To Dream - Ch30: Friends, Fainting, and Fondling

Names/Pronunciations will come at the end of each chapter.

`*' signals a footnote

A/N: I'm in a slight quandary. So far this story has assumed that everyone is speaking in Elvish; however, now characters are coming along that speak the Common Tongue. Therefore...

I'm going to put "***" in front of all sentences spoken by Oloriel or Nessúlë in the Common Tongue. I figure that I don't need to worry about Legolas, since he's fluent in both. I hope this works out. Tell me if you can think of a better way of doing this.

And remember, Oloriel and Nessúlë aren't extremely fluent in the Common Tongue. _________________________________
Chapter 30.) Friends, Fainting, and Fondling

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy, golden storm...
- Leonard Cohen

Recap: Oloriel and Nessúlë met up with Merry, Pippin, and Treebeard in Fangorn Forest. They witnessed the sacking of Isengard, and were on hand when Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, and King Théoden's company arrived to reason with Saruman.

Oloriel looked up timidly as she handed a loaf of bread to Aragorn. Ever since the two elf maidens had made themselves known, an uncertain curiosity hung thick in the air, but as yet no one seemed to be making the desired inquiries.

Gandalf and Théoden had ridden eastward around the wall in search of Treebeard, but the Elf, Dwarf, and Dúnedan had remained behind to hear news from their Hobbit friends and to partake in the bounteous spoils to be found in the Isengard storage houses. The latter activity was what occupied them at the moment. Gimli had suggested that they leave off all tale telling until after their stomachs were full, and in this not even the Elves attempted to snub his judgement.

Aragorn accepted the loaf from Oloriel with a bemused smile. He had certainly been surprised to see her standing beneath the crumbling arch of Isengard, robed in the clothes of a man, and sporting a small cut across her right cheek. Their brief acquaintance in Lothlórien had left him with a favorably impression of the elleth, but in all honesty, he had never expected to see her again. And yet, here she was.

As he finished providing himself with victuals, his eyes wandered over to the other she-elf, who was presently helping Merry retrieve a keg of some sort from a high shelf. He did not recall ever meeting her before, and he was sorely curious about how she fit into this story.

With a small shrug he took up the vacancy on a worn, creaking chair and began to make inroads on his midday meal. He would just have to wait until the time for recounting had come.


Setting down his tarnished wine goblet with a contented sigh, Legolas broke into Gimli's jubilation over pipeweed by declaring that he would go back out into the open air. Oloriel latched onto this opportunity to do the same, for she found both the close quarters and the close Dwarf to be rather irksome.

Legolas sauntered outside and took up a seat on the recently vacated pile of stones. Walking a little bit further, Oloriel found a solitary sward of clean dry grass to settle down upon. A few moments of silence reigned before Legolas made a go at starting a conversation.

"I'll never understand why Men construct their buildings in such a ways as to sequester themselves from nature so."

Oloriel smiled into the warm rays of the sun and replied. "I suppose it's because nature is not such a gentle force to them." She let her hand weave through the grass beside her and watched with amusement as a black ant attempted to scale the sheer wall of a pebble. "You would think that they could have more windows, though."

Legolas murmured his agreement. Oloriel let her eyes wander toward the gate of Isengard, but then drew back quickly. The torpid water and twisted wreckage reminded her too much of the recent unpleasant events and of the presumably unpleasant future. She would rather watch the cloudy sky and pretend that such natural serenity invaded every corner of the world. With this thought in mind she lay back upon the grass and tucked one arm under her head. She was just getting comfortable when the Dwarf's boisterous laugh filtered out through the doorway of the storage room

Having been intently watching the curious elleth before him, Legolas could not help but notice the small grimace that passed across Oloriel's face at the sound of Gimli's merriment. A slight smile tweaked the corners of his mouth as he witnessed this reaction - so predictably Elven.

"You know, he's not so odious once you get to know him. I never thought I'd say this, but he actually has a very stout and noble heart."

Oloriel raised her eyebrow in cynical disbelief but did not have a chance to reply, as the sound of crunching gravel alerted her to the eminent arrival of the others.

In a few moments, everyone had found a seat on or around the pile of stones. All but the Elves had smoldering pipes in hand, and were content to spend the next few minutes merely puffing away and enjoying the cool breeze.

Nessúlë, who had taken up a seat next to Oloriel, leaned down and whispered. "The smoke gets in ones eyes, but I suppose the smell isn't so bad."

Oloriel smiled cheerily from her reclined position. ***"Aye... I've heard of smell and taste and... texture and all the other... virtues of this `leaf' from friend Pippin."

