To Dream - Ch34: Hope Beyond Hope

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

`*' signals a footnote
`***' signals a line spoken by Oloriel or Nessúlë in the Common Tongue, of which they are not extremely fluent.

A/N: Chapter 33 got kind of lost in the sauce b/c TORC uploaded a lot of stuff really quickly so here's a
link
in case you missed it. You will want to read it before moving on.


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Chapter 34.) Hope Beyond Hope

***
A flash of smoldering flame and fire
Ignites the East. Then, higher, higher,
O'er all the sky so gray, forlorn,
The torch of gold is borne.

- Otto Leland Bohanan
***

Recap: Aragorn leads an army of seven thousand toward to Morannon*. Oloriel is among the host. Nessúlë was forced to stay behind at Minis Tirith in the Houses of Healing because of a serious leg injury. Two days have passed since the last chapter.


Nessúlë let out a mild imprecation under her breath as she slumped clumsily back down onto the narrow bed. Against the express wishes of her attendant healer, she had tried once again to stand. And, once again, the attempt had been met with ill success. Her restless spirit was beginning to grow unbearable and it irked her to be abed. However, as her latest attempt seemed to have proven, she did not have much of an alternative.

A flurry of white had caught Nessúlë's eye through the open door of the chamber just as her injured leg gave way beneath her. She cringed as she heard the steps of the milky-clad figure slow, pause, and then retrace their path, fearing that it was another nurse come to scold her. There was something incredibly undignified about being chided by a person centuries younger than oneself.

As Nessúlë silently berated herself for her lack of concealment, a golden head came into view around the post of the doorway. Pale blue eyes met her gray ones. Recognition passed over the two ladies' faces as they beheld one another.

"I may not be versed in your tongue," the Woman began, "but I am not mistaken, I think, in assuming that your recent declaration was of a... less than delicate nature. But you appear to be unharmed?" There was a slight question in her voice.

Nessúlë slanted an eyebrow at her unexpected visitor, sensing the slight amusement in her words even before she had deciphered there meaning.

***"Yes, Lady Éowyn... Elves are made not of glass, or light... even one of the Elder Child may..." she shrugged carelessly, "want for grace."

The corners of Éowyn's thin, pale lips twitched almost imperceptibly. She looked at Nessúlë's precarious position on the edge of her bed and at the small stool that had been toppled over. Finally, she let her mouth form a wry smile as she cast an appraising glance over Nessúlë. "I gather that you are restless as well. I see now that I am not the only one caged... and at least I have the use of my legs."

Nessúlë's eyes flitted to Éowyn's injured arm, which still rested in a sling. She nodded her head in acquiescence.

"I go to speak with the keeper of this House, to see if he will free me," the Lady of Rohan continued with a turbulent light in her eyes. "Might I inquire for anything on your behalf?"

Nessúlë pondered the question for a moment. ***"I see in your eyes... you are not... hopeful of your wish being honored." She looked around the room wistfully before continuing. ***"Neither do I hope much... but I ask for... a walking staff."

Éowyn smiled sardonically and murmured under her breath. "That will not aid you in escaping this place."

The elleth was disturbed by the bitterness in the Woman's voice, and also saddened by it. ***"Nay, it will not allow escape... But it may allow me to... reach the door, to walk straight. That is a beginning."

The Lady nodded softly and departed. Nessúlë continued to watch the doorway that had once been occupied, her brows furrowed slightly. `Such despair I see in her. However she might despise it, she may need rescuing in the end.'


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

At the end of the second day's march, the army of Minis Tirith set up camp at the Crossroads of the Fallen King. Oloriel watched with approbation as Aragorn commanded the fallen and marred statue to be set up again. It seemed fitting to repair some of the damage done by the enemy as they moved through this once abundant land.

