To Dream - Ch10: A New Moon

Things you need to know about this story...
1.) Elven dreams are very realistic
2.) Elves shouldn't normally meet *real* people along the Olórë Mallë (Path of Dreams)... but something happens in this story that is not normal

Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter. ( ) signals a footnote.

A/N: Remember the feast/dance that Kallindo asked to escort Oloriel to? Well, we're now calling it the Merendë Enyalië, which is celebrated by the elves of both realms, and commemorates the new year (Why? Because I said so...). I had the fellowship leave a week or two earlier than canon. They probably left Rivendell at (or shortly after) the end of December, but in my story they left a week or two before. Got it? Good...

___________________

Chapter 10.) A New Moon

***
"Ornamental clouds compose an evening love song;
...The new moon begins a new chapter of our nights."

- Rainer Maria Rilke
***

Recap: Same day as last chapter. Elladan is going out to inspect the security of the southern border of Imladris with his brother. Oloriel has agreed, more or less, to attend the Merendë Enyalië(1) with Kallindo.


"All things seem to be in order." Elladan announced, turning back to where his brother stood, gazing out over the pass.

They had spent the morning and most of the afternoon roving across the southern reaches of their father's realm, from patrol post to patrol post, gathering information about the defenses that held the darkness at bay. There had been few disturbances of late, but it was not healthy to grow too comfortable. The east had seen more problems, dealing with goblins from inside the mountain, but the south was an equally vulnerable border, were evil to strike with full force.

"I agree," Elrohir finally answered. "A few more guard posts positioned up river, and a new supply of herbs and medicines for the healing post, and things will be in quite good order." He turned and grinned at his brother. "Now that the work is over, shall we play?"

Elladan turned a suspicious eye on his brother. "Will I like this game you are playing at?"

"Brother! Do you really have so little faith in me?" Elrohir exclaimed in mock pain. Recovering quickly, he flashed a brilliant smile and added, "Do not worry, what I have planned will not put us in danger of another irate lecture from Lord Erestor. It'll be just a little bit of innocent fun."

"Very well, lead on."

Elrohir made his way casually down the ridge that they had been standing on. Slowly winding through various trails they came closer and closer to the sparkling waters of the Southern Bruinen, which fed into the Bruinen just before it reached the Ford. The sun was bright, though the air held a slight tinge of winter. The rushing music of the water was getting louder as they neared its banks, but before they rounded an out-cropping of trees, which hid the waters from their view, another sound came floating to them: laughter - female laughter. Elladan stopped in his tracks.

"What are elleths {she-elves} doing out here?" Elladan asked in surprise.

"Oh, that must be the Ladies Arinel and Lúnyellë. I had forgotten that they come here to do their washing on this day every week."

Somehow Elladan did not believe that his brother had `forgotten' anything of the sort. "And why would they be washing on any day?" he inquired, "Lady Arinel is the daughter of Lord Beledhel. As such she should have plenty of handmaidens to carry out this work for her. And Lady Lúnyellë is in much the same position."

"Lady Arinel takes a peculiar delight in getting her hands dirty - it's really quite endearing - and Lúnyellë never objects to joining in. I believe they make a day of it - coming out here to wash, that is. I once heard her say that they usually take along a basket of food and stay out all afternoon letting the clothes dry. Shall we drop in and see if they have any provisions to spare?"

Elladan gave his brother a withering stare. "I have the feeling that you already know that they have food to spare. It seems that you are becoming quite forgetful in your old age, my dear brother. Maybe I should thump your head against this tree to straighten things out up there."

Elrohir grinned, unfazed. "Oh don't bother, it isn't necessary. Now that you mention it, I think it's all coming back to me. Perhaps I did say something to them about dropping by... I guess we'll find out." Elrohir latched on to Elladan's arm. "Come brother, you danced with Lúnyellë last night, and said that she had a very pleasing manner and was capable of intelligent conversation. How bad could it be?"

"I'm not worried about the maiden nearly as much as I'm worried about my brother, `Elrohir the Matchmaker'. You have that calculating look in your eye, and it never fails to make me concerned over what devious plots you are cooking up in that addled brain of yours."

"Trust me brother, you don't even want to know."

