In Times Like These - Chapter 21--- Reincarnated Soul
"I remind you of her, don't I?" she asked, saying more to him than she did with anyone besides Glorfindel. She didn't know, but for some reason she felt like she really knew him. She didn't know if it was the dream or if it was something else. The dream certainly did make him less unnerving to her when she had been first introduced to him, but that still didn't explain entirely why she felt so comfortable with him.
Elrohir nodded his head and smiled sadly at Elen. "You do, a bit." He studied her features, seeing traces of similarities between Anaire and Elen, but not really anything that was substantial. If there was one person that could confirm his suspicions... it was Celeborn, his grandfather and Anaire's adopted father. Arwen might have been Anaire's bond sister, her oselle, but she hadn't spent a few hundred years getting to know her either. No there was no one closer to Anaire left on Middle Earth other than Celeborn.
Actually, he thought he could argue that he was perhaps the closest person to Anaire at one time, but had been replaced by Haldir when Elrond had forced him to stay away from Anaire. It'd been for the best, she needed to learn to depend on someone other than himself. Someone that wouldn't hurt her, Celeborn had been perfect. Besides, Galadriel had been a picture perfect surrogate mother when she had gotten to a certain point.
She had needed a family, not a lover. She had gotten her family that she needed for as long as she needed and it was at the end of her life that she'd finally been ready to progress onward into the step of accepting someone to love her as more, as a soul mate. But it couldn't be him because he was in every sense of the word, a brother to her. He sighed and no other elven maiden could compare to her in his mind. Not one.
"How?" she asked softly, her pale blue eyes too reflective, too much like Anaire's.
He met her contemplative gaze with one of his own and reached toward her to brush one of her white blond locks away. "The way you act reminds me very much of her," he whispered painfully. "I had thought that I had moved past her, but there you are--- reminding me of her everyday once again."
"Is that bad?"
He shook his head. "No, it isn't bad. But Elladan and the rest of my family is right. I should move on. It wasn't like my heart broke when she passed away. If anyone whould have been overcomed by grief, it would be her beloved Haldir. He nearly died as it was, he has since then moved on to Valinor where the light there no doubt has sustained him from fading."
She frowned at him, and he knew what that expression meant. Elen was having another spasm of pain. For some reason that neither of them understood, she was having them more often since they had come to Gondor. Glorfindel was beside himself with worry and honestly, Elladan and Elrohir were worried too. Maybe it was the different atmosphere or environment or something. There was something that was bothering her, and Elen being uncomplaining never mentioned anything about being in pain.
It was only in a slight change of her facial expression that they knew something was bothering her. Most of the time they bothered to confront her about it, she denied it vehemently. Well, vehemently for her. Nothing she did was very forcefully done, but there was this quiet strength about her that again reminded him of Anaire. But this time he had a bargaining tool with her to get her to rest.
"You don't look well," Elrohir commented. "You should get some rest, Elen."
"I'm fine," she responded.
He studied her with that look that said he knew that she wasn't feeling too good. "If you aren't feeling radiant, you know that your adar won't let you attend the informal gathering tonight since it's not necessarily required for attendance. You know it'll be your first chance to meet Celeborn."
He didn't know why, but ever since he'd mentioned Celeborn to her, that he was his grandfather, Elen had been excited to meet him. Excited being the keyword. She wasn't usually overly emotional about anything, but when he'd talked about Celeborn to her, she had asked him far more questions about Celeborn than was normal even for a curious elven child.
One night they'd actually been talking for so long that Elen has nearly collapsed from her exhaustion. Another reason that Elen wasn't to get too overly excitable about anything. Glorfindel didn't think that Elen had her mother's sickness, but he wasn't taking any chances that he was going to lose his daughter either. There were times when it did seem that Elen had her mother's problems. Too much physical activity wore her out. Like Nessa, her endurance was lacking though her persistence was there.
While Glorfindel didn't regret his daughter's birth, if Elen hadn't been born the general consensus was that Nessa would have lived at least another 5 years. The strain of childbirth had robbed her of those last 5 years, but at least in this way Nessa had provided Glorfindel his precious daughter. Elrohir and Elladan thought that his suffocating love for Elen was unhealthy, that he needed to let her go. The problem was that Elen didn't look like she was stifled nor did she seem unhappy. She thrived on Glorfindel's overgenerous attentions.
