So glad there's still people reading this, I'm still writing about 6 chapters in advance so there's plenty more to come. Keep reviewing!
The light of the dawning sun filtered in through the windows, gently awakening me. I pulled myself out of bed with a struggle, my wounds were more painful than they had been yesterday, I pressed my hand to my stomach - where the arrow had penetrated the flesh. Blood was reddening the area around the stitches and I winced. As much as I hated to admit it, riding was going to be difficult…I was trying my best not to even think about how I would manage to fight.
I dressed quickly, my chain slinked itself around my arm protectively and I smiled, sometimes I forgot that the metal wasn't a living thing…even if it did seem to have its own personality at times. The long dress I pulled over my head was a dark royal blue in color, the fabric thick and warm, a quality I'd need in the coming weeks of travel. I walked down towards the main hall slowly, putting most of my weight on the wall beside me. I jumped when an arm circled around my waist, I turned to see Legolas leading me carefully down the stairway.
"You frightened me," I laughed.
"You should not be wandering around unattended, your injuries are still fresh," Legolas replied.
"Is everyone ready to leave?" I questioned.
"Yes, the men and horses are readied, Aragorn requested I retrieve you from your room, but it appears you already beat me to it," Legolas smiled reassuringly and I couldn't help but join him.
"I must ask," His voice began again, this time filled with seriousness, "Are you sure that you wish to continue?" His perfect brow wrinkled as he spoke.
I let out a long, careful sigh and I contemplated my answer, "Last night I dreamt again, for the hundredth time, about the death of my father and brothers. Two days ago I killed one of the brothers I believed to be already dead. My city lies broken on the green lands it formally flourished. All hope of repairing my kingdom is gone," I spoke quietly as we came to a standstill just before the entrance to the hall.
"I am certain that this is all that is left for me, injured or not, I will do what I can to help."
Legolas nodded with a look of understanding, "Even Aragorn could not stop you?" He asked and for a moment I was taken aback by his bluntness.
"You care for him, do you not?" He asked again.
"I do," I replied, my voice but a whisper.
Before Legolas had time to speak again, the doors opened and Gandalf appeared, hurriedly he took my weight from Legolas.
"Go prepare yourself, we leave momentarily," Gandalf nodded towards Legolas and he left, glancing at me quickly before he walked off.
"Come," Gandalf assisted me outside, towards a large grey horse that stood proudly in the damaged courtyard.
"This horse is for you," Gandalf stated and I ran my hands down the animal's soft hair.
"He's beautiful," I smiled, the animal reminded me of the fine horses of my city. The horse glanced over to me, his eyes were dark but gentle.
"Accept him as an apology," Gandalf began and I couldn't help but study him, confused, "I ordered Aragorn not to trust you, I believed you had already been infected with the evil that spreads through this place, I was wrong."
"I appreciate your apology, but it is unnecessary."
"Heal as many as you can, these men have been ordered to protect you as best they can in war. Look out for them and they will look out for you, that is the key to your survival," Gandalf said, his voice filled with wisdom.
"A fine horse," Another voice appeared from behind us, I turned to find Aragorn walking over towards us. My eyes widened and I couldn't help but allow myself to smile. He wore his armor proudly; the white tree of Gondor was emblazoned across the fine metal.
"Thank you," I nodded, Gandalf walked away quietly, leaving my self and Aragorn to speak.
"You surprise me," I began wistfully "You are beginning to look like a king."
Aragorn's eyes left mine, a hint of sadness hidden within them.
"You must name him," Aragorn's hand brushed the horses white mane and he shook the hand away before nudging at me with his nose, I couldn't help but laugh.
"He knows his owner," Aragorn smiled, looking over to me.
"He will come to know you too, I'm sure," I replied "I have no name for him," I added.
"A strong animal deserves a strong title," He added.
I thought for a moment, struggling to think of something worthy, "Silmaril," I smiled.
"The gems of the crown," Aragorn spoke "A good choice."
I packed all of what I'd need onto Silmaril and prepared to leave. Aragorn helped me onto the animals back, the pain of the motion bringing tears to my eyes.
"You are still too weak to ride," Aragorn stated, his brow furrowing.
"I can manage." I cursed myself for not sounding more convincing.
"He is a gentle animal, Aragorn," Gandalf's bellowing voice sounded as he made his way around to us on his own horse. "He will look after her."
"You will ride by my side," Aragorn said to me quietly, I nodded almost reluctantly. I had never wished to act as a distraction, but it appeared that that was what I was becoming.
The sky was dark and the air cold. It was growing more and more difficult to stop myself from shivering as I rode. A thick blanket was already covering my shoulders, but I was struggling. I tried to fight back the panic that was itching at the forefront of my mind, but I was failing.
