To Dream - Ch16: A Revelation

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: hey guys, sorry this took so long to update... I usually don't take a whole week to write a chapter, but I was being kind of slow and lazy at first. I like the outcome though - hope it is worth the wait. = )

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Chapter 16.) A Revelation

***
"O friend! I know not which way I must look for comfort..."
- William Wordsworth
***

Recap: Elladan and Oloriel are talking again. It has been about a week since the last chapter.


Elladan looked longingly at the fluttering leaves outside his study window. It was some time past noon; he had been dealing with letters and reports all day, and was starting to feel that, had he been born a stable boy instead of a nobleman, life might have been much more pleasant. He felt cramped inside - he needed fresh air - but at the moment the glass that separated him from the outdoors might as well have been a brick wall. Stacks of unattended papers beckoned to him mercilessly. There seemed to be no way out of his prison... but then again, perhaps there was.

Elladan looked slyly toward his fellow-laborer. Tulkarka, an attendant and pupil under Lord Beledhel, had been sent to him that morning with several messages and reports, which he was now sorting in order of importance for Elladan to read. Tulkarka was enamored on Lord Beledhel's youngest daughter, Nindelanya. Elladan knew this; in fact, it seemed as though everyone in court except Lord Beledhel knew this, and Tulkarka wanted to keep it that way. As a young, inexperienced, and relatively unimportant elf, there was not much chance that Lord Beledhel would look kindly on his interest in Nindelanya - not yet anyway. It was well known that Tulkarka would latch onto any opportunity that might in some way advance his prestige or cause Lord Beledhel to shine his pleased beneficence down upon him. With an evil smirk, Elladan realized that he could play this tendency to his advantage.

Assuming a most casual and innocent demeanor, Elladan began the conversation. "I saw those reports you drew up a few days ago, Tulkarka, they were truly quite professional. You have a good hand and a very excellent writing style. Why does not Lord Beledhel set you to do more of them? It must be more interesting than running messages."

Tulkarka looked up from the papers and sighed. "Lord Beledhel still thinks me unready; he says that I need to ease into more important duties."

The corners of Elladan's mouth twitched suspiciously. "Well, what would you think of proving him otherwise?"

Tulkarka threw him a questioning look.

Elladan coughed slightly to restrain his mirth. "As much as I enjoy relaxing in the quiet of my study, and as much as I feel duty-bound to see to this paperwork myself, I feel that I could find it in my heart to lay all that aside for the purpose of aiding another's worthy cause... Why don't you finish writing these letters and reports? In a few days, I will test the waters and see what Lord Beledhel thinks of them. And, if his view is favorable, I shall tell him who the true author was, and put in a few good words for you besides. I'm sure Lord Beledhel will be pleased - he loves personal initiative - and," here Elladan paused for effect, arching one eyebrow slightly, "Nindelanya will certainly be glad to know that she owns the affections of such a promising young statesman."

Elladan could hardly restrain his laughter as a dreamy look began to creep into Tulkarka's face. "Do... do you really think that will work?"

"No doubt," encouraged Elladan, "I know that you are up to the challenge. I will look over the reports myself, before I send them off, to make sure that there are no gross errors. It will be good experience for you and I think it will be most profitable in other ways as well."

Tulkarka smiled brightly. Elladan had never seen anyone look so happy at the prospect of doing hours of paperwork in a dusty study while the sun was shining brightly outside. `But,' he thought cheerily, `that is the nature of love. If a year's worth of paperwork lay between Oloriel and myself I would do it with a song in my heart.'

A small shadow descended on Elladan's face - if only it was that easy. He had spent the last several encounters with Oloriel just making sure that she felt comfortable around him, but in his heart he wanted so much more. He wasn't about to become discouraged, though; he would win her in the end.

Elladan chuckled softly. `Poor Tulkarka - we're both of us lost, aren't we?'


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

"The next time you ask me to help you with baking, remind me to say no." A very flour-covered Oloriel crossed her arms in front of her and tried, rather unsuccessfully, to look cross.

Írima only laughed. "It is not my fault you are so messy - you cannot blame this on me."

Oloriel screwed up her face in thought. "Well... perhaps we can blame it on Almárië then."

Almárië didn't seem very happy with this compromise, as she woke up and promptly began to cry.

"I suppose it must be supper time," Írima observed with a crooked smile, "My child is almost as accurate as an hour glass - she always knows when it's time to eat."

Both elleths chuckled, as Oloriel turned back to finish cleaning up the spilled flour, and Írima went to console her wailing child.