She found even more satisfaction in the trees. A great ring of tall, sturdy hardwoods surrounded the Crossroads. She had expected all such life to be destroyed by the Orcs, but here they stood, somewhat marked and damaged, but still healthy and strong. As an Elf she took an intimate joy in nature and she was certain that it would grieve her to see the destruction that was to come along their path. But it would also bring her comfort to know that not all was lost. She let her eyes wander westward and southward. Yes, there was still much that was good and green on the earth. Letting her hair free of the leather cord that had bound it, Oloriel closed her eyes and let the soft wind play with her flaxen locks. And for one brief moment a true peace settled into her heart. But the serenity did not last long. Someone called her name and suddenly the mulling sounds of the army, the brooding clouds over head, and the stench of the air assaulted her senses once more. A dull ache settled into her body.

"Oloriel," Elladan called out to her again as he came to a halt a few steps away from her. "The vanguard will ride with Estel to the Morgul Vale. Do you come?"

Oloriel felt an onslaught of his emotions throbbing through her mind. Obviously he had mixed feelings about her attendance.

She smiled sadly and began to bind her hair back up in the leather cord that she still held. "I will not leave your side, nor would I leave Estel's. I am coming."

Elladan nodded swiftly and turned away from her, moving to ready his horse. Oloriel could still feel the poorly checked emotions that were rattling around in his spirit. On impulse she ran after him and stayed him with a hand on his shoulder.

"What is it you fear? Is there any more danger in Minis Morgul than I have faced already on the Paths of the Dead, at Pelargir, or amidst the Battle of Pelennor? Do I not ride with you to the very gates of Mordor? "

Elladan shook his head slowly. "I hardly know why I allowed you to come with me all this while... except perhaps that I could not bear to be without you. But that is a very selfish reason for bringing you to such a place." His eyes looked straight ahead toward the dank, jagged ridges of the Ephel Dúath* and he fell silent.

Oloriel stepped closer and leant her head against the back of his shoulder. //Do not think that I have come here for your sake alone, meleth nín. Have you not stopped to think that I would find your absence equally unbearable? Do you think I could have watched you leave, knowing that I might never see you again in this land? Knowing that you might suffer the pangs of death without me by your side?//

Elladan sighed. "I know the logic of your words, but my heart does not believe them. It will only be pacified by the end of this war, when I may take you home... as my..."

Oloriel's heart quickened and she raised her head from Elladan's shoulder waiting for him to finish speaking. But what he said next was neither what she had expected nor what she had hoped for.

Turning around, Elladan took both her hands in his. "Nay, I will not speak the words yet. They are more fit for happier days." Then, letting the fingers of his right hand trail down her cheek, he turned again to call his horse to him.

Oloriel stood still for several moments trying to understand what had just passed. Was Elladan prepared to ask for her pledge, to become her betrothed? She flinched slightly at the thought. Apparently he wasn't. But why this was so, she could not say. To her mind she couldn't think of anything more comforting, as they stood on the brink of everything that they have ever known, than to rest in the assurance that she belonged to him and he to her. She didn't understand Elladan's reasoning, and his thoughts were so jumbled at the moment that she couldn't read them very well.

The company was being gathered together, and so she forced herself to stir from her daze. Walking off in search of her horse she straightened her shoulders and put a firm resolution in her steps. She would just have to make sure that they both got through this alive so that Elladan could finally finish what he had started.

The Morgule Vale was indeed a terror. But in the end, Elladan's fears seemed to have been groundless. The place was mostly deserted, having been emptied of its hosts and bereaved of its lord. And while the place could still drive a palpable fear into the minds of Men and Elves alike, there was no eminent danger. At Aragorn's command, the bridge crossing the fetid waters was cast down and the putrid fields were set aflame. It seemed a fitting way to purge the land of such heavy evil.


