To Dream - Ch27: Seeing Clearly

Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter.
`*' signals a footnote

__________________________
Chapter 27.) Seeing Clearly

***
"Some are born to Endless Night"
- William Blake
***

Recap: Elrohir left LothLorien a day before the Fellowship arrived. Kallindo and Rúmil were sent to muster help in driving out the band of orcs that had trailed the Fellowship from the mountains. After a surprise attack, Kallindo totters on the brink of death. Same night as the last chapter.


"He has come." Galadriel's tone was solemn yet pleased.

Celeborn turned to his wife and let his eyes trail over her face. He had an inkling of whom she was speaking of, but had learned long ago not to be overly confident about predictions concerning his bonded. With a faintly amused smile he questioned, "Who has come?"

She did not turn to him, but continued to gaze out into the darkened forest. "Estel*. He has passed the eaves of the Wood." A moment of gentle silence enveloped them before Galadriel turned to face her husband, with eyes slightly clouded. "His heart is heavy with more than care. He bears a great sorrow... though I cannot perceive what it is."

Celeborn touched his lady's cheek gently before drawing her in to rest against him. "Even you cannot know everything, bess* nín {my wife}. Indeed, I often fear that you know too much. We will see Estel soon enough and learn the truth of the matter."

Galadriel sighed. "I have seen many things in these past days, much of which I can do nothing about... much of which I do not completely understand." She paused. "But there has been one thought pressing upon my mind of late. I took action on it a few days ago, though I never sought your advice on the matter."

"Of what do you speak?" Celeborn inquired with concern. It was not unusual that Galadriel would take a matter into her own hands, but that was generally because the issue was of such a nature that second-counsel was not of vital importance. In most cases they shared rule. But even if Galadriel had acted upon her own authority, it was not her way to dig up the past... unless something was troubling her.

"I sent word through Elrond to the Dúnedain*. I have summoned them to Rohan, to bring aid to Estel."

Celeborn drew back to get a better view of Galadriel's face. "Rohan? Why would you call them there? We know enough of this quest to devise that Estel's road should not be leading him through the lands of the Horse Lords."

Galadriel smiled wanly, "As I said, I do not always understand what I see. But I could not ignore it any longer, despite how unlikely it may seem at the moment."

Drawing her back into his embrace, Celeborn smoothed her hair with his hand and whispered, "Tiriol bor, melleth nín. Estelin sa mînor gedithal îdh {You are ever watching, my love. I hope that one day you will find rest}."

*~*~*earlier that day, in Imladris*~*~*~*

"You called for me, ada?" Elladan gently closed the door to his father's study as he spoke.

Elrond stood at the window, hands clasped behind his back. He did not move from this position as he spoke. "A bird from Lothlórien has come bearing a message. It's there on the desk."

Elladan walked over to his father's desk and picked up the previously rolled parchment. He read: "Aragorn has need of his kindred. Let the Dúnedain ride to him in Rohan!"*

"Rohan?" Elladan questioned.

Elrond turned from the window and approached his son. "Aye, Rohan. I do not know if it is Aragorn or your grandparents that have sent this message, but we cannot delay in our response. You must ride out and rally as many of the Dúnedain as you can locate. Time is always against us, so make haste as you can. You would do well to ride south within a week's time."

Elladan cast a startled look in his father's direction. `But, ada... what about Elrohir?"

It may seem odd to some, but in the whole course of their lives, Elladan and Elrohir had never been apart for more than a few weeks at a time. And never did one of them attempt a perilous adventure without the aid of the other. The thought of venturing into the south, to who knew what end, without his brother was decidedly unsettling for Elladan.

Elrond gave his son a sympathetic look. "Let us just hope that he returns in time. Although, I do not think it is likely. We could send out the falcons to inform him of this turn of events. Perhaps he could meet you along the way."

Elladan nodded slowly. That was the best that could be done. "Send them out then. I will ride north tomorrow at first light. Tell Elrohir that we will be at -------- in two weeks time."

The rest of the evening was spent preparing for Elladan's departure. Dinner was a farewell affair that lasted some hours into the night. Though the day had not been strenuous enough to tax his body, it was nevertheless with a heavy heart that Elladan fell into bed that night and met his lady in dreams.

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

Oloriel cast a worried glance at Elladan. He was trying to appear relaxed, but she could tell that he was on edge about something. Their connection, though not exhaustive, had continued to grow in strength, and this extra perception aided her in reading him. She could feel his discomfort.

"Elladan," she whispered, stroking her hand through his hair.

His head rested in her lap, and his eyes were closed. The soft pulsing atmosphere of the dreamscape was at least doing something to ease the elf's tension, though it clearly wasn't enough. He stirred slightly when she spoke his name, but did not open his eyes.