"We will stop for the night just west of here, the men need to rest," Aragorn's voice sounded from beside me, it carried out over the small army that followed him. I found a sigh of relief escaping me at his statement.
"You too need rest," He said to me, his voice now quiet. I found that every time he spoke to me, his voice took on a gentle hue - perhaps he feared me too delicate to be treated as just another warrior.
"Stop worrying about me," I replied.
"If I do not worry about you, who will?" Aragorn asked, his eyes meeting mine as our horses slowed to a walking pace, leaving others to overtake us.
For a moment I was stumped, I couldn't decide whether to be saddened or amused by his statement…it turned out I didn't need to make that decision, as the sadness was already clear in my expression.
"I need no worry wasted on me," I said quietly.
"If your father or brothers were still alive, would they agree with you, or me?" He added and I found myself taken aback. I didn't know why he was bringing up my family now, after everything we had spoken about, surely there was little need to begin a discussion as we rode to war.
"They would agree with you," I smiled in defeat and Aragorn nodded.
We were brought to a standstill soon after our discussion, I sat upon Silmaril, unable to move as every motion shot pain through my stomach and shoulder. Aragorn walked towards me, but was stopped by Gandalf, who blocked his intervention.
"One thing you should know about this horse," Gandalf began, both myself and Aragorn watched him in confusion as he stroked Silmaril's mane.
"Dren, what is the Dylorian word for 'kneel'?" Gandalf asked, causing my brow to furrow.
"Gluine," I replied, but the word was almost immediately interrupted by the kneeling of Silmaril. He fell to his knees in a graceful bow. Gandalf's lip twitched into a proud smirk.
"He is a capall ciallmhar," I grinned.
"What does that mean?" Aragorn asked, the horse still bowed to the ground.
"A wise horse," I said with a smile. Aragorn walked towards me, helping me off the lowered animal, he set me gently on my feet.
I tied Silmaril up near where my tent had been fitted and allowed him to eat and drink - he gave me a thankful nudge with his silky nose and I smiled.
"Enjoy," I mumbled, placing a light kiss on the animals long face as my hand scratched behind his ear.
"Am I interrupting?" Aragorn asked as he appeared from behind me, an amused smile played on his lips.
"Very much so," I mocked.
"Your wounds will need tended to," He said, holding up his hands that were filled with supplies. I nodded, taking note of his change in attire. No longer was he made up in the armour of Gondor, but instead was back to how he looked when I first met him. Dirtied riders gloves covered his hands, he wore heavy boots and a long dark over cloak. I sat down on an abandoned log that lay strewn in front of my tent, he followed, sitting close beside me.
His fingers moved the material of my cloak gently from my shoulders, it fell heavily to the ground.
"May I?" Aragorn asked in a low mumble, his eyes signaling to the ties on my dress. I blushed, my own fingers untying the thread at my neckline so that the shoulder of my dress slid down over the bandaged wound. Immediately, the paleness of my skin was illuminated beneath the moonlight. Aragorn's calloused hands gently peeled the bandage from my skin and I looked away, wincing.
"It's no surprise the stress of the journey hasn't helped you heal at all," He frowned, shaking his head, "It has barely stopped bleeding."
I glanced towards the wound and scrunched up my nose at the sight. The bloodied outline of the swords blade was clear, it would leave a nasty scar…just another to add to my growing collection.
"Silmaril is gentle, riding will not halt my healing," I reassured.
"As gentle a creature as he may be, the stress is too much."
"It is," I agreed but my words were meant for him, our eyes locked as his hand paused on my shoulder - soon it began to move around to the back of my neck, his thumb drawing comforting circles over the skin.
Before I was able to stop myself, my lips crashed eagerly to his, for a moment he seemed stunned into stillness…until I felt his lips part against my own. A feverish rhythm took hold of us as he pulled me closer to him, the pain of my injuries was lost against the passion of our embrace…until suddenly, I was cold again. The heat from his body had disappeared and the comfort of his arms gone. He looked at me with regret in his eyes and I felt embarrassment flush my face, anger bubbled deep within me - stealing away whatever distraction may have been present.
"I'm sorry," Aragorn said, his voice painfully quiet.
"So am I," I replied, my eyes never leaving the ground.
"It isn't," He began, but I stopped him, shaking my head.
"Leave me," I stated, when he didn't move I found my voice rose to a shout, "Leave me!" I repeated.
And sadly, he listened to me. He turned his back to me and walked off towards his own tent, leaving me to sleep alone. It was only when he had disappeared that I was filled with melancholy. He didn't want me, this was clear…but it wasn't that which hurt me so deeply, but instead it was the thought that I wanted him as much as I did. It was my desperate need for him that caused me to begin packing my things and untying Silmaril from his post.