Having heard this declaration, Pippin nodded cordially in their direction, but did not make a reply, as his trusty wooden pipe was claiming all his mouth's attention at the moment.

In short time Legolas became somewhat restless. "Come now! Time wears on, and the mists are blowing away, or would if you strange folk did not wreath yourself in smoke. What of the tale?"*

Merry grinned, "Ah yes, the tale. And quite a tale it is, don't you think Pip?"

Pip nodded his head in a rather shell-shocked way. "Aye, it still makes my head spin a bit to think of it, but I suppose we shall have to satisfy your curiosity. ...Let's see, where shall I begin."


"...and that is how we came to be sitting on this pile of stones, surrounded by the spoils of war and puffing away on our pipes while the ladies to a turn about the ruins" Merry ended the story with a flourish.

"Agch!" Gimli let out a guttural noise rather unique to Dwarves. "You mean you were puffing away at your pipe. If I'm not mistaken, Master Peregrin here was slumbering away like a babe."

Pippin just nodded his head sheepishly. "It's the natural thing to do when your belly is full and you've no where else to be."

***"And that, friend Pippin," Nessúlë interjected, "Is why Hobbits are such... such, ah... what do you say... round? little people. Try... walk after meal... I find it much better."

"Well, I certainly wouldn't make a habit of it," Merry called out jovially, "But at the moment, I am wondering where Gandalf has got off to. I suggest that we take a walk and look about us to see if we can find him.


"Greetings fair one, I do not believe we have been properly introduced."

The confrontation with Saruman was finally over and the company was now heading back down the valley, toward the Fords of Isen. Oloriel and Nessúlë had both agreed that their path had met up with Aragorn's for a reason, and that they should follow where he led if they could. Aragorn had been cautious in his encouragement, but had not refused their aid when they were determined upon it.

Oloriel now found herself riding alongside a man of Rohan, evidently of noble birth if she read his insignia correctly, Nessúlë had abandoned her a few minutes before, opting to ride next to the Hobbits and work on her grasp of the Common Tongue.

The man was looking at her expectantly. Oloriel smiled politely while she racked her mind for any protocols that she should perhaps be ready to observe. Without producing any, she finally managed to get out what she hoped was an acceptable reply.

***"I am Oloriel... daughter of Alkarin and Maldalossë o Lothlórien." As she spoke she inclined her head slightly in an attempt at a formal greeting.

The man smiled warmly. "Éomer, Third Marshall of the Mark and sister-son to Théoden King."

`Ah,' Oloriel thought, `So he is of some importance.' As she mused on this, she automatically inclined her head again and murmured, ***"My lord."

"I have never met a she-elf before, nor did I ever expect to. I must acknowledge that your race is largely a mystery to us. I garnered enough surprise when I met Legolas on the plains. How came you to be here?"

As was usual, Oloriel lagged behind in the conversation for a few seconds and she dissected the import of his words.

***" is..." Oloriel felt slightly overwhelmed at the task of recounting her tale in the language of Men. ***"It is... a long tale... I beg pardon, I am... unsure with this tongue."

Éomer's eyes rose in realization. "Oh, but of course. I must beg your pardon then, lady. I do not mean to pester you with difficult questions."

Oloriel shook her head. ***"No harm, my lord."


It was Oloriel's tentative friendship with Éomer that allowed her to over-hear a bit of information that set her mind on edge. One of the Rohirrim, evidently well acquainted with Éomer, closed in on his left flank and began a quiet conversation with him.

Oloriel felt that it would be impolite to listen in, so she did not strain to; however, an Elf's ears are an Elf's ears, and there was nothing that she could do about their acute receptivity.

One exchange in particular struck her notice: "So many men were lost at Helm's Deep... so many. And Erkenbrand* suffered more than a few casualties to his company. Where will we find more men?"

At these words, Oloriel's mind instantly shifted to Elladan. Thirty of the Dúnedain rode with him - more men. She smiled happily at this thought. Perhaps such aid would boost the spirits of the present company, many of whom, though stalwart and persistent, seemed weighed down with care.

And then another thought struck her. How would Elladan know where to find them? It seemed quite likely that the Rangers would go in a more southerly direction, toward Edoras, but Aragorn and Théoden were presently on their way to Helm's Deep, and who knew where to after that. She needed to warn him somehow.

With deep breaths she attempted to focus her mind. She had not attempted to contact Elladan in this way since she left Lothlórien, for she had felt that to do so would be a distraction, at a time when she needed to be always on the alert. Now it was time to flew the rusty instincts.


