Bend in the Wind - Ch4: Getting Reacquainted

Disclaimer: see chapter one
Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter.

`*' signals a footnote
"text" signals dialogue
`text' signals thoughts

Chapter 4.) Getting Reacquainted

Friend, whose smile has come to be
Very precious unto me

- Elizabeth Allen

July 29, 12 Fourth Age

Elrohir let his head fall back with a groan. The noise caught Elladan's attention and he looked up over the edge of a large book he had been reading. Oloriel, who sat next to Elladan on a cushioned bench, remained undisturbed in slumber.

"I do hope that you will not make so many uncouth noises when she is actually present." Elladan's tone was wry, but amused.

Elrohir fiddled nervously with a small piece of parchment. It was the last letter that he had received from Nessúlë.

"I shall be fortunate if I can make any utterances at all," he finally replied. "I wish grandfather had let me be. I'm not sure that I care to face this new resolve."

"Well I for one am glad he did." Elladan closed his book emphatically, causing Oloriel to start awake. Setting the book aside, he placed one hand on her enlarged stomach and leaned over to plant a light kiss on her cheek, whispering an apology as he did so. He then continued to address his brother. "I've been giving you subtle hints for years. But grandfather always did have a sublime way with words. Have courage brother; Nessúlë is a worthy lady and will respect your honesty."

Oloriel smiled drowsily and nestled into her husband's side. Elladan folded her in his arms obliging.

"Nessúlë has a sharp mind," she murmured, "She would be foolish indeed to pass up an Elf like you, Elrohir. Now that her brother is married I believe she will begin to long for a family of her own. And why not join with you? You have always been good friends, and your personalities would never allow for a boring romance. And she cares for you, Elrohir - she cares for you very much."

Elrohir grimaced and stood up, beginning to pace along the terrace which they occupied. "Yes, she cares for me... but not in the way that I long for her to care. And I am not interested in being a wise or practical choice for a mate."

Elladan snorted in amusement. "You lie. If she offered herself in marriage out of anything less than true love you would accept her readily enough. At least then she would be yours, and you would then rise to the challenge of wooing her."

Frowning resolutely, Elrohir turned away from the pair and leaned against the railing of the veranda. "That would be crass."

"Nay," Elladan chuckled, "For it is not unlike my courtship of Oloriel. Were we not thrown together against our will into a most awkward and intimate association? There really was nothing for it but to fall in love."

At this remark, Oloriel chuckled softly and shifted so that she could place a kiss beneath Elladan's ear. The Elf happily pulled his wife more snugly against him and continued.

"Things happen for a reason, Elrohir. If Nessúlë ever chose you it would be a blessing you would do well to accept without question. You should therefore use all of your powers of persuasion - rational as well as emotional - and hope for the best. I believe that the Valar will bless you, one way or another."

Elrohir turned from the railing and faced his brother. He then left silently, going down to pace nervously in the leaf-strewn courtyard.

Feeling that he had done all that he could for Elrohir, Elladan began to focus all of his attention on his wife. He moved his hand lovingly across her stomach as he nuzzled her cheek, leaning down a few moments later to place several kisses where his hand had been. Then, with a light kiss on the delicate tip of her ear he whispered, "Hannon chin, meleth nín, an anírel enni. {Thank you, my love, for choosing me.}"

Oloriel lifted her hand to bury it in Elladan's dark hair. "I couldn't help myself, melorpân {dearest} - there was no other choice."

"Do you think there will be a choice for Nessúlë?" Elladan still absent-mindedly caressed Oloriel's stomach, but a small furrow had newly developed between his brows.

His wife sighed softly as she closed her eyes once more. "I cannot say. I think that they would make each other so happy, but I do not know if they will see this themselves."


Nessúlë smiled cheerfully as the wind danced through her dark hair, brining with it the fragrant smells of the valley. She was nearing the gates of Imladris, the evening sun illuminating the path before her, and for some silly reason she could not quell the song that was in her heart.

`It is such a comforting thing to meet with old friends,' she mused to herself. `I am glad that I chose to come. I was growing so sedate and morose at home.'

