The two victorious armies traveled together along the Anduin river, splitting to go their separate ways before reaching the falls. The Rohirrim were to take their poor injured king back to Edoras and Aragorn lead his host of men to Minas Tirith. The king of Gondor had done all he could on the field for Eomer as a learned healer, dressing the large wound on his back and re-setting a fracture to his ankle. The latter injury must have occurred when he was roughly pulled down from his horse during a rather nasty orc attack.
Quite a few men were lost and their sacrifice for freedom would be honored when the king's remaining army returned to the great white city. And they were; each name had been sounded out with valor two weeks after the troops returned home. The nobles of Dol Amroth; who Amina came to learn were actually a line of princes, were to stay with them for a good three months if not longer.
The two weeks it took for the celebration to be put together was both joyous and hellish. Joyful because Legolas and Gimli were at her side for the most part, and hellish because of that incredibly vain woman who was doing her best to get on her good side. Apparently her three sons had awarded the princess with high praise and through them she learned that she was close friends with the elven prince. If only the mad women knew exactly how close she was to the noble elf then perhaps she would back off.
Yes, the intolerable woman was trying to get her; Amina, to play matchmaker for her daughter…with Legolas! It was amusing and enraging all at the same time. Her only saving grace was when she told both the elf and dwarf of this new development. For the two of them had shared a hardy laugh and just being around them always seemed to cheer her up.
Eventually though she'd had enough of the nonsense. It was one thing to remain nice in a political setting, but when she learned from Lothiriel herself that she had fancied another, she was quick to pull the old woman aside to set her straight.
"That is correct madam," Amina told her with a forced smile, "he is already spoken for."
"Well isn't that just a pity," then she grabbed onto the princess's shoulders and looked her in the eye with a scheming smile, "you know my middle boy Erchirion has taken quite a fancy with you. Certainly my son, who is a prince may I remind, is worthy of your attention, hm?"
She blinked once to quell her disbelief and keep her face a mask of calm resolve before telling her, "And he is a fine man whom I greatly respect along with the rest of your family," at seeing the pleasure of the praise creep into the woman's eyes, Amina took great joy while stating in a wistful voice, "Though my heart has been captured by another."
"Oh," she grinned ear to ear at the chance of learning some gossip on the royal family, "do tell!"
The lady had actually dared to shake her by the shoulders. So that was the point in which Amina stepped a fair pace backwards to get some distance between them, all the while saying, "Ah, but a woman's heart is a treasure cove of secrets. I fear this is one such token I must keep to myself."
Thank the Valar Gimli and Legolas rounded the corner in search for her, both wearing rather amused expressions on their faces, obviously having overheard the conversation. They had come to escort her to dinner and then to the celebratory party afterwards, she truly wanted to kiss the two for their timely interruption. And so the three of them bid the vile woman farewell and walked out into the hall.
It took Legolas everything in him to not push her against the wall and kiss her senseless. The gown she wore for the festivities tonight was nothing short of breathtaking. She was a true vision of beauty and her look reminded him of the moon and stars. Again he was amazed by how much she affected him by just being in his presence.
Luckily it was Gimli that was the first to break the silence with a rolling laugh once they were far enough away. "A woman's heart is a treasure cove?"
Amina hid a giggle beneath her hand, "I wasn't sure of what else to say and I refused to give her the satisfaction after all she's put me through these past weeks."
"You did well," Legolas brought her hand to his lips for a gentle kiss, "consider that a…token…of my appreciation."
Amina fell into a fit of giggles while walking between the two of them; though it was Gimli who asked after enjoying another cackling laugh, "Aye lass, you should've thought twice before entrusting an elf with a map to your, er, treasure cove."
"Gimli!" she halted her steps in shock and felt the need to knock him in the head, oh the audacity of that dwarf! It was only the sound of Legolas's captivating laugh that stopped her from doing so. They stopped their walking as well; the wretched rascals, so she held her head high and moved on past them, "the two of you are impossible."
