Orphan Eyes - Unexpected Guest
Elrond told Maegwen the next day what Arwen had said. The lord had spent the night in the chair next to her bed, watching his daughter intently and now told her what he had learnt the night before. Maegwen grew angry with her sister. How could she? She had sworn her secrecy.
"Do not be upset with Arwen." Elrond said comfortingly. "She did what she thought was right. I wish you would have told me. How could you?"
"Do what?" Maegwen asked. "Not tell you? Lie?" she looked away. "Sleep with a man? Show him my love?"
Elrond shook his head, but winced a little when she said what she did lastly. "What done is passed. It cannot be forgotten; it cannot be omitted. I am not angry."
Maegwen nodded, and sat up in the bed. Her eyes widened with sudden realization.
"Elrond... but if what you and Arwen say is true... that means... Elrond, am I going to have a child?" She was breathing harshly, tears of confusion and alarm filling her eyes. "I'm going to have a child. I can not take care of a child! I still am one. Oh..."
Elrond smiled and laughed a little. "I do not think that you are a child. You are very mature for a woman your age. And worry not; I will help you. Believe it or not, I know quite a bit about caring for children. I have had five to watch over in my time. And, as you can see, they have all grown to be very wise and beautiful." He held her to him and kissed her head. Maegwen smiled.
"Thank you. Thank you so much. You are going to be a grandfather, Elrond!" she laughed suddenly, thinking of her child crawling all over him. Then she tried to push this thought away. She still could not see her as a mother. On the other hand, it did feel better to have the weight off her back - though weight still seemed to hold down on Elrond. He was distraught over the vision, which Maegwen forgot much of, and what might happen to little Frodo Baggins. Adding this to know his daughter was pregnant...
When Bilbo heard the news, he was too quite troubled. Over both the tidings. He was happy for Maegwen, for the news traveled very fast, and now all the elven maids of Imladris would give her mushy looks that got to be very irritating. Otherwise, much of Rivendell was in a hush, and the word of the Nine abroad worried everyone. And Bilbo was very anxious for word of his cousin. Maegwen felt sorry for him. She wished she could tell him more. Sometimes she sat in her room concentrating very hard to see what might be going on with the hobbit. It never worked. All she ended with was a splitting headache.
It was the night of the 18th of October, using Shire Reckoning of course, when Maegwen was in her room reading and looking over maps plotting a trip back to Lorien. She had not been home long, but she was already planning out a way back. Unfortunately she was forced to do this in secret. She had subtly let on to her wishes to go back to Lorien, and see Haldir. Elrond had disagreed. He thought it best she wait for the child to be born. Maegwen did not understand this, and Elrond knew he was being stubborn. Truthfully, he was happy for his daughter, but did not think she was ready for children yet. He blamed the complications on Haldir. He knew she'd have to go see him, but not yet. Elrond would not let her go.
As Maegwen was busily going over plans, she heard something from outside that made her want to investigate.
She went out onto her balcony and saw that an man clothed all in grey being greeted by Elrond warmly. Maegwen crept downstairs and looked around a pillar. He certainly was an elderly chap with a long beard and pointy hat. She thought she had a good idea of who it was, from not only Bilbo's descriptions but also Elrond's words.
"Gandalf!" smiled the elf lord. "Greetings to Imladeris. It is good to see you again." His face grew full of concern and confusment. "I feared the worst. We knew not what had happened."
The two walked into the House of Elrond, Gandalf spoke quietly, and Maegwen could not hear. So that was Gandalf. She had heard quite a bit about him, mostly from Bilbo, in his tales and in his book. He seemed like a good man, but was a bit different than she had always imagined him. She watched them disappear inside, and she went back to her room. She sat down at her desk, and sighed. She did not know how she was going to get back to Lorien. She really wanted -and needed- to speak with Haldir. She had so much to say. She was going to have a child! The thought sprung tears in her eyes. She always loved to see the little elf children and babies in Imladeris and help watch over them, but to have an infant of her own was almost too impossible to comprehend. And she wanted her baby's father to be there when she had him or her. Father! Haldir was going to be a father. How would he take that? If it were anything like the way she was taking it, it would be near panic.
"Maegwen?" asked Arwen from the door suddenly, bursting through her thoughts. Maegwen jumped.
"Ye... yes?" she stuttered quietly, standing up, blocking the view of the maps and wondering how long her sister had been standing there. Apparently not long because she asked no questions. Just the same, Arwen looked at her suspiciously, but smiled anyway.
"I thought you might have gone to bed. It is late."
"I know." Maegwen said. "I was just... reading." She fumbled and brought a small collection of papers she had broughten from the library to show Arwen. It was about Beleriand or something... she hadn't really read much of it.
The Evenstar nodded. "I suggest you do not stay awake too late. You need your rest."