~ Four days later ~

The icy dread that Oloriel had experienced in the Morgul Vale was nothing compared to the raw panic that she saw shining from the eyes of several of the Men around her. They had passed the borders of the living land and were now surrounded by the harsh desolation that lay before the Pass of Cirith Gorgor. A deep layer of horror seemed to permeate all the lands, sending quite a few of the Men into a stupor a fear, being unable to either walk or ride forward. It was not many minutes before Aragorn halted the company and turned a sympathetic eye upon the Men. It was through no fault of their own that the Dark One's influence was able to paralyze them.

"Go!" said Aragorn, "But keep what honour you may, and do not run! And there is a task which you may attempt and so be not wholly shamed."*

Then Aragorn spoke of the fortification at Cair Andros, and how the Men who so chose could be of use in driving out the last remnants of the Black Forces from that isle. Some of the Men were shamed by his kindness and so found the strength within themselves to stay with the company, and others were greatly heartened that they might be able to acquit themselves with some honor, though not in the way that they had set out to do.

Oloriel had not thought that she could admire Estel more that she had, but this display of his compassionate wisdom increased her respect for him nonetheless. How could one feel despair for the race of Men when there was such a Man as Estel?

`If he should ever come to his kingship,' she mused, `I will do anything I am able to help him and his country prosper. And even now, I long for him to come to such days of peace.'

Elladan seemed to understand her thoughts and likewise she perceived his approval. They looked at one another and knew that, at least in this, there were of one mind. They would aid Estel even if it cost them their very lives.

Little conversation passed that day for all were weighed down by the shadows of the mountains. That evening they made camp to the north and east of the Gate. Needless to say, spirits that night were greatly subdued. The mire and slag that filled the valley was itself enough to depress the spirits.

Elladan shivered as he stood on watch. This was a most unnatural place for an Elf to be and he would rejoice when the day came to depart. This thought made him equally uncomfortable, for in reality there was more than one way to leave this valley behind.

The watch change came well after midnight, leaving Elladan only a few hours to find rest. He felt the strong urge to lie next to Oloriel as he had after the Battle of Pelennor, to let her warmth dissipate the unnatural chill. But he wasn't sure if he should do so without her consent. It took only a fraction of a moment to realize that this was a needless worry. As soon as he entered the Path of Dreams he would be with her again and she would hardly take offense. With this assurance he stole his way through the camp and found where she lay. He looked on her sleeping face and thought that the stars looked beautiful in her eyes. It may have been more responsible of him to not leave her behind, but he was glad that she was there now. And he prayed that she would still be there after the deeds of the coming morning.


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

A few rays of bleary morning sunshine pierced the thick blanket of clouds overhead. The embassage of Sauron had come forth from the gate carrying the tokens of the Hobbits and demanding all sorts of subservience from the Men of the West. The hearts of the company were disheartened by the apparent knowledge of the Halflings, but not overthrown. They refused to bow to the demands of the Dark Lord.

Elladan whispered a fervent prayer to the Valar as the drumbeats began to echo between the mountains. The Mouth of Sauron was fleeing with his entourage back through the Morannon and now the stage was set. A great host began to pour forth from the Black Gate and from the East, in the shadows of Ered Lithui*, there rose up a host of the Easterlings to flank the Army of the West.

In short time there company, now dwindled to around six thousand, was surrounded by the dark host, like a beleaguered rowboat in the midst of a tumultuous sea. It seemed to be the end of all things.

But Elladan refused to let this shadow overtake his heart. Casting one last look across the face of his beloved, he braced himself alongside his brother and the Dúnedain to await the first wave of their foes. All his strength was needed to withstand that first shock.

Great hill-trolls of Gorgoroth led the onslaught, crashing into the line of Men and Elves. Elladan worked to focus his mind on the task at hand, to shut out all else but the movements of his enemy. However, a soft persistent presence in his mind reminded him that he was not alone. As they had on the Pelennor, Oloriel and Elladan began to fight almost as one, working with deadly precision to fend off their foes. Oloriel was greatly disadvantaged in this fight, but with wit she acquitted herself well in many encounters. The only problem was that the enemy never stopped advancing, never faltered. The Army of the West was slowly drowning in an overwhelming sea of black hatred and soon despair began to grasp at the hearts of all the company.

