so, then I deserve death, for nothing I can ever do or say will wipe the memory of this from her mind. It is plain to me now that I will not survive this war, therefore the only honourable act left to me, is to set her free."

Having reached this conclusion, Melost's orderly mind grasped for the first thing that would help him maintain his sanity. He decided to seek out Arthain. Above all, he wanted his friend to know that he held no ill-will in his heart toward him and that should Melost fall in battle, he wanted him to know his last wishes. Melost gazed up into the quickly lightening sky and sighed. "My beloved Middle Earth...it seems I will leave you soon. Will you miss the life that I have lived, will you mourn for me as I will long for you?" He closed his eyed briefly, then got to his feet. The sound of horses, hundreds of them resounded through the valley. His pulse quickened instinctively and his heart surged at the sight of one of Gil-galad's mounted companies going through manuevers, with the High King himself in full armour leading them himself. The riders and their mounts flowed together over the grass, liquid as a school of fish and Melost could have wept with the beauty of it.

"Ah, Valar! Must these whom I have fought with and loved as brothers join those that have gone before in the dark halls of Mandos? he thought as he watched the spectacle before him. A warm hand closed on his shoulder suddenly and he froze. "Melost, they are incredible!" said Arthain softly in an awe-filled voice. Melost smiled sadly. "Aye, my friend... and you have become Elf-quiet, to slip up on me like that. It is good to have you here. I have something to tell you..."

Arthain drew away and looked at melost with concern. He opened his mouth to speak, but Melost staid him. "Arthain, this I will tell you, for I can tell no one else and you are dearer than a brother to me." He walked a few paces away to gather his thoughts. "I have foreseen my death, therefore, it remains to me now to set my life in order." He turned, his eyes bright as they took in his friend's shocked expression. "I cannot marry the Lady Anwanelme, not if it will leave her so soon bereft a husband, therefore when I am dead, return this to her." He pulled from his tunic the beautifully inlaid stone she had given him at their betrothal. "Tell her that I haev treasured it as I treasured the thought of our lives together, but that it is not to be. Say nothing of this to her, I beg you. Let me tell her, for this parting will be a grievous one, I fear."

Arthian moved to his side and though no words of comfort would come to his mind, he reached out and embraced Melost roughly. "These are heavy tidings you have for me this day, old friend. I will honour your request and say nothing to her of this." Melost thanked him and they strode away, Arthain to finish his preparations, Melost to see that all with in readiness with their charges.

[ June 23, 2003: Message edited by: Cuthalion ]
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Old 06-23-2003, 07:09 AM   #87
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Sting

After around half an hour of calm argument Thelian had convinced Menelya to water-down her travelling possessions to three small cases. He now stood smiling in her room with his hands behind his back whilst she shouted at various younger elves to find this and that for her. When she looked up with a scowl at Thelian he hid his smile.

"Is this really necessary?" She complained.

"I am afraid so Lady Menelya," Thelian replied. "We must travel light. If we were to encounter trouble then we can not be weighed down with meaningless items of clothing."

With the word meaningless Thelian was sure he saw Menelya's jaw drop a few centimetres.

"But if would excuse me Lady, I do have other important errands to keep, for today is very important."

"Fine go," she said, quite happy to be rid of him.

With a sigh of relief Thelian closed the door quietly and made his way down the stairs. Through the open balconies he could see the armies of Alliance lined together, side by side. Men and elves, he thought, I hope this alliance is not just one of common enemy. As he was thinking he caught a glimpse of Melost talking to Arthain further along the balcony. After considering to approach them he decided against it but it reminded him that Dorlas may be in need of a friendly face.
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Old 06-24-2003, 11:36 AM   #88
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Eye

Arthain tightened the girth on his horse one last time, checking everything was in place. He was in mortal fear of making himself look a fool in front of the elves...he stopped, smiling wanly to himself, as he realise the irony of that phrase.

He sighed airily and lightly, trying to calm himself, and outwardly he may have fooled himself into thinking he had managed it; but underneath, the worry and disturbance caused by Isildur's words was still stirring.

If you do not know where that place is, I do not doubt your elven friends can show you the place."
Your
elven friends.

In Arthain's mind, those words had become so that he heard them with an even more mocking tone than he was sure his lord had put on. He was just being paranoid...or was he? Shaking his head, he almost laughed to himself. What a fool he had been, thinking these thoughts- what had Melost truly done to deserve these thoughts? Arthain felt guilty for a moment- he had doubted his friend, and he was now convinced that the elf had not deserved it. What does Isildur know of the friendship between Melost and myself?

"Arthain, are you ready?"

Dorlas turned his head quickly, surprised at not having heard his squire. "What?"

Dorlas winced slightly at the sharp noise- the pain in his head had evidently not passed entirely. Arthain rolled his eyes, tutting in an exaggerated way, and grinned at his squire who, a little sheepishly, smiled back. “Aye, I am ready.” Arthain had become more business like now, more brisk, not having the disturbing thoughts troubling him. “And you?”

Dorlas simply nodded. With that, Arthain swung up onto his horse. As they made their way over to the elves where they stood, Arthain spotted Melost, and wondered about the frown on his face- he looked positively miserable. Immediately, Arthain’s stomach tightened- was it indeed Melost who had seen himself and Anwanelme? Was he so angry about it? Dismounting smoothly, he left his horse with Dorlas and went to talk with Melost. But as he was just coming up behind him, his tread carefully quiet (even his feet were trying not to seek an argument), he spotted movement further across- it had been obscured from his view before because of the group of elves who stood here, but now Arthain could see and was amazed- he couldn’t contain a small gasp, even as he laid his hand on his friend’s shoulder. The mounted elves moved with such elegance, moving as one, as if all part of one huge, gleaming, beautiful beast, as if a huge silver dragon had been turned to good and had therefore become this elegant, but still potentially dangerous animal, with such elegance in her scales, and yet in her claws as well. And in front of them, the head of this beast, was Gil-galad, his armour just as splendid as when Arthain had seen it previously.

“Melost, they are incredible!”

Melost had almost jumped under his friend’s touch, but now smiled, although there was such a sadness in his smile that Arthain only began to wonder even more. "Aye, my friend... and you have become Elf-quiet, to slip up on me like that. It is good to have you here. I have something to tell you..."

Melost drew his friend away from where the other elves stood, and Arthain’s concern grew- what was wrong with his friend? The sadness in his eyes made Arthain realise how old he truly was in man years, and all the wisdom, and the burdens, of that time seemed to have suddenly come to rest on the elf. Arthain opened his mouth to ask what was the reason for this terrible sadness, and a smile began to form on his lips as he was about to make a light comment, to try to make his friend smile and to lessen his woe, but Melost began to speak first. "Arthain, this I will tell you, for I can tell no one else and you are dearer than a brother to me."

Arthain’s guilt deepened as he thought of Anwanelme, but Melost pressed on further before he could comment or apologise.

"I have foreseen my death, therefore, it remains to me now to set my life in order."

Death?! Arthain was too shocked to reply for a moment, Words began to form on his lips, to tell Melost not to think such things, to tell him it was just nerves maybe, to tell him everything would be ok…even if these things were lies, Arthain would have gladly told them to his dear friend. But as Melost turned, the tears shining in his eyes glittered suddenly in the sun, and these insubstantial words died on Arthain’s lips before they were even born. He took his friend’s hand, but Melost still continued, fishing in his tunic as he did so. "I cannot marry the Lady Anwanelme, not if it will leave her so soon bereft a husband, therefore when I am dead, return this to her.”

Removing his own hand, he placed an exquisite, inlaid stone in Arthain’s palm in its place. Arthain took in the elegant piece, still too shocked to speak, for he recognised this- it was the stone, given at Anwanelme and Melost’s betrothal, from her to him. Melost had proudly shown it to Arthain when he first told him of his wife-to-be. Arthain’s eyes went up again to Melost’s face, his eyes wide with surprise.

"Tell her that I have treasured it as I treasured the thought of our lives together, but that it is not to be. Say nothing of this to her, I beg you. Let me tell her, for this parting will be a grievous one, I fear."

“…it is not to be…” Not to be? Melost and Anwanelme not to be? The words shocked Arthain deeply- he had never even contemplated that Melost would not marry the woman he so obviously adored. And Anwanelme…Arthain could imagine all too well what she would feel when he, the unlucky messenger, would have to give the stone to her. Despite her frequent coldness, and the circumstances in which their marriage had come about, it was obvious at Anwanelme cared for Melost as deeply as he cared for her. She would be heart broken.

Arthain thought to say all this, to protest, but in Melost’s eyes he once again saw that old, deep sadness. He simply embraced him, clumsily. Many beginnings of sentences welled up to his lips as he did so, and for a moment he simply stood, the possibilities of sentences hanging there as to how, and why, and when…


"These are…” Arthain’s voice seemed croaky when he began, and he cleared his throat and tried again. “These are heavy tidings you have for me this day, old friend. I will honour your request and say nothing to her of this.”

Melost nodded tightly, and smiled at Arthain in his sad way, but seemed relieved anyway that he had got this done. Before Arthain could make enough sense of his confused mind to make a reply to Melost’s thanks, the elf was gone, leaving Arthain to finish readying himself. But Arthain was already ready, and just as well- all he was able to do was stare after his friend, holding in his palm the stone that would break Anwanelme’s heart...

[ June 26, 2003: Message edited by: Amanaduial the archer ]
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Old 06-26-2003, 04:27 AM   #89
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Having spent the rest of the night on her bed, thinking about what had happened between them, Anwanelme left it to others to prepare for the journey ahead. She knew her mother would come by her chamber soon and she would undoubtedly go through all her belongings anyway, so she didn't bother to even cast a glance at any of it.
Instead she went for a walk through Imladris, taking in the sight of the place she had thought of as her home for some time now, wondering what would be 'home' once she and Melost had been wed.

A sigh escaped her as she once again thought about their quarrel and part of her regretted being so harsh. She knew he loved her, in fact there was no doubt in her mind that he did. And she cared for him as well.
Leaving the room in order to search for her betrothed, Anwanelme heard her mother's voice and though she couldn't yet see her, she could hear that she was coming closer and swiftly she fled down the hallways and into the open.
She was not in the mood for her mother at the moment, at least not before she had spoken with Melost.

Once outside Anwanelme was struck with the vision of troops, riding and marching forth and she stood for a moment in awe, feeling like a child again as she remembered seeing the great host of Nargothrond ride out many years earlier.
It was a beautiful sight and yet it made her feel sad. She had seen too much war in her life and much of her own family had been lost to it.

With a sigh she turned away from the magnificent sight and went in search of Melost.
She had nearly given up when she finally saw him and that he was speaking with Arthain. Knowing that they needed to talk as well, she decided to wait and she stood watching them from afar, happy that their friendship was that strong. Melost needed someone that close.
They embraced each other and the depth of their friendship was obvious to her. Feeling a sting in her heart she suddenly realised that although she and Melost were to wed and he loved her, they would never be this close. He had not even told her about Arthain and yet Arthain knew about her.

