For the second time in the past two days, Jo gently woke from her dreams into an unknown world, and for the second time, she couldn’t remember where she was or why she was there. Suddenly, everything that had happened to her – them – Ceinwen! – so far came speeding back to her, accompanied by a dull throbbing in her leg. Gritting her teeth, she slowly opened one bleary eye, and then the other. What she saw took her breath away. She could just glimpse the torrents and towers of Rivendell, the musical waterfalls, the serene gardens…Desperately, she tried to sit up to get a better view of the wonders outside her room, but a gentle yet firm hand held her back down.
“You are awake I see.” A strong but fair voice floated down to her. Jo’s automatic response was to be sarcastic.
“Nah mate, I’m fast asleep.” and she turned gingerly around to face the owner of the voice. What she saw made he silently curse herself, and mumble a quiet apology. A tall dark-haired elf, so young and yet so old. It was his eyes that gave him away – deep as the oceans, grey as the mountains, ancient as the stars.
Despite her rather rude remark to him, he smiled kindly at her.
“You need to rest. I have tended to the wound on your leg, but the poison will take a little longer to counteract. Lie still.” Jo nodded and lay herself back down while the tall elf walked round to her front and sat on the side of her bed.
“So…who are you?” Jo asked tentatively.
“I am Lord Elrond.” replied the elf. Jo froze.
“Oh. My. God. You mean – THE – Lord Elrond? Son of Eärendil the Mariner? Elrond the Healer? The same?”
Elrond laughed out loud at the look on her face. “The same!”
“And you healed – are healing, same difference – me?” she inquired excitedly.
Elrond presumed that the shock of her adventures were causing her to ask stupid questions.
“Do you have any idea just how jealous my friends are going to be when they hear about this?” she practically yelled in excitement.
“Well, I for one, am rather glad I didn’t get shot,” chuckled Ceinwen as she walked in the room, “though I can’t vouch for the others.” She grinned as she sat herself down on the other side of the bed to Elrond.
“Willing to place a bet on that are we?” Ceinwen just shook her head, laughing at her friends determination to have the last say.
“Well,” Elrond cut in, “I believe that you may have to help explain a few things, now that you are awake. Ceinwen here,” he waved a graceful hand at her, “has been trying to tell me about where you come from and how you got here. Unfortunately, we appear to have got stuck somewhere between playing football and eating chocolate.” Ceinwen grinned sheepishly and Jo rolled her eyes.
“Well, you know me, I can get a little… sidetracked sometimes.”
“Not that that’s an understatement or anything, ey Ceinwen?” Jo winked.
“So how did you get here?” Elrond questioned curiously.
“Well…to be honest with you, I don’t really have any solid ideas, and those that I do have don’t actually have any evidence to go with them. Nevertheless, I will attempt at one theory.” stated Jo.
“Oh, you scientist you!” Ceinwen pouted. Jo stuck her tongue out at her.
“Basically, where we come from, it is popular belief that there is more than one universe – that alternate realities exist outside of our own – ” began Jo.
“This of course has not come from watching way to many sci-fi flicks…”muttered Ceinwen, and she coughed something that sounded suspiciously like ‘Stargate’. Jo glared at her, while Ceinwen stared innocently back… stupid angel face, Jo thought, smiling…
“Please continue.” prompted Elrond, eyes wide with interest.
“Yes…where was I? Oh yeah, alternate realities. Now, what if these other universes were not just mirrors of our own ‘normal’ world, but were also created by the imagination of the mind. Like if someone imagined that in some universe, the sky was green and the grass was blue, in some reality, that’s how it would be. What if this book, this entire world, that was recreated again and again by millions of readers, what if it was actually brought to life?” Ceinwen, now apparently being serious was deep in thought, pondering Jo’s words.
It was clear however, that Elrond had no idea what she was talking about and seemed to have his own theory…
“Are you sure you didn’t hit your head?”
“I’m sure Lord Elrond,” laughed Jo, lightening up, “Besides, there’s nothing to say I’m right. Its very likely that I couldn’t be further from the truth – but, you never know…”
Suddenly, the door burst open and two dark-haired boys tumbled over each other into the room, landing in a heap on the floor.
“Gerrof-me `Ro!” grumbled one and pushed his partner in crime away.
“Elladan, Elrohir! Have you never heard of knocking? What am I going to do with you boys? Far to like your mother…” Elrond added as an after thought under his breath.
“Sorry Ada,” grinned the Twins, scrambling to their feet,” But mother told us to tell you that the feast in the hall is almost ready.”
“Feast?” asked Jo puzzled.
“I know, apparently their holding a feast in our honor (I think that’s just the excuse they’ve been looking for personally) – but pretty cool huh?” Ceinwen informed her.
“Wicked! But – what are we going to wear?!” Jo cried in mock horror, and raised the back of her hand to her forehead, Ceinwen following in suit.
“I’m sure we can find something fitting for you,” nodded Elrond,” Elladan, Elrohir, kindly ask your mother if she can find to dresses for our guests.” and they scuttled out of the room.