"Hmm?" he murmured.

She smiled at his open, unguarded expression and leaned down to kiss his forehead. "What is wrong?"

Elladan opened one eye then closed it again with a sigh. "I'm afraid that my real life is not quite so peaceful as is this lovely dream."

Oloriel chuckled softly. "That is nothing new. What happened?"

With another heavy sigh Elladan sat up and readjusted his seat to face her. He took both of her hands in his and held her gaze for a few moments before speaking.

"I will be leaving Imladris soon; tomorrow morning, in fact. I go to call upon the aid of the Dúnedain, then I will ride south with them to Rohan."

Oloriel stared blankly at him for a moment. "Do you... do you ride into danger?"

"Aye." Elrohir squeezed her hands gently as he spoke, but knew that it would bring little assurance.

Leaning forward, Oloriel rested her head against Elladan's shoulder. "If I hadn't asked, would you still have told me? Were you trying to save me the distress?"

Elladan started at these words. He raised her chin up so that her eyes could meet his. "No. No, I would not deceive you so. I merely... I just couldn't find the right words. And I didn't want to think about it for a while."

Nodding reluctantly, she shifted and took back her position against his shoulder. "What am I to do, Elladan?"

Elladan brought his arms up around her waist. "What do you mean?"

"Have you not thought on what Galadriel told us those weeks ago? She said that we would play a part in fighting the darkness. And darkness is surely upon us now. I may not be a skilled warrior, or a ruler, but I hear whispers the same as everyone else. I know that peril is at hand, and now you ride into it. But where is my part? What am I to do? Shall I... shall I come with you?"

"No." Elladan's arms tightened instinctively around Oloriel as he replied. "No... do not seek out danger. Fate has a way of forcing itself upon us. Please, do not go looking for it. I could not bear to see you come to harm."

Oloriel leaned back from Elladan's embrace and cupped his face in her hands. "You are right, Fate will find a way to break through its chains. You cannot stop it, Elladan - no one can." She kissed his forehead once again. "Do not fear for me. If I can help to save this world then I will face my duty... whatever it brings me in the end."

Elladan's smile then was a mixture of bitter sorrow and extreme affection. He leaned in to press a gentle, though urgent kiss upon her lips then drew her back into his secure embrace.

"Do what you must, mell er {dear one}, but please do not be over anxious or rash. Wait in Lothlórien yet a while."

Oloriel sighed into his tunic. "As you wish."

It was only a few moments later, just as they were beginning to grow comfortable again, that Oloriel stiffened in his arms and sat up.

"Someone is trying to wake me. I must go."

And before Elladan could say another word, she had placed a quick kiss on his cheek and disappeared.

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

Elladan paced apprehensively through the shifting landscape around him. It was hard to judge the passage of time within a dream, for it did not pass in the same way as it did in the waking world, but he still felt that she should have returned by now. Something was obviously wrong. He knew that she was studying the healing arts, so reason told him that she could well have been called away to employ her skill. But this did not ease his spirit much. There must have been some dire need to keep her away so long, unless, perhaps, she was assigned to watch over a sleeping patient.

"Yes, that's it," he verbally assured himself. She would not let herself fall asleep on duty, so that is why she did not come. This separation annoyed him somewhat, but he did his best to shake of the selfish feelings. He couldn't have her all the time.

Some while later, as Elrohir's mind began to perceive the coming of dawn, his peace of mind was shattered once again as a wave of fierce emotions surged over him. He could feel grief; despair; anger - all jostling together and rushing headlong through his mind. The shock of it left him breathless and dizzy for a moment. When his faculties came back to him, Elladan found Oloriel laid out at his feet, eyes closed and crying softly.

Without thinking Elladan dropped to his knees, taking up one of her hands with his right and caressing her face with his left.

"Oloriel, what is the matter?" He did not get a response from her at first, and his heart ran wild with fear. "Oloriel, speak to me... what is wrong?"

With a start Oloriel's eyes flew open and she inhaled sharply when she saw Elladan. Her hand flew to grasp his arm, and she held onto it with a desperate grip. Her eyes darted around wildly before she moved to sit up. Foreseeing her intention, Elladan deftly slipped his arm around her and brought her up to lean against his chest, resting his face against her neck.

"Don't scare me like that, mellorpân {dearest}."

A few more minutes of ragged breathing past before Oloriel found her voice. "I must have cried myself to sleep... I should have stayed with him, but one of the guards carried me away! Elladan, I must go back."

Elladan's grip tightened on her, as if that could keep her from waking. "No, melleth, stay with me. Tell me what has happened."

