Title: In Times Like These
Disclaimer: All characters are Tolkien other than my “OC.”
lady_tinuviel- thanks! i hope that your wishes are answered soon!
araeva- *blushes* thank you. some scenes i’ll be rewriting, since as one of my reviewers (from a different site said) i made the reason the elves stayed differently, so i’ll be changing the way the elves deal with the war of the ring. the relationship with anaire and legolas is onesided, he’s fascinated by her scar and her rather mesmerizing looks b/c she looks different.
princessofnumenor- well she speaks, but it’s not who you think. who will she fall in love with? that is a question i cannot answer. it will get close before i choose.
iluvien- i actually made a mistake, the letter was suppose to be a small package, but since i made a mistake i’ve included a little letter = ) not much of one, but the package is exceedingly important.
lady_shinigami- guesses won’t be confirmed, but you’ll know who is right soon enough ,-,. reading above about iluvien will answer the letter question.
adrielsa- thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks, your reviewers are awesome and special thanks to TINGILYE, my beta reader!
6: Deepening the Desperation (February 14, 2003 to February 16, 2003)
It was strange to see her after all these years and have her not remember him at all when she had haunted him. He didn’t know why he’d felt compelled to give her the package filled with precious herbs that had miraculous healing properties. But if she was going to chase after the Nazgul, it’d be good for her to have those herbs. For some reason since she spoken in his mind, he had not been able to forget her voice.
“You look lost in thought,” Arwen observed, approaching him from behind. “I did not know that you knew her,” she began, trying to find out how Legolas knew her oselle. “You seem to know her well though to give her a departing gift.”
“She came to Mirkwood many years ago,” he answered her curiosity. “I do not know why but the memory of her is as strong as ever.”
“I remember,” she responded. “It was after I came to Lothlorien that she went.”
“She spoke to me,” he murmured, “in my mind.”
Arwen stared at him with astonishment and disbelief. “I am surprised that she did,” she vocalized. “For she did not speak to me until twenty years after she returned from Mirkwood. The trip was especially traumatic for her we later discovered.”
“The orc attack…”
Again he stunned her with what he knew. “Yes, it brought back her memories of her torture that the orcs had made her suffer through. That is how she came by her scar, scars on her body and her heart, her very soul. We did not know how badly the trip had shaken her for a while, but one night she broke down in wracking sobs that came from the depths of her soul. It was then that she opened up to Galadriel all her inner misery. It was then she started to call my grandparents amme and adar. It was then she truly became their daughter.”
His blue eyes were filled with concern as he stared into her dark eyes carefully. It was not that he didn’t believe her for when he had first seen the Silver Lady, he had been struck by the pain he sensed about her. The root of turmoil in her went very deep, residing so far within her that it was almost impossible to see that she was indeed hurting, that she was in pain. It was only when she had spoken to him that he’d felt a feel of the ache inside of her.
It was not until after the vision she had passed to his father and once his father had related the full portentous details of the prophecy that he understood what she had had to bear. She may have been called the Silver Lady, but she appeared to be no older than a child. At that time, he would not have been ready to be burden with the weight that the Lady of Light had placed upon her shoulders. How did one as fragile as she carry that weight?
“She does not remember me, but since she has spoken to me I have felt a connection to her.”
The preparations were at hand. The Council had decided. The Fellowship was to depart as soon as the path was clear, when the road was made safe. He counted on his sons to make it secure, to make it possible for the Fellowship to succeed in a task impossible to bear but bear it they must for the good of all the free folk. It was time to speak to Galadriel about Anaire. For what he had seen and known, Anaire thought her fate was go to, yet Galadriel had told him an opposing story. He needed to seek out why.
