In Times Like These - Chapter 18- Lost Beloved

Title: In Times Like These

Author: Yih

Disclaimer: All characters are Tolkien other than my "OC."

~

Arenial: O-o at least you got the point of the end.

PrincessofNúmenor: Hehe, I'm glad I've made you happy.

Varne: Thanks, I posted this as soon as I could.

Dunwen: Aw, /blushes/ thanks

Nienna__Telrunya: Wow O-o your editing reminds me of my `mad editor' niichan (means older brother in japanese, he's a writing mentor to me, it's his nickname), how about this... you can edit everything after 18... ,-~ you'll see why.

shieldmaidenofrohan: I have so many mistakes because I can't bear to read my own writing. Whenever I try to read it I bore myself to death (it's amazing I finish any story since I bore myself so quickly with it).

Iluvien: Hehe, glad you're happy and you won't go mad.

Lothloriel: You should read the rest ,_~ it helps make you understand Anaire's character better.

Lady_Shinigami: Muaha, poor you and your sister abducting it! More romance is in stored.

Angel_elf: Erm, yeah thanks ,-~ I hope this chapter is um up to standards.

Lalaith-Elerrina: Aw well, I know it's understandable, but I don't know if it's that good.

Lady Tineuviel: geez, I'm embarrassed. thanks!

~

18: Lost Beloved (May 27, 2003 to May 29, 2003)

His heart ripped into two when he saw her fall. Time had always seemed endless to him, it came and it went--- it never seemed to really be significant. Now it was beyond significant, beyond important--- more than precious. The first time she was struck, it struck him how priceless the time he had spent with her. The second time the blade sliced into her chest, he realized that he wanted to spend eternity with her.

Blinded with his worst fears, he barely paid attention to how his elven blades cut through the enemies that stood in his way, he didn't notice anything other than Anaire lying prone on the ground her life's blood seeping from her body. Only when he was next to her, when he sunk down to his knees did he realize how little time had passed. It had seemed like it had taken him forever to reach her side, but in reality it had taken almost no time at all.

What joy he derived seeing the ring on her finger was forgotten by her critical condition. He had no other care in the world other than to hold her in his arms. Vaguely at the back of his mind, he knew that the twins and the rest of the Galadhrim guard were fighting earnestly to protect him and her from harm. It was only when they'd managed to push away the danger that the twins dropped to their adopted sister's side to see how she was.

Haldir knew, he knew she wasn't doing well. Her strength was fading and her soul he barely felt. He hardly felt his soul mate's presence; she was fading fast and he was fading with her. But despite the desperate situation, he had never felt as close to her as he felt right at this moment. Her acceptance, the ring on her finger had opened him up to her closed mind. It was then that he was able to delve into her depths and truly know the woman he loved. He felt her hesitation to let him in, but he persisted and what he saw only made him love her more.

~

He saw her as a child, wandering around watching the birds and the animals that resided in the forests. He saw that she loved to slip into the sanctuary of the tall trees at the deepest hour of the night, how she would sing to the old spirits and how they responded to her singing by bending their branches toward her. A nightingale she was for them, an angel of darkness that thrived in an atmosphere that lacked light.

Years past by, the happy moments and serenity of her childhood were over the night she went out when her parents had told her not to roam. But she had to, the compulsion to be in the wild surrounded by the darkness in her soul pushed her to disobey. That rebellion cost her the life of her mother, slain with brutality by orcs while she watched on. Her refusal to obey led to the torture and eventual death of her beloved father.

He saw that her mother had meant a great deal to her, but it was her father that was her biggest love. It was her father's death that had crippled her mind to the extent that she refused to remember the past; instead she faded inside of her and let the darkness that once was her happiness shield her from the torment and torture she suffered.

Reliving her physical abuse by the orcs had made rage spread like wildfire over his mind, but it was soon forgotten when he saw how she viewed the two hundred some years that she had spent in Lothlorien. While it lacked the happy liberty of her childhood, it was still some of the happiest years of her life. It was less of outright joy than a serene existance that allowed her to thrive and rebuild herself.

