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The Price of Love
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The Price of Love

Ivorwen finally found him after searching practically everywhere: his anger had taken him farther than usual, and to a clearing that she remembered oh so well. This was their secret meeting place, where for many years she and her husband would go to be alone and away from the world. But she knew that it was not the need to be alone that had driven him this far: the argument between father and daughter this time had been more vehement than ever. Ivorwen sighed and walked slowly toward her husband. His anger had dissipated a little, but seemingly he still seethed. A twig snapped under her foot, announcing her presence. She stopped and waited patiently as Dírhael turned to look at her. Oh, yes. He was still quite angry.

“I will hear no words in favor of their union, wife,” he growled and turned his back to her. “Gilraen will not marry Arathorn.”

“But they love each other, Dírhael. You know they do. You have seen the truth of it with your own eyes.”

His head bowed in silent acknowledgement. Indeed, he had seen both his daughter and the young man together. Laughing, smiling, constantly talking, sometimes arguing. The evidence of their love was there for anyone with eyes to see. Dírhael was not blind to it; he had even witnessed a moment between them when they did nothing more than look deep into each other’s eyes, reading each other’s souls.

“She is too young, Ivorwen. She cannot marry him.”

“Perhaps she is in body, my love, but not in mind or spirit,” Ivorwen responded calmly. She took a few steps toward him and stopped only a couple feet away. “They make each other happy. He will take care of her for many years…”

“No,” he interrupted. Dírhael turned again to face her. “No, he will not.”

Startled, she closed the distance between them and clasped his arm. “What do you mean? Of course he will…”

“No,” he said again. “He is destined to die, and it will not be so far in the future.”

“You have seen this?” She whispered, confused that her visions had not shown such a thing.

“Aye. I cannot let our Gilraen marry him if he is to die soon after they wed. It will devastate her. I will not let our little girl suffer such loss.”

Ivorwen nodded and understood his reasons. She wrapped her arms around him and held her beloved husband tightly. Part of her agreed with Dírhael and wanted to keep her daughter free of sadness and grief. Yet, another part of her knew that to keep Gilraen and Arathorn apart would also bring loss and melancholy of another sort to both of them. Yet she, too, had seen a glimpse of her daughter’s future, and it had convinced her that the marriage must happen.

She leaned back to look up at Dírhael. His gaze fixed on hers, so solemn and determined to sway her to his way of thinking. “I know your heart, Dírhael, and I would agree but for a vision I have also had of them.”

“Oh? And what, pray tell, might that be?” he asked, letting her go. It was not what he wanted to hear, but at least she had to make him understand.

“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.”

Dírhael fell silent, still brooding. Ivorwen watched as he paced back and forth, agitated. He did not speak, nor did he look at her, but she knew he had heard her words and was giving thought to them. Quietly, she spoke into the silence.

“If your foretelling comes true, then what time they have together will be precious to them.” He did not answer, nor did he stop pacing. “Please, Dírhael. I would see our daughter happy with the man she loves, even for a short time, rather than see her wrapped in sadness without him.”

He heard a mother’s love for her child in her quiet voice. It echoed in his own heart, touching the love he had for Gilraen, his beloved daughter. Her happiness was all that mattered. She loved Arathorn. She was happy with him.

His footsteps stopped and he sighed heavily. Everything Ivorwen said was true, and he would see his daughter married to the man she loved.

“So be it,” he said, and his wife came to embrace him.

They stayed within their sanctuary for a while longer before they walked back to their home and to their awaiting daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law to tell them of their decision. Dírhael decided that would ignore his misgivings of a marriage that would not last. Gilraen would be happy, and that was all that mattered.


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