Slow Comes the Morning - Chapter 7
You don't remember me, but I remember you
I lie awake and try so hard not to think of you
But who can decide what they dream?
And dream I do
I believe in you, I'll give up everything just to find you
I have to be with you, to live, to breath
You're taking over me
Have you forgotten all I know and all we had?
You saw me mourning my love for you
And touched my hand, I knew you loved me then
I believe in you, I'll give up everything just to find you
I have to be with you, to live, to breath
You're taking over me
I look in the mirror and see your face
If I look deep enough
So many things inside that are just like you
Are taking over
"Taking Over Me" By: Evanescence off the Fallen album
Arwen paced nervously in the great dining hall, wringing her hands in distress, a habit that had crept its way into her subconscious long ago. Before long, her father walked back into the room, and by his posture, and the look on his face, she knew it had not gone well.
"Ada," she began, not knowing how she'd finish. She wasn't given a chance to, though, as her father held up his hand to her words, and walked toward her.
"Let us not speak of unpleasant things, my dear, but on your time in Lorien. Tell me, how did you fare?" reluctantly, Arwen complied,
"Well, Ada, thank you."
"How was your journey?"
"Long, tedious, but not unpleasant......please, may I say a word on Aarynne's behalf?" Elrond nodded his head, almost unhappily.
"Ada, I do not know any more than you what she has been through...but grandmother said that she sensed it was a terrible struggle. Can you at least try and make things a little easier for her? She desperately needs someplace to call her home." Arwen pleaded, taking her father's large hands in her own and squeezing them tightly.
"I cannot promise you anything, my jewel, when she insists on being as difficult as possible, but I will try, for you..."
"Thank you Ada," Arwen smiled, planting a light kiss on his cheek.
Later that evening, Arwen sat on her feather-soft bed in her quarters, listening to the sounds of the night ascend gently onto the world. She should be happy, she should be relieved to be home, but thoughts of her troubled sister plagued any rest she may have found. She missed her, the Aarynne that used to be. The Aarynne that used to laugh and play, that used to smile and throw herself joyfully into their father's arms at the end of the day.
With a wistful smile on her face, Arwen remembered the mischievous, joyful light that used to dance so beautifully in Aarynne's piercing sapphire eyes. They were so full of life, spirit, hope...now that light was quenched, and her golden laughter, it seemed, had all but turned to steel. Her cold eyes now only carried pain, anger, lifelessness. Whatever had happened to her in her many years away had near killed her in body, and maybe succeeded in heart.
Tears welled in Arwen's eyes. She wished she could get through to her, wished she could talk to her the way she used to. She refused to give up hope, refused to give up the belief that a little bit of the old Aarynne still resided in that broken soul.
Soon, without warning, as often happens, sleep inched up on her and slowly consumed her consciousness, lulling her into a dreamless sleep.
Aarynne sat alone in the cool, crisp night, a silver cloak draped across her slender shoulders. She shuddered as a particularly cold gust of gentle wind swirled around her. Would others notice the chill in the air? No, elves were not supposed to feel cold, nor ill, but her many years of struggle had changed her in more ways than one. She was no ordinary elf anymore...the immortality, the heightened senses, the unspoken gifts, that all survived, stayed the same, but things were still different. She remembered when she first realized the difference in her.
It had been a cold, cold night in the dead of winter some years ago. She walked through the snow barefoot, thinking nothing of it; after all, her entire life had been spent unaware of the elements and disease, but soon, an odd, uncomfortable sensation crept up her ankles and legs. She felt the cold, quite distinctly, and things had never been the same.
She wrapped the cloak tighter around her small build and leaned against the willow, allowing the long, rope-like branches of leaves to protect her somewhat from the increasing wind. It was different from her spot in Lorien, and less peaceful, only because of the memories so close behind her, but it was enough.
How could one man, her own father nonetheless, make her feel so small, so scared? She often wondered. Yet, somehow, in some subconscious way, she still longed to please him. His stifling expectations weighed heavily on her every day, and yet, inwardly, she longed to live up to them. She yearned for his acceptance, his pride, but feared she'd never earn it.
He wanted her to be Arwen, something she could never be. She tried, Elbereth knows she tried, but her stubbornness got the best of her every time. For as long as her tainted memory could recall, she had been told to be more still, less restless, more appropriate, less spirited, more of Arwen, less of herself. Her father had spent his life trying to mold her, make her something she wasn't, and Aarynne had spent that time trying to defy him. The harder he pushed, the harder she pushed back, but sometimes she pushed too hard. She'd spent so much time and effort trying to be everything he didn't want her to be that she lost herself. Now, whoever she was, or used to be, at least, was no more than a vague memory, like a dream that enters your mind but for a moment and leaves you in the morning, never to be seen again.
She shook her head gently, trying to shake off the thoughts in the process, and stood, making her way back to the house.
Aarynne woke to the smells of a freshly prepared breakfast, awaiting her at the foot of her bed. Sweet, heavy scents drifted up toward her half-sleeping figure, wrapping her senses with its irresistible draw. She smiled an ironic smile as her bare feet touched the cool marble floor and made her way to the tray of steaming food. She`d lost her appetite long ago, and now all she could stomach was just enough to sustain. This morning, that was no more than a warm piece of bread with sweet honey dripping off its corners and a handful of wild berries.
