Elizabeth woke up and stretched luxuriously, pondering the past two days. How far away home seemed now!
Now that it was lighter, she could see the flet better. Except for her blankets, there was nothing. `I wonder if I can make it look more like mine and my–‘ but she stopped the thought. She would not think about her family, especially not her brother, but the thought of Aaron came back. Both of them had been pretty close and he had been devastated when he found out she had to leave, he had been so upset he wouldn’t leave their room and only opened the door to her.
A tear slid down her face and she quickly wiped it away. If she was going to stay she would have to do something about the flet. Renatirrael might be able to help her make some furniture to put in it and make it more like the room she had before Aaron.
She stood up and looked disdainfully down at her dress. She had gone though two nights in it plus her little adventure yesterday and she was sure that she stunk badly. `I’ll ask the Lady where it would be appropriate for me to bathe,’ she decided and began to climb down the ladder.
The sun was fairly high in the eastern sky, which meant at home she would have been scolded for oversleeping. But if it looked this beautiful in the morning at home then she wouldn’t care, even though she had seen some fabulous sunrises.
“Good day,” said a voice behind her. She turned to see a pretty blonde elf.
“Good morning,” replied Elizabeth. “Uh, my name’s Elizabeth. Trigg. Elizabeth Trigg,” she stuttered. The elf’s eyes, in Elizabeth’s opinion, flashed with a concealed but cruel amusement.
“My name is Ataurí. And I see you already have a friend,” said Ataurí. “But not everyone will be as polite to your kind even if The Lady herself asks them to.”
“As I’ve been warned,” replied Elizabeth. `Was this someone from that family Renatirrael was telling me about?’ she wondered. She had hoped she wouldn’t find an enemy until later, especially not this early in the morning.
“My parents and I are some of those people. Namarië,” smirked Ataurí, turning gracefully around and seemed to float rather than walk away.
Elizabeth wanted to laugh. If that was as cruel as they were going to be then she could more than take care of herself. She doubted that Ataurí would be as kind later.
She herself turned and walked the other direction toward the Lord and Lady’s flet where she would see about food and a bath.
The path was easier to follow that she had assumed so she made her way quickly. She wondered what else they had to eat. Last night’s meal wasn’t too foreign but what would breakfast be like? Unless they didn’t have breakfast. She faltered her pace and started to laugh at her foolishness. Of course they did. Then her laugh turned into a cough. She leaned against a tree beside the path for support
`Why did this have to happen to me?’ she asked herself. `All this because of breakfast.’
Then she felt a hand on her shoulder and she turned. Renatirrael was standing there with a concerned look on his face. “Are you all right?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yes.”
They both continued on the path. “Y–you’re not well, are you?” he finally asked.
She studied his face carefully. His eyes said that he was genuinely concerned and that was enough for her to answer. “No.” He didn’t answer so she continued. “It’s a disease. We call it c–cancer where I came from,” she said. `How else could I have worded it?’ she asked herself. `Oh well, it’s done and said.’
“And where exactly do you come from?” asked Renatirrael.
“It’s in the western United States,” she answered, “My…disease makes it so that my life…is…lessened. The only place I was supposed to have gotten help was in the East. I didn’t want to go East, but ma and pa made me go because they wanted me to live, so when the wagon train was close to a sta–place our government calls Illinois, I left the train. I was in a prairie then I wasn’t, I was…here.”
If Renatirrael had any questions he was kind enough not to say anything. Elizabeth was already slightly embarrassed at saying everything but she was glad to get it off of her chest.
They climbed the rest of the way to the dining place on one of the flets in silence. The table was empty but as they got closer a couple of elves came out with what looked like her mother’s grilled wheat cakes and an astonishing assortment of jams and jellies and a small jar of syrup or two. Elizabeth’s mouth watered at the sight. A third elf brought out what appeared to be water but it had a aura or inner glow that Elizabeth never could explain.
The cakes turned out to taste more like the best and lightest biscuits she had ever had, though she doubted the elves called them wheat cakes or biscuits. They water had a rich but refreshing and almost honey-like flavour to it.
