The darkening of hearts

By Nuredhel

Drama / Romance

Deception and power

Chapter 12: Deceptions and power.

The room lay in darkness and the two ner gathered by the bed were lighted by torches, both looked very nervous and they stared down at the nis laying on the simple bed. She was pale, grey in the face and unconscious and her body twitched in a very nasty manner. They stared at each other and the older one sneered. “Damnation, what is wrong with her?”

The younger one swallowed hard. “Could it be the food?”

The older one made a grimace. “It could be the herbs, some react to them”

The younger one frowned. “Have they added the herbs to her food already?”

The older one nodded and felt the nis pulse, it was very erratic and weak and he realized that she was very ill indeed. “Yes, but not much. Shit, it could be the room too, this place reeks of mold and dirt”

The young ner looked very nervous. “So what are we to do? What if she dies?”

The older one made a gesture. “We cannot afford that, it will ruin every plan we have. No, we have to get a healer”

The young one gasped. “A healer? But…that is dangerous, we can be exposed!”

The older one looked very dark. His eyes were distant and he cursed under his breath. “I know of a healer in the village down by the river, she is one of those goddamn heathens, she won’t understand anything and we can keep her until the wedding is done.”

The young one lightened up, he smiled. “A great idea, do that. Get that healer.”

The old one turned around and walked towards the door. “She may be no good but at least we have tried.”

The young one followed him out and they closed the door. “Lumbano will arrive this afternoon, what are we to tell him?”

The older one just sent him a very stiff grin. “That the bride to be will be ready soon enough. They won’t dare to risk her safety, we are safe”

The younger ner frowned, he didn’t want to sound pessimistic but he had a strong sense of foreboding. Perhaps it would be a good idea to put his legs on his neck and make a run for it? The Finwions were a hardy bunch and they did look out for their own like non others. The older ner caught hold of a nervous servant and told the ner to go and get the healer and the elf ran off and appeared to be very glad he had an excuse for leaving the perimeter.

--------------------------------------------------

Belegornith had been busy with her collection of herbs when a noldorin ner entered the yard outside her simple hut. She immediately knew he had to have come from the hunting lodge up on the hill and he did look nervous. She bowed her head to be polite but she didn’t like the noldor at all, they were haughty and rather stiff the way she saw it. You hardly ever saw them smile, and they didn’t seem to enjoy life at all. The ner did smile but he was a bit pale. “My lady, my master wishes to ask for your help, a relative of his is ill.”

She frowned. “Why should I help you noldor?”

The ner looked even more nervous. “Please, the nis is very ill and we have no idea what is wrong with her.”

Belegornith sighed, a sick nis. Well, she couldn’t say no to helping another female in need, a ner was one thing but a nis something else. She sent him a curt smile. “ I will come then, I will get my things and it won’t be long.”

She entered the cabin and found her bag, she had herbs and instruments in it and she wondered what the problem was. These protected and shielded noldorin nissi could become ill from things an ordinary elf hardly would notice at all.

The servant lead her up towards the hunting lodge, it was an old castle, not very large but well build and it hadn’t been used for a while. She had no idea of why it had been put back into use now, it was a creepy place and not very cozy even when inhabited.

The lord of the place met her by the entrance, he was a tall noldo with a bit of a tan and he looked hard, like a polished sword. Belegornith didn’t like him, she immediately knew that this was a ner nobody should trust. She managed to smile and bowed her head, no point in provoking anything. She saw that he was eying her rather suspiciously, she did look like the avarin vanyar she was, with tattoos and her hair braided into intricate patterns and she did wear tanned leather, not silk or brocade. “I have a sick relative. The poor child did become ill all of a sudden, we think she has been exploring the basement and perhaps come into contact with something bad”

Belegornith nodded. “Very well, take me to her”

The ner went in front of her through the old castle and Belegornith had to hide a shudder, the place was dank and dark and couldn’t have been used for more than a week at the most. It was cold and did smell of rot and it was not the ideal place for a sick person. They entered a bedroom and she did notice that the windows were barred. The door too had a rather hefty lock on it and Belegornith got a bad feeling. A very beautiful young nis lay on a luxurious bed and she was covered with sweat and did look very ill indeed. She was barely breathing and her skin did look rather grey. It was a bad sign and Belegornith got busy. She smelled the nis breath, felt her pulse, examined her belly and tried to understand what the problem was. The ner stood there by the door, if this was his relative Belegornith was a pink bear, something fishy was going on and she tried to act calmly and get to the bottom of it. “She has most certainly got into contact with something very toxic, was she in the basement for a long time?”

