19. The festival



S.A 1350

It was clear to Orneth that Naerchanar had soften up on her. He had already changed a bit and suddenly she remembered the person she once loved so dearly. It was not that strange he appeared a little paranoid at first. He had been a part of two big wars which he survived. All the grim situations he had experienced was not something that he could swipe away that easily. Orneth concluded with the fact it was not her he was doubting, but his past that triggered him to question everyone.

The evening were appearing and the autumn sun were giving the place a warm feel. Orneth had decided to stay at the feast as she wanted to look around one more time just in case. As much as she trusted Naerchanar words, she could not quite settle down with the fact that he had not seen Manyamë at all recent years. There were way too many coincidences. He was here in Eregion. Manyamë apparently were heading to Eregion to look for someone. They once were very close. So Orneth felt that there was something that still was a miss.

Somehow she wanted to look as best she could in front of him. She only had her travelling clothes and one simple, beige dress. She picked some flowers and decorated the dress and her hair with it. She had a small mirror in her bag and she thought to herself. 'not bad, considering few hours of sleep and weeks of travelling." She smiled as she picked up her diary and the little cloth with the daisy. If Naerchanar only knew that she had kept the daisy he gave her, he would never doubt her intentions.

The harvest festival was taking place at one of the farmlands outside the settlement. There was music, food and eldar in their finest clothes. There were all kinds in colorful food stands. Wine, cheese, fruit, bread and whipped cream and small cakes on silver-plates and transparent flasks. Orneth had not felt hunger for days, she somehow had suppressed it. Seeing all the food she could not resist to eat.

The music was different from what she was used too. It was quite upbeat and the rhythm were held up by drums and tramping influenced by music of the naugrims. She observed that the crowd was happy and many was dancing. She did not know how to dance, so she stood next to the stands where there were maidens serving food. She did not want to be seen, she only wanted to observe. Back in her head she thought about Manyamë.

 

A little party of ellons in red velvet robes appeared and walked towards the tables of wine and liqueur. In between the ellons, she noticed a very tall, straight, silver haired ellon. It was Naerchanar. She noticed that the attenders, especially the females had their head turned and started to gather around him. No wonder and no surprise. Observing the scene, she was brought back to Marilo. Her stomach twisted around in pain for a brief moment. She loved Marilo, but it seemed he was having her focus on Simawen. The last things she saw when she left was them holding hands. He would never be hers and she knew it deep inside. Naerchanar reminded her about him. Not by his looks or personality, but more about the unattainable. Something one could dream about, but never have. Orneth was surprised how fast she got attached to him again. Of course, it helped that they had been best-friends for years in the past. He was no stranger to her.

She stood between two small stands where there were cakes and cream for grabs, then she heard a voice, "Do you want to taste?" A red-haired lady held up a plate with some fruit and cream" Orneth smiled and looked at it, she haven't eaten sweets for as long as she could remember, "I do not have any coins I am afraid," The lady laughed, "It is free silly! Here, take it and enjoy." Orneth bowed politely and looked at the plate with wonder and she responded. "Thank you so much. That is very kind of you." The lady laughed, "No need to be polite around here. We are celebrating Yavanna. The Valar who created the trees of Valinor!" It's a day for being happy." She looked at her thoughtful, "Is there anything troubling you? You look a little distressed." Orneth smiled and said, "Ahh, I was just lost in thoughts for a moment. My name is Orneth by the way." The lady with the red hair said, "Beautiful name. My name is Giril." Orneth looked at her red hair that looked like fire, "Thank you and likewise." She turned herself to Orneth and said, "You are adorable with your flowers in your hair. You should not hide between the stands. Come let us take some wine!"She smiled and took Orneth's hand and guided her towards the crowd who stood by the wine tables."

Orneth did not dare to watch at the group of the more prominent guards and leaders. They looked shiny and elegant in their velvet. She didn't feel comfortable in her worn dress. She just felt different from the others. Giril had her hair braided with pearls. She wore a perfect green silk dress and it was ridiculous to even compare their outfits. Orneth did not know it was a fine event. She thought it was more casual.

