To Dream - Ch17: Food and the Food of Love.

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: Please forgive my horrid Elvish grammar, all of you who know what you're doing. = )


Chapter 17.) Food and the Food of Love

"The sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?"

- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Recap: Oloriel has gazed into Galadriel's mirror. Afterward, she somehow pulls herself, Elladan, and Galadriel into a vision/dream. Meanwhile, Elrohir is in Rivendell, searching for some supper...

As Elrohir strode out of the forest he was busy trying to settle an argument between his mind and his heart. On the one hand, he would rather avoid the banquet hall all together and just grab a bite to eat from the kitchens; he was in no mood to deal with many of the people that would be jostling for his attention at dinner. On the other hand, Nessúlë would be in the banquet hall, and if he was very clever, he could catch a seat by her and try his best to ignore all of the people that would be jostling for his attention at dinner. It was a tough decision. If, in fact, he was able to sit by Nessúlë and she was in the mood for conversation and, more particularly, she was in the mood for conversation with him, then the venture would be well worth. But the odds of all these variables coming out right were not very great.

Nessúlë often sat at supper between her brother, Lantél, and their faithful attendant, Alarkelú. And even if this were not the case, there were a number of other people sitting around the table that she had become acquainted with, and there was no way that Elrohir could monopolize her if she was feeling in any way sociable. Elrohir sighed in frustration.

"My, my, aren't we looking dejected?" A voice called to him from up ahead.

While he had been brooding, Elrohir had made it onto one of the wide, covered walkways that ran around and through the many buildings of Imladris. Quite a few elves were already gathered within view, talking in small groups before supper. It was an elf from one such group that had called out to him.

Elrohir looked up and found the eyes of Lantél, Alarkelú, and Hallandakil upon him. Apparently they had been in the middle of a discussion when Lantél noticed Elrohir walking toward them with a dark look on his face. It was Lantél that had addressed him.

Elrohir shook off his contemplation and approached them, trying to put the lightness back into his step. "Oh, it was nothing - just thinking about something, that's all."

Hallandakil spoke up. "It looked more like brooding to me. What cause have you to be so disturbed on today of all days? You bested everyone you sparred with in training this morning. Lord Erestor commended your supervision of the construction in the upper valley, thereby signaling that he has finally forgiven you for your last escapade. And you spent almost all of the afternoon in the company of the very lovely Lady Nessúlë. What could you possibly be worried about?"

At the mention of the `very lovely Lady Nessúlë', Lantél visibly stiffened. Elrohir noticed this, and realized that he was now walking on very thin ice; care was definitely in order. He himself was not too fond of the familiar way in which Hallandakil had referred to Nessúlë, but he was not sure how he should respond. Agree, disagree, ignore the question? He had to say something...

"Ahem... yes, I did have a fine day... most enjoyable?" he looked sideways at Lantél to see how that had gone over. It seemed fine, but he felt like he should quit while he was ahead. Hallandakil, however, had other ideas.

Throwing Elrohir a look that was supposed to be knowing and conspiratorial, he continued his interrogation. "Enjoyable? Aye, I'd say it would be. I'm sure that any available elf would have found a day spent in that lady's company most enjoyable."

At this remark both Lantél and Alarkelú bristled. Even Hallandakil seemed to notice it this time, and tried to cover for his half-witted remarks. "Your sister is, um... she's really rather clever, Lantél - quite the conversationalist."

Elrohir stifled a groan. Anyone could tell that the `enjoyment' Hallandakil spoke of was not the kind that was found in listening to skillful word play. Hallandakil was a fool: both for thinking what he thought, and for saying it. Stepping in to try and repair the damage he muttered, "Well, we were busy on the archery fields with several other elves, so there was not time for much deep conversation... mostly chit-chat really. You know, Lantél, I think your sister improves with the bow daily."

Lantél seemed to sense that Elrohir was trying to restore peace, and reluctantly submitted to his lead, keeping his mouth shut - he would have words with Hallandakil later. Meanwhile, Alarkelú stepped into the breach and helped Elrohir in his endeavor. "Yes, she has improved a great deal. She never put much effort into archery before, but once she sets her mind to something, she usually masters it."