And then something happened that, for Elladan, made everything infinitely worse. In the hustle and din of the battle, he and Oloriel were swept apart. Within but a few moments they found themselves separated by several yards of moving bodies and were both somewhat disoriented because of it. When Elladan finally caught his bearings there was only one thought on his mind: to reach Oloriel as quickly as possible. He knew that she could not survive long on her own and his heart raced with this knowledge. Dodging his way recklessly through the throng, and being thoroughly fixated by his goal, he did not pause to take account of his own safety. And this was why he provided the hill-troll with such an excellent target.

Just as he caught sight of Oloriel's golden head a massive club crashed down across his shoulders, impacting with his head and back, and puncturing his left shoulder with one of its protruding spikes. Before he even had the chance to cry out the world went black and he fell to the battlefield.

The hill-troll reached out hungrily toward his newest victim, hoping to take a taste of the Elvish flesh before moving on. He had hoisted Elladan's upper body off the ground by grasping the Elf's dark locks and was sniffing appreciatively at the fresh meat when his movements were stopped by the cold bite of a blade.

Oloriel, nearly mad with fright and anger, had summoned all her strength to bear down upon the troll. She experienced a sort of crazed pleasure as her Elven blade tore through the flesh of the troll's stomach, going in up to the hilt. The moment was quick, however, and was shattered as the troll's stunned eyes met her own. There fading light made her shiver and the gore that was oozing out onto her hands made her want to vomit. With a raw cry she drew her blade out and let the tortured creature fall heavily to the earth. One of its great arms fell across the crumpled form of Elladan. Oloriel moved quickly to drag her beloved away from the stinking corpse, but she did not have time to turn him over as the battle continued to rage around her. Leaving him where he lay, face down on the ground, she braced herself over his body and swore to defend him against the whole host of Mordor if need be.

For several minutes she fended off all those who tried to approach, and indeed, there was a harsh light in her eyes that seemed to discourage the common Orcs from even attempting to assault her. Another troll had come, but she had chased it off with her last two arrows and a throwing knife. Elrohir, appearing as if from nowhere began to aid her as well, stricken by what he thought was the loss of his brother, but even more determined to claim vengeance against the foe. And it was well that he did come, for shortly afterward, Oloriel received her own injury.

An Easterling dart had found its way into her right thigh, causing her to loose the use of her leg. She stumbled to the earth and lost her grip on her blade. Uncertain of what else she could do, she crawled over to where Elladan's body lay in the dirt and covered it with her own, using her light Elven cloak to staunch the bleeding of his wound. Tears began to stream down her cheeks and into his hair. //Is this how it shall be?// she questioned, trying to reach out to him with her mind. There was only a vague responding emotion, and though it gave her hope for his life, it made her sorry that she would not be able to say good-bye.

//At least I am with you, here are the end. Namárië, melleth nín, aen govannim ad athan i'mýr o sen ëa {Farewell, my love, may we meet again beyond the shadows of this world}.//

Darkness began to creep over Oloriel and she did not have the will to fight it. As her mind fled inward on itself she thought that she heard a great shouting rise up, but payed it no heed and sank further into herself, eyes glazing over in exhaustion.

"The Eagles are coming!" Gandalf's echoing voice rung jubilantly in the air. And many others took up the cry as well. The Eagles are coming! The Eagles are coming!


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

Nessúlë turned her gaze from the noble pair with a hint of reflection in her eyes. She had seen the Lady Éowyn converse with Lord Faramir on a several occasions and wondered what lay there. The Rohirric Woman was still so cold and Nessúlë wondered what comfort could be found for the new Steward's grief-ladened heart in that sort of companionship. Éowyn was undoubtedly a noble lady, strong and valiant, but to Nessúlë's mind her presence did not carry with it a healing balm, but a festering sadness. Perhaps the Lord Steward could help the Lady, but she had little hope that the Lady would be able to repay the debt in kind.

