To Dream - Ch35: Tying Up Loose Ends

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.

Chapter 35.) Tying Up Loose Ends

Life is a complicated dance
Full of melancholy minor strains
And joyful pirouette campaigns
That set the heart on fire

- Iluvien (I couldn't find any appropriate lines for this chapter, so I just made some up)

Recap: The battle for Middle Earth has been won. Elladan finally asked Oloriel to marry him... and she said yes.

In the aftermath of the final battle, Elven aid had been sorely needed to tend the wounded and weary. It was therefore unfortunate that two of the four Elves among the company had been injured themselves. In spite of this drawback, both Elladan and Oloriel helped as they could. They were still both capable of providing counsel and intoning the healing chants. And Oloriel, unlike her betrothed, still retained the full use of her arms and hands, though she could not walk about among the wounded.

Elladan and Oloriel were finally relieved of their duties when the core of the army relocated to the Fields of Cormallen, east of Cair Andros. Several troops were still abroad hunting down the last vestiges of the Dark Army, but for the time being, much of the Western forces regrouped among the verdant hills of Northern Ithilien.

After basking in the joyous green of the living landscape for a time, the objective that Oloriel's mind fixed itself upon during the first evening of their sojourn was a bath. She had not truly bathed in over two weeks and the desire, however frivolous, was tremendously tempting. It was decided upon that Elladan and a young messenger boy from Cair Andros should accompany her. It was Elrohir who had suggested the boy, partly because both she and Elladan were still recovering from their injuries, and partly as an insurance of propriety. He probably would have accompanied them himself had not his healing skills still been required.

Having lost her own horse in the battle, Elladan placed Oloriel in front of him on the trip out to the brook and back. On the return journey, the Elf, having no desire to quickly rejoin the camp, let his horse wander as it would, walking and taking occasional pause to nibble at the green grass. It was this extremely relaxed pace that had driven the poor message boy to distraction and caused him to ride ahead back toward the encampment.

Oloriel breathed in deeply as the cool, fragrant air of Ithilien sifted through her damp hair. The night was beautiful with the fullness of spring. She could just hear the fading hoof-beats of the boy's horse and it made her smile in amusement. In all honesty, she supposed that Elladan and she were somewhat exasperating to be around.

Elladan tightened his arm around Oloriel's waist, causing her to lean into him more and rest the back of her head against his good shoulder. He settled his cheek against her cool hair and nudged the horse gently forward.

"Do you have no family on these shores?" Elladan questioned softly.

Oloriel sighed and closed her eyes against the dusky sky. "Nay, I have told you that before. One dead and two gone, and my father's family departed. I do not know much of my mother's family, but I believe that they are also gone." She turned her head to look up at him. "Why do you ask?"

He looked ahead on the trail. "Will you marry me without your family's support?"

Shaking her head, Oloriel laughed. //You ask me this now?//

Elladan smiled sadly. "I only just began to think about it. It seems ill fate to be alone on the day of your binding, with no kin to attend you."

Oloriel nodded. "Aye, in some ways it is. But this is not the first time such a thing has been done. And when my father left he told me to find a mate as I would." She smiled and let her hand trail through the leaves of the tall bushes they were passing. "Being young at the time I was rather aghast at his suggestion. I did not find the thought of binding myself very appealing. I wanted always to be young and free as the wind."

//And what do you want now?// Elladan asked silently, leaning down to nuzzle her cheek.

"You," she replied simply. //...And a nice warm bed, and a cozy fire, and several days of rest, and some clean clothes.// Her head found its place again on his shoulder as her eyelids drooped heavily. "Yes... that is all I want."

Elladan smiled down on her and urged the horse forward again. "A bed will be hard to come by, melleth nín, but a fire I can manage."


Elladan slid from behind Oloriel carefully as she regained awareness. He held his left arm against his chest, the shoulder still tender, but reached up his good arm to help Oloriel down. When her eyes had regained their focus she looked at him quizzically.