When they finally parted and left to do some final preparations, Anwanelme followed Melost, running as fast as she could to catch up with him.
Though she was light-footed, Melost still heard her and he turned toward her before she was even close.
The look on his face when he saw her was far from pleasant and she stopped, standing for a moment just looking at him as if asking for permission to step any closer. Finally he reached out his hand and she threw herself into his arms, all her anger gone.

"Please forgive me. I acted like a child. I had no right to say what I did."

The pleading look in her eyes nearly melted his heart and once again Melost remembered why he had accepted this betrothal in the first place. With a sad smile he gazed at her, playing with her hair as he became lost in thought. There was no easy way for him to tell her what he wanted to.

What right do I have to do this to her? Who am I to shatter her dreams? How can I deny her the happiness I saw in her eyes only yesterday when she told me about the future she is hoping for?

He was ripped out of his thoughts by a kiss and for a moment he wished for nothing but to stay with her, well knowing that he alone would make no difference in the war against Sauron, but realising that he could never do that, he pulled her into a crushing embrace.

"My love, there is something I need to tell you...."

Before he could go on, they heard someone approach and they both turned as Thelian cleared his throat. Melost sighed aloud. Of all time in Arda, of course he must choose now... he thought and his grey eyes looked like thunderclouds when he glared at Thelian, having no intention of hiding his irritation. "Yes?"
Thelian swallowed hard when he met Melost's gaze but then he took a deep breath.

"I am sorry to interrupt but the escort is nearly ready and you are needed there."

Anwanelme tried as well as she could to hide her disappointment and she flashed Melost a bright smile and kissed him lightly.
"I will go see to Menelya." she said, leaving Melost to gaze after her as she walked back the way she came.
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Old 06-26-2003, 09:21 AM   #90
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Sting

Slowly the troops marched along, with a host of cavalry in front, elves as well as humans. There was much talk amongst the two groups, for the horses of Númenor was beautiful, and greatly admired by the elves. Elendil in the front, mounted on his warhorse, was a magnificient sight, a giant amongst the men his bodyguard consisted of, in full plate mail and with his sword Narsil hanging in its scabbard.

Whenever his troops looked at him, their hearts were filled with courage, for they knew that none wielded the deadly blade of Narsil better than their High King.
Next Elendil rode Isildur, but then another group of horsemen overtook them; Gil-galad and his elite troops. Isildur rode off, muttering an excuse about checking if the scouts returned, and left Elendil to meet the elven king.

Gil-galad was in no less splendor than Elendil, and his armour shone like the star that had given him his name. He held Aeglos in his right hand, and Elendil knew that the Gil-galad was no less dangerous than Elendil with Narsil. Gil-galad's horse fell into the same pace as Elendil's, and they exchanged greetings.

"Soon, we will need to pass through the Hithaeglir. And then, Oropher will join us either when we reach the Anduin, or at Loth-lorien." Gil-galad said, and looked at Elendil, who nodded.

"My heart is glad, to see your troops among mine, and the many allies the elves draw is joyous news. My scouts are already searching for the best passages through the mountainchain. My son Isildur just left me to find out what they have discovered. Speaking of which, what do you think of my son?" Elendil asked, not without hesitation, not being sure if Gil-galad had noticed Isildur's hostility towards the elves.

[ June 26, 2003: Message edited by: Daniel Telcontar ]
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Old 06-26-2003, 10:44 AM   #91
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Sting

His heart heavy with grief at what he must do, Melost watched until she was out of sight, then turned and made his way to where Thelian and their horses waited. A dozen women were in the group, along with two heavily-laden carts pulled by large draft horses Thelian had persuaded some of Isildur's soldiers to let him borrow. Despite his sorrow Melost had to grin. HIs kinsman was far too wily for his own good sometimes and he was grateful for Thelian's resourcefulness.

Two horses, one a cream-coloured palfrey with an intricately braided mane was led up, his intelligent gaze and easy manner declared itself to be Menelya's horse. The other was a fiery light-boned creature that stepped daintily as though walking on egg-shells. Night-black and brushed to a sheen, Melost was drawn to the little stallion, knowing that he had to be Anwenemle's horse. He remembered the few times that they had ridden out together and how he had admired her way with the animals. He sighed as he caressed the silken muzzle. "Iluvatar...how can I do this, now that I have seen that she in truth still cares? Yet I have foreseen my end. Mighty One...grant me the strength."

A sudden sound of bickering fell on his ears and he turned to see Anwenelme and her mother at last coming to finish out their group. The other women smirked and tried not to appear amused, but failed miserably. They knew well that Menelya was not happy with the arrangements and exactly what she thought of Galadriel. This ride would prove to be most entertaining!

Melost bowed to Menelya as she swept up to him, confrontation written all over her face. He took her hand and complimented her on her punctuality, then led her to her horse, took her by the waist and placed her in the saddle. She flushed with annoyance, yet felt flattered that he had attended to her personally. She smiled at him briefly, then urged her horse over to join the others ladies.

Thelian, Arthain and Dorlas mounted swiftly as Melost went to join Anwenelme. She smiled, her love for him there for all to see. He gritted his teeth, then smiled in return. He hesitated but a moment, then took her in his arms and kissed her with all the love in his soul, knowing that this would be the last time their lips would touch. As he pulled away from her slowly, not wanting to release her, he saw tears standing in her eyes. "I have always wanted you to hold me like this, Melost." she whispered as she rested her head on his chest. The pain in his soul was almost too much for him and he kissed her forehead, then lifted her up into the saddle. His hand rested on her waist briefly, then he kissed her hand, his lips lingering there. He felt her other hand caress his hair and he looked up into her eyes. "Soon my beloved, soon you will know all that is in my heart." he said. She smiled down at him as he went to his horse and mounted in one graceful movement. he nodded to Thelian and they began their journey south-ward.
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Old 06-26-2003, 11:25 PM   #92
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Sting

Dorlas yawned as the group began their road south, tired from lack of sleep and his drinking the night before, but also a bit disappointed that he would be escorting a group of women to Lothlorien instead of taking the more exciting route with the army progress. Dorlas kicked his heels, sending his horse trotting up towards where Thelian was. Dorlas had already dismissed his aprehension towards the Elven squire, for Melost's outburst was not his fault. Besides, Dorlas had no one else to speak with besides Arthain, because he was nearly certain that the elven women would not care to speak to a young human boy.

"I spend one day and night in a beautiful place like Rivendell, waste it on getting hopelessly drunk, and then leave quicker than I arrived," Dorlas mused aloud when he came to ride next to Thelian. The Elven squire chuckled, recalling the human's craziness from the night before.

"At least you didn't have to wake up and ride in the middle of the night. That is what you were complaining about before," Thelian pointed out, eyes focused on the thickets and sparse shrubland ahead.

"I suppose. Not only that, there are plenty of beautiful women for company. Even if some or most are a few thousand years older than I am. Do you think I still have a chance? I think she likes me," chuckled Dorlas, trying to sound serious between snickering. Thelian laughed and shoved the human boy jokingly.

"I think Anwenelme might have already warned her friends about you. If she hasn't, Menelya certainly has!" replied Thelian, looking back at the women behind them.

"I have no doubt of that. Someone probably caught you dragging me away last night only half concsious, gurgling out tavern songs, and burping like a troll." Dorlas admitted. Then his voice became suddenly serious and somber. "But I rather think I might have been better off going with the troops to war. My place is not here guarding a group of Elven women."

"You are too young for such a life. It is not your time to go out and get yourself killed, Dorlas. There will still be evil left whether we win this war or not, so even if you miss out now, there will be exciting battles for you yet, I garuntee it," said Thelian ruefully, wondering if the world ever would be fully free of war and evil.
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Old 06-27-2003, 10:26 AM   #93
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Sting

Gil-galad gazed long at Elendil, seeing him for the first time not as Elf-friend or warrior, but as a father. A father concerned for his son. The question had taken him off-guard and he took a moment to reflect on what he had seen of Isildur. Taking the High King's hesitation for awkwardness, Elendil sighed. "Forgive me Gil-galad, I had forgotten that you have no sons of your own. Why then should you take an interest in mine?"

"Nay, my friend. All that are of your blood concern me. I did not gift you with the name of Elf-friend for naught. To my great regret I have sired no children, for my destiny has drawn me down another path, yet in your sons I see greatness and darkness." Elendil glanced at Gil-galad sharply. "Darkness?. What is this you speak of ? Do you foresee my sons...dead?" The strain in his voice cause Gil-galad to instantly regret his words, but he could bring them back and so he plunged on. "Nay, Elendil...not death. Say rather a darkness of the soul. Anarion is of good and noble heart, yet Isildur, Isildur seeks more than protection for his people, in his heart he seeks greatness. I fear it will be his down-fall."

Elendil's horse tossed his head as he champed at the bit and Elendil reached out to slap his neck companionably. "Easy, old friend! The time will come when you can use strength, be patient!" Gil-galad's words had gone straight to his heart, for he knew his son all too well. Isildur could be very strong-willed and opinionated, yet as a father Elendil had always hoped he would temper that with reason and good council. He turned to look at the Elf beside him. "Your words ring true, as always. He is a joy to me, yet he has always been stubborn to excess."

"I do not wish to cause you pain, Elendil. That was never my intention..and yet I fear for us all, as Elves and Men together. Look at them Elendil! See the grand sight they make as they journey together toward what will most probably certain death. Yet many will live...and should we succeed, what then will become of the Alliance? I have seen your son's eyes whenever I am with you. he is jealous and I fear that that jealousy will not bring our peoples any closer." Gil-galad turned to look back over the Host, his eyes taking in the magnificent sight of banner from all Houses and allegiances swelled his heart within his breast. Hope and sadness threatened to overwhelm him and he had to turn from the sight. Elendil reached out a hand to steady him.
"Mandos, so many lives I will send to your halls...possibly even mine. All these of Iluvatar's children, perhaps thrown away for naught. Ai! Would it had never come to this." Gil-galad thought as he looked to Elendil in gratitude.
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Old 06-28-2003, 06:32 AM   #94
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Sting

Elendil thought about Gil-galad's words. They made his heart bleed, because he knew the truth in them. Yet he had asked for Gil-galad's opinion, and the elf had answered truly, like a good friend should.

He thought about his two sons; Anarion, always seemed to be in the shadow of his brother. Yet he fought valiantly to defend Gondor, and he always put himself at risk rather than put others in danger.

Isildur was, as Gil-galad had seen, a man who had ambitions, and desired greatness. These ambitions had made him save the White Tree in Númenor, and when Elendil thought of that great act of courage, that Isildur had performed, his heart was eased. He turned and faced Gil-galad again as they rode on.

"You are right, my friend, in your judgement of my sons. I only hope that Isildur will learn wisdom, and that his gentle brother will influence him; for they love each other dearly, and Isildur has always heeded his advice, even above mine."

Gil-galad could feel some bitterness in that last statement; He guessed that Elendil was sad that he did not have a better relationship with his son. But any further thoughts on this subject were stopped, when a scout approached them.

