In Times Like These - Ch.19: A New Beginning
19: A New Beginning (June 1, 2003 to June 3, 2003)
In less than an hour they were going to landing on the shores of the Undying Lands--- Valinor. All around him, he felt their excitement at finally arriving at their paradise where all their worries and fears of darkness were eradicated forever. True, there would still be the normal elven concerns but never would they have to worry about death by warfare again. And yet it all felt empty to him now. He'd rather spend the rest of his life in Middle Earth if it meant he might be able to spend one more day with his beloved Istelile.
She had been gone for weeks now and yet the hollowness inside of him failed to subside. He wished that he could fade entirely so that perhaps he might find her again in the Halls of Mandos. The problem was that they hadn't fully bonded themselves together. The beginning of the ritual was there, but they hadn't completed it. Their souls hadn't been able to become one yet. Thus, though he would never feel completely complete without her--- he wouldn't die of heart ache either.
It had been Galadriel's suggestion that he leave for Valinor with her when she went. He had been reluctant to go even though Middle Earth held no join for him now that Anaire had passed away. It was there in Middle Earth, in the forests of Lothlorien that he had slowly fallen for her. It was there amongst the mellyrn that all their memories were contained. For days he'd wandered through the still ravaged forests of Lothlorien thinking and reminiscing Anaire.
It was when he came upon her favorite mallorn, the one that she had climbed and rested in many a days that he'd finally broken down. It was then that he decided that if he stayed here, especially in Lothlorien that he would go insane. Crazy with the longing for her, mad with the knowledge that she was never going to come back to him. So he'd taken Galadriel up on her offer and had cast his lot with hers to journey to the Undying Lands.
He didn't regret it. Here at least he had nothing to remind him of Anaire. He didn't need anything to remind him of her. Every waking moment he thought of her. Her presence from his mind wouldn't ever be erased, but he needed to try to live without her. What had Galadriel said to him? That Anaire would be saddened to know that he had given up on living just because she was gone.
His Lady was right, Anaire would have been filled with sorrow to know how dead he felt inside without her. How he went through life in the actions but not truly living it. It was hard to go on, never seeing her eyes that contained so many whispers of emotions. Nor to see that brilliant final and first true smile she had ever given him. And yet, if he moved on he kept her memory alive. He would try to find something to live for again for her, only for her. She had hope, and hope was if not anything was life. He hoped the Light in Valinor would restore his own waning.
Legolas had never married. Though there weren't as many viable options for him since many of the elven maidens had departed for Valinor, there was never a lack of maidens that tried for his hand. But he had no interest in them. None at all. While he'd like to say that it was because of his love for Anaire that he didn't marry, he didn't think that was it. He hadn't known Anaire enough to love her as deeply as Haldir had. He did love her, loved what she represented--- hope in all the darkness that came.
While there was more hope since the defeat of Sauron, none quite equaled her steady but soft presence. Without Gimli by his side, he didn't know if he really had a reason to go on anymore. The two of them had been inseparable since the Fellowship had officially broken down. They went wherever Legolas had to go as the clear leader of the elves that had decided to stay in Middle Earth. And it was work that kept him from thinking about his loneliness.
With the help of the Twin Lords of Rivendell, Legolas had restored most of the elven lands to a beauty that though was not like it had once been was still quite lovely. It had taken a long hundred years, but finally they were somewhat reminiscent of what had been lost. While elven days were over, quite a few of their kind had decided to stay in Middle Earth to see it restored. The end of their extended stay was nearing conclusion and yet no word of those left on when they'd depart to Valinor.
There was still one last place that would take several decades to restore--- Lothlorien. The great center of what was once a great elven land had been the last place they had vowed to revive. It was only fitting that it be the last to return to its beauty. It had symbolized all the pain and the suffering of Middle Earth, a remembrance of all the elves that had died so that Mordor would never reign supreme.