Belegornith pushed some strands of silky black hair out of the face and stroked the sweaty brow, she did notice something odd and grasped the nis left hand, as if to examine the pulse. The ner shrugged. “Half a day we think, she is to get married soon and we were busy with preparation and didn’t notice that she was gone”

Belegornith frowned but didn’t let the ner see it. Married? Now that was probably not a marriage this nis approved off, as a vanyar living the avarin lifestyle Belegornith could feel way more than a noldo and this nis did reek of despair. The hand had spots on it, from something which looked like purple dust and Belegornith wouldn’t have been a healer if she hadn’t seen what it was. No sane adult elf did ingest that mushroom by accident, everybody knew it was toxic. She tried to think fast. “She needs some rather rare herbs, and much care. Still she may die, I think she have inhaled the spores of some sorts of very dangerous mold. It can kill even an elf”

Belegornith couldn’t mention the mushroom, this nis had ingested it either as a way out or as a way of attracting attention to herself and her plight. Belegornith did know that forced marriages had happened among the noldor and she wasn’t stupid. Now she had to help this poor nis in any way she could. The ner looked angry. “You do have the right herbs?”

Belegornith nodded. “I do, but I need help, hot water and milk, and charcoal, lots of it.”

The ner sort of grimaced. “ I will get that.”

He turned around and yelled at the servant by the door, this ner seemed to be an authority within this household, or maybe more of a tyrant if she was to interpret the behavior of the servant right. Belegornith knew that the noldor did regard her people as lowly and possibly stupid too so she tried to pretend as if they were right in their assumptions. She just sat there while the servant went to get what she wanted and the richly clad ner just stared at her, with much the same expression as someone staring at a nasty bug climbing on their shoe.

The servant returned and Belegornith got busy, she did mix the herbs and the charchoal and the milk into a terribly looking goo and then she found a tube and managed to get the liquid down into the nis stomach. The ner sort of frowned. “Why charcoal if she has inhaled the spores?”

Belegornith smiled like some dimwit, she had no problem acting like a moron if that could save someone’s life. “It helps getting the poisons out of her body.”

The ner scoffed and Belegornith made some thin powder from some herbs and let the nis inhale it, it was in reality just something to ease breathing but the ner didn’t need to know that. She sort of chanted softly as she worked, it was to calm her own nerves but to the noldo it probably sounded like dubious sorcery or something like that. Belegornith was a good healer, she was maybe not as good as the maiar of ;Lorien or the legendary Elrond of Imladris but she had great skills and she could have been very famous is she had wanted to. But she preferred a quiet lifestyle and the forest gave her all she needed.

The nis sort of moaned and tossed a little and Belegornith smiled. “The herbs are working, she will make it. She has a strong fëa this one”

The ner sort of raised an eyebrow. “Good, you will stay here until she is up and about again. A servant will bring you food”

The ner turned around on his heel and walked out of the room and Belegornith did hear the sound of a key being turned in the lock. Perfect, she had her suspicions confirmed there and then. This nis was absolutely in deep trouble. She sighed and stroked the sweaty brown and continued to chant some healing songs. After a while the nis shivered and opened her eyes, they were clouded by pain and fear and Belegornith hummed softly. “Relax, you are safe. I am a healer.”

The nis groaned. “Please, my family, they have to learn of where I am. I have been kidnapped.”

Belegornith sighed. “ I sort of guessed that, and they want you to marry someone you don’t want yes?”

The nis nodded, her eyes closed since she probably was terribly dizzy. “You are right, I am Alciel of Tirion, daughter of Nerdanel and Fëanor”

Belegornith gasped, oh damnation, she had put her hand into a hornets nest this time. The noldorin royals? She did almost pity the culprits, the Finwions would be all over them like a pack of angry wolves. Belegornith tried to smile. “I am Belegornith, just that. I am a healer for the avari elves, and you are in a hunting lodge far south of Tirion.”

