Hey! I’ve done pretty well this time! Only a couple weeks between chapters! This was a really tricky chapter, but I hope you guys like it!
He felt his hold slipping. He was cast out as the bright light flooded her body and blinded his dark eyes.
He gnashed his teeth and growled out, “I will kill her yet!”
The unbearably bright light was snapping the cold chains of darkness, slowly, but surely. At last, the last link of the chain was broken.
She was free! She soared towards the light and warmth, singing merrily.
Her eyelids fluttered, but Elrohir thought he’d imagined it. It had been six days since his last deep rest.
But then it happened again, and Anorien’s chest rose and fell sharpy when she drew in a deep breath and exhaled as if she’d been underwater for a great length of time.
Then she was awake, panicked and disoriented. She seemed not to see Elrohir as she took in the walls, her blankets, white robe, the roof, everything. She fumbled wildly for her sword, but where was it? Curses! Where was she? She looked out the window and found a sheer, long drop.
Healers flooded in by the hundred it seemed, and Elrohir sprang off the bed and bent over Anorien, asking, “What in Arda is the matter?”
A healer Elrohir knew as Lísceïn got the closest to the patient, but when he reached out an arm, he got a surprisingly strong fist to the jaw.
“Don’t you touch me!” Anorien hissed, by way of follow-up, as if there’d been any doubt of her feelings.
Lísceïn looked very convinced as he looked at Elrohir with wide eyes. “Well?” he asked.
“Well what?” Elrohir asked innocently, trying to restrain the smirk that was building inside of him.
“Well, restrain her!” Lísceïn demanded loudly.
“‘Fraid I can’t, old boy. She doesn’t like any man to touch her.” Elrohir secretly cheered Anorien as she smiled happily at him. Even if you are too rough around the edges, Lísceïn has been needing that for centuries. Blonde brat.
Lísceïn huffed petulantly, clearly defeated. He brought up a woman who stood behind him, . “This is Alassë. Mayhap she will have better fortune than I with the girl.”
Alassë, in complete control now, commanded, “You men. Yes, I’m talking to you. Leave, please. You’re scaring her. Go on, now!”
The entire fleet of other healers being male, the crowd moved towards the other room with Elrohir herding them.
“Leave the FLET!” Alassë boomed loudly, motioning toward the curtained exit.
Grumbles, venomous looks, and footsteps announed the departure.
“Now then, doll. May I sit here?” Alassë took a seat on the bed beside Anorien.
Anorien watched wordlessly, though she curled her legs closer against her in the corner where she’d retreated.
“Now then.” Alassë smiled. “Those men can be so horrid, can’t they?”
Anorien couldn’t help smiling back, feeling more trustful of the rosy-cheeked Elf.
“But you certainly gave Lísceïn what he deserved, didn’t you!” Alassë crowed happily. “Most horrid man of the lost, if you ask me, and if you don’t ask me, he’s still the most horrid.”
Anorien’s smile grew wider. “Elrohir,” Anorien croaked, her voice cracked and dry from lack of use.
“You want Elrohir? I can call him back,” Alassë clucked sympathetically.
“No. He’s horrid.”
Alassë smile was suddenly wider than ever. “So he is! All men are.”
Anorien laughed and though it was a far cry from the merry, ringing laughter of the Elves, Alassë loved to hear it. It was always a good sign when a person laughed.
“Except.. Rumil, maybe. I’ll have to show him to you sometime. He isn’t like the other men,” Alassë mused quietly, speaking more to herself than to Anorien.
“Do you love him?” Anorien asked suddenly, surprising herself. But she was curious. This woman, the first she’d met aside from her mother, was so different, so much merrier than Naneth. Was it for love of a man that made her so?
“Oh, don’t be silly!” Alassë chided, though her eyes sparkled. “I don’t know. But, anyway, I can’t keep calling you ‘dear’, can I? Wan you tell me your name?”
Anorien sat up a little straighter, and a memory of a spoken word flashed though her mind. Tell them.. tell them in Lorien that you are the daughter of Firithwen..
“I am Anorien Black-star, daughter of Firithwen.”
Alassë’s face grew solemn. “Whose child?”
“Firithwen. Know you her?” Anorien asked, suddenly desperate for a link to someone in the world. She had never felt more alone.
“She is…was.. is my sister. Where is she? Please! Do you know where she is? I have not seen her in three centuries!” Alassë clutched desperately at Anorien’s arm.
Anorien cast down her eyes, but answered clearly, “I do know. But that will not help you, for you cannot see her now or any other time. She is dead. An arrow pierced the shards of her broken heart.
Tears rolled freely down Alassë’s pink cheeks. “Broken heart?”
Anorien briefly recounted the story of Firithwen’s abduction, pregnancy, the abandonment, and then the Orc. She left out why she was searching for her father and the details of their hard life in the wild.