Yet now came the time to think of returning it to its beauty. The time of darkness had ended and the time for light had arrived. Never had Middle Earth been as prosperous and as joyful as it was at this time. It was only right for the most beautiful lands of Arda to return to its state of splendor. Legolas smiled and urged his horse forward. To Lothlorien, he went with a light heart.
The only elf of notable standing that was missing from the elven council meeting to restore Lothlorien was Glorfindel. The rest were all present: Celeborn, Elladan, Elrohir, Thranduil, Legolas, and even Cirdan. The last to arrive had been Elladan who brought word that Glorfindel wouldn't be able to make it or be able to help in the first years to restore Lothlorien.
"His wife has passed away," Elladan murmured softly, his brilliant blue eyes shining with his unshed tears. "He sent a messenger this morning to me. I didn't even know that anything was wrong with Nessa. I thought that everything was fine."
Celeborn went to his grandchild and wrapped his arms around Elrohir comfortingly. "You know that Glorfindel wished to spend some time alone with his wife. We all know that she didn't have much time left here, that she was already starting to get weak with her illness. Give Glorfindel some time, we all knew this was expected since she was a human. Death comes to them."
"But she was so young," Elrohir added hoarsely. "She was so young." Like Anaire, he thought inside. So young like Anaire, even if Anaire had spent more years in her lifetime than a human could in twelve lifetimes. He still felt the loss Anaire keenly, and he doubted that it would ever depart him. "She wasn't even forty years old, Celeborn."
His grandfather nodded gravely. "It is hard to watch those that we care about die, but we must learn to live with it. We cannot continue to live fearing death for our human friends. Glorfindel loved Nessa even though he knew that one day she would eventually leave him alone, but while he was with her I have never seen him happier. If he moves on, that happiness is more than enough to last him the rest of his life."
"He will probably fade," Elladan responded with a bittersweet one. "You know that Glorfindel and Nessa bonded. It is likely that he is fading as we speak, Elrohir and I should go to him. This meeting can be delayed. We should make haste speed to him."
"You forget that Nessa knew a lot of elven culture," Celeborn remarked. "You forget that she extracted a promise, an unbreakable vow when she agree to bind herself to him that he continue to live on when her time was up. You know very well that Glorfindel will never break his word. He will live no matter how hard it will be on him."
"We should still be there for him," Elladan insisted, after all Glorfindel was his best friend. He wanted to be there for his friend, afraid to see another one of he cared deeply for die. In the War of the Ring, many of his friends had perished and only Glorfindel survived. As a result, they had pulled closer together until they were nearly as inseparable as Legolas and Gimli.
That had changed when Glorfindel had spied a young woman bathing in a river without a concern in the world for her modesty. Nessa had changed their relationship, making a duo into a trio. If anything Nessa and Elladan shared a special relationship, that if Glorfindel hadn't been bonded with Nessa would have roused the master archer's jealousy. Nessa's loss was sure to cut into Elladan deeply as it would affect all of them. Her carelessness and her abundant recklessness had been refreshing when they had all been suffering from memories of the past.
Nessa had brought them the reminder that life was still life; thus, it was precious no matter how hopeless it may seem. In ways, Nessa was a bit of a reminder for Elrohir and Celeborn of Anaire--- a hopeful light. The only elf present that hadn't met Nessa was Legolas, who have been keeping busy to forget about the past. "She was a remarkable woman," Thranduil remarked, having met Nessa on one of his trips to Rivendell. "She will be missed."
"Yes, she will," came the echoes of all those that knew her.
He had promised his wife; he had promised Nessa that he would not give up on life when her time came. He would not break that promise, not even if he had nothing to live for but he did. As he gazed down at his beautiful newborn daughter, he knew that he had something to live for once again. For years, Nessa and he had tried to have a child, but eventually they accepted that it wasn't going to happen, that they would remain childless.