Alciel groaned. “They will never find me then, not fast enough. I recon you too are trapped here?”

Belegornith nodded. “They have locked the door yes, they haven’t said that I am a prisoner but there is no doubt about the truth. I am to stay here until they have married you off”

Alciel sighed and wiped the sweat from her brow. “ Oh Eru, I ate that mushroom hoping for help”

Belegornith smiled and held her hand. “You did the right thing dear, I may be able to help after all. I have friends out there and I know a way of letting them know of this.”

Alciel looked puzzled. “How? We are locked in?”

Belegornith smiled and walked over to the window, it was very narrow, barely a foot wide and it was placed high on the wall, nobody could get out there but that didn’t mean that nothing could get in. She nodded at the noldorin nis. “I am a woodelf, following the old ways. There is much the inhabitants of Aman have forgotten”

She stood underneath the window and started to sing, an eerily haunting soft tune with no words but an almost hypnotic rhythm. For anyone listening it had to sound like a healing song but it wasn’t anything like that at all. Belegornith continued to sing for a while, her voice sweet and soft like she was trying to sing a child to sleep and Alciel realized that the healer was trying to call something to her. After a while there was a scratching sound and a small bird showed up on the window sill, it was pale grey with a blue chest and the small beady eyes stared at Belegornith. She held a hand out and the bird landed on it, chirping merrily and the healer whispered something to the tiny creature. The bird chirped again and flew out of the window and Belegornith smiled, a narrow smile. “I have a friend among the avari elves, a shaman. The bird will seek him and then they will help us”

Alciel sort of swallowed. “Are you sure? “

She nodded sternly. “ Yes, worry not. They will find us”

Alciel sighed and closed her eyes. “I cannot seem to be too well too fast, or else they will try to force me right away. “

Belegornith sent her a wicked grin. “Worry not, I have some herbs here which will make you very unattractive. Puke and diarrhea is a very small price to pay for freedom wouldn’t you say?”

Alciel had to grin. “Indeed, not a very pleasant thing but I can handle it. You are as devious and clever as my father”

Belegornith just bowed her head. “Thank you my lady, that is a compliment I will remember.”

She went over to her bag and mixed some powders and Alciel made a grimace but swallowed it all. Belegornith sat down and stroked her hair. “Now all we have to do is wait dear, worry not, I will not let anyone hurt one of my patients”

Alciel managed to make a faint smile, she still felt alike shit and would feel that way for yet a while but it was a small price to pay. The servant returned after a while with a tray of food, some wine and a bucket and Alciel pretended to be unconscious still. Belegornith put on her most non threatening face and smiled gratefully. She had to convince everybody there that she was helpless and that there was nothing she could do to rescue herself or Alciel. The servant scooted out again and he did look a bit relieved that he was out of there. He probably feared that Alciel’s sickness was contagious even if elves never get sick the way mortals do.

Belegornith arranged the blankets around Alciel to prevent her from getting cold, she just hoped that her friend would get the message soon. It was quite a distance to cross for the little bird and the forest was full of dangers.

----------------------------------------

Finarfin was feeling an odd mix of emotions, he felt angry on the behalf of the family, worried about Alciel, nervous about his mission and most of all he felt a sense of relief. He no longer was the one in charge, the one having to make the decisions. His father had always been the perfect king, able to get the very best out of people and this was just the sort of situation in which he excelled. Finarfin had never had his father’s charisma and he had always preferred a more private life away from the court and all the gossip and drama. He rode hard in front of his men, he had good warriors following him and he didn’t hold back so before long they rode into the yard in front of the house of Lerina’s parents. Some servants emerged, puzzled by the sudden visit and Finarfin managed to look rather intimidating, he was getting more and more angry the more he thought of the situation.

The house was large and luxurious but it lacked warmth, it wasn’t cozy or homely and he remembered Lerina and her frail appearance and got even more angry. This was not a home but a hell hole and he grasped his sword in a firm grip. He got off the horse and addressed a ner who had to be the butler. “Where is the master of this house?”

