Ties of Destiny
She ran from the sprawling gardens and shining lights of her home. Throwing her leather sandals off, she reached the steps carved into the cliff. She tripped in her haste. She skidded at the bottom and fell into the sand, pressing a hand to her burning cheek.
What kind of answer did Curvo expect from her? She barely knew him. Of course, she knew that such mating instincts between elves could be instantly sensed, but shouldn’t that mean by both parties?
The quiet padding of footsteps up the beach stole her attention. A lofty figure trotted towards her, sable hair bouncing on his broad shoulders.
“Luimëníssë? Are you well?”
He extended a hand to her, starlight filling the sharp angles of his masculine face. His thin lips pulled back into a brilliant smile as he helped her to her feet. “You dance so well, I’m surprised to see you clumsy.”
She brushed the sand from her skirts with a breathy laugh. All thoughts of Curvo were overcome as he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm.
“I’m well,” she managed to breathe. “Only a little disoriented. I haven’t been down here at night, my mother has always forbidden me.”
“Then let’s take advantage of your disobedience. Come with me, there’s something I want to show you.”
Leading her by the hand, they skirted the foam. Lifting her hem, she beamed back at him as he tossed a playful grin over his shoulder. He led her at a light run, both laughing as they raced down the starlit beach.
At the edge of the rocky outcrop was a chasm of the cove only visible at low tide. They ambled deep into it’s shadows. The cliffs rose around them till they could only see the ocean at their backs.
“Do you trust me?” He pointed to the shadowy mouth of a sea cave hidden from view. “We’ll have to swim under water at one point.”
“Yes, I trust you,” she answered without hesitation.
They entered the dark cavern, the sound of waves echoing inside. A few feet from the entrance was a black pool. Rembano slipped under the surface, his shirt slick against his skin. He lifted a hand towards her, smoothing his dark waves back with the other. She took his hand and sunk under the surface, her hair and gown swirling around her. A strange light emitted from his other hand, a fire red glow that bounced off the onyx walls and made them iridescent. They swam under a granite ceiling and emerged on the other side.
Surfacing together, the strange red glow from his hand was doused. Before she could ask him about it, her breath was taken away by what she saw. It was a domed cavern, the walls swirling with mithril that blazed in the black. Jewels, strange and wondrous, illuminated the sloping ground beneath their feet in shades of violet and indigo. She could clearly see him before her in the light, the water lapping at their shoulders.
“Well?” He floated halfway onto his back and tugged her towards him, arms around her waist. “What do you think?”
His body hummed with warmth even in the chill of the cave. She braced her arms against his chest, resting her hands on his collar bone as he tread water in a circle around the pool.
“I had no idea it even existed.”
“I found it so very long ago. Centuries before your people even settled here. I used to gather these jewels for my first ornaments. My master, the one I had before... he said that those initial attempts were very admirable.” He gave a wistful laugh. “So that was what I became known as, the admirable.”
“How old are you?” She couldn’t imagine the number if he had been here before the Teleri had settled on these shores, even though her people were the last to settle in Aman. She wished she knew more lore like her mother.
He twirled a floating curl of her hair around his finger, the knuckle brushing against the bare skin of her arm. “Much older than you, I’m afraid. Does that intimidate you?”
“I’m not surprised. Nothing intimidates you. You are fearless, I knew it from the moment I first saw you as a child clinging to that cliff side. I was going to help you to safety, but you pulled yourself up without a cry. You have the heart of a hurricane, Silver Bell.”
His words left her aching for him, his voice like the quiet rumble of thunder as it bounced off the smooth walls around them. She leaned towards his mouth, but he gave a teasing smirk and pulled away.
“There is something I want to give you,” he said as he stood, though one hand never removed from her lower back.
He retrieved a small pouch from his pocket and slipped open the drawstring. A ring, silver with an intricate but simple foil, was fashioned with the black pearl she’d discovered in the cove beyond her home.
“It’s lovely,” she murmured.
“I made it for your finger alone. It won’t fit any one else’s, like that pearl ring that you keep won’t fit any but me.” He tipped her chin up, his golden eyes only for her. “Do you accept this ring?”
“Yes,” she said. “With all my heart.”
He let out a small sigh of wonder at her words and slipped it onto her finger.
“May I return yours to you now?” She took the pearl ring out from under her soaked gown. She slipped it off her neck and removed the chain. “I want to give it to you.”
He wet his lips as he peered down at her hand. “The exchange of rings is a sacred thing between elves.”
“Yes, I know,” she whispered. “But I wish to do it. It’s my own choice.”
“You would... have me? Even without knowing anything about me? Whether I am of noble birth or not?”
“I would have you no matter what. I may be young but I know what I want.” She pressed a hand to his cheek, her fingers pulsing with heat at the touch of his skin. He leaned into her caress, his eyes drifting closed. “And I want you.”
“Very well,” he said.
She settled the ring onto his forefinger. Oddly, it seemed to seal to his skin.
His urgent kiss sent a shock wave through her body, his mouth as hungry for her as she was for him. He pressed closer, the water surging and ebbing with the gentle current. The heat of his body made her feel like she was submerged in a bed of coals, as though they were two pieces of metal being fused together in the flames.
As he pulled away, she tilted her lips greedily towards him, wanting more. With a light laugh, he pressed his fingers to her mouth and let them linger there.
“I cannot give you any else now, you must understand,” he said huskily. “I must be going soon.”
She nuzzled his fingertips, eyes never leaving his. Uttering a groan from deep in his chest, he rested his forehead against hers.
“You are making this very difficult, love,” he said with a winded chuckle.
“But why must you go?”
He swam towards a ledge and lifted her up onto it. Resting between her legs, he drew her close till his chin was level with her breastbone. He blinked up at her, his expression pained.
“I don’t want to, but I must. For now. There are events happening in Tirion that I must witness. Things are going to change very soon, love, but you mustn’t be afraid. I will keep you safe, you are a part of me now.”
“What do you mean? I have heard others speak of similar matters.”
“Things between the Noldor and the Valar are not well at the moment. They have a leader among them who is driving a wedge between Tirion and the Holy Mountain. Tempers are running high.”
“And what is it you want to do?”
“I want to bring order and control to this world and I’ll do it by any means necessary. Its the only way for things to run efficiently.”
“Spoken like a true Noldo,” she laughed.
A strange smile flickered over his mouth. He laid a kiss to the hollow of her throat. “I suppose so,” he breathed onto her drenched skin.
Luimëníssë shivered as his lips skimmed the curve of her neck. “But you will return to me as soon as you are able?”
“Nothing could keep me away from you for long. I fear I will never be rid of my need for you,” he sighed, rising up and kissing her hard.
They emerged from the cave to find that the lights in the house above had been doused. She didn’t care anymore if her mother was concerned with her whereabouts, not with Rembano’s hand in her own as they walked towards the cliff steps.
“I will leave you here, I don’t want to alarm your father, a stranger bringing his only daughter home at this hour. And soaked to the bone,” he whispered with a wry grin, enveloping her in his arms. Resting his hands to the sides of her face, he kissed the tip of her nose.
“I will return, Luimëníssë. I always will. You must trust this.”
“I do,” she replied.
Fighting every natural impulse in her, she left his side and climbed the steps. As she reached the landing, she peered down into the blackness to find he had disappeared.
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