Between The Shadows - Chapter 5
When Lindalë awoke, all was dark. Her head pounded and she felt blood trickle down onto the back of her neck. After a while, memory flooded back to her and she remembered where she was. Where were the others? She wondered. Then she had a sick feeling in her stomach. What if they were all dead? Lindalë's eyes became accustomed to the dark and relief washed over her. There were some survivors, at least. She and the few remnants of the company had been chained to the dark tunnel wall of an orc hold, she supposed. She strained her eyes. Was Celebrian among them? She had seen the arrow plunge into her shoulder, but she had not given up hope. There, in the corner! Surely that must be Celebrian! Lindalë struggled with the heavy iron chain. It was no use. Only dwarves wrought metal better. She sank bank into unconsciousness, as despair took hold of her.
It seemed like years in that dark tunnel, while Lindalë lingered in a nightmare world. Every now and than a goblin would come make sure the prisoners were in a sure state of misery. If not, then he would brandish his whip gleefully. They were given no food, or water, and were slowly being tortured into madness. Elves were strong though, and could not die. Lindalë whispered now and then to the other hostages, speaking hoarsely through cracked lips, giving encouragement. "After all, not all the others may have been slain. Some may have probably escaped and sent word to Imladris. We may soon be free of this bondage", She said. At first, the others had had some spark of hope, but after a few days, even Lindalë had given up all thought of their rescue. I am going to die here, all alone, and I am never going to see the light of day again, she thought to herself one day, and dropped into a subconscious state of nightmares, full of leering goblins and impenetrable dark. Celebrian was in a worse state: she had not awoken at all.
Suddenly, a white light filled the tunnel. Lindalë was nearly blinded and shielded her eyes. When she opened them again, she was sure one of the Valar had come to save them. He was tall and dark-haired. In one hand he held a sword, gleaming white and stained with the black blood of orcs. In the other he held up the key to their chains. Lindalë rejoiced; they were free! The Vala, who Lindalë now realized was just an elf, was followed by more elves and they helped free the captives. The leader rushed in. There was something familiar about him, and Lindalë realized it when he saw Celebrian. There was concern in his eyes and Lindalë saw him try to shake her awake. "Mother?" he said urgently. "Mother, its me, Elladan", Lindalë understood. He was her son. An elf similar to him freed Lindalë from her bonds with the key that Elladan had given him. As the weak elves were freed, they were pulled to their feet and had to hobble on sore legs. Others had to be carried. Lindalë still had most of her strength and stood up uneasily. They were being led out of the chamber into the dark opening beyond. Celebrian was one who had to be carried. When Lindalë saw her on her son's shoulder, limp and frail, it made her sick to her stomach.
The journey to Rivendell was a short one, though Lindale was impatient to reach her destinations end. After a week and a half of travel with frequent stops for the weary survivors, the hidden valley of Rivendell lay before them, the lights of the Last Homely House twinkling warmly below. Lindalë imagined she could smell the food wafting out from its open doors. She looked ahead at Elladan, where he was supporting a still unconscious Celebrian. He too, seemed anxious to be home. They followed the steep trail down onto the grassy bank of a noisy river. There they were greeted by some elves, who had been singing merrily until they had noticed the state of the elves, and especially their Lady. Now, they spoke gravely and in hushed tones with Elrohir and assisted in helping the wounded.
The elven company stepped into the wide marble hall. Lindalë marveled at the ornate design and intricate structure of everything. Compared to this, Mirkwood Hall was nothing more than a barren cave and the Mirkwood elves prided themselves on having a fair abode. But this... this palace, where everything seemed as it should be, and the world, for once seemed harmonious. Lindalë gazed in awe at the hanging tapestries, each of which told a story of its own. On the left side, a tapestry had a scene of an island, beautiful and peaceful with the sun shining down warmly, and white towers climbing up into the clouds. But one tower towered above them all, and it was the grandest building sewn onto the tapestry. Behind it, a huge, destructive, wave approached the island and threatened to drown its glory; with only a small fleet of ships struggling against the raging tide to reach the dark mainland far away. This, thought Lindalë, this must surely be the fall of Númenor, of which so many songs the elves had sang sadly. On the right, there was another tapestry, this one depicting another island, with white shores, and a green country under a swift sunrise, crowned with lofty mountains from which a light shown down, illuminating the snow-tipped peaks and the rolling hills far below. This tapestry filled Lindalë with a sadness she had not felt since her mothers death. But she came back to reality when she realized that The Lord Elrond himself had entered the hall. Regal and wise he looked, but a frighteningly grave look was in his eyes when he saw his injured wife. He rushed to her limp figure, in her son Elrohir's arms. Elrond felt her hands and her pale face.
"She is cold," he murmured faintly, "I do not know if I may be able to revive her". Lindalë felt something clutch at her heart. Everything was happening all over again. She could not bear it if Lady Celebrian died. She watched as Elrohir and his father carried Celebrian up the marble stairs.
"Will she be all right?" she asked the elf nearest to her. The elf, whose name was Coelathriel looked towards and her and said: "The Lord Elrond is a great and skilled healer. I have no doubt that the Lady Celebrian will be restored to full health in a matter of days". Even so, Lindalë noticed a look of doubt on the elf's face.
Lindalë was by no means reassured. She looked around uneasily and followed Elrond and Elladan up the stairs to see for herself. Her anxiety did not dull her senses, and Lindalë passed through room after beautiful room after the way that the father, son and wife had gone. At last, she reached a chamber, lit by flaming torches with an opaque dome carved with elvish designs. Herbs and medicines lined the walls. Celebrian lay on a chaise lounge in the center of the room, and Elrohir was kneeling next to her, grasping her hand, while Elrond scanned the shelves for a remedy for his wounded wife. Lindalë ran inside and took Celebrian's other hand. Elrond looked up from the shelves and Elrohir looked questioning.
"And who might you be?" the elven healer asked. "I have not seen you before in Imladris". Lindalë held up her chin proudly. "I am Lindalë, daughter of the woodland king Thranduil, and I have journeyed with the Lady Celebrian from Lorien" She said. Elrond raised his eyebrow.
"And why would the princess of Mirkwood be in Lorien?" he asked. "Usually we have little dealings with our northern kindred, and we have become estranged". Lindalë searched for the right words.
"I was-", she began but she was interrupted as Elladan came through the wooden doors.
"How is she?" he asked urgently. Elrond's attention snapped back to his wife, and his brow was furrowed when he looked back at his older son.
"I may be able to awaken her," he said uncertainly, "But her recovery will not be swift, and maybe she will not be able to recover. But I will do the best I can." He turned to Lindalë. "However, I will need my utmost concentration and I must ask you to leave". Lindalë thought about protesting, but she realized it might cost the life of Celebrian. Standing up, she smoothed out the wrinkles in her clothes and left the room.
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