Oloriel sagged wearily in his embrace. She bowed her head and would not speak for several moments. Finally, Elladan turned her face toward him and placed a soft kiss on her cheek. "Please... please tell me."

Pulling away from him, Oloriel stood up and wrapped her arms around her own waist, shoulders drooping slightly. "Kallindo - he has been wounded. Orcs came in the night and we thought they were all killed... but they weren't. One of them pierced him straight through the stomach. I... I saw it happen and... there was no time. None of us had any time to stop it... I tried to bind up the wound, but there was so much blood, and I don't know... I just don't know if it was enough." She paused in her speech and began to pace forward wearily. "I don't know what else I could have done, but... Oh, it will be a miracle if he survives."

Elladan stood up to follow her, but did not speak. What was there to say? As an elf he was not accustomed to dealing with death. His mother had thankfully escaped Mandos's shadow after her capture by Orcs in the mountains, so he had never come face to face with the ominous specter of mortality.

He wanted to tell her that all was not lost - that as long as Kallindo lived there was hope. But it seemed an empty comfort. No one knew what the morning would bring. And in such cases as these, power to change the outcome was beyond the reach of most.

He wanted to tell her that the horrific images would fade from her memory with time, but he knew that they probably wouldn't. He still remembered so many things that he wished to forget.

Elladan was drawn out of his mental blundering by the sound of a soft whimper. Oloriel was beginning to quiver again with suppressed sobs, and it tore at his heart to hear them. But before Elladan could draw her in to embrace her, she quelled the trembling and stepped out of reach of his arms. She straightened her shoulders and for a moment stood as silent and still as a statue. Then, turning back to him with precise, graceful movements, Oloriel met Elladan's eyes with a steady, piercing gaze. Elladan did not speak, so struck was he by the intensity of the foreign light in her eyes. An aura seemed to drape about the elleth, giving her an air of hidden strength and radiant beauty. It was as if she had, in a instant, shed her cloak of childish, innocent naïveté, and stood before him in all the fullness of her identity: a Child of Ilúvatar, Descendent of the Firstborn, Daughter of the Stars, wise and fair beyond the reach of men, eternal, mesmerizing, perilous.

The air hung thick with expectation around the two silent elves, as if something was holding its breath, waiting for the silence to be broken.

"Mandos cannot have him," Oloriel spoke first, slicing the air with a vehement proclamation. Then, her voice gaining strength, she cried out, "He has taken enough from me! The darkness has come too far - I will not yield!" Her eyes blazed more brightly and all the landscape around them seemed to shrink and fade into nothingness. "I will not run away like before. I will not hide and cower in the shadows. I will ride out and I will fight to protect what I love!" She lifted her chin slightly as though in defiance of some unseen presence. "If my road leads me to the very gates of Mordor I will follow it eagerly. And when I see the dark spires and the barren, smoldering rocks, when I see the taunting mountains and the unforgiving foes, I will raze them to the ground if I must! ...But I will not stand by while everything that I hold dear slips through my fingers like rain... I will no longer stand by while my world is washed away..."

Wonder enveloped Elladan as he silently watched his beloved. He had never seen this side of her before, and was awed by it. Her words stirred up his own spirit, filling him with the need for action - for vengeance. He too had felt this drive, this rage. Countless times during his life he had witnessed the destruction of the growing shadow and he knew as well as she the heartache and the determination that came from such an experience. He too wanted to defeat this evil, to save the only home he had ever known, to drive out all of the invading darkness. He admired her greatly for her courage, but... but the thought of her walking headlong into danger made him ill. He did not want her to have to experience the cruelty of war. He did not want her to suffer the numbing of her spirit, to grow accustomed to agony and to death, to pain and to sorrow. There had to be some other way.

"Oloriel..." the tone of his voice betrayed the desperation of his plea, "Please, do not do anything foolish."

Oloriel's eyes flashed. "I know my own strength, Elladan, and I know what I must do."

He tried to caress the side of her face but she turned away from him. "`Riel, do not take such a burden upon yourself. You cannot... you cannot fight all of Mordor, melleth nín."

Shaking her head, Oloriel murmured, "Using endearments will not get you anywhere, son of Elrond."

Elladan began to grow truly frightened of her purpose. "You are but one maiden - this is not your responsibility!"

"Then whose is it?" Oloriel bit back. "It is the duty of every creature of upright heart to fight for what it good. I will not sacrifice those dear to me for my own comfort."

Exasperated and very apprehensive, Elladan took recourse to his last option. Drawing Oloriel into his arms, he kissed her soundly and then held her firmly against his chest until she stopped struggling.

