When Alenor awoke again, pale shadows were casting about her room giving notion that it was early evening. The blankets that had been a tangled mass around her had been smoothed out and her arms were lying atop the coverlet. Someone had changed her dress to a white long nightgown.
“You’re awake, you have been unconscious for four days now,” Alenor’s eyes traveled to the stand and chair beside her bed. Legolas was looking at her with grave concern.
“Four days?” Alenor asked weakly. The Prince nodded.
“Lord Elrond says you are to rest if you awoke,” he said. “I honor those words let your mind take you and sleep.”
“Legolas what happened while I was sleeping?” Alenor asked she struggled to sitting position, but could hardly come above lifting her head. Legolas was silent for a long while watching her.
“For three days,” Legolas said at last. “You struggled and kicked and no one could come near you. Alenor you nearly strangled yourself at least fifty times and we could do nothing to unravel the blankets from around you from the way you fought. You were continuously screaming and muttering and once you awoke. Perhaps you remember it, or not, but you said, “They are coming back!” No one understood your words and you soon fell back to darkness. Midnight yesterday you finally calmed. Arwen changed you into a nightdress and the healers bathed you, for, as they mostly put it: `We don’t care when she wakes up! We don’t want her looking one of those Rangers that come in!’ I am sure that some of their glances were cast to Elrohir who scowled back. That is it and I will say no more and sleep now.”
“How is Elrohir?” Alenor asked. She was beginning to fall asleep already and found it hard to concentrate on Legolas’s words.
“He is still worried and sulks much,” Legolas responded. “He tries to hold to his promise, but it is difficult. Rana is as much like Elrohir. We can’t get him to talk.”
“I. . . I have a message,” Alenor said vainly trying to stay awake. “I have to tell him.” A hand swept across her brow.
“Sleep Alenor,” Legolas ordered soothingly. “You can tell him when you awake again.”
“No,” Alenor whispered her words nearly dying in her throat. “I must tell him now.” It was useless though to stay awake. Alenor drifted away, into the realm of bright dreams.
When she awoke again the room was awash in bright sunlight that glinted and chased the shadows around the room. She found that she been changed again into a lighter nightgown and the covers around her were light as if it had suddenly turned to summer.
“Welcome back sleepy head.” Alenor turned around to see Elrohir. He was leaning back in his chair and he was smiling at her brightly.
“How long have I been out?” Alenor asked sitting up and holding the blanket to her chest for some odd reason. Perhaps it was the memory of Elrohir dumping ice down her back when was very small, Alenor could still see perfectly the berating he had received from Annienna, the picture of her father however was small and blurry.
“Two hours since Legolas last left, which would make it about three,” Elrohir creased his brow in thinking. “At least I believe so. I mean, then. . .” he trailed off still with his brow creased. Alenor leaned over and tossed a pillow at him hitting her Uncle straight in the face.
“Come on Uncle stop thinking you’re going to burst!” Alenor laughed ducking from the on coming pillow. “Bad aim.”
“I wasn’t trying to hit you,” Elrohir said plainly. Alenor looked up to see him with a sad look on his face.
“I’m sorry, I keep, er forgetting,” Alenor said quietly and fiddled with her blankets. “I didn’t mean to.” Elrohir shook his head.
“Its okay,” he assured, though the tightlipped smile that he gave her assured nothing. “I have a promise to make don’t I?” it was a weak and pitiful excuse, but it made Alenor smile a bit. She slid out of bed and sat on her Uncle’s lap pulling him into a hug.
“And I’m there for you,” she whispered to him. She felt him hug her back.
“And I am glad,” Elrohir said to her. “I am not sure what would have happened to me if I had not listened to your words.”
“You would be as I said,” Alenor said pointedly. “An incompetent servant of Morgoth. I still haven’t taken that back.”
“I don’t want you to, it was all true,” Elrohir spoke truthfully. “But come we sit here and talk and you need to find some proper clothing. There is a feast tonight in the coming of the Prince and King. It would have been earlier, except for that they came unexpected and what followed afterwards. I think father was sure you would awake today.”