Elrohir replied with a grateful smile. Lantél, still angered, but not wishing to be a rude guest, excused himself from their presence, asking before he left where Elladan could be found. Elrohir responded by directing him to the glade where he had last seen his brother.

Just after Lantél left, Nessúlë appeared, dressed in a fresh gown. Elladan's face brightened visibly. With Lantél wandering off into the woods, there would be an empty chair by the lady at supper. Now he just hoped that those dazzling conversational skills, which Hallandakil had spoken of, would be directed toward him.

*~*~*the dream/vision*~*~*~*

Elladan continued to hold Oloriel close to him for several minutes. She had been trembling slightly before, but now he felt her slowly relax in his embrace, leaning against him in exhaustion. Cautiously, he reached up with one hand and began to caress her soft hair, hoping that this simple gesture would help to convey some of his feelings - that he was not angry with her, or annoyed; that he would not leave her; that he would try to help her. He closed his eyes as he leaned his cheek against her hair.

Several moments later he was startled by another voice. He had almost forgotten that his grandmother was there.

"Elladan" she began, "Oloriel has been informed of several things that will leave her with much to think on. Some of the knowledge she now carries concerns you, and yet, it is not now time for you to know it. There is only one thing that you need know, and with it comes one charge that I lay upon you. Your destiny is entwined with Oloriel's. Together you will play a role in fighting the darkness that threatens to over-throw us. I cannot yet see what that role will be, but this I know: you must protect her and help her along the way. Be her strength, for one day you will be in need of hers; and, if you speak your heart, she will give it willingly. These are the words that I leave you with - keep them always in mind."

With the end of her words, Galadriel slowly faded away, leaving Elladan and Oloriel alone in each other's arms.

Oloriel stiffened slightly in Elladan's embrace and he gently released her. She was slightly flushed and was trying frantically to find some object other than himself to rest her eyes upon. "I... I am sorry for dragging you into all this - I am sorry that you are forced to bear this burden. Would that it could be taken from you."

Elladan smiled softly. She was worried about him? Oloriel, an inexperienced and gentle handmaiden, had just been informed that she would somehow be thrust out into a dangerous world to fight against the darkness, and she was worried about him? He had seen many a battle, and was not inexperienced in the dance with death - she on the other hand was innocent of the ways of war. His heart went out to her; it seemed that she was fated to see many things, which he wished with all his spirit that she would not have to see. And yet, his smile grew slightly at the thought that, despite her obvious turmoil, she was more concerned about him than she was about herself.

In the silence of his thoughts, she whispered again, "I am so sorry for you - that you are charged with this duty..."

Anxious to allay her fears, he reached out and rested his fingers beneath her chin. Turning her face toward him slightly, he murmured, "Do not say such things. Galadriel did not need to command it of me, or even to ask it of me - I would have gladly taken it upon myself to serve you, and not suffered anyone else to do it."

Oloriel looked up at Elladan in wonder. How could he be speaking to her like this? Why was his touch so gentle? Why did the feel of his hand send her heart racing? None of it made any sense. Knitting her brows slightly she whispered the question that was throbbing in her mind: "Why?"

The soft word stabbed at Elladan's heart. `Why?' Oh how he longed to tell her why. But should he say it? Was she ready to hear it? Would she turn away from him? Reject him? He decided to take it one small step at a time. "Oloriel... you have become very dear to me, and I... I would do anything to protect you."

To his alarm, Oloriel's countenance seemed to darken at his words. She seemed to be struggling with something in her mind, but finally she spoke. "Be very careful, my lord. Do not speak in haste. What am I to you? Please... please do not do this to me again. You must choose."

Elladan just stared at her, trying to understand what she was telling him.

Oloriel sighed. She didn't know the words to explain to him what she felt. Over the past week she had been fighting with so many emotions, and Elladan hadn't made it any easier. He was always so considerate, so kind, and sometimes she would wonder if he could possibly feel more for her than she thought he did. However, this idea was always rejected, when she remembered that he didn't want her - she had heard him say it.