"At least promise me this mell er {dear one}. Seek wise counsel before you take any action... and abide by that counsel. Do not do anything until you have given it some thought. And do not sneak away unprepared, and with no one knowing of your intentions."

Oloriel had no intention of being influenced away from her purpose, but she wanted to appease Elladan and give him some comfort. So, nodding slowly, she brought her arms up around his waist and leaned into him obligingly.

Elladan smiled. That was better. Oloriel had promised - she would seek out counsel from someone sensible and wise, no doubt they would see the folly of her vague intentions, and she would be dissuaded from her course. She would be kept safe. All would be well.

With heart and mind mostly at ease, Elladan kissed Oloriel's hair then released her.

"I must go. Dawn is upon us; I can feel it. I will hope and pray for Kallindo's recovery. Somewhere in my heart I will always feel somewhat wary of him, but I would not wish him harm, and I know he has been your good friend. Take courage, all may yet turn out well."

Oloriel gave him a small smile and released the hand that she had been holding. "Varnamesta, máraimë {safe journey, good hunting}."

Elladan smiled fondly. "Safety and goodness I bid you as well... and I have already spoken my mind on the rest." He was just about to draw himself from sleep when he paused. "You know that I love you?"

This brought out a real smile on Oloriel's face, though she was still heavy in heart. She slowly nodded in the affirmative.

Elladan's smile widened. "Good."

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

The tapestries lining the walls flew by him as Elladan hurried toward his Arwen's chambers. His pack had been stocked the night before with all that he would need for his journey and a stable hand had been assigned to prepare his mount for departure. Therefore, he had only to say farewell to his father and sister before he would be ready to depart.

He was half way to Arwen's room when he met the object of his search in the hallway, binding her hair as she went.

"Mae aur, laes gwathel {good morning, baby sister}," Elladan picked her up effortlessly by the waist and swung her around twice before setting her back down on her feet. The short flight had caused her to loose hold of her half-bound hair and it now tumbled recklessly around her rather sour expression. However, the twinkle in her eye told Elladan that she was not really angry with him for messing up her hair, so he reached up and tousled it some more for good measure."

Arwen slapped him playfully on the shoulder before resting her head there. "You're absolutely terrible. I'm almost glad that you're leaving."

Elladan drew her closer to him and murmured, "Don't say that, I miss you already. Promise to take care of ada while I'm away?"

Arwen nodded. "I always do. In fact, I'm more worried about who's going to take care of you while you're away. When you travel with the Dúnedain you come home smelling like only the Valar knows what. I sometimes wonder if ever bathe at all. And I'm sure you don't get enough vegetables to eat when you men camp together."

Elladan chuckled. This was their normal farewell routine. The light banter helped them both to forget how sad they were at parting.

After a few more minutes of further mindless conversation, Elladan released his hold on his sister's waist and inquired, "Do you think father is in the courtyard?"

Nodding, Arwen mumbled, "He is no doubt waiting to give you some ominous words before parting."