“A feast?” Alenor groaned. “In that case tell him I am too ill. I hate feasts, last time some drunken Elf dumped wine over my head and the time before that I punched an Elf and the time before that. . .” Elrohir swiftly clamped a hand over her mouth.
“I’m sure you can go back to the beginnings of the world,” he said. “But not now, the seamstresses have made for you a new dress. I hope you like it. It is noon tide and the lunch bell will ring soon.” He raised an eyebrow.
“I will change at the last possible moment and I will not dance with Prince!” Alenor said firmly getting up and going to the closet that was awash with light.
“And why not?” Elrohir asked.
“Don’t try,” Alenor grumbled. ” I will not utter it here.”
“He slipped spiders in your hair,” Elrohir said. Alenor would have attacked him had she not heard the laughter that spilled from his lips. “And put a dear and harmless and quite vile tasting concoction in your drink and then you threw up all over Cirdan that had come that day and was guest of honor!!”
“How do you know you weren’t even . . .” Alenor trailed off and fell silent.
“There?” Elrohir finished quietly. “No, but Legolas has told me enough times today that I fear he will try something more drastic tonight. I dearly hope that you won’t throttle him, he said you nearly had had it not been for my father and Rana, small as he was.” Alenor sniffed and continued to flip through her closet. She would not even go near the Prince that evening if it could be helped.
Alenor laid hand on a light gray dress and suddenly remembered her meeting with the stranger, and the way she could not move.
“Uncle someone gave me a message,” she said slipping the gray dress over her nightgown, to lazy to care.
“Who was it?” Elrohir asked. “Perhaps who gave it to you left you like that.” Alenor struggled to tell him, but the name remained hidden and she could not grasp it.
“I’m not sure,” she said slowly. “He looked a lot like you Uncle, but younger. He gave me a message to give to Rana and you, he told me something else that I was not to forget.” She fiddled with a closed sleeve about her wrist. There was silence behind her and Alenor turned. “Uncle why are you crying?” Elrohir brushed away the tears.
“His memory is nearly gone is it not?” he asked. Alenor gave a shameful nod. “It was your father. There was no one else it could be. What did he tell you not to forget?”
“I think, I think he wanted it to be a secret,” Alenor said with difficulty, it was hard to lie when she knew that he was returning. “But he wanted me to tell you something.” She saw Elrohir lift his head in hope.
“What say he?” he asked, there was some hope to his voice. Alenor was silent for a long time, suddenly afraid that what she would say would only hurt her uncle more.
“Well,” she said at last and heavily. “He said that it was not your fault and he forgives you for anything you held against him. It was his time and it could not be undone.” She finished and squeezed her eyes tight so she would not see Elrohir, but when a tiny sigh escape him Alenor cracked her eyes open slightly.
“Then that is all?” he asked softly. “Perhaps if it could not be undone then that was the best way for him to die?” Alenor gave a short, sharp nodded and piddled with the skirt of her dress.
“Where’s Rana?” she mumbled, feeling guilty for her words.
“Probably fussing as the seamstresses try and make suitable attire for him,” Elrohir responded. “He hates feasts as much as you do, and for that there is no valid reason, and if there is I have yet to hear it! Do not fear your words Alenor, for they came with great light and I cherish them. For above all else I hold the sayings of my brother closer to heart and I will listen to him more then the saying of my own father!” A small smile of hope broke out on Alenor’s face as the noon bell signaling lunch tolled throughout the valley of Rivendell.
“Lunch,” Elrohir announced, though it was quite obvious. He stood up and crossed to the door. “Perhaps you will seek your brother out at lunch?” Alenor gave an agreeing nod and left the room, followed by Elrohir.
Rana was in the dining room picking at his midday meal, a sour expression on his face. Alenor nearly laughed as she sat beside him, but it faded as he went to stand and went to move away.
“Please brother!” she begged catching his sleeve. “Can I not give one last piece of advice?”
“What advice have you so far given me?” he asked.
“None I am afraid,” Alenor admitted. “But please this comes from a source that speaks true. . . your father.”
“He is dead!” Rana hissed his eyes flashed. “He was never there!” A couple of the Elves glanced their way before they returned to merry talk.