It had only been two months ago that Nessa had thought that maybe it was just her abnormal monthly fluxes that was causing her delays. Her subsequent nausea and tiredness only confirmed their delightful suspicions that Nessa was with child, about four months along to be exact. He had wanted to immediately declare it to everyone they knew that they were expecting their first child, but Nessa had wanted it to remain a surprise until Elladan's birthday.
So he had agreed. That hadn't stopped him from finding the best elven childbirth expert to help his wife with any problems that she had from her illness. While it made carrying the child to term a rather difficult thing, she had to be in full bed rest mode, they were thankful they were getting this chance to bring new life into the world. But even they hadn't know how terrible the birth would be for her or how close to dying their baby had come.
Was it only a week since he had lost Nessa? It seemed so long since he had seen his beloved Nessa smile at him brilliantly, her chocolate brown eyes twinkling at him with her hidden adventuresome streak. Nessa wasn't quite seven months along when she had gone into labor pains. Even with the expert midwife there, the birth had been horribly difficult.
If Nessa hadn't been weak already from her illness, they might have tried a caesarian to remove the baby from the awkward position and hope for the best. But the outrageous bleeding would have killed Nessa outright. Instead, the slow birth did the exact same thing. It had taken hours for the midwife to turn their baby around and remove the umbilical from around the neck that would have strangled their baby.
When their beautiful daughter had finally come into the world, Nessa was already making him remember the promise he'd made fifteen years ago when she had agree to bind herself to him for how ever long she'd live in this world. It was as he swore to her that he would live his life to the fullest even if she was gone that their daughter in her arms had stopped breathing.
He wished then and there that Nessa had died before that. Instead, Nessa died thinking that the child of their love had died. He only prayed and hope that she knew wherever she was that the midwife had managed to resuscitate their child and that she was fine. Yes, their baby was fine. Weak and feeble--- but she was going to survive. The midwife had said that their baby was tough like Nessa. Yes, their beautiful daughter, Elenestel had to have had Nessa's fighting spirit to survive thus far.
He pressed a kiss against her forehead and she opened her bright blue eyes to gaze at him with something akin to understanding as if she knew what he was going through. The midwife had warned him to not hesitate to call upon her if he needed any assistance, but so far Elen had been an easy baby. She never cried, only whimpered when she needed something.
Smiling down at his lovely daughter, he cradled her close to his chest and vowed that he'd never let her go. No matter what, he would always be there for her especially since she had no mother to nurture her. He would be everything for her: her father, her mother, her everything. His Elen would lack for nothing. No she would have everything in his power to give her. She was all he had left, she was his everything.
It had been years until Elladan had time to make his way to his best friend's dwelling place. Glorfindel had not come to Rivendell for years even though Elladan had urged him too. Glorfindel said simply that it was too painful to return to Imladris without Nessa, that the place evoked too many memories of his courtship of his beloved wife. The problem was that Elladan, as one of the Lords of Rivendell had committments that prevented him from freely venturing Glorfindel's way until now.
Three long years had passed and it was time that he saw his goddaughter. There was also another hidden motivation behind going to where Glorfindel was, all those at Imladris wanted Glorfindel to settle closer to his homeland. Where Glorfindel had taken off after Nessa's death had no memories for him and it was far from any trace of civilization. Far, far away.
It had taken a week to reach Glorfindel, only giving his horse enough time so that he didn't exhaust his faithful steed. He, himself was feeling the strain of the long journey and was thankful when he finally saw the shape of a small cottage built beneath trees that soared into the sky. The peacefulness of the land was comforting, and he knew that this atmosphere reassured Glorfindel who always reveled in the beauty of nature.
Elladan dismounted gracefully from his horse and gave his stallion the signal not to drift too far away, but allowing his mount to have free range to wander to find what sustenance he needed. Before Elladan was able to get full bearings on his surroundings, he felt someone watching him. When he turned around, he saw the most enchanting little elven child he had ever seen.