The servant recognized him and bowed his head, looking flabbergasted. “He is not here my king, he has been away from some days now. We do not know where he is. His wife is here though?”

Finarfin took a deep breath, right now he did look like an angry lion with the thick golden hair like a halo around his head and he wore his armor. He had been fighting and he knew how to intimidate someone, he had to use it for all it was worth for he knew that Lerina’s mother was quite a piece of work. The servant hurried through the house and Finarfin ordered five of his warriors to follow while the others guarded the gate. Nobody was to enter nor leave. Finarfin was grinding his teeth by the time the servant stopped by a door decorated with some very elegant panels made from lacquered wood and turquoise mosaics. It had to cost a fortune and Finarfin had seen through the mask these elves were wearing a long ago. It was all about greed and vanity. The servant knocked and entered and Finarfin entered a room which had to be the private quarters of the lady of the house. Everything was very feminine and elegant but it was simply too much. Too many colors and too many things stuffed into a limited space. The lady of the house stood there staring with huge eyes, she wore a very elegant dress made from blue silk and it was probably something she just wore when she was indoors for it was revealing to say the least.

She sort of moaned and grasped a blanket and wrapped that around herself and Finarfin stared at her with cold eyes. “ Where is your husband?”

She looked very nervous. “I…I don’t know, he was to visit our daughter?”

Finarfin growled and caressed his blade in a manner which couldn’t be misinterpreted. “ Oh? To force her into yet another unwanted marriage?”

The nis sort of scowled. “That is none of your business”

Finarfin sent her a very cold grin. “Maybe not, but a conspiracy against the throne is very much my business, so where is he? Answer me or I cannot guarantee your safety, my father is returned and things will get very different from now on. He isn’t as mellow as he used to be, believe me!”

She sort of gasped and her eyes got huge, then she sort of grimaced and her eyes were flickering back and forth, looking for a way out. She suddenly bolted towards a door at the back of the room and at the same time she did toss something at Finarfin, it was a perfume bottle and it hit the floor with a smash. Pieces of glass flew everywhere and with it a strong stench of roses and lilies. One of the warriors reacted within the blink of an eye, he ran forth and grasped the nis with a hard grip and lifted her off the ground by her waist. She screamed and kicked and cursed but the ner was very strong and her held her tightly and Finarfin cursed and grasped her by the chin, forced her to look at him. “That was stupid, very stupid. Attacking a royal? Trying to flee? Now that screams guilty, I bet father will get the truth out of you rather fast. How about a flogging, in public? I bet that will loosen that tongue of yours, rather fast”

The nis just gasped and her eyes were wide with terror but she didn’t say another word and Finarfin sighed. “Fine, if she won’t speak we have some reborn elves used to torturing orcs, she is nastier than any orc but that won’t stop them I think”

The warrior hoisted the sobbing nis over his shoulder and she let out a wail of sheer anguish, her legs were visible now and to the pious female that had to be completely horrible. Finarfin grinned, a vicious grin nobody would have expected from him. “ I think we will take her to the palace right now, strip her and tie her to a horse, and do cut her hair too, she is not to shield herself with it”

Lerina’s mother let out another wail, she was pale like chalk and trembled. “No, oh Eru have mercy. He…he is probably heading for the hunting lodge of one of his friends, Aicion I think”

Finarfin frowned. “Where?!”

She shook her head. “I don’t know, I swear to Eru, I am a good wife, I never interfere with my husband’s affairs”

Finarfin just scoffed and nodded at the warriors. “Tie her up but let her keep her clothes on. “

Lerina’s mother was sobbing now, the very idea of being arrested probably scared the living daylights out of her. It was well deserved. They got back to the yard and the servants had gathered, shocked and confused and Finarfin stared at them with narrow eyes. “You are all unemployed from this moment on, your masters have forfeit their right to be citizens of this realm and their belongings are to be divided between their children. You may leave now or stay until Costaro has been arrested too. If he tried to contact any of you do tell us, or else you will be a culprit in a conspiracy against the throne. “

None of the servants looked heartbroken, they did in fact smile and the butler had a hard time trying to hide a wide grin. They hoisted Lerina’s mother onto a horse and she tried to look as if she had some dignity but it failed miserably. Finarfin told four warriors to remain and guard the house and then they rode off. He just hoped that his father knew where Aicion’s hunting lodge was.