A small whispering thought in the back of her mind suggested that the roots of her happiness went far deeper than comfort, but it was soon drowned out by a barrage of old memories. As Nessúlë passed beneath a particularly low-hanging branch she recalled her first introduction to the hidden sanctuary.

She and her brother, along with an old family friend, had been travelling toward the Hithaeglir {Misty Mountains} along the East Road when they were assailed by a small group of Goblins. At first the situation had not seemed in any way dire. The enemy was few, and the Elven horses which bore Nessúlë and her companions were quite capable of speeding them away. Unfortunately, another small group of Goblins had lain in wait ahead on the path, and one of them was even able to seize Lantél and pull him his horse. But thankfully, before any harm could come to him, aid had fallen from the trees in the form of three Elven warriors. The Goblins had been dispatched in short order by the six Elves present, three being slain by Nessúlë herself. But just as the skirmish was coming to an end, a last wild arrow had pierced the maiden's leg. This was when she had first met Elrohir.

Nessúlë chuckled softly as she remembered the encounter, letting her hands trail through the leaves of the low branch as she ducked under it. Against her protests, Elrohir had pulled her up onto his horse to carry her back to Imladris. He had been riding recklessly, and she had been frightened when she saw this very same branch loom up in their path. To her relief, Elrohir had slowed down to pass beneath it, but not until the last moment possible. After they passed beneath the tree, it had taken Nessúlë several moments to realize that one of her hands was still nervously clenching the strange Elf's brown tunic.

Shaking her head merrily, Nessúlë turned her mind to other memories. Her unorthodox meeting with Elrohir had led to an equally unorthodox friendship. From proper courteousness to amusing antics; from affectionate teasing to heated arguments; from childish pranks to sincere regard; from years of silence to weekly correspondence. She began to chuckle once more as she thought of the mud fight, of their time in Lothórien, and of Elrohir's hand in the horrible joke played on Hallandakil "in defense of her honor"*. Yes, her relationship with him had certainly been full of many unexpected twists, both disconcerting and heart-warming. And now, as she found herself riding toward him once more, she wondered what would happen next.

`Of course,' she reminded herself as a bee buzzed near her ear, `I am also eager to see Elladan and Oloriel once more. Yes, that will be a joy as well.'


Elrohir turned abruptly toward the gate, then called out to his brother and sister-in-law, "She is coming."

He had been pacing for the last twenty minutes or so, but did not yet feel quite prepared. Why had he agreed to this? Why had he ever told his grandfather? He wondered briefly if there was any way for him to withdraw honorably from the arena into which he had been thrust, but his mind refused to provide him an alternative. There was nothing for it. His mind knew what needed to be done. His heart knew what needed to be done. And apparently, all of his relatives knew what needed to be done as well, for they had been urging him on with advice and encouragement for the past day and a half.

His heart paused as the echo of hoof-beats reverberated in the courtyard. For several ridiculous moments his eyes clung to a rusty orange leaf that came spinning lazily down to rest in the threshold of the gates. And then, there she was, vibrant and beautiful as ever. She wore a tunic that matched the color of the fallen leaf, while her breeches and leather boots were a soft earthy brown. Her thick mahogany hair hung loose, draping across her shoulders and down to whisper against the horse's back. The dying bronze sun, which spilled its last rays across the courtyard, cast a halo about her head. Her cheeks were also glowing, having gained extra color during the brisk ride from the Ford, and her eyes snapped merrily. But to Elrohir, the most beautiful thing about her was her smile, which was radiant and which fell upon him like the caress of a gentle sea breeze, full of life and the promise of unknown and exotic lands.

The world came spinning back into his mind as Nessúlë dismounted her horse and approached the welcoming trio. He was strangely entranced by the way that her hair swayed when she walked, but tried to push this thought from his mind for the time being.

As was proper, Nessúlë first conveyed her best wishes to Oloriel on the coming child, and called out a blessing for the unborn babe. She then saluted Elladan, who stood next to his wife, supporting her with an arm around her waist. It was therefore to Elrohir that she turned last, with an impudent tilt of the head.

"Vedui, mellon nín {Greetings, my friend}. Are you happy to see me?"