“You don’t rejoice in the life you can still live?” Renatirrael finally said.
“What, you mean the cancer?” asked Elizabeth. He nodded. “What is there to rejoice? Death is nothing to want, especially in youth,” she said.
“So you are just going to lie around while you wait for Death to come?” asked Renatirrael. She just stared so he continued. “If you are to die then celebrate what life you have left! You need to live your life as long and as far as it will go!” Elizabeth nervously looked at the other elves. Renatirrael was getting slightly but increasingly louder by the others appeared not to notice.
Renatirrael was looking at her obviously expecting an answer. “I–I, guess so,” she said.
He looked dissatisfied at her answer but said no more on the subject. “I was supposed to tell you that the Lady wished to see you after you’ve eaten,” he said, sounding slightly sheepish. “She wanted to meet you at the fountain you saw when you first came.”
“Mmm-hmm,” she answered. She was finished so she excused herself and thanked the other elves and Renatirrael for giving her the message and walked back down the staircase. The Lady was waiting at the fountain like Renatirrael had said.
“Come,” said the Lady softly and quietly. Elizabeth followed quietly. Her heart was pounding; what did the Lady want? Would the Lady use some of her witchery on her? She hadn’t denied being called “witch”.
The Lady led her a ways and finally down a short staircase. At the bottom there was what Elizabeth thought was a pan on a table-like object with a beautiful but small waterfall with a pool under it in the background.
“Do you know what this is?” asked the Lady. Elizabeth shook her head, still awe-struck by the place’s beauty. “It is the Mirror of Galadriel. Do you wish to look into it?”
`This is no witchcraft that I have heard of,’ thought Elizabeth in bewilderment. “Yes,” she whispered.
The Lady took an urn that was beside the pool and let some of the pool’s water fill it. “I have no power over what the Mirror wishes you to see,” cautioned the Lady as she poured the water into the pan. “Look into it, but do not touch the water.”
Elizabeth obediently walked up and peered into the Mirror.
At first she saw only the clear, blue sky, but then the image shimmered and was replaced by what appeared to be her home. She saw Aaron sitting down and crying on the far side of the barn with a picture next to him. The image shimmered again and she saw a battle. Elves and Men on one side, a volcano and beasts with no name that she knew on the other. A tall man-like figure in armour was standing in front of another. The other tried to pick up his sword but the figure stepped on it and the sword broke. The Mirror shimmered again to reveal at first blackness. Instead she saw a shadowy demon wreathed in flame and a bright light before it. If she looked hard enough she could see a figure in the white light and the glint of two swords behind him and six other figures behind the swords. The white figure raised what appeared to be a staff and smote it down on the ground before it. The demon began to take a step forward then fell down into the floor. The white figure turned but the demon threw a rope or whipped that wrapped around the white figure’s knees, pulling him down. Before the Mirror shimmered again she realised the floor wasn’t the floor, but a bridge. Now she saw five children, three elves, and a white man with a staff. She wondered if it was the white figure from before. One of the children was walking towards a boat and one of the elves boarded with it. One of the elves that she recognised as the Lady Galadriel boarded the ship. The third elf, she saw, was Lord Celeborn. One of the other children had apparently been saying good-bye to his fellows then he too, with the white man went to board the ship. The Mirror shimmered once more only to reveal the noon sky.
“What exactly did I see, Lady?” asked Elizabeth. Her head was spinning. What did the final three have to do with anything she knew about?
“The final three,” began the Lady, as if knowing exactly what Elizabeth was thinking, “are of the doings of creatures in this wide world. The first was of a great battle fought long ago. I have yet to find out what the final two mean,” she said almost regretfully.
“Did you not say that you had no power over what I would see?” asked Elizabeth suspiciously. The Lady had been standing at too odd of an angle to have seen what Elizabeth had seen.
“What you have seen is also in my mind,” answered the Lady quietly.
`So she is a witch!’ panicked Elizabeth and she raced up the stair and away from the Lady and the Mirror.