"Elen?" he called out her name softly, not wanting to startle her. She didn't run away, and he thought that perhaps she had inherited her mother's fiery personality. But when he started to move toward her, she backed up away from him. "You do not have to be afraid, Elen. I am Elladan, your godfather."
She stopped moving away, her bright blue eyes staring at him calmly. The eerie ethereal feeling he got from her didn't remind him of Nessa at all. It was subtle and surreal. But she was image of her mother, dark blond nearly brown hair with the deepest azure eyes he had ever seen. He was so busy studying her that he hadn't even noticed Glorfindel's approach until his best friend called out to him, "I didn't expect to see you so soon, Elladan."
Elladan broke out in a smile when he saw how good Glorfindel looked. The last time he had seen his friend, shortly before Elen's birth--- Glorfindel had been thin and wasted with worry for Nessa's well being. This time his friend was glowing with a happiness that was unequal to anything he'd seen since Glorfindel had married Nessa. "It's good to see you, Glorfindel. I say being a father becomes you."
Glorfindel held his arms out to his daughter and Elen immediately ran over to her father. "Adar," she whispered softly as she wrapped her arms around her father's neck, "Elen missed you." She pressed kisses against Glorfindel's cheeks and buried her head into her father's neck.
"Adar missed you, too," Glorfindel murmured warmly to his daughter, stroking her back comfortingly. "Say hello to adar's friend? He is your godfather, Elen, he is like a second adar." He pressed a kiss against her forehead and continued to caress his daughter.
Simply observing the way the two interacted, it was clear to Elladan how close they were. It was almost frightening to realize that for the past three years that Glorfindel had come to depend on his daughter for companionship, for comfort, for everything. And it seemed that Glorfindel had taught Elen to depend entirely on him as well for everything. The way Elen held onto Glorfindel was almost disturbing in the intensity.
It wasn't hard to see why Glorfindel was so protective of Elen, if anything Elen was almost a replica of his lost Nessa. Yet, there were differences enough to keep Elen from being a small version of Nessa. While her blue eyes were brilliant, they didn't quite contain the vividness of Nessa's. Elen's golden tresses were also a shade lighter, less luminous. From what Elladan could tell, Elen also did not have Nessa's vivacious personality.
No, Elen was softer and needed someone to lean on--- her adar. "Glorfindel," Elladan said, trying to catch his friend's attention away from worshiping his daughter, "you know that I did not only come here to visit you."
It worked, he had his friend's full interest. "I realized that," Glorfindel replied. "You are here because you want me to return to Rivendell, am I correct?"
Elladan nodded slightly. "It is not good for you to remain isolated, Glorfindel. If not for yourself, think of your daughter. Do you think it is best for her to remain separated from everything, growing up alone? You know elven children need to interact with others, it is in our nature to want to be close to others."
"Elen has had problems," Glorfindel responded with a sharp voice. "She is not like other elven children, they will be too noisy for her. She needs peace and quiet. She does not like to go out at all; she only ventures out when she knows that I am coming back. She will not like it in Rivendell; besides, the memories there are too painful for me to bear."
Elladan sighed and decided that he had nothing better to do than to go to the last alternative. "I knew that you would not want to return to Imladris," he stated. "I have prepared some place for you to live that is near Imladris, well protected and peaceful. There should no problems for Elen or for yourself. It is near enough that I could come to see you and still attend to things that I need to." He paused and gazed directly into Glorfindel's eyes. "I have missed my best friend."
There was a silence that was uninterrupted by any sound for several long moments while Glorfindel thought of what Elladan said. If Elladan had tried to force the issue, it would have been easy for Glorfindel to refuse him, best friend or not. But when Elladan had said that he'd missed his friendship, that was different and that was something he could change if he wanted to.
He had to admit, he'd missed Elladan too. Elladan had been one of the main factors in getting him together with Nessa. The three of them had been the best of friends, a trio in every aspect of the word. But without Nessa it wasn't the same. While Elladan and Glorfindel had been great friends before Nessa, she had definitely been the glue that had stuck them even closer together. Elladan was like Nessa's older brother. It was from him that she learned the elven ways and it was through him that she met her future soul mate, Glorfindel.