She did not feel anything for a moment, but then a soft whisper came back to her.

//'Riel, is that you?//

A small tingle of pleasure ran up and down Oloriel's spine. She loved the sound of his voice.

//Elladan, listen carefully... Edoras is not your destination. Make for the Fords of Isen... you will find Estel there//

A wave of confusion swamped her, before Elladan finally replied. //What? How can you know this?...And what map have you been looking at, mela {love}? We must cross the Fords in order to pass onto the fields of Rohan.//

Oloriel paused for a moment and then blushed faintly. //You're right, I need a better map.//

//But that's beside the point... How is it that you know of Aragorn's whereabouts?//

//I cannot tell you now...//

And this was indeed true, for just then Éomer looked back at her and exclaimed in alarm.
"Lady, are you alright!"

She looked up at him in confusion. ***"Yes, my lord, I am... well... why ask you?"

His eyes cleared at her assurance and his creased brow was smoothed. "It is just... your eyes, they had a strange light in them and a far away look. I feared that you would perhaps faint."

Oloriel smiled. ***"No, I am not harmed... it is... a way of Elves."

Éomer tried to appear as though he understood her meaning, but she could still see the uncertain look in his eyes. To him, Elves must seem a very strange folk.


Kallindo gently closed the door and then paused for a moment to assure himself that no one had been alerted to his movements. He had managed to escape the House of Healing and was now winding his way through several corridors and walkways in order to make it to his own flet. The healers would be unlikely to respond enthusiastically to his absence, and his heart raced irrationally at the thought of being apprehended before he reached his goal. Despite his toll of years he still felt rather like a naughty little elfling who is about to get caught for getting into the spiced apples.

An amused smirk crept across his face as he let his mind wander down this path. Time went by so quickly - it felt like only weeks, not centuries, since he was that elfling. Only this time, the prize was worth much more than spiced apples.

He had regained consciousness several days before, but a fog had continued to lay over his mind, and sleep claimed him much of the time. A few friends and family members had come to visit him at intervals, but it had only occurred to him the evening before that Oloriel was conspicuously absent. After this his mind had been much sharper, and he urged the healers to tell him of her whereabouts. Their manner did not inspire him with confidence, for they continually avoided answering his question and would take pains to divert his mind toward other things. However, their attempts were fruitless, for this silence worried him more than any explanation they could have made.

Finally, in the dead of night his diligence was rewarded. A younger, apprenticed healer had been watching that night, and he was able to wheedle the information out of her after some continuous pestering.

Oloriel was gone.

His mind still spun with the knowledge. How could she have been so reckless, so impulsive? Why had she done it? There didn't seem to be any reason for this madness. And yet, the madness had been carried out while he was tied to his bed, and now there was only one thing he could do: go find her and bring her back.

Having arrived at his flet, Kallindo slunk in and quickly began retrieving provision and weapons for his intended journey. He knew from his source that the two maidens had been seen going southward. This is where he would start, and he only hoped that the Valar would aid his cause and provide him with some further direction.

Kallindo was so busy collecting various articles to throw in his saddlebag that he didn't hear the door swing open. Not until a shadow fell across his bed did he realize there was someone else in the room.

His hands froze. With tensed muscles, he straightened up and turned to face his mysterious visitor. What he found surprised him. Írima stood before him, hands on hips, staring up at him with narrowed eyes a jaw firmly set.

"Just what is it you think you are doing?" she demanded of him.

He snorted unceremoniously and replied, "You know very well what I'm about, now leave me to it."

Írima's chin lifted slightly and she stared him down. "Do not be so foolish, penneth {young one}. You are not strong enough. You have only begun to walk again, how do expect to find her? She is out of our hands now."

Kallindo turned swiftly back to his packing, not wanting to hear her reason. He picked up a small dagger and made to thrust it into his pack, but without notice a small hand struck out and cast the weapon from his hand, causing it to go skittering across the floor until it ran into the leg-post of his wash basin.

With deliberate steps Kallindo moved over to the basin and retrieved his dagger, pointedly ignoring Írima as she stood with arms crossed, daring him to try again. And try again he did. Only this time Írima snatched up his parcel instead and held it firmly behind her back.

"I will not let you do this."

Rage and frustration welled up in Kallindo as he faced down the petite elf in front of him.