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

Elladan was wandering down one of Imladris' many hidden paths, the evening sun shining on his face, and the wind sending a cheerful ripple through the leaves around him, when he suddenly had the urge to sing. He had once told Oloriel that he was no songbird, and this was true, but every elf needs to float a few notes every once in a while. He opened his mouth to do so, but before the melody could come flowing out he heard voices somewhere up ahead on his right, behind the mesh of foliage. His mouth clamped shut again. Normally he would have ignored the voices and walked by, but instead he paused in his tracks... was that Elrohir's voice? Elladan smiled; he hadn't really talked to his twin since their conversation almost a week ago concerning Oloriel, and even though his free afternoon was almost spent, perhaps he and his brother could still manage to get into some trouble together before supper.

Elladan made his way into the trees, moving carefully so as not to make a sound. It was a game started centuries ago between the brothers, always trying to see if they could sneak up on each other without the other one noticing. It usually didn't work, but this time Elladan had an advantage - his brother was distracted by something else... or, more accurately, someone else.

Elrohir and Nessúlë sat in the middle of a glade talking away cheerfully. Nessúlë sat cross-legged, her copious skirts spilling across the grass, hands unconsciously braiding flowers together as she spoke; Elladan was sprawled a little less formally along the ground in front of her, head propped up on his hand. From where he lurked, Elladan could see the profiles of both their faces.

Letting his curiosity take hold of him, Elladan did not make himself known, choosing rather to watch the two of them as they interacted. After a few minutes of observation he began to think that he had them mostly figured out.

When Nessúlë was looking at Elrohir, both of them behaved as easy friends, talking and laughing and poking fun at each other. But every so often Nessúlë would let her eyes come to rest on her hands, which were busily stringing flowers together. When this happened, Elrohir's face seemed to transform; his smile dimmed, and his eyes took on a brooding, thirsty look as he let them rove over Nessúlë's face, and yes, even occasionally, her form. As soon as Nessúlë looked back up, however, the brilliant, carefree Elrohir would return.

`So that is the game you are playing at, brother.' Elladan mused. A small smile tugged at the edges of his mouth. Apparently his brother was finding it harder and harder to ignore Nessúlë, and apparently Nessúlë had no idea of the storm that was brewing beneath his brother's calm exterior.

A few moments later Nessúlë stood, shaking flowers and flower-petals off of her skirt. "It is getting late, and I need to change before dinner - I think I've put a few grass-stains in this dress. I shall see you there." With that she began to walk off directly.

Elrohir jumped up quickly and called out to her. "Hold a moment, I shall walk you back."

Nessúlë rolled her eyes. "I shall not get lost, Elrohir, nor do I think I shall be eaten by a wandering drake. Did not you say that you needed to speak with Anarseldo before supper, anyway? You should go and find him, for you do not have much time."

"It is not that important, I can see him there. I would much rather spend a few more pleasant minutes with you. You wouldn't grudge your humble servant that, would you?" Elrohir tried to look innocent and irresistible.

Nessúlë just laughed at him. "Yes, I would; if only because you are being so silly. Be gone with you, I will see you at supper."

It looked as though Elrohir was going to continue pressing his cause, but he never got the chance to. Elladan finally yielded to an impulse that he had been fighting for several moments now. Picking up a small pebble he threw it with unerring accuracy at his brother's temple.

"Ai!" Elrohir exclaimed as he brought his hand up to where the offending object had struck him. Elladan's rich laughter started pouring from the trees, causing Elrohir to look curiously in that direction. Annoyed with the antics of his attacker, Elrohir turned impatiently back to Nessúlë, only to find that she had left the scene while his attention was occupied.

"Very funny, brother," Elrohir muttered without looking behind him, "I'm sure you found that highly amusing."

Elladan shook off his laughter and replied with a smirk, "I was only rescuing the fair maiden - nothing you wouldn't have done in my place."

Shaking his head in defeat, Elrohir walked off in search of Anarseldo... or supper - whichever came first.

Elladan watched his brother go, and then allowed his feet to start moving again; supper did sound good, so he let them wander in that general direction. But before he could make it very far out of the glade, something very strange and very disturbing happened.

For a moment he thought that he would once again hear Oloriel in his mind. The same sort of sensations rippled across him as he remembered from weeks past. But this time there was more: a bright light flashed suddenly in his eyes, leaving him dazed for several moments. When his vision finally cleared, he found himself surrounded by endless white; no ceiling or floor could be seen; yet he seemed to be standing firmly on level ground. Before anything else could happen the soft murmuring of a voice began to surround him. Turning to see where it was coming from, he was struck speechless by the sight that met him: there, standing several feet away, was Oloriel, and behind her stood... grandmother?

