Alenor hummed distractedly as she walked down the well-trodden dirt paths. Rana was at her side, looking miserably downcast. It had taken her best act to get Rana to come along, he insisted that he needed to practice on something. Everything lay in peaceful silence, broken only by Alenor’s humming and half heard grumbles of Rana.
The trail they walked upon was empty for some reason. It was littered with last years dead leaves and stick and twigs scattered about. No one had walked here for some time, except perhaps an elf heading to tend the garden. That was where she was heading. She had remembered the night before and memorized where to go, somehow. Alenor was tempted by Elrond’s angry words to enter the garden once more. A thought buzzed around once in a while making itself known, `why was everything empty?’
“Alenor can I please go back?” Rana grumbled breaking into her thoughts. “Please I have to practice. The Ranger, Damen, promised to take me out for a couple days if I could get my skills down. Please let me go back!”
“Wait!” Alenor ordered noticing as they turned a bend the glittering spikes of the garden. “We’re here.” The gate loomed into view its door closed.
“What is this place?” Rana demanded. Alenor pushed the gate open and beckoned her brother in. Rana quietly followed and stopped in his tracks. Alenor stopped as well, last night the garden seemed empty, different, in the glory of daylight it was alive somehow. Alenor breathed slowly as she shut the gates.
“I don’t know, Grandfather got mad when I asked,” Alenor answered. Rana sent her an odd look.
“Should we be here?” he asked. Alenor shrugged.
“We’re alone,” she said. “Come on.” She smiled. Rana shook his head.
“Sister we’re meddling in a sense of way, let’s get out of here,” Rana urged. Alenor shook her head.
“Then you leave chicken,” she said. “I’m staying right here. I want to wander for awhile. Possibly see why this place is not used, but tended.” She started forward, but Rana took a firm sure hold upon her arm. Alenor was stopped, her brother though younger was much stronger, she could not pull herself away from his grasp.
“Alenor we’re leaving,” he announced firmly. “This place is definitely made for one to stare. But I will not meddle with affairs! You should have listened to Grandfather Alenor. Come now!” He started tugging her, not hard, just enough to get the point across.
“Rana,” Alenor protested as he started dragging her away. “I’m not meddling! Please let me stay here!”
“You’re worse then a young Elfling,” Rana growled pushing the gate open once more. “We aren’t meant to come here. Now can I have your word that you will not return?” Alenor shook her head no and tried, quite unsuccessfully, to pull away from her brother’s sure grip. He pulled her beyond the gate shutting it firmly behind him. He continued on holding his sister’s wrist, not letting go as if possibly knowing that she would turn and run back into the garden.
Once they had reached the gardens where activity of Elves was plentiful did he release her. Rana let go of her wrist and turned to face Alenor. He took her shoulders with his hands, carefully applying as much pressure to make sure she noticed him. Alenor watched her brother cautiously.
“Alenor do not go back,” he said firmly. “If grandfather didn’t want you to, then don’t! Can’t you listen for once?” Alenor removed his hands. “Your hands are cold.”
“They’re always cold Rana, you know that,” she said. “Fine I won’t go back.” Rana watched her with an unsatisfied look. He was about to say something when a half-strangled cry cut him off.
“Rana! Alenor! I’ve found you at last!” the breathless voice caused the both of them to start. Rana quickly whirled around and hastily stepped beside Alenor. The Elf was leaning over gasping for air, proving he had run straight all over Rivendell. He was slightly recognizable. With a snap she remembered it was the Elf she had saw a couple days ago and named himself Glorfindel. She puzzled why she hadn’t seen him before, he was qute clearly a noble elf.
“What is it Glorfindel?” Rana asked. There was enough edge in his voice to show that he knew the elf quite well. Glorfindel straightened and took a steadying breath.
“It’s your Uncle,” he said gravely. His eyes were suddenly dark and his breath went suddenly easier. “Elrond. . .” he took a steadying breath. “Lord Elrond does not think he will make it. There is also other news.” He paused here and was silent.
“What news?” Rana asked irritably. “I want to see Uncle, maybe we can help. Anything standing here wastes time.” Glorfindel looked at them.
“Best not know,” he said in a subdued tone. “Come on best go see your Uncle. I’ve been running all over Rivendell looking for you. Hurry.”