//Galadriel,// Elrond greeted, //I have asked Anaire to pursue with Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel the path of the Nazgul, why is that you changed your mind? Was she not ready? For Haldir does not believe her to be ready.//
//It is too late to back down,// Galadriel responded. //No one can prepare for the task she has, and Haldir will never think his student will be ready. It is the same feeling I have, but I have to let her go. There was no change in mind, the path taken is the path foreseen.// Elrond suddenly felt his mother-in-law’s piercing gaze upon him. //Arwen has told me of her love of Aragorn, your Estel. Her love for Estel is as deep as yours for Celebrian, and it cannot be stopped. Give your blessing and it will relieve both of your hearts. Now is not the time to be divided.//
//What you speak of is true but have you truly let Anaire go? You were the one who counseled me that the path of the One Ring is not hers to take. She was ready to go, I had to prevent her from joining. Have you really let her go?//
//It is not her time yet,// Galadriel answered. //Right now it is time for her to go with her sons and stop the black riders of Sauron. It is not her burden to bear yet. Things change, fates twist. One day it may be her destiny to journey with them, until then she will not.//
//You will not let her go,// Elrond said knowingly. //You did not want to let Celebrian go even though she needed desperately to leave. She is as real of a daughter to you as if she were of your own blood. You have invested too much in her to let her leave.//
//I will let her go when the time is right,// she stated firmly. //Do no presume to know my intentions, Lord Elrond Peredhil. Do not underestimate me. Do not do that.//
//You try to speak of Arwen, but truly you speak of Anaire. What troubles you is that you struggle to release your Fanyarelisse to her fate. It is what you will have to do. We made the decision to stay; we made the choice to sacrifice for the good of all. It cannot be done in half measures, Galadriel!//
//I know that! I know that it cannot be done in without full efforts. There is a time and place for everything.//
//You wish to believe that there is!//
//There is,// she declared with a note of finality. //You keep Arwen from her fate to ride besides Aragorn, son of Arathorn, heir to the throne of men, by blood one of yours. Her fate is clearly seen which choice she wants to make. It is within the realm of our power to consent to the decision she has made. With Anaire, things are not clearly defined as with Arwen.//
Through the space and the distance, they glared at one another until the calm voice of Celeborn intervened, //You each do the same what you tell the other to not do. It is hard to forsake a daughter to a road that leads to certain tragedy. But it was decided upon to stay to do what we could, so we must fulfill that promise. For the souls of elves are faithful to the end.//
The night was tense. The air was cold. The four elves were very near the presence of the Ulairi. If a wrong step was made, a sound not planned the attack would come when they did not want it yet to come. For they wanted to be the ones that surprised, not the other way around. The pursuers did not wish to become the pursued for once pursued by the Nazgul, it only ended once those pursued were banished from existence.
Elladan, Elrohir, nor Glorfindel needed a respite, but it was clearly visible that Anaire did. She did not say she needed rest, but it was obvious that the dark circles underneath her eyes were caused from her weariness. It was not in her to say she needed a break from the hard riding, thus Elrohir took it upon himself to call on the breather for the horses needed one as well.
It was with much insistence that the three male elves decided that they all would split the turns with Anaire getting the rest she needed through sleep. It was true that elves did not need much sleep, but Anaire had always been an unusual elf in that sleep was more of a requirement than external nourishment. Throughout the days they had ridden, she had eaten far less than the rest of them. It was the rest of her mind that she needed for being awake was a burden to her.
Elladan was the first to take watch, then Glorfindel, and lastly Elrohir, who kept his ears keenly alert as he stared at Anaire, his sister as true as Arwen. He understood what his father had asked him many years ago. That if his interest in Anaire was more than that of a friend, of a brother that there was still time to change what was about to seal that chance away. He had not protested for he had not known. He now knew. That he was to be her brother, her guardian, a protector of hers.
He was still staring at her when she opened her wise eyes. Her gaze upon him reminded him very much of Galadriel’s. It was filled with knowledge and power. //You gaze at me as if you had not seen me for many years when you have seen me all these days.//
“Mela,” he whispered the name he had first given her, “can one ever tire of seeing the beauty within you?”