Elrohir did not reply. Such a loaded question, and so hard to answer when his mouth felt like cotton. All he could do was let his eyes travel over her face, drinking in her beauty. A few moments passed away, but neither Elf seemed to feel any awkwardness. Nessúlë stood patiently as she waited for her friend to speak, too happy and careless to find his behavior odd. Oloriel and Elladan waited expectantly to see how things would unfold.

Like the sudden coming of the dawn, a wide smile burst across Elrohir's face. Was he happy? How could he not be happy when she was near? It was one of the ironies of his life - the cause of all this heartache was always the source of his renewal. As long as she was near he could bear the gulf that separated them. It was only when the sun departed that the flower drooped.

An unusual warmth crept through Nessúlë as she beheld herself through Elrohir's smile. She couldn't pin it down, but it was a wonderful feeling. Responding to his smile, she threaded her arm through Elrohir's and merrily commanded him to lead her into tea. Elrohir, whose haunted aspect had been almost fully eclipsed by the moment, willingly obliged her, finally loosing his tongue to speak pleasant nothings as he led her inside.

As Elrohir and Nessúlë walked off together, Elladan threw his wife a puzzled glance. "What just happened here?"

Oloriel shook her head slowly. "He is smitten - he's not supposed to make sense."

Elrohir cocked a disbelieving eyebrow. "I was and am smitten, yet I am fairly certain that I still have my wits about me."

Patting her husbands arm, Oloriel suggested they following their confusing relation into tea. Elladan thought this was a very sensible idea.


Oloriel felt that the evening had, in general, been a fair success. Against all odds Elrohir had not melted into a nervous puddle (though the haunted look did try to creep back once or twice), Nessúlë had not seemed to notice anything amiss (being somehow fed by an invisible spring of good cheer), and the black berries turned out to be quite wonderful (despite her fears that they were picked too early*). It was only after their light repast had ended that a hitch appeared in the innocuous flow of the evening.

After some time had passed spent in amiable conversation, Nessúlë rose with the easy manner of an old friend and declared, "I can see you are growing tired, Oloriel, so I will no longer importune you. I believe that I shall take a stroll in the twilight before I retire." With that, she moved toward the open double doors that led out onto a wide veranda, acting on the firm assumption that Elrohir would naturally follow her.

This assumption was indeed justified. Since Oloriel, and therefore Elladan, was bound by other matters it was very natural to assume that Elrohir, as the third host, would escort her for the remainder of the evening. However, though he did stand up and look after her, Elrohir did not move to follow. Elladan tried to clear his throat inconspicuously, but to no avail.

With the ease of one who has no more use for simpering, Oloriel sidled up to her brother-in-law and whispered quickly, "Hesitation does not become you. Go."

Elrohir hardened his jaw and nodded, stepping resolutely out into the gloaming. He found Nessúlë just down the steps in a small garden; she was leaning against a sturdy sapling.

"I began to wonder if you would come," she stated simply, not looking at him, but off into the distance.

"Are you glad that I did?" Elrohir was not sure why he had asked this question. It was reminiscent of how she had addressed him upon arriving two hours before. Why did they both feel the need to test each other's welcome?

A slow smile crept across Nessúlë's face and it seemed to Elrohir as though the air had lightened. "Don't you know the answer?" She turned her smile upon him and tilted her head. Several moments passed before she spoke again.

"I think that I have missed you, son of Elrond." Elrohir's heart thrummed at these words. "I have missed all of you. I cannot think why we have all been so silent." Elrohir's heart descended as she spoke of the collective.

"You always corresponded with Oloriel," he responded blankly.

Nessúlë shrugged carelessly. She turned to walk down a nearby path and Elrohir followed, coming to walk beside her.

"Not very frequently," she replied, "And what of you? I hardly ever spoke with you. And I find only now, after these years, that you are a delightful correspondent (I showed your third letter to Lantél - he found it very amusing). And even this happy occurrence shames me, for after our friendship it was very careless of me to neglect my promise at all; I should not have had to be induced to start by my own boredom or encouraged to continue by your amiable writing. Will you forgive me?"

Elrohir was caught off guard by the frank and open request. Nessúlë did not pause to look into his eyes, or touch his arm, or bow her head, but there was an aura of perfect sincerity that hung about her. It brought an equally sincere smile to his face.

