As Alenor was running, shoving mercilessly anything in her path away ignoring anything, she ran straight into a solid object. With a cry Alenor stumbled back, catching a foot on the edge of her dark and wrinkled dress to fall to the floor with a crash. Looking up she saw her would-be assailant. Had it been another time Alenor might have cursed him and noticed the slight change that had been wrought in his posture and eyes, but it was not that time.
“Uncle!” she gasped hurriedly righting herself flinging annoying pieces of hair from her face. “Find Grandfather and tell him to hurry to the Lady Galadriel’s rooms. Go!” she ordered then turning around she ran down the way she had come, not even bothering to check if Elrohir did what she asked.
When Alenor came to the room she was surprised to find the door shut, feeling sure that she had left it open when she had run off. Opening it Alenor slipped in closing it behind her. By now Galadriel was over her initial shock and had lifted Celeborn onto the couch. The antechamber, like most of the guest ones, had all the furniture situated around a large sharp edged table where pitchers of wine and water were held and cups were around them. Couches were placed at either side and an array of even more comfortable chairs was placed at the other end, leaving the bottom open so it didn’t have a closed feel. The floor was deep coppery autumn color and the walls with a large fireplace in the far wall. Like all roofs it had richly carved beams that ducked in arcs over and below each other and the walls were closed, though it had two large windows, so it was not as airy as the bedroom and corridors. The whole room had a comfortable feel though it was smaller then the normal rooms.
Galadriel had propped up Celeborn’s head with a pillow from the bedroom and was dabbing his head with a cloth. She was kneeling beside him, intent on her task, yet Alenor could see the trail of tears that had fallen across her face and still were falling. She wasn’t brushing them away and Alenor saw her lips move as she whispered to him. Her free hand was holding Celeborn’s tightly and Alenor could have knelt and wept from the scene before her. Instead she stood not knowing what to do, and how to aid the woman that was beyond her years and yet still related to her.
At last as if finally sensing Alenor’s being Galadriel looked away from her husband.
“Where is Elrond?” she asked, her voice as always was deep and she hid her emotions well, if it had not been for her appearance and underlying current of worry Alenor would have believed nothing was wrong. Alenor shook her head.
“I don’t know Lady,” Alenor answered. For some reason she had never been able to call them grandmother or grandfather, on her first attempt the words had come out half strangled and from then on hadn’t attempted it.
“What do you mean?” Galadriel asked.
“I told Elrohir to find him,” Alenor admitted sheepishly. Galadriel turned her attention back to Celeborn with a sigh and gently took off the cloth to place more water within it before gently putting it back on.
“I told him this would happen,” Galadriel said, as if to herself, but Alenor saw they were meant for her. “He wouldn’t allow it. He can be stubborn sometimes, when the mood strikes him. Why didn’t I try to hold on and make him stay?” Alenor moved across the space between them and laid a hand on Galadriel’s shoulder.
“What oft is seen,” Alenor spoke kindly, “can be twisted and placed so that you cannot control what happens. Perhaps it is fate.” Then she was surprised when Galadriel gave a short laugh and looked into Alenor’s eyes.
“Child what do you see in my eyes?” she asked. Alenor started, what sort of question was that? Nonetheless it was Galadriel and she was enforced to answer no matter how confused it may sound.
“Age,” Alenor stuttered. “Wisdom, years. . . a lot of things.” Feeling her cheeks warm Alenor looked away.
“That is all well,” Galadriel said. “But as you said: `what oft is seen can be twisted.’ Now look at my face and I will tell you what I see.” Abashed at this Alenor raised her eyes to look back into Galadriel’s own.
“I see a child, hidden behind those eyes,” Galadriel spoke gently, her words caressing like a gentle waterfall that does not roar. “I see a woman who says much wisdom, but knows not what power passes her lips. I see a mighty doom on you both future and past, which reflects in your eyes, that you know not. I see a defiant woman Alenor, a woman who is all the things above and more. Remember this well! Oft you can read the faces of men and see what they are thinking.” At this Galadriel mercifully turned her eyes from Alenor and she sunk on the table. Her head at the moment was going through quite a whirlwind, she knew the distinct impression when Galadriel was mindfully reading her thoughts, but this