There was no emotion, no expression on her pale and calm face. He did not expect one. But he had not predicted that she’d turn away from him and tilt her head to the east direction. Perplexed, he did not understand what she was listening for until she informed him, //They are coming. They know we are here.//
He did not have to wake Elladan nor Glorfindel, both of whom had already been warned by Anaire’s inner voice. They leapt to attention while Anaire scaled a tree and stood on the branch as still as any statute, keeping watch for the danger that was approaching. Elladan, Elrohir, and Glorfindel readied their bows, waiting for the signal from Anaire, whose senses were keener than theirs for her powers of the mind gave her more of an ability to concentrate.
Their bodies tensed when Anaire withdrew an arrow from her quiver and readied her bow. It was then that they heard the steady sound of the hooves of the black horses of the Ringwraiths. As the Nazgul drew closer, the impending darkness they brought loomed overhead. What Anaire had not expected was that she would feel their minds. Their gloom, their betrayal, their desperation, their grimness that was corrupted in them. It seared her mind with images that were all together like her own inner darkness.
She let loose the arrow too soon, giving away their location before she should have if her mind had not betrayed the movements she had been taught well by Haldir. To wait, to anticipate, and then to fire upon the enemy when they had no further time to react. Her early timing alerted the Ulairi to their position; they were now able to launch an attack to the location that she’d given away.
At least her aim was true, it struck one of the Ringwraiths through the forehead, eliminating that villain for a while. Luck was on their sides because the Witch-King, the Lord of the Nazgul was not with the eight black riders. Even with three of the very best elven warriors in the lands, victory against the Witch-King was slim at best. But still they had gone on with their task because it had been given to them.
Of the three arrows that were released, only Glorfindel’s was true enough to take out one of the Ulairi. Elrohir’s and Elladan’s did impend two of the dark riders, but they did not stop them from launching their attacks. But unlike Anaire, they did have not a chance to use their bows once more because the remaining six Nazgul were bearing down upon them. Anaire’s last clear shot struck down on more of the foe, but another shot she was not allowed for even with her perception, the risk of shooting one of her own was too great.
One of the Ringwraiths sensed her hesitation and purposely gave her a vindictive gaze before making his attack on Elrohir as if he knew that this was the one who meant the most to her here. She nearly found it in her to cry out a warning aloud, but Elrohir heard her mental panic. He withdrew his sword and met the attack head on. Yet, his odds were grossly unfair. It was three against one, granted two were half impaired but the one that had given her that terrible gaze was quite fit and dangerous. If the three had been orcs, it’d be no problem. But they were Sauron’s special warriors, men tainted by the rings of power given to them. Once great, now terrible to behold.
She took a deep breath as she stepped off the branch, dropping lightly to the earth sliding her double knives out. Yes, she had been well trained by Haldir, but never had she faced warriors like the Nazgul. The orcs brought back her past fears, but these Ringwraiths terrified her with the dark horrible temptations of their insidious minds. Yet, she would not allow herself to forget that Elrohir had saved her form her nightmares, she’d not forsake him. She was unaware of anything else but her concentration on the Nazgul before her.
Their blades clashed, she did not falter like she had long ago. But they were far stronger than she, she was afraid to look into their minds to predict their next move. She feared what she’d see, what she’d find. Drawing the sword over his faceless face, he struck down on her a blow that surely would have crippled if not killed her but for Elrohir’s quick action. He blocked the hit meant for her, but the cost was costly as he was stabbed by the other Nazgul from behind.
Despite the wound, he fended off both of them born by the incredible adrenaline pumping in his veins. The terror of seeing her being brutally attacked by the Ulairi had been more than he could handle. Soon though, the loss of blood and the affect of the poison slowed his movements down. For the sword of the Nazgul were not like normal blades. Yes, they cute the living flesh but their edges were corrupted by a potent poison to kill even an elf. It seemed time had run out as Elrohir collapsed to his knees, while Anaire desperately tried to defend him.