And yet, sometimes, remembering wasn't enough. Despite what she knew, being in his presence always shook her resolve; it was becoming harder and harder to ignore her deeper feelings. Many times she was still confused - sometimes she didn't understand what she felt - but she did know this: Elladan had to make a choice. When he kissed her, she had experienced true blissful happiness for the first time in many long years, and then it had been ripped away from her. She didn't think she could handle that pain again. Elladan couldn't continue treating her as if she were something more to him if she would never be something more to him - he had to choose.

Elladan continued to search her eyes for an answer to the riddle. What had he done to her? What must he choose? When this search failed, his hand found its way to her cheek, as if touching her could help him discover something hidden deep inside. Surprisingly, it seemed to work. Oloriel, in a blind leap of faith, acting on instinct and impulse alone, somehow opened up her mind to him. It seemed to her the only way to make him understand. He was able to see into her thoughts and memories, to see into her very soul.

He saw the faded images she had of her mother; saw her father clumsily but faithfully teaching her how to braid hair; saw her brother lifting her young self up onto his shoulder to dance around the fire at a festival. She had been happy and carefree, as any young elf-ling should be.

But then came darker images. He saw her give a farewell blessing to her father, while trying to hold back her tears; he saw her racing off into the forest, her brother calling after her; then, to his surprise, he saw himself, comforting her in the old tree. He smiled softly at that memory, and somehow, though he could no longer see Oloriel as she stood before him, he felt her smile as well.

Next came various images from her daily life: working in the House of Healing; singing; helping Írima wash clothes; talking cheerfully with her brother in the evenings. It was a very placid life that she had led. But then everything came crashing down around her. He saw her weeping over the limp body of her brother; holding him tightly as if she could keep his spirit with her. He saw her dressed for mourning, standing over Karnélas' grave, trying to sing, but failing miserably. Then there were the nightmares. Terrors plagued her dreams, tormenting her where she had no place to hide. He felt her despair and anger and sadness all boiling beneath what had been to everyone else a very calm exterior. So intense was the pain, that he felt as if it might burn him.

But then, into all this darkness and confusion there came a soft light - something that seemed to dispel the shadows. He was startled when he realized that the light was himself. He had been her hope. Swiftly the images came now - snatches of conversations and encounters that they had had since first meeting in the dreamscape, mostly pleasant memories. They came and went quickly, hardly giving him a chance to identify the scene; but then, suddenly, there was a pause. Her mind came to rest on one moment: the night of Merendë Enyalië*, when she had called out to him in her mind. His breath caught slightly as he witnessed himself kissing Oloriel.

`Why is she showing me this?' he wondered, `Is this not an unpleasant memory for her?' But no, he could feel it in her - it was not an unpleasant memory at all... but a cherished one. Elladan's mind started racing with the possibilities. `If she was drawn to me, then why did she grow so cold?'

In moments, he had his answer. He saw her walking beneath the trees, then heard his own voice through her. // She is only a friend - I won't fall in love with her// He groaned softly. She had heard that - she had heard his hasty words and thought that he was rejecting her. Now he understood.

After this memory, the link faded. He found himself still standing before Oloriel, his fingers resting against her cheek. For several moments neither one spoke or moved: Elladan gazing at Oloriel with understanding, and Oloriel gazing back at him in apprehension and confusion.

Trying to form a shaky smile, she murmured, "I'm not quite sure how I did that."

Elladan returned her smile, and was about to speak when she turned quickly away from him.

"I am sorry for my boldness, and for my... I know that it would never... I mean, you are a prince, and I... well, I am nothing compared to you. I am just a foolish child, and I do not imagine that... I would never be so presumptuous as to... Oh the Valar take me! I have made a mess of things..." She paused to breathe and collect herself before she turned back to him and continued, "Elladan, you must choose. Eru knows I don't know why you care for me, but in some way you do. And yet, this hurts me more than anything else, because it always leaves me wanting what I cannot have. So just tell me the truth now, it will hurt me less. I... I wouldn't blame you if you never want to see me again... I will gladly relieve you of your duty towards me... I know it would be awkward..." Here she trailed off, as a tear slowly slid out between her eyelashes. She turned away from him again, trying to hide her face. The flood of emotions that had suddenly pushed their way into her heart bewildered her and left her unable to cope.

Elladan's heart and mind reeled. She had practically said that she loved him, and now he wanted to laugh and shout and kiss her all at the same time. But instead, he kept himself calm - before he could start celebrating, he had one nearly brokenhearted elleth to comfort.

