42.The lighthouse

S.A 2052

As time passed, Orneth and Manyamë grew to be close companions, often taking leisurely walks along the stunning coastline and meandering down the winding roads that led to the lighthouse. In each other's company, they blossomed, and Manyamë gradually began to open up, revealing more of herself with every passing day. Orneth couldn't help but notice that when Manyamë smiled, she looked younger and more alive, and it filled her heart with joy to see her friend happy and at peace. One day, to Orneth's surprise, Manyamë said that she was considering revisiting her family, a decision spurred by her impending departure from Middle-Earth and her desire to reflect on her past and her life. During their walks, Manyamë was filled with curiosity and often asked Orneth about her own family. To reassure her friend's concerns, Orneth and Giril sent messages to Harlond and Mithlond to let everyone know that they were safe. Nonetheless, their true purpose for traveling remained a mystery to most, with many assuming that it was solely for the purpose of conducting Haldanáre's ceremony in memory of Falchon's deceased best friend.

As they continued their journey, sporadic reports of disturbances reached their ears, originating from the southern region. They were aware that something unsettling was brewing in the east. Determined to ensure the safety of the village, they set out to investigate. Naerchanar, in particular, held deep concern for Manyamë's well-being and felt compelled to join the small group in their mission. He couldn't bear the thought of his beloved succumbing to darkness once again under the influence of Falquando's obsession. However, the situation took a turn for the worse when rumors spread of a towering horseman patrolling the nearby woodlands and pathways. This heightened their fears and prompted Manyamë to seek refuge within the safety of her house. Meanwhile, Naerchanar, accompanied by Oldaer, embarked on a quest to unravel the mysteries behind the interruptions and disturbances that plagued the area. Their primary goal was to find answers and gain clarity amidst the unsettling circumstances.

During this time, Orneth couldn't help but keep a watchful eye on her surroundings near the lighthouse. She felt a certain vulnerability, knowing that both Oldaer and Naerchanar had ridden out. It wasn't that she feared for their safety; rather, it was the uncertainty of the situation and what they might encounter. Lost in her thoughts, she gazed across the barren field in front of the farmlands, her senses heightened. Movement caught her attention, and she squinted her eyes, realizing there was a figure striding toward her. A wave of apprehension washed over her as she instinctively began to retreat, suspecting it could be the mysterious dark rider roaming the lands. Her heart raced, and a sense of unease consumed her, but as the figure drew nearer, she recognized the familiar silhouette of someone she cherished. Could it be? She hadn't heard from him in ages and had resigned herself to the belief that she would never see him again, which had brought her longing and pain. Was she imagining things? As the person came closer, her heart pounded wildly, and a wave of dizziness overcame her. It was him. It was Falchon.

Picture AI-generated from Microsoft Bing DALL·E

As Orneth dashed towards Falchon, her eyes beheld his impressive form, with broad shoulders and a toned physique that caused her heart to skip a beat. In one swift motion, she threw herself into his awaiting arms, feeling the strength of his embrace as he effortlessly lifted her off the ground before gently setting her back down. "Orneth!" he exclaimed with sheer delight, his eyes sparkling with joy at the sight of her. Her heart swelled with happiness, and a wide smile graced her face as she looked up at him, admiring his regal appearance. "Is it really you?" she asked, her voice filled with awe. Falchon chuckled softly and replied, "In flesh and blood, my dear friend." Orneth was left momentarily speechless, her gaze fixed upon him in awe as a rush of emotions surged within her like a tsunami. He was exquisitely handsome, and his dark hauberk accentuated his commanding presence. Gathering her thoughts, she finally managed to speak, "I... I am glad you're here." Her voice quivered slightly, reflecting her overwhelmed state. Falchon, sensing her reaction, continued speaking, "I heard from Lady Siryawen that Giril is planning a small ceremony in honor of Haldanáre, and I felt compelled to come here." His deep voice carried a sense of duty and purpose. Orneth's smile widened, but she still struggled to find the right words, her mind still entranced by Falchon's presence. She cast her gaze downward, feeling a twinge of unease at the mention of Lady Siryawen, but Falchon's casual tone reassured her that it was merely shared information, possibly from his recent visits to Harlond or Mithlond.

Orneth couldn't help but be captivated by Falchon's stunning beauty. He appeared resplendent in his exquisite robe, with his long, braided black hair cascading down his back. A tingling of excitement coursed through her as she softly spoke, "Did you know that your mother is here?" Falchon's expression softened at the mention of his mother, and a hint of seriousness crossed his face. "That's one of the reasons I came," he confessed, his gaze becoming intense. "I need some answers." Orneth's heart quickened at the thought of assisting him. Suddenly, Falchon flashed her a mischievous grin, causing warmth to spread across her cheeks. "But, of course, there was a third reason as well." He enveloped Orneth in his arms once more, gently lifting her off her feet. Slowly, he set her back down, his lips brushing against her cheek. Orneth gasped for air, her face flushing with a mixture of surprise and anticipation. Falchon looked at her quizzically. "Are you still afraid of me?" he inquired. Orneth couldn't help but laugh, admitting to him that a trace of fear lingered within her. Taking his hand, she guided him toward the storage house, and together they stepped inside. As Falchon peered into the cramped space, his eyes widened in surprise. "Perhaps not the most accommodating dwelling for a tall soldier like myself," he exclaimed, his amusement evident. Orneth smiled, shaking her head. "Well, at least it offers a breathtaking view," she said, peering out the window where the ocean waves crashed against the cliff on which the house stood.