"All right," she relented with a soft smile. "Do you know where Adar is?"
Whatever reaction Elrohir had expected from his grandfather, it was nothing like the reaction that he thought was coming when Celeborn laid eyes on Elen. The shock in Celeborn's blue eyes was unmistakable as they roamed over Elen's thin form as if they were seeing something they didn't think was possible. Elrohir thought it may be because Elen looked remarkably like Nessa. But it couldn't be that for Celeborn had never really met Nessa more than a few times. Not enough to have an image of her imprinted into his mind to cause a reaction like this. No, it was something else entirely.
Elrohir didn't have to wait long to find out. "Estelinde!" Celeborn cried out as he raced toward Elen and swept her into his arms. It seemed his grandfather was the only one that didn't noticed how Elen immediately tensed up. Her pale sapphire eyes were frantically desperate. It wasn't that Elen wasn't an affectionate child, she was to a degree and really only with Glorfindel, but this was too much. For an unknown elf to come up to her and grab her like that was terrifying. After all, she was still traumatized from being exposed to so many people after being exposed only to a maximum of three elves in a limited period of time.
"This is Elen," Elrohir echoed gently as he gently extricated Celeborn's arms from Elen's shaking body. As soon as he'd gotten Elen away from Celeborn, she dropped from his grasp and ran to Glorfindel, who was standing to the side wearing a frown on his face. It was easy to see why Glorfindel was upset, he was upset because Elen was upset. "Glorfindel's daughter. Nessa's child."
Celeborn heard grandson's words, but Elen was the image of Anaire. Couldn't Elrohir see the resemblance? Perhaps, not. She tried to recall a piecture of Nessa, and when he did he had to admit she did look a lot like Nessa. Maybe it was only coincident why Elen looked like the mirror image of Anaire with more vivid coloring, if pale blond and blue eyes could be considered vivid. Of what Celeborn remembered of Nessa, she had been a vibrant beauty with glorious golden hair and deep blue eyes that rivaled Arwen Evenstar. This child of Nessa's was pale and silver in contrast, very much like his Fanyarelisse.
"Don't you see how much she looks like Anaire?" Celeborn questioned. "Nessa, if I remember, had golden tresses and deep sapphire eyes. This child has hair of the palest yellow and eyes of translucent topaz. Without the color, can you not see Anaire in her? Elrohir, she can be reincarnated."
"She is not a reincarnation!" Glorfindel exclaimed vehemently, clutching his daughter to him protectively. "She isn't! She can't be! She is Nessa's and mine. She's the living vision of Nessa. I won't have you saying she's a reincarnation of Anaire Istelile. She isn't. She isn't!" With that loud exclamation of nerves, Glorfindel stalked away from Celeborn and Elrohir with Elladan following closely behind his best friend trying to calm him down.
Celeborn knew why Glorfindel was so quick to deny that his precious daughter Elen was a reincarnation. Glorfindel was one, himself, and once it became known that one was a reincarnation--- the old life resurfaced painfully. There was only one way to regain the knowledge... to experience it again. Glorfindel's past life had been hard, but it was undoubtedly easier than Elen's if she was Anaire reincarnated. Just living through his former death had nearly killed Glorfindel. It was only with Elladan's support and Elrond's magical gift of healing that Glorfindel had survived. It was for this reason very few elves were reborn.
It was better for them to dwell in eternal happiess in the Hall of Mandos than to have to go through additional suffering. But some elves were reborn, reborn for the purpose of living again as hard it as it was. It was usually that these elves had a purpose that they needed to fulfill. And Celeborn was sure that it had to do with Anaire's leaving before she could be bonded to Haldir. It had to be. That is, if Elen was Anaire. His intuition was rarely wrong, and it said that Elen was Anaire.
And yes if she was, he felt anguish for her. Her death had not been easy. Her life had been filled with hardships that would have crippled a weaker elf, destroyed a human. To ask her to live through this again? Unquestionably very cruel. And undoubtedly hard. It would be a terrible burden to place on her young shoulders, but if she was... then it would happen whether or not they recognized it.
