The rest of the day Alenor spent wondering distractedly what Cirdan had wished her to know. The thought nagged on her constant thoughts even as she tried to seek refuge in a huge tome, that was randomly plucked from the shelves, and ended up being a long and in an odd way interesting on the history of Middle-earth. Hardly ten pages were turned from the old worn book however. Even Elrond’s care had not saved them before the old book showed signs of age. What had Cirdan wanted? What was he loath to tell her? Something that he was sent to Elrond and with him not being here, he was to tell her? For once Alenor cursed, with every foul word she knew the existence of her stubbornness and curiosity.
“I thought I might find you here, goodness knows Alenor this is one of the last used libraries in Rivendell!” Hiding her startled jump, for once not cursing her lack of hearing, Alenor gazed up into Erestor’s eyes. The Elf wore robes of dark green and simple circlet was on his brow, defining his position in Elrond’s House. It must have been something important because Erestor would never wear it; you literally had to jam it on his head for him to wear the circlet. He must have noticed her staring for he gave an annoyed huff.
“Stop staring child!” he said. Alenor hastily lowered her eyes, for once in that day, hiding a smile that let loose would end up being guffaws of laughter. “Alenor, Lady, oh goodness knows I hate this thing! Anyway important news.”
“Yes?” Alenor asked. She closed the heavy book over her hand so as not to lose her page. She stretched her stiff muscles from the chair where she had sat in a ball all day. Erestor shook his head, failing to hide an amused smile.
“People will find it very hard Lady,” he said quietly. Another thing Alenor noticed, Erestor never called her a lady unless something was important. “To cooperate with you and keep things hidden with that stubbornness.” He paused again, and Alenor could nearly cry out, what was this elf doing, preparing to torture her into something? Eru knowing she would whatever he asked, so she could hear what he had to say. Erestor calling her Lady and wearing a circlet, definitely meant something.
“The Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel are returning with Lord Elrond,” Erestor said finally as if pleased finally with the look of curiosity on Alenor’s face. Alenor felt her face fall.
“Rana?” she asked quietly. “What about my brother?” A stray brown lock of hair fell to her face. Absently she brushed it away. Why hadn’t he said Rana? Erestor sighed heavily taking Alenor’s hands and looked her in the eye.
“You won’t see him for awhile Alenor,” he said gravely. “A few years perhaps, five? He’s gone to join the Rangers guarding some land and then off on one of their adventures. Damen will be his guardian until Rana learns all he needs, then he can go on his own.” In one splintering second Alenor felt her world collapse. Legolas was no longer her friend and too stubborn to say sorry and Rana was off gallivanting with Rangers! Alenor hadn’t been aware that a tear had fallen down her cheek until Erestor kindly brushed it away.
“He’s younger then me,” she said in a broken whisper. Erestor nodded calmly, it seemed so calm that Alenor wanted to hit him. His dark hair was falling over the band of the circlet.
“I know child,” he said softly. “But your brother is strong as any man and wise for his age to, Damen will let him be safe and he may visit.” Without word Erestor got up and left Alenor alone after lighting a candle to throw away shadows that had been silently gathering about the room. As she heard the door close in some far off part of the library Alenor wondered bitterly what `may’ meant.
A week, quiet and lonesome, made far worse that knowing her brother wouldn’t be there to greet her, rolled along to the date they would arrive home. It was well noticed that Alenor’s health had dropped more and the dreamy vacant stare that allowed Elves to know she was tuned out and couldn’t hear anything was more apparent. They noticed that she was not noticing anything about Elrohir’s reenergized attempts of getting in touch with things. Everyone without looking could see the pain in his eyes and weariness in his body, but wondered still at the sudden spirit that was there and drove him. It as if the Valar themselves had finally slapped some sense into him. Elves noticed that Elrohir’s looks though would fall to Alenor if he saw her, and noticed the expression on her face. She was more prone to tripping and falling and bumping into Elves a hasty `sorry’ muttered and she would continue walking. Her absence was noted at all meals and trays left at her door were hardly touched. Things were becoming serious and no one knew what to do, nor what ailed her, for any try would send her into brief rage were they would hurry from the room.
Erestor hardly waited before Elrond was from his horse, a large chestnut brown before rushing to his side. His eyes were tired and his clothes dusty with travel, though it had been slow. His eyes already were searching the crowd as if expecting Alenor to burst out crying `grandfather!’ When he met Erestor’s eyes he hurried to his side.