Alassë seemed the worse for the information. She gew paler and paler throughout, tears flowing unrestrained down her cheeks to drip and fall on the silky bedspread, staining it.
“I.. had no idea,” she sobbed, unable to calm herself. “I.. we thought she did not want to be with us anymore, that she’d run away. We never imagined..-” but Alassë’s words dissolved in a fresh torrent of tears.
Anorien was, for the first time in her life, scared. The merry side of Alassë had disappeared so completely, and Anorien had never seen grief in this form, and thus she was at a loss as to how to cope with it. She was used to the silent forbearance of Naneth, not these sobs of Alassë.
Tentatively, she reached out and hugged her aunt gingerly. Gradually, Alassë’s sobs faded to sniffs and then disappeared altogether.
“Tears.. won’t bring her back, but at least she left me you,” Alassë choked, as though the admission sealed Firithwen’s fate. “We will sing a lament, and you will be honored as her daughter.”
“No,” Anorien objected, remembering something Naneth had taught her. Don’t take anything as a substitute for what you really want. “I don’t want honor or laments. I want to speak with the wisest people you know, and those who have traveled the most.”
Alassë frowned. “You can have both. The wisest I know are Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. The most traveled is probably Haldir.”
“Good, then. When can I speak with them?”
“Tomorrow, I suppose. Haldir is returning from the border and the Lord and Lady are busy with their grandsons this night.”
“Very well. Now, please, my clothes and my sword. I wish to get up and on solid ground,” Anorien declared. “Out of this terrible place.”
“Eh,” Alassë grunted. “Your dress.. was discared. Your sword is with Elrohir.”
“WHAT? You let that excuse for a male pig have Morelen?” Anorien roared unhappily, springing off the bed.
Alassë stood up as well and yelped, “I wasn’t here!” Her niece had worse of a temper than she’d thought.
Anorien grabbed at her neck and felt for the familiar chain. It was there. She breathed again. “When I catch that greasy weasel, I’ll..”
“Medically make it impossible for him to be a father?” Alassë offered helpfully, expecting and getting an uproarious laugh in return.
“Good idea, my aunt!” Anorien gasped, holding her sides from laughing so hard.
Alassë shook her head and took her niece by the hand and started to lead her into the other room, but Anorien yelped when she forgot her feet and placed her weight carelessly on them.
“Forgot..” Alassë groaned.
When Alassë drew the curtain aside, Anroein was baffled. Alassë stepped aside to let Anorien hobble through, but Anorien stood firm.
“I’m not putting that on,” she vowed passionately, glaring with distaste at a beaded blue frock that hung within, beside a large tub of warm water.
“You have to. It’s what we have,” Alassë insisted, pressing the dressinto Anorien’s balled fists.
Anorien set her chin defiantly. “I said no! I want my dress.”
Alassë saw the makings of a tantrum, but defusing it was now impossible. “We don’t HAVE your dress. Now, Anorien, please. Just until we find your sword and speak with Lady Galadriel, alright?” Alassë pleaded.
“What’s going on?” asked a familiar voice.
Anorien whirled on the intruder, inspecting his left cheek rapidly to insure that there weren’t three little freckles. When there weren’t, she smiled.
Elladan opened his mouth to speak, but Alassë burst in. “Lord Elladan, you shouldn’t be here when the girl isn’t decent.”
“I’ve seen her in less, good lady.”
Alassë gasped and covered her mouth.
“Looks like she’s got clothes on to me, and from the sounds and indications of it, you are no more getting her into that dress than you are an oliphaunt.”
“That may be true, but she ISN’T going out like she is. You could see right through that nightdress in a bright light!” Alassë protested.
“But, my esteemed lady, it is nearly dark. I think she’ll be safe with a walk to the pools and back.”
“No, she’s too weak.”
“Doesn’t look weak to me, and my word is final. Come along, Anorien.” Elladan grinned devilishly at Anorien and grabbed the dress on their way out.
Anorien scampered to his side, overjoyed that the frilly dress had been delayed, at least. In truth, her nightgown passed for a simple gown, but Anorien neither knew nor cared.
“Aiya!” she squeaked, feeling extremely sick. She’d nearly pluned down the long, winding stairway, and she wasn’t used to being more than a few feet from the ground, at best.
She squeezed her eyes shut and planted her feet, arms hanging rigidly at her sides.
She felt a strong arm go around her shoulders and another strike the back of her stiff knees, making them collapse. She was lofted easily and hugged close.
She could tell they were descending, but she kept her eyes tightly closed and her arms clamped around Elladan’s neck until he set her bare feet on soft grass and released her.
She straightened up and opened her eyes, taking a deep breath. She couldn’t help the “Oh!” that escaped her lips.
Her eyes were accustomed to the rough, rugged wilderness, and the beauty and glory of Caras Galadhon was blinding.
Thanks for reading, everyone! I have the next chapter nearly thought out, and all I’ll have to do is write it out. Thanks again, all! –Alassë