1: The Lost Child Found (February 4, 2003 to February 5, 2003)
The darkness had yet to descend onto the ethereal forests of Lothlorien. But it was beginning to fall onto the surrounding areas, however gradual it was. The light of the sun grew weaker a fraction of the time until the sunlight was no longer strong enough to warm the body, thought it was still able to fill the soul with its light. But even though they didn’t want to admit the shadow was falling over their lands, it was approaching. It was coming.
Hints of its arrival had already started to surface, even on the borders of the sacred Lothlorien. Within the revered center of the elves, its Lady closed her beautiful and wise eyes, she had firsthand seen how the hand of Sauron was spreading throughout the lands of Middle Earth. It was hard for her to recall the haunted expression on her dearest daughter, Celebrian without feeling a terrible pain. The fact that it’d happened outside her guardianship of Nenya would forever plague her mind. If only it had happened within the bonds of Nenya, she’d still have her daughter.
But even though it had happened in the Misty Mountains, she should have foreseen what would have happened and Celebrian would still be safe. For since the Second Age, even the area around her home had been beyond safe and filled with the glorious beauty that hinted at the magnificence of Lothlorien. But in the last century, things had started to change as little as it did. No longer did the Galadhrims wander outside of her borders because the place of Nenya needed to be secured and protected beyond all else, even at the cost of the safety outside of her borders.
In the end, had the price been worth it? She, one of the wisest of all elves, was still tormented by her decision, which had cost her the only daughter she had, her only lovely Celebrian. It wasn’t only Celebrian that had been lost, there had been many others that had been lost similarly, traveling from Mirkwood and even Rivendell like her own precious daughter.
Glancing down at the mirror, she checked the progress of her twin grandsons, Elladan and Elrohir, both of whom were making haste speed to the center of the elf kingdom, the greatest stronghold. Since Celebrian’s departure to the Undying Lands, her grandchildren had been her greatest comfort. For in them, she saw the likeness of her only daughter, especially in Elrohir, who had his mother’s gentleness and softness with her ability to calm the stormiest of conflicts.
It had been a while since Galadriel had smiled, but she smiled now as her grandsons made it safely into the protection of Nenya, meeting the group of Galadhrim she had sent to meet them. She was immensely relieved that they were within the security of her lands, so that she could take a rest from the careful watch she’d maintained. Ever since Celebrian’s attack and torture from the orcs, she had fears whenever they traveled to her. She couldn’t help but keep an eye out for them to make sure they were protected.
“I can see from the joy that you have long been without that the twins of Elrond are safely within our borders,” Celeborn stated with a gentle smile so like Celebrian’s. “Come with me, my Lady and let us send a message to Elrond so that he knows his sons have arrived safely.”
She nodded and took the hand that her husband offered to her. Together, they walked to the seeing room where using their minds, they reached out to Elrond in Imladris, who was undoubtedly waiting in his seeing room for word from them. Holding each other’s hands, they glanced toward the direction of Rivendell, reaching out to Elrond, their son by marriage. It wasn’t long before their minds connected to Elrond, feeling the worry at the back of his mind.
greeted Celeborn graciously.
Both of them saw the image of a much relieved Elrond, who gathered his thoughts carefully before he sent them.
Elrond replied with reluctance in his mental voice, surprising neither Galadriel or Celeborn. It was well known that Undomiel was his most precious child, being his only daughter.
Galadriel stated firmly.
Celeborn glanced at his wife with concern because ever since their daughter had departed over the seas to the West, the tension between her and Elrond had been unbearable. Even during their marriage, Celebrian always had to serve as the intermediary between her husband and her mother. It wasn’t that Elrond and Galadriel didn’t get along; they’d gotten along wonderfully before, which was how Celebrian had met Elrond in the first place. But things had changed once Elrond and Celebrian had gotten married. The tension started because Galadriel felt like she was losing her daughter, who she had groomed to be the next Lady of Lothlorien, her successor.