"We have found several routes through the mountain, and lord Isildur has already begun sending the soldiers through." The two High Kings spurred their horses forward, one of them lamenting his lack of sons, the other lamenting the difference of his sons.

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Old 06-28-2003, 09:58 AM   #95
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Sting

The day had dawned gloriously, with white clouds rampant on a field of clearest blue as the small company set out. Thelian and Dorlas were riding rear-guard, much to the delight of Dorlas, who kept his eyes firmly fixed on Menelya's servant-girl, while Arthain and Melost rode at the head or opposite flanks of their charges as they watched their surroundings closely for any sign of enemy, particularily orc-ish encroachment.

The Hithaeglir rose tall, strong battlements against the outside world, on their left and the Bruinen could be discerned leaping its way south-ward on their right. Added to this was the merry laughter and hushed whispers of the ladies as they chattered and gossipped with each other. As Melost watched them idlely, it occurred to him that he really shouldn't be feeling as morose as he had been. Perhaps under-lying thoughts and fears had so far clouded his mind as to cause this darkness to cover his soul. He reflected also on his treatment of Arthain. Arthain had acted with all honour toward Anwenelme and yet Melost had felt threatened. He resolved to speak with Arthain again that night.

He tightened his knees as he urged his horse forward, only to be over-taken by Arthain himself who was in a glorious mood. "Melost! This land is more beautiful than I had imagined it to be." His eyes shone as his horse pranced impatiently along-side that of Melost, eager to be off. "After the war, I would love to settle down in a place like this. Fertile soil...clean water." Melost grinned at him. "Just to the south it is said there are men who live on the wide open plains and have the most intelligent and fastest horses in all of Arda. I'm certain you would like to see them one day, would you not?" Arthain laughed aloud, "Of course I would! You know me well, in fact, let us go and see them together after the war, what do you say?"

The openness and joy on Arthain's face put to shame the questions in Melost's heart. He reached out and clasped arms with Arthain. "After the war...." he said with a note of sadness in his voice. "Let Arthain have this dream. It may be that such dreams will carry him safely through the horrors which are yet to come." As they rode and talked, A rider broke away from the group of ladies and came to join them. Arthain whistled in appreciation. "She rides well, Melost. You are to be envied. She has beauty and a quick wit..." He then turned to Melost and looked at him keenly. "Are you certain you do not wish to marry her? Do not do or say something in haste, my friend and lose that which you treasure." Melost returned his gaze, seeing the depth of concern that Arthain has for him. "I will think on your words, Arthain. Yet the dilemma before me becomes no easier. I thank you for your wise council, my friend."

Anwenelme rode up to them, her cheeks flushed with the morning air. "Greetings, my fine nobles! Is the day not delightful?" Melost felt his heart melt at the sight of her, her hair loose and blowing in the gentle breeze that blew off the mountains. "How can I in love chain her to one who is already dead? I cannot..." Melost smiled back at her, then held out his hand. "Come, ride beside me. Let us enjoy this day together, for all too soon...I feel there will be a change."

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Old 06-30-2003, 02:18 PM   #96
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Having had enough of listening to her mother gossipping with her friends, Anwanelme spotted Melost and Arthain talking up ahead and she urged her horse forward and rode up to them, greeting them both with a bright smile, her heart beating faster as Melost smiled back at her and reached out his hand.

"Come, ride beside me. Let us enjoy this day together, for all too soon...I feel there will be a change."

Taking his hand, Anwanelme could only wonder what he had meant and she was surprised by the force with which he held on to her, as if he was afraid she would disappear did he not keep her here by his side.

They rode on for a while and Anwanelme mused a little over the strange behaviour her betrothed had shown during this short while he had been with her now.
Why had he reacted the way he had when he had seen her speak with Arthain? She had been waiting for him for so long. He should know by now that had she wanted anyone else, she would have chosen someone already. But there was no need for such thoughts now. He had come back to her and they were soon to be wed. And she would be free of her mother.

A satisfied smile appeared on her face at this thought and she turned her face toward Melost, but her smile soon disappeared when she saw that he wasn't even looking her way but was talking with Arthain.
Why had he asked her to ride next to him if he wasn't going to spend time with her? Was it just so he would know where she was?
His thoughts and accusations the night before came back to her mind and she sighed heavily.
She noticed that the sound made Melost look at her, smiling as he gently squeezed her hand and she smiled back, delighted that he seemed to remember that she was here as well.

At the sound of Menelya's angry voice they looked at each other and Anwanelme sighed, knowing too well her mother's feelings about this journey.
"If you do not wish to listen to this for the rest of the day, I suggest we make a short break so the ladies can rest." she said and Melost knew she was right. The only way to silence Menelya once she was in this mood, was to follow her will and so he called for a halt.
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Old 06-30-2003, 05:06 PM   #97
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Menelya sat down, satisfied, as the group halted and allowed her lady-friends and herself a brief rest. She sat down and looked around. As she had hardly ever been out of Imladris since she arrived all those years ago as a young Elf maiden with Anwaelme as a mere child, Menelya had already lost her general sense of where they were. She could tell their direction, she thought, by the sun, but it felt as though they had travelled an extraordinary distance already.

She smiled to herself at her good fortune. She noticed that Anwaelme had travelled with Melost most of the way so far. That meant that things were going well. Soon, Menelya thought, things would be perfect. Anwaelme and, in turn, Menelya, would benefit greatly by this joining. But it was all for Anwaelme's benefit, of course.

"Are we nearly there?" Menelya asked, turning to Thelian, who she saw not too far away. Thelian merely gave her a surprised look.

"No, dear lady, we are not," he said.

"Very well. Be off then," Menelya said, going back to the conversation she was having with her female friends.

"How far do you suppose we are?" one woman asked, "This heat is beginning to kill me. And I do not have nearly enough supplies with me. What if I need to change gowns? There are all these men around."

"They did not let you take everything you wanted either?" Menelya asked, "They have some nerve, do they not?"

The women twittered on for some time. Menelya caught the other travellers giving them confused and sometimes even annoyed glances. Her own dagger-like expressions quelled these utterly rude displays.

After some time, the women were called. They were told they must continue on. Every one of them complained that the wait had been too short. It felt as though they had only rested for a brief while. The ladies were not used to travelling and could not be expected to endure the heat and athletic demands made of them.

However, a short time later, Menelya found herself and her friends on the road again. They were quiet for some time, as they moved along fairly dejectedly. Soon, however, they were back to their old, obnoxious twittering.

[ July 01, 2003: Message edited by: VanimaEdhel ]
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Old 07-01-2003, 01:59 PM   #98
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Eye

When the halt was called, Arthain stayed hopefully on his horse as she drummed her feet impatiently on the spot. She was a beautiful steed, named Meren after the hill nearby a small, little known village near Gondor upon which, on a windy, rather wet morning, when he had strayed up there to get some solace for his thoughts, Arthain had met his wife.

The captain was as eager as the mare to get going, but it soon became obvious that Menelya and her gaggle of friends intended to stay for a longer than a little break and, trying not to let his impatience show for fear he would be accused of being rude, as some of the other men were, for no apparent reason, Arthain dismounted elegantly. Dorlas led Meren and his own horse away to where other squires were watering their horses. The squire looked relieved to get away with something purposeful to do, as that meant he was not left open to comments from the twittering elven women, and Arthain would have liked to go with him, but he sensed some attention on him, and turned to see Menelya and a few women looking at him and speaking quietly to one another. One of them looked sharply at Arthain, then seemed to exclaim incredulously something in elvish which Arthain did not catch, and the others laughed in what seemed to be a nasty way to Arthain. He refused to let it bother him though- the little gaggle of women just had their feathers ruffled because they hadn't been able to bring all of their flouncy dresses and expensive jewellery. The man instead nodded his head courteously to Menelya and in return recieved a similar nod in reply, and a flicker of a smile, before she returned to her friends.

Turning, Arthain looked around to where Melost and Anwanelme were standing together. Arthain let his gaze drift down and saw they were holding hands tightly. The captain smiled- Melost was indeed holding onto what he still had. The captain just hoped fervently, for his close friend's sake, that he would indeed take Arthain's words to heart, and would continue to hold onto the precious gem that was Anwanelme.

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Old 07-02-2003, 07:05 AM   #99
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Sting

Elendil rode on, in a steady pace. He patted his great stallion affectionally, and then turned his gaze backwards. Behind them, the Misty Mountains rose in their majesty, knowing no rivals to their great height. He was glad to have this part of the journey behind him, and looked forward at seeing Loth-lorien.

When he thought about Loth-lorien, his thoughts began to dwell at Lindon, where he so many years ago had landed, carried by the great tidal wave. He had feared how his reception had been; The númenorians had grown hostile of the elves, and he did not know how Gil-galad would respond. Yet his fears were in vain.

Gil-galad had welcomed him with open arms, or with an embrace to be more correct, and treated him like he was his own brother returning. He knew well of the hardship the Faithful had had in Númenor, and nor had he forgotten the aid he had received once. Elendil had been overwhelmed by his hospitality, and had only wished that Isildur had experienced it. That might have changed his attitude towards the elves.

He was not able to think more about the past, though, because present affairs demanded his attention. The major part of the army was still behind him, having just passed the mountainpassages, and when he saw numerous soldiers whom he could not recognise he became afraid; they were in a bad position to defend themselves.

But his fears were disspelled when a messenger from Gil-galad came and explained: Oropher and the Mirkwood Elves had joined them sooner than expected. Oropher had deemed it wisest to join the Alliance troops earlier than Loth-lorien, and his silvan elves now came in great numbers and greeted their kin from Eriador.

Elendil could easily distinguish the silvan elves from Gil-galad's troops; their clothing and armour were more attuned to the woods, and much more simple. They were not a splendid sight like the Lindon soldiers, but they appeared to be more harmonic.

He rode forward, and saw Gil-galad in conversation with two elves, whom Elendil guessed was Oropher and his son Thranduil. It seemed like there was some disagreement. When the three elves split and the army continued its march, Elendil joined Gil-galad and questioned him about the meeting.

"I am a noldo elf, though that may not mean anything to you. But Oropher is from the sindar branch of the elves, and not fond of the noldorne. It is in the past, but Oropher seems unwilling to let himself be commanded by me. And I doubt, for all your qualities, he will accept you." Gil-galad spoke the last sentence with hesitation, yet he would not lie or hide anything from Elendil.

He, in turn, was not touched by Gil-galad's words. He had accepted the differences between elves and men, and was to old to be affected by such things. Instead, he thought about what could have divided the elves such, and how this would affect the Alliance. His face revealed nothing, but in his heart he knew that disagreement would only cause greater losses than needed to achieve victory.
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Old 07-02-2003, 08:06 PM   #100
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Sting

Late afternoon found them well on their way and the ladies, despite their earlier protests at being taken from their luxuries in Imladris, actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. The fresh air and clear skies had improved their spirits immensely and to Melost's great relief, they all appeared to be excellent riders. Anwenelme rode slightly ahead of he and Arthain and he could not help but admire her as she sat her horse confidently, she even occasionally drifted over to speak briefly with her mother, who glanced over at Melost with a twinkle in her eye. Melost sighed deeply. He could put it off no longer.