It had helped to be under Galadriel's guidance to help realize that her gifts weren't a curse. For it was for her mind reading ability that she'd been kept alive by the orcs when the leader figured out she knew precisely what they were doing before they did it. The orc thought it was foresight, and while she had somewhat of a gift for the future--- they were far and few in between.

She was kept alive and tortured enough to keep her weak but not killed. It was because she wasn't killed that her mind had made her forget her past to protect her from breaking down into insanity. While Haldir tried to reassure her that it wasn't her fault that her parents had perished, he knew that she wasn't listening to him. All he could do was to give his understanding and his love and pray that she accepted it.

~

He was jolted from the warmth of her mind when her heart stopped beating. Everything suddenly sped up to a desperate speed as he saw Elladan and Elrohir chanting healing spells as they worked to stitch up her wounds. Elrohir was working with her chest wound while Elladan worked on the cut from her neck to her breast. It was only when he paid close attention that he realized that the twins were working with dangerous healing spells and he knew why.

She was almost gone, it wouldn't be long... not long at all. He felt like his being was being suffocated into oblivion when he realized that she was dying. He had never thought that she'd died; he had thought that they had years to be together, thousand of years. And now everything was moving too fast, there wasn't enough time. There wasn't enough time!

"I will not let you die," Elrohir muttered to her as if she could still hear him, as if she wasn't dead this instant. Elrohir slashed his wrist and let his blood seep into her wounds. "From the blood of a brother, let the bond between us strengthen my sister." But Elrohir knew that she was more than a sister to him, he'd admitted it to himself a long time ago though he knew he would do nothing to change their relationship. He would be happy as long as she was and she'd been happy with Haldir.

All that Haldir understood was that there was a strong bond between family in elves that sometimes did miraculous things. But the truth was that no matter the fact Arwen and Anaire were sworn sisters, they still weren't blood relatives. Elrohir's spell might work, but it wasn't going to work as well as if Elrohir was truly her brother. But at least it was something, it was still something.

And it worked, she coughed and Haldir lifted her head up gently to a half sitting and half lying down position. As she coughed, blood splattered onto him and the twins until her body stopped hemoraging the blood that had been drowing her. When the episode was over, her entire body began to tremble and shake with her shock while he held her close to his chest.

"Rest, nin istelile," he murmured to her gently, but she wouldn't. Instead, she with much effort tried to reach to grab his hand. When he realized what she wanted to do, he threaded his fingers through with hers and squeezed her hand lightly. It was then with extreme effort that she smiled at him. "Im meleth inta," he cried out agonizingly to her. "Amin mela lle."

//Amin mela lle, Haldir,// her weak mental voice echoed in his head before she turned her head with her remaining strength and her unfocused eyes fixated themselves on her savior, her brother--- Elrohir. //There is no more you can do, Elrohir.// The utter anguish that appeared on his face after she said that tore her apart. She had no wish to cause him pain, but it was over--- the pull was too great. And yet as much as it ached inside of her to hurt him, it was not as much as the hurt in her to cause the same agony to her beloved Haldir.

If only she had discovered sooner how she felt, if only... what then?

~

Across the time and across the space in the destruction and devastation that surrounded her, it did not make her sink to her knees in despair. When she did collapse it was because of what she saw in her Mirror. It wasn't that she wasn't expecting it, she had been dreading seeing her Fanyarelisse fall since she had sent her out on the quest. She had known that there was a great probability that Anaire would fall, that she would perish. But there had been nothing she could do to stop it.

If she had, she would have deliberately changed the future. So she had let her beloved Anaire go on with her destined fate knowing that unless something extraordinary happened that her daughter would die. At this moment, Anaire was passing over to the Halls of Mandos and no matter what protection she had given to the promise ring, it had not helped.

Anaire had put the ring on too late. The ring was enchanted to prevent injury yet it could not heal. There was only so much she could put into the ring, if only she had put a healing spell on it... if only. But how was she suppose to know that Anaire wasn't going to wear the ring? And if she had enchanged the ring to heal Anaire, that wouldn't have protected her in battle. But now she had wished she had, now she wished she had the foresight to see that perhaps a healing spell on the ring would have been more helpful than a protection spell.