It was also understandable that the bond between Galadriel and Celebrian had been incredibly strong as she was their only child. Even he had felt a twinge of envy at how close his wife was to their daughter, but he had suppressed it and learned to deal with it. But Galadriel couldn’t make the adjust he had when Elrond claimed most of Celebrian’s time and energy. As the years had gone by, the strain between Galadriel and Elrond had only worsened.
Elrond remarked with a hint of rising anger,
For a moment, Celeborn had expected the worst, especially since he was nowhere near as gifted as his daughter at calming Galadriel’s fury. But the frustration on his wife’s face faded as she considered Elrond’s words. she stated evenly without a trace of her former agitation.
Elrond responded with weariness. There was a distinct pause before he continued,
With those last words, the connection between Galadrial and Celeborn to Elrond was shut off by Elrond’s withdrawal from reaching toward them. Once the connection had died, Galadriel turned to face her husband and said in a tone not be argued with, “Tell me when Elrohir and Elladan have arrived for I wish to see them when they arrive.”
Watching Galadriel leave him to go off to her rooms, Celeborn wished that things were different and that Cerebrian had never passed into the Undying lands. He didn’t know if that would have changed the course of this world, but at the very least, Galadriel’s powers would not have diminished as much as they had diminished. The reason that the Galadhrim no longer patrolled beyond the borders wasn’t because of the impending darkness, but because Galadriel had faded ever so slightly since Celebrian left.
Once Elladan and Elrohir had arrived in Lothlorien, it was Galadriel who was the first to greet them as she met with smiling eyes though her face was solemn as it often was. But both of her grandsons knew when their grandmother was pleased and when she was not, they definitely knew that right now she was beyond delighted with them. Throwing all sense of respectability aside, they rushed to their grandmother and embraced her tightly. For it was Galadriel that reminded them most of their mother, their dear mother.
By nature, Galadriel didn’t seem like a warm person, though her heart was filled with warmth. So it was a rare sight indeed to see her embracing even her grandchildren because not only was she expected to behave in a manner fitting the Lady of Lothlorien, but she wasn’t type to be open in public. But this was a special occasion because she hadn’t seen either Elrohir or Elladan for at least half a century, far too long of a time even for one such as she.
When they drew apart, Elladan and Elrohir were ready to give their grandfather, Celeborn, a hug of their own because Celeborn wasn’t as reserved as his wife about public displays of affection. Truly the only one that Galadriel had been outwardly affectionate to had been Celebrian and even then only on rare occasions such as the one they were at. Even the elves within Lothlorien had gathered around the reunion, happy to see that their Queen was once again radiant for they knew how sadden she was when Celebrian had departed, even though it had been well over two centuries.
“It gladdens my heart to see that both of you have safely arrived,” Galadriel said softly, her voice carrying a power that had lost none of its potency. Though she had diminished with her daughter’s departure, she was the most powerful Queen in all of Middle Earth. “I see now looking upon you how the wisdom has grown in each of you, truly you have gained the insight that was resides within your father and your mother.”
Elladan, the more extroverted twin, grinned broadly at Galadriel, though he did not jest as he would if he had been with others. The quieter one, Elrohir stared at his grandmother with a silent intensity that she understood well for it was the same look that Celebrian had given her often. She knew very well how to respond to the gaze, for she had done it many times before.
Elrohir broke into a small smile that was far more gratifying than any wide grin of Elladan. It wasn’t that Galadriel wasn’t fond of Elladan, it was that the link between Elrohir and her was strong, but still not as strong as the one she had with Celebrian. At least with Elrohir here, she was able to forget the keen pain she felt every time she recalled the torment that had torn Celebrian from her.
“I also feel joy that I have behold the most beautiful Elf Queen in all of Middle Earth once more, my grandmother,” whispered Elrohir fervently, the very same power echoed in his enunciation as was in Galadriel’s statement of greeting. That brought a more apparent smile on her face as she thought of how much Elrohir reminded her of Celebrian, but destiny had already told her that Elrohir wasn’t meant to take over Lothlorien, that was meant only for the one that she knew not but would know once her eyes had seen.