Elrohir was overcome by a sense of failure when he saw from his fading vision Glorfindel severing the head of the Ulairi that had injured him, Elladan conquering the other, and even Anaire defeating the last. He may have failed to protect his Mela, but his brother and his companion had not— she was even able to defend herself. It was with relief that he felt the darkness overtake him. She was safe, safe for the meantime.
He blacked out before he heard her halting, anguished whisper, “El…el…” But Elladan and Glorfindel heard, their eyes widening with their shared shock. But they didn’t say anything as her agonized mind cried out, //Find something to help him! Help him!//
It was as they were searching through their bags that Elladan noticed the package that he remembered Legolas thrusting into Anaire’s hands. When he opened the package, he found what the wood elves fondly called mirkweed, but it’s healing properties were well known, considered extraordinary. They certainly needed a miracle and this wild plant surely had the properties that made up for their lack of healing ability. The letter that was wrapped around the outer package was in Legolas’s firm script: Hope that this helps whatever troubles you encounter, Anaire.
Many days were spent waiting for Elrohir to sway whatever direction. Whenever Elladan and Glorfindel were about to give up hope, there’d be a sign that again gave them a slim hope that he’d awaken. Mirkweed had rather strange healing power, but they did not think it was only the plant that was healing Elrohir. It didn’t hurt that Anaire was trying to speak to get him to wake up for it was a well known myth that the voice could draw the soul back into the body of the about to be departed.
“El…ro…hir,” she murmured brokenly, “not… your… time.” Words were difficult for her. Her voice had grown use to disuse; she found it hard to speak more than a word at time. If it was true, if her voice could bring him back she’d try. She owed him her life for he was the one that had given it back to her. He was the one that had drawn her out of the chaos that had consumed her. //Please, Elrohir,// she begged him mentally, //come back to me.//
The herbs in the package that Legolas had thrust into her hands definitely played a part, her dear brother would have passed to the Halls of Mandos without them. But they weren’t enough to bring him back, but her voice was eventually able to reach him. One night when Elladan and Glorfindel were resting, Elrohir’s eyes fluttered open with painstaking effort.
If there had been light, his eyes would not have been able to bear it for he had grown accustomed to the blackness he’d nearly fallen in. But it was already dark when he reopened his eyes to the world as hard as it had been for the soft and beautiful voice that spoke to him had been the only sweetness in the darkness. It was not a dream. She was speaking to him. “Elrohir,” she whispered his name lyrically, the only word she said well for she had repeated his name over and over in hopes of bringing him back. “Elrohir…” //Please come back.//
“I am back,” he answered hoarsely. He managed a glimmer of a smile, a smile more of a shadow of himself rather than a true smile that he was capable of. “Truly,” he reassured when her eyes filled with an emotion of disbelief then a light that warmed his cold heart, “I never left.”
Something broke in her, the emotions that had been locked deep within her spilled out as she wept with joy that he was okay, that the one that had saved her had not died saving her again. She owed him a debt that never could be repaid for how did one repay someone that had saved them not once but twice? In her own way, she did not fear the unknown. It was unknown though still less frightening than what she had known. She almost regretted not passing away those many years ago. But then again she had Celeborn and Galadriel, Arwen and Elrond, lastly Elrohir and Haldir. For them, life was worth the living.
Elrohir’s recovery was terribly slow, but at least he was recovering. He may have been weak, but the path to catch the Nazgul had led them close to Lothlorien. They didn’t even have to find the Galadhrim guard, the Lorien group found them. At the front of the guard was Haldir, who himself took the injured Elrohir with all haste back to the sacred citadel where his Lady would watch over her grandchild, her favored Elrohir.
The awful feeling of foreboding passed over Galadriel as she slumped back against Celeborn, her worries and her anxieties placing great strain upon her body. “They are safe,” she declared. “Haldir has Elrohir and they are riding ahead of the rest back. They are safe.”