While others would argue that it wasn't her fault, that there was nothing she could to change what the Mirror allowed her to glimpse at, she knew that the Mirror showed possibilities but not unchangeable truths. She should have forced Anaire to stay like she had kept Anaire from joining the Fellowship when it had first formed. If Anaire had goen with them, she was almost certain that Gandalf would not have fallen but it would have been at the cost her Anaire's life.

It comforted her to know that Gandalf had in the end reemerged as Gandalf the White and even stronger than before. But the momentary blinding guilt had forced her not to meddle with the Mirror when its intention was not to harm their cause but to strengthen it, even if it mean Anaire's life. And yet had it been worth it? What would have happened in the battle if Anaire had not been there?

It was then that her Mirror began to swirl with potency as it showed her something it had never showed her before. The Mirror had never once actually let her see something at her request. It worked when she wanted, but it never showed her what she wanted to see. Now it was showing her, it was almost like it was alive and it was pitying her. Even though she did not like anything pitying her, she could not force herself to look away from what her heart yearned to know... that Anaire's coming death had not meant nothing.

What she saw was significant. Without Anaire there, there would have been no way that Eowyn would have arrived at the battlefield as quickly as she had. Both of them were fierce warriors that had saved countless lives with their skill and bravery. The selfish part of her was thinking that their mortal lives were nothing compared to the eternity that Anaire had lost, and yet she knew Anaire would have it no other way.

Crumbling down to the ground, she could only imagine what her husband and what Haldir was going through. Anaire was a true daughter to her but to Celeborn she meant the world to him. And Haldir? Anaire was the love of his life. The sinking feeling inside of her would no way compare to theirs. As tears fell down her cheeks, she knew that her Fanyarelisse was getting closer and closer to the Halls of Mandos.

~

She was almost gone. Her breathing was raspy and weak. It was all she could do to keep her eyes open. She had long since stopped holding Haldir's hand. He was the one that held her now, holding her until she departed. All those that meant the world to her surrounded her except her adopted parents, Celeborn and Galadriel. Galadriel she knew she would not ever see again, but Celeborn she knew she would see if she held on a little bit longer.

But it was getting increasingly more difficult to hold onto her grasp of her physical presence when everything inside of her was yearning to move beyond the physical world into the spiritual one. She was barely able to hear Haldir's loving words of endearment nor Elrohir's assurance that Elladan was searching for Celeborn with haste speed. All her efforts were on keeping her eyes open even if she didn't really see anything except blurred images.

If she kept her eyes open she knew that she wasn't going to succumb and cross over. She didn't know how much longer she could fight and hold on. As every second ticked by, she was feeling weaker and the temptation to let go stronger. When she thought her resistance was about to falter and fade away, she felt his warm and fatherly touch as he caressed her cheek.

//Adar...//

"Hush," he told her gently, reaching down to kiss her forehead tenderly, "save your strength. Elladan has gone to get Elrond, he will heal you, Estelinde. I am no prouder of you than I am this day; you have shown courage and bravery beyond my expectations, Anaire. And I see," he said letting his voice lighten with a joy that he didn't really feel, "that you have accepted Haldir's troth."

Celeborn was trying to be optimistic, but seeing her now all his hopes faded away. He hadn't wanted to believe Elladan when the son of Elrond had told him how grave her condition was, how she was about to pass into the Halls of Mandos. He hadn't wanted to think that his daughter, for she was his daughter as Celebrian had been Galadriel's daughter, was dying.

//You have been a father to me.// Her mental voice was weakening when it was usually a gentle yet resounding. It seemed that whatever strength she had had waitng for him was waning since he'd arrived. It almost made him want to retreat and force her to wait for Elrond to come. Where was Elrond? Where was his son in law? //A true father...//

Her voice faded from his mind and when it was truly gone, he saw that her eyes had closed. She was gone; she had gone to the Halls of Mandos. An unimaginable ache was inside of him that knew no bounds, and though there was no weeping around him he knew that he wasn't the only one utterly devastated. All around him he saw the tragedy in beautiful elven eyes that surrounded the fallen Anaire.