---------------------------------------------------

Finwê was so angry he shivered, he had never expected that anybody would go this far, the elves had indeed gotten corrupted by Melkor in the years he had been allowed to run free and that corruption still lingered within their souls, or at least within the soul of some. Perhaps they all needed a quick trip to the halls for some thorough cleansing. The mansion of Aicion was located to the north of Tirion and it lay in a very idyllic area. Right now Finwë didn’t think about the beauty of the land, all he did think about was the betrayal and the fact that his granddaughter was in jeopardy. He rode so fast his warriors had a hard time keeping up with him and he was almost glowing with rage as he entered the courtyard. As a reborn he had great powers, everything got purified and magnified in the halls and now he did indeed look like a great king, powerful and awesome. The servants of Aicion and his guards just stared at the king as she stopped his gasping horse and some fell to their knees, afraid their last hour had arrived.

Finwë almost snarled and he wouldn’t hesitate using force, not this time. His eyes were glowing and some of the elves present didn’t even dare to look at him. “Your master has committed treason, if you swear not to obey him and swear to turn your back to him I will let you go. Those who do not will be prosecuted”

The nis who was in charge of the household stepped forth, she was shivering but there was some pride in her eyes. “My king, our master is a horrible person, and we wouldn’t have served him if there was a choice. None have any loyalty towards him and we would all pledge a wow of obedience to you.”

Finwê smiled, a quick smile. “Good, where is that piece of orc dung?”

One of the guards stepped forth. “He is probably in his hunting lodge. It is in the forests to the south”

Finwê was thinking fast. “I know of that place, it is very remote and very old. He has kidnapped my granddaughter, have anyone seen anything?”

Another servant came forth, he smelled of horse. “He and some others took a carriage and some horses some days ago, didn’t say where they were going, or why they needed the carriage”

Finwê sighed, Alciel was in the lodge, or else they could call him a dimwit. But it was days away and he feared for Alciel’s safety. “We will ride there then, with an army. Everybody, your service to Aicion has ended, feel free to leave.”

He turned his horse and spurred it and the rest of the warriors followed him, suddenly time was running short indeed. In such a remote place Alciel would be completely on her own and the kidnappers would be in complete control of her. His heart was aching, they had to hurry like never before.

--------------------------------------------------

Lerina did wake up very slowly, she felt heavy and drowsy and there as a weight on her hip and something very warm close to her? She jerked and then she remembered and had to grin, oh yes, she wouldn’t disappoint Ariniel, that was for sure. Married indeed, Mablung sighed in his sleep and the arm wrapped around her got tighter, pulled her closer. She giggled and closed her eyes, she had never even imagined that such happiness was possible and she just thanked the maker that this had happened. She felt whole and complete and was eternally happy Maedhros had found her unattractive. Mablung was the one truly made for her, that was beyond doubt. She knew she couldn’t sleep any more, the day was already many hours old and the sun was high. She turned around with some difficulty and Mablung groaned and opened his eyes. “Good morning love, if we sleep any more now we will feel terrible”

He blinked and smiled, kissed her slowly. “You are right. Eru how I love you!”

Lerina giggled and got up, oh damnation she was sore, but it was a good type of soreness. She giggled again and got up on her knees, Mablung stared at her with dark eyes. “Lerina, get up or I will forget about my promise and take you again”

She realized that her standing there on her knees and hands with her ass up like that did things to him so she got up and ran down to the river, threw herself into the shallow water. It was lukewarm and she scrubbed herself vigorously. She felt sticky all over and Mablung got up too and stretched and yawned before he too sauntered down to the waters and waded out until the water reached his waist. He washed thoroughly and Lerina had to admire the view and she did too, shamelessly. She felt strangely free, safe even. They were bonded and she could feel his emotion like a distant thrum through their connection. He felt happy and content and she remembered the night before and had to blush again.