Holding her hands out to both of her grandsons, she beckoned them to take them. Once they took hold, she stood with Elladan and Elrohir, leading them up to the seeing room. Along the way, she explained to them that she had talked to their father to tell them they had arrived safely and she told half of the story of why Arwen needed to be back in Lothlorien. It was for Arwen’s own good if Arwen was to learn all that Galadriel had to offer. So when the sons of Elrond went to the seeing room to reach for their father with the aid of Galadriel’s magic, they had much they wished to discuss with their father.
stated Elrohir straightforwardly,
There was an amusement in Elrond’s reply that was not quite as cheerful and humorous as it sounded.
Elladan responded wisely, though he was often the joker of the two when he wanted to be serious he could be quite serious.
Elrohir agreed with his older brother,
Both Elladan and Elrohir bowed their heads in respect as the image of their father faded from their minds. Meeting Galadriel outside, they knew better than to tell her what had happened in the seeing room. Though if she had wanted, she could have eavesdropped easily on the conversation, she was not the type to stoop that low even though she dearly wished to know what had been discussed between the sons and the father. Neither Elladan nor Elrohir breathed a word to her, so she had to wait and it wasn’t as if she hadn’t waited long before. She knew eventually Arwen would return to her.
The time that Elladan and Elrohir spent at Lothlorien passed far too quickly. It wasn’t long before they were packing their stuff and gathering the small group of warriors they had brought with them. They numbered only ten, but their group was fast, faster than any orcs that traveled through the area between Rivendell and Lothlorien. As was usual in the partings, Galadriel gave them each a precious gift. To both, she gave them a silver dagger that was made with the most tenuous care and that would warn of the approach of orcs. In their care, she gave them a pendant that had been Celebrian’s to give to Arwen.
Their group set out later than they had expected to, but they had made haste speed, escorted by the Galadhrims to the border of Nenya’s protection. Once they were out of the boundaries, the entire group noticed how much chillier the air was and how somehow the air felt heavier around them. Their speed was so blinding that it took Elrohir a moment to notice that the dagger strapped to Elladan’s side was gleaming a pale blue.
Only in the most urgent of cases was he able to send a mind thought to his twin and only to his twin because of their connection,
The warning caused Elladan to glance down at his dagger and call out to the ones that raced ahead, “Watch out!” His warning came just a second late as the air soon was stained by the foul stench of the dirty orcs. They were lucky however that the group of orcs that they had stumbled upon in their fast flight to Rivendell were as surprised to see the elves as the elves were to see them. Unprepared for the swift act of retribution that Elladan and Elrohir acted on the orcs for the attack on their mother, however long ago it was, caused the orcs to be slaughtered in no time.
It was as Elrohir was about to cut the head off of the last orc that he noticed the white bundle that the orc was carrying so guardedly. Quickly averting his blade so that he didn’t harm whatever the orc was carrying, he shouted to one of the archers in the group, who quickly complied and shot the orc with deadly accuracy. Once the orc was dead, Elrohir swiftly dismounted and gathered the bundle that fell to the ground, astonished beyond all else when he saw that it was an elf girl who was hardly more than a child.
The wounds, the bruises, and the blood that stained her clothes that he saw so clearly now reminded him so deeply of how his mother had looked that he was hardly able to contain himself as tears filled his eyes. Taking a ragged breath, he regained his senses when Elladan called out to him inquire if everything was okay. He nodded and held the girl tightly to him, mounting his horse and urging his stallion back to the direction of Lothlorien. “What are you doing?” Elladan cried out.
Whirling his head enough to catch his brother’s worried expression, Elrohir explained with haste, “She needs help immediately. She has a wound like mother’s. We have to return to Lothlorien as soon as possible!”
“But father is the best healer in the lands!” Elladan exclaimed.
“She won’t make it that long way to Rivendell. Lothlorien is much closer.” Having said that, he urged his horse forward, taking the same blistering path that they’d taken away from the Golden Woods. Every few moments, Elrohir glanced down at the small elf girl in his arms, hoping that unlike his mother she would make it. Maybe all those many years ago, he’d make a mistake by heading back to Imladris when Lothlorien was closer. Maybe that was the reason his mother had passed over. Hopefully, this time he had made the right decision.
