Her red box of memories

Of their last parting

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Dirk and Leoba stood on the battlements, looking down over the teeming layers of city life below them and out across the encircling farmlands.  The lingering rays of the setting sun burnished the fields and hay-meadows with gold. It was the young couple’s last day together in the White City and both were troubled by the leave-taking they knew was almost upon them.

Dirk turned to face Leoba and took her soft hands in his. Then he brought them to his lips and gently kissed each palm. Still holding hands, they searched deep into each others’ eyes.

“We cannot hide from the fact that tomorrow I must ride away” Dirk said. His gravelly voice cracked as he spoke.  “You know that there is nothing I want more in the world than to wake up with you every morning and to spend every moment of our lives together.  Keep that thought with you whatever happens, my love.”

Leoba’s clear green eyes misted with unbidden tears but even as they glistened on her eyelashes she mastered herself enough to speak. “I promise you that I will stay strong, Dirk. If I could ride with you on this journey I would but I understand that the call of the Mithril Knights is yours alone. This is a precious chance to break your father’s curse; grasp it Dirk in both hands and try to mend our future”.

He nodded. “I will. And when this is over we will be together.  I cannot ask you to marry me now but when I can I will. I love you, Leoba of Ithilien, with every fibre of my soul” and he pulled her close as she whispered back, “I love you too, with all of me” and as they kissed and the world around them melted into nothingness. There they stood, wrapped in one another until a blanket of jewelled stars broke out above them; a clear and warm summer’s night beckoned, scented with jasmine and threaded with love, tinged with sadness.

…………………………

They awoke early next morning, as dawn’s rosy fingers brushed the edges of the eastern sky, though truthfully there had been little sleep for either of them. Leoba sat on the edge of the bed and began braiding her long chestnut hair.

Wait. Stop” Dirk said as he knelt down beside her. He picked up a handful of her hair and held it to his cheek, inhaling her perfume, committing the sensation to memory. “I want to remember you like this. Please. Leave it loose for me this morning. And would you let me take something to remember you by”. At which he pulled his long knife from its scabbard and cut a lock for safe-keeping. He tied it tight and wrapped it in a handkerchief.

Leoba left her hair loose as he had asked and instead cast a light veil across her head and thus attired they left for the stables. Endlomë , Dirk’s black stallion, was waiting for his master, pawing at the ground already in his impatience to be gone. Together they saddled and harnessed Dirk’s horse and girded him with saddlebags, well-stocked with provisions for the young knight’s journey.

Dirk rode slowly through the wakening streets, Leoba keeping pace at his side. Minas Tirith was already stirring and they would not be first out of the gate that morning. Grocers had thrown open their shutters and were setting out their wares: oranges fresh off the ships from the south; Leoba stopped to buy one for Dirk. Potent trays of fish and seaside delicacies were being unloaded as they passed through that quarter and errand boys ran hither and thither, everyone taking advantage of the freshness found at the 5th hour of the day.

At last Leoba and Dirk came to the greatest gate of all, that which lay in the lowest of the city circles. It was time. The young man leaped down from his saddle to grasp his love in his arms one more time. Leoba said “If you need me, whenever, wherever, you know I will come. Don’t be afraid to ask”. Dirk nodded. He took her face in his hands and kissed her passionately. And then again. The lovers clung together for a minute more. Then Dirk mounted Endlomë and with but one backward glance he took the road north.

Leoba stood by the gate and watched, as dawn turned to day and until he was nothing more than a black speck in the far distance and then nothing.

 

 

 

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Written by leobavorima

January 12, 2013 at 12:27 am

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