"You're getting married!" Finduilas screamed with delight as she embraced Ivriniel in their mother's bedchamber. "This is so wonderful!" Finduilas wiped her eyes, crying tears of joy. "I am so happy for you!"
Ivriniel laughed merrily. "Thank you, Sister. I appreciate your enthusiasm."
Finduilas embraced her older sister once more and laughed lightly.
"Now, now, girls," their mother said, watching her daughters with such admiration. Lady Anneth felt blessed to not only have two beautiful and dignified daughters, but also two girls who grew up together getting along and never fighting. It was a beautiful imagery for any mother to see her daughters embrace in love and friendship.
"Mother, we must tell the court," Finduilas said excitedly. "We must start making arrangements for the betrothal ceremony, and the feast to commemorate the joining of the House of Pinnath Gelin and the House of Dol Amroth. What about the wedding plans?" Finduilas turned to Ivriniel. "Are you planning on being wed in the great hall? Or do you want the ceremony to be more public?"
Ivriniel felt overwhelmed with all the questions. She blinked. "I... uh... I am not sure." She turned to their mother. "Surely Father will be arranging all that."
Lady Anneth picked up a large jewellery box. "It will be your wedding, Ivriniel; you will have as much say in what goes on as your Father and Grandfather. Now here, look at these. Pick out which jewels you want to wear on your wedding day."
Ivriniel sat at the thick, round wooden table where her mother had placed the jewellery box. She opened the heavy lid and slightly gasped at the sparkling variety of jewels. "There are so many to choose from!" she said, picking up a necklace with small, teardrop emeralds. "I do not even know what colour my wedding gown is going to be."
Finduilas and their mother took a seat on either side of Ivriniel. "What is your favourite colour?" her mother asked, gently taking the emerald necklace from her daughter's grasp.
"I do like shades of green," she confessed. "Green is the colour of the forestry flourishing around Dol Amroth; green is the colour that shows fauna is healthy, and a sign to know that the lands you so dearly love are well looked after." Ivriniel stopped talking, feeling as if she were rambling. Then, a hint of red appeared on her cheeks. "Green is also Losdir's livery."
"Ahh," Finduilas said, grinning. "So you wish to wear shades of green on your wedding day?"
Ivriniel nodded enthusiastically. "Very much so."
"Well in that case," their mother said, turning the jewellery box to her. "You should not wear green jewels; I would advise silvers and blues."
"I suppose so," Ivriniel replied, thinking it over. "I was also thinking of wearing my hair down."
"Yes," said Finduilas, nodding vigorously. "You look your prettiest with your hair down."
"Now, now," Lady Anneth said, waving her finger at Finduilas. "Your sister always looks pretty, no matter how her hair is."
"I never said she did not look pretty with her hair up," Finduilas protested, "I said she looked her prettiest with it down."
Their mother pursed her lips with a frown on her face. "You should wear these sapphire earrings; they were a gift to me from your Father after I had given birth to you."
"Oh," Ivriniel said, being handed the earrings. "They are so lovely." Each earring had a large, round-cut sapphire set on a silver base, with a small seed-shaped pearl hanging below each sapphire. "These pearls are fresh-water."
"Yes," their mother said, "from the River Gilrain."
Ivriniel placed the earrings gently on the table. "Perhaps I should choose the rest of my jewels after I have had a fitting for my wedding dress."
"The fitting will have to take place in the next two weeks," her mother replied smoothly. "In the mean time, you will have to meet with your father and grandfather to arrange a list of guests who shall be attending." Lady Anneth paused in thought for a moment. "Perhaps you should consider inviting the Steward Ecthelion and his son, Lord Denethor."
"Yes," Ivriniel said thoughtfully. "I would not mind that. I do, however, not expect them to attend, for Dol Amroth is quite far away from the City of Kings."
"Steward Ecthelion has been known for his liking of travel," Lady Anneth replied. "His daughter, Lady Tatiel is married to Lord Angbor; the heir to the House of Lamedon. The steward remained in Lamedon after the wedding while his son, Denethor returned and ruled on his father's behalf."
"I did not know stewards were allowed to take trips away from state matters," Finduilas said curiously. "If so, then why has he not come here, to Dol Amroth? It has been years since he has last visited, and Dol Amroth is by far the most beautiful place in all of Middle-earth!"
Ivriniel chuckled. "My dear sister, you can be a little bias towards our homeland. But I do agree with you; Dol Amroth is such a breath-taking place."
"A steward can take trips and progresses through Gondor," their mother said, answering Finduilas' original query. "But you know Gondor is such a large and powerful kingdom, that he must live in Minas Tirith as often as he can."
Finduilas frowned deep in thought. "Gondor is not really a kingdom nowadays; it should really be called a... a stewardom."