"A fine pair we make, mellnín {my dear}," she grinned wryly. "I do not think I can get down safely with only your poor injured self to support me."

"Here, let me help you." Elrohir came up behind his brother and gently but firmly nudged him out of the way. Oloriel swung her good leg over the horse so that she was sitting sideways across its back and with strong ease Elrohir lifted her down to the ground, sliding his arm around her waist to support her as she regained her footing. Then, without another word, he led Oloriel off to where a very small, makeshift tent had been raised for her. Giving her strict instructions to lie down and rest, he turned back to his brother with a sly look. Elladan did not look quite as pleased with himself.

"You seem to be always sweeping my lady away from me, brother," he muttered glumly.

A grin spread across Elrohir's face. "You noticed that, did you?"

"What are you about?" Elladan questioned narrowly.

Elrohir's eyes twinkled. "Brotherly offices, that's all... brotherly offices. Someone has to act on behalf of my sister-to-be."

Elladan shook his head, though a small smile had begun to inch across his face. "Well, brother, I will remember your dutiful services when you yourself find a mate. I would not want to be out-done, now would I?"

Laughing bitterly, Elrohir looked up at the stars and sighed. Elladan was somewhat taken aback by this unexpected reaction.

"I don't think I shall ever find a mate..." Elrohir whispered softly before turning back to his brother. "Which is, I suppose, why I must garner as much enjoyment from your betrothal as I can. But do not worry, I will not plague you forever." Elrohir rubbed the back of his neck and turned away before whispering almost inaudibly. "I want you both to be happy."

Elladan watched with a suddenly weighed down heart as his brother moved off toward a large fire where food was being cooked. He hated to see such hopelessness in one he loved so much when he himself had found such joy.

With reluctant steps he turned back to where Oloriel was resting. The sun had finally dipped below the horizon, casting shadows in its wake. Elladan could see, even through the darkness, that Oloriel's eyes had glazed over in sleep. He turned away and made for the open fires, not wanting to disturb her with his restless thoughts.

*~*~*~The following afternoon~*~*~*

Nessúlë had been reluctant to leave the ships, for while the River Anduin could not compare to the sea, the rocking of the boats had reminded her of home. But now the journey was over. The storage ships had docked near the isle of Cair Andros, and all that remained of their trek was a short ride to the encampment of the armies.

The caravan traveled slowly, much to Nessúlë's chagrin, but the time did not pass dully. Beside her rode the Hobbit Merry, on a small pony, talkative and jolly as most Hobbits are. For several minutes he spoke of the food that he had seen in the stores, then about how good it felt to be in the country once again. He then began to speak about how sad it was that Éowyn had not come with them, because it was such a beautiful land, and how this flower or that tree reminded him of the shire. On the whole, his conversation marveled Nessúlë, for she was aware of the courage that dwelt within this Hobbit's breast, as well as the shadows that he had come through. His resiliency and good humor amazed her. It was not until their journey was almost at an end that Nessúlë began to perceive how Merry's countenance had darkened.

***"What ails, young friend?" she questioned gently.

Merry cast a quick glance her way before looking straight ahead. "I... I'm terribly excited to see Pippin again, but... but I almost don't want to know... what happened to Sam and Frodo. What if they're not there?"

Nessúlë gasped slightly. ***"They did not... speak to you?"

Merry's small face looked on her with unconcealed curiosity and fear. "What do you know?"

A wide grin broke out on Nessúlë's face. ***"Merry, all is right. Sam and Frodo are whole and well."

With a joyful cry, Merry urged his pony into a canter. "Come, my lady, let us find them!"

Joyful laughter bubbled up from Nessúlë as she set out after Merry. Hobbits were such wonderful creatures. Their enthusiasm was catching.


The water in the wash basin bled as the evening sun glinted on its surface. Elrohir looked at it thoughtfully as he stood up and rubbed his damp hands against a worn cloth. The blood was now washed from his hands but the smell still lingered.