"Well, let's get them over with then." Elladan grabbed her hand and started walking toward the stable yard.

~~~

"You shall be missed, ion nín."

Elladan bowed to his father. "And I shall miss you, ada. I feel in my heart that we shall meet again on these shores, but I shall ride with a watchful eye, nonetheless."

"It is well that you should. The days grow dark... very dark. My mind has been clouded of late. ...But there are some things which I can still see clearly."

"And they are?" Elladan raised a questioning eyebrow.

Elrond smiled slightly. "You know me too well. Yes, I do have some wisdom to impart to Aragorn, though he may not wish to take it. I bid you tell him this: `The days are short. If you are in haste, remember the words of the seer, and remember the Paths of the Dead.'"

Mounting his horse, Elladan turned back to his father and replied, "I shall tell him. Though you are right, he may not be very inclined to listen. Only time will tell."

Elladan was about to turn his horse to leave the city when Arwen came up to him bearing a long staff, wrapped round about with black cloth, as though it were a flag close-furled, and tied with several strips of leather.

"What is this?" Elladan inquired.

"It is for Estel. Halbarad* should rightfully bear it, being the closest to Estel. Will you delvier it to him? He knows what I would have him do with it."

Nodding, Elladan took up the staff and directed his steed toward the entrance to the city. He didn't look back.

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

Oloriel was caught between the desire for rest and the desire for movement, the desire to wait and the desire to act. Kallindo still hung upon the brink of death. She desperately wanted to be with him, and yet at the same time she did not want to see him in such a fallen state. His countenance the night before had been enough: eyes closed as in death, skin pale and clammy, body stiff, breaths shallow. She shuddered as the images began passing through her mind again. The spear jutting out of Kallindo's abdomen, his shocked expression, the sickening ooze of blood...

"Oloriel, are you alright?"

A hand came down upon Oloriel's shoulder and she jumped visibly. Looking up, her wide eyes met those of Nessúlë. When the words finally registered she swallowed and nodded as firmly as she could. "Yes, yes I'm fine thank you... just worried."

Nessúlë nodded sympathetically. "I didn't speak to him more than a few short times, but it is still terrible. And Írima seemed to know him well and she is very distressed. She is sitting with him and his mother now, trying to give what comfort she can. There are many others waiting in the outer rooms as well. Kallindo seems to have been well loved."

Oloriel nodded but made no move to reply.

"I am going back to look after the baby," Nessúlë continued. "Nimfallë cannot stay with her the whole morning. Do you want to come with me?"

Mustering up a genuine smile Oloriel declined the kind offer, saying that she was going to take a walk, but that she might drop by in the afternoon. Nessúlë bid farewell and departed.

Getting up slowly, Oloriel began to pace away from the healing rooms. She had to do something. Sitting there waiting was not going to help her frame of mind.

As she walked, she began sorting out her thoughts concerning the future. If one thing had remained intact throughout the entire night it was the conviction that she had to take some sort of decisive action. She felt that she had changed in some way during the night, hardened or aged or woken up somehow. She knew that she could not go back to the way she was - to the way things were. The idea of remaining in her current position, living her normal life, and pretending like the world was as it used to be seemed insupportable.

But what to change? Her only plan at the moment was to somehow reach Elladan. But she couldn't meet him before he went south. That meant that she would have to go to Rohan herself. She mentally abused herself for being so ignorant about the outside world. How would she ever survive alone, in a foreign country, which was ruled by Men no less! Her grasp of the Common Tongue was rusty at best.

She sighed wearily. And there was another difficulty to consider: she had promised Elladan that she would seek `wise counsel' and that she would follow that counsel. With such a vow she would have to be sure to ask the right person.

`Perhaps that's where I should start first," she thought to herself. It was, after all, better to take things one step at a time.

Who would give her a chance to explain? Who wouldn't keep her from going? Lady Galadriel might, perhaps... but then again, it was Galadriel that had put her under the care of Elladan, and if Elladan was not going to come for her then where did that leave her? Would Galadriel send an escort with her? That too was a possibility, but Oloriel would feel terrible for making several of the guard leave their posts to nanny her while Lothlórien was weathering such perilous times, not to mention the fact that she would be putting those guards in danger. She shook her head. No, this was her decision, her conviction - she did not want to drag others into it if she could help it.

Oloriel let her mind wander through other possibilities as she meandered down the wooded path. She was beginning to despair when suddenly an idea struck her. What about asking Nessúlë? She had enough sense to be considered wise, and yet enough fire and independence to not squelch her fervor.

Oloriel smiled. She would give it some more thought, but she was satisfied for the moment. With at least some direction to her plan, and therefore some outlet for her pent up anger and sorrow, Oloriel was ready to turn back toward the Houses. It was time to visit Kallindo... while there was still time to do it.

***

1. Estel: "Hope" - one of Aragorn's many names
2. Bess: "wife" or "young woman" - I like using this version of wife (as opposed to the more well known hervess) because I thought it would be kind of sweet for Celeborn to purposely use an endearment for his wife that has a youthful connotation.
3. Dúnedain: "Men of the West" - Rangers from the north, Aragorn's kin, remnants of the race of Númenor.
4. see RotK: Book I: Chapter II: "The Passing of the Grey Company" for all of the messages and for the introduction of Halbarad

Things to Know:

Oloriel: "dream daughter"
Kallindo: "noble heard"
Nessúlë: "young spirit"
Írima: "lovely, desirable"

elleth: "she-elf"
melleth: "love" (noun)
bess: "wife"
mell: "dear"
er: "one" (person, not number)
mae aur: "good morning"
laes gwathel: "baby sister"
ion: "son"


Tiri-ol bor, melleth nín. Estel-in sa mîn-or gedi-tha-l îdh = literally, "Watching-you-are ever, my love. Hope-I that one-day catch-will-you rest" --- I've been using pronoun suffixes lately, that's why all the pronoun subjects are coming `literally' in the `wrong' places.


mell-or-pân = literally, "dear above all" --- I could remember the simple way of turning `dear' into `dearest', so I improvised.


Varna-mesta, má(-r-)aimë = Quenya, literally, "safe-journey, good hunting" --- már + raimë = máraimë

Add New Comment

Latest Forum Posts

Join the Conversation!