To Dream - Ch13: Matters of the (Confused) Heart

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.
By Request: An asterisk `*' will now signal a footnote. = )

A/N: I really had to wring this chapter out of me. I think that this one went through more revisions than any of the others did. There were a lot of different directions that I could have gone in, but I hope that I have given you the best product of my own imagination. Some of you may be in an uproar after you read it, but my only response is: "Learn to love the angst" ,_~


Chapter 13.) Matters of the Heart

"...They sink downward to darkness, on extended wings."
- Wallace Stevens

Recap: I'Merendë Enyalië - Kallindo tried to kiss Oloriel. She pushed him away. Elladan and Oloriel meet in the dreamscape. Oloriel is distressed about the evening's events. Elladan tries to cheer her up. He kisses her. Oloriel does not push him away. The dream ends at around three o'clock in the morning.

Few elves took notice of her as she paced back and forth across her balcony. No doubt they were all intent on their own early-morning business, and so did not have the time or the inclination to stop and observe her. That is, all except for one elf.

Kallindo sat a short way off behind a few bushes at the base of a mallorn tree. If anyone had been looking they could have easily found him, but, in her current state, Oloriel was oblivious to his presence.

After their encounter last night, Kallindo had unconsciously found his way back to her flet. Tired and emotionally worn he had sat down and fallen asleep at the foot of a tree nearby. A short while later, when the world was still in the clutches of night, he had awoken to the soft padding of her bare feet across the wooden planks above him. Ever since then she had been sitting, standing, or pacing in an agitated manner. And Kallindo had been watching.


Oloriel's heart and mind were full of confusion as she awoke from her dream. There were so many questions that needed answering; so many emotions that needed to be dealt with.

Where Kallindo was concerned she felt saddened, annoyed, heartbroken. His kiss last night had confirmed her in her decision. She did not love him in that way - she could not be to him what he wanted her to be.

Where Elladan was concerned she felt so many things. A thrill of happiness mixed with a nauseous anxiety. Being in his arms had felt so right, and yet, Elladan was a prince in all but title - he was far above her in station. And to make things more complicated she was not even sure what the kiss had meant. Had he felt pity for her, responsibility, lust? Was it even possible that he could actually be falling in love with her? He had pulled away from the kiss when it deepened - she did not know what that meant. She did not know what she wanted it to mean. Add to all this the fact that the lingering memory of his lips pressed against hers disrupted all rational thought and you will have a pretty good idea of why pacing was Oloriel's best option at the moment. She had to clear her head; use up some of this restless energy.

As the initial thrill of the kiss wore off, Oloriel's thoughts took a more decisive turn. `He cannot possibly be falling in love with me, he... I am sure he has met scores of ladies, more worthy than I am... And yet, I am sure that he is too honorable to be so flippant about his affections. It must be just as he said it was - a better memory of that night. He was trying to cheer me up... perhaps he just went a little too far... But whatever it was, it cannot be... it cannot be that he loves me... And even if he did, he is a prince, and I am... I am nothing compared to... Oh why did you let him do it! You should have known that nothing good would come of it. Why must you act so childishly?' She slammed her fists down onto the balcony railing...

It was now just a few minutes before dawn. Kallindo was still patiently taking in her movements, with no inkling of what thoughts were swirling around behind her green eyes. But as she turned away from the railing she gave him a fragmented clue. With hands buried deep in her hair, she muttered loudly enough for him to hear, "What have I done?"

Kallindo stiffened when he heard these words. What was it she regretted? Could she be speaking of their encounter last night? Did she rue her actions? Should he dare to hope? His heart pounded loudly in his ears. Did he still have a chance?

As he was considering these questions, the sun finally made its appearance through the trees. With reluctance he stole out from his hiding place and departed. Patrol duty would keep him busy for the rest of the day.

`All the better,' he though wryly, `Plenty of time to think.'


When Oloriel had left the dreamscape, Elladan remained. He wandered through maze-like gardens, which closely mirrored those he knew in Imladris, and tried to lose himself in them. But no matter where he turned, his steps always seemed to lead him back to the glade where he had found her and danced with her and kissed her. It was all terribly distracting - he couldn't think straight.