When they felt her fully disappear from her body, the elves around her started to hum softly--- a lament to remember her. It was as they were reaching the crest of the song that Elladan appeared with Elrond and not far behind them were Legolas and Gimli. Elladan and Elrond sank to their knees besides Haldir, Elrohir, and Celeborn but Legolas was too overcome with shock to join them in the dirge.

"What happened?" Legolas asked, the utter astonishment in his voice clearly reverberating in his choice of words. Then he turned to Elrond and his twin sons, all of whom were singing the lament in solemn yet sorrowful tones. "What are you doing? Why aren't you healing her?" Even though he said this, he knew that it was already too late. Just a brief glance at her still form told him if she wasn't already traveling to the Halls of Mandos, she was getting ready to depart.

The only one that bothered to answer Legolas was Elrond who told him in a soft, but sharp tone, "You are interrupting her lament, Legolas. There is no need to heal her, she has departed already and we are trying to help her on her way."

Whatever Legolas had wanted to say when he opened his mouth to make a response he did not when his eyes rested on her hand that Haldir still held tenderly, lovingly. It was when he noticed the ring that he closed his mouth abruptly and looked about to run off when he suddenly sank to his knees. He wanted to cry out against the injustice, but he knew that he had no right--- that was her family's and Haldir's. But that didn't mean he wouldn't mourn her lost and so he parted his lips and let his voice join theirs in the haunting song.

~

"Come now, tithen nin," whispered a gentle voice. "You are almost there."

It had been with relief that she had let go of her physical body and let the pull of the spiritual Halls of Mandos draw her near. But even when she'd freely decided to go, she found that her way wasn't without some hardship. It was probably because she wasn't the only elf that was journeying to the Halls. There were many elves, some more injured than she and others less so.

It made her heart ache to see how many of her kind they had lost in the final battle. But if she thought hard enough, she could almost recall hearing Eowyn triumph over the WitchKing . Who ever would have thought that a mere mortal woman would succeed where so many others had failed? No one she suspected but her. But all in all, she was glad that it was Eowyn--- it was only fitting that the Shieldmaiden of Rohan was the one that would bring light back to the darkness as she had done for her people that she had now done for all Middle Earth.

"Tithen nin," called the enchanting voice, "you must hurry, you would not want to be left behind would you? Your time is over here, do not dwell on it. But one day, one day perhaps you will go back. Come now, tithen nin, come to us. You are nearly there."

She hurried, rushing along side the other elves that no doubt also heard the call. It was a rush to feel the companionship and whenever she felt like she was going to falter, some nearby elf was more than willing to help her. And all her sense of hurrying ended when she saw the Halls of Mandos. The most beautiful smile appeared on her lips as she fell into the arms of her amme and adar, they had been waiting all this time for her--- and yet if she had come any sooner she would not have remembered them.

She only just regained her memories, only just remembered who she was and who her parents were. The guilt inside of her receded when she saw that there was no trace of anything other than love and joy to be reunited with her. "Adar!" she cried out as she was swept in her father's arms. "Amme," she murmured as her mother kissed her on the forehead. "I've missed you so."

"We have missed you, Melde," her adar said as he gently led her into the Halls of Mandos and from there they disappeared into the eternity that awaited them. Anaire, now Melde, gave on last lingering look at the world she'd probably never seen before she wrapped her arms around her parents and entered with them into whatever awaited them.

~

It was decided. Galadriel was going to go to Valinor, the Undying Lands, while Celeborn stayed in Middle Earth for however long he wished. Elrond and his children were glad that at least the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien were at least being agreeable now. When Celeborn had returned to his home and had discovered it devastated, he had taken it all in stride until he had learned that Galadriel knew that Anaire was most likely to have died if she went with the Fellowship.