Ivriniel stared blankly at her sister. "Sometimes I wonder what goes on in that pretty little heard of yours, Sister."
Finduilas gently hit her sister's wrist. "Tut, tut, Ivriniel – you should not make fun of your little sister," she said sweetly.
"How about we return to our original topic," their mother interjected her voice patient with a hint of assertiveness.
"I agree," Ivriniel replied quickly. "I would like my wedding gown to be traditional in layers. I am imagining the kirtle to be a rich, deep emerald green; the split of the kirtle revealing the shift to be a softer green."
"What colour will the bodice be?" Finduilas asked. "Will you wear it under or over the kirtle?"
Ivriniel scrunched up her nose in thought. "I am thinking under for now, with the laces of the kirtle nicely loosened to reveal it. Or perhaps I will have the bodice sewn into the kirtle with no front laces."
"I would advise wearing a belt of silver," their mother added. "You shall have a new pair of shoes in silver, too."
Ivriniel nodded. "I would like to wear a pearl hair chain since I intend on wearing my hair down. I have a stunning hair chain I received from Grandfather on my birthday. It would please him to see me wearing it on my wedding day."
Her mother smiled warmly. "It would make him proud; but his pride in you will already be there knowing that you are going to be wed."
Ivriniel nodded again. "I think I am in need of some rest. This morning has exhausted me; I shall rest until the midday meal."
"Of course," her mother said, standing up. She walked over to her eldest daughter and kissed both her cheeks. "Congratulations, my dear."
"Come to my apartments at midday," Finduilas said, standing up also. "You can dine with me." Ivriniel nodded again, feeling very obedient to those around her.
When Ivriniel arrived in her own bedchamber, she pushed her long hair behind her shoulders and flopped onto her neatly made bed. By the sun's position in the sky, Ivriniel knew she only had a couple of hours left before the noon bell would ring throughout the city, most likely waking her in the process. She turned her head to the side and stared at the pillow next to the one she was resting on. She imagined having Losdir there, beside her, holding her, feeling his body heat through their clothing. She was never the romantic type; that was Finduilas' role between them. But the thought of having Losdir in her bed, living in her apartments did appeal to her so greatly that she felt her cheeks burning at the thought. She smiled – her mother was right; she would be married in only a few months - six at the most. Once her father set his mind to something, it would end up being accomplished at soon as possible; so his daughter's wedding would be no exception. She wondered if Losdir was still in her father's study; most likely, for her father would never let him go that easily. There would be plans to make; Losdir would need to write to his family in Pinnath Gelin. His quarters in the knights' lodgings would have to be emptied. There was no way her father or her in that matter would allow a future family member to be lodging outside the palace. Losdir would be given a small apartment – probably consisting of only three rooms – somewhere in the back wing of the guest section in the palace.
Good, Ivriniel thought, rolling over on to her side; she wanted Losdir closer to her. Sure, they were betrothed – well not officially. But part of her began to rethink the whole... speed of how it happened. She had only known Losdir for a few months. How long did it take to fall in love? A day? A minute? Just one look? It was a question that baffled Man since the dawn of time. Ivriniel thought love to be a connection, a desire... curiosity. Curiosity drew her to Losdir that day at the docks. It was a connection that made her search for him in the crowd at court. And it was desire that made her declare her love for him the previous night. It all linked in some way. Maybe she did not have a choice; maybe people could not choose who they fell in love with. Perhaps the Valar chose for them; they could see all, hear all. They, out of all beings in existence would know who the right match for her was.
Ivriniel's thoughts and frets made her fall into an easy slumber, and the noon bell kept to its promise of waking her up at midday. She groaned, feeling worse than she did before she fell asleep. Her nap did not feel... fitful or fulfilling. She still wanted to sleep, but Finduilas was expecting her for lunch. The things sisters would do for each other.
Fortunately, lunch went rather quickly. Finduilas was not in the best of moods, as their father still had not reached a decision concerning Lord Agoron marrying Finduilas. Ivriniel knew this would happen. Her father adored Finduilas dearly, and she doubted their father would give her up to some common birth, high-rising sailor. Still, seeing her little sister morose over lunch made Ivriniel's heart clench with empathy. If their father had delayed his decision for her to wed Losdir, she would feel exactly as Finduilas did. It must be agony for her, she thought, watching Finduilas nibble on a piece of apple.
Ivriniel left Finduilas to her thoughts and headed outside to get some fresh air. The sunlight beamed through the arched windows in the corridor, allowing the newly afternoon sunlight warm the palace walls. Autumn brought long and narrow shadows, making sharp triangle shaped shade on the deep blue hallway runner.