He came up behind her, and stood mere inches away as he began to speak. "Oloriel, I hold to my words: my heart has not changed. I will be the one to stand by you and protect you - no one else. Those words that you heard me speak, when you were walking beneath the mellyrn*, were spoken in haste. I was trying to talk myself out of something that I already knew to be true." Slowly wrapping his arms around her from behind, he leant down and whispered in her ear. "Lle ná garn ólwen nín. {You are my own dream maiden} Im ú-tha gar thanclle anpen. {I will not share you with anyone}. Im melan lle... lle ná ól nín {I love you... you are my dream}.* He gave her a gentle squeeze, then kissed the tip of her ear.

Oloriel trembled slightly. She could not quite believe what she had just heard. Turning around slowly in his arms she raised her eyes to meet his, and was struck with the intensity of his gaze. No one, not even Kallindo, had looked at her like that. She felt like she held the world: like she was finally a princess in one of those fairy tales that were told to her as a child. But her mind still rebelled. She was not a princess, in or out of the fairy tales. She was not worthy of Elladan.

She took a step back from him, eyes frantic. "But, Elladan, we have never even met outside of our dreams, how can there be anything between us?"

Elladan chuckled - this girl could be more stubborn than a hobbit begging for his supper. "It's quite simple really." He said, closing the distance between them, "I say I love you, you say you love me, we kiss... we kiss again..." Elladan grinned as Oloriel's cheeks took on a very delightful rose-color.

"But... but it could never be." She exclaimed, taking another step back from him, `You are a prince!"

"Aye," Elladan agreed, stepping toward her, "And you are my beloved. What of it?"

"But what would you're father say?" she questioned, taking yet another step away from him.

Elladan stepped with her this time, standing so close that she had to tilt her head up slightly to meet his eyes. "He would most likely say that it was about time I took notice of a woman."

Oloriel blushed again. Stepping away from him for the fourth time, she continued to protest, despite the fact that she was quickly running out of arguments. But, in the end, it wouldn't really have mattered how clever her arguments were, because Elladan had stopped listening. He was so entranced by her tantalizing lips, that he found it incredibly difficult to pay attention to what was coming out of them. Finally he decided that the circumstances called for something a little bit drastic.

"Oloriel," He broke into whatever it was that she was saying, "Do you love me or not?"

The elleth stopped her monologue and just looked at him. Her hand raised almost involuntarily, as if she wanted to touch his face, but she drew it back just in time, taking several steps backward as she did so. She turned away and murmured something that sounded vaguely like "I couldn't help it."

"What was that?" Elladan prodded cheerfully.

Oloriel whipped her head around, a slight look of annoyance in her eyes. "Yes. Fine - have it your way. I love you!... I will always love you."

"And do you trust me?" Elladan continued.

Oloriel sighed. "You have asked me that question before, and I hold to my answer. I will always trust you, Elladan, son of Elrond."

Elladan smiled, remembering that night. Taking another step toward her he continued speaking. "What if I told you that there was a ritual - a test that you could undergo that would prove to all that you are worthy of my love? Would you trust me enough to lead you through it? And would you accept the result?"

Oloriel was confused. What ritual could he be speaking of? Maybe this was a custom among the elves of Imladris, but she had never heard of it. And yet, if it would somehow break down the walls that stood between them, she was ready to do it. Nodding hesitantly she replied, "I trust you, Elladan. What must I do?"

"Well, first you must compose your mind," he began, taking another step toward her. "This will take a great deal of concentration." Oloriel stood up a little straighter and took a deep breath.

"Next, you must close your eyes." Oloriel obeyed without question. Elladan smiled warmly, as he came closer to her. One minute she was fighting with him, the next she was as submissive as a lamb. By Eru, he loved this woman.

"And lastly," he whispered, as he closed the remaining distance between them, "You must simply... hold... still." With that Elladan captured Oloriel's mouth in a gentle, though very determined kiss.

Oloriel's eyes flew open, and she made a half-hearted attempt to push him away. But Elladan ignored her, circling her waist with his strong arms and pressing her against himself.

