Dusk of Ages - Tale 3--> Past Pain
[Elvish thought or telepathy]
Recap of Tale 2 . . .
Musing absently to himself about how the moonlight washed the color from her skin so that she looked more like a sculpture of a sleeping female rather than a living being, his hand drifted to her ear and his fingers traced its shape lightly, all the way to its tapered point.
However, she did not give a soft gasp and seek more attention like he had expected. Instead she flinched, recoiling from his touch and rolling away from him. Curious as to how a usually erogenous zone could startle and discomfort even a previously untouched female, he leaned closer to examine her.
There were scars on her ears.
Aragorn was unsure he had ever seen his friend so furious in his life. He had been talking with Celeborn and Elrond, but something compelled him to pay just a moment of attention to his friend, who was leaning against the wall by the doors and fuming quietly. [. . . Legolas?]
[Forgive my abrupt entrance, Aragorn, I did not mean to interrupt.]
[What is it that has you so angered?]
Legolas hunched his shoulders and stewed a bit longer before saying, [May I make use of the training facilities here?]
Excusing himself to the two lords, Aragorn moved to lead his friend to the training levels. [Legolas,] he asked as they made their way through the long and empty corridors, [what is it? Did Kyshri---]
[. . . I am sure you are aware of the sensitivity of Elven ears.]
[I assume you mean this as not in terms of hearing capabilities?]
The prince nodded darkly. [My ears, for example, are to be touched only by myself, my family, and whomever I would choose as my wife. Except in the event of an emergency, obviously, no one else is to touch them. It is considered a privilege and a display of great trust for any unrelated Elf to touch another's ears.]
Aragorn acknowledged this information with a nod. [Are you saying that Kyshri touched your ears without permission?]
[No. She was asleep when I found her and I left her as such.]
[Then this is about her ears?]
[She has been savaged, Aragorn!] Legolas exploded abruptly, unable to hold the secret even a moment longer. [There are scars on her ears!] he groaned. [Scars from the teeth of mortals on her ears . . .!] He shook his head. [Has she been maltreated since her birth?!]
[It might do you well to ask her about it. I am aware she is not comfortable talking about herself, but that is the only way you will get answers.]
They arrived at the training rooms and Aragorn returned alone to the throne chamber. He was met by Celeborn's mildly amused question: [What did Kyshri do to frustrate him this time?]
[Her ears,] Aragorn replied, turning Legolas' words over in his head.
[What about them?]
[He said they were scarred. Marked by mortal teeth.]
[What?] Elrond asked as politely as possible, unsure or unwilling to believe that he had heard correctly.
Celeborn bristled visibly.
[That is what he said,] Aragorn confirmed, seeing that little more would be done this night.
I had hardly taken two steps into the chamber when Lord Celeborn appeared in front of me. I stopped short and blinked inquiringly. He took my head in his hand and began to look at the side of my head. I let him, unclear as to his purpose for this behavior. It was only when he began to look at the other side of my head and I felt his thumb rest directly in front of my ear that I understood.
Once he was done, he tried to look at me, but I would not meet his eyes. He lifted my chin, but I pulled my head away from him. It was only when he locked my head between his hands that I looked at him.
He tilted his head slightly to the side and shook his head the tiniest bit, his brow furrowing briefly. I looked down at the floor and shook my head in reply. He touched my chin so I would look at him again and implored me silently. I shook my head once more and pulled away from him, retreating from the chamber as quickly but as politely as I could.
[She would tell me nothing,] Celeborn reported as he reclaimed his seat.
[Perhaps because there are so many of us here?] Aragorn guessed. [She does not care for groups.]
[I will speak to her,] Sulaine decided, rising.
[No!] Legolas barked. [Forcing her to speak of it will only harm her!]
[We must know who has done this!] Sulaine snapped. [This is our fellow Patron--our friend, our sister--who has been so brutally treated! It was all clearly done in Veikai, as no mortals are allowed within the borders of Lothlorien, and since that is true the perpetrator, or perpetrators, must be dealt with! To allow a Patron to be abused in such a manner is ludicrous!]
Legolas got to his feet. [You cannot simply force it from her!]
Sulaine snorted. [Unlike you, Your Majesty, I am well aware of how to get information from Kyshri without frightening her!] With that he left the chamber, presumably to find the one of which they spoke.
Legolas resumed his place with a childish huff and Josuin broke in with, [I do not know how well you may get along with Kyshri, Legolas, but let me say that Sulaine would never harm her even if it would save his life. He is extremely loyal to her and has all but kissed her boots ever since she found us.]
[You mean he loves her.]
Gunrey leaned back and folded his arms. [Do not tell either of them that. Sulaine would throttle us and Kyshri would pity him.]
[Then why does he not just ask for her hand?] Legolas persisted, earning an odd look from Aragorn for not trying to claim her.
[Who, Sulaine?] Josuin waved his hand dismissively at the thought. [I told you he would never harm her. All of us Patrons knew the base facts about the relationship problems she was having at the time. Then she decided to avoid any further relationships and Sulaine has respected that. Besides, he knows that she loves him as nothing more than a friend and brother; it would hurt her to deny him and he knows that as well.]
I scooted over, allowing him to sit beside me and lean against Rilloc's chest, but did not take my eyes off the distance. He pulled up one knee--he was writing vigorously on a piece of parchment that rested on the polished surface of a thin slab of marble.