"You have no right!" he half-yelled, half-growled at her. "You don't understand, you have no idea-"

"Oh I have a fairly good idea, sir!" Írima cut in harshly. "You are not the only one who grieves for their foolhardy actions. My niece is gone as well as my dear friend, and Lantél pines after his sister. You are not the only Elf whose heart is overshadowed. But we cannot allow that to dictate our actions."

With lightening-quick maneuvering, Kallindo snatched his pack away from Írima's hands but then flung it across the room in his passion.

"Why not! My heart is what keeps me alive, and it torments me at the thought that she is out there, dead or on her way to death. If she dies I die!" As he spoke these words he sank down onto his knees. "There is no choice - I must... I must find her..."

A soft look stole across Írima's face as she witnessed the defeated air that draped itself across Kallindo's shoulders. Kneeling down in front of him, she took his face in her hands and kissed his brow.

"Kallindo... I have known you since you were a small boy. You are more than this despair that holds you captive. Do not lose hope, it is the only thing we have left. ...Come, you must go to Galadriel for she calls you, as she did Lantél. You are both brash young warriors, but sometimes we must watch and listen before we run out to fight. After you have laid your plans before the Lady, come visit the baby and I. We will comfort each other as best we can."

Several moments passed before Kallindo finally let out a weary sigh and then nodded reluctantly.

"Very well. I will go if I must."


"But how can you say that? She and Nessúlë cannot possibly survive out there!"

Kallindo began to pace distractedly in front of the Lady to try and expend his pent up energy. He hated this waiting and deliberation; he wanted desperately to take action of some sort.

//Possible?// Galadriel let the word hang in Kallindo's mind for a moment and he stopped his restless movement, turning back toward her, his eyes drawn irresistibly toward her own.

//Who can say what is possible? Telperion and Laurëlin* died, and yet the world is not yet cast into darkness...// Galadriel smiled kindly. "Oloriel walks her own path, she is now beyond our aid."

Kallindo's head sank toward his chest and he heaved a great shuddering sigh. He tried to say something, but all words seemed trifling and they stuck in his throat. Finally, Galadriel had pity on him and excused him from her company. However, before he passed the threshold of the chamber, he heard a last whisper in his mind.

//Do not grieve for that which is not yet dead.//

Without turning, he strode out of the room and began walking aimlessly through the trees.


Oloriel pulled her cloak more securely around her as she waited for the rest of the company to mount up. Nessúlë was beside her, quiet and somewhat shaken from recent events.

Sometime during the middle of the night they had all been awakened by a sharp, piercing cry. Pippin, the foolish Hobbit that he was, had been drawn to the palantír - the seeing stone of Orthanc - and been caught within the terrible gaze of the Eye. To add to this, as if such excitement hadn't been enough, the great shadow of a winged Nazgúl had descended upon them, striking a cold lance of fear into their hearts. At this revelation, Gandalf had scooped up a bewildered Pippin and ridden off with great speed on Shadowfax, urging them to ride with haste and not tarry.

With great speed, camp had been dismantled, and now, as the last riders mounted, Théoden and Aragorn lead the way, on the last stretch toward the Fords.


She felt it, a strange pulse through her mind. Looking up at the stars in confusion she swayed slightly in her saddle as the vibration became more persistent. Something was happening.

With a clouded mind, Oloriel pulled up her horse as those around her came to a halt. She heard the voice of Éomer, as though he were very far off, calling out: "Halt! Who rides in Rohan?"

This brought her mind slightly back into focus. Looking out onto the path from which they had come, Oloriel spied a group of hooded men on horseback. `Elladan!' she thought. Her heart beat a rapid dance as she witnessed the exchange of formal greetings. Where was he?

Trying to push aside the throbbing wave that pushed against her mind, Oloriel peeked around the Rohirrim in front of her to scan the solemn gray riders. They were all hooded! This would not do at all.

Her head hurt unmercifully, but she continued her search. There! She smiled dizzily as she saw a figure in the crowd, craning his head this way and that, as though looking for something... or someone. `Mayhap he feels my presence,' Oloriel mused.

She did not have much more time to linger on these thoughts as the hooded figure passed his gaze across her. For in that moment, the whole world went dark.


As their gazes collided, both Elves swayed and fell from their horses in shocking synchronism. Luckily, in both cases, hands were nearby and quick to respond to the crisis. With stunned expressions, both of them were caught and laid gently onto the ground.

Théoden and Aragorn were somewhat startled this sudden movement and broke of their conversation with Halbarad.

"What trickery is upon us now?" Théoden asked in a bewildered tone.

Aragorn shook his head slowly. "I know not," he replied, then looked to Nessúlë, where she sat cradling the head of Oloriel. "Know you anything of this lady?"

