The One Who Will Be Reborn - Chapter 4: Refreshments


"Follow me!" Arwen commanded, as she sauntered across the room towards the door, and Aurora ran after her, and shut the door behind her. To their right was a door, which Arwen opened. Aurora followed through the doorway, to find that a small winding staircase led to the ground floor. Aurora shut the door, behind her, and descended the staircase. At the foot of the staircase was a roofed walkway, covered with rambling and climbing plants. Laughing like schoolgirls, the two elves ran to the other end, opened another door, and found themselves in a small hall, decorated in its entirety with blue and turquoise mosaics.
"What fragrance do you want in your bath, my lady?" asked one of the servants there.
"Do you have vanilla? Or lily?" enquired Aurora.
"I've never heard of vanilla before, but we certainly have lily fragrance. Please wait here, ladies." Aurora noticed Arwen's raised eyebrows, as the servant led them through a door, into what seemed like an anti-chamber. "I will tell you when your bath is ready" said the servant, as she went back out of the chamber.
The chamber was, like the hall they had just left, covered from floor to ceiling in blue and turquoise mosaics. It had seating, which was also covered in mosaics of the same colours.
In her excitement and curiosity at having an "elven" bath, she remembered the nervousness she had often experienced before going on stage. When she was nervous, she would imagine herself lying on a beach of pebbles, with the stones under her massaging her back, and the sound of the waves on the shingle. She would imagine she was there as the tide was flowing, and, gradually, the water would be carrying her fear away, and lulling her into self confidence. When she was tired, she would lie down on the floor and imagine herself as a bag of sand on a sandy shore, with holes in her where her back touched the floor, and she would imagine the sand pouring through the holes, stealing her aches, pains and tiredness.
After a while, she looked up, and saw that Arwen, too, was deep in thought. "Your bath is ready, my lady," the servant had come in through the same door, "Please follow me." Arwen and Aurora stood up and followed the servant through a door at the opposite end of the chamber, and directed Aurora behind a separation of the bath room as Arwen went around the bath, and the servant left them.
The bath itself was like a small swimming pool, and the room was, once again, decorated with mosaics. The water was covered in bubbles and froth, and the whole room smelt of lilies. The separation was like a corridor, with a flight of steps at the end to go into the water without being seen. On the separation wall were shelves with towels, sponges and various bottles of soaps and shampoos, and empty hangers. She undressed and left her gowns on one of the hangers, found lily-scented soap and shampoo, took a sponge, and went into the water, leaving them at the edge of the pool. The pool was only deep enough for her to be completely submerged, except for her head. She closed her eyes and sank under the water. She sighed. She felt pampered in it. To her, the water felt like silk, and was neither too hot nor too cold. She exhaled under the water, letting the bubbles play on her face. She swam back to the surface to inhale, and plunged in again, this time playfully twisting and darting, as she always loved to when in a swimming pool or in the sea. When the water was shallow enough, she would jump in and out of the water, as dolphins do. With regret, she realised she'd never touched a dolphin, or swum with one. It had always been a wish, as she remembered the multiple water shows she'd seen them perform in at various seaside attractions.
Emerging from the water, and her nostalgic thoughts, she swam back to where she'd entered the pool, opened the bottle of soap, and poured some onto the sponge. The soap had a milky colour and creamy consistency, and smelt deliciously like lilies.
"You seem to enjoy water, and to be a good swimmer," remarked Arwen, "How did you learn? The elves who do know how to swim form only a minority." Aurora had started to scrub herself with the soapy sponge.
"Where I lived, all children were taught to swim. It was deemed very important, as someone who knows how to swim will not easily drown on their own," answered Aurora, forgetting that she would probably have to explain where she came from.
"And where do you come from?" followed Arwen.
"I come from a completely different world," after having paused a moment to think, "where there are no elves or hobbits. In fact, there are only men. But there are, of course, many animals, and plants," started to explain Aurora.
"Then, how is it that you are an elf, if there are no elves in your world?" asked Arwen, as she became more and more curious.
"I wasn't an elf until I arrived here," answered Aurora, as she put some more soap on her sponge.
"How did you find out about this world? How did you arrive here? Grow taller? And grow pointed ears?" asked Arwen.
"I only knew of this world in dreams. And I didn't do anything to come here. I fainted, and woke up here. A great force brought me here, although which one, or how, or why, I do not know. Do you remember that jewel I put on my desk, before coming back to you? I never had it until I arrived here. It probably holds a clue," explained Aurora.
"I'll have a look at it, and see if I can recognise it, or something on it. Maybe my father could help you, and almost certainly my grandmother as well," proposed Arwen, "I'll ask ada to see you tomorrow."
"Thank you very much. I know he is very knowledgeable, and wise," said Aurora, "but I didn't think he would have much time for me, especially now."
Aurora had finished exfoliating herself with the sponge, and was know swimming over to get the shampoo, where she'd left it beside the steps. As she walked back with the shampoo, she noticed a mosaic bench in the pool, on which she sat, and put the shampoo on the pool edge beside her.
"May I wash your hair?" asked Arwen, "I always enjoy washing and brushing other peoples' hair. I find it so soothing." Aurora agreed voluntarily, remembering those special days, like ballet exams or shows, when, as a teenager, she always helped to get the younger girls' hair into buns, or ponytails, for the youngest. She, too, found it therapeutic, and also enjoyed letting other people wash, brush and do her own hair.
"You've certainly chosen the right fragrance!" teased Arwen, as she opened the bottle of shampoo, "it smells delicious! Legolas will love it, knowing him. Strangely enough, I've rarely tried it. I suppose it doesn't really suit me: I prefer the scent of roses. Do you want me to have these sent up to your bedroom?" Aurora sighed as Arwen gently massaged the shampoo into her hair, and smiled as the delightful smell of it surrounded her.
"We can take some with us, can't we? We'll be going back to my bedroom, won't we?" Aurora asked, thinking Arwen was treating her far too much like a princess, when she wasn't one, although she'd always dreamed of being one.
"No, we shan't be going back to your bedroom," said Arwen, surprising her guest, "There's another treat in store for all weary travellers."
"And what's that?" enquired Aurora, seemingly worried.
"Ahha! You'll see!" teased Arwen.
With her scalp being massaged, and her nose embalmed by lilies, Aurora drifted into day dreams. She was wearing a long white dress with long, large sleeves, very much like those Eowyn had worn in the films. Her greenish white belt was tied in front, with its long ends hanging down loosely. She was next to a river, surrounded by meadow, and lilies grew by the edge of the bank, in the shade of the weeping willows that lined the river. She was happy, dancing between the trees, the sunlight playing with the wild grasses. Fawns and lambs were light-heartedly jumping around her, and bird songs provided the most beautiful music she'd ever danced to. The flowing of the river created an ambiance of serenity in motion. When she was tired of dancing, she lay down next to the river, under one of the willows, and let her arm down the bank, her fingers in the water.
Aurora was roused from her daydream by Arwen, who had stopped massaging her scalp.
"You can rinse your hair now," suggested Arwen, "I'll go and get some conditioner."
"Is there conditioner? I didn't see any."
"It's usually hidden behind the shampoo," chuckled Arwen, "Lily again, I suppose?"
"Yes, please." Aurora slid off the bench, and once again plunged under the water. She resurfaced to massage the shampoo out of her hair. She then sat on the bench again, and relaxed as Arwen applied the conditioner.
"When and where did you arrive here?"
"I arrived in the Shire, three nights ago. Two hobbits were being followed by a Black Rider. I instinctively broke into song, and was joined by three elves. That night, I decided to come here to send help to the hobbits."
"That was brave. The Nine are looking to catch them, and you could easily have been in trouble."
"It wasn't really brave. I would have come here anyway. I have nowhere else to go, for the moment. Tell me, have you heard of a Lady Aurora, who lived in Mirkwood centuries ago?"
"She disappeared, didn't she?"
"So I heard. One of the elves told me about her, when I gave him my name."
"I believe she came from an important family, but that's all I ever knew about her."
"I'm curious about her, because we have the same name, a name that is rare among elves."
"If it's really important to you, you should go to Mirkwood. But speak first with my father," suggested Arwen.
"Talking about enquiries, when I undressed, I found a pendant hanging around my neck, that I've never seen before. Would you have an idea of where it comes from, if you saw it?"
"My knowledge of pendants is rather limited, but I'm sure my father will be able to help you. You can rinse your hair now."
Once she'd rinsed her hair, she climbed out of the pool. When she'd dried herself, she wrapped her hair into a towel and put her robes back on. The servant came back into the room, and invited Arwen and Aurora through another door. Behind it, was another mosaic room, with a long table in the centre: the other treat was a massage.
Aurora relaxed into a light slumber as the elf's deft hands worked over her.

