To Dream - A Story of Elven Dreams - ch5
1.) In this story elves are generally in some control of their dreams.
2.) While I hold to the idea that Elves can see dream-images or shadows of other elves/people on the Olórë Mallë (Path of Dreams), for purposes of this story they normally don't, and perhaps never do, actually meet others in their dreams. But something is going to happen in this story which is not normal.
Names/Pronunciations and any Translation will come at the end of each chapter. ( ) signals a footnote.
"Dreams, inconsistent angel things,
Horses bred with star-laced wings, but it's so hard to make them fly."
- Sixpence None the Richer (band)
Oloriel smiled warmly down on the new elfling, asleep in her mother's arms. Írima's labor had not been without difficulty, and had taken several hours, but mother and child had both come through safe and happy. The birthing had ended just as the sun was creeping above the horizon. It was now the evening of the same day, and Oloriel had returned from her training to look in on the new family.
Oloriel gently traced the small pointed ear of the child. "She is so beautiful, Írima - you have out-done yourself! I will have immense fun spoiling this one." She smiled devilishly.
Írima laughed. "Oh no you shall not. You were so very strict about not letting me over-work myself these past months I wouldn't be surprised if you turned into this child's second mother and protector. You will always, I am sure, catch her when she is in mischief - you have a nose for that - and you'll probably be more anxious over her care than her own parents!"
As she said this, the other parent walked into the room. Nimfallë, Írima's husband, was the glowing image of proud parenthood. He lovingly kissed his wife on the forehead and then gently took his new daughter up in his arms.
"Have you decided on a name?" inquired Oloriel.
"Nay, we decided that we would take a few days to get to know her before we decided on a name." Nimfallë responded. Írima smiled up at him and smiled her affirmation.
"Well, I will leave you two to get to know her then." Oloriel declared cheerfully. The sun had already gone down, and she was ready for sleep. She walked slowly back to her flet.
On her way there she recalled the story of on her own naming. Her parents had also waited to name her; it had taken a whole month in fact. Just enough for Oloriel's mother, who had lost much strength because of the pregnancy, to decide that she had not enough strength left for Middle Earth. She took a ship into the west - to seek healing and peace in the Undying Lands. Her parents then chose to name their daughter Oloriel - dream daughter. "Because I will dream of her until the day that we meet again in Valinor," her mother had said.
But her mother had not been the only one to dream of being reunited with a loved one. Her father pined after his wife, and when Oloriel was old enough to enter into the service of Galadriel, he too left for the Undying lands to reunite with her. And Oloriel was left alone.
Oloriel paused below her flet. A spark of jealousy ignited in her momentarily. She envied the new child; she envied Írima and Nimfallë. They were all together, all happy and strong. She felt very alone.
Suddenly she came back to reality, she mentally scolding herself for her selfish thoughts. She was happy for them - happy for what they had. Írima had always been a true friend, and Oloriel would never forget her kindness. No doubt she would, as Írima had pointed out, become like a second mother to the child. She would get a sweet taste of what it would be like to be a family.
She smiled softly and climbed up to her flet. She felt a peacefulness steal over her as she nestled under the covers. Soon she fell asleep.
She found herself sitting on a beach beneath the moonlight. The waters stretching out before her came gently lapping to her feet. The beauty and somberness of the dreamscape began to seep into her. She began to sing a song of the night, of the stars, and of love. She had never truly been in love, but the feeling of the song had always touched her. As she sang she became oblivious to everything else but the music and the stars above her. She did not here the approaching footsteps.
Elladan looked blankly out on the lovely view before him. He was standing on his balcony, in his own room at Imladris. They had arrived just a few hours ago along with Aragorn and three hobbits: Merry, Pippin, and Samwise. Elladan and Elrohir had arrived at the Ford just as the Nine Riders were swept away by the rushing waters of the Bruinen(1). The hobbit, Frodo, had been taken ahead to Imladris on Glorfindel's horse, Asfaloth. He was now in the care of Elrond himself. No one knew yet if Frodo could be saved from the injury he had received at the hand of one of the Nine, but there was hope.