[Been taking notes at all those discussions?]
[Huh? Oh.] He chuckled. [No. Just taking inventory. Minas Tirith is a wealth of oddities! I would love to visit again!]
I smiled. [Then if I ever come back, I shall be sure to list you as a volunteer for the trip.]
We were companionably quiet then; me staring blankly out over Pelennor and him scratching with his quill at the parchment.
[What was his name?] he asked.
[It no longer matters,] I replied a little more sharply than I intended. [It has been over a century--they are long dead.]
He stopped and looked at me. [They? Sweet Valar, Kyshri . . .!]
I snarled, but said nothing.
[Why did you not tell me?!]
[Because I had no need of another overbearing father-figure!] I snapped. [I ran away from Lothlorien because I was being coddled and I knew I could deal with the problem myself!]
[. . . What did you do?]
[I broke their fingers.]
[Well, I most certainly could not break their teeth. Since they all seemed to enjoy pinching my ears as well as biting, I thought that breaking fingers was just as appropriate.]
A short silence. [. . . It concerns him.]
[As I am almost always surrounded by males, by your use of `him' I assume you mean Legolas?]
[He has nothing to be concerned about; a fact he should be aware of even if only faintly.]
[. . . Kyshri . . . Please understand . . . The reason we are always questioning you is because only want you to be safe and happy. We worry about you.]
[Because you are dear to us. We love you.]
[Sweet as the sentiment is, all of you are all but choking me to death.]
He leapt to his feet. [Displaying love for another is not a weakness, Kyshri! Do not treat it so!]
[Love?] I barked out a laugh as he walked away, back into the citadel. [Love does not exist anywhere but in fairy tales. I learned that long ago.]
He stopped and turned. [How unfortunate for you, then, Gifter of the Mark of the House of Lorien. With such a blind opinion, you will never find it.]
I blinked as he continued on his way inside. I had given Legolas my phoenix pendant, however Sulaine knew of that. The worst part was that I could not even remember consciously deciding to give the pendant up--I just had.
What did that mean? Lady Galadriel had given it to my mother--one of her maidens--to give to her intended. When my mother wedded my father and replaced the pendant with the ring, she had put the pendant away until I was old enough to take it, which was roughly around my fortieth year. When she had given it to me, she told me that I was only to give it to the Elf with whom I knew I would spend the rest of eternity.
Then did my gifting the pendant mean . . .?
I sighed and drew my knees up, burying my face against them. I had given up on love centuries ago. So why was it apparently returning to me?
[She is very confused now, Prince of Eryn Lasgalen.]
Legolas jumped and turned to Galadriel. Not long ago Celeborn had told him Mirkwood had been renamed and it felt rather strange to have been the prince of three forests that were really the same, geographically. In his childhood he had been Prince of Greenwood, then when the fortress of Dol Guldur was raised he was Prince of Mirkwood, and now that Dol Guldur was gone he was Prince of Eryn Lasgalen. A corner of him wished that everyone would make up their mind about what to call his home. [My Lady?]
[You worry about Kyshri, do you not?]
Legolas did not ask how she knew this--it was pointless and unnecessary. [Yes.]
Galadriel moved to the edge of the wall and looked across Pelennor. Her gaze then shifted downward to the courtyard below, where Kyshri sat. [Many of her wounds you see on her flesh. They mar her and make her quite self-conscious. Yet there are other wounds, invisible wounds, that do the same. It will take time for her to understand that which most of us take for granted.]
Legolas frowned. [That we take for granted?]
[She is disillusioned, Legolas. Love is an imaginary creature, meant for all but her. She must learn otherwise and it will be difficult for her. It is not easy to put aside centuries of strong belief.]
The prince sighed heavily. This war with Kyshri would likely be worse than the war he had just fought against Sauron.
[There is hope,] Galadriel assured him. She touched with two fingers the chest of his tunic and he felt the cool metal of the phoenix press into his skin. [She must only be reminded and taught again.]
[With all due respect, My Lady . . . I believe you are seeking a near miracle. Kyshri is obstinate and forceful--it will be all but impossible to make her even see the truth when she feels she has her own.]
Galadriel smiled knowingly. [You do not realize the power you hold over her, Legolas. You were raised to be respectful and courteous toward females and not to intimidate them, but that is the only way Kyshri will take you seriously. She will, naturally, rebel at first, but you must be firm with her. She is not spoiled, but she is very assertive, which seems to frighten you males for some reason. Even my husband is cowed by her behavior on most occasions.
[You know that you are right in this matter. Use that to your advantage; you have twice the argument she does. Do not let her sly tongue and intense outbursts trick you. She needs you, but she is not yet aware of it.] She turned and moved to the doors that led inside, pausing to look back at him. [In fact, neither of you know the truth. Perhaps that shall be rectified soon.]
[Where are you going?]
I looked over at Legolas from where I was brushing Quephiril. [As there are several more days until we are leaving Minas Tirith, I thought I might visit the Sea, as I have never before seen it.]
Suddenly horrified, he grabbed my shoulders and shook me viciously. [No! You cannot! The Call . . . You will hear it!]
I cleared my throat as I firmly took his wrists and removed his hands from my shoulders. [Legolas, I am sorry. Forgive me. You are of the Teleri--one of the Sindar, correct?]
He nodded, frowning. [How . . .?]