As she cast her gaze back toward the eastern horizon Nessúlë couldn't help but reform her thoughts somewhat. With such a grim vista perhaps the companionship of anything living was preferable to solitude. She could not help it as a shudder ran down her spine. The view was foreboding indeed. For a moment the wind seemed to taunt her, asking her in mocking tones whether she was happy with her new acquisition.

Nessúlë gazed down at her new walking staff quizzically. It was indeed a mixed blessing. Three days before the Warden of the House had finally given in to her plea and allowed her this small means of exercise; now she was faced with the dark results. A chill crept into her bones which the cool wind could not entirely account for. Uncertain lay in the air like a hovering mist. She felt that something was happening - an action of great import. Perhaps the battle had begun, or perhaps it was merely the calm before the storm.

As her dark locks whipped around her neck, Nessúlë turned her face more directly into the wind. She had caught a snatch of conversation between the Man and Woman nearby and could not help herself from wanting to hear more. It was a distraction at least.

"But come, my friend, let us not speak of it!" Éowyn was saying, "Let us not speak at all! I stand upon some dreadful brink, and it is utterly dark in the abyss before my feet, but whether there is any light behind me I cannot tell. For I cannot turn yet, I wait for some stroke of doom."*

"Yes, we wait for the stroke of doom,' said Faramir.*

As he spoke the words, Nessúlë felt a deadly calm steal into the air. The noises of the city became distant, and then fell utterly silent. Her limbs felt heavy and it was weary to stand. She tried to move away from the wall, but her body would not obey her command, as if she were frozen in ice and was looking through the transparent frost onto an equally frozen world. Time halted. Even the beating of her own heart seemed to loose itself in the void of silence.

Then presently it seemed that above the ridges of the distant mountains another vast mountain of darkness rose, towering up like a wave that should engulf the world, and about it lightenings flickered; and then a tremor ran through the earth, and they felt the walls of the City quiver. A sound like a sigh went up from the lands about and her heart beat suddenly again.*

The dark wave had blown away, as if swept aside by the soft wind. And for the first time in many days the gray clouds began to part and the unsullied rays of the sun fell clear and free onto Nessúlë's face. A joy began to creep into her spirit that she could not deny. It seemed as though the whole earth was singing and she could feel the rhythm in her very bones. She felt like dancing and shouting, but was so lost in wonder that she knew no what to do. What had happened? Oh how she wished she knew!

Thankfully, it was not many more hours before she and the rest of the city heard of what they so desired to know. For the Eagles came and spread the sweet news. And there was much singing and much dancing until voices were hoarse and feet were weary. For the dominion of Sauron was no more. The dark tower was cast down, and the light of the sun gleamed with renewed brilliance. There would be another dawn for Men, and great was the rejoicing in the White City that day.


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

Elladan's mind was weary. He had walked long in the blackness and knew not which way to turn. Sometimes he would be taunted with the far-off murmur of Oloriel's voice or the vague image of her form, but it was always snatched from him, and he continued to walk aimlessly in the confines of his own darkened mind. He knew that he must still be alive, but he also lacked the strength of will to wake up. He was lost. And it was some time later before he found his way again, when, with an exhausting surge of will he broke from the realm of dreams.

The world came back slowly and the light hurt his eyes. It seemed too bright, much too bright, but he couldn't focus his mind on this fact. For several moments he simply tried to quiet the storm that was raging inside his head.

After the light, and the throbbing pain of his body, the first thing he became aware of was the weight that seemed to be pressing down upon him. It was not a painful pressure, but it was confusing. He was puzzling over this mystery when his thoughts were interrupted.

"Elladan, you are awake. Oh thank Eru!" Elrohir fell to his knees beside his brother. The battle was only recently ended, and the uninjured Elf had left for a few moments to find what he would need to tend his brother's, and Oloriel's, wounds. "I tried to wake you before but your mind was far from me - much too far for me to reach you."