Finding no need to waste the rest, she clapped her hands together, waking Lomion in the process. His eager white face was soon staring up at her, loyalty ever in his deep, brown eyes.
"Are you hungry, mellon nin?" Aarynne asked with a small smile. Lomion gave a short, happy bark, licking Aarynne's hand gently and then helping himself to what was left on the tray.
After she had dressed in the simplest, most comfortable dress she could find, binding her dark hair in a simple style, and Lomion had finished his merry feast, the two set off for the stables to see their other companion, Thunderfoot. The walk there was not a long or unpleasant one, with a warm, welcoming feel to the air. Birds sang their various cheery tunes and the sun shone steadily over head, spilling over the beautiful landscape, and yet, this meant nothing for Aarynne. Her skin felt cold...she'd been cold for a long time.
Once inside the roomy stables, a whinny of recognition was sounded from a far stable, where Thunderfoot stood, tossing his head in a happy greeting. Aarynne smiled a true, heartfelt smile as she approached, catching his head gently between her graceful hands and planting a soft kiss on his long muzzle.
Seeing Lomion licking his own muzzle contentedly, the last drops of berry stain disappearing, Thunderfoot snorted in jealousy, pushing lightly against Aarynne's shoulder.
"Don't worry, my jealous friend, I haven't forgotten you so lightly," she smiled, producing a small, honey coated piece of bread from her scarred palm. The horse munched it with satisfaction, giving his master a nudge of thanks when done.
"You're welcome," Aarynne laughed, hugging his neck for a moment and then scratching his forehead. Here, she was at home most, with these, her two dearest friends, away from people, memories and arguments. Yet, somehow, it never seemed to last.
"Milady," Rumil addressed her, smiling as he walked into the stables from the opposite side.
"Suilad, Rumil," she sighed, patting Lomion's head affectionately as he jumped up, his front paws on the stable door.
"You slept well, I hope," Rumil continued with the light, formal conversation. Aarynne didn't answer, but forced a smile, and turned back to her comfort zone. When did she ever sleep well?
"Haldir, Orophin and I are to leave this morning, as soon as they finish breakfasting, and I was to see if you had any message for the Lord or Lady."
"No, none, but thank you Rumil, your brothers and yourself are noble elves indeed," Aarynne answered, rare words of praise on her lips. Rumil bowed, and walked to where she was standing, giving Thunderfoot a pat on the nose.
"He is a magnificent creature, Lady," he remarked, admiration evident in his eyes.
"In body and spirit," she added, kissing him again, a pastime he was quite used to by now.
Elrond sat at his desk, penning a hurried letter to Galadriel, trying to finish before the escorts left, making their way back to Lorien, when Aarynne came upon him on her own way back from the stables.
"Suilad, herumen...good morning," she spoke lightly, Lomion trotting at her heels, as always.
"Ah, Aarynne," he said, looking up from his hastily written correspondence, "I was wondering, if you would be able to forget yesterday's slight banter and accompany me at tea this afternoon in the Hall of Fire, to talk, if you would?"
"You'd be there," Aarynne spoke cautiously, "honestly?"
"Of course I would!" Elrond replied, standing, and sealing the letter with his personal seal. The blue wax dripped onto soft folds of the parchment, and soon was imprinted with the sign of Elrond.
"Then I'll be there, if you really will," Aarynne spoke quietly, not herself. Elrond nodded, patting her shoulder as he went by to deliver the letter to Haldir.
"Dear Eru, please..." she choked, "please let him be there."
Afternoon came, and Aarynne walked slowly to the Hall of Fire. Her stomach churned with uneasiness, and her mind wouldn't leave her alone. How many countless times has he disappointed you? Her mind would scream at her, Why are you doing this to yourself again? That she couldn't answer. She only knew that for some incomprehensible reason, she still needed to try. Though it pained her to think it, she knew she needed her father.
Upon arriving, she seated herself on a bench next to an open space overlooking the gardens. She sat here many a time as an elfling, looking out over the gardens. Whether she was there for her own reasons, or for her father's, many thoughts had crossed her mind here, including her first thought that she must leave this place. Her plan to run away had been formed here, awaiting her father's scolding for some countless wrong deed she'd done. She wondered now, how things may have been if she'd stay. Would they have gotten better? Or would they have become worse?
She passed the minutes silently, in thought, as she waited. She didn't know how long she sat there, staring without direction into the gardens, nor did she remember all she thought of, but when she shook herself out of her dream-like state, she found that the gardens were no longer illuminated with warm sunlight. The grey of dusk had set itself over the sleepy Rivendell landscape, it was late, and he hadn't come.
Her thoughts mocked her, her naivety, her willingness to risk the inevitable. She clenched her jaw bitterly and dug her fingernails into her palms, hoping to stop the internal pain. Somehow, it never worked, though Elbereth knew how many times she tried.
She stood, and began to walk down the hallway, to where, she didn't know. Her thoughts became unclear as she raced through the hallways and corridors, hoping to find some solace in another place.
Though her eyes were open, she was not seeing, and so unexpectedly bumped into a familiar figure as she turned a corner. She looked up, staring callously into the eyes of her father.
"Don't," she spat, as he opened his mouth to speak. She turned, and walked away to some place where she could cry her tears in quiet.