With that, Elrohir stepped out from behind the trees, pulling his brother with him. There was no going back now.

~~~

"Lady Lúnyellë, you really do have a marvelous voice; you should favor the Hall of Fire(2) with it more often."

Elrohir had been charming the ladies for the last half-hour. Elladan found it quite amusing to watch him in action.

"Why, I daresay even Glorfindel could not find fault with it. Wouldn't you agree, Elladan?" Elrohir turned his `calculating' eyes back on his brother.

Elladan smirked inwardly. `So that's the game, is it? I can play at that.' He let a small smile tug at the corners of his mouth. In truth, he did not think her voice quite compared with that of Oloriel, which had a unique and mellow quality, but he would oblige his brother this time. Turning his eyes toward the lady in question, he replied. "I wholeheartedly agree. It would be very hard to find fault with such a voice, especially when coming from such a lady."

Elrohir did not inherit all of the charm.

Lady Lúnyellë smiled softly, but did not blush. She knew that this was all playful banter, and would not be easily touched. Elladan liked her all the better for it. But he was not going to be easily touched either.

"I have been telling her this for decades," Lady Arinel's merry voice slipped into the conversation, "But she refuses to parade her talent in front of any large audience. I used to be disappointed by my failed attempts at persuasion, but now I try to look on the bright side - I get to keep her almost all to myself! There's nothing like having a private songbird."

"And how do you feel about being `kept', my lady?" Elladan inquired of Lúnyellë, his eyebrow raised in question.

Lúnyellë smiled slyly, "I am not opposed to it... so long as I wish to be kept. And since Arinel has ever been a dear friend, I will let her revel in her possessive delusions."

Elrohir chuckled. "Not the most diplomatic answer, but a good one none the less."

~~~

"So, what did you think? That wasn't too bad, was it?" Elrohir asked playfully.

The ladies had headed back to the heart of Imladris, and Elrohir and Elladan were wandering through the forest just outside the city.

"It was a pleasant afternoon." Elladan replied.

"But...?"

"What makes you think there is a `but' coming? The afternoon was enjoyable; both ladies are quite pleasant."

"And...?"

"And what? If you want me to understand you, you'll have to use more than monosyllables."

"And... what are you going to do about the pleasant Lady Lúnyellë?"

"I haven't the foggiest idea." Elladan replied. "But, since you are obviously going to tell me what you think I should do with Lúnyellë, I suppose it doesn't matter much what ideas I have floating around in my head."

"You can have quite a thick skull at times, do you know that? It's painfully obvious. You should ask to escort her to the Merendë Enyalië."

Elladan sighed. "I don't know about that, brother. She is pleasant enough - and yes, I find her more agreeable than many other maidens in Imladris - but I'm not sure that this is such a good idea. She probably would not want to put up with me for the whole evening."

"She just put up with you for over two hours. Why do you always condemn yourself before the trial? She would probably be very pleased to go with you."

Elladan felt it was time to turn the tables. "And what of you? You have cast more than one admiring gaze on Lady Arinel. Will you escort her?"

Elrohir's face fell a little. "Well I... I haven't asked her yet."

Elladan could not help grinning at his brother's sheepish countenance. "Don't tell me you are apprehensive about asking a maiden to a dance. My brother? Why I thought everyone fell at your feet? I thought you were confidence itself."

"It is never wise to be overly confident when approaching a maiden, brother. I am not sure if she looks on me in that way, and I've yet to work up the courage to ask her. But I will ask her, believe me, and so I'm still doing better than you are."

"You have nothing to fear, brother. How could she resist such a handsome, charming fellow?"

Elrohir looked fondly at his brother. "We're twins, Elladan. I am only as handsome as you are, and I have no more charm than you have though I show it in a different way. Why this confidence in me when you have none for yourself?" Elrohir sighed and turned earnest eyes toward Elladan, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"I know you think that I have no worries and that I bask in the glow of admiration and popularity, but do not be fooled by appearances. I can still feel lonely in a crowd of people. It is still only those who are truly close to me that fill my heart. The difference between us is that I am determined to bring more people close to me, because I believe that my heart can hold much more. Yours can as well, but you have to work at it. People are unpredictable, and you can never know how they're going to act, or whether or not they will accept you. But, brother... don't give up on them until you try."

Elladan gazed at his brother thoughtfully, his eyes taking on a distant look. Finally he spoke. "I don't know if you remember or not, but one time, when we were quite young, you pulled me into another one of your crazy schemes. It didn't go so well, and after being lectured by a fuming adar {father}, we ended up having to scrub for hours to remove all of the honey. I remember telling you, in such a way as only an angry elf-ling can, that you were a brother sent from Melkor, and that I wished you would get swept away in the river and captured by a band of marauding orcs."

Elrohir cast an amused look at his brother. `Where is this going?'

Elladan clasped his brother's arm and continued, "I just wanted to say... that I take it all back. You're not such a bad brother after all."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Oloriel stood leaning on her balcony railing, taking in the starlit view. Everything was very peaceful and calm, sleeping in the quiet shadows cast by the trees.