It be all the better for her if it was recognized, if they did something to help her before it was too late. Celeborn was determined to help her through this, even if it was terribly difficult and terribly hard to get it through to the stubborn Glorfindel. He sighed and closed his tired blue eyes. So many years had passed since he'd lost his Estelinde. So many long years. What would it be like now to have her back? Back once again where he could hold her in his arms and make up for all the times that he hadn't been able to?
Unbearably hard, unbearably so. He opened his eyes and met Elrohir's own, so reminiscent of his long gone beloved Galadriel. "She is Anaire."
"Are you sure?" Elrohir questioned softly, in a disbelieving voice even if inside he knew it was true. There were too many things that added up now. How she'd somehow known him before she'd ever laid eyes on him; how she'd been drawn to him even if his twin had been the one that had known her years prior. It all made sense if she was Anaire's reincarnation. "Are you sure about this?"
"She is the living image of Anaire, don't you see?"
Yes, he did see if he looked past what seemed so like Nessa. Then again Nessa had reminded him of Anaire, so it only made sense that Elen would look like Anaire. Maybe it was because he'd tried so hard to separate Nessa from Anaire that the connection between Elen and Anaire hadn't fully met in his mind even when he thought it was strange that everything she did reminded him of Anaire. "Yes."
"You will need to have Elladan talk to Glorfindel."
"It needs to be said."
"I wish your grandmother was here," Celeborn said wistfully. "She would have known exactly what to do."
She was terrified. She was paralyzed with fear. But she knew it wasn't because it was dark. No, she liked the night best of all. She remembered her parents laughing when they told her she was an unusual child. It made her unique, they said, for that they loved her. She realized she was frightened not only for herself but also for them. They were out there searching frantically for her, and it was dangerous for them. More for them than for her.
It wasn't safe because they were there. The bad creatures, her parents told her, they had come. That was the reason they told her she couldn't wander out at night anymore like she yearned to. They had never stopped her before now. She pointed out that there were many wild animals that could hurt her and she was skilled enough with the bow to stop them. She had convinced them that it'd be fine for her to wander a small distance with her bow. Not far, but far enough to satisfy her yearning.
She was dreadfully mistaken. While her arrows stopped the foul creatures, there were more that kept coming. she was left with no choice but to run. While she didn't think the nasty things had too much thinking capacity beyond attacking, yet their sheer numbers were overwhelming. Somehow despite their lack of brains, they were somehow blocking her way from getting back home. She was terrified for her parents, who were no doubt looking for her. Her mother didn't know how to defend herself at all; her father was mediocre at best.
But she kept running from the vile creatures, hoping that her parents were wise enough to stay at home and wait for her. It was a hopeless hop she realized when she heard her mother crying out for her father, for her...? It was paintful for her to try to hear what her mother was saying... it was too familiar, too beloved. It was calling for her, why couldn't she remember...?
The burning in her head became unbearable as she tried to recalled, tried to hear what her mother--- her amme was telling her. The agonizing pain forced her down to her knees and...
She woke up from her restless sleep: the tossing and the turning, the sweat drenched sheets, the way her body trembled and shivered. She only had gotten a few hours when she woke up, hardly feeling rested at all. Tears stained her pale cheeks, tears she furiously wiped away. Why was she crying? Why couldn't she remember the dream? Other than that it was fearsome, feaful. She didn't know. She had to find adar.
By the time she found where her adar was sleeping, she had calmed down mostly. Just sitting next to her adar to watch him sleep soothed away the rest of her nerves. It was when she decided to leave and not bother him that he woke up. "Elen?" came his drowsy, sleep-ridden voice. "What are you doing here?" He blinked, trying to adjust his vision to the darkness permeating the room. It was when his eyes were finished dilating enough to see in what light there was in the room that he noticed his daughter's bloodshot eyes. The redness indicated that she'd been crying not too long ago. "You've been crying. Why? What's wrong, Elen darling?"
She turned away from her adar, knowing that she could never hide anything from him. "Yes," she answered in a soft voice, "I had another dream."
"Nightmare," Glorfindel contradicted, grabbing hold of her to pull her into his embrace. "Will sleeping with me help chase them away?" She nodded and he smiled at her indulgently. "Good night, Elen darling. Sweet dreams."