He woke up early and spent the morning trying to preoccupy his mind with mundane duties and tasks. It wasn't working; his thoughts constantly turned back towards her. The way she looked, smelled, tasted. He shook his head violently as he walked down an empty hallway, trying to clear the cobwebs from his head. What did this girl do to him? The world seemed different this morning - he seemed different. He didn't know what he should do or feel or think. All he knew was that he wanted her near him.

Now, concerning matters of the heart, elves are both cautious and bold, both sensible and emotional. Many elves over the millennia have experienced love at first sight, and so falling in love in a matter of weeks would not be very surprising. On the other hand, however, when it came to physical displays of affection, elves were much more conservative - they did not rush into things. An honorable elf would not sleep with a maiden unless she was his wife, and even a kiss was generally not given lightly. So why had he kissed her then? Did he love her?

Elladan let his head fall into his hands. What did he know about matters of the heart? - Almost nothing. He sighed, then raised his head in resolution. He would simply have to seek counsel from someone who did - he had waited long enough.


Elrond had been learning the art of fatherhood for the past three millennia, and he knew that there were times when a child should be pressed for information and times when a parent should simply sit back and wait patiently for them to open up. Elrond knew that this time was a time for patience, but after almost an hour he was beginning to wonder just how much patience would be required of him that morning.

Elladan had entered his study on the pretense of reading by the fire while his father worked. From the beginning Elrond knew that this was not why he had come. The fact that Elladan was staring blankly into the fire with a closed book in his hands confirmed the older elf's suspicions. Finally he decided to open up the conversation. Laying his quill pen down he gently stated, "You have yet to open your book."

Elladan looked up and over to his father, a pensive look on his face. "Ada, I have something I must speak with you about. I need your advice"

Elrond was not at all surprised at the change in subject; he settled back into his chair to listen. Taking that as his cue, Elladan began his tale, telling his father about all of the relevant events that had led up to his current predicament. When done, he favored Elrond with a questioning look. After several moments of silence the elf lord spoke.

"You did not come here simply to tell me a story; although it certainly was a fascinating one. Something is bothering you, but you have yet to tell me what it is."

Elladan looked confused; to him it was obvious. "Well... I kissed her."

"Yes, this I know," Elrond replied complacently, "But I am still unclear where the problem lies. As a father I certainly would have liked knowing who the maiden was who had captured my son's heart, but you are an adult, and nothing can be done about it now. As long as she is of upright character I cannot fault you in your choice."

"But that is the problem. You assume that she has captured my heart - that I have made a choice - but I am not nearly so sure. A few days ago I had not thought of love... do I love her? Could I ever even deserve her? She is... But I..." Elladan thumped his fist against the armrest of his chair in frustration. "She came to me for help. She was vulnerable and hurting and I... well I couldn't keep my hands off of her! What kind of fool am I? She deserves something better - someone better."

Elrond tried to suppress his knowing smile as well as he could, but the corners of his mouth still twitched suspiciously. Elladan might not be aware of where his heart lay, but Elrond was fairly certain that the decision had already been made, with or without his son's consent.

"Come now, ion nin {my son}, I know that you have an honorable heart. The fact that you feel ashamed of your own conduct attests to it. Perhaps it would have been better to keep your distance - and until you decide where your heart lies, this is what I would advise you to do - but do not despise yourself for one false step; we all make them. As to the question of whether or not you love her... that I simply cannot answer for you."

Elladan sat back in his chair and let out a small sigh. Elrond, feeling that he had said everything that could be said, stood up and left the room to his son.

Elladan's mind was still simmering. His thoughts rested on a conversation that he had once had with Oloriel. It was when she first spoke to him about Kallindo. She had said that she didn't want anyone to love her. `Where does that leave me?' he wondered, `Even if I did love her, how could I tell her? She is just beginning to come out of her shell, and I, being the thickheaded elf that I am, may have scared her right back in.' It didn't matter that she had allowed the kiss - she had been tired and emotionally strung. `I should have been more careful.' He shoved himself out of the chair and stalked over to the window. Leaning his arm against the frame he muttered with conviction, "She is only a friend - I won't fall in love with her."

It didn't sound very convincing, but he hoped that, if he said it long enough, perhaps he would start to believe it.