"How far away is this place that you speak of from Rivendell?" Glorfindel asked, it was the closest that he was willing to come to admit that perhaps he did want to go back. It was hard though to even consider going back to the place where he'd fallen in love with Nessa and shared some of the happiest times of his life. And it was because of Nessa that they'd left when they realized she was dreadfully ill. She hadn't wanted to spoil the sweet memories at Rivendell for him.
In the end, it hadn't matter. He didn't want to go back to Rivendell and spoil the memories of being with her by being there without her. So he had traveled when Elen was healthy enough as far as he could get away from everything. And away from it all he had raised his daughter, loving her so deeply that it sometimes unnerved him that he might love her more than even Nessa. Being away from Elen was a hardship, but he did it because he had to do some things that were too dangerous for her to be around him.
He sometimes worried that she didn't love him as much as he loved her. There were times she felt so far away from him that it was like she was in another time and place, not with him. But then whenever he'd come back after being away for hours and she'd come running to him, holding him like she'd never let him go--- it reminded him that to her he was all she had. It was another reason not to go back. If he stayed where they were, all she would know to need and to want and to love would be him.
"A couple hours away by horseback," Elladan responded. "Not too close, yet not that far away. I would have to take a day off to actually visit you, so you would not need to worry about being disturbed too often my dear friend."
And yet, the older that Elen grew--- the more that Glorfindel realized that having only him made his daughter even more withdrawn from everything. She spoke occasionally, but never often enough for him. Maybe Elladan was right, maybe it was a good idea to have her surrounded by more children. And from what Elladan was telling him, they were far away enough from other elves that Elen could retreat and be alone with him whenever she wanted to. Besides that, Rivendell had always been his home and he missed it.
"Is the place that you speak of ready?"
Elladan nodded. "It is there waiting for you whenever you feel ready to go."
Author's Note: Was the father a surprise? Glorfindel is rumored to be reincarnated, so I thought that it was only fitting! I hope you see the similarities between Elen and Anaire. And I suppose you say aren't reincarnations suppose to look the same? Well, I'll answer that question later. Elenestel means "star hope" so her nickname is `Star' thus ELEN. Aw, how do you like that she's half elven? My reasoning, there are that many elven females left in ME after the great journey ,_~.
Why Celeborn cannot be the father... Galadriel is in Valinor and he is in ME, does that make sense? And if Elladan is the godfather, it makes Celeborn the grand-godfather ,-~.
Did I mention I get bored really easily and reviews keep me interested? And did I mention this story is competing against an epic Harry Potter fanfic I'm writing? * sighs * yup. I have a feeling both are going to be over 100,000 words.
Thanks to Arenial, Lalaith-Elerrina, Lady_Shinigami, Lunarfire, Dunwen, Daughter_of_Estel, PrincessofNúmenor, and Iluvien (again! love ya, you've been with me since the beginning!)
GondorBoromirBabe: Wow ( blushes ). Thanks. I don't read other LoTR works besides what I beta because it tends to make my stories less original and I do think it has to be original right?
Nienna_Telrunya: You um... didn't leave an email. If you want to beta email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Wow thanks for the splurge in adjectives ,_,;;.
Angel_elf: Not a sequel, Arc 3 is part of the story. I had arc 3 made up in my head when I started the story and I fully intended for Anaire to die. Anaire wasn't the type of person to be able to have kids and be happy, her purpose was erm above that--- she was a sacrifice...
shieldmaidenofrohan: Haldir is in Valinor, another reason for him not to be her father. Thanks ,_,;; goodness, it makes me want to write more... haha maybe this is why this is out so soon.
Elf-princessButtercup: Ergh, I would definitely read Chapters 1 thru 17, there's a lot of background story that makes 18 even better to read. And yes, she did die at Pelennor.