The orphan nodded, and watched Arwen leave. Once she had gone, Maegwen turned back to her desk, and worked late into the night until she fell asleep on the papers.
It was the day after the next, and Maegwen was sitting contently in the gardens, looking at the flowers. Like the mind of many expecting mothers, her mind was preoccupied with plans for the future. It was soon late afternoon, and the weather was warm. She sighed, and looked at the sky. Something in the corner of her eye caught her attention. Elrond and Gandalf stood on the veranda over looking much of the court and facing west. A look of slight apprehension was on Gandalf, but Elrond looked determined. He raised his arms, and a rumble followed, then the sound of a great amount of water moving quickly came. Maegwen did not understand. The sky darkened slightly, and she became afraid. But it seemed to be of Elrond's doing, so she sat back down, and waited for it to pass. It did, at last, and Maegwen was greatly confused. She went to go ask Elrond what had happened, but found Arwen in stead, and she explained. Frodo, who had been found by Glorfindel, was attacked by the Nazgul, and Elrond had bidden the waters of the Brunine aid the hobbit. But a look of worry flashed in Arwen's eyes as the two went to find Elrond.
"What is the matter?" Maegwen asked. "You look uncertain."
"I am afraid Elrond and Gandalf may have summoned a force too strong. And I think they are aware of this possibility as well." She explained as they went up a spiral staircase, which would join to Elrond's chambers and where he and Gandalf stood. "Their power is mighty, and may have been too much."
The came up stairs, and Elrond sat on his bed, rubbing his eyes with his palms. Gandalf still stood and looked out west to the Misty Mountains leaning on his staff. Maegwen and Arwen went and sat on either side of Elrond. They set their heads on his shoulders, each entwining their fingers with one of his hands. Elrond's worry seemed to fade a bit. Gandalf came over, and looked at Arwen. He nodded respectfully, but Maegwen's presence seemed to puzzle him.
"Elrond, you have not introduced me to this budding beauty." Gandalf said unusually warmly. Maegwen blushed. Elrond grinned proudly, and stood.
"This is Maegwen, my second daughter." Elrond explained.
"But she is not an elf?" Gandalf asked. "And Celebrain-?" the look on Gandalf's face was very odd. Elrond shook his head.
"Nay. She is no elf, nor has she anything to do with Celebrain or her absence. I've fostered Maegwen for the last 17 years here. Strangely enough, she was found in the gardens the night Bilbo arrived."
"A coincidence?" Gandalf wondered. Elrond had no answer. Nonetheless, the wizard bowed. Maegwen did too. Until then they had been properly introduced. Arwen and Maegwen went away, while Elrond still watched the west. It was not until late that night did any more excitement come about. The sound of hooves rang through the dale, and caused a stir. Glorfindel was back.
Maegwen went to the court quickly to greet him, then saw that the golden haired elf was carrying a small boy with curly hair. But it was no boy. It was Frodo.
"Maegwen!" Glorfindel called, spotting her. "Where is Elrond? I need him quickly!"
"Here I am, Glorfindel." Said Elrond, too hearing his arrival. "Follow me."
Elrond motioned for Glorfindel to follow him, and they went quickly into a guestroom, to which Gandalf too went. In the next three days to come, Elrond did not surface from that room once, and continuously worked on helping Frodo. Maegwen could hear him calling about orders for others to follow. She sat on a lawn-seat surrounded by flowers, and watched the room. A man she never saw before came out from the library, and made his way across the grounds. Then something clicked, and Maegwen's mouth dropped. A sudden flash from her most recent vision popped into her head, and she knew. It was Aragorn. He caught her eye quickly, but did not give her a second glance.
Many other strange characters began to pop up in the next day as well. Dwarves, elves she had never seen before and she saw a few glimpses of the hobbits that had come with Frodo. They were his cousins; all save his servant named Sam. Maegwen even spent some time with him as she went to watch over Frodo with Bilbo. He lay there angelically, a few beads of sweat on his brow, but he looked like he was healing well. It pierced her heart to see Bilbo looking upon his 'nephew' with tears brimming his kindhearted eyes as he held Frodo's hand.
It was the afternoon of the 24th, and Maegwen sat in her room, numerous crumpled up maps about her on the floor. She guessed that no one would be coming up to her room any time soon for Frodo only a few hours ago had awoken. Her plan was really coming together now, but it ached her not to tell Elrond what she wished. But it might have angered him if she did. Though he swore he was no longer mad at her, when ever she spoke about Haldir, she could see Elrond became flustered and angry, and afterwards easily irritated. He still blamed Haldir.
But she would not have to worry about that any more. If all went right that night, she would soon be with Haldir, and not have to worry about Elrond's inquisitiveness.
She jumped a little as a quick knock at the door interrupted her thoughts. She scrambled to put her things away, but the door opened. She gasped, but in relief that it was not her father.