"Oloriel? Oloriel, dear, come back to me." Írima strolled over to where Oloriel was sitting with the baby, Almárië. She had been calling to the younger elf, but had gotten no response. Oloriel's eyes seemed to be fixed on nothing at all, and a slight smile curled the corners of her mouth. Írima chuckled softly and gently touched the girl's shoulder. Oloriel started slightly.

"You've been gone for some time," commented Írima.

Oloriel flushed slightly and looked down at the child in her arms. "I'm sorry, my mind was wandering. Did you need something?"

"No, nothing in particular." Írima eyed her slyly. "But now that you mention it, I would like to know what elf is responsible for putting such a dreamy expression on your face. It does my heart good to see you looking so peaceful."

The color in Oloriel's cheeks deepened. "I... You are mistaken. There is... there is no one."

"You can't lie to me that easily, mellonamin {my friend}. I know that look. But I'm fairly certain that Kallindo could not have softened your heart so quickly, and I can't think of anyone else... do I know him?"

Oloriel mumbled something under her breath.

"What was that, dear?" Írima inquired with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.

Oloriel pursed her lips and replied, "I said that you do not know him and you never will know because nothing will ever come of it."

"So you admit it!" Írima crowed, "There is someone."

"There is no one," Oloriel replied shortly, "It all amounts to nothing - I am sure that he does not think of me in that way."

Írima smiled. "But would you like it if he did?"

"No... yes... I mean, well... maybe... oh, I don't know!" Oloriel tried to hide her flushed face by burying it in Almárië's downy curls.

Írima laughed gently then bent down to pick up her child. "It's alright to not know."

Oloriel soon left to return to the House of Healing. She had been sorting and cataloging various dried herbs before she had gone to visit Írima, but had been forced to abandon the effort midway. Thoughts of a certain elven lord had made the task of organizing the medicine pantry almost impossible. She kept mislabeling bottles, and putting the wrong combinations of herbs together for the poultices. However, taking a break from her work had not seemed to help clear her mind. No matter how adorable the antics of Írima's child were they could not draw Oloriel's mind away from a certain dark-eyed Rivendell elf.

`You are losing control of yourself!' Oloriel chided inwardly. `This simply will not do. What is wrong with me?'

You're falling in love. A voice whispered the truth from somewhere deep inside her, but she did not want to hear it.

`No, that cannot be. I am sure that he does not love me in that way.' She argued back at herself.

What does that have to do with it?

`Everything! If he does not love me, which I am sure he does not, then there's no point in thinking about it.'

How do you know he does not love you? You're just trying to convince yourself of that because you are afraid.

Oloriel stopped dead in her tracks.

You're afraid... You won't love anyone because you're too afraid.

A solitary tear rolled down Oloriel's cheek. Against her will this brought to mind all of the times that she had cried on Elladan's shoulder; and how he had held her, so gently; how he always tried to protect her and help her. She smiled softly as she thought of the way that he smiled, and laughed, and spoke. Without knowing it she had grown fond of everything about him.

She lifted her hand to wipe away the tear. `I am afraid, but if he... If he truly loved me, then maybe... just maybe,' she began to think... But her thoughts were cut off by a startling sensation. She was experiencing what Elladan had experienced several times already, and which she had gone through once - a rushing noise, a slight ache in her chest, and in the ensuing calm a voice... his voice. // She is only a friend - I won't fall in love with her//

Oloriel braced herself against a nearby tree and cried out softly as the import of the words struck her heart. He didn't want her. For several moments she allowed herself to indulge in feelings of regret... but not for long. She soon brought her emotional defenses back into play. Shrugging off the uncomfortable feelings, she squared her shoulders against the world. Regaining her sense of balance, she let go of the tree and muttered defiantly, `Tis no matter. He has only ever been my friend, and I wouldn't have it any other way; my mind was just playing tricks on me. I have done quite well so far without a lover, and I certainly don't need one now. I was simply over-tired last night. Yes, that's it. How silly of me.'

It may not have been the truth, but it was a safe lie. With it she quickly and efficiently repaired the fortress surrounding her heart, reinforcing every wall. Her world was back to normal.


Elladan set the book down with an aggravated sigh. It was past midnight. He had spent the entire day preoccupied with thoughts of Oloriel, and now they continued to plague him as he tried to read by candlelight in the library.