The tension within Celeborn’s body was released as he heard her words for he had been as nerve wracked as she was, if not more so. It had been days since Galadriel’s sudden unmistakable revelation of what was occurring within the vicinity of Celebrian’s assault. Days that she had sent Haldir and the Galadhrim guard searching for her adopted daughter. Everything was okay. Nothing was lost.
“It lightens my heart to hear of that,” Celeborn honestly confessed. “But you must rest,” he commanded, not requesting. “I will take care of Elrohir when he arrives. Do not fear, you need some sleep as minimal as you require for you have not slept in the days since your vision. Please, Galadriel.”
She nodded solemnly, allowing her husband to guide her to her chambers. But once he left her alone, she found she was not able to close her eyes. She feared if she rested that the worst would happen without her knowing. So she let the tension leave her body, but she did not allow her mind to relax not even for a moment. She had told Celeborn only as much as she thought he was able to handle.
She did not feel wrong for confiding in him her worst fears when those very same fears were hardly any discernible image. But what she thought, what her instinct told her was not good. She found that her intuition was rarely wrong, this time she hoped that it was. In the back of her mind, she did not think her speculation was inaccurate, but perhaps given time and action, that supposition possibly could change.
“They are leaving,” Arwen remarked wistfully, her gaze fully concentrated on her beloved Elessar. “May Elbereth guide them wisely with the light she has shone on them thus far.”
Elrond nodded for the hope of Middle Earth resided with these nine companions, this gathering of all the good races left. It was not their leaving that drew his most urgent attention, but instead it was the absence of Celebrian’s necklace around Arwen’s neck. It was the very same pendant that Arwen had been insisted be made for Anaire when they became sworn sisters. Not once since Elladan and Elrohir brought it back from Lothlorien had the Evenstar ever left her neck, yet now it was gone.
“You gave it to Estel,” he stated perceptively. He knew his daughter better than all the others elves in Rivendell. After all, she was his daughter. “So you have made your choice.” Her eyes never wavered from the fading form of her lover. “Are you sure of it? Once it is made there is no turning back. My daughter, you have lived nearly three thousand years, are you ready to end it? Time has meant nothing to you, and yet to take this path that you are about to decide will bring more changes than that of time.”
“I know that,” she responded softly. “But I would rather spend one lifetime, one mortal lifetime with the love of my life, with my Elessar than to spend one eternity, one infinity without having known the very trueness of an undying love.” Her eyes were unblinking, unbending. “I will not change my mind. I am his.”
A sorrow passed over Elrond’s reserved face for his daughter was much like him. “It is not your life, your soul that I worry of,” he began, “but how terrible it will be for you to be amongst those who have no true bearing on the essence of life. Estel is different than other men, he has grown up as an elf. You will find that other men do not have his strength of character, his noble heart.”
“Then he will revive it,” she stated with absolute certainty and confidence. “Then he will restore it. Why did you stay, Adar if you do not believe that there is still hope in the inherent goodness that is in man? Why did you stay, Ada if you do not think that they can be what we have always wished them to be?”
“It is because I wish to believe that there is,” Elrond declared. “It is because I want to think that there is. But I am realistic, I do not let my hopes rise above what can be expected. Men have already failed when failure was not an option. It is because of them that this desperation of all the races is occurring, and yet it is in men that our hope lies now.”
Author’s Note: Feedback is GOLDEN! It makes me think so much. The letter was actually a mistake, it was switched to a package b/c I couldn’t think of what Legolas would give, so I wrote a note instead = ). I guess you guys noticed that since you’ve already read it. Sorry! Any mistakes left in the story means my beta-reader didn’t catch them.
About Reviews: Guessing what happens next is GREAT for me to know how your mind is thinking, predictions can lead to me smiling when you guess right or making me rethink the scene I’ve already written and thinking hmm… a possibility I hadn’t thought of. It only makes my brain click and clicking brains write faster!
You all have been awesome so far! That’s why this is out so rapidly (courtesy of a fast beta as well!)