Chapter 4

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I woke up to find the sun shining brightly through the trees and Ithilwen gone. She'd disappeared to who-knows-where, something that she seemed to enjoy doing.

Suddenly, a mass of brightly colored feathers flew towards me, nearly crashing into me. But at the last moment, it turned and landed on a nearby branch. I only knew of one bird that would dive-bomb me like that-Lancaeron's phoenix. It had become tradition for Mirkwood's princes to receive a phoenix once they came of age, and Lancaeron's phoenix had somehow managed to pick up his exact personality.

"Hello, Barathon" I murmured, stroking his feathers and taking the piece of paper that he carried. He flew off a few moments later, most likely in search of Fainauriel, Legolas's phoenix.

Unfolding the paper, I soon saw Lancaeron's flowing handwriting, each letter as light and graceful as a summer's breeze.

My dearest Meriel,

Although I can not tell you where I am or what I'm doing, I can tell you that everything is going well. The twin soms of Elrond are here as well, and I have to say, they are quite enjoyable. They remind me of Ithilwen before he died. (But don't tell her I said that)

I should be returning in about a week's time. Don't send Barathon back, I can't risk being discovered or followed.

Le melin, Meriel. Don't drive yourself mad with worry like I know you do. I'll be fine.

May the stars shine over you, my love.

                                        -Lancaeron

I smiled. Don't drive yourself mad with worry, he had said. He knew me all too well.

All of a sudden, I heard a noise. I turned around to see an arrow fly by me, narrowly missing my face. It embedded itself in the bark of the tree, and I immediately recognized it as Tauriel's arrow.

"What do you think you're doing? You nearly hit me!" I exclaimed, dropping down from the tree.

"Well, maybe if you stopped hiding yourself in the trees, I'd be able to see you!" Tauriel shouted back.

"I was not hiding myself!" I hissed. "I was sitting in clear sight."

"Apparently your definition of 'in clear sight' is 'behind several layers of leaves." She glared at me, her eyes darkening. But before I could say anything more, she stormed off.

"It truly amazes me how different the two of you are" Ithilwen suddenly said.

I turned around, surprised. "When did you get here?"

"Followed Tauriel" she stated. She fell quiet for a moment, before saying, "I remember when I had a sister."

"You have-err, had a sister?" I asked, unable to keep the shock out of my voice.

Ithilwen nodded. "We did a lot of things together."

I hesitated for a moment, before saying, "If you don't mind ne asking, what...what happened to her?"

"She didn't die, if that's what you're asking." Ithilwen replied. "She's no longer my sister because I am no longer a part of that family, nor will I ever be." She said it casually, but a hint of sadness seemed to lace her voice.

She began to walk off again when I saw something on her catch the sun. Looking closer, I saw that she wore a necklace. "What is that?" I asked, motioning to it.

"My necklace?" She asked, and I nodded. She walked back over to me, showing me the charm. It was silver, and in the shape of a dragon. It was extremely detailed, and it had an emerald as its eye.

"I'm surprised you haven't noticed it before, I hardly ever take it off" she commented. "Of course, I do tend to hide it from view..."

"It's beautiful! Where did you get it?" I asked.

"That's another story" she said, and once again walked off, leaving me with several questions.

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