She sighed with contentment, hearing his voice. "Losdir," she said, turning around. "Have you been in Father's study all this time?"
Losdir walked up to her and kissed her knuckle before pulling her into his arms, kissing her soundly. "I have," he replied, his voice deep. "But with good reason. Plans must be made now; he intends on having our betrothal ceremony tomorrow evening in the great hall."
Ivriniel stepped out of his arms, her eyebrows raised. "So little time; how are we going to let the court know in due course?"
"Lord Adrahil does not plan on telling them," Losdir answered, a grin on his face. Ivriniel felt her breath catch in her throat. He was so handsome! His face was clean shaved, like most of the men of Numenor decent, giving off an elven appeal. Almost every noble house of Gondor had Numenor blood.
"I... uh... have been talking with my mother and sister about what I should wear on our wedding day," Ivriniel finally managed to say.
"Well then, if it is any consolation, I believe you will look beautiful in anything, any colour, any fabric," he said, running his fingers through her long hair.
"Would you like to go for a walk along the beach?" she asked, feeling heat rising in her cheeks. She was still so new to these emotions of love, longing, and desire. "The tide should still be out," she continued, grabbing his hand in her hair and kissing it. A small gesture of her affections was needed to reassure him... surely? "Part of her still felt they had rushed the whole ordeal, that they truly did not know each other well. What if he turned out to be abusive and ended up hitting her? No. No! she said to herself, stop thinking of the worst conclusion. She snapped out of her thoughts and noticed Losdir was offering his arm. She smiled quickly and linked her arm into his. It did feel nice being close to him, smelling a musky scent of leather.
They reached the shoreline after a decent stroll. As Dol Amroth was situation on a cliff, jagged rocks, and rock islands surrounded the peninsula. The only place where there was a shoreline with sand was almost an eight-hundred meter walk downhill, with curves, stairs, railings, and pebbled pathways. It was not a walk you would take if you were injured or in an extremely bad mood.
"I wanted to talk to you," Losdir said as their feet found soft sand.
Ivriniel felt her heart skip a beat. He wanted to talk? She was nervous, period. "Go on," she said, her voice a little shaky.
"Your father asked me to invite my family to our wedding," he started, "but... well the truth is, I left my homeland because of them." Ivriniel frowned and opened her mouth to speak, but Losdir raised a hand to silence her. "I love them, truly I do. But my brother and father do not... they see me as the other son, a replacement. My brother, Maindir is betrothed to wed Mistress Ruives mid-next year. She is from the town Talath along the coastline of Anfalas. Their union will be nothing more than political. Father wants her lands and dowry. Maindir has never met her before, nor does he appear too concerned about whether or not he will like her. He wants to please our father, which is understandable. However, I believe deep down my brother is scared out of his wits. He has no idea what she looks like or how she will react around him. Of course, her father praises her, as any man would do to try to wed his daughter into a more noble house. It's a shame, but in a way I feel grateful to be the second son." Losdir stopped walking and turned to face Ivriniel. He kissed her nose. "I was able to travel here and meet a wonderful woman. The fact that you are a princess does not matter to me." Losdir hesitated. "But my father will be very, very happy towards this marriage; it will be happiness of the wrong sorts. He will not be happy for me to have found love, but more happy that I have been accepted into the House of Dol Amroth."
Ivriniel nodded. She was speechless. Never before had he opened up so much of his personal life to her.
"I wanted you to hear all of that from me, and not some witless fool – most likely my brother – from Pinnath Gelin." Losdir kissed her deeply, pulling her close to him. "I love you."
"I am glad you told me and trusted me enough to do so," she replied, wrapping her arms around his back. "And I think I should not heed anything your brother or father may say when I finally meet them... if they come at all."
"Oh, they will come," Losdir said, a shadow covering his face. "They would not miss our wedding. Even if Gondor was falling and the Dark Lord rising in power, they would find some ridiculous route to Dol Amroth, and then demand that the wedding take place despite the chaos taking place."
"I highly doubt the Dark Lord will rise on our wedding day," Ivriniel said, grinning. "Then again, it would be ironic now, would it not?"
Losdir laughed. Oh, she loved his laugh! "We shall not speak of it again until after our wedding night."
Wedding night. Oh, she had not even thought about that. She felt herself blush. "I am sure the sun will rise brightly the morning after," she said, suppressing her nervousness.
Losdir ran his fingers through her hair once more. "I love your hair, Ivriniel. It is so soft."
She smiled. "I will be wearing it down on our wedding day."
Losdir smiled. "Good! I shall like that." She was about to say that Finduilas thought her to look prettier with her hair down, but Ivriniel knew what Losdir's answer to that would be. She smiled to herself, thinking how blessed and lucky she was to have found him.