Isil {the moon} was absent this night. Its crescent shape had decreased over the last few nights until it was no longer visible. Soon it would be reborn.

In its absence the stars seemed to shine brighten than before. Their silvery beams fell like a balm upon her face and hands and body. She felt like dancing as Tinúviel had danced, beneath the star-studded sky. But as soon as she let this thought creep into her mind, she could not help but think of Beren also. And from thinking of Beren it was a short leap to thinking of lovers in general, and from lovers in general it was a short leap to thinking of potential lovers. From there, the next leap led her smack into the stone wall that was Kallindo.

She sighed softly. She had been able to genuinely enjoy his company this day, but still, the thought of attending the Merendë Enyalië with him in seven nights filled her with trepidation. What would come of it? She did not know.

Glancing back up at the sky, she tried to force the unpleasant thoughts from her head. Her heart became lighter as she breathed deeply the cool night air. She could not help it; the urge to sway beneath the music of the stars was too great. Unfortunately, a small balcony does not lend itself well to dancing. She gracefully swirled once, arms raised to the heavens, and promptly ran her toe into a small wooden chair that sat in the corner. Only by the narrowest margin did Oloriel manage to hold in the curses that threatened to flow from her mouth.

`And I was worried about Kallindo stepping on my toes?' She smiled wryly. `Fortunately for him I happen to be an excellent healer.'

With that she headed off to bed.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*

"How is my laes gwathel {baby sister} this evening?" Elladan came up behind Arwen, wrapping her in his arms.

"Really, Elladan, I am over two thousand years old - hardly a baby any more."

Elladan chuckled, then released her from his grasp. He stepped up next to her, where she stood looking out a window toward the west. A magnificent sunset was bringing a glorious close to the day.

"You didn't answer the question, Undomiel."

Arwen arched her delicate eyebrow. "I abstain."

"Very well, I will not press you for it."

Arwen smiled and gently bent her head down to rest on Elladan's shoulder. After a few moments of silence she softly spoke.

"It was a day like this when I first met him."

"Aragorn?"

"Mmm," Arwen murmured in assent. "Anar {the sun} went down in blazing glory that day, and we watched, atop the talan at Cerin Amroth(3). He said that the sky was as beautiful as a song... then he said that I was as beautiful as a song... and, well, I believe you get the general idea."

Elladan smiled down at his sister. "I believe I do. And what does the sky sing of tonight?"