Turning away from the basin he began to weave his way in and out of tents and bedrolls. He had done all he could for the Men he was treating and now most of them lay resting. It was now time for him to find some nourishment. He had not eaten since the previous evening and his stomach was starting to protest.

Elrohir knew that fresh stores had been sent up from the heart of Gondor, now all he had to do was discover where they had been placed. He had some dried meat and fruit in his own pack, but was always one to save such provisions for times of necessity.

After a few minutes of wandering, Elrohir came upon a white tent that smelled of food. Mithrandir had always told him to follow his nose in times of doubt, so without further ado he ducked into the tent and came face to face with Nessúlë, who was chopping up massive amounts of potatoes.

For several moments they just stared at each other. Then, when the air had grown quite thick indeed, Nessúlë pursed her lips and went back to cutting the potatoes with a fervor. When Elrohir continued to simply stand at the door of the tent, she finally spoke.

"You looked terrible," she remarked bluntly.

Elrohir's eyes took on an exasperated glint before replying wryly. "You look very well."

"And I am well, no thanks to you." Nessúlë replied as she harshly quartered an unsuspecting potato. "If that healer had been given her way, I would still be languishing away in my bed, drowning in pillows and herbal remedies."

Elrohir let go of the tent flap and moved further inward. "I did what I thought was best."

Nessúlë slammed her knife down on the small table before her. "You have a nasty habit of deciding what is best for me without consulting me, son of Elrond."

"What was I supposed to do?" Elrohir shot back. "You were injured and half-unconscious when I found you! I was not simply going to let you wallow in the camp until an infirmary was set up or I found the supplies to treat you. Your stubbornness is not justification enough to allow you to be put in danger."

Nessúlë's face hardened and her body froze. "I had always hoped that my intelligence and sense of duty outweighed my obstinacy. I am sorry to know that you think so little of me."

With these words, Nessúlë looked at the ground forlornly and turned away from Elrohir. She did not want to speak with him any more, did not want to sting or be stung again.

Elrohir shook his head and turned to retreat from the tent, but then thought better of it. Silently he moved up behind Nessúlë and laid a hand on her shoulder. "What must I do to buy another smile from you?" he questioned softly.

Nessúlë's back stiffened. "I do not think you can afford it," she muttered.

"But I must try," Elrohir sighed, "and so I will attempt to explain myself." He paused to collect his thoughts before continuing. "When I found you on the battlefield I was so frightened, Nessúlë. I thought you were dead at first, and when I discovered otherwise all I could think about was how you were almost lost and I could not let you fade. Perhaps I over-reacted, but... I cannot apologize for my behavior because I am certain that, given the same circumstance, I would behave in the same way. However, you have to believe that it is not because I think you are incapable or helpless or foolish, Nessúlë. I care about you. That is my only excuse. I care about you far too much to act rationally all the time."

Elrohir's heart pounded fiercely as he spoke. This was the closest he had ever come to revealing his deeper feelings for Nessúlë. But even when he had spoken in a way that he thought so plain, Nessúlë still did not fully understand him.

The rigid lines of her face had softened as Elrohir spoke, the genuine feeling in his words softening her heart as well. She was not quite ready to forget all of her annoyance, but she could not be angry with Elrohir. Since they had first met, he had always been a true friend.

Turning around, she gave Elrohir a small smile. "And I thank you for your care... But, Elrohir, I do not need a brother. I already have one and that is enough for me. All I truly need is a friend, and I have always valued your friendship."

Elrohir admirably restrained his desire to flinch at her words. He most definitely did not care for her as a brother and this seemed to him yet another verification of how Nessúlë would never be able to see him in anything but the light of a friend.

With a somewhat steady smile, Elrohir took up one of her hands and kissed it. "You shall always have my friendship, lady."

Nessúlë smiled and gave Elrohir a quick peck on the cheek. "That is well, for I could use a friend just at this moment... I still have much food to prepare."