They got dressed and walked back towards the village, slowly and arm in arm. Lerina didn’t need to speak, no words could fully express what she felt and she felt completely at peace. Mablung was humming some sweet tune and they didn’t hurry at all returning to the village. Mablung caressed her back. “I guess we will need to get a place of our own now, my talan is too small for two and your daughter shouldn’t have to share her home with her own mother”

Lerina giggled. “You are right, we would cause her embarrassment for sure, any idea of where we can live?”

Mablung bit his lower lip. “Yes, I know of a tree not far from here, a giant oak. We could build a huge talan in it, one with many rooms. It would be perfect”

Lerina sort of purred. “Is it pretty there?”

He nodded. “Beautiful, with a wide meadow, dense grooves of trees and a small lake too, but not as beautiful as you.”

She had to get up on her toes to kiss him and he bent down and met her, his kiss filled with tender passion. “Then it is decided.”

He tilted his head. “You don’t want to take a look at it first?”

She shook her head. “I trust you, if you say it is perfect it is.”

He hugged her and they walked on, the path was long and winding but Lerina found that it didn’t matter at all, she could walk there with him forever.

They reached the village just before noon and Lerina felt a twang of nervousness, what would Ariniel say now? There was no way she could hide this, both of them were glowing with happiness and the newly formed marriage bond visible in their eyes too. She could just go with the flow. They got greeted by a few of the elves they met, some winked and cheered and Lerina blushed and felt silly. Did everybody know what she had done? Oh crap, probably yes. Ariniel was busy removing weeds from her garden as Lerina and Mablung returned and Lerina saw that Ariniel stared with her mouth wide open for a few seconds before she let out a peal of joy and ran towards them. Lerina got a tight hug, then Mablung too and Ariniel was almost sobbing. “Oh mother, this is wonderful, I am so happy for you. It is so romantic, this is a blessed day indeed”

Lerina had to cough and grin and Mablung just smiled, he still looked very happy and Ariniel winked at Lerina. “Now, how was he?”

Lerina almost lost her breath in shock and Mablung did indeed blush rather vigorously and Ariniel just laughed and petted Lerina on the back. “Worry not mother, I am not out to get the juicy details, I can see that you both are very…pleased”

Lerina scoffed and hoped that Ariniel wouldn’t notice her slight limp, she still felt a bit tender in certain places and realized that she from now on could look forward to a heck of a lot of fun. The thought made her giggle slightly. “We plan on moving into our own talan soon, but until then, may we stay here?”

Ariniel just nodded with glee. “ Of course, I am very glad you want to stay here. Oh this is just so beautiful, finally you have the happiness you deserve”

Lerina felt a bit humble there and then. “Yes, I cannot really believe it, yet”

Ariniel put her hands together. “ I will go and prepare some food, I bet you both are hungry now?”

Mablungs stomach did growl and Lerina had to laugh, he did look a bit guilty and she nodded. “Yes, we could need some food, but don’t overdo it, please”

Ariniel just winked. “Of course not.”

Half an hour later they were presented with a veritable feast, Ariniel had found almost all the food she had in the house and even some wine and Lerina grimaced. “I told you not to exaggerate and what did you do? Exaggerate!”

Ariniel laughed. “Oh but you deserve a feast, it is your first day as a newly wedded elleth now isn’t it? You need to regain your strength”

Lerina blushed intensely, Ariniel could be very direct at times and way more bold when it came to language than her mother ever were. Mablung just scoffed. “I do not need that thank you, I am not some weakling noldo”

Ariniel giggled. “Oh I was referring to mom, can’t you see you have exhausted her?”

Lerina scoffed. “I am not that tired, we have slept tonight, not just…ah, you know”

Ariniel almost chirped like a bird. “Been busy practicing the art of good old love making? You do need food mom, I wouldn’t mind a baby sister or brother to spoil”

Lerina had to swallow and Mablung sort of scoffed and blushed. Ariniel nudged him with her elbow. “I bet this stud here will make sure that my wish comes true pretty fast, he looks like he knows what he is doing”

Lerina was blushing like a beetroot and made a grimace. “Ariniel, please, shut up1 Let us eat!”

Ariniel giggled again. “Of course, I will leave you two love birds to it then.”