"Good night, Adar," she murmured, presing feather light kisses on his cheeks. Then she settled into his warm embrace, tucking her head underneath his chin and closing her eyes, willing herself back to sleep. He placed his own firm kiss on her forehead, easing into a position that would best accomodate his daughter's favorite sleeping position.
It was her rhythmic breathing that gradually lulled him back to sleep. The next morning, wrapped in each other's arms was how Elladan and Elrohir found Glorfindel and Elen. The sight was so beautiful, and they looked so peaceful that the twins had breakfast brought up to them instead of waking them up prematurely from their blissful slumber.
Besides, if Elen did turn out to Anaire's reincarnation there weren't goign to be many nights where she'd rest so peacefully ever again. The torment of Glorfindel's emerging memories had robbed the Rivendell archer of many nights of sleep. It was without a doubt going to be the same for the fragile Elen. Could she bear the burden? Could she survive such anguish?
Truthfully none of them knew. Anaire had been able to, but it had taken her two hundred years to make it through the first wave of suffering. Would living through her past memories prove too unbearable that it cracked the innocent purity that Elen had now? Elrohir hoped not, he hoped that it wouldn't. But at the same time, he did want her to remember if not for him or even Celeborn but for Haldir. He could only imagine Haldir's reaction when the former March Warden discovered that his beloved Anaire had returned.
He reached out with a hand to touch Anaire's--- no Elen's pale cheek, but withdrew his hand away before he touched her tender innocence. But it seemed that his movement had stirred the air or something for her pale eyes, eyes that use to be blue but seemed more translucent than anything stared straight into his soul. "Elrohir," she murmured, "Elrohir..."
Having her say his name reminded him of memories he'd long suppressed of the lost Anaire. It reminded him of the firs ttime she'd said his name, the first time she'd ever spoken to him. It broke his heart to know the anguish she'd have to go through to recapture her memories. "Yes, it's me Elrohir."
"I knew you before, didn't I?" she asked softly. "I am a reincarnation, aren't I? Despite what Adar says..."
"Yes," he breathed out. "Yes, I think you are."
"You loved her, didn't you?"
So many questions were running out of Elen's mouth, so many questions that was so unlike her. But he couldn't help but answer her. "Yes, I did."
"Did she--- did I love you?"
It hurt, that question, it hurt to think of that. So hard had he repressed it. "She--- she loved me like a brother, I think. Only like that, family is all," he finished more bitterly than he intended to.
Elen's eyes were filled with something older than herself, something that probably came from her past self. "Do you know why?"
"She loved another," he answered in a rough, rasping voice.
"An elf from Lothlorien by the name of Haldir."
A sharp pain made Elen gasp and Elrohir was about to reach out to steady her, but Glorfindel became instantly alert at his daughter's distress and pulled her more tightly into his embrace. "Do you hurt, Elen darling?" She nodded and tucked her head underneath her adar's chin. "Shush, it's all right. Everything's all right. Adar will keep you safe." Glorfindel's cold eyes turned to Elrohir. "You were upsetting her, Elrohir. I do not appreciate that."
"I was only answering her questions."
"I don't believe that, I believe---"
"He didn't upset me," Elen spoke in a muffled voice, burying her face more deeply against her adar's chest. "He didn't."
"I mentioned something that sparked a memory," Elrohir explained. "You can't keep it hidden from her forever, Glorfindel. You know best what to expect. You have to prepare her, the memories are coming back and it's going to be hard for her. I know you love her more than anything and you don't want her to go through it, but you don't have a choice in the manner. She is going to go through this!"
"Leave, Elrohir. Just leave!" Elrohir had no choice since Elen wasn't speaking on his behalf anymore, only concentrating on drawing the comfort and affection that Glorfindel was radiating off himself and into his daughter.
Elen felt bad for not speaking up for Elrohir, but in truth it was too much for her to in take in one day. She had learned so much about herself, why she often had flashes, flashes of things that she didn't understand. And when he had said Haldir's name, she felt this curious tightening in her chest as if her heart was going to break at any second, at any moment. Why did it hurt so much? Why couldn't she remember who Haldir was? Even an inkling?
All she felt was a horrible pain.