Giril poured some wine into a cup. "Here! Do not look distressed and sad Lady Orneth. You do have a beautiful smile. Be happy tonight. One never knows what tomorrow brings. It is better to be happy in the moment." Orneth took a sip from the wine and she quickly looked over her shoulder. She blushed when she saw in the direction of the guards and Naerchanar. She met his gaze, he was looking at her. She blushed and took a sip of her wine and looked at Giril again. Giril laughed as she saw Orneth's shyness. "I did not know Lord Naerchanar would be around tonight. He is usually very busy. Hmm, are you taken by our great leader?" Giril teased a little and took Orneth's hand. Orneth shook her head, "Not at all. I do know him way back when we were living in Beleriand." Giril looked puzzled, "Oh really? He never mentions the time he lived there. Not that I know him personally, but I heard rumours about him experiencing tremendous loss." Orneth smiled to Giril and said, "Well, it is many years ago." Giril laughed and took one other sip. "Let us dance!!" Orneth protested and said, "I cannot dance." Giril smiled. "Everyone can dance. Just follow me and move to the music." Orneth felt quite lightheaded and she felt joy holding her new friend hands. She did not quite feel overly comfortable, but no one seemed to care if she stepped wrong here and there. During the dance an ellon discreetly took Giril's hand and continued the dance. Orneth stepped out from the circle and winked to Giril and thought to herself. 'He stole her away from me.' She walked away from the dancing field and was about to go back to the stands with the fruits and the cakes when she heard a deep voice. "Orneth!"

Orneth turned and she took a deep breathe when she saw his smile and his warm eyes. It was him. "Naerchanar" Orneth said and blushed. He smiled, "You look like a flower meadow!" Did he just mock her? She knew she looked like a scarecrow compared to all the silk-dressed-maidens she saw around. She laughed, "This?" She held up her dress a touch. She continued, "I didn't have anything else to wear" He smiles and held out his elbow and arm for her to grab around. He said, "I quite like it, you look natural in the spirit of Yavanna's soul. You brought the nature with you" He corrected her flower circlet. Orneth looked up at him and her heart beat. He looked at her warmly and said, "Let us go for a walk. I want to show you the lake."

Orneth noticed that several eyes were watching them leaving. She blushed and suddenly felt special. Deep inside she knew she was fooled. In the eyes of the eldar in the city of Eregion, he probably were nothing more than a troublemaker.

He guided her towards a little small lake hidden in a small circle of trees by the foot of the mountain. It was not far away from the festival area, but far enough so no one would keep an eye on them.

The lake had silent water and there was waterlilies covering the surface. Orneth looked around and smile, "How lovely!!" Naerchanar gestured for her to sit down. He said, "Why don't we have a sit. I just wanted to talk to you, before you travel home tomorrow." Orneth smiled, "We had a lot of conversations in the past. Remember? Do you remember all the roleplay we did?" He laughed and smiled. "Yes I do remember, I was forced." Orneth laughed, "No you were not. You wanted to be around us all the time. That was the prize you had to pay." He looked at her. Orneth looked down. She had a hard time being natural and relaxed in his presence. He took her hand, "You are special Orneth. You told me you lost many loved ones in your life. So did I... Seeing you again, was a shock." Orneth looked at him and smiled warmly, "I could say the same Naerchanar. I am impressed how much you have achieved." He laughed, "I am nothing more than an outlaw around these lands. I don't know how honorable that is." Orneth looked at the lake and said, "Depends on whom you surround yourself with. I can understand your agenda for doing what you do. There are many who lost their loved ones in Beleriand and many lost them in the kin-slaying. I can understand that there still is grudge out there. You have made a home for many. You are a hero for them." He nods, "I have saved a few lost souls indeed." Orneth smiled. "My statements still stand. I am impressed." He looked at her, and stroked away some hair from her face. "Orneth..." Orneth looked at him and her heart pounded. He mesmerized her, she did not know what to say or do. He bent forward and gently kissed her forehead. Orneth sighted and took a heavy breathe. Her cheeks were burning.

Then he said, "You are like my sister. I do care a lot for you." Orneth was smiling in a resignation. How odd, it all happened again, like a reminder of the past. Where had she heard that phrase before?....

 

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