The anger from Celeborn was understandable, and yet all of them knew that Galadriel was tortured with her own sense of guilt. But it didn't matter, Celeborn was holding onto his anger--- well he held onto it until it was the day that Galadriel was going over to the Grey Havens to Cirdan where the ships were being prepared for the journey. Galadriel wasn't the only one going, Elrond was leaving with his mother in law to rejoin Celebrian.

It was Elrond that got through to Celeborn before it was going to be too late for the elder elf to speak to his beloved wife. "You know she has enough guilt on her as it is, with the devastation of Lothlorien and the loss of Anaire, and yet you know what she did was right. Think of what would have happened if Anaire had not been there?"

Celeborn let out a ragged sigh and nodded that he knew it wouldn't have been good. "It is hard," he finally remarked. "She is going to see Celebrian again and I will never see my Estelinde ever again. She will have her daughter and I will never have mine. Then again she was never my daughter to begin with."

"Do not say that," Elrond responded. "You know that she regarded you as a true father. To her, you were the one person she relied on more than anyone. You were the one she turned to for comfort when everything else in the world was dark. And if she knew you were staying here, she would be proud you. You are staying here to repair Middle Earth and bring it back to her splendor. When you are ready, you have Galadriel and Celebrian waiting for you in Valinor you know."

"I think that is why I am staying," Celeborn said softly. "I think that is what she would want. She never seemed to yearn for the Undying Lands like so many other elves do. She wanted to stay here, but I can understand why the others cannot bear to stay." That was in reference to his March Warden, Haldir, who was leaving with the Lady of Lothlorien for Valinor. "It is too painful and yet there is still so much good we can do here."

He paused momentarily and then added gently, "I do not have the heart to say farewell to Galadriel, but tell her that I have never stopped loving her and that when I am ready I will rejoin her in Valinor. I do not know how long it will take, but tell her that while we may be physically separate--- we are one spiritually."

Elrond smiled and lifted his hand up to say goodbye. "I will let her know. Do not take too long, you know that Celebrian may be her mother's daughter, but she still needs her father too."

"I know," Celeborn replied. "I will pray to Elbereth for your safety."

~

"This is as far as you can go."

She turned alarmed eyes to her adar and her amme. It was her adar that spoke up for her, "Why is she not allowed to go further? I thought that we waited here for her to join us before we would be allow to continue on our journey to the other place."

"She is not ready to leave the Halls yet, she has more yet to live." When that did not seem to satisfy either of the two protective elven parents, the voice decided to add to the explanation already given, "You waited to see whether your Melde was all right, now that you two have seen you can move on knowing she is going to be fine. If all goes well, you will be able to see her from your place above Valinor."

"She cannot go on?" her amme queried, tears beginning show in her light silver eyes.

"No, she will stay in the Halls of Mandos and wait to be reborn."


---- The End ----

~

Author's Note: This is the end of Arc 2. Arc 1 was pre-fellowship (you've read it, it's about chapter 1 thru chapter 8.) and Arc 2 was the fellowship (chapter 9 to chapter 18). Arc 3 I may still consider doing, though to be truthfully I don't know if I will, it depends if you want me to do it or not. I've let the story be open ended to allow me the option AND you the reader the option of seeing it.

As I've hinted at the end, Anaire is waiting in the Halls of Mandos and not allowed to go on because there's more for her to live. Basically she's waiting to be reborn again since elves can be reincarnated, but her parents have chosen not to be and are happy because they are together.

Where the hell did Melde come from? It means `beloved'. I thought it was suiting for her. And in Arc 3 (post fellowship and reincarnated Anaire) will it be the same? No. Anaire was created through her circumstances (her torture and guilt and memory loss) and while the new `Anaire' (her name won't be Anaire either) will be similar, detached and indifferent and a distinctive `daddy's girl' she will not be nearly as reticent as this Anaire.

Having said that... do you wish for me to continue? (I'll delve into Valinor and post Elven culture after the fall of Mordor). AND care to guess who her father will be? ,-~ Good luck and good guessing.

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