"No I will not... for there is nothing to forgive," Elrohir turned of the path onto another one, and Nessúlë followed willingly, trailing her hand through the tall daises that grew alongside. "Am I not equally to blame?"

Nessúlë smiled knowingly. "Nay, I do not believe so. For you have always struck me as the sort of person who would not write the first letter. I knew this well enough."

Elrohir forgot the remaining vestiges of his awkwardness as he sought to puzzle out her remark. Finally he sighed. "Whatever do you mean?"

A small burst of laughter escaped Nessúlë when she spied Elrohir's confused face in the faltering light. "Tell me truly," she finally spoke, firmly but with a hint of merriment in her voice, "Did you ever once make a direct move in any relationship without sidling up to it? Without receiving some hint that it was the right time? In this way I believe that you are not like your brother. He deliberates much, but then acts, swiftly and resolutely. You are much more apt to decide, but then you approach with caution. Is this not so?"

The two moved on in silence as Elrohir reflected on his own behavior. The more he thought of it, the more that Nessúlë's reading of him seemed correct. He could remember many times in which he had waited so long to make an overture to a maiden that someone else had moved in. In other arenas he recognized this pattern as well. It might even be said that this was why he had always enjoyed a wider circle of friends than Elladan, for he waited on other people's time, on other people's inclinations, and not his own. In this way he could be more spontaneous, but at the same time, less deliberate.

"I find, lady, that you are right," Elrohir nodded courteously to his companion. "However did you come to read me so plainly? It is humbling to know that the few months during which you resided here were enough for you to dissect me so."

"My father always said that I had a discerning eye. - And so it is true, you see. I knew that you would not write unless you felt that I wanted you to. And how could you know unless I wrote to you? I never thought much of letters the few times that we met over the years, and so I am sure I never even hinted at it."

Elrohir lifted his hands in a sign of resignation. "You may keep your interpretations, lady, but I still say that no forgiveness is needed. But, should it ever be required, know that I would give it freely."

The conversation then turned to much lighter topics. By the time that Nessúlë retired for the evening Elrohir felt almost comfortable and at ease in his position. The possibilities of the future began to recede beneath the gentles waves of Nessúlë's voice, and for the moment at least, Elrohir decided to merely enjoy their time together and let nature take its course. If nature wholly failed, then and only then would he interfere.


"Do you think they are still out there?" Oloriel murmured, adjusting her head on the pillow. It was now quite dark out. Elladan had spent a good bit of time giving her a thorough massage after retiring to their rooms, and then they had both made several attempts at communicating with their child.

"I have no thoughts on the matter whatsoever," Elladan replied crisply as he slid under the bed covers and stretched out behind his wife, spooning against her back. "Elrohir is a grown Elf, in many ways wise and courageous. I have decided to wash my hands of his personal affairs."

Oloriel chuckled. "Should I remind you of how many times you have said that before?"

Elladan smiled as he let his fingers trail along Oloriel's sleek rope of braided hair. "Nay, wife, do not." He kissed her shoulder and let his left hand, now finished with the braid, splay out against her rounded stomach. She responded by nestling her feet against his own.

Stillness pervaded the room until the gentle sound of rain began to drum against the roof. Oloriel smiled. She loved the rain. But even more, she loved lying in bed with her husband, beneath the warm covers, as she listened to the pattering melody. With a contented sigh Oloriel lifted up a small wish into the heavens: `Please let Nessúlë and Elrohir discover this contentment. They are both so deserving. Let them be happy together.'


1. See my other story, "To Dream", for details about these incidents.

2. It's true - Blackberries come later in the season (Aug/Sept for us Northern Hemisphere Folks in temperate zone)

Things to Know:

Nessúlë: "young spirit
Lantél: "falling star"
Hallandakil: "tall victor"
Tithennaug: "little Dwarf"

vedui, mellon nín: "greeting, friend my"
mel-or-pân: literally, "dear-above-all" figuratively, "dearest"

hannon chin, meleth nín, an anírel enni: (literally) "thank you, love my, for wanting me"
--- I am fairly certain that `enni' is the indirect object form of the pronoun `I/me'.

Add New Comment

Latest Forum Posts

Join the Conversation!