“He told me that mother is happy,” Alenor said still gripping his sleeve. ” Now you decide what course you wish to take.” Rana gave such an angry jerk to get away from Alenor that she tumbled from her seat to the hard floor and smacking her head with a dull thud.
“Some advice!” he snorted. “I thought my sister had better knowledge.” She heard his receding footsteps as she lay upon the floor, the coolness attacking her forehead. She felt a hand grasp her wrist and pull her up and Alenor was suddenly standing facing the bright eyes of the Elf.
“Let him rest, it is just upsetting,” Lindir said. “Let is rest Alenor. How are you? Your plight has coursed all through Rivendell by now. Is your head sore enough that you sought that floor for comfort?” Alenor shot a hard angry looked at the merry Elf.
“Too much wine has filled your head!” she spat at him. “You will never win a heart by looking like a merry fool!” there was a collective group of gasps from behind her, indicating that her voice had risen loud enough for everyone to hear. Alenor jerked her arm forcefully from his hand and looked into his saddened green eyes. “You’re a complete fool Lindir! No words that come from such a dirty mouth as yours could ever move my heart! Sulk and sit for a while and maybe that wine will drain and you will think more clearly, but even so I shall never be moved by you!” There was murmuring and speaking and gasps behind Alenor from elf-maidens and even a few that were male. She looked hard at him and saw the Elf was nearly in tears. She turned sharply and stalked from hall and hearth.
Alenor didn’t know where she stalked, she just stalked in anger. Fuming over the wine filled elf who was too merry for his own good! Alenor became aware that was scrambling over large rocks and then came to the peaceful and quiet pond.
As always that water remained still as glass and no sound uttered a word or breath except from her. The pond rested in the middle of the dell and the sandy and rocky beach traveled from waters edge to the edge of the great boulders. There was one boulder, long and flat one that seemed to have fallen and lay stretched out to middle of the pond, it was here Alenor rested. She lay on her back eyes closed welcoming warmth upon her face and quiet peace to think.
Long before the stranger came to her side Alenor heard him. She knew who it was for only one knew of this place. She felt his presence beside her, resting in quietness and the quiet ripples of disturbed water lapped gently on the rock, indicating he was playing his hand or foot within the water.
“He wept much after you left Alenor.” There was a quiet silence in which nothing seemed to move. “Do you care not?”
“His head is full of wine,” Alenor said opening her eyes and rolling over propping herself up on one elbow.
“Love can do that sometimes,” Legolas said. Alenor sighed.
“Whose side are you on?” she demanded. “He is a merry fool and I will not marry a merry fool!”
“Nor would I,” Legolas said. “But come you could have been more polite.” He saw the glowering look Alenor cast him and quickly changed subjects. “Can I have the honor of you dancing with me tonight?” Alenor rolled on her back and squinted up at the sky for the light of the Sun was too great for her to look clearly.
“Legolas I would never dance again with you since that night,” Alenor said. There was half choked laugh.
“And I was repaying that favor,” he said in a proud voice.
“That I put dead fish in your bed?” Alenor asked. “That was merely because you refused to eat such at supper and Rana had as much as a helping hand as I.”
“The child was young and could not understand what was going on!” Legolas defended him. “Yet all the same I was repaying you. I can still here your scream in the Hall of Fire and then the look of horror on your face when you threw up on Cirdan! Ha! That memory shall stay with me as long as I live!” With a swift hand Alenor reached out and shoved him into the pond. There was a very satisfying splash! In a few more seconds there came the sound of someone splashing and choking. It seemed that Legolas had inhaled half the pond.
“Are you cooled down?” Alenor asked indifferently closing her eyes and feeling the warmth of the sun spread across her face.
“Verily not!” Legolas choked. “And you’re lucky that you don’t join me in this VERY cold pond!”
“Hmm?” Alenor muttered pretending she was half asleep, but she was about to burst with laughter. A cold and very wet hand grabbed hold of her arm. Alenor gave an unexpected cry and jerked her arm away; his hold though was stubborn and unyielding.
“Ha,” he grumbled. “I see you are about to burst into fits of laughter! Try I dare you!”
