Grey Eyed Elven Twins part 5 - Super Mum Saves the Day!
As Atherin sped down the road toward safety, Jo slipped in and out of consciousness, the passing woods merely a green blur. It wasn't long before Ceinwen could hear the sound of rushing water and they soon found themselves riding through a foaming white river. The water was not deep, but it was icy cold and reached up to their knees. The freezing water numbed Jo's injured leg, and stirred her almost fully back into the living world.
Now on the far side of the river, Atherin stood perfectly still and watched the woods from which they had emerged intently, ears pricked, eyes wide, nostrils flaring. Ceinwen wondered just what the horse was waiting for - but not for long. Soon, both girls caught glimpses of gold through the dense trees and suddenly, a great golden horse erupted like sunlight from the greenery.
Atherin tossed his head and neighed gleefully at his master, who sat comfortably astride with Elrohir. With them was another rider, but from where she was, Ceinwen couldn't see their face.
Slowly, as the palomino drew closer across the river, the mysterious figure became clearer. A beautiful woman - an elf, Ceinwen supposed - with hair so gold it had surely caught the rays of the sun. Her face was delicate and fine, each feature seeming more than perfect - and the Lady's eyes, her eyes were a deep ocean blue.
Majestically, the golden steed strode up the shoals of the river bank and came to stand before Atherin, who whinnied excitedly. The Elf-woman smiled kindly at them, and behind her, the twins grinned feebly, though Elrohir was still frantically rubbing blood out of his eyes.
"Ceinwen, Jo!" Elladan continued to grin, "I'm glad to see you are safe. This is our mother, Celebrían." Ceinwen gasped and Jo sat, mouth open, gaping in awe.
"Its - its a, um, er pleasure to m-meet you!" stammered Ceinwen, spell-bound by this magical person. Jo just continued to gape as though she were catching flies. Celebrían nodded her head gracefully.
"The pleasure is mine," she insisted, "but now come, for you are weary and hurt. My Lord Elrond will be able to help you." Jo smiled weakly but gratefully back at her, and together, they made the final part of their journey to the Last Homely House of Rivendell.
The horses seemed to know the way so well that the riders let the reins hang loosely, and talked happily. Celebrían laughed at the story of the girls' meeting, and her face grew grave at the tale of the wild men. "These eastern borders are growing wilder than ever. I will talk to your father, boys, when we return. Leave that eye alone, Elrohir! Rubbing it won't make it a bit better! You'll just make it sore!"
Jo said little, her leg hurt badly, but the presence of the beautiful elf-woman was calming. Ceinwen's eyes grew larger and larger and her mouth grew rounder and rounder as she heard the elves talk of wargs, goblins, and beautiful elven realms. Atherin was a joy to ride.
Then everything changed as they crossed a ford. The water was clear and sparkling, and once over the other side, there was suddenly laughter in the air, song, rejoicing! As they rode along a path along a cliff top, they fell silent as Rivendell unfolded before them.
Wonderful spiralling pinnacles and exquisite artwork and sculptures, archways and towers, all framed by the wooded valley, as the waterfall tumbled and dived over the edge of the beautiful dwelling.
As they reached the bridge a group of tall, finely clothed elves came out to meet them, stately and joyful all at once. The leader, tall and dark, rushed forward to embrace Celebrían and the twins, exclaiming over their bruises, stroking the golden horse's neck. The rest of the elves called greetings and laughed, and spoke among themselves.
Ceinwen helped Jo off Atherin, who stood still very helpfully, and looked around. She was beginning to feel nervous and unsure of what to do, when the tall dark elf turned to her. She could see some of the twins in him, and knew he must be Elrond. Ceinwen bowed on impulse, but the effect was ruined by Dusk almost falling out of her hair, and shrieking in protest.
-"Hsh, hsh, my dear!" Ceinwen soothed as she untangled the perturbed rat from her hair. "Come then, quiet now, don't struggle! Oh, you, you're just making it worse, Dusk, stay still!" Eventually the rat was free, and back in Ceinwen's pocket. She swept a tangle of hair out her face, and looked up, to realise everyone was staring at her. It would have been a rather uncomfortable moment, if Jo had not fainted, and slid to the floor. The elves rushed forward in concern, and one knelt by Jo.
"Arrow wound, my lord - we will take her inside, will-" but Elrond interrupted. "I will attend to her, by all accounts she is brave, and deserves rewarding. Take her to a comfortable chamber, and let her sleep."
They bowed and carried Jo off towards the houses. Ceinwen felt very self-conscious, and hovered near Elladan, in the hope he would tell her where to go. She was not disappointed.
"Ceinwen! Come with us, father has a good meal ready, and you can tell him more of you and Jo, and where you came from." This didn't sound like much fun, having to try and explain how they had got here when she didn't really know, but the idea of a good meal tempted her so much she eagerly caught up.
They strolled through bowered and arched streets, until they reached a tall, shapely building. Elrond stepped forward, and bowed, inclining his hand. "Welcome to the Last Homely House, Ceinwen and Dusk," he said, smiling.