"Oh, Legolas, it is only you..." Maegwen said as she slowed down her panicky movement. Then movement stopped all together, except the dropping of her mouth. She looked up, and Legolas was laughing. He did not look any different, as though time had just stayed still and neither aged nor worn on him.
" 'Only me'? Yes, I am fine, thank you for asking, and yes, I missed you as well. It is nice to see you, yes, I would like you to escort you to the feast." Said the elf still chuckling, as if reading her mind and answering all the questions she wanted to ask. Except the feast. But she did not notice it right away. She got out of the chair, ran to him, and gave him a long hug.
"Legolas!" she cried into his neck as she stood on her toes. "Oh, it is so wonderful to see you!"
"It's wonderful to see you as well. You look beautiful." Legolas said in his charming way. He stood back, but looked down at her stomach, and cocked an eyebrow. Maegwen blushed.
"Are you expecting something?" he asked bluntly, pointing to her tummy. Maegwen turned away, and went back to her desk to put things away. She wished he wouldn't have come right out and asked, but he did.
"Yes." She said, then turned back to face him. She smiled. "An explanation. Why are you here?"
Legolas was going to say that was not what he meant, but he stopped. "Yes. I have come to tell Lord Elrond how fares the search for Smeagol."
Maegwen drew closer and spoke very seriously. "How does it fare? Have you recaptured him?"
Legolas sighed, and shook his head. "No. But let us not talk about it now. Lord Elrond has forbidden all but joy for tonight, and he asked me to come collect you."
"Oh." Maegwen said. She looked at the pack in the corner. She had been planning to make her break tonight; while all was at the feast, she would slip out on a horse from the stable with a small pack of food and drink and make for Lorien. She knew the way now. She had studied the maps day and night. She even had a way so as not to make her father have a heart attack.
"Well?" Legolas asked. "Elrond will not be very happy if you do not attend. He will probably come to see what is the matter if you do not go."
Did he guess? He seemed to have figured something out. Maegwen saw that he was eyeing the maps on her table and the writings in her book which she had not yet put away. He could see the small note she had planned to leave for Elrond to let him know that she would be safe. By now, Legolas had figured it out.
"You planned on going to Lorien?" Legolas asked. Maegwen let out a distressed sound.
"Must you be so prying?" she growled, and went to the desk and put the last of the things away.
"You were. Why?" Legolas said. Maegwen knew he would not leave it alone. So Maegwen told him what had happened, including why she was going back to Lothlorien. The elf's eyes grew very large by the end. He could not quite believe all this had happened in a matter of months. Maegwen did not look any different from when they had parted -- well, except her significant amount of weight gain. But she had. Everything was different. She was no longer the little mortal girl he knew.
"And that is why I wanted to go back. I want to be with Haldir. I need to tell him what is happening. Does he not have the right to know? I am carrying his child." It came out of her so smoothly. 'I am carrying his child'. It almost scared her at how casual she could now say it.
Legolas nodded. "I admire you," he said, catching her off guard. "Though your father forbids it, you still wish to go, and almost half way through your pregnancy. You really love him."
Maegwen nodded. "I do."
But what Legolas said next, though it was not surprising, still made Maegwen sad.
"I cannot allow you to go, now that I know. Lord Elrond would be furious, and it would not be right for you to go by yourself. I agree with your father that you should stay here, at least until the child is born. For your own safety."
Maegwen nodded, tears blurring her vision. The thought of being with Haldir vanished from her mind. She turned away so Legolas would not see her cry. He had seen her weak enough times in her life, now she was going to be strong. "Yes."
"Come." Legolas said. "Do not be sad. Elrond has forbidden anyone be ridden with angst or pain. It is a night to be joyful. Let us go to the feast."
Maegwen took his arm, though she did not feel up for joy or mirth. She just wanted to die.
Vana's Verbal Annoyances (author's notes): This part was really long before, but I shortened it into two parts. For all you who find Arwen maybe a little too nosy or snobby or... something... get over it. I kinda like the way my Arwen is. She's like any good sister -- just looking out for Maegwen. As is Elrond. You've got to remember, the road to Lorien is dangerous. Especially with the One Ring abroad. And there was a reason Elrond bid Arwen return from there. Like it is told, all areas east of the Misty Mountains is becoming dangerous. But I will explain much of this later. As well, I don't think I'm too happy with the way Gandalf greeted Maegwen (the whole 'budding beauty' thing). But then, I think, though it is said he becomes more joyful or whatever after he comes back from Moria, I still really like Gandalf the Grey. I have no idea why, but he seems different from Gandalf the White. And Mithrandir is one of my idols. I love him. Hurrah. I think deep down he's a big, ol' softy, that Olorin. Incidentally, why does Legolas still call Gandalf 'Mithrandir' when he's Gandalf the WHITE? 'Mith' in Mithrandir means 'grey'. Sorry for my rambling.