* * *

"I think you had better have a rest. You're still very tired, and this evening will be a long one. I will come back later. We could have a walk, if you wish. But I will leave you for now. Sleep well." And Arwen, who had stood in the doorway, turned towards the corridor and closed the door behind her.
Aurora took off her dressing gown and draped it over the chair, before lying down on her bed. She fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.

* * *

"I'm very sorry, but your daughter is in a heavy coma. Both the duration and the outcome of her coma are unknown. She will die if she is taken off the life support machine. We haven't, as yet, identified any cause for this coma."
She heard the curt voice of a doctor, and the beeping of machines all around her. She tried to open her eyes, but was once again denied her sight. She heard heavy sighs next to her. Then she heard her father's desperate cries.
"What went wrong? What did we do? What did I do?"
She tried to scream, but glue held her mouth shut, and not a sound came from her throat.

* * *

She woke up screaming, and sat up on her bed with a jolt. She closed her eyes and breathed a while, tears starting to stream down her cheeks, before lying down again. She turned onto her stomach, to muffle the sound of her sobs in her pillow.
She cried out the questions that had been in her head for the past three days:
"What happened? Why? Why? Why?"
Then, as if in answer to her cries, she heard a gentle voice in her head, which she recognised to be Elbereth's. "Don't worry, little one. You will have answers to some of your questions in due course. I'm watching over you. Nothing will happen to you."
Aurora remembered an album she used to listen to when she was depressed, and, especially, a song.

Ever close your eyes
Ever stop and listen
Ever feel alive
And you've nothing missing
You don't need a reason
Let the day go on and on

Let the rain fall down
Everywhere around you
Give into it now
Let the day surround you
You don't need a reason
Let the rain go on and on

What a day
What a day to take to
What a way
What a way
To make it through
What a day
What a day to take to
A wild child

Only take the time
From the helter skelter
Every day you find
Everything's in kilter
You don't need a reason
Let the day go on and on

Every summer sun
Every winter evening
Every spring to come
Every autumn leaving
You don't need a reason
Let it all go on and on

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