“Is Alenor hurt?” he demanded. “Where is she?” Erestor looked Elrond in the eye, calmly in the eye, never let yourself show anything when business talking especially family, it was something someone could wheedle into a large hole and make you vulnerable.
“Lord Elrond,” Erestor said, he was fighting calm. “Alenor’s health has taken a drop. I do not know what the matter with her is. She will speak to no one if you try to ask she flies into rage. I can only suspect and suspects are not what will help. She is in her room, I believe, her parents room.” Elrond looked at Erestor for one hating moment and then his expression softened into worry and he darted off to find his granddaughter. Erestor sighed he wished he could help, but there was nothing he could do, he had done all he could. Now since Elrond had left he would have to take care of greeting Galadriel and Celeborn.
Turning his attention to the two, a smile broke out. Celeborn, still to weak to walk, even ride had been brought by a litter held by two sturdy reliable horses. The whole ride he was forced to lay upon it and now was seeking revenge in futilely standing. He probably would have succeeded slightly had not Galadriel been standing over him like a hawk, squashing each of his attempts at trying to even sit. Her voice, obviously mind speech forgotten in worry and being tired, was loud enough that enough Elves had to stagger away with barely contained laughter. For once in his life and only time Erestor heard Galdriel cursing every single word she knew at her stubborn husband. Celeborn himself was lying down, probably more due to Galadriel’s sudden display of language then weariness.
“My lady,” Erestor spoke up hoping to make the situation less embarrassing. “Perhaps cursing would be easier in mind speech?” He saw Galadriel’s back stiffen and her cheeks flush bright red and Celeborn setting off into quiet laughter prompting more Elves to stagger away in respect before they began laughing.
“I shall do that,” Galadriel informed him, regaining her composure.
Alenor looked up at the richly deep wooden beams as she lay in the middle of the bed. Her parents bed. Alenor could remember nights when she had had bad dreams that Elrohir was coming to get her or some story that she had persuaded the Elves to tell her and coming in and snuggling right in between then, often being very uncomfortable. Her father’s picture, slightly renewed by her encounter with him would scoop Alenor up and dump her in her own bed, so Annienna would not have to deal with her. Often the result was that she flew into tantrum and Elladan ended staying the nigh at the foot of the bed, because she wouldn’t allow him to leave. Sometimes it was the other way around and Annienna would awaken before Elladan and pull Alenor under her comfortable arm until she had fallen asleep. Being in the middle helped relive such memories, that were gone and faded, it gave a nice presence that she were a child once more, a child that had been forced into the role of woman before her time.
This time Alenor heard the door crack open and lowered her eyes from the ceiling and to the foot of the bed. Since her body was in the way Alenor had not a clear picture, yet all the same she knew that it was Elrond, come back. Had Erestor told him about her ailing? It seemed so for Elrond came and sat at the end of the bed. Alenor pretended to sleep, which at that point realized that she hadn’t had much of.
“Alenor I know you’re awake. What’s wrong?” Elrond asked her. Had it been another of the household Alenor would have flown into rage until they left her alone and she could continue her silence. “Alenor, I am weary and I expect an answer!” There was authority in Elrond’s voice that she hadn’t heard since, since well the day she had been caught by him running around in her shift. A small smile flickered on her lips as she remembered the times.
“I hear you grandfather,” she grumbled. Her outward appearance was nothing of what she felt inside. “I don’t care.”
“Alenor what’s wrong. I’ll wait a million years until you speak!” Elrond said firmly. Alenor sighed, truth be told, she wasn’t sure what bogged her down more. Knowing her parents were coming back, but not when or where, or Rana’s fact that he had gone without saying goodbye, being so close it seemed like betrayal or Legolas not being there, they had been friends since she could remember. Alenor rolled over facing the closet where it seemed a million years ago that she had taken a blanket and covered Annienna’s still form. She did not answer.
“Fine then Alenor, skulk and moaned,” Elrond said, she felt the weight lift as the Elf got off the bed. “Take this.” Alenor wasn’t sure what this was, and waited until the door closed before she took a look. A neat scroll was placed on the end bed. Alenor took it within her fingers and broke the seal unraveling the note to read.
I am writing this on behalf of Legolas and myself. Please do not tell him about this letter! When I came to Lothlorien Aragorn was here learning of Celeborn’s health. He caught me practicing one morning and asked it of me to help Damen with something. I’m sorry sister but he urged that it was secret. I agreed though knowing that you would get the warning ahead before this letter and feared what may happen. I know you well enough that it will feel like betrayal that I didn’t say goodbye. I hope paper is good enough Alenor. I will try as best I can to come, but chances are slim, it is an important job. I write this with love sister, and hope you can forgive me.