The kiss was not frenzied, nor extremely passionate, but it was insistent. Elladan was in for the long haul. He would simply hold her here until she came to her senses. After several moments Oloriel finally seemed to relax in his arms. He drew away from the kiss to let her draw breath, and she spoke. "Elladan, I... we can't -"

Before she could say anything more, she found her mouth quite preoccupied again. Elladan smiled into the kiss. It seemed as though she needed a little more convincing, and he was more than happy to oblige.

This went on for quite some time. Elladan kissing Oloriel, Oloriel trying to tell him why they couldn't be together, and Elladan kissing her again before she could get the words out. Finally, Oloriel seemed to resign herself to her fate. Leaning into him, she let one hand slip around his neck and the other find its way up into his hair. Elladan seemed to like this situation very much, as a few moments later he let his mouth move slowly across her cheek and down to her neck. By this time, Oloriel had gone from being resigned to her fate, to rather enjoying it. Very soon, however, Elladan pulled back. He smiled fondly at his beloved; she looked altogether tousled, and altogether content. She buried her face in his tunic and whispered, "I think I like this ritual."

Elladan chuckled softly, then tilted her face up to look at him. "I beg you to forgive my boldness. I should have asked before I kissed you, but... you just weren't listening."

Oloriel smiled up at him. "'Elladan, I love you. It will be a dark day indeed when I cannot forgive you... but," she continued with a wicked gleam in her eye, "if you really want to appease my wrath, you could try kissing me again."

Elladan chuckled, then pecked her on the cheek. He began to laugh out-right when he saw the pout that appeared on Oloriel's face. "No," he answered the silent plea, "That is all you shall get, meleth nín {my love}. I am here with you alone, in a place where no one can find us. If I taste you again, I may not give you up so easily as I have this time."

Oloriel blushed softly. Elladan brushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear and whispered, "You know, that color is very becoming on you." This comment only served to deepen the hue. "Now, how do I get out of this place?" Elladan questioned, "I think I'm late for supper."

Oloriel's face took on a thoughtful expression, but then it brightened, as though she had found the answer. However, before she could tell him of her discovery, her face clouded again. "Wait, Elladan. Before you leave, I must ask something of you." Elladan's silence indicated that she should continue. "I love you, and I know you love me, but I still have some reservations about what can come of this. However, if you would but speak to your father, and get his blessing for our courtship, then I will have no further objections."

Elladan's face split into a wide grin. "I shall do it as soon as possible. Do not worry, meleth {love}, he will be thrilled, I am sure of it."

"Oh, I hope so." Before Elladan could stop her, Oloriel had placed another quick kiss on his mouth. Before he could respond, everything around him began to fade. He found himself lying on his back, staring up into a green canopy of leaves. The next moment, Lantél's head came into view above him.

"You've come back!" he cried. "I've been trying to wake you for the last two minutes. I was just about to sling you over my shoulder and run you to the healers."

Elladan just stared up at him with a crooked smile. "She loves me."

Lantél stared back at him dumbfounded. "What?"

Elladan began to laugh. "She loves me." Springing to his feet he started strolling down the path, whistling to himself as he went. Lantél could do nothing but gape at his retreating form. After a few steps, Elladan turned back and asked, "Do you know where I can find my father?"

It took a moment to register in his mind, but Lantél was finally able to respond. "Supper?"

"Ah yes, supper. I could use some of that myself."

And with that, he was gone.


1. "Festival to Remember (Festival of Remembrance)"
2. Plural form of `mallorn'
3. Word-for-word translation: "You are own dream maiden my. I not-will have [a] split/devided-you with-anybody. I love you... you are dream my." Side note: I always see nín (`my') placed after the thing possessed (i.e. ion nín - `my son'), which is what I have done here.

Things to Remember:

Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Nessúlë: "young spirit"
Lantél: "falling star"
Alarkelú: "swift stream"
elleth: she-elf

Things to Forget:

Hallandakil: "tall victor"

*** It's the "Three Elven Rings of Power Charity Raffle" (all reviews go to profit the `Make Iluvien's Day' Fund). Just submit a review and get your chance to wield one of the rings of power! As always, participants who review within in 24 hrs. of posting will receive a complimentary box of my homemade e-cookies. Good luck everyone!***

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