The elf and dwarf laughed again as they easily caught up to her. It was Legolas who took her hand in his again and whispered in her ear, reminiscent of the day they left for the Brown Lands, "And you are no better princess."
She grinned at him then smiled warmly at Gimli as she took up his hand with her own. They moved forward in light spirits, their happiness and laughter soon became the main attraction as they entered the grand eating hall. Clearing her throat she released her hold on her two most trusted companions and sat beside Arwen at the main table all the while still feeling eyes of most everyone in the room focused on her and Gimli and Legolas. Aragorn rose and gave a magnificent speech regarding the war that had been won. He spoke proudly regarding the lives of the men lost of both Gondor and Rohan for the sake of their freedom. He had also given a lengthy tribute for Boromir which had brought tears to a number of individuals in the room. His sacrifice would not be forgotten.
Loud cheers began thundering throughout as he finished, deservedly so as it was a fine speech. The hall was packed tonight with Gondor citizens and soldiers. The meal that was served was nearly as divine as the wine. Once everyone had their fill the tables were cleared and moved back into the storage area. All of this was done while others began to arrange the room for music to be played and others to enjoy the rest of the evening dancing and drinking to the freedom of the future and the remembrance of such sacrifices that allowed for this night to occur. There was an air of excitement building through all the inhabitants in the large elegant room. Everyone was looking forward to an enjoyable evening.
To start the night's events, Aragorn brought his lovely wife to the floor by the hand and shared a dance that seemed to entrance anyone watching. The good people of Minas Tirith had grown to appreciate how much their king and queen adored each other. As it was clear to see how deeply they loved one another. Everyone had spoken in whispers at some point since the beginning of their reign of when little ones would begin coming along.
Amina watched her beloved brother and sister dance slowly together as more and more couples of old and young began to join them. She was leaning against a wide marble column in a dimly lit portion at the back of the room. There was a fond smile on her face at seeing Aragorn finally happy and able to show his love for Arwen to the world.
She stilled her breath as she felt someone come behind her and shift her hair over her left shoulder, leaving the flesh of her skin exposed. Immediately she had known it was her own love and slowly leaned back into him. After all Legolas was one of the few that could truly sneak up on her. First she felt his breath on her shoulder and neck as he bent forward to lightly inhale the sweet scent of her skin, then came searing little kisses as he moved from her neck to her jaw and finally to her ear.
Whispering to her after placing a gentle kiss on the lobe of her ear, "You look stunning in that dress," he told her in elvish even as his hands came to rest on the curve of her hips, "so beautiful, Amina."
A long yet low moan emitted from her throat allowed him to notice just how he was affecting her with his passionate kisses and affectionate voice. Her head leaned further back onto his shoulder, taking the stolen pleasure as he kissed the side of her jaw and neck once more, "Legolas," she whispered.
He was painfully aware that he couldn't push this further than he already had. Every inch of his body was tense with the need to touch every part of her. Taking a few steps back to hopefully clear the air, he was forced to watch as she turned to look at him over her shoulder with thinly veiled eyes. Vala, she was breathtaking. Her gown was of silver silk with long sheer yet soft tulle taking place of her sleeves, to put it plainly, it was made for her. And now she was looking at him with those smoldering blue-grey eyes staring him down. Did she know what she did to him with a just a simple look?
With a soundless groan he pulled her to him, turning her around only to push her back against the column. He stepped into her and hastily brought his mouth down to taste her supple lips. His kiss was rough, letting her know how much she affected him. Letting her feel how so close he was to completely losing control. That is what touching her; kissing her, that is what she did to him.
Amina could feel the hardness of his toned body pressed against her and it made her dizzy with want. Here they were, so intimate with each other in a room crowded with people. Yet his drugging kiss only urged her on and soon her hands were deep in his hair, pulling him more firmly against her mouth and pliant body.
He pulled away from her suddenly, he had to. Resting his forehead against hers he distanced his body to try and settle down his intense desire. A few moments passed and he fully stood back from her, loving the view she created with her closed eyes and heaving chest. Her lips swollen from his kiss sent a wave of supreme possession through him.