Elrohir groaned. "So that is the rub. Does your friendship always come with such stipulations?"

Nessúlë cocked an eyebrow. "Oh come now, it isn't so terrible, is it?"

She handed him a small paring knife and set him down on a crate of onions, then whispered saucily in his ear. "And it will buy you many lovely smiles."

*~*~*~Several days later~*~*~*

The roaring of the crowd and the blasting of the trumpets were overwhelming. After the last march of the Unified Army, Aragorn had come before the gates of the White City and been accepted and crowned as Elessar, King of Gondor. Now had come the days of rejoicing.

It seemed to Oloriel as though the whole earth was taking up the celebrations. The sun poured out its brilliance, and the winds danced among the trees, while every flower and blade of grass lifted its face to the heavens. Music was in the air, and soon the city streets were full of dancing, as the King made his way up to the Citadel.

Amid the jubilant crowd, Oloriel's heart was overcome. She walked sedately in the train of Elessar, but she gloried in the happiness of all those around her. There were children again in the White City, and women and musicians and light. It did not seem to matter that ruin lay around them, for the healing hands of the King had come again to the remnants of Númenor.

Unable to contain herself any long, Oloriel began to join her voice with those around her, and soon she was dancing as well. Nessúlë also took up the rhythm, and the two Elven ladies, mystical and regal, wove a benediction with their feet all the way up to the marble steps of the Citadel. Many of the Men and Woman stopped their own celebrations in order to gaze in wonder and listen to the haunting song of the she-Elves, and stories are still told of how flowers sprang up where their feet passed.

During her euphoria, Oloriel lost all sense of her surroundings, and it was only when Elladan swept her up in his arms and twirled her around that she remembered where she was. She and Elladan were now in the courtyard of the Citadel. The crowds had disappeared and only a few guards stood along the walls and in front of the great doors of the Tower of Ecthelion. Ellessar had already led his company inside the palace, and all was quiet, save for the echoing din of the celebrations in the city below.

Oloriel, breathing heavily, let her head fall against Elladan's shoulder carelessly. She felt dizzy and it took a few moments for her to realize that she had not yet been placed back on the ground.

"Are you... going to let me... down, my lord?" she asked between breaths.

Elladan smiled and tightened his hold on her. //Nay, I do not think I shall.//

As he began to walk westward along the wall, Oloriel lifted up her head and asked, "Where are you taking me?"

She did not receive an answer. Therefore, she merely watched in curiosity as Elladan ducked through archways and around corners until they arrived at their destination.

It was a small garden, with a series of fountains along the perimeter that sent spouts of water from one basin to the next. To enter the garden, one had to duck beneath one such arc of water. In the center of the small enclosure were two cherry trees in bloom, with a simple bench nestled between them. It was on this seat that Elladan finally placed Oloriel, straddling it himself and placing her in front of him.

"I found this place when we were preparing to depart for the Morannon, but I never had time to show you," Elladan explained.

"It is lovely," Oloriel replied as she laid her head against his chest. "Thank you for bringing me here."

Burying his face in her hair, Elladan sighed contentedly. For several minutes the two Elves sat quietly, peacefully in each other's arms. However, the serenity was soon interrupted by Oloriel's enthusiastic exclamation: "Oh yes, Elladan! That is such a lovely idea."

Elladan chuckled. Apparently he did not hide his thoughts so well as he imagined. "Do you think so? I was going to ask you about it tomorrow."

Oloriel grinned. "Well, I've found out now, and I'm thrilled with the idea. This will be the perfect place to speak our vows. Your father is coming soon, is he not?"

"It may be a month or more," Elladan replied.

"Oh." Oloriel spoke softly and her brows furrowed slightly. "That long?"

Elladan threw his head back and laughed loud and long. When his mirth finally subsided, he tilted Oloriel's chin up and kissed her slowly. When he broke away his eyes were full of merry light. He leaned down and whispered against her ear, "Will you find it hard to wait that long, my lady?"