It took a few moments for Elladan to process these few words. Finally, he managed to speak on his own, though his throat was rather parched. "Why is everything so bright?" He winced as he spoke. It appeared that talking made the throbbing in his head worse.

Elrohir beamed. "My dear brother, Sauron is overthrown! The Ringbearer destroyed the power of the Dark Lord! The One Ring is no more!"

Despite the discomfort that Elrohir's loud exclamations brought to his pounding head, Elladan could not help but grin widely. Beyond all hope, hope had been reborn. He let out a deep breath and closed his eyes to the world. Beneath his eyelids a single tear escaped and trailed down to the earth.

Peace. Could it really be? How was it possible? He knew very well that it shouldn't have been possible. And yet the song of hope reverberated within him and he knew it was true. The joy that he felt was beyond words and for a moment thoughts escaped him. But, when they returned, the first object that they rested on was Oloriel.

Elladan's eyes flew open. "Elrohir, where is Oloriel?" His voice was somewhat frantic, for the events of the battle had begun to return to him. "Is she well?" He was met with the untamed laughter of his brother.

"Why don't you see for yourself," Elrohir replied once his mirth had died down. "She is, after all, lying on top of you."

Elladan's fuzzy mind tried to grapple with this thought, and then he became conscious once again of the weight against him.

Elrohir's voice softened as he began to move the still unconscious form of Oloriel off of his brother's back. "She's taken a dart in the leg, though from appearances it isn't poisoned... She protected you, Elladan, stood over you and fought off the enemy like she was a hero come out of the Ancient Days." He shook his head incredulously. "When she took her injury she crawled over to you and began tending that wound on your shoulder, then she just shielded you as best she could and fainted away." Elrohir placed a hand on Elladan's arm as his brother began to sit up and captured his gaze. "Elladan, as your brother I give you a very solemn piece of wisdom."

Elladan raised his eyebrow quizzically and waited for Elrohir to continue.

Elrohir looked down at Oloriel and smiled fondly. "I think you ought to marry this elleth as quickly as you can before she gets away. You'll never find anyone like her again."

With these words of advice spoken, he moved wordlessly and began to bandage his brother's shoulder. When this procedure was completed he turned to attend the elleth. As he worked, tearing away the bloodied cloth and cleaning around the arrow, he couldn't keep from smiling. Out of the corner of his eye he could see his brother still staring at Oloriel as he been for the past several minutes. Just looking, as if he had never really seen her before.

"You may want to hold her," Elrohir finally interrupted his brothers reverie, "I am about to pull the dart out."

Elladan was propelled into motion by these words. Reaching beneath her head with his good arm, he raised Oloriel up enough so that her face was lying against his chest. He wrapped his arm around her waist and held her firmly against him. Unsurprisingly, when Elrohir yanked the dart out her thigh, Oloriel woke up.

"Ai!" her cry was somewhat piercing and sent Elladan's head spinning and his vision wavering. He had the urge to shake his head and clear it of the cobwebs, but he was fairly certain that this would only make his condition worse.

The way that Oloriel continue to murmur incoherently convinced Elladan that she was not yet thoroughly lucid. "Shh," he whispered, bending his head down to place a kiss on the crown of her head. "Wake up, Oloriel, the nightmare is over." He called out to her with his mind as well and helped her to regain her sense of reality.

Her eyes began to focus and she hissed in pain. Elrohir continued to dress the wound despite her discomfort, knowing that it was better to press through to the end. The wound was very raw, but once it was wrapped up well Oloriel's discomfort would lessen dramatically.

As her will began to waken within her, Oloriel stuffed the pain away and began to look around the field in confusion. Her eyes fell on Elrohir and then she looked up and beheld Elladan, her eyes widened perceptibly as she took him in. She blinked several times and looked back and forth between him, his brother, and the field, obviously finding it hard to comprehend the reality of the situation. "What happened? Why are we still here?