The sanctuary that her mirror resided was off limits to all but Celeborn, but even he wasn’t allowed to look into it without her consent. Though, he was unable to read minds like his wife, he was able to read the physiognomy of her better than anyone else. From the slight expression on her face, he knew immediately that something was amiss with his fair Galadriel. “What have you seen?”
Looking up from her mirror, Galadriel’s eyes were haunted like they had been before, when she had been allow to take a glimpse of Celebrian’s memories of the orcs attack. It took a moment for her to answer, “What my eyes have seen are the sons of Elrond stumbling amongst orcs as equally unprepared as they were, yet handling the situation well.”
“Then why,” Celeborn began softly, “are the eyes of yours filled with such a troubled tragedy?”
Her gaze settled back onto her mirror where she watched Elrohir make his way quickly through forests that still contained lurking danger. In his arms, he held a white bundle that she had gotten enough of a look at to know. From that, she knew that whomever he held had been tortured severely like Celebrian. What lifted her heart somewhat was that Elladan and Elrohir were heading back towards Lothlorien. “With the orcs, there was one other, a child.”
Nothing further did she have to tell him because he understood the implication of what she had said. There was nothing the orcs enjoyed more than to torture a child. It made bile rise up in his throat to think about what the child had had to suffer through, something no one should. “They are heading back here?” She nodded. “Then I will ride out to meet them.”
Swiftly he left her, heading out to gather the proper, though still rapid enough escort for the Lord of Lothlorien. It wasn’t long at all before he left the refuge of his home, making all speed to the direction of Elrohir, Elladan, and the elf child they carried. It took a while to find them, even with the guidance and direction Galadriel gave to him through his mind. But in the end, he found them and in good time because their horses had started to tire and grow weary.
Having thought to bring extra horses, they put Elrohir with the elf child on their fastest horse, together the pair taking off at blinding speed to Lothlorien. Behind them followed the rest of them, only Celeborn’s stallion was able to keep up the scorching pace set by Elrohir. As they rode back, Celeborn thought with pure astonishment of his realization that the elf child was an elf girl. Once he knew that, he was certain Galadriel also knew because she was always within his mind. If he was thinking how similar this was to Celebrian, she certainly must have the same thought.
Yes, she did have the same thought. Backing away from her mirror, Galadriel had to take a deep breath to calm the rampant emotions that coursed through her. All the memories that had agonized her mind for the last two hundred years rushed back with a frightening velocity. The dead eyes, the sunken face, the icy skin, the grey pallor, the detached mind, the nightmarish memories, the lost soul… What Celebrian had gone through, she wished on no one. Lost in her thoughts, she was jolted from them when one of her underlings informed her that Elrohir and Celeborn had arrived.
Once she heard of this, she quickly made her way down, stopping only to alert their resident master-healer. It was when she saw the white cloth drenched with blood from a wound so gruesome that even their healer thought the worse. Throughout the entire ordeal, Elrohir never let go of the elf girl, holding her throughout. Finally, the healer could do all that he could do and left to find if there was anymore than he could do.
Afterwards when the healer suggested rest, Elrohir still didn’t give up his hold on the girl child, not even to let Galadriel hold her. She caught Celeborn’s worried look, and she gave him a reassuring look before taking his hand and leading her out of the room. Having watched the healer undress the child to tend to her wounds, they were all doubtful of her survival because the ravages on her body were enough to kill any full grown elf. Yet at the same time, there was something Galadriel sensed about this child, a resiliency.
As the hours passed, as the days rolled by, the master-healer had stated in an absolutely incredulous voice that the girl child was going to make it. For an entire week, Elrohir had never left her side and Celeborn had only been gone to tend to his duties as Lord, and as for Galadriel, she kept a vigil outside of the room. When the week had passed, some explanations were necessary for Elladan and Elrohir hadn’t appeared at Imladris at the appointed time. After hearing the tale, Elrond himself set out to Lothlorien to lend what aid was possible.