Oloriel's face flushed as she apprehended the implications of his question. Drawing back from Elladan stiffly she murmured, "That is... not what I meant-"

"Oh, but I think it was," Elladan interrupted mischievously, taking an impish delight in the deeper flush that crept up Oloriel's face. Before she could move, Elladan leaned in a placed a quick kiss beneath her ear. At this, Oloriel sprang up off the bench.

"Elladan! Shame on you." Oloriel chided.

"Why, `Riel, for a small kiss? I have been more forward with you than that."

"Well," Oloriel's voice quavered, "You can just stop... being so forward. We... I... I mean... Oh, Elladan, stop being so infuriating!"

Elladan tried to smother his grin as Oloriel stamped her foot on the thick carpet of grass beneath her. She was thoroughly adorable.

"Come here, melleth, I was only teasing," Elladan coaxed. "I know the bounds of propriety and I will not cross them."

Oloriel just cast an appraising eye over the Elf before her, not sure if she was going to believe him. He still had a roguish look in his eyes. A few moments later, her speculation was interrupted by the sound of Elrohir's voice.

"Oh there you are," Elrohir strode into the tiny garden looking them both up and down. "A small banquet has been prepared, won't you join us?" He held his arm out pointedly to Oloriel. She smiled and accepted his invitation, looking back at Elladan with laughing eyes. Having come to understand some time before the brotherly teasing between the two Elves, she realized now that Elrohir could be a valuable ally. Especially when her betrothed was getting so confident in himself. If he was not checked soon, she felt that she would probably be stammering and blushing right up to her wedding day.


In the days that followed his crowning the King sat on his throne in the Hall of the Kings and pronounced his judgements. And embassies came from many lands and peoples, from the East and the South, and from the borders of Mirkwood, and from Dunland in the west. And the King pardoned the Easterlings that had given themselves up, and sent them away free, and he made peace with the peoples of Hara; and the slaves of Mordor he releases and gave to them all the lands about Lake Núrnen to be their own.*

In all these things, Aragorn, the Elfstone, came to be known as a wise and evenhanded ruler: stern in dealing out justice, but also merciful and good. This knowledge filled Oloriel with an even greater sense of dedication to his cause, and she more than willingly took up the oath which she had sworn before the battle of Morannon - that she would do anything she was capable of to help his land prosper.

It was for this reason that, on the eighth day of May, when the sons of Elrond departed with the Rohirrim for the north that Oloriel stayed behind and Nessúlë with her. By midsummer, Elrohir and Elladan would return with an Elven embassy, escorting the Lady Evenstar to her new home. In the mean time, Oloriel spent her time in the Houses of Healing, instructing as she could those who would learn some of the skill of the Eldar. Éowyn, the White Lady of Rohan, was one of her pupils, and Oloriel marveled to hear Nessúlë speak of the lady's former coldness, for she was now filled with a steady peacefulness and joy.

Some said that the Lady had found love in the last moments of her despair. Oloriel believed them.


Kallindo sat stiffly at his post, sweeping his eyes across the Field of Celebrant. He had heard many things of late, and his mind struggled to untangle rumor from truth. The Shadow had been defeated, this much he knew, as did all others; one could simply feel it in the air. But many of the other details remained vague, only whispered of in uncertain tones.

Oloriel and Nessúlë had by now become a common subject of tongue wagging. It was proclaimed that they both lived, but where were they? Why had they not returned? Were they injured? Had they truly fought in battle? Had they distinguished themselves or been overwhelmed? Were they now a part of Estel's court? Had they fallen in love with mortal Men - was that why they continued in Gondor? How could two such normally sensible ellith fall in love with Men? All this and more was bandied back and forth from mouth to mouth, almost driving Kallindo mad. He had no interest in speculating on tall tales. All he wanted to know was that Oloriel was safe and whole... and that she had, perhaps, decided against that upstart from Imladris.