Aragorn had noticed his wife's attention was no longer fixed on him and their dance. In fact, she had nearly gone still. He tilted back a little to gauge the look on her and was surprised to see the shock in her lovely eyes. Following the line of her sight he saw his good friend Legolas staring at his sister rather passionately. He glanced back to his wife with a knowing smile.
"Arwen," he watched as those beautiful wide blue eyes of hers looked at him, "it isn't nice to stare."
She somehow made it possible to widen her eyes even further as she fervently whispered back to him, "He kissed her! That was no," she paused for a moment and lowered her voice even further, "that was not a kiss shared among friends."
He couldn't help but give voice to a little laugh, with all of the goings on of the war in the Brown Lands and preparations for the celebration afterwards he never got around to giving her the news, "He loves her, Arwen."
"Truly?" Now she was looking joyously as she glanced back over in their direction. The elven prince was now leading her by the hand towards them to share a dance. She could see that Amina was fairly glowing with adoration for the elf and knew it was not just the noble prince that was in love. It made her positively gleeful to see the girl so blissful.
Aragorn smiled as he too looked at his fair sister now dancing in the arms of Legolas all the while staring tenderly into his eyes, "He told me such himself."
A delighted smile lit her face and she brought herself fully into her husband's embrace, "Look at how happy she is Aragorn," she whispered in elvish, "she deserves some happiness after all she's been through in her young life."
He nodded even as he leaned his head over hers and carried a gentle smile of his own with closed eyes, loving the feeling of her being in his arms, "I could not wish for a better suitor for our heiress."
Legolas meanwhile had overheard nearly every word of the king and queen of Gondor's conversation with his trained hearing, which also meant Amina could pick up the whispered words regarding them as well. And by the enlightened yet teasing glint in her gaze he was certain she had.
"My father has given us his blessing," he admitted to her in a low voice, "it would seem we have the approval of Aragorn and Arwen as well."
His news surprised her, "Your father accepted us being together? He barely knows me, are you sure?"
"I wouldn't say he barely knows you," he answered her with a witty grin, "I couldn't stop talking about you when I went to see him. I think even then he was aware of my feelings for the valiant lady warrior."
Looking pleased as her cheeks lightly flushed she couldn't help but tease him, "Couldn't stop talking about me?" She could feel the chuckle that reverberated throughout his body and loved the sound and feel of it.
He twirled her around and dipped her low in his strong arms, all the while his face remaining inches away from hers, "I am quite smitten with you, my lady."
Legolas could feel her heart pounding and savored the alluring look in her gaze as he slowly brought her up and gave her yet another twirl. With the way he held her closely in his arms and the way she met him stare for stare, well it was fairly obvious they were rather enamored with one another. And by the end of the second dance they shared the secret was out. Most of the civilian women who had come to look up to and admire their fierce warrior princess actually awed aloud when they saw a very handsome blonde elf give her a lingering kiss to the hand as they ended another dance.
They decided to seek out Gimli and spend time with the mutual friend. They found him nearly half drunk and spinning tales of the fellowship's journey to Arwen. Aragorn had been adding in little comments here and there over his head which had his lady wife trying to hide her smiles from the dwarf. Seamlessly they blended in with the ongoing conversation. And soon both ladies watched amusedly as the three males took turns in their story-telling.
Soon the discussion turned to the agreement of Legolas and Gimli's desire to revisit Helm's Deep to explore the glittering caves. The dwarf told them he would then travel back to Erebor to see his father and other kin. When Gimli openly asked if Amina would be joining them the lass shared a glance with her brother and sister as though asking for their thoughts on the matter. Arwen simply smiled and nodded while Aragorn brought her into a one-armed hug. Over her head his eyes met Legolas in mutual understanding. They had previously talked of her adventuring with them a week beforehand.
The excitement of the upcoming journey began to fester within Amina's spirit, and she gladly welcomed Gimli's offer for a round of dancing. He had her laughing the entire time and she could honestly say that this night was turning into quite a memorable evening with her loved ones and close friends nearby.