“I will follow after them I think – not entirely sure they can be trusted…” and Elrond too left, so the girls were on their own.
Without warning, Ceinwen burst out laughing.
“What?!” demanded Jo furiously, going red for no reason.
“What about me?”
“When Elrohir walked in, you refused to look him in the eye, no matter how hard he tried! The only explanation… you fancy him!”
“What?!” and soon they were engaged in a deadly battle with two feather pillow.
There was a knock on the door. Jo and Ceinwen froze mid-struggle. Ceinwen’s head was entirely immersed by a long feather bolster, and Jo wasn’t much better, lying off the end of the bed with her feet in the air, head firmly entangled in a chair. A lone feather slowly drifted to the floor.
“Um, come in,” called Jo, doing a complex side wards roll to escape the chair, ending up cross legged on the floor. Celebrían entered, and seeing the state, laughed so hard that she had to sit on the bed.
“D-do you know, girls,” she said in between giggles, “I was just like this at your age! You remind me – hee – of me, ver’ much. Oh, I can’t talk!”
Jo stopped feeling silly, and grinned – the elf looked wonderful, so helpless with laughter.
“Oh yes, I brought you these,” she held up two dresses. One was emerald green and silken, with a flowing train, the other deep twilight blue and velvet, soft and shapely.
“They’re lovely, thanks a lot!” Jo got up and took the dresses from Celebrían, who looked around the room bemusedly.
“But, where is Ceinwen? She was here a moment ago; I heard her voice as I walked up!”
I bet you did, thought Jo, smiling slightly.
“She’s behind you, on the bed, I think she is having some trouble talking.”
Celebrían looked around. Ceinwen was lost to view.
“Oh dear,” said Celebrían, with remarkable self-restraint.
“Well, I had better be away; this feast is going to be more of an affair than I first thought!” She chuckled, and added, “Not that I mind, we are having fun in the kitchens – such fussy eaters this household are!” She got to her feet, and lightly paced to the doorway, then turned back.
“You might want to think about removing that pillow from Ceinwen- it will be a disappointment for certain persons if you did not both attend,” and with that, Celebrían was gone.
Jo stood for a moment deep in thought, until a loud “MMMFFFFF!” from Ceinwen reminded her of where she was.
“Now,” she said loudly. “What should I do now? I think I shall try on this new dress. Or perhaps go for a stroll. See what I can see out the window? Or maybe sit on the balcony? Or -”
Jo sighed dramatically. “Well, I suppose I should make this bed. Yes.” and she tipped the bolster off Yavanna.
“THANK you!” Ceinwen sat up, covered in feathers. “Whew, that was hot!”
“Look, Ceinwen, Celebrían brought these dresses.” Jo held them up.
“Bags the green!” said Ceinwen quickly.
“I wanted the blue one anyway,” Jo told her, “Let’s try them on!”
Later, both feeling rather self-conscious in their new clothes, they were on their balcony (I regret to say, but they were very childishly playing `Who-Can-Lean-The-Furthest’) when below them, two robed young elves appeared and looked up. Both girls’ dignities recovered as fast as they possibly could.
“Hello, up there!” called Elrohir.
“Coming down?” asked Elladan. “It wont be long now, we could perhaps show you around our garden,”
“Of course! That sounds great! We’ll be right down!” Ceinwen called cheerily.
As the girls, having found their way through mazes of stairways and tall passageways to the gardens, came towards an elegantly sculpted bower, they heard two voices, which seemed to be the twins’.
“Elrohir, what are you saying? That I-”
“Yes! Argh, gerroff, whoa…” There was a thump, then the sounds of a scuffle. Suddenly in front of the girls’ astonished eyes, a young elf fell across the path before them from the bower, straight into a tall thorny looking bush. Another emerged, and then stopped as he saw the girls.
“Ah, hello ladies,” he said with as much dignity as he could muster.
“Elrohir will be right with you,” There was a muffled cursing from the bush.
“Oh, come on, you silly,” said Jo, trying not to laugh, and went to pull Elrohir out.
“Those dresses are beautiful,” remarked Elladan courteously. Before Ceinwen could reply –
“THANKYOU Elladan,” said an angry just-pulled-out-of-a-thorny-bush voice. “Now I will have to change, and the feast will be ready, and I will be late, and it’s your fault!”
“Don’t bother, brother,” said Elladan. “No-one will notice that you are scruffy as a dwarf – its nothing out of the ordinary for you!” Elrohir’s affronted glare changed to a sly smile.
“Well, I suppose it won’t stand out all that much,” he said, “Because YOU are going to look exactly the same as me!” and with that, Elladan was sent flying into the bush. But Elrohir’s misfortune caught his thumb in Elladan’s hapless brooch, and he, losing his balance, followed. Ceinwen and Jo tried not to laugh. Then they heard the sound of laughter from behind them, and turned to see Celebrían.
“I-I WISH they wouldn’t do that,” she giggled. “This feast is going to be interesting!”