Kallindo flinched as this thought swirled through his mind and he shook his head forcefully. That decision had been made long ago, and there was no use dwelling on it now. Oloriel was not his, nor would she ever be, and he had promised to honor that.

He let his head fall back against the tree trunk he was leaning against and started cleaning his small dagger for the third time. If only he could speak to Lantél, then perhaps he could lay to rest some of his worries. Lantél would undoubtedly know more of the well being of his sister, and quite possibly, of Oloriel as well. But Kallindo had not the strength of will to attempt such an encounter. He had no desire to play the lovesick fool, and he could not think of any excuse with which to approach and plead information of Lantél, whom he had only spoken with once before, aside from a bond of great affection which he knew very well did not exist.

Kallindo's reverie was interrupted as his eyes came to rest on two moving figures in the distance. They were just on the edge of his vision and so he was not immediately aware of who or what they were. Aranidil, one of the Marchwardens of the southern reaches of the forest was at a nearby outpost, so Kallindo let out a low whistling call to alert him of a discovery. About a minute later, the older elf appeared. Kallindo silently pointed out in the direction of the approaching figures.

"I do not sense any evil nearby, we will wait for their approach." Aranidil instructed pragmatically.

Kallindo nodded his assent and jumped up into the higher branches for a better view. It was not many moments later when his eyes hardened and he looked away. The sons of Elrond were approaching.


Elladan's heart lightened as he and his brother neared the Golden Wood. After traveling through Rohan, and sojourning for several days in the Golden Hall of Meduseld, the brother's had set out on the last leg of their journey. Their father would meet them in Lothlórien, and from there they would return to Minas Tirith. It had been over two weeks since they had departed from the White City, and though he felt rather pathetic for it, Elladan's heart yearned for Oloriel. However, the thought of seeing his family again was almost enough to wipe away his discomfort.

Having reached the edges of the wood, Elladan and Elrohir brought their horses to a walk. As expected, they were soon greeted by a small group of guardian Elves. Their leader, Aranidil, was familiar to Elrohir.

"Good morrow, Peredhil," Aranidil greeted respectfully.

"Good morrow, Aranidil," Elrohir replied. "This is a happy hour, to see you again."

Elladan tuned out the rest of the pleasantries until the introduction of one very somber-looking Elf.

"...And this is my Thirdguard, Kallindo."

Immediate recognition struck Elladan and he suddenly became aware that this Kallindo had been staring at him for several moments. He caught and held the gaze, wondering what the other Elf was about.

The other Elves of the company, including Elrohir, had started to walk into the forest. Elladan willed himself into movement as well, and dismounting his horse, began to lead it under the golden mellyrn. A firm hand on his shoulder halted his steps.

"Where is she?" Kallindo whispered forcefully, unwilling to let Elladan go until he had his answers. "Why does she not return home?"

Elladan paused a moment to consider how he should answer. "She waits for me in Minas Tirith. She works to restore the City."

"She waits for you?" Kallindo parroted.

Without word, Elladan lifted up his left hand, where rested a silver betrothal band. Kallindo let go of his should and stepped back quickly. Several tense moments passed before Kallindo broke the silence yet again.

"She is unharmed?"


"Do you swear it?"


With his hand resting purposefully against the hilt of his sword, Kallindo walked around in front of Elladan and looked him straight in the eye.

"See that she remains so, son of Elrond, or your father may loose more than one child."

A flash of anger welled up in Elladan but he suppressed it ruthlessly. He would not abase himself by lashing out this audacious Elf. Clenching his jaw firmly to prevent any unseemly words from coming out, Elladan turned his face away from Kallindo and walked passed him into the heart of the Wood.


1. Paragraph taken from Return of the King: Book Six: Chapter V: The Steward and the King.

Things to Know:

Aranidil: "Friend of Kings"

melleth nín: literally, "love my"
mellnín: literally, "dear-my"
ellith: (pl. of elleth) "she-Evles"
Peredhil: (pl. of Peredhel) "Half-Elves" - a title

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