Even with his superior healing abilities, the child didn’t wake. Elrond wasn’t able to convince Elrohir to leave until she had awoken from the coma she was in. The life at Lothlorien had come to a stand still as they waited for the mystery child to open her eyes. Over the time she had been slumbering, they had noticed things that were different from what they had first perceived. They had suspected her of being a child, but she wasn’t as young as they had previously thought, though she wasn’t of age yet. There was also curiosity over her silver hair because the color was even rarer than dark haired elves.
Lying on the bed, Elrohir stared down at her with reverence and sorrow for even though a month was shorten in time for an elf, it wasn’t a good sign. Though she had recovered, she still hadn’t opened her eyes. He had stared at her long enough to memorize every plane and angle of her fragile features. She was not as beautiful as Arwen, but he had the nagging suspicion that her beauty was not intended to be exotic like his younger sister, but more delicate and soft, translucent.
As he was studying her face, she opened her eyes, the eyes that were equally rare amongst elves, a deep steel grey. Instinctively, he tried to reach for her, but she avoided him intuitively. “Mela,” he said softly, “do you not know me?” She stared at him with her silver eyes, no recognition, nothing in them. “It is okay,” he reassured. “You are amongst friends.” When he reached for her again, she let him pull her into his lap, letting him hold her as one would hold a child. The closer he looked, the more he saw that her eyes weren’t expressionless, that they contained the same pain evident in his mother’s.
“Do you know who you are?” he inquired because Celebrian had lost a sense of who she was when she had first recovered. As he stared, he didn’t seen any sense of realization pass through her. He didn’t see a reaction at all. It alarmed him so much that his grandmother heard his strident thoughts, for it wasn’t long before she entered with Celeborn and Elrond following closely behind her.
“I was not wrong,” Galadriel stated. “She has awoken.” Taking her time, she carefully studied the girl before posing a direct question to the girl, “How are you?” The girl child didn’t answer, and when Galadriel tried to probe her mind she found strong resistance that wasn’t expected for she was able to go into the minds of most elves without trying. There was more to this elf child than she had thought. “How is she?” she directed her question to Elrohir instead.
He glanced at the girl in his arms, who looked everywhere but where the others in the room stood. He shrugged for he did not know. She didn’t speak, she didn’t react, and she didn’t look at anyone anymore. She did allow herself, however, to be fed by Elrohir and only by Elrohir. The only other person that she allowed to approach her was Celeborn, even Galadriel wasn’t able to come to her unless either Elrohir or Celeborn was in the room. It made Galadriel feel strange to be excluded when she had always been included. It made her think about how Celeborn had felt during the close relationship she shared with Celebrian.
Yet as she watched Elrohir feed the girl he called Mela, the interaction between the two of them was strange. It wasn’t anything she had seen before, for it wasn’t of a man to a woman, nor a brother to a sister, or even a father to a daughter. It was something different, something not quite explainable, but it was special and deep. “Mela,” he urged, “please speak to me.”
Despite his urging, she didn’t nor would she speak. Today was the last day he was to stay in Lothlorien for a long time. The twins had spent far too much time already, and Elrond was recalling them back to Rivendell. “Mela,” Elrohir said in a soft whisper, “you need to let Celeborn feed you for I must go, and I do not know when I will return to these parts.” She made no response that she’d heard him, that she even understood him but he knew she did. His thoughts were confirmed when he tried to leave and she grabbed his hand.
Staring down with amazement as such a simple gesture for some was miraculous for her, it made him not want to leave but he had to. “I will come back,” he told her. The only sign that she gave him that she had heard him was when she let go her his hand and rested her hand on the comforters that covered her. Standing outside of the room, Galadriel wondered if there was more that she hadn’t seen.
It was when Elrohir left that Mela turned to the doorway, her startling grey eyes meeting Galadriel’s deep blue ones. In that gaze exchange, they Lady of the Light had the sudden epiphany that it was not one of her blood, it was not Arwen that was destined to come after her, it was this mute elf girl. This silver haired, grey eyed girl child that was not a child yet was not a woman. She was the one.
Author’s Note: Please comment, thanks!