Elladan smiled. "I am perhaps not the best person to answer your question, as I slept through all of the miraculous events, but suffice it to say that, beyond all hope, the Ringbearer triumphed. The shadow has passed... Sauron is no more."

A light blossomed in Oloriel's eyes and laughter bubbled up from her heart. But too soon, it turned to shaking sobs. It was too much to take in at once, and she was so tired, and so relieved, and so hurt and broken that it was really the only sensible thing to do. Elladan smiled slightly and just held her, letting her lean against him. As the two embraced, Elrohir made an inconspicuous exit feeling fairly certain that neither one would notice his absence.

When she finally gained control of herself, Oloriel looked up at Elladan bashfully. "I am sorry; this is no time to lose control of myself."

Elladan laughed. "No, no. I think it is the perfect time to lose control, when an army of Orcs is no longer at your throat and all the weight of the world has been lifted from your weary shoulders... Do not give me that shamefaced look, I do not think any less of you because of an overwrought heart. We all of us suffer from that malady today." He paused and looked at her seriously. "You can never loose my respect, `Riel, not after what you did today. You have proven your mettle."

Oloriel looked down into her lap. "Aye, but you did suffer as you did for my sake. This would not have happened if I had not been here. I hate to be the cause of such pain."

Elladan's heart seemed to fill to its breaking point as she spoke. "Nay, do not say such things!" He captured her face between his hands and let his thumbs wipe away the remnants of tears from her cheeks. "You have been the cause of such immeasurable joy to me that I can never pay enough homage to you. Never believe that your presence is anything but a blessing. I will be forever grateful that you were here with me on this great day of gladness."

The elleth stared back at him with wondering eyes, overcome somewhat by his strong confession. Smiling timidly, she reached up and drew his hands away from her face, clasping them in her own and kissing them. This seemed the only way to express herself since she had failed for words.

For one tenuous moment silence hung between them as they sat gazing at one another. Then, with an impulse born from long-suppressed desire, Elladan grasped Oloriel's hands more firmly and began to speak the words that would change his life forever.

"I am overwhelmed by you, `Riel. You were so unlooked for, and yet you are now so cherished. And through no virtue of my own could I have ever devised such a happy meeting. I find myself so incredibly in love with you..." He captured her face in his hands once again and placed a light kiss on her lips. "And it is after all a much happier time..." He tilted his head and smiled a crooked smile while Oloriel sat frozen in anticipation. "Will you be my wife, dream maiden?"

To Oloriel's great satisfaction she restrained herself from bawling like a child... just barely. Several tears did chart a course down her face, but when Elladan was sufficiently assured by the disjointed exclamations of joy that poured from Oloriel's mouth that yes, she would marry him, and yes, she was the happiest she-Elf in all of Arda, he made sure to kiss away each and every one of them before they fell to the ground. He also paid special attention to those sliding down across the edges of her lips, which you can imagine, led to other pleasant pursuits.

From a discreet distance Elrohir watched this joyful occurrence unfold and smiled in a very self-satisfied way. It was only as the incident began to stretch out to an almost indecent length that he began to shake his head in annoyance. After all, that was his future sister being fondled! He felt an odd sense of protectiveness well up within him.

He would have to have a talk with Elladan.

***
1. Ephel Dúath - "Mountains of Shadow"

2. Lines from Return of the King: Book 5: Chapter X: The Black Gate Opens

3-5. Lines from Return of the King: Book 6: Chapter V: The Steward and the King

6. Ered Lithui - "Ash Mountains"


Things to Know:

Namárië, melleth nín, aen govad-(i)m ad athan i'mýr o sen ëa = literally, "Farewell, love my, may(it be) meet-we again beyond the-shadows of this earth."

Govadim => govad = "meet", -m = "we"

Ëa => Is Ëa the whole earth or just Middle Earth? I can't remember and don't have the energy to look it up. *shrugs*

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