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

Oloriel had finally rid herself of all the excess flour and dough that had clung to her person. This feat had required a bath and a change of clothes, but the effort was well worth it in the end. No longer did she feel like a half-baked pastry.

She was strolling along beneath the mallorn trees when an elf-maiden approached her.

"Lady Oloriel?" she inquired softly.

Oloriel turned to face her, smiling softly. "I am no lady of importance, but, yes, my name is Oloriel."

The other maiden returned her smile. "I have been sent to bid you to the Lady's presence."

There could be no question as to which lady was being referred to. Oloriel nodded her head in acknowledgement. "I will follow you there directly."

~~~

Oloriel approached the small, secluded garden cautiously. She came down a flight of steps, and bowed low to the Lady of Light, who stood before a raised basin at the center of the garden.

"Welcome dream daughter," she greeted Oloriel, then turned to the other maiden, "You may leave us now."

For several minutes Oloriel stood uncertainly beneath the gaze of Galadriel. The Lady seemed to be gazing right through her, searching for something, uncovering in a glance everything she wanted to know. After the silence had reigned for some time, Galadriel finally turned her eyes away and broke the silence.

"There is much that you do not understand, but many things may be found if you will take the time to look for them. What is it that confuses you, dream daughter? What is it that you seek?"

Oloriel thought carefully over these words, then replied slowly, "I am confused about so many things, I don't know where to begin any more. All I seek is peace."

"Peace?" Galadriel questioned softly. "Do you know what it is you ask for? Peace may be found in different ways - do you seek to escape the storm or weather it?"

"I am afraid that I don't understand."

Galadriel approached Oloriel and gently touched her cheek. "Will you run away from the confusion, or will you face it and conquer it? Dark times are upon us, and you must choose to fight if ever you wish to see the light again; peace will not be found easily. The Valar have placed in you a unique gift - will you use it?"

"A gift? What gift?" Oloriel questioned frantically, "How can I use what I don't even know I possess?"

Galadriel turned away from Oloriel and began to walk back toward the raised basin. "You are truly a daughter of dreams, blessed of Irmo*. Through him your dreams can both harm and heal, bring both confusion and clarity; but most importantly, through them your spirit can touch others... has already touched another."

"Elladan..." The word came spilling out of Oloriel's mouth before she could stop it.

Galadriel turned slightly toward her. "Yes... my grandson. He too has been gifted, though in a different way; he too bears the burden. But his course is more set - yours is full of doubt."

Oloriel was more confused now than ever. "But I do not know the course that is laid before? I cannot see it. Which way should I turn?"

"Even I cannot see all things, dream daughter. But I shall tell you this, for it may guide your path: you must not allow fear to rule you, especially in your dealings with Elladan. Do not let the darkness hold you captive."

Oloriel just stood there, dazed. Never had she believed that her life in particular had been of much importance; what was it that she was destined to do? She didn't feel like she had much to offer.

In the ensuing silence, Lady Galadriel took a silver pitcher and dipped it into a nearby stream, filling it to the brim. Then, with graceful and deliberate movements she used the pitcher to fill up the basin that now stood between herself and Oloriel.

"Come, dream daughter. I bid you to look into my mirror, if you have the heart for it. Even I do not know what it will show you, but perhaps you will find some of the answers that you seek."

Oloriel knew of the mirror, and of its power. As she looked at the rippling water she was not quite sure if she wanted to know what lay within its depths; she was afraid of what she might see. But then Galadriel's words came back to her: `you must not allow fear to rule you.' Raising her head in determination she strode forward to the mirror.

When she first looked into it there was only a normal reflection of herself, the trees, and the paling sky above, but soon the scene shifted. A deep, lush valley came into view, cut down its center by a tumbling river. Buildings of elven design were scattered along its banks and nestled under trees and on hillsides. Oloriel drew in a soft breath. `This must be Imladris... it is beautiful.' The beauty did not last long, however. The vision was soon replaced by a bleak landscape of wind swept rocks. She saw nine figures and a pack-pony standing at the base of a high cliff. They all had cloaks wrapped tightly about them, obscuring their faces, but she could see that they were weary. Four of them looked very small, almost like children.

The view changed. She saw Kallindo, balancing on the branch of a mallorn tree, looking out beyond the borders of the golden wood. Then she saw him running through the trees, his bow strung with an arrow, as if he were chasing something. The ugly visage of an orc flashed before her then everything in the mirror went black.