"Arthain, I entrust the mountain-side to your keen eyes, my friend. I need to speak with Anwenelme privately. Arthain's interest was piqued by the strain in Melosts's voice, but he chose to remain silent and merely nodded. Melost urged his horse forward to ride beside that of Anwenelme. She smiled at him slyly as he came up beside her. "Would you care for a race, my lord? My lovely here is more than ready for some excitement!" She leaned down and stroked the silken mane and the horse danced sideways. Anwenelme controlled him easily and brought him back to Melost's side. "You are a magnificent horse-woman, beloved. The match of any of Gil-galad's cavalry I deem." He started to reach out to her, then thought better of it. "We need to speak of the future Anwenelme, yours and mine. I...have given it much thought and I feel it would be best if we waited until this final battle is..." He got no further, for he was stopped by a resounding slap. He wheeled to face her and he was taken aback by the ice-cold fury that met his gaze and her face had gone absolutely white. "How dare you! How dare you tell me this after all the years I have waited endlessly for you?" She turned to ride off, but he reached down and snatched the reins from her hands.

"Listen to me woman...and this time, hear me! I love you...I love you more than my own life. Yet what kind of husband would I be that leaves his wife so soon for the halls of Mandos? I have foreseen my death, Anwenelme! Therefore how can I do this to you?" She was trembling and he felt as though his world had just been destroyed, yet he pressed on. "Should I by some chance be spared, it would be my greatest honour to take you as my wife, but as it stands..."

She smiled at him coldly as tears unshed sparkled in her eyes. "Melost the Honourable, Melost the Gracious, Melost the Fool! You have taken my hopes and dashed them into innumerabls shards. I can never forgive you!" She spat the words at him and he released the reins to her. She gathered them up, turned and raced away toward the back of the company, the sound of her sobs ringing in his ears.

Melost felt as though he had been dealt a fatal spear-thrust as he looked up into the setting sun. He knew he should call a halt for the night, but his mind had gone totally numb with pain...He tried to find solace in petitioning Manwe, but for the first time, his prayers would not come.

[ July 03, 2003: Message edited by: Cuthalion ]
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Old 07-03-2003, 03:18 PM   #101
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Silmaril

Menelya had been riding not too far away from the confrontation. She saw her daughter drift away from Melost as the quiet struggle ended. Quickly, the nosy woman rode over to her daughter, who still had icy diamonds staining her flawless skin. Anwaelme made no move to block her mother's approach, apparently having given up on nearly everything after this rejection by her lover. Menelya took a breath and began to speak quietly, a rare thing for the Elf to do.

"Daught-...Anwaelme," Menelya said, addressing her daughter by her name. The Elf maiden turned, not used to this quiet tone from her mother, "I heard what just transpired."

"How could you not?" the girl said quietly, "It happened but feet from where you were listening."

"Anwaelme, listen to me. You must not let him get away. You must fight for what is rightfully yours," Menelya said, a desperate tinge in her voice as she struggled to keep it low.

"And how is it mine, Mother?" Anwaelme asked in a patronizing voice, looking at the Elf woman, "Most of this was your doing. And anyway, I shall not let you force us into doing something we do not desire."

"If children knew what was right for them..." Menelya began coldly, but then changed her direction, "You love Melost, yes?"

"Is that my love or yours, Mother?" came the answer.

Menelya paused, thinking of how to verbalize what she wanted to say. Inside, she was boiling. How could this man reject Anwaelme? After all Menelya had done, for the engagement to be called off would be a travesty. It would embarrass the whole family, too, for such a thing to happen. Menelya and Anwaelme were so close to that life they - well, at least Menelya - needed. That life was what was best for Anwaelme as well. If Anwaelme could not see it...well, she would know that it was what she desired once she finally obtained that lifestyle.

"Are we finished, Mother?" Anwaelme said, a slightly stronger tinge of annoyance in her voice now.

"No, we are not, Anwaelme," Menelya said, "If you cannot see that Melost is the best selection for you, then you are not as intelligent as you make yourself out to be. You need him. He needs you. I cannot put it into any simpler language, you stupid girl."

"That is certainly the way to win back my affection, Mother," Anwaelme said with bitter sarcasm tinging her words, "Calling me 'stupid' always just makes me feel absolutely lovely towards you. If you love Melost so much and think that he should be a part of the family, why do you not marry him? My feeling for Melost extends only as simple caring, if that even at this time. I do not feel what is necessary for love or marriage. You are the one who is creating the entire relationship and now you expect us to be grateful to you? Forcing both of us will only drive us away further from you than we already are."

Menelya struggled not to blow up at the girl, but was beginning to lose her temper completely.

"You selfish swine," Menelya said bitterly, remembering only after she said the words to keep her voice down, "If you will not straighten things out, then I will."

Menelya moved to ride towards Melost. She saw that it was nearing the time when they should make camp for the night. However, no one had suggested the camp. The women behind them were twittering and cackling like excited hens, continuing to gossip about everyone they knew.

Anwaelme reached out and grasped her mother tightly. Menelya turned and could see the look of fury in her daughter's face.

"If you move towards that man, Mother..." Anwaelme, said, trailing off.

"What shall you do, Anni?" Menelya asked, using the nickname that she knew Anwaelme would hate.

"I shall leave," Anwaelme said simply. She continued, "I shall ride off right now. I care not where I ride: I shall ride merely to be rid of you, Melost, and this entire disgusting predicament. I shall leave you once and for all. You shall be nowhere without me, Mother. Your status in society is waning. You know that as well as I do. You shall grow older and older with your idiotic friends and soon all you will have left are those trolls riding behind us and giggling. Is that how you want to spend the rest of this world's existence?"

Menelya looked at the cold girl, wondering if she should believe what she was saying. The look in Anwaelme's eyes said everything, though. If Menelya dared to make any moves towards Melost, Anwaelme would most certainly bolt. Menelya knew that Anwaelme was typically an Elf maiden that kept her word. Looking first at Melost, then back into Anwaelme's eyes, Menelya gave a sigh. It was not worth risking the loss of her daughter for the man. He would come to her senses, Menelya assured herself. No one could resist Anwaelme. Anyway, it was fate, Menelya could feel it. The two were deeply in love. Maybe...just maybe...when she next got out of Anwaelme's sight and Melost was alone. Yes, Menelya would just have to wait until she could corner the soldier alone. She would have to have more conversations with Anwaelme at a later time as well. The girl was irrational now. If Menelya just waited a few days...yes, that would be wise...

"Shall we be stopping soon?" one of the ladies asked, sounding much like a cawing crow in her calling. Her shout broke Menelya out of her thoughts and her plotting. Menelya looked back viciously at the woman, who quickly shut her mouth and turned to whisper to the other women, most likely about Menelya.

Anwaelme was right. If she was not careful, Menelya would not only lose all of the status she possessed, she would also lose her Elf friends.

It was settled, then: Menelya would have to interfere quietly if she interfered at all from that time forward. Her silence would be of the utmost importance. Menelya rode alongside the stony Anwaelme, pondering the best way to join the two children again. If not for Anwaelme, the joining was now essential to the slightly frantic Menelya and her shrinking social level.

[ July 04, 2003: Message edited by: VanimaEdhel ]
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Old 07-04-2003, 02:02 PM   #102
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Eye

Anwenelme raced past Arthain so close he could feel the breeze, but she did not look up, her head bowed low; all Arthain saw was the glitter of tears in her eyes and on her pale cheeks. He closed his eyes, and lowered his head, biting his lip. Melost was doing it for a good reason, of that he had been sure, and the ringing of her slapping Melost still stung as if he himself had been slapped...but she was so tragic looking, her face deadly pale in shock and anger, the tears flowing down her cheeks, the sound of her sobbing quieting as she tried to stop, to hold herself up in front of her mother but still audible. And the pain in her voice had over ridden the anger.

Looking up again, Arthain saw Melost alone, on his horse, staring after his beloved. In his expression was confusion and hurt, but more than that, there was pain. Not the pain from his cheek where it was already an angry red, but the pain that Arthain had felt himself in his heart when he himself had lost his sweet one, his Yilsa. And in that moment, Arthain knew exactly how his friend felt; although their circumstances were slightly different, the pain of losing one so dear would remain the same, a deep, aching throb that beat inside your heart, with your very heart even, making it throb to the rhythm of the pain that will never go away.

Melost turned his eyes to Arthain, his eyes sparkling with unshed tears, and his fingertips brushing his cheek where Anwenelme's hand had slapped it- the rest of his face was as pale as hers. She would be feeling the same pain, but in her own feelings would lie betrayal as well, the betrayal of the heart. But Melost turned away now, riding ahead silently, alone with his thoughts, his prayers, and his pain, while behind, Anwenelme vented out her anger at her mother, her pain turning to anger- anger that she couldn't do a thing against this, and that hurt even worse. So much pain from both of them, pain that he himself could feel as if it was the day he had learnt of Yilsa's death, and yet Arthain couldn't do a thing to comfort either of them.

Sighing, he shook his head and let a tear of his own fall for his friends, both old and new. Amidst the silence of both the elves breaking hearts, the group rode on into the evening to the camp.

When they reached the camp, still Arthain was powerless. In silence, Melost left his horse with Thelian and departed swiftly without a word into his tent, while Arthain gazed helplessly after him. He should go after his friend...but behind him, without even looking around, Arthain could feel Anwenelme watching him, could feel her gaze scorhcing the back of his neck with white hot, hurt-fuelled anger. He couldn't go after Melost without hurting Anwenelme, and he couldn't comfort Anwenelme without doing even more damage to Melost. With a heavy heart, Arthain saw to his horse and went, alone, to his own tent.

[ July 05, 2003: Message edited by: Amanaduial the archer ]
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Old 07-04-2003, 04:08 PM   #103
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Silmaril

Thelian patted Melost's horse quietly before starting to put him away for the night. He had heard briefly some of what was said earlier that evening, as had nearly all who were travelling, and the conversations seemed to have wearied him. As the others prepared for the night, Thelian sat down.

"Do you want something?" asked the cold voice. Thelian gave in inward sigh. Leave it to him to accidentally sit next to Menelya.

"No, my Lady," he said, "I was merely resting."

Thelian jumped up and began to make ready for the night himself. He made sure to stay as far away from Menelya as possible.

Thelian saw to both Melost's and his own supplies, then went about pulling together a meager meal for himself, finally sitting next to Menelya, who glared at him briefly. She was, oddly enough, sitting alone. The large meal she had in front of her made up for the lack of company, apparently, and the Elf woman was soon eating the large serving in front of her.

**********

Once they stopped for the night, Menelya had her things taken down for her. She also ordered a meal to be made up. Menelya sat down, waiting impatiently for her food. Suddenly, a figure sat next to her. Menelya gave a biting comment, and Thelian arose.