She shook her head. ***"I am confused, as you."

"And I too," Elrohir spoke up, pushing back his hood. His gaze held Nessúlë's for a moment, before turning back to his brother. "He seems to be merely in a deep sleep."

Théoden shook his head. "We cannot linger over this mystery. Glad we are that you have come, for the kinsmen of Aragorn must be mighty warriors, indeed. Your aid is most welcome. But we must make haste and not tarry. Lady Nessúlë, can you support your friend in front of you as we ride?"

***"Aye, my lord."

The same accommodations were made for Elladan with Elrohir, allowing them to continue their journey into the night with no further delays. They reached Helm's Deep as the sky in the east began to soften with the coming of the sun.


For the first time in their lives, Elladan and Oloriel were truly unconscious. They had no memory of their time asleep, other than a sense of warmth, until for a moment they saw each other across a great void.

Elladan called out to her. "What is happening to us now?"

Without a word, Oloriel merely shook her head, and then with a brilliant flash, Elladan was torn away from her, being cast back into the world and starting awake with gasping breath.

For a moment Elladan merely lay where he was, trying to understand what had just happened. His mind could not make any sense of it. To make him even more confused, he found himself in a room built of stone, lying prostrate on a thin mat, with bleary morning sunshine falling on him through a tiny sliver of a window. All of his questions were silenced, however, when he heard a soft shifting beside him. Turning his head slightly, his mind and body both froze as he took in the sight before him.

Oloriel law next to him, her hair splayed out around her, still asleep and breathing softly.

Elladan could not move. His mind screamed at him that this was just another dream, and that if he disturbed it he would forever lose the lovely vision in front of him.

She was so real. That is what astounded him. In the dreamscape there was always a certain ethereal air about everything - as though a transparent film hung between you and the rest of the world. Everything you touched, or heard, or saw was somewhat otherworldly and ultimately unapproachable.

But here she was. At least, he desperately hoped that she was. The thoughts of why or how she got there had not entered his mind yet - that would be for another, more practical time.

With baited breath he finally scrounged up the nerve to reach out and touch her. The skin of her cheek felt warm and soft and alive. He couldn't help it as a dazed smile crept across his face. She was real!

As if in a trance, he scooted closer to her and began softly running his hand through her hair. It was lighter in hue then he remembered it, but then dreams were not always consistent with reality. He could also smell a gentle fragrance wafting from the locks of hair. It struck him anew, for he had always thought that she smelled of lilacs, but now it was more like... oh, he couldn't pin it down, but it was different - fuller - better. Without thinking, he leaned down a placed a soft kiss on her lips.

Yes, that was definitely better.

Oloriel's eyes began to refocus as she was drawn from slumber. Elladan waited impatiently for her to recognize him. He knew that she had, as a drowsy smile began to spread across her face.

"Elladan," she whispered, and then reached a hand up to tuck one of his small, dark braids behind his ear, then resting on his cheek.

Wordlessly, Elladan turned his face into her palm and kissed it. Then he leaned down again and kissed her hair, her forehead, her cheek, and her nose, smiling like a fool as he did so.

Oloriel returned his brilliant smile, and half-cried, half-laughed out, "You came!"

Elladan's smile broadened, if that was possible. "And if I had known you were here, melorpân meleth nín {my dearest love}, I would have come much, much faster."

And thereupon, he kissed her quite properly. A kiss of devotion, and longing, and love, the memory of which would bring a smile to both of their faces for the rest of their immortal lives.


1. Telperion and Laurëlin are the Two Trees of Valinor that gave light to the world. Telperion was silvery while Laurëlin was golden. Melkor/Morgoth destroyed them, but before they died, Yavanna (Valar of growing things) salvaged a blossom from each tree and created the moon (from Telperion) and the sun (from Laurëlin).

2. This passage was taken directly out of The Two Towers: Book III: Chapter IX: "Flotsam and Jetsam".

3. For those who aren't as familiar with book canon, Erkenbrand was another Marshall (or a commander of some sort) who was actually stationed with a company at Helm's Deep to guard the Westfold. However, he was out on a campaign with his company when Théoden went to Helm's Deep. It was Erkenbrand, not Éomer, who rode into the valley of Helm's Deep to bring aid to Théoden and to turn the tides of battle.

Things to Know:

penneth: "young one" --- from pen: "one" (pronoun) and neth: "young"
mel-or-pân meleth nín: literally, "dear-above-all love my"

That's all folks...

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