Despite the rather nasty looks she began to receive from Imrahil's despicable wife, the prince of Dol Amroth himself was a kind man. Why he and his sons had each shared a dance with both she and Arwen before the night was over. Amina hadn't lied when she told the woman that she did respect the family…just not the lady herself. It seemed Legolas managed to keep himself occupied in an effort to avoid being forced to share a round with Lothiriel or her mother. Lothiriel herself was quick to become embarrassed and ashamed once more over the situation as a whole.
It was sad because both Arwen and Amina had taken a liking to the girl, as it was clear from her own words that she held no designs for the male elf. Over the pass two weeks they had gotten to know each other pretty well, as well with the now pregnant Eowyn…especially Eowyn. There was a connection between the two noble women with hearts of warriors, they came to truly understand each other. Whereas Amina had been able to earn her right to fight alongside the men, for the two humans it was not so easy. Lothiriel had told them that her mother hadn't always been that way; that she had changed when all of her children no longer needed mothering.
The celebrations were finally coming to an end as slowly and steadily people began to leave or head to the rooms provided to them. Legolas had escorted the heiress to her quarters, lingering with her in the hallway to cherish a few last stolen moments together alone. When her head hit the pillow of her bed she brought a hand to her lips and with closed eyes she could almost feel his kiss once more.
A few more days had passed by and the plans were finalized for the trip to Edoras and then on to Helm's Deep. Gimli was growing more and more giddy as the time drew near for them to depart. Amina had spent a lot of time sitting in on meetings with the other captains regarding border patrol reports, and so far all was in the clear. When she was free the princess found herself enjoying the company of Eowyn, Arwen, and even Lothiriel. All the ladies were fawning over Eowyn's delicate condition, excited for her and Faramir.
Soon the day had finally arrived and the three friends were set to begin their new adventure. Gimli and Amina had been waiting for Legolas to join them and for Aragorn and Arwen to see them off only for the three of them to step out onto the high stone courtyard of Minas Tirith together. Bidding a fond farewell to the king and queen Legolas, Gimli, and Amina set off on their horses through the white streets of the city and out through the gates. Senna and Arod carried a light gallop through the Pellenor fields, their riders happy to notice that grass had been starting to re-grow now that enough time had passed since the battle so many months ago.
The three wanted to take their time making their way through the lands of Gondor and into Rohan, stopping to take many breaks of food and water for themselves and their noble mounts. There was just something wonderful about being out in the open among friends. With no looming battles or wars ahead, they could finally take the time to be leisure in their movements and just enjoy one another's company.
At night, stories of old were shared. Stories that brought laughter and some that even brought on a few tears of sadness. Such as the tale Gimli had spun of his father's own adventure under Thorin and his company of dwarves. In the end, after going through so much to take back their land from the dragon Smaug that the dwarf prince was killed along with two of his cousins. Hearing the story from the dwarf's point of view brought about a more appreciative perspective for Legolas. It was that story and so many others shared that brought the three of them closer as friends than ever.
It wasn't always just friendship being shared. Usually Legolas and Amina spent their time together alone early in the mornings, tangled in each other's embrace and kisses as they watched the rising sun. There were; naturally, times when they held hands or shared a lingering touch or kiss throughout the day, but neither wanted Gimli to feel isolated. It was amazing how different things were now between the new couple, how such a change in their relationship caused them to open up to the other.
Regardless of how they tried to keep their feelings subtle, Gimli actually found it amusing to watch them react around each other day by passing day. He had noticed their attraction to each other before the first war in Rohan, and watched as it steadily grew into honest affections and eventually into a deep kind of love. He was happy for his two friends and was also pleased by their efforts to keep all the lovey dovey stuff mostly to themselves.
And onwards they traveled; with their slow pace it took them several days before cresting the hill that allowed them to once again see the wooden castle of Edoras. They each glanced at one another and shared a smile before taking the first couple strides toward Rohan's main city.
A/N **Blu: Yes, I am alive, it has just been a crazy summer so far. Sorry for th wait!