'Hope for Frodo, perhaps hope for Middle Earth, but what of me?' Elladan muttered to himself. He had the vague suspicion that he was allowing himself to throw an uncalled for pity party, but he didn't have the mental or emotional strength to fight it off.
Down in the courtyard he could see a group of Elves in animated conversation; in the hallway he could here the hustle and bustle of preparations for guests; he could imagine the group of Elves that had congregated in Elrohir's room to welcome home their friend. But his room was empty. Oh, we could have gone into one of the gathering rooms - he could be down in the courtyard right now - but he felt as if his presence would only interfere with everyone else. He mused on the possibilities...
'If I walked up to that cluster of Elves they would probably just step aside to clear a path for me, assuming that I wanted to get past them. Once they realized I had come to be with them there would be a general stream of pleasant nothings, then perhaps an uncomfortable pause, and one by one they would excuse themselves.' Elladan sighed heavily.
He didn't blame them. They would go to be with people they knew and enjoyed - this was natural. He felt as though most Elves his age did not relax well around him; that he engendered great respect from them, perhaps even an austere love, but not true friendship. He usually mixed with the elders, assuming a mask of sedate wisdom, but underneath he still felt rather lonely.
When his mother left for Valinor, Elladan had taken a more serious role upon himself. He was the eldest among his siblings (even if it was just by a few minutes with Elrohir); he felt that he had to be there for them. It was during these years that he began to drift away from his peers and become more solitary. He poured everything he had into bringing comfort to his brother and sister that he did not have much left to comfort himself. Elladan made himself appear so strong through this time, that even Elrond forgot to worry about him, and instead began to rely on him to help with the other two. Elladan kept up his mask permanently. He never sought comfort from his friends - he had to be strong. After some time he began to feel that his friends couldn't understand who he was or what was inside of him. Then he began to convince himself that he couldn't understand his friends. The only people that he kept close to were his family.
But his family was not enough. Elrond was his father, not always his friend. Elrohir, on the other hand, was his closest friend, but Elorhir was everyone's friend. When at home he felt guilty for drawing his brother away from his many more cheerful companions. And Arwen... Arwen would not be with him forever. She had chosen their foster brother, Aragorn - a mortal. He would lose her eventually.
"I am alone." he whispered to the air.
"No, Elladan. No, you never were."
Elladan started. Arwen had crept up behind him as he was taking in the view.
"Why do you not come down to the Hall of Fire?" Arwen continued, "Many are there who would like to see you and welcome you home."
"I do not think I would be wanted much." Elladan mumbled.
"You were always wrong about that you know. You are such a silly boy."
Elladan turned to her, a small prick of indignation dancing in his eye, "What is that supposed to mean?"
"It's quite simple really - I thought you would be clever enough to decipher it. It means that you are acting like a silly little elfling. You go hunt orc, you ride the borders, you wander with the Rangers, you spend all this time away from your kind and then when you come home you lock yourself away in your room and moan about how the world hates you. Why? Because you're frightened."
Elladan snorted and turned away from her.
"Yes you are," she continued, "Frightened to go talk to normal people. Because you've convinced yourself that they won't like you or that they won't understand you. You've been held up in this room so long that you've started to believe that everyone wants you here. What you don't remember is that you were the one who shut yourself in here in the first place. You turned the key, brother, and only you can unlock the door."
She placed her hand on his shoulder and gently turned him around.
"I've seen you doing this to yourself for too many centuries. I thought that you would learn. But the world grows darker outside these four walls, and time is precious." She lowered her eyes from his face, "... And not just for me, but for everyone else on this side of the Sundering Sea. In times like these people should not shut themselves away. Come." She took his hand, "Come and be with your people. More of them care about you than you know - come be with them."
Elladan stared down at his sister for several moments. She was so beautiful. And yet, because of her love for a mortal, her beauty was destined to fade. Her time was precious. Perhaps she had something to teach him about living. He squeezed her hand gently and smiled down at her, then allowed her to lead him out of his room and back into the world.
Elladan flopped rather ungracefully down onto his bed. A faint smile threatened to curl the corners of his mouth. He had actually enjoyed himself. He had not talked with many of the Elves, but he had enjoyed being in their company. They had been so gay and comfortable and... welcoming. And being near Arwen was always soothing.
