B2MeM Challenge - Carolling- Let’s take the road before us; First lines My father and mother should have stayed in the village where they met and where I was born; canon couples- Arathorn/Gilraen.
Characters: Arathorn/ Gilraen, Ivowen/ Dírhael
Pairings: Arathorn/ Gilraen, Ivowen/ Dírhael
Summary: Gilraen receives a proposal
These characters all belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien. This story was written for pleasure and not for financial gain.
My father and mother should have stayed in the village where they met and where I was born rather than moving here to the Angle where the Chieftain dwells. They wanted to be near my sister now that she is wed and expecting a child. We were happy there and I rarely recall them ever quarrelling as they do now.
My father was displeased when our Chieftain’s son, Lord Arathorn, danced with me several times at the Mettarë celebrations. I do not know why, for Lord Arathorn spoke to me kindly and treated me with respect. I felt safe dancing with him, unlike some of the younger men, who are all too eager for stolen kisses. He danced well too, and did not tread on my toes, nor grasp my hands too tightly.
He has a grim countenance, but who can blame him with the troubles our people face? I believe he has a kind heart, though. I have seen how gentle he is with the children. It is a pity he is unwed, as I believe he would make a loving father and as the Chieftain’s son, he needs to sire heirs.
My parents are arguing again, their voices so loud, I cannot but help but overhear.
“It is out of the question!” my father shouts. “She is but a child. It is disgraceful that he should want her. He is a stern man of full age and my heart forebodes that he will be short lived.”
“The more need of haste!” cried my mother. “The days are darkening before the storm, and great things are to come. If these two wed now, hope may be born for our people; but if they delay, it will not come while this age lasts."
“You would sacrifice our daughter to a life of misery for some vague hope for the future, Ivorwen? Shame upon you!”
“Gilraen must be free to choose her own path,” said my mother. “It is not for us to either force or dissuade her.”
I had no idea what they meant, and it troubled me deeply to hear them speak thus.
A few days later when my father was out on patrol with his Rangers, my mother called me to her chamber. “I have something of grave import to tell you, my daughter,” she said. “Lord Arathorn is planning to ask for your hand in marriage.”
“Lord Arathorn? I hardly know him.” I was dumfounded.
“It is not so strange a thing, Gilraen. All Men find you fair and you are of the royal line of Aranath, as is Arathorn. I know he is ripe of years, but he is a good man of noble lineage. Your heart is not already given, is it?”
I shook my head. “I have not even thought of marriage yet.”
“My foresight tells me that much good might come if you two were wed, provided you are willing,” said my mother. “In the fullness of time you would become the Chieftain’s wife and help him lead our people.”
“I am so young!” I protested. “Could Lord Arathorn not wait for a year or two until I am of the age that our people usually marry?”
My mother looked grave. “Lord Arathorn is a warrior, child. His days are filled with fighting against our enemy. Each battle that he fights could be his last. Already he has waited too long to take a wife, but he told me that no woman stirred his heart until he beheld you. You must freely decide whether or not you would wed him, Gilraen. I ask only that you give his proposal serious thought.”
“I will, mother, I promise.”
My mother hugged me tightly then bade me go and think over what she had said. My mind was in turmoil. I liked and respected Lord Arathorn, but I was not in love with him. I had sometimes wondered whom I might wed, but as yet, had given the love between man and woman very little thought. I was content with my love for my family and close friends for now. I had enjoyed dancing with Lord Arathorn, though and his touch did not revolt me. It was a high honour to be chosen as the Chieftain’s bride. I was certain Lord Arathorn would treat me kindly and I would never go hungry, unlike some of our less fortunate people.”
A few days later, on a fine spring morning, Lord Arathorn asked if I would take a walk with him to see the daffodils in the woods that surrounded our village.
“Are you certain you wish to go?” my father asked. “You do not have to.”
“I should like to,” I said.
Lord Arathorn offered me his arm as we walked along the path into the wood. He led me to a sheltered glade carpeted with golden daffodils.
“These are so fair!” I must have sounded like a child in my enthusiasm.
“They pale in comparison with your beauty, Lady Gilraen,” said Lord Arathorn.
He took my hand and I looked up into his eyes. The usually self- assured Ranger looked terrified.
“There is something I would ask of you, my lady,” he said. “You might well think me too old for you, or too grim, but you have captured my heart, Lady Gilraen! Would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?”
I gazed at him for a long moment. His grey eyes were filled with tenderness. I might not love him, but I liked him a great deal. He would be a good husband.
“I will,” I said simply.
“You have made me the happiest of men!” he said and kissed me.
Then with an almost boyish exuberance, he gathered a great bunch of daffodils and placed them in my arms. He smiled at me, the joy in his eyes lighting up his face like a ray of sunlight in winter. “Let us take the road before us together,” he said and led me home.
A/n Some lines are taken directly from Tolkien.