Nearby, the other women sat, waiting for food. They spoke and twittered as always. Menelya tried to make casual conversation with them, but they shunned her. Menelya sighed and went back over to her original seat. Anwaelme's prophesy was coming to pass even more quickly than she imagined. Menelya was losing her place in society even as they travelled. The Elf woman received her food and looked at it for a while, unsure she wanted to eat now.

Thelian came back and sat next to her, eating a small meal. Melian suddenly gained her appetite back: she was still higher than Thelian, after all. She dug into her meal and the two ate next to each other in accepting silence.
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Old 07-05-2003, 05:08 AM   #104
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Anwanelme felt as though she was trapped in an evil dream and she simply followed the others as they made halt for the night. Someone gently took the reins from her and let her horse away but she didn't see who did it, nor did she care.
Turning, she saw Melost leave his horse with Thelian and disappear into a tent and Arthain stood gazing after him. He seemed less than surprised about what had happened and Anwanelme couldn't help but wonder why.
Did he know? Had Melost told him what had been on his mind? Did he approve?
After seeing to his horse, Arthain left and disappeared into another tent and Anwanelme sighed and turned to walk away after casting a glance on Melost's tent.

She found a spot away from the others and there she sat down brooding, her expression so dark that even her mother kept her distance.
The pain inside had been replaced by a numb feeling and only anger remained.
She had lost not only her future but also someone she had considered a friend. Her only friend. He had taken it all from her with his words and now she had nothing.

Barely noticing the rest of the camp withdrawing for the night, Anwanelme remained where she was, sitting alone in the dark, thinking of her ill fortune.
So much time had been wasted. For so long she had been waiting for him. He had promised he would wed her when he came back. And now that he had finally come back, he had rejected and dishonoured her instead. So much time... He had promised...

The sound of voices nearby ripped her out of her thoughts and and she noticed a yawning Dorlas leaving the tent he, as his squire, shared with Arthain. A vague smile appeared on Anwanelme's lips. so, the boy had been called on duty to guard the camp. That meant Arthain was alone.
Slowly she rose, having decided to seek out Arthain. Perhaps he could cast some light on Melost's decision and she had to admit to herself that his company was much to prefer over that of her mother. Her mother...
Menelya would hate to know that her daughter sought the company of a mortal, a man even, over that of her own mother and that knowledge made her smile to herself as she went to Arthain's tent and softly pushed the flap aside and looked inside.

Arthain was sound asleep and Anwanelme stood for a moment watching him. She knew she should leave, that it was wrong to stand here, shamelessly watching him as he slept.
Turning her head, she looked toward the tent where she knew Melost were and she suddenly remembered his words and suspicions and she wondered if there had been something about it. She thought she had seen something in Arthains eyes the few times they had spoken but she had thought no more about it. Could it be...?
She looked back at the sleeping form of the man. How would he react if...

Arthain suddenly opened his eyes a little, startling her and she turned to leave, but before she managed to move, his sleepy voice stopped her.

"Yilsa?"

Anwanelme stood for a moment, unable to move but then she regained her composure and she turned toward him, flashing him a smile. He was obviously still half asleep.

"You should sleep some more, Arthain. I shall leave. Forgive me for waking you up."

She turned to leave, but he spoke again and this time she was unprepared for what was coming.

"I had a terrible dream, beloved. I dreamed that you were dead."

Arthain has had a wife? And now he thinks that I am her...?

Slowly Anwanelme turned back toward the man in the bed and she saw that he had reached out his hand for her to take.
It would be so easy....
Suddenly feeling a plan forming in her mind, she looked once more toward Melost's tent, then smiled and released the flap.
Taking Arthain's hand she sat down next to him, smiling as she stroked his unruly hair.

"You should sleep, Arthain!"

"I don't want to sleep, Yilsa!" he said and kissed her.

Anwanelme wondered for a moment whether Arthain really saw his wife or if he only wanted to think he did, but then she thought better of it.
Little difference does it make! she thought as she answered his kiss and allowed him to draw her down into the bed with him as he pulled her close.

[ July 05, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 07-05-2003, 09:13 AM   #105
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Sting

Melost stared at the rough canvas of his tent for what seemed like an eternity. When Thelian had thrown back the flap and entered their tent, Melost had feigned sleep. His kinsman, not wanting to disturb Melost, had quietly readied himself for bed, then drifted off. There would always be tomorrow for Thelian to speak with him.

As soon as Melost was certain Thelian was asleep, he sat up and pulled on his boots, picked up his sword in its scabbard and left the tent. He needed action, he needed...what? Anything was better than this gnawing inside his heart. He knew he should seek out Anwenelme, apologize to her, tell her that he still loved her, would always love her and beg her forgiveness. Melost knew also that she would never give it. As he wandered the camp, his eyes searching the distant mountains from habit, he saw Dorlas nearly asleep against a tree not far from Arthain's tent. He frowned as he walked toward the young man. "Guards like him will get us all killed!" he thought as he approached Dorlas, intent on chastising him. Suddenly he heard a sharp cry from Arthain's tent and the sound of muffled voices. Melost whirled and strode toward the tent to see if something was amiss.

His hand on his sword-hilt, Melost ripped open the tent-flap and ducked inside the tent. What he beheld shattered his world forever.

Strange, the ways of the mind. All he would ever remember was a candle, its wax guttered in fantastic shapes, its flame lazily flickering in the waft of breeze from the tent-flap's motion...and the sheen of her hair as it caressed Arthain's chest. He had found them together, both nearly dozing and he knew her vengeance had been full wrought.

"Ai!" he cried as his hand closed on the sword-hilt and dragged it free of its scabbard. He started forward, then Arthain rolled to a sitting position, a knife in his hand. He blinked momentarily. "Melost? What are you doing here?" he asked blearily and set the knife aside. Melost stood frozen, his mind on the verge of madness. "What have you done?" he cried as a fit of trembling took him. Arthain beheld his white face and looked at him in confusion, then Anwenelme rolled over and smiled at Melost wickedly as she stroked Arthain's back. Arthain jumped as though scorched and in that instant realized what had occurred. His mouth fell open but no words...there were no words, how could there be?

Melost fell to one knee, his legs having given out. He had been betrayed by the two people he held more dear than his own life and he felt all sanity drain away in that moment of realization. Arthain started toward him but he held up his hand in a warding gesture. "Nay, do not come near me, else I will slay you where you stand!" He lurched to his feet as he felt strength fueled by anguish and hatred surge through him. "Arthain, I have loved you as a brother, and you would do this?! Nay, indeed I know all too well where the blame should be placed. You are only the means to an end, foolish mortal." He faced Anwenelme and the ferocity of his gaze wiped the smirk from her face and she hastily covered herself. Hot tears of betrayal seared their way down his cheeks as he spoke, he voice raspy with strain. "Viper! You meant everything to me! Do you think it has been easy to never look at another woman...for centuries? You were always in the fore-front of my mind and heart, the shelter I would one day return to! By the Valar, I..." he broke off and threw back his head laughing wildly, "The Valar...I know now that they cannot exist, for how can such a thing be allowed to happen? It is beyond my comprehension. Was this little scene in the Music? If so, I am doubly the fool and my existance has truly been for naught. I forswear ALL allegiances, now and forever! There ARE no gods, there is no faith!" He could feel his blood as it raced through his body and the flame within as it rose to consume him.

"I curse you both with all my strength! You, Anwenelme...never will you know love or peace the rest of your days. May you die alone and forgotten. And you.." He turned to Arthain, who reached out his hand to his freind, "Melost, I...I didn't know, I didn't realize..." Melost sobbed as he spoke, his words boken from pain, "You will see the one dearest to your heart die in your arms. May you know the pain I know now and thrice over!"

The three of them were frozen in a tableau of misery and betrayal. Anwenleme's plan to avenge herself on Melost had born fruit that none of them could have anticipated. Melost gazed at her one last time. "You bear my ever-lasting hatred and curse, harlot! Would that I had the courage to kill you myself, but how can I ? I am already dead..." He stumbled outside, his heart and mind destroyed. Melost looked up into a sky now empty of gods, of solace and the tears flowed heavier now. He threw down his sword and raced out into the night, with the sound of Anwenelme's hysterical laughter in his ears.
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Old 07-06-2003, 05:43 AM   #106
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Sting

The army advanced slowly, now having their destination within sight. Loth-lórien was nearby, and soon the Alliance would set up their last camp until they marched towards the enemy.

Elendil looked around. The many númenorians marched along in a steady pace, a great force that made the earth tremble beneath them. Not far from them the elves marched along in a more graceful way, almost fleeting on the ground. They were a more mixed sight; the noldor and sindar elves of Lindon and Rivendell together with the green-clad silvan elves of Mirkwood.

His gaze found Gil-galad who was laughing, apparently at something Thranduil had said. He and his father rode next to the High King, and they could have appeared to be friends on a picnic, were it not for the armour and weapons they bore.

Elendil did not know whether to join them or not; perhaps they would not like to be have his company forced on them. But then he smiled of his foolish thoughts. Why should the elves entertain such thoughts?

He slowed the pace of his horse until Gil-galad, Oropher and Thranduil caught up with him, and soon they were engaged in a lively discussion of hunting. Elendil enjoyed himself, and unknowningly he sat an example for his men, who also began conversations with their elven allies.

But the merry moods were disturbed when Gil-galad suddenly shivered, as if a cold wind had hit him. But it was a hot day, and Elendil did not understand why Gil-galad's face turned pale. One look at Oropher and Thranduil's puzzled faces told him at they didn't have a clue either.

"What is the matter?" Elendil asked worried. He knew that elves was never struck by disease, and this seemed like a mystery.
"Something is wrong. In the noble families of the noldor, we can feel when something is amiss with our kinsfolk. But, let not your hearts be troubled by this."

Slowly, the tension was removed and conversation was begun again. Gil-galad did not reveal, however, that he feared something had gone wrong with the escort, and he became eager to reach Loth-lórien in hope of meeting the escort there.

[ July 08, 2003: Message edited by: Daniel Telcontar ]
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Old 07-06-2003, 02:25 PM   #107
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Sting

Could it be true? Yilsa had returned to him. But she had been dead, he had been so sure... The soldier felt like weeping for joy- how could he have thought his beloved was dead? She couldn't have died. All the pain and hurt he had felt, that had almost taken over his mind with grief...it had all been just generated by his brain, tired no doubt from all the moving around he had done. Yes, his foolish brain had convinced him, made him believe that his wife, his Yilsa, was dead…

“I had an ill divining dream, my love,” He whispered to her as she knelt beside him, continuing to stroke his hair. He knew he could tell her- what could he not tell Yilsa? To say she owned a part of his heart would be to lie- she was a part of his heart. And to tell her would be to dispel the notion of his dream being real. “I…I dreamt you had been taken away from me, my darling.”

