After four weeks of sleepless nights and endless waiting while spring rolled to summer, word finally came that Celeborn was going to live and he already had awoken, also so said the message that he and Galadriel had a little spat. On the day that Erestor relayed this information to the Elves of Rivendell great joy and laughter spread and blessings to Iluvatar and Valar were sent.
Every one was in joy, but for one. Alenor sat quietly, hidden in the garden. She knew that she was not allowed here, as Elrond had said in anger and she had promised Rana, yet the need to be here was strong. Alenor did not think that she would go to her other places. For some reason she knew that there were too many memories of having fun with Legolas to return. She knew that he would not answer her letter and that his stubbornness had finally got into his head and worse.
Sighing deeply and taking in the scent lilacs that twined delicately around the legs and back of the polished wooden bench. Alenor sat with her head positioned between her hands staring forlornly at her grey skirt and beyond that the white walkway and the sprinkling of detached petals and blades of grass. She was not sure what to make of anything. Yes Celeborn was well in all, probably up and about if Galadriel and the healers first didn’t tie him to the bed. No that wasn’t bothering her. . .it was the fact that she had lost something and couldn’t get it back.
“You know you’re not supposed to be here,” a voice said unexpectedly, causing Alenor once more to wonder about her Elven hearing. “This garden is forbidden.” Alenor raised her head and looked straight in the eyes of her uncle. He seemed alone meaning that he managed to elude the guard on him. His face was slightly drawn in weary and pain. She saw his arm was not in a sling as it should be; he managed to break it again by slamming it against something in anger when he had learned he was to be tailed by a guard at all times. Elrond hadn’t trusted him after his last bout of madness and was not about to let his remaining son walk so close to death again. In fact this last time he had just barely eluded death’s grasp.
“I was just leaving,” Alenor said abruptly and stood up quickly and walked past him to the entrance to the garden.
“Alenor, please forgive me!” Elrohir called back to her. Despite her will Alenor’s footsteps started to slow and she turned, the cloak attacked neatly to the grey dress swirled in the wind she created. Elrohir’s hands were open in a slight gesture of pleading.
“Forgive you?” she found her voice as thin and deadly as ice. A voice inside her cried out in her to be quiet and not lose someone else close to her. “How can I forgive you Uncle? You betrayed. . .” she said the word with contempt, “me! How could you?”
“Do realize how hard that promise was on me?” Elrohir asked, his hands were still open in pleading gesture and a saddened light came to his eyes. “Your words brought light, but I have lost much.”
“I’m tired of it,” Alenor said, her jaw was shaking with hidden emotions, she wanted nothing more then to hurl every single hurtful word at Elrohir until she would fall down and die from lack of air. “I’m tired of hearing excuses. You know what Uncle? I gave you a chance, I tried to help you. I did all I could! Legolas was right some things can’t change. You are an incompetent thing Elrohir. You’ll never get anywhere.” She turned again and it was just as her hand touched the gate that she was aware that her footsteps were being dogged. There was only one other person in this garden other than her. Alenor was about to open her mouth to tell him to go somewhere else when he stopped her.
“I am incompetent thing Alenor,” Elrohir said with a quiet voice. “It is the even more reason I don’t deserve life. Child, perhaps the only thing for me is to die or go to the Valinor. My heart does not hear the call though Alenor and I shall not leave this world for many a year. So I ask you child can you help me? You are wise child though you know not. Come please help me! I stand upon the brink of my own death at any given time I am ready to jump without looking back! My arm is broken and I am wounded still, I can do nothing.” Alenor closed her eyes and tried to push him away. However in a rush of emotions she turned and ran to Elrohir and hugged him tightly, ignoring his grunt of pain and the shove of one arm as he tried to get her away.
“I can do nothing,” Alenor said stepping back when she was done the hug. She turned opened the gate and stepped through just before it closed she said one last thing to her Uncle. “It is only you that can change the future.” The gate shut and Alenor walked away, not thinking twice of her actions in the garden. She had done all she could and her thoughts turned to her own advice, perhaps for the worst a plan formed in her mind. . .
Erestor sat quietly his hands folded carefully over his lap and his eyes taking everything in and his silence hanging over the room. Alenor was beginning to wonder if this Elf had taken lessons from Elrond on how to weigh out the answer. He sure had been quiet the whole time Alenor had come in and tentatively asked him if she could ask a question. Her thinking process hadn’t gone beyond that and silence had reined since they had both seated themselves. From all she knew Erestor would be quiet even if a group of Nazgul entered the room.
“Are you going to stay quiet child?” he asked, his voice startling the heavy made silence. His lips were curved into a half smile as he watched Alenor jump. “I can stay quiet all day if need be, but I wish not to engage in a silence competition.” Alenor folded her hands carefully as Erestor’s eyes watched her, staring at the grey folds of her dress. A loose thread suddenly noticed became a very interesting object to piddle with.
“Have you heard of the argument with Legolas and I?” she asked finally lowering her voice in hopes, though little, that he would not hear her.
“Of course!” Erestor cried out then added more kindly: “That is all that Elrond was willing to tell me, under the circumstances of your privacy. I understand, from years of listening with an open ear that you and Legolas are no longer friends? Am I right in asking that you came here wishing to see in hopes, though you know they are little, to go to Mirkwood and apologize?” Alenor nodded numbly, how on earth was anything to get by him? No wonder this Elf was Elrond’s chief adviser!
“I don’t know what to do,” Alenor admitted. “It is clear that he will not beg forgiveness. . .”
“Wait!” Erestor broke through her words. “Friendship will overcome stubbornness and hatred! I presume Elrond has told you likewise?”