“What news?” Alenor demanded. “I want to know!” She crossed her arms. “As worried as I am, I will not move.” Glorfindel eyed her and muttered something, she caught, `Stubborn elf child!’ though he said much more.
“Alright,” he said once he was finished his cursing. “Lord Celeborn was taking a walk with Haldir on the borders of Lothlorien. A hidden Orc archer shot him, his wound is terrible. . .poisonous.” he paused and Alenor saw tears in his eyes. “Near fatal.” The words slapped her terribly. Alenor’s knees gave out on her and she landed with a thud upon the walkway. Her breath came short and she knew she was panicking.
“How do you know?” Rana asked. He was still standing looking at Glorfindel with a measured look.
“Lord Elrond,” Glorfindel said. He knelt down before Alenor. He reached to touch her forehead. Alenor recoiled.
“It’s not true,” the words hardly formed and they choked in her throat. She shook her head. “Lothlorien is guarded.”
“Child,” Glorfindel said carefully. “Child listen. It was mere chance that it happened. They were alone, there was nothing that Haldir could have done. They were talking too deeply to notice.” He reached out to touch her forehead once more, Alenor struck out. She slapped the elf’s hand away.
“It’s not fair!” she choked. “It’s not fair!” She felt her brother kneel beside. He was trying to be brave, the wall that shields the victim from the storm. He was trying, but Alenor could see he was nearly as broken as she. Yet the wall held and gathered her gently into his arms.
“Hush,” he whispered rocking back and forth ever so slightly. “Everything will be alright Alenor. Come we should see our Uncle.” Alenor managed a nod, she wanted to cry so bad, wanted to curl up and weep till her eyes were dry and rivers flowed beside her where her tears had fallen. She wanted to, but Alenor knew that she wouldn’t, couldn’t cry until she was alone.
Alenor let Rana help her to her feet and let the guiding arm slide around her waist. Let Glorfindel gently touch her arm and whisper a gentle comment. Let Rana guide her to healing house, for her feet were lead and unwilling to go anywhere. Let them help her to Elrohir’s bed as if she couldn’t move. Alenor was in shock. Her shock wasn’t all with Elrohir, he had said he should be dead, the hurt came from betrayal, yet she had taken it out on Lindir the night before. No, shock came from the news of Celeborn’s near fatal wound. It wasn’t right at all. Alenor wanted to see him, Elrond she knew would say otherwise. Say that she was too young to travel, despite the fact that her brother was going out with a Ranger. She couldn’t believe what had happened. She was hardly aware of anything.
As Rana settled her into the chair Alenor noticed Elrond leaning over his remaining son, clutching his hand as if that would bind him to the realm of the living. Though his face was hidden, Alenor could see he was weeping. Elrohir’s face was blank and grey, like a deathly ill had taken him. He was covered in a light blanket and showing here and there the bandage that wound deftly around his injury.
“Glorfindel you found them?” Elrond asked wearily from where he sat. His clothes were disheveled as if he had spent forever there beside his son’s bedside. His voice was weary and drawn, like that of one who had spent too many years in world of men.
“I did Lord Elrond,” he said, his voice was gentle. “I also got badgered in to telling them about Lord Celeborn’s health.” Elrond shook his head and lifted it. His eyes were dark and looked as if a great weight had settled upon his shoulders.
“Alas!” he cried. “That these days are filled with evil! My son lies ill and near death, while my kinsman is ailing in Lothlorien! I cannot go to him, but one of you must.”
“Grandfather please I must see him!” Alenor begged as soon as the words past his lips. He said what she had thought he would.
“You are too young Alenor,” he said wearily. “Rana were you not going to leave soon with Damen?”
“Yes Grandfather,” Rana said. He had placed himself on Elrohir’s other side. His hand was holding his Uncle’s lightly, as if it would break easily. “I think Alenor should go though. She is closer with the Lord and Lady.” Rana’s eyes rested upon Alenor for one moment and Alenor thanked her brother deeply. “I’m sure she could have a good escort Lord Elrond. To ensure her safety over the mountains passes. She may be young Grandfather, but she has lived through a lot and I think she can handle it. No, I know she can handle it.” Elrond was quiet for a long while, his eyes now measuring and weighing Rana’s words.
“No I am sorry,” he said at last. “Rana get ready to leave.” Against herself tears welled in Alenor’s eyes, before they could spills themselves she fled the room tripping and stumbling in her grief heavy limbs.
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.