That evening he had still been so unsure about his feelings toward Oloriel that he had decided not to go to sleep at all. He could not be sure how he would react to meeting her in the dreamscape again. In fact, there was still only one thing that he could be sure of - he wanted to be near her. And yet, this too was a reason for him to stay away - he didn't want to scare her off.

Elladan paused in his train of thought as this idea entered his head. `Well, at least I know what I don't want to do - I don't want to scare her off - that's a start. But what do I want to do? That's the question I need to answer.' As he thought on it, answers began pouring into his mind: talk with her... tell her everything... hold her... protect her... kiss her... make her laugh... touch her hair... listen to her sing...share everything with her... comfort her... fight for her...

And above them all... never ever be without her.

A grin started to spread across Elladan's face. `If that's not love, what is?'

Elladan stood up quickly from his chair and started energetically pacing around the room.
"I love her!" he declared joyfully to the bookshelves. "I love her." He paused in his tracks. What to do now. He muttered to the empty room, "I have to tell her, show her, make her understand somehow. I... I need to see her." With this thought he left the library and made for his room. It would be some time before he could sufficiently calm his racing mind and press it toward sleep.


Oloriel had been sitting in a gloomy twilit landscape since sleep had come. The murky dreamscape fit her mood perfectly. There was no danger of being terrorized in her dreams, her heart was still too open to allow for that, but there could be no brilliance either: no unbounded joy. The walls she had built up might keep intruders out, but they had also boxed her into an uneasy state of limbo. Her heart was caught in a state of mid-thaw. She could accept the love of a friend, the love of a teacher, the love of a child, but she was not willing to step beyond that. It was safer this way.

But would safety always be enough? Before a friend had been all that she wanted, but now, having tasted briefly of a deeper possibility, it would not satisfy for long. However, she was not yet willing to admit this to herself; and so she waited in a half-lit world.


Elladan entered the dream world joyfully, just a few hours before dawn, but his exuberance was soon dampened by what he found there. The landscape was bleak and uninviting. Oloriel sat in a clearing of dried grass with her knees pulled up to her chest; arms crossed over them, and head bent down. Elladan had been brimming over with things to say to her, but when he saw her, he put his passion aside and decided to approach from a more neutral position

"Oloriel," he spoke gently as he knelt down beside her, "what is this place? It is not very inviting."

She shrugged slightly. "It is no place that I know of. Just a figment of my imagination; something my mind conjured up."

Elladan's brow knit slightly. "It does not seem like a very healthy place for anyone's mind to dwell in; there is not enough light."

"I'm sorry that it does not suite you, but it will have to do - it's all I can come up with right now."

"Oloriel, is something wrong. Is it... did last night -"

"Don't worry about last night, there was no harm done. I appreciate your concern and your efforts last night in trying to cheer me up. But, if you don't mind, I really would like to be alone right now."

Elladan's heart plummeted to his feet. He had not quite known what mood he would find Oloriel in, but this had certainly not been what he expected. And what was this about harm being done - he wanted to talk about love! If in fact no harm had been done, then why was she so complacent? Had last night meant nothing to her?

Very cautiously he began to speak again. "Oloriel... something is wrong. Why are you so... different tonight? What can I do to make things as they were?"

Oloriel smiled sardonically. If she had held out any secret hope that the voice she had heard that afternoon was false, it was now crushed. The words were true; He did seem to want things simply 'as they were', before any of this had happened. "I believe that things are as they always were." she replied, "We are just friends; sometimes we talk and sometimes we give each other privacy - what is different?"

Elladan tried not to flinch at the emotionless quality of her voice and the finality of her words. Not knowing what else he could do, he stood up slowly and replied, "Then, trying to be the best friend that I can, I will respect your wishes. Perhaps we can talk tomorrow?"

Oloriel nodded slightly. With that, Elladan turned to face the bleak landscape; the dreariness now fit his own mood as well.


Names to Know:

Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Kallindo: "noble heart"
Írima: "lovely, desirable"
Almárië: "be blessed"

Now repeat after me "I will be a good reader and review... I will be a good LotR fan and review... I will be a good citizen of Middle-earth and review..." Got that? Good...

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