“Taken away?” Her reply came from the darkness, and she began to fiddle with her long fingers
(long, slim fingers? Where had the roughened, work hardened hands gone?) at the buttons on the rough shirt he wore in bed now. “Nay, I will never be taken away from you.”

Her voice was silky and soft, but also a little sad. Had he hurt her by saying this? Yet she did not sound surprised. Still, despite this, and the nagging suggestion of something in the back of Arthain’s mind, Yilsa’s words could not have made Arthain more happy. As his fingers slid over the back of her dress, under the rich riding cloak she was wearing
(a rich riding cloak? Why, he was sure Yilsa did not know how to ride…she was full of surprises…like these silver buttons…) and deftly undid the threads holding her dress, letting the tight bodice untighten and gently slide off, his fears and worries slid off with it. Eyes closed, his mind filled with a happy thrill, the sense that all these foolish thoughts of her death, of all things, were nothing but empty dreams, Arthain let himself go…

The sound of a voice and the gentle thump of the heavy tent flap falling back into place shook Arthain from his pleasure. Starting up, he rolled into a sitting position, seizing his short dagger from where it always lay beside him, just in case, and holding it in front of him, he put himself between the intruder and the woman lying behind him, sleepily rubbing her eyes. He would take on this intruder naked as he was, if it meant these fears of Yilsa’s death would never come true- he blinked suddenly, confused, as he identified the pale faced, shaking intruder.

“Melost? What are you doing here?” He relaxed and put the knife down again, rubbing his eyes and blinking again a few times. But Melost did not move, did not even reply at first. “Melost?” he inquired softly, frowning. But Melost simply stared at him, shaking with rage. When he spoke, it was from between gritted teeth as his face grew paler and paler.

“What have you done?

Arthain’s frown deepened. “What have I- Melost, what do you…” His voice trailed off as he realised Melost was no longer looking at him, but past him, behind him. Arthain was not sure what had given the elf such a look of horror, but at that moment he felt something slide up his back gently; thin, warm fingers. He jumped, and turned to see…

Anwenelme.

It all rushed back now. Yilsa was not alive. How could his mind have been so cruel as to have tricked him in this cruel parody, this twisted joke; the twisted joke of a cruel elf, he was sure- for had Anwenelme corrected or stopped him? His jaw dropped, but he could not speak. Words would not come, only churned up emotions and pain, such pain; the pain as half of his heart was once again torn away from him. The pain as he lost Yilsa for a second time. He could only stare, horrified and shocked, at Anwenelme. Behind him Melost’s words flowed over him, a torrent of anger and pain to match his own. He turned slowly, as if moving through water, looking wildly a Melost, his eyes wide, arms out towards his friend…but Melost held up his own hand in a sharp, defensive movement, as if afraid Arthain would hurt him…or that he would hurt Arthain, for the sword still glinted coldly in the light of the candle which still flickered at the side, casting light on Arthain’s shame. Melost still spoke more, his words tripping over themselves, his voice shaking, a little stream growing stronger and faster and angrier, buffeting Arthain as he knelt there, unable to comprehend. Later, Arthain would remember every angry, hurt word the elf he had held as his brother said, but now he could barely understand. Grief washed over him; grief for many things…

Melost was laughing now, wildly, hysterically, a laugh with no mirth in it. But his voice was as cold as the numbness inside Arthain’s mind and harder than the sword in his hand when he spoke, words laden with hate and forboding, words that Arthain would never forget.
"I curse you both with all my strength! You, Anwenelme...never will you know love or peace the rest of your days. May you die alone and forgotten. And you." Arthain held out one shaking hand to Melost as the elf turned to him, imploring him, tears mirroring Melost’s own spilling over his cheeks, words tripping from his lips as he tried to find something, anything right to say; but what could be right to Melost which had been said from between those lips, which but moments ago had caressed Anwenelme’s skin. But Melost stumbled back a step, his left forefinger held high, pointing at Arthain, condemning him as he continued, although tears flowed like a river down his face. "You will see the one dearest to your heart die in your arms. May you know the pain I know now and thrice over!"
Melost turned to Anwenelme, speaking once more to her, angrily and fast, in the elven tongue, the insults flowing from his lips, but Arthain did not hear them. All he could hear was the silence, the intolerable, harsh silence that was ringing through his mind, the silence of his broken heart and of his numbed feelings, the silence where feelings and emotions and words could barely stray, simply leaving his head ringing with its suggestions and pain. Looking up, he saw Melost back out of the tent, dropping the sword as he went, and as he did so, his eyes did not leave Arthain’s face as he stumbled away.

Arthain seemed to come alive then, and he grabbed his shirt, struggling into it, seizing his breeches and pulling them on as fast as he could. But on his shoulder he felt a hand, a touch as warm as comfort but with intentions as cold as cruelty. Anwenelme’s hand.

“Arthain-“ Her voice was laden with honey and glass, and he did not wish to hear from this being, this disgusting, adulterous, plotting being who had caused him to betray his best friend. He spun around fast, his arm out, flinging her off and down onto the floor.

“Get off me, viper! Snake!” He yelled down at her. But despite his insults, Anwenelme’s smile remained. And then she did the thing that made her crime so completely, utterly unforgivable, that spread out her true intentions as if they were a sword, previously hidden, but now in full view as it had pierced Arthain.

She laughed.

Arthain stared at her for a moment, laughing wildly, cruelly, her wicked smile saying all, saying more than words ever could, condemning him for the foolish mortal he was, the foolish being Melost had named him to be. How could he have taken this creature, as dangerous and treacherous as the mountains of Mordor, to be Yilsa? Shaking with pain, anger, grief and shame, Arthain stumbled out of the tent after Melost, calling for him, not heeding the sleepy, curious looks of the elven women as they stared, not heeding Dorlas as he tried to pull his master back. He cried out for Melost, but the elf did not answer, the elf would never answer. Tripping, still calling and crying, Arthain fell to his knees, head in hands, in the middle of the camp, not caring who saw. Melost was right; what Gods could exist that would oversee this happening? None, unless they were as cruel as all the dark powers put together, and if these Gods did truly exist and had let this happen, Arthain would have at that moment for the pain he bore got up and followed Melkor himself. For he had lost everything.

He had lost Melost.
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Old 07-07-2003, 09:29 AM   #108
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Thelian ran out of his tent at all the commotion and noise. He saw a frantic Arthain running around outside. But where was Melost? Usually Anwaelme was with Melost these days. However, Melost was nowhere in sight at the camp.

Thelian ran over to Melost's tent. He looked inside and even rummaged through the bedding, as though Melost would be hiding underneath a blanket. When Melost was nowhere to be found, Thelian ran over to Arthain.

"Where is Lord Melost?" he asked Arthain, beginning to grow frantic. Arthain continued his own frantic plight into what seemed to be a spell of madness at the loss of Melost.

"What has happened?" Thelian asked Arthain, but he still received no answer.

Thelian ran to the woods, calling Melost's name as loudly as he could, still rubbing sleep out of his eyes. Melost was nowhere near the outskirts of the forest where Arthain had been searching and staring mostly.

Thelian started to spread his search out, going both deeper and wider within the forest. He ignored the shouts that came from his friend, Dorlas, to return. Thelian had to find Melost, his Lord.

He felt hands grasp his shoulders. Thelian fought back, trying to proceed deeper into the forest. He thought he had found the hint of a trail, and planned to follow it. Melost was all that mattered. None of those other people, least of all Menelya and Anwaelme, mattered now. The Elf fought back against the hands, but was soon overcome. He spun around to face the person that was hindering his search for his Lord.

"Thelian!" Dorlas shook him, "Thelian! You must return! You are straying to far. You will be lost in this woods."

"Melost," Thelian replied somewhat shakily, "Where is Melost?"

"Melost is gone," Dorlas said, "We must not lose you as well."

Thelian looked at his friend. How could he suggest that Thelian should just leave his Lord like that? He fought again against Dorlas, to no avail. Dorlas's grip was firm and true.

"Come back, Thelian," Dorlas said quietly. Thelian looked at Dorlas again. He realized that there was no way to get around Dorlas's grip, so he allowed himself to be led back to the camp.

Back at the camp, Thelian noticed none of any action that took place around him. He sat silently by the fire with Dorlas, who had taken it upon himself to make sure that Thelian did not wander again.

How can Melost be gone? What has caused this? Thelian wondered. But he knew the answer: Anwaelme. Throughout all of this, Anwaelme was absent. She must have caused this to happen. But what could she have done to make such a great leader as Melost was run from his duty? And why was Arthain blundering so when Thelian first beheld him?

"Oh, what has transpired on this evening?" Thelian queried, putting his head in his hands. He felt Dorlas pat him on the back.

"It will be revealed in time," Dorlas said, "Now we must carry on if Melost does not return."

The words hit Thelian like a hammer. Carry on without Melost? How could they carry on without Lord Melost?

Thelian sat in utter despair at the loss of his master, comforted only slightly by his friend beside him. He silently swore to do his best to remedy whatever had upset Melost, to any personal expense.

[ July 07, 2003: Message edited by: VanimaEdhel ]
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Old 07-07-2003, 11:30 AM   #109
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Left alone in the tent after Arthain followed melost, Anwanelme slowly picked up her clothing, all the while listening to Arthain's cries outside. She wore a satisfied smile as she slipped into her dress, not bothering to lace it properly. It didn't really matter anyway, it was no secret.
Picking up her cloak, she carried it over her arm while using her hand to keep her dress closed, then pushed aside the tent-flap to step outside.

Once she emerged from the tent, she heard a gasp from some of the ladies nearby and then a sound like that of a wounded animal cut through the air, a sound filled with horror and Anwanelme turned her face to look at her mother who could only stare at her lightly dressed daughter.
She knew that her mother was no fool and so there was no doubt that she had immediately guessed what had happened, once she saw the state of her daughter's clothing.
Anwanelme's eyes fell on Arthain who was kneeling on the ground and she felt a sting in her heart, for a short moment feeling sorry for him. He had truly loved his wife, it had been obvious in every touch, in every kiss. The same way Melost should have loved her! But he had left her...

Her heart turned cold and her eyes hard at the thought, feeling no pity for the two men whose friendship she had just shattered.
Melost had left her and Arthain had been aware of it, of that she was sure. They deserved no better!
Slowly she stepped over to Arthain and leaned down, running a hand over his hair, then softly rested her cheek against it, feeling his hair tickle her face.

"You betrayed him even back in Imladris, Arthain. I saw it in your eyes. And he knew! He came to me, telling me what he had seen. And you acted as my friend but I was a fool to believe you could ever be. You betrayed me as well, Arthain! He told you his intentions and you said naught to me of it. You knew!"