"Perhaps she is right," he sighed, "...as usual." His mouth finally gave way into a real smile. "She's always right; it's the most infuriating thing."
The stars were peaking in through his window. Normally he would have stood out in the open underneath them, but tonight he was tired. He crawled underneath the cool sheet and soon his mind drifted into the path of dreams.....
A cool breeze sifted through his dark hair. He was standing under the eaves of a forest, looking out on the eerie glow of a sandy beach in the moonlight. He had never seen the sea, but this could well be it. The water stretched out further than his Elven eyes could see. The stars above it pulsated, and their reflection in the water was even more scintillating.
His gaze was drawn away from the water as he began to hear the words of a song floating to him across the sand. Only then did he realize that there was a figure near the water, away to his right. It was the same she-elf, dressed in dark blue, like the night sky. She was crouched down on the sand, her legs drawn up, and her arms wrapped loosely around them. Her face was lifted up to the stars. She sang softly...
Once when my heart remembers
All the stars were fallen embers
Once when night seemed forever I was with you
Once in the pale of morning
In the air was all belonging
Once when that day was dawning I was with you
How far we are from morning
How far we are
And the stars shining through the darkness
Falling in the air
Once when the night was leaving
Into us our dreams were weaving
Once all dreams were worth keeping
I was with you
Once when our hearts were singing
I was with you
As the plaintive notes of the song came to a gentle end, the maiden let herself fall back onto the sand. Elladan was only a few steps away from her now; he had crept up slowly while she was singing.
"That was beautiful, Aiwë." he whispered.
She sat up quickly and spun around. "What did you call me?"
"Aiwë. I have never learned your name, and it seemed fitting. You looked so small and... vulnerable, sitting there, wrapped up in yourself. Like a small bird that was alone in a very large world, but couldn't help singing anyway." Elladan was a little surprised at his own boldness. `Where did that come from?' he wondered. He quickly added out loud, "If it does not suite you, I will not call you it again."
"No, it's okay. It's just that this is not the first time someone has called me that."
There was a pause for several moments.
Elladan broke the silence, "Thank you."
She turned to him questioningly, and he pointed to his arm. She smiled slightly and inclined her head in acceptance.
"How did you do it?"
She paused and met his eyes, "I do not know."
Elladan was puzzled by her answer, but did not question further. They lapsed again into a comfortable silence, both looking out on the placid sea.
"Why did you come back?" she asked softly, without turning toward him.
He chuckled softly. "Well, I didn't have much choice. Even an Elf has to sleep sometime."
Her eyes darted quickly to his face. "What do you mean?"
He smiled in a bemused manner. "Surely you understand the concept of sleep. Those of us who walk Arda cannot do without it."
"I understand the concept of sleep," she replied impatiently, "I experience it every night - I am experiencing it now. But why are you in my dream? You cannot simply be an Elf."
Elladan's eyes widened and he sank slowly down onto the sand next to her. "And you - you are simply an Elf? But that cannot be. This is my dream."
They stared at one another in shocked silence. Then Oloriel's word started pouring out.
"No... no, that is not possible... if you are just an Elf than how did you calm the storm?... you could not have calmed the storm... it is impossible!" Her eyes were taking on a wild look; she leapt up off the sand and started pacing. "If you are not a spirit sent by the Valar than the nightmares are not gone... they will return and there is nothing I can do... nothing I can do... oh, what is happening to me!"
As she spoke clouds started to form on the horizon, she gazed at them with growing fear. "No! It is coming... I can't get away!" She began to feel an aching pain inside her. She crumpled onto the sand. Elladan began to be aware of lighting along the horizon, out on the sea. He heard the distant rumblings of thunder. The cloud front, dark and menacing, was quickly approaching the shore. Wind started to whip madly around them.
Oloriel was holding her head now. She was gasping for breath as she continued to murmur and writhe in the sand. "No... I can't get away... oh take it away... I can't run any more." Lightening began to flash much closer to them. She became more agitated, her voice become louder each moment, "Take it away! It hurts... make it stop please..." She began to sob, as the pain in her head sharpened.