“And then what?” Alenor asked giving another tug. “Let go of my dress it is getting very wet!” She opened her eyes and turned to see Legolas. From the way he kept floundering in the water like some half drowned rat Alenor guessed it was over his head. His one hand held Alenor firmly the other was holding onto nothing and kept reaching for the rock which he always seemed to miss. His hair now a tangled mass dripped in his face, obscuring sight and down his back. In all the whole scene looked quite comical and Alenor burst in laughter until she cried.
“I’m not amused!” he growled making movements as if to haul her in when a new voice cut in.
“You look like a half drowned rat Legolas. I bet you cannot see!” With surprise Legolas let go of Alenor and forgot to tread water, he quickly disappeared. “Um can he swim?” Alenor looked at Elrohir.
“I’m not going after him! Besides I’m sure he can swim,” Alenor said looking at the water. After a few seconds Legolas came up sputtering and looking like a drowned rat.
“Elrohir!” he choked, his words so scrambled it was near undecipherable. “When I lay my hands on you . . .” his last words were lost in water as Alenor reached over and effortlessly dunked the Elf under water. Then getting up she ran lightly down the fallen boulder came to Elrohir’s side and hid behind him.
“If I’m a tool in your war,” he muttered to her. “Then you might as well give up in using me as a shield. Legolas will throw you in no matter what. Ah, I fear peace here has ended.” Alenor loosened hold on Elrohir’s shirt.
“Uncle how did you come here?” she asked in a suddenly frightened whisper.
“I’ve come to Rivendell more then you expected,” Elrohir replied. “I often hid here, the long hidden play place of me and my brother. Perhaps it is you and the grave? Here I can hear his voice and calmness reminds of him. Sometimes he seemed so unruffled that it would take an explosion to get him to get panicked. At least until he married that. . . horrid blasted woman!” Alenor stood rigid at Elrohir speaking of her mother that way, but calmly loosened her hands from about the grey dress.
“And why do you speak of Annienna in such away?” the tone was cool and unmoved. Alenor peered from around Elrohir to see Legolas standing on the shore ringing out his hair as best he could. Elrohir was silent for awhile, before he spoke again, his voice calm, yet around the edges one could tell he was struggling to maintain a calm voice.
“Once he married her, he was never around! Never! I would speak with him for a minute and turn my back and he would leave! The blasted woman had him twined about the fingers! Every word had her name or yours Alenor! I’m glad she’s gone! Gone and never to return I hope!” Alenor swallowed a sudden lump in her throat at his words knowing that she would return. “I also blamed his death upon my feelings for her. Yet it seems he forgives me and heavy burden is off my shoulders at such news!” Alenor saw the confused expression across Legolas’s face, he did not understand such words and probably thought Elrohir a madman. Alenor laid a gentle hand upon his shoulder.
“Don’t blame yourself on everything,” she said gently. “Will you be coming to the feast?” She stepped from behind Elrohir to give him a hug.
“I will,” Elrohir promised. “And I’ll be your bodyguard against Princes!”
“Whoa! Wait one moment here!” Legolas cried lifting his hands up. “Did she tell you that she put dead fish in my bed?”
“Alenor did you do that?” gasped Elrohir.
“Admit I did, but for good reasons to!” Alenor hurriedly defended herself. Legolas shot her an annoyed looked pushing limp wet hair from his face.
“Well I’m soaked,” he grumbled. “I’m suddenly in a bad mood I will leave and get ready for this feast. Tonight I warn you I might do something.” He walked past them he definitely seemed to be in a huff about something.
“What was that about Uncle?” Alenor asked.
“I think he likes you,” Elrohir whispered in her ear. Alenor took a swat at his face.
“Stop it Uncle I’m being serious!” Alenor said shooting him an acid face. “I’m not fooling around!” Elrohir gave the best shrug he could.
“Then run along and get ready for the feast,” he said pushing her with one hand the way out of the secret place. “And say sorry to Lindir too! He started crying like a newborn when you left. Don’t like him much myself, but I can say he didn’t deserve what you said!” Alenor raised her hand in farewell, ignoring Elrohir’s last words. To her Lindir was an Elf with his head to full of wine!
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.