Her voice was sweet as honey but her poisonous words stabbed in Arthain's heart like a knife. He made no attempt to get up, only raised his hand to push her away.
She let go of him before he could touch her and she walked over to the tent she shared with her mother, who stood motionless and for once silent, in the opening.
Anwanelme had barely reached the tent before she was met by a resounding slap and she looked at her mother for a moment, caught by surprise, then she brushed past her and disappeared into the tent, not once looking back at Arthain or to see if Melost was somewhere near.
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Old 07-07-2003, 05:00 PM   #110
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Silmaril

Menelya rubbed the hand that had slapped Anwaelme, the palm stinging ever so slightly. The other women gathered around Menelya and began to try to fuss over her. Menelya shoved the nearest to her, leaving the ring of what felt like buzzing bees. The bees gasped as one of their own fell into the others and Menelya left. She heard words like "The nerve...", "...hard blow...", "...utter humiliation...", but she payed no attention to the twittering dolts as she moved away.

Menelya realized that she still had her jaw clenched tightly. Her teeth and gums were starting to hurt. She made an effort to open her jaw a bit to relieve the headache that also seemed to be coming on. Releasing her jaw helped all but the throbbing behind her temple. She knew that was not from her clenched teeth. By the Vala, why did the girl do things like this to her?

Menelya looked around the camp. Anwaelme had vanished, as was right to do. How could the girl be so heartless? However, Menelya found this nagging feeling in the back of her mind. Could it be? Was Menelya feeling pride? Yes, it was: Anwaelme had proven she could get what she wanted. Anwaelme was as resourceful as her mother. It was something that Menelya would have done in Anwaelme's position in her youth. Anwaelme certainly was much like her mother...

No, it was wrong. It destroyed the whole arrangement. Now, not only was Melost gone, but hardly any man would marry Anwaelme now, once word travelled around, as it was bound to do with the cackling crows that were here at camp.

Menelya looked over and saw Thelian sitting with his head in his hands and a concerned Dorlas attempting to comfort him. Menelya knew not why, but she went over and sat next to Thelian and Dorlas. It felt good to not be alone in her misery anymore. Now, many others felt dreadful in the lives they led. Menelya selfishly hoped that this misery could stay for some time, so she would not be alone anymore.
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Old 07-08-2003, 12:58 PM   #111
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Sting

"May I help you m'lady?" growled Dorlas as Menelya sat next to him and Thelian. He no longer needed to restrain Thelian, who was wheezing slightly with his head in his hands. Dorlas looked up at Menelya, and rolled his eyes at her shocked expression. She shook her head as if to say 'no'.

"Then make yourself useful and watch Thelian. Make certain he does not run off and get himself lost," ordered Dorlas. Menelya gave him a hard, cold stare, but nodded and turned away from Dorlas.

Dorlas wandered to where Arthain was. He stopped a few paces away from the captain, and continued on cautiously. Was that truly Arthain? Dorlas had never seen the man he served in such a state of despair! Dorlas put a hand on Arthain's shoulder tentatively.

"What has happened?" asked Dorlas softly. No reply came. Dorlas was about to ask again, but before he could Arthain shrugged off Dorlas's hand with force that sent the young squire stumbling backwards.

"Yilsa...Melost...Gone...No...Eru...Lost..." Dorlas could hear Arthain mumbling to himself.

Dorlas walked away, expression stony and determined. The Elven women were still gossiping and twittering about the events involving Melost, Arthain, and Anwenelme. "Get some rest, all of you!" Dorlas shouted, silencing the women. "We leave tomorrow, no matter what!"
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:31 PM   #112
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Sting

As Melost fled out into the empty night, he was unaware that he was being closely watched by an interested pair of eyes. The scout was high up among the rocks in the pass Melost had blindly stumbled into. "A lone Elf...warrior by the look of him, out here on his own? Huh..." the scout thought as the scrutiny continued.

Alone, unarmed and nearing insanity, Melost ran on. The one thought his mind could grasp was that he had to put distance between himself and the pain in Arthain's last look. His ankle twisted painfully on a loose rock and he fell hard. Melost lay for a moment, stunned and dazed, his breathing harsh. He dug his fingers into the loose rocks on the path and gave himself totally over to despair. Ragged sobs, dry as the dust he lay in threatened to choke him, but he didn't care. All he longed for was death.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Gil-galad and Elendil called a halt as they neared the River Gladden. The High King could see that the proud soldiers of Elendil's army were tiring and that they needed rest soon. Rather than bring them to shame, Gil-galad urged a halt, knowing that otherwise the soldiers would push themsleves to exhaustion in an attempt to keep up with the Elven army.

Word was passed and soon both Men and Elves pitchedheavy canvas tents, pulled out saddle-bags of dried meat and fruit, set watch and stretchedsore, aching muscles. Elendil watched proudly as his Men worked side-by-side with Gil-galad's army, the Mirkwood Elves remained slightly aloof from the rest.

Night fell swiftly as the leaders held converse inside the tent of Elendil. Isildur sullenly sat on a stool in the shadowed corner. He distrusted the Elves, especially Elrond and Gil-galad...so proud, so wise, so noble. It made him sick. His father had been seduced by the glamour of the Elves, but not he! He could see that all these creatures truly wanted was dominion over Men. Well, he would see to it that the House of his father never bowed to anyone!
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Old 07-08-2003, 01:59 PM   #113
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Sting

Elendil sat down in a comfortable chair inside Gil-galad's tents, and though he would not admit it, his bones had longed for it after the day's riding. He had to admit to himself that he wasn't young anymore.

He looked at Isildur, who sat like child which has just been denied something. Elendil feared he knew the reason. He had also seen the weariness of his men, and had guessed that Gil-galad had called a halt more for their sake than for his own. And if Elendil had discovered Gil-galad's true intentions, then it was sure that Isildur had also.

My son, he thought to himself, why are you like this? Have I failed in my upbringing? His thoughts of melancholy were disrupted when Oropher and his son entered the room, both of them in a merry mood.

The four of them conversed for long (Isildur merely sipped his wine), and Elendil noticed the difference between Oropher and Gil-galad.

The former were dressed in simple, green clothes and wore an expression of no cares
in the world.

The latter wore blue rainment with complicated patterns embroidered on, and he, though smiling, had an air of sorrow and graveness around him.

Elendil did not know whom to prefer; and he decided it was to late to find out. He said goodnight, and followed by his son left the tent. Outside, he stopped Isildur and asked him: "My son, you do know how serious our situation is? How close we are to annihilation without allies?" Isildur muttered that he was aware of that fact, and left. Elendil stood and looked at him dissappear among the many tents; and he knew that his son's evil thoughts would eventually be his ruin.
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Old 07-09-2003, 12:48 PM   #114
Amanaduial the archer
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Eye

Arthain heard Anwenelme’s voice from somewere outside the bubble of apin that seemed to surround him now, but what she said he neither heard, nor cared about. Probing with her voice, prodding, seeking a weakness, trying to find a way to shatter the bubble, for then its shards would fly all around, destroying Arthain entirely.

That venomous snake…that treacherous viper…well, she had found his weakness. His two weaknesses- the only weakness such a soldier could have. The weaknesses deep inside. The weaknesses of the heart. Melost and Yilsa. Arthain couldn’t shake away that last image of Melost, the last pain-laden, betrayed look as his eyes lingered on Arthain, horrified, as he stumbled from the tent. The scene repeated itself a thousand times in his head, and Melost’s words echoed in Arthain’s mind….his curse…

“You will see the one dearest to your heart die in your arms. May you know the pain I know now and thrice over…

You will see the one dearest to your heart die in your arms. May you know the pain I know now and thrice over…

You will see the one dearest to your heart die in your arms. May you know the pain I know now and thrice over…”


It was Dorlas’s voice which eventually woke Arthain up to some extent, business-like and harder than his years would suggest as he addressed the women of the camp. “Get some rest, all of you! We leave tomorrow, no matter what!”

The woman did nothing, barely even acknowledged that Dorlas had spoken, just stood, speaking among themselves, gossiping, feigning sympathy. And for some reason, this suddenly made Arthain incredibly, unspeakably angry. Did they look down on him because of what his master had done? Or was it just because he was a mortal, a foolish mortal, in general? How dare they! How dare they! Arthain stood, facing them, standing as steadily as he could and speaking with a hard voice, although his thoughts were as wild and ragged and scattered as the skeletons of leaves, stirred up and swirling on the wind, which, with but a gentle breeze, could shatter them completely.

“You heard him!” He barked, courtesy thrown to the wind. “We leave tomorrow! Get back to your tents!”

The women stood, shocked into silence momentarily, not even gossiping for a second, before Menelya spoke, but spoke as if she had not even heard Arthain. “I am going to my tent now- the night is late, and no matter what has passed, we, at least, must look good for the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood. I suggest,” the word was laden with sarcasm, “that you do the same.”

With that, she turned in her heel and, without even a mere glance at the two men, she swept into her tent, appearing every bit as arrogant and unaffected as if none of the events of the night had ever passed, and so convincing was she that Arthain could almost have believed that she truly didn’t care. But he saw her clenched fists, and for a moment, thinking of that delighted, malicious pleasure which Anwenelme took in upsetting her mother, Arthain wondered bitterly whether the ruin of her mother had also been in Anwenelme’s vicious plot.

“I’ll take the watch.” Arthain muttered to Dorlas, turning to walk to the edge of the camp. Dorlas hovered behind him and eventually said something, concern in his voice.

“Are you sure you can-”

Arthain shot him a bitter look. “Do you think I can sleep tonight?” Dorlas was wise enough not to reply, and Arthain continued, leaving the poor boy to try and comfort Thelian.

As for Arthain…he would indeed watch, he would watch harder than he ever had before, not taking any note of the stars or the moon which still hung, cold and indifferent, in the night sky, but looking for any sign of the friend who, he knew, he could never make amends with…
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Old 07-11-2003, 10:49 PM   #115
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Anwanelme lay listening to what was going on outside and she couldn't help but smile. It had worked even better than she had imagined it would.
She heard her mother just outside the tent and quickly she rolled over so she had her back toward the opening of it, feigning sleep, as Menelya came back into the tent but it was obvious by her steps that she was angry, very angry. Anwanelme only smiled. In fact she had to try hard not to chuckle at the thought of her mother's wail and the expression on her face, when she had seen her daughter emerge from the Man's tent, barely dressed.

Menelya stood for some time, looking at her daughter. She didn't care whether she was asleep or not. That stupid girl!
She wanted to drag her to her feet and shake her hard, yelling at her for ruining everything for both of them. But she knew she couldn't do that. The others would hear and the humiliation would become even greater.

Placing herself in the opposite side of the tent, Menelya quietly sat down, trying to calm herself, all the while listening for the slightest sound that proved her daughter was still awake as she suspected her to be.
After a while Anwanelme couldn't stand the feeling of her mothers gaze on her back and she sighed heavily.

"What it is, Mother? Have you found something of interest? Arthain certainly did!"

Menelya's face turned white as she was so bluntly reminded of her daughter's cruel deed and she found herself trembling from anger, unable to rise from where she was sitting.

"How dare you do such a thing? I have worked so hard to get only what was best for you! How dare you ruin everything for m... for us?"

Caught by the slip of her own tongue, Menelya went quiet, hoping that Anwanelme hadn't heard. She couldn't remember the last time she had listened to her anyway, so why should it suddenly happen now?
Very slowly Anwanelme turned toward her mother, an almost hateful look in her eyes.