Meanwhile, Elladan looked on helplessly. He had no concept of how to deal with this situation. He felt utterly useless. As he stood there the rain came, slashing violently around them. In seconds they were both soaked to the bone. Oloriel was still moaning in the sand.
He had to do something; he couldn't just watch her suffer like this. He did the only thing that he could think of. `After all, it worked once before,' he reasoned. He knelt down beside her and gathered her up in his arms. He began rocking her gently, and whispering soothing words in her ear. For several minutes she seemed oblivious to his voice, but then slowly she began to listen.
"...Lle ú-ná erui... i môr gwannatha... I fuin ú-tha vedui an-uir... Im beriatha lle..." she raised her head and looked at him through her tears; he held her gaze. "Amin na lle - im dartha." (2)
As he said this, the storm began to subside. He continued to rock her gently, and started to rub her back in slow, smooth circles. The pain had started to abate, and her crying became less frantic. She shuddered, and he drew her closer, thinking that perhaps she was cold. She stiffened slightly, but then slid her arm around his neck and quietly wept against his shoulder.
After what seemed like an eternity, she slowly disentangled herself from his arms. She straightened up and shifted away from him, sitting rather stiffly on the wet sand. Her dress was drenched and clung to her, and her hair was a tangled mess, but she tried to look dignified. She slowly turned to look at Elladan; He returned her gaze. Both of their minds were churning.
`I cannot trust him or his words; he is just an Elf. This is all an accident. I must endure on my own.' Oloriel's heart and mind were quickly throwing up walls. `Ai! All the foolish things I've done. He must think me quite... well... odd.' She never stopped to ask herself why she cared what he thought of her.
Elladan was chiding himself as well. `This is unendurable. I have a she-elf... a very lovely she-elf inhabiting my dreams. She cannot be real - she must be of my imagining. But what if she is real? I chased her through the wood... I held her around the waist! It was entirely too forward - what was I thinking? What must she think? How was I to know she was real?'
They were still staring at each other. Oloriel finally broke the silence. She stood up, turned toward him, held out her hand, and did what seemed most appropriate - she introduced herself. "Oloriel, daughter of Alkarin and Maldalossë of LothLorien, handmaiden to the Lady Galadriel."
A queer look came over Elladan's face. He slowly rose to his feet, took the hand that she proffered him, bowed slightly, and replied, "Elladan, son of Elrond and Celebrian of Rivendell, grandson... to the Lady Galadriel."
Oloriel's eyes widened in surprise. `Elladan! Why does it have to be him!' she wondered frantically. She curtsied as well as she could in wet sand and began to walk off. Elladan was not sure if he should follow her. He took a few hesitant steps in her direction, but then she turned back and spoke.
"Thank you for your assistance, Elladan son of Elrond; I am very grateful for it. But I do not require your presence any more. I would be grateful if you would give me as much privacy as possible. I need to think - I need to be alone."
Elladan was not sure if this was wise, but would not think of forcing his presence on a lady.
"As the Lady wishes, so shall it be." He nodded politely at her, and then watched her stroll off along the beach until she was only a soft shadow, blending into the curtain of night.
1. The River Bruinen (The Loudwater in common tongue); western border of Imladris/Rivendell
2. (Sindarin) "You are not alone... the darkness will pass... the night will not last forever... I will protect you..." "I am with you - I will stay."
Names to Know:
Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Aiwë: Kallindo's nickname for Oloriel - meaning "small bird"
Írima: "desirable, lovely"
Nimfallë: "white foam"
Alkarin: "glorious" ... a little protentious, perhaps, but it sounded good!
Maldalossë: "gold blossom"
Olórë Mallë: Path of Dreams
Disclaimer: I don't own the song! It's another one of Enya's haunting creations.
Thanks to Blade-singer (Cathol-lin) of tolkienonline.com (go read her story "Legolas and the Olore Malle!) and `Wandering Minds' of fanfiction.net for providing some sparks of inspiration!
Now please, PLEASE review! I've never claimed to own my own muse, so I must get my inspiration and encouragement from another source! Come one... you know you want to... = )