Arwen smiled to herself. "That is between me and the sky."

~~~

Elladan burrowed under the covers. It was not very cold out, but the blankets still provided welcomed warmth. He turned his face toward the sky, which he could see through the opening to his balcony. The stars sparkled merrily in the silky black sky. Elladan smiled as he took in their cool beauty, then resting beneath their gentle watch he fell asleep.


His reality faded into an oddly familiar scene. All around him graceful, silver trunks stretched up into the air, their boughs covered in golden leaves. A soft warm glow seemed to emanate from everything, and a pulsing light slowly rippled across the ground. He had been there before. The second time he had seen Oloriel they had met in this dreamscape. She had led him on a merry chase through the woods, and out into open spaces. He smiled softly at the memory. This was also the place where she had healed his injury. He started at the thought. `I had almost forgotten about that. I still don't know how she could have done it.'

As he was musing, he began to be aware of a soft whispering among the leaves, as if the very trees were speaking. Then he felt something fall against his head. He turned; there on the path lay a small piece of discarded silver bark. A few more pieces of bark flew down at him. He looked up into the trees, but could see nothing. The rustling in the leaves became louder. He turned every which way but could catch no glimpse of anything out of the ordinary. Suddenly a merry laugh was mixed in with the whispering of the trees. It echoed around him, and so it was impossible to locate the source of the laughter. He was becoming very confused indeed.

"I'm over here silly," Oloriel's voice came from over his head.

There, in a branch many feet above him, sat Oloriel, dressed in silvery gray.

"You know, you really should try to look bewildered more often," she continued, "It's quite an endearing expression."

Elladan was not quite sure if he should be feeling amused or annoyed. "How did you get up there?" he questioned, "There aren't any limbs near enough to the ground."

"Ah, but I don't need limbs when I have a ladder. You can find it on the other side of this tree."

Elladan walked behind the tree, and sure enough, hanging from a limb far above his head, was a silky gray rope ladder. Swiftly he climbed up, and was soon sitting on a branch just below where Oloriel sat. For an odd moment he felt like an elf-ling, sitting on a stool at his naneth's {mother's} feet, waiting to hear a bed-time story. He chuckled and pushed the image from his mind.

"And what, pray tell do you find so amusing?" questioned Oloriel.

Elladan did not really feel like telling her, so he changed the subject entirely. "We have been here before." He said, looking around him at the forest floor below.

Oloriel chose to ignore his evasion. "Yes, we have. I have been here many times. It is a place of peace."

"It's beautiful."

Oloriel inclined her head in agreement, and then they both sat there in silence for some time, listening to the music of the leaves as they were blown in a soft wind.

"Are you often wrong?" Oloriel interrupted the companionable silence.

Elladan's brow creased, and he turned his face toward her. `Where did that come from?' he wondered.

"I mean," Oloriel stuttered slightly, "I mean... does your council often go astray. Is it sound."

"I think that concerning my own thought and opinions I would have a rather... biased opinion."

Oloriel gave him a dry look.

"Perhaps," Elladan continued, "If you would tell me what exactly you are referring to, I could give you a better answer."

"I am referring to the advice you gave me last night. I adhered to it today, and somehow ended up agreeing to attend the Merendë Enyalië with Kallindo. Do you celebrate Merendë Enyalië in Imladris?"

"Yes we do. And this Kallindo is the elf you spoke of last night?"

"Yes. I'm not quite sure how it all happened, but I'm sure it's your fault. And if I have a horrendous evening that night, and usher in the new year on a sour note, I shall know who to blame." Oloriel looked imperiously at Elladan. He couldn't help returning her gaze with an amused smile.

"Well, to answer your first question I will say this: Let me know how it goes and I might actually take my own advice."

Oloriel looked quizzically at Elladan. "What is that supposed to mean?"

Elladan sighed. "My dear lady, it means that I am in some ways just as socially backward as you are, though for very different reasons. And that even though I still believe my council to be quite sound, I have yet to follow my own advice."

"But... but how can a great elven lord be socially backward?"

Elladan chuckled. "You've got the wrong elf - my father is the great elven lord. I am just one of the lesser species."

Oloriel continued to protest. "But how can you expect me to take advice that you won't follow yourself?"

"Because, our situations are slightly different. You are afraid of being loved, and I gave you advice accordingly."

Oloriel looked intently at Elladan, then replied. "And what are you afraid of, my lord?"

Elladan rested his head against the tree and thought for a moment. "Of not being loved. Of being rejected... Of being misunderstood."

"And is this any better than being afraid of love? Both maladies seem to keep us back from what we really want. Either way, we're both still afraid."

Elladan's brown eyes slowly met with Oloriel's green ones. "The lady is wise." Elladan whispered.

With a twinkle in her eye Oloriel replied, "Sometimes, my lord... sometimes."

Suddenly an idea popped into Elladan's head. "Shall we make an experiment of it then?"

"An experiment of what?"

"Of the Merendë Enyalië. My brother has been pestering me to ask a one Lady Lúnyellë to attend with me. Until now I was not very enthusiastic about the idea, but perhaps it was not such a bad one after all. You will attend with this Kallindo, and I will attend with Lúnyellë, and that night we will compare notes - see if it was worth the effort."

A small smile inched across Oloriel's face. "An assignment to gather information, not a date(4). I think looking at it that way will make the night easier." She laughed softly. "I accept your proposition."

Elladan grinned back at her. `Perhaps there is more to this elleth than just pretty green eyes.'

***

1. Merendë Enyalië: "Festival to Remember". I wanted it to be `festival of remembrance', but I wasn't sure how to manipulate the verb properly. The idea is that this festival is a time to remember (and learn from) what has happened over the past year, both good and bad, and to celebrate the coming of a new year.
2. The Hall of Fire is the gathering place in Imladris for singing and story telling.
3. Cerin Amroth is in LothLorien. I believe that an elven king used to reside there, but now it is more of a landmark. There is an enormous mallorn tree there, with a large talan/flet high up in the branches. (I believe that Arwen first met Aragorn in LothLorien. I could be wrong about that though...)
4. Isn't it terrible that I called it a date? Can you even imagine two elves going on a date?! It's heresy I'm sure... but I couldn't come up with a better word!... sorry...

Names to Know:

Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Kallindo: "noble heart"
Arinel: "morning star"
Lúnyellë: "blue bell"


*~*Oh please, oh please, oh please review... I get my kicks from reviews! It's like waking up in the morning to breakfast in bed, like finding a $20 bill in the pocket of your winter coat that you haven't worn for a year, like diving into a pool when it's ninety degrees out and you just finished mowing the lawn... I need, I need! ; )

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