As they stood by the large window, Falchon enveloped Orneth in his arms. An electric tension hung in the air, and as she gazed up at him, she caught a special glimmer in his eyes that sent her heart racing. With a soft voice, she uttered, "I've missed you so much. I thought you were gone forever. It has been years." He remained silent, drawing her even closer before capturing her lips in a passionate kiss. From there, he guided her toward the bed, their bodies intertwining in a moment of pure intensity. In that moment, everything else faded away as Orneth surrendered herself to the overwhelming desire and connection she felt for him. It was a whirlwind of love and devotion, and she yearned for his embrace with a deep longing. Finally, as they reluctantly pulled apart, Orneth was left breathless and dazed. Hours had passed, and as they exchanged bewildered glances, they both struggled to comprehend the magnitude of what had transpired and the depth of the bittersweet moment they had shared. As Orneth looked at Falchon resting beside her, a pang of deep pain filled her body. She loved him intensely, but she knew that this night would not make their situation any easier.

Picture AI-generated from Microsoft Bing DALL·E

As the evening light gradually waned, Orneth lit a solitary candle on the table. Nestled in Falchon's embrace, she looked up at him with a heart full of emotions. He tenderly stroked her hair, gazing at her with an intensity that made her feel weak. Softly, she spoke once again, "I love you, Falchon. I have missed you so much." A sad smile formed on his lips as he replied, "Princess, not a day has passed where I haven't thought of you as well." Orneth bit her lip and asked, "I never heard anything from you all these years. The only reason I knew you were alive was through Giril, who received messages from Haldanáre." Falchon drew her even closer, his voice filled with regret, "I know. While others wrote letters, I deliberately avoided it." Curiosity etched on Orneth's face, she inquired, "Why? Why did you choose not to communicate?" He took a deep breath and replied, "There aren't many happy stories out there. I didn't know what to share, and I didn't want to burden you with my struggles." Orneth shook her head, her eyes filled with understanding, "It doesn't matter, Falchon. It would have been nice to hear from you, to know you were fine."


Orneth gracefully rose, supporting herself with one arm, her melodious laughter filling the air. "I challenge you," she exclaimed, a mischievous glint in her eye. "Next time, all you need to do is write me a note that says, 'I am fine!' That's all I require. Just three words!" Falchon chuckled softly at her request, his eyes sparkling with amusement. "Only three words? You don't ask for much," he teased her gently. Orneth's smile softened into a sweet and gentle expression as she spoke. "It's better than nothing, Falchon. You have a family now, and many who care for you. Lord Mannamo cares for you deeply, and I worry when we don't hear from you." Falchon's tender gaze lingered on Orneth as he pulled her closer, playfully tugging at her hair. "Well, if you insist, but only three words. If you ask for more, that's pushing it a little," he chuckled. He let out a contented sigh, his gaze wandering to the diary lying on the table. "You do enjoy writing, don't you?" Orneth nodded and picked up her diary, flipping through its pages. "I do. I've written so many pages, and many of them are about you." Falchon raised an eyebrow in surprise, his expression becoming more serious. "Is that so?" Orneth blushed slightly. "Yes, I dream about you. I write about us." He smiled warmly at her, his eyes filled with affection. "Well, I could tell you sometimes had nightmares in the cell when we were captives, but I also heard my name being whispered in the middle of the night." Orneth blushed and playfully pulled the blanket over her head. "Oh no... That's embarrassing. I wasn't aware that I did." Falchon then playfully reached for her diary with a sparkle in his eye. "Let me read one of your dreams, then." Orneth laughed heartily. "No, Falchon. Please don't read. It's very personal."

As he turned the pages of Orneth's diary, his countenance suddenly changed, and a cloud of sadness washed over him. His eyes fell upon a quick drawing of Orneth's mother, accompanied by words that spoke of her tragic death during the kinslaying in Sirion. The once-lively atmosphere shifted into somber silence, and Orneth's painful past came rushing back. In a soft and fragile voice, she whispered, "It's quite personal." Without uttering a word, Falchon handed back her diary and drew her closer, his lips gently brushing against the top of her head in a comforting gesture. He whispered. "I'm sorry, my Princess." As the warm glow of the candle slowly faded, the room was engulfed in an enchanting darkness. In the stillness, they embraced each other once again, their affectionate embrace symbolizing their deep connection.