She sauntered out of the door, presumably to tell the entire village of the great news and Lerina groaned and wished to hide. Mablung took her hand, caressing it gently. “Do not worry love, they are happy on your behalf. Soon things will be back to normal, I promise”

Lerina just nodded and took some bread and cheese, she was in fact very hungry and Mablung sort of fed her and they forgot everything except each other. Afterwards they helped Ariniel with her yard work and spent the evening by the river fishing before they returned to Lerina’s room for the night, Her bed was a bit small but it didn’t matter, they laid there curled up and she felt sorry that they couldn’t do it yet again. She wanted to, she wanted it so bad and her body was aching like mad whenever he touched her, however innocently. But she still felt very tender and didn’t want to ruin this by getting injured in any way so they just laid there, cuddling instead.

She breathed in his scent and listened to his heart and knew that she would do anything for him, that he was her everything from now on, or at least until they got children. She nuzzled his neck and sighed with the pleasure of knowing she was loved. “ Have you ever loved someone?”

Mablung chuckled. “Do you mean like true love or just making love?”

She didn’t move. “The first?”

He shook his head. “No, I can honestly say I never have loved anyone, I have been in love a few times but that doesn’t last very long, and yes, I have bedded many, both before and after my rebirth but that has just been for pleasure, never for anything more”

She nodded against his neck, feeling sleepy. “I am glad you have experience then. And good memories too”

He sort of shifted a bit. “Yes, mostly good I must admit.”

She lifted her head. “ Mostly? Do you have some bad experiences too?”

He nodded slowly. “Yes, when I was very young and just starting to serve our king back in Beleriand one of the officers was very fond of humiliating the young warriors if they did something he didn’t like. And well, I once did do something wrong and he did humiliate me, pretty horribly too”

Lerina sensed his feelings, he felt shame and fear and also anger, a lot of that. She embraced him tightly. “What happened?”

He sighed, kissed her forehead. “That son of an orc had me whipped, in front of the other recruits, that was bad enough but he had developed a sort of hatred towards me, why I don’t know but I guess I was popular and he wasn’t and so…..”

She held him, feeling him shiver for a moment. “Yes?”

He took a deep breath. “I wasn’t that strong yet, I was yet to gain a name for myself, nobody could really punish him so he took me, right in front of everyone. And it was horrible, not just the pain but the feeling of being just a thing, something to be used and tossed away”

Lerina felt his inner turmoil and for a moment she almost saw it, a very young version of her beloved, tied down and being violated by some high ranking officer. “That is just sick? Elves cannot do that?”

Mablung sighed. “No? you didn’t see the world I came from. It was way more violent than this one. He was a sick twisted ellon who found his death soon afterwards, at the end of an orc spear. It was well deserved but I couldn’t forget nor forgive, it stayed with me for many yeni after he was gone”

She sensed his sorrow and kissed him softly. “That is the past now, and you have me remember? Forget about that life, this is the only life which matters”

He smiled and kissed her, let long fingers slide through her hair. “You are right, it is time to let old memories die”

He embraced her and she relaxed and felt herself slowly drift into a deep sleep. Tomorrow she would feel better and perhaps they could try it again, she really wanted that.

-----------------------------------------------

As the morning sun rose above the forests one of the avari elves climbed down from his talan and walked towards the ditch which served as the latrine for the small village. He was whistling a jolly tune and thinking about the things he was to do this day. There were herbs to be gathered and some rituals to practice and he knew that the festival had ended with at least five new wedded couples. That was wonderful and promised well for the future. He was heading back to his talan when he heard an odd sound, it was a bird chirping but the chirps sounded a bit out of breath and it was obviously trying to tell him something, way too fast. He stared up, the bird sat on a branch and was almost shivering with eager energy. “Whoa there little one, slow down!”

The bird took a deep breath and the chirps came at a more normal rate, the shaman listened carefully and then he gasped and stared at the bird with huge eyes. “Is that true, oh by Oromë’s arrows, I have got to go!”

He ran off and the bird took a deep sigh of relief. His job was done, he could return to hunting grubs and wooing the females. The elf ran into the village, shouting to get everyone’s attention and before long a group of elves left the small settlement, heading north.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.