“How much longer do I have to wait?” Alenor asked leaning in her seat her hands had stopped piddling with the loose thread. “Forever?”
“If need be,” Erestor confirmed standing up and doing a light brushing to his breeches. “We are Elves Alenor, we live forever. . .unless of slight and unhappy changes. Now do you know where Elrohir is? His guard is in a panicked state right now.”
“Met him in the empty garden,” Alenor told him, unaware what a mood would fall on Erestor’s shoulders. His hands tightened on his chair arms as he sank back into the chair and his face grew in anger until he reminded Alenor of Elrond.
“You must never go there!” he said with force. “No one is allowed there since the fair Celebrian left!” his words told Alenor whose garden it was for.
“Would Celebrian have enjoyed that no one take pleasure in the quiet garden? It is splendid,” Alenor said feeling slightly off edge. Erestor relaxed then.
“I have someone tend it,” he said releasing the chair. “I’m sorry! I should have known that Elrohir would be there. All of her children took their first steps there. It is a reason why Elrond does not like it there.” Alenor realized now more clearly why Elrond had grown angry when he ended up there in the walk.
“Did he and Celebrian. . .” she paused for a few seconds weighing the next words, “go there often?” Erestor looked at her with that look in his eyes that said he was living in another world at the moment.
“Always,” he said wistfully. “It was always the first place to look. It was their little refuge till the children become aware that they would always be found there.” He looked at Alenor then with a keen glance. “Don’t go back there okay? It gives Elrond too much pain to bear. His wife gone and Elladan. . . Elladan dead.” He shook his head. “Now come don’t tell anyone about this talk! And wait for Legolas’s answer! I stress that you should not write anymore letters to him. It may persuade him that you are begging.” Alenor sighed.
“I hate waiting,” she said in a complaining voice, drawing a smile to Erestor’s face as he moved to open the door. As she was passing out to join a stream of Elves, she asked one more question. “What about Uncle?”
“Lord Elrohir?” Erestor asked. “I’ll have his guard pick him up. Can’t trust him alone.” Alenor nodded in agreement. She felt the stirring of betrayal in her gut. Elrohir had lied, perhaps he should have died. Instantly in repulse Alenor shoved the thought away.
“All right,” Alenor said. “Don’t be too harsh?” Erestor nodded in silent gesture promising that he would. Alenor left then passing quickly into the throng heading for a quiet library to plunk herself down and read and read until Elrond returned home and dragged the book away. She didn’t quite make it all the way though a hand grasped her arm.
“Alenor! I have been looking for you,” she looked to see Cirdan standing there. He had decided to stay awaiting the important news until Elrond returned with Rana.
“Why?” she asked . “Is. . .Is something wrong?” Cirdan shook his head.
“Shall we walk?” he queried. Without waiting for her answer Cirdan started propelling her down the hallway, against her wishes and struggles to twist free of his grasp.
Once outside in the gardens Cirdan sat upon the stone bench patting beside him to indicate Alenor was to sit as well. Alenor quietly obliged pushing hair back that had managed to escape the long braid in her hair.
“My lord what is it?” she asked him. “You have taken a `walk’ with me, now what?” Cirdan sighed and shook his head.
“Perhaps it is too much to ask you,” Cirdan said quietly. Alenor shook her head in earnest, curiosity rising inside her. “But I need to ask you something.” Alenor folded her hands, carefully looking as if she could wait all day, but her mind raced with what Cirdan was to ask her.
“What is it?” she asked him, her patience breaking, “What ails you?” Cirdan folded his own hands, eyes gazing off into the sky and Alenor was surprised to see tears leak down his old face.
“Oh forget it Alenor,” he stood hastily. “Nothing, it was a foolish question.” Alenor frowned. She did not think that Cirdan was saying anything truthful, something was bothering him deeply, something that he did not wish for her to know, something that made Alenor very agitated to know. Bringing herself out of thoughts, she realized Cirdan had vanished, and cursed her ears that seemed to be as deaf as stones at the worst possible moment.
Cirdan paced restlessly in his room. As soon as he had seen the dreaming vacant look on Alenor’s face he quickly left. He berated himself for nearly telling her what he had seen. A moan of grief fell from Cirdan’s lips as he remembered the foresight. The gift in him was rare, and rarely showed, perhaps once in two thousand years, if he was lucky. When it did, it left him shock and ailing for hours until he was well to speak. Cirdan now wished to talk to Elrond about what he saw, but he was gone and only could Cirdan go in thought to what he saw. He would tell Elrond later when he came back, because knowing the Lord of Rivendell would not try to halt fate though it would pain him. Unbidden Cirdan’s mind drifted to what he saw:
Alenor collapsed beside her brother’s side and gazed at his wound. Around them still fighting raged hot and thick. Screaming and shouting, of men dying and receiving wounds flowed, showing it was a hot battle worth much. Alenor started screaming something at her brother and grasping the arrow shaft the protruded ugly from his chest. An Eastron arrow that had found its mark. Rana was scored with cuts; some deep some shallow, giving his body a look of a living corpse. He had worn no armor into this battle, for there was none for him to take in that haste that had followed the news. Rana shoved his sister’s hands away weakly and protested, spurts of blood coming to his lips. Alenor was crying now and she grasped his hand and said something pleading. At that point Rana left and fled to Mandos’s Halls his eyes glazing over in death.
With tears in his eyes, Cirdan sat down on a comfy couch holding his hands between his head. Pray that this vision, could be altered and such fate delivered in some other Elf. Not Alenor’s brother who she held dear above all other things. Pray that she did not live to this and Rana would not die, that the vision lied. Yet Cirdan knew, that visions did not lie, only gave berth to manipulate and sway the outcomes, those destined to die, would die, no matter what they tried.
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.