When the mirror cleared again she saw a band of riders, thundering across a wide plain. They wore grays and browns, and carried no banner. They bore themselves proudly, however, and somehow she knew that honor ran deep in their blood. Just before the image faded she thought she could pick out two elves riding with them.

The next vision was of herself, but almost unrecognizable. She was clad in the clothes of a warrior and strode watchfully along the parapet of some mountain fortress. There was a ripple in the mirror and then she saw herself lying in Elladan's arms with an arrow protruding from her leg. They both looked tired and were blood-spattered, as though they had just come through a battle.

Next there was calm; a blue sky; then darkness. She began to see glimpses of a great battle. There was a white city in the distance, and all before it was chaos. Orcs and goblins and Haradrim* battled with the men of Gondor and Rohan. She saw a dwarf and an elf fighting as well; they stood back to back and destroyed every fell creature that came within reach of them. Her view shifted to another man; tall and noble he was, fighting with great zeal in the thick of the battle. His leather jerkin was emblazoned with an insignia of the White Tree. But then, out of nowhere, a black arrow came flying through the air and struck him in the back. She could see the tip of the arrow protruding out of his heart. The man fell and was trampled beneath the throng. Suddenly she saw herself again, leaning over the man's mutilated body, weeping uncontrollably. Then everything was flame. She saw cities burning, and children crying out for their dead parents. She watched as the shadow snuffed out all light and all hope. The trees fell and the smoke rose up higher and higher into the dead sky. Without realizing it, she had begun to weep, silent tears streaming down her face and falling into the mirror.

Desperately she wanted to turn away - to close her eyes against the hopelessness - but she stood transfixed, unable to move. After what seemed like hours, she finally heard Galadriel's soothing voice in her mind. //This may yet be, but nothing is certain. There is still hope - you must never forget that. The darkness has not yet won.// With that, the mirror cleared, stars rippling across its surface. After a few moments, Imladris came back into view; then she saw Elladan walking beneath the trees, a calm smile on his face. Without thought, her heat went out to him; she wanted the comfort that his presence so often brought. As this feeling darted through her, the smile on Elladan's face slowly faded: he turned his eyes and seemed to looks straight at her, as if he could feel her watching him. Before Oloriel could understand what was going on, a flash of light left her blinded. When she regained her sight she was no longer in Galadriel's garden, but in a realm of endless white. She looked down at herself and found that she too was clothed in white. Before she had the time to panic, she heard Galadriel's voice from behind her. "Do not fear, you are dreaming. I am in your mind now, and am with you. Speak with him."

Oloriel looked up and saw Elladan standing several feet away from her; he too was clothed in brilliant white.

Elladan broke the silence first. "Oloriel... grandmother? What has happened?"

Oloriel let out a shaky breath. "I am sorry... we are dreaming. I... I think I may have pulled you into this dream, though I don't know how... I am so sorry. I don't know what is happening to me." Her voice trembled slightly, and her eyes pleaded with him to understand somehow, even though she herself did not understand.

At first, Elladan did not respond. In truth, he was a little overwhelmed and frightened himself. There was more to this girl than he had ever imagined - ever bargained for. But when he met her eyes, and saw how frightened she was herself, his reserve melted. Without a word, he came near and drew her into his arms, holding her tightly against himself. Oloriel breathed a weary sigh as she let her head fall to his chest, gripping his tunic tightly with her fingers.

"Diola lle {thank you}," she whispered, "Diola lle..."

***

1. Irmo is the Vala of dreams and visions.
2. Men from the south who lived under Sauron's shadow.

Concerning the mirror: If some of the images confused you, here's a run-down of what Oloriel saw, even though she doesn't know what everything is yet...

Imladris
The fellowship before the walls of Moria
Kallindo on border patrol
The Gray Company (Rangers for the north, riding to aid Aragorn)
Herself, before the battle of Helm's Deep
Elladan and herself after the battle of Helm's Deep
Minis Tirith
The battle of Pelennor
Legolas and Gimli fighting
Aragorn (the White tree represents the kings of Númenor)
Aragorn being killed, and her crying over his body
Elladan, before he gets pulled into the vision/dream


Things to Know:

Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Tulkarka: "strong rock"
Nindelanya: "slender weave"
Nessúlë: "young spirit"
Anarseldo: "sun child"
elleth: she-elf

*Review to enter the "Win a Cute Elf Raffle". Drop a line, and your name will be put in the bucket for a random drawing to see who gets to take home an incredibly handsome, very available elf. Other prizes include a free kiss from Elladan and an elven cloak (very handy if you want to evade the notice of wandering orcs). Review within 24 hrs. of posting and you will automatically receive a box of my homemade e-cookies. Don't wait - review now!!!*


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