Starry Twilight - Chapter Four - Rivendell
Sorry this took so long. It was a real struggle to get these guys to do what I wanted. Hopefully the next chapter will be easier. But don't expect them to come out too quickly over the summer. Its a very busy time for me, and I don't get much write time. I'll try, but I can't promise anything. Thank you to everyone for being so patient with me. You are all wonderful. Thank you for all your kind comments. Hope I continue to live up to your expectations.
The company from Lothlorien rode down into the valley of Imladris accompanied by the cheerful singing of the folk of that land. Tinel looked about her in wonder, and listened in delight. The songs they were singing were much more lighthearted than those of the Lothlorien Elves. It made her want to laugh, and dance and sing. It made her feel as though she belonged. She had always found the songs of Lothlorien, though beautiful, too sorrowful. They mourned the past, and grieved for the departure of the Elves, when Tinel would rather sing of the beauties of life in the present. Like the Elves of Rivendell.
It was tindome or the twilight before dawn, for which Tindomiel was named, and her favorite time of the day. How appropriate that I should enter Rivendell for the first time in my time. she thought in a rare moment of sentimentality. I am entering my new home, with the golden light of dawn. Home. The thought sent a thrill through her. She was going to live here, with her dear uncle, and with her new friends Elladan and Elrohir. What wonderful times they would have!
No doubt they would visit Arwen on occasion, and they would surely aid the King of Gondor in his efforts to rid the land of those foul orcs. Tinel grew dreamy eyed at the thought of all the adventures that were in store for her.
They rode slowly through the graceful architecture of the Valley of Rivendell, and Tinel hungrily drank in every detail. For a moment the thought crossed her mind that it felt slightly empty, but she quickly banished it. Nothing would mar this moment for her.
Before the stables was gathered a group waiting to welcome the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien and their retinue. Their numbers were few, for most of the people of Imladris had already left.
Elladan scanned the waiting crowd for his father's face in vain. Young elflings danced between the horse's of the company from Lorien, laughing and singing lightheartedly. Elladan smiled, this was home still. But for how long?
Determinedly he pushed that thought from his mind. He would not allow his longing for the sea to sour the rest of his life here in Middle-earth. His brother, and beloved sister were here. That was enough. He could bear the loss of his father.
A little boy ran just before Elladan's horse, causing it to shy a little. He was quickly followed by his admonishing mother, who scooped the lad into her arms and held him close.
A wistful smile crossed Elladan's lips. How he missed those long gone carefree days when his own mother had been here to scoop him up like that. Not that she had often. Mor commonly it was Elrohir who had rested upon her breast. Elladan had always spent more time with their father Elrond.
Elladan's eyes were drawn up to the balcony of Elrond's great house. There stood his father, smiling down at them, the hint of sadness in his eyes, as it had been since Celebrian had departed for the west. It was worse now. Since Arwen had chosen mortality, the shadow in his eyes had grown darker. It was very hard for him to lose his daughter, and know that, unlike his wife, he would never see her again. She had chosen to forsake Mandos Halls, and so would not be brought back at the end of the world.
He smiled up at his father, hoping for, and receiving, an answering smile and nod. Then he turned and returned inside.
Elladan sighed in frustration. He feared his father would never truly accept Arwen's decision, nor would Elrohir.
"Why so somber?" Tinel's cheerful voice broke through Elladan's thoughts. "You must be glad to be home again." Elladan looked at her brightly smiling eyes, and was irresistibly drawn into grinning in return.
"Yes, I am glad," he began.
"I am going to show Tinel all our haunts," Elrohir chimed in, "The cave behind the waterfall, and the gardens, and that flet we raised on our own, and . . ."
"There will hardly be time to show her everything before the company leaves," Celeborn interjected wryly. "We leave on the morrow."
"But Tindomiel will be here for many years," Galadriel said, smiling, "There will be time enough later to show her the valley."
They came now into the stables, and the stablehands rushed first to Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Elladan and Elrohir dismounted without aid, and Elrohir rushed to Tinel's side, forestalling the grooms who would have helped her. Her skirts were tangled in the sidesaddle.
"It really is the most ridiculous creation," Tinel laughed as Elrohir set her upon her feet. She turned her sparkling eyes to meet Elladan's gaze, grinning at him impishly, and an answering smile came unbidden to his own lips. "I really don't see why we females must always be so burdened by these ridiculous skirts!"
"Do not worry child," Galadriel said, amusement coloring her tone. "You need not remain in skirts once the company has left. I am certain my grandsons will encourage you to abandon them as soon as may be."
