Colleen looked in the mirror in wonder. Was that her or was this a trick mirror? Her usually frizzy brown hair was smoothed back so that it fell past her shoulders. Her bangs were combed to the side as usual, but they didn’t stick up on the side like they usually did.
The dress Glorfindel’s wife had given her was deep blue trimmed with silver, two of her favorite colors. It was actually comfortable. The skirt flared enough to permit her to walk or run without having to hitch the dang thing up. Not that she planned to make a habit of wearing long dresses, but she decided that she could survive in one long enough to meet the king.
Glorfindel’s wife, Isilya had been delighted to dress and wash the dirty, dripping girl her husband brought home. It had been several years since any of her daughters had been young enough to wash an dress. Colleen survived the humiliation of being washed and dressed like a four year old- barely.
Glorfindel watched the girl from the doorway with a smile, it was most certainly an improvement. She was ready to meet Tuorgon. He walked silently up behind her, out of sight of the mirror and tapped her on the shoulder.
Colleen jumped back so fast that she smacked into the grinning elf and they both sat down hard.
“You’re as bad as my father, sneaking up like that just to make me jump. It’s is favorite pastime.” As she spoke she felt a wave of homesickness wash over her, and suddenly, lovely as this city was, she wanted to go home, even for a few minutes to see her family.
Glorfindel laughed and helped her up. “Come it is time to meet Tuorgon, he will decide what is to be done with you.” Then he saw the look on her face, and wondered where her family was and how she had come to be so far from them. She was very young to be wandering around in the wilderness, and it was far from any human village.
Colleen looked up. “What do you mean, decide what is to be done with me? Don’t I have any say in it at all?”
Glorfindel smiled at her kindly.”We shall see. Come the king is waiting.” He gently laid a hand on her shoulder and propelled her to the door.
Aragorn stood behind the young boy, gazing down at his older sister. He wondered what she was like when she was awake, she surely didn’t look like the kind of person to change at a Nazgul, but then, the fire tended to go out of people when they slept. Maybe she was a warrior maiden, though she couldn’t be more than fifteen.
He had seen the first time running accrossed the Ford to help Frodo. When he got there he found, not a stricken hobbit, but and unconscious girl with Asfoloth, the white elf-horse standing over her. She was soaking wet and covered in green elven cloak.
He had removed it and seen strange clothing for a girl. A dark blue jacket and torn blue trousers of some kind. The jacket was torn where the Morgul knife has gone into her shoulder, the wound had been long and deep, on the left shoulder where the neck and shoulder join.
Glorfindel had come up with the three hobbits while Aragorn had been looking at the girl. His fair elven face was grim. Aragorn was preparing to pick her p an take her to Imaldris, when a wood elf he knew came running up. Without answering any of their questions he had picked the girl up, turned and run for Rivendell.
Glorfindel had shrugged and followed him, gesturing to Strider and the hobbits, who followed wearily.
He, Gandalf, Elrond, and Glorfindel had been kept busy trying to make sure that neither the girl nor the hobbit faded. Old Bilbo, Frodo’s uncle, Sam and Caleb, all refused to leave the room, save for when they were asked to fetch something. The hours slowly ticked by.
Colleen looked at the palace in wonder and love for this beautiful city grew in her heart and she decided that she didn’t blame the elves for not wanting to leave, great as the danger was.
The only reason she was able to walk up the green and white marble steps was Glorfindels gentle firm hand pushing her towards the door. They entered the throne room, on the throne sat a tall fair elf.
There was no one else surprisingly, but Colleen didn’t know or didn’t care, here was the High King of the Noldor, and he looked it. His father was Fingolfin, the elf that had fought Morgoth. In all the Silmarillion there was no elf or man she had admired more than Fingolfin, and here was his son. She was lost for words for the third time in her life.
Turgon smiled at the girl.” You may leave Glorfindel, I wish to speak to her alone.” The elf lord nodded and left after giving Colleen a reassuring smile.
Tuorgon beckoned to her,” Come sit beside me, I wish to speak with you. Tell me, How did you come to be in the Sironnon?”
“How many ways are there to fall into a river? I’m not exactly sure myself, one moment I was sitting on the
River bank waiting for someone, then I saw him being chased by the one person I hate most in all the world. I drew my sword, and met him in the middle of the river, planning to run him through, but the got at me first and I fell into the river and was drowning when Glorfindel pulled me out and brought me here. “
When she finished Tougon gazed into Colleen’s clear blue eyes for several moments, he read no malice, no deceit, no enchantment. Only hope, wonder and confusion. He sat back and smiled. She was no thrall.
“All will be clear in good time, until then you will stay with Glorfindel, you may wander around the city as you please but you may not leave it. Go now, I will speak to you again later.”
“Good-bye, and thank you!” And with that she left Tuorgon thinking about another mortal, about her age who had once dwelt in Gondolin……
Gandalf sat by the window smoking his pipe while Caleb sat next to his sister, his dark head on the bed, asleep. Gandalf had given up trying to get him to go into his room to rest, he blantenly refused to leave his sister.
The splinter had been found and removed from Frodo’s wound last night and Sam had gone to get some rest at Gandalf urging, satisfied that his master would live.
Colleen was not doing so well, though she had gotten her wound more recently then Frodo it was deeper and nearer to the heart. Even so she should have woken up by now yet she slept on. Gandalf had gently read her memory, or tried to, her mind seemed strangely blank, as though she was there in body only.
That worried him more, he knew the story of Feanor’s mother. Of how she had sought rest in Lorien and he spirit had flown from her body. He hoped that something similar had not happened to Colleen.
A movement came from Frodo’s bed and Caleb lifted his head, the hobbit stretched and yawned the asked the ceiling. “Where am I and what is the time?”
Caleb started to grin, worried as he was. Gandalf answered,” You are in the house of Elrond, it is ten o’clock of the morning of October the twenty-forth if you want to know.”
Frodo sat up happily,”Gandalf!”
“Yes, I am here, and you’re lucky to be here to, after all of the absurd things you have done since you left home.”
The grin continued to play acrossed Caleb’s features.
Frodo lay back down and seemed to be thinking, at length he spoke again. “Where is Sam? Are the others all right? And what about the girl that charged the nazgul? Is she still alive?”
“Yes, yes. They are all safe, at least your companions are. Sam was here until half an hour ago when I sent him off to get some sleep.
“Speaking of which, Caleb, go take some rest. You will need it, I will call you if there is any change in your sister.”
Caleb saw that he wanted to talk to Frodo alone and he was very tired, too tired to argue, so he nodded and left.
” The girl is alive- barely. She ran at the Nazgul, planning to stab him again I suppose, but he got to her first and she fell into the Ford. She has been unconscious ever since.”
Frodo lay back on his pillows stunned.” Was that boy her brother? What are their names?”
“Yes. The girl is called Colleen and her brother calls himself Alcarin, though his birth name is Caleb.”
“Is Colleen going to die, do you think?”
“To tell the truth Frodo, my dear hobbit , I do not know. I just don’t know.”