Chapter 29: City of the Gods

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On the fifth day heading West from Tirion, they reached the Vanyarin settlement right outside of Valmar. Here they would stay, at one of the many inns that dotted the elven city. Speechless for the beauty of the golden haired Vanyar, Eve stuck close to the group, staying near Finno as best she could. Turvo and Elenwë seemed most at ease, clearly well familiar with the city.

“This is Elenwë's home,” Finno explained to Eve as they walked side by side, leading their horses through the roads. “She and Amarië both grew up here.”

“Oh that's nice,” Eve replied with a grin. “Did Turvo meet her here?”

Findekáno shook his head. “No. Amarië introduced them at a Festival of Yavannië. We knew Amarië through Findo.”

“How did they meet?” asked Eve again. She blushed when Finno looked at her and laughed. “I'm just curious!”

Káno, standing on the other side of Finno, laughed at her. “Findo and Amarië met as children. Amarië visited Alqualondë during a Narvinyë festival. They ended up becoming the best of friends.”

Eve rolled her eyes with a smile. “They're clearly more than best friends.”

Finno snickered. “Indeed. But they both refuse to admit the truth.”

They followed as Nelyo and Tyelko brought them before a large inn built of light stone. Leaving their horses in the stable, the small company went inside. Tyelko’s wavy golden hair fit in well with the elves of Valmar, though his was of a paler color than many Vanyar. The maiden running the inn showed them to their bedrooms. They slept two to a room: Turvo and Finno, Nelyo and Káno, Tyelko and Moryo, Elenwë and Eve.

After dropping their bags off and changing from their travel clothes, all eight met up in the huge inner courtyard. A massive fountain stood as the focal point, and the open evening sky allowed for a spectacular view. Lounging couches faced the fountain, and here they sat.

“We will spend the evening with the elves, I think,” Finno suggested as he sat on the arm of one of the couches. “We can show Eve around the Vanyar’s city.”

“A good idea,” Elenwë agreed instantly. “I would love to show you, my dear.”

Eve smiled at her. “Thanks!” She comfortably sat back in her couch spot sandwiched between Tyelko and Nelyo, Huan curled at their feet. “What should we do?”

Turvo turned to Elenwë, “What of the poetry reading? Is there not one tonight?”

Elenwë grinned and clasped her hands together. “Indeed! Over at the Hall of Words.” She stood quickly and grabbed Turvo by the hand, dragging him up alongside her. “Come! It starts with the first stars. We do not want to be late!”

Huan barked in excitement as they all got up. He licked Eve’s face and she chuckled before hurrying to catch up to Finno and Nelyo. Elenwë led the way, leaving the inn behind and walking out into the elven city beyond Valmar. A sweet scent of flowers hung in the air. Great golden banners bearing the crest of the house of Ingwë danced in the wind that coursed through the air. The elves all tried to hold their hair flat but to no avail.

Elenwë at last led them to a great building. Eve looked at it in awe, deciding it reminded her of the Parthenon of ancient Greece, with all its elaborate columns. The ones at this Hall of Words closely resembled the Ionic style she knew from art. Vanyarin elves sat upon or walked up the many white stairs to the entrance. Here, nearly see through silk drapes hung the fifty feet from top to bottom in blues and whites. It softened the appearance of the white stone.

When they walked inside, Eve gasped audibly. The high ceiling far above her was covered in murals of bright paints. The Sistine Chapel couldn't even compare to the beauty that met her eyes. For these paintings seemed to move when she did, seemed to glow of their own accord. Eve stood shell shocked.

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