Now on behalf of Legolas. He was here as well because of Celeborn, seeing if he was any use of help. He was of use to me. Seeing that he was clearly distressed I managed to coax him into enough wine that set his tongue loose. Let me tell you if I hadn’t shut him up Legolas would have gone on about how bad he feels. The Elf is over stubborn and will not admit to your face that he was wrong, but inside he wishes to take back those words. He wants to be friends again, so hold on tight one day he will able to resist no longer. I expect he’ll say it in a rush. Hope you are pleased with my news Alenor. I am dreadfully sorry about such arrangements, but in time I hope I can tell you, when my watch is ceased and Aragorn allows me to. For now, farewell! Rana
Alenor looked at the note, feeling better then she had all week, since Erestor gave news of their return. And Legolas? Alenor felt her heart swell. So Legolas was feeling guilty of his actions, well good! Alenor felt confident that she could bear to wait until his guilt over rid him. She should have known Rana wasn’t going to leave without saying goodbye. Carefully as if the parchment might tear Alenor rolled it and tucked it under a pillow. She could come back and read it here if she needed to.
// Too bad you were up here Alenor// she heard Galadriel’s voice inside her head. Even over years it still brought chills to her spine.
Why? Alenor wondered. The door opened then and Galadreil stood there. Her raiment as usual was white. The long dress hid her smooth hands and feet, the material catching any light would send it back in glorious shimmers and her silver gold circlet in two intertwining bands was dazzling in the light from the window, behind the bed. Galadriel came and sat on the edge of the bed, her age long eyes of wisdom watched her great granddaughter with a smile. She gave a nod, golden tendrils snaking their way towards her face.
“You missed the Lady of the Golden Wood, cursing,” she confirmed. Her voice was deep and showed the musical notes of age that were given to her life. Alenor gasped. Galadriel cursing? That couldn’t be possible! Galadriel took her hand gently. “Perhaps you would like Celeborn to enforce that?” Alenor started. Celeborn she had forgotten about him!
“Yes, I would like to see him,” Alenor nodded. Galadriel helped Alenor to her feet as her stomach rumbled delicately.
“First you need a new dress and some food,” The lady announced. Alenor scowled at Galadriel she could see that for herself.
“Later,” she said firmly. “I want to see him first.”
//Bless me child! I knew you would be stubborn the day I first met you and knew your life would be hard one, with trials still to come. . .// Galadriel smiled mysteriously at Alenor.
“What trials?” Alenor insisted. Galadriel laughed and shook her hand clutching Alenor’s hand as white cloth covered it.
“A symbol of your doom,” Galadriel murmured softly as she touched Alenor’s cold hand.
“What doom?” Alenor asked. Galadriel gave another smile.
“Come,” she said, her tone showing she did not want to broach the subject. With a puzzled expression Alenor followed Galadriel to their room, where Celeborn lay and unknowing at the moment, lying helplessly near unconscious from hitting the sharp ended wooden table in the middle of the antechamber, on the floor where he had collapsed as he tried to walk.
As Galadriel and Alenor entered the antechamber talking in quiet tones, Galadriel cried out and rushed ahead of Alenor into the room. Wondering what had caused this outburst Alenor slipped in behind her as the Lady fell to her husband’s side.
“Celeborn what are you doing?” she demanded, lifting him into her arms, cradling his body as if it might break. The Lord was still weak and the fall and small tiresome walk had burnt his low energy source, his eyes were closed. At Galadriel’s voice Celeborn’s eyes flickered.
“Trying. . .trying to. . .” he stuttered to a stop unable to finish. His eyelids dropped and Alenor gasped in horror. Unconsciously she clutched the wooden doorframe till her hand was white and had she looked could see the bones beneath.
//Get you grandfather know! Get him Alenor! Get him right now!! Hurry!// Alenor stumbled at the force and worry of Galadriel’s words. She tumbled into the hallway upsetting a few Elves and fled. Where was Elrond? Where was he? As Alenor darted away she heard Galadriel’s last despairing words in her mind, sending another coursing shudder up and down her spine. //Celeborn I should have never allowed this, you were too weak! Hold on please. . .// Closing her eyes for a moment away from pain and tears Alenor pushed on. She might as well try the study.