"Exactly, Mother! I have ruined everything... for you! This is all your fault! You made this...'alliance'! You pushed for that betrothal! And what has come from it? Nothing! After all this time, he has now rejected me! After all this time I have spent waiting for him, all this time I could have used to find a husband on my own. If you had only let me choose. You are the reason I still have no husband! None of you deserve any better! And now be quiet, I wish to sleep!"

Menelya sat in shock, only staring at her daughter as she once again turned her back to her. Never before had she dared speaking to her like that and it wasn't until now that she realised how cruel her daughter truly was. And once again she felt a tinge of pride...
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:29 PM   #116
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Sting

Dorlas did not sleep at all. He was too occupied making sure Thelian got some sleep and making sure the Elven squire refrained from doing anything he would regret. The look on his master's face haunted Dorlas through the night, and the angry words that had flowed from Arthain's tongue were fresh echoes in his mind. Few of the women slept, Dorlas knew. He could hear them quietly whispering in the dark. Dorlas still did not know what events had befallen the camp, but he had heard enough to realize that it had not been good by any stretch of the imagination.

When morning dawned, Arthain was still sitting crouched by the fire, which had been reduced to simmering coals during the night. Dorlas did not speak to him, and could not even catch Arthain's eye if he tried. Thelian had fallen into a deep sleep at some point during the night, and Dorlas opted not to rouse his friend until it was necessary.

"Wake up! We will leave within the hour, and if you are not ready you will be left behind," it was an empty threat, Dorlas knew, but the Elven ladies were too weary from the late night to object. They moved slowly and grudgingly until they caught a glare from Arthain, at which point they began to scuttle for their things.

Dorlas returned to his spot by Thelian as the women readied themselves, and nudged Thelian gently to revive him. When that did not work, Dorlas emptied the water casket that had hung on his waistbelt onto Thelian, which woke the Elf up quickly. When Thelian registered what was going on, he instantly shot up from his spot, shaking his head side-to-side violently.

"No! We can't leave Melost! He will come back if we wait for him! What will we do if he comes back just when we are out of reach? He will never forgive me!" Thelian cried, turning towards the woods where Melost had taken his leave. Dorlas put a gentle hand on Thelian's shoulder.

"If we let you go, and met up somehow with Melost in Lothlorien, he would not forgive me for letting you go and losing you to the woods. Friends look out for each other," Dorlas pointed out, and proceeded to finish packing his things to leave. Thelian followed suit, though Melost's faithful squire often shot weary and worried glances at the path Melost had taken.

The group was ready to leave just as the morning sun began to warm the land. Arthain rode far ahead of the main group, and Dorlas did not confront him for fear of angering the man again. Anwenelme had a smirk upon her face, and Menelya had an angry frown that made her lovely Elven face look old and weary. The rest of the women left the two alone, outcasting them from the rest. Dorlas believed neither deserved even that much. The only sound audible to the group was the chattering of the gossiping women and the wind rustling the trees.

[ July 12, 2003: Message edited by: Aylwen Dreamsong ]
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Old 07-12-2003, 01:28 AM   #117
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They had all been roused none too gently by Dorlas and Menelya had been furious because of it, speaking loudly about the boy's insolence, becoming clearly frustrated when it became clear that no one was listening to her.
When they departed shortly after, Anwanelme smiled when she noticed Arthain riding far ahead of the group, alone and not even Dorlas seemed to dare approaching him.
Her mother only seemed to be concerned about the way the rest of the ladies seemed to be avoiding her and her daughter.
With a smirk Anwanelme cast a glance at her mother, feeling more than satisfied when she saw the frustrated look on Menelya's face.

So now that her pack of crows have turned their backs on her, she is nothing. Serves her well!

Feeling somewhat refreshed, having had no trouble sleeping during the night, except for her mother's continuous rambling about vows and marriage, Anwanelme enjoyed the sun as it grew warmer and brighter. It seemed it would turn out to be a wonderful day and her mood was better than it had been for a very long time.

Letting her horse move mostly in it's own pace, Anwanelme soon discovered that her mother was far behind and that she had, in fact, nearly passed the rest of the ladies as well.
She looked up ahead and a wicked smile appeared on her face as she urged her horse forward, all the while doing her best to appear unaware of her own speed and she soon found herself riding close to Arthain.
As she tilted her face toward the warming sun, she gazed at Arthain out of the corner of her eye, just to see his reaction to her presence. After his words before, she knew for a fact that she was most likely the last person he wanted to be near and that simply made it impossible for her to stay away.
After a while she decided to break the silence and she looked at Arthain with a bright smile.

"You do know that among my people, the bodily union is what binds a couple in marriage?"

Anwanelme was well aware of the necessity of exchanging vows as well and that they hadn't done so, but was Arthain?
Suddenly a little insecure about how he would react to this, she drew away from him, far enough so he wouldn't be able to reach her, even with his sword but still close enough to see his reaction.

[ July 12, 2003: Message edited by: Maikadilwen ]
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Old 07-12-2003, 02:00 PM   #118
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Thelian rode next to Dorlas. Now that Melost was not with them, there was no one for Thelian to protect. He continued to look over at Anwaelme. There was no way he was going to allow her to hurt anyone else in the group in the way she had hurt his master. She should not even be alive today. Thelian should have slit the strumpet's throat already.

Dorlas seemed to see Thelian's knuckles going white on the reins, for Thelian felt a comforting pat on his shoulder. Dorlas whispered some brief words of comfort to Thelian, who stole one last look of death in Anwaelme's direction.

***************************

Thelian was not the only one still shooting evil looks in Anwaelme's direction. Menelya had been glaring at Anwaelme for some time. She saw Anwaelme speaking fairly quietly with Arthain. She could not catch what the girl was saying. Anwaelme then moved her horse away from Arthain a bit, a slight glimpse of worry crossing over her fair face.

At this, Menelya urged her horse forward in the hopes of hearing the conversation. She passed two women twittering in whispers. The names "Melost" and "Menelya" were audible to Menelya, along with the words "arranged", "disgrace", and "unpopular". Menelya knew she would be hearing these words a lot more in the days to come. She continued to inch forward in the hopes of catching Arthain's response and hopefully hearing what Anwaelme had said to cause her brief worry as to Arthain's reaction.
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Old 07-12-2003, 03:15 PM   #119
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"You do know that among my people, the bodily union is what binds a couple in marriage?"

Arthain didn't even turn to look at Anwenelme. He had sensed her arriving, had sensed it by the way her shadow flickered on the ground, by the way her horse had of making small half-whinnys every so often. He knew it by the way she flicked her hair subconciously, flirtatiously, across her shoulders every so often, so its soft waves caught the light and the eye...he knew it all. And it sickened him.

He felt his teeth grit together instinctively, and it must have shown on his jawline, but his face otherwise remained indifferent. He became too aware of his sword, of how close it was to his hand, how he could just reach out...but he also knew how close she was to him, how close her soft skin was, her warm body...

He repressed a shudder, and turned his head slowly to look at her, his face entirely immobile.

"I am well aware of the marriage rites of the elves. And I believe you have to be elven, or human to be part of it." His tone was completely indifferent, and he didn't smile as he finished. "That would, I believe, involve having a soul."

Anwenelme looked shocked for a fleeting instance, but covered it almost immediately. She was evidently thinking of a reply, but Arthain got there first.

"I wonder what the Lord of the Golden Wood will say." He continued. he wanted to be able to inject some sort of emotion into it, but his voice remained still and dead, soft, so only Anwenelme could hear it, and all that it entailed. "What is the punishment for betrayal, viper?"

Anwenelme did not reply, and for the first time, Arthain saw a flicker of doubt pass across her face. He should have felt some satisfaction, some emotion, some anything, but it was as if his emotions had turned against him just as he had no doubt the elves would. He dared not let any emotion out from the heart that had become a tomb, for fear all of them would spill out at once.

As Anwenelme moved away, Arthain once more fixed his eyes ahead, staring dully into the space ahead of him, concentrating soley on what he and Melost had been told to do, to simply get the elven woman, the pack of crows and the harridan who claimed to be a lady to Lothlorien.

What would happen there he dared not think; if there was a punishment, it would probably not just stretch to Anwenelme...
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:35 PM   #120
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Dorlas did not take his eyes off of Arthain for a long while. The squire desperately wanted to know what was wrong, and see if there was something he could do, something he could say. And yet at the same time Dorlas did not want to confront Arthain, and would not confront him at that moment, for any treasure in the world. Something too strong and too powerful for words was needed to heal the hurt, that much was clear. Dorlas could not provide that medicine this time.

"Thelian, this is beyond you and it is definitely beyond me," murmured Dorlas suddenly, feeling like excess baggage that was useless and could not help in any way. "Is there nothing we can do? Besides doing something rash, I mean."

"The best way out of a problem is through it," growled Thelian in reply, sending venemous looks towards Anwenelme. The viper either smiled smugly at Thelian or ignored his glares, which angered the Elven squire even moreso than before. Thelian soon gave up and returned to his conversation with Dorlas. "And still I can't help but fear for Melost."

"My brothers always said that if you feed your hope, your fears will starve to death. Do not fear, Melost is a warrior and will not be overcome by evil easily," Dorlas reassured Thelian. "Anwenelme will pay for her wrongdoing in the end. Fate will not be kind to her, I am sure. It will haunt her."

Dorlas felt more confident hearing his own voice comforting Thelian. It made him feel less scared of everything that was going on and everything that would happen. New hope rose in him as he spoke, and new faith in Melost and Arthain. Maybe there was still a chance that Melost would find them somehow. Dorlas quickly shook this thought from his mind, deciding not to instill false hope in Thelian.

The riders pushed on, despite the constant complaints of the whining women. It was nearing noonday, and several women began using the excuse that they needed to stop for a meal. Dorlas ignored these plights as Thelian began to hand out lembas to the complaining women. The sun was bright through the veil of leaves and trees, and the sky was clear and calm save for a slight wind.

"What will we do when we are done escourting these ladies?" Dorlas asked, and Thelian began to look slight worried at the question. "I mean besides doing something we'll regret by running off to find Melost," Dorlas refined hurriedly, only to recieve an angry glare from Thelian.

"So you think it would be foolish to go and look for Melost? Foolish to try and save him?" Thelian wondered hoarsly, his voice wavering as he spoke. Dorlas raised his hands in defence.

"Save him from what? You do not know what is happening or where he is! For all you know he could be safe and sound back in Rivendell, or even in Lothlorien!" Dorlas shot back. "I just think it would be foolish to go on a wild goose chase to find Melost when he might just be fine!"

"You do not know what is happening or what is out there either! I will not sacrifice Melost to the woods if it can be prevented," Thelian retorted, breathing heavily as if he were tempted to attack Dorlas on the spot.

"I am sorry," Dorlas said, surprising Thelian. "I did not think before speaking. You are right, I suppose. I would do the same for Arthian." After that, the two rode in silence.
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