"But of course," Elrohir replied promptly, "It would not do. Dresses would hinder our adventures abominably." He paused for a moment, then smiled winningly at Tinel, "Not that you do not appear charmingly in that fetching gown of course," he said with his exaggerated gallantry, drawing a musical chuckle from Tinel. "My lady Shining Star," he said, bowing elaborately, to more laughter from Tinel, "will you accompany me to the gardens?" He presented his arm to the diminutive lady.
"I should be delighted my lord," Tinel said primly, resting her fingers lightly upon his forearm, before looking questioningly up at Elladan. "Will you not join us my Lord Elladan?" she asked brightly, extending her hand to him.
"Alas my lady, I fear I must meet with my father," he said with only partially mock seriousness, "One of us must observe the formalities, and as the elder, I fear that duty lies with me."
"Oh dear, should we go greet Lord Elrond first?" Tinel asked worriedly, "I fear I was never very good with formalities of any sort."
"Don't worry Tinel," Elrohir said laughing, "Elladan was only teasing, we are not so formal here. Let us go."
Tinel looked up briefly at Elladan, but he merely nodded encouragement, and the two turned and walked with graceful stateliness from the stables, those that remained watching in amusement.
"Five, four, three, two, one," Elladan said lightly, trying to ignore a sudden painful constriction in the area of his heart.
At his "one" they heard Elrohir call out, "Race you!" followed by a scream of protest from Tinel.
"Unfair! I am hampered by my skirts! And your legs are longer than mine!" this was followed by more laughter as the pari disappeared into the gardens.
"Why do you not accompany them my child?" Galadriel asked gently, "I am certain your father would understand, and Tinel certainly would not object."
"I am certain he would approve," Celeborn said, a twinkle in his eye.
"Perhaps," Elladan said smiling, "But I am soon to be denied the privilege of escorting the fairest lady in Arda for an unknown period of time. I must take this opportunity." He offered her his arm. Galadriel took his proffered arm, but did not remove her gaze from his face.
"Also," he continued, fighting not to be disconcerted, and hoping she did not see more than he wished uncovered, "as I said, I wish to speak to my father. It is some years since last I saw him, and no one can say how long until I see him next."
Whatever she saw in his eyes seemed to satisfy her, for she smiled and allowed him to lead her from the stables at last.
Elrond watched from the shadow of the curtains as his eldest son escorted his mother and father-in-law into the House. He almost dreaded this meeting. It would soon be goodbye. That he already knew, though neither of his sons had officially informed him of their intention. Elrohir had always been fierce in his determination to remain, if only to try to dissuade Arwen from her decision to choose the Doom of Mandos.
And Elladan would remain with his brother. There was no doubt of that. No matter how his heart yearned to cross the sea, he would remain with his brother. He was much like Elrond in that way. There was perhaps no one else that could fully understand the bond that held the elder twin so tight. Not even Elrohir felt the bond in the same way, though his bond too was strong. It was a feeling, a need, to do all in your power to make things smooth for the other, even though it brings great pain, even though you sacrifice all, all must be made right for your brother.
From the distance of time, and his point of view as father of them both, Elrond could see more clearly the impact this protectiveness had on the younger twin, the effect it had had on his own brother, but he could do nothing to stop it. Elladan would stay, would fight for his brother no matter what Elrond could say. So he would leave, and he would pray to Elbereth that Elrohir would not fall to the same fate as Elros. The fate that would befall Arwen.
He choked back the tears that threatened as a knock on the door announced his son's presence. Galadriel glided into the room, her beauty bringing Celebrian sharply into memory, and excitement surged in his veins. Soon. Soon he would again behold his beloved. Gone would be the cares that had creased her brow when last he had seen her. Valinor would have healed the wounds he could not, the wounds to her spirit.
What bliss it would be, but how she would sorrow upon hearing of her daughter's decision. He knew his wife well, and as painful as it was for him, she would take it even worse than Elrohir was.
"My lady," Elrond said, bowing to her, and taking her hand, he pressed a light kiss to the back of it. "It has been long, but at last you return to Valinor."
"And to my daughter," her eyes glowed with kindness, behind which lurked the wisdom of the Ages. Here was one who had seen the world from near the first, who had seen all the Ages, but for whom the Fourth Age held no place. "I am sad to see Middle Earth pass from my life, but so it must be. The time of the ring-bearers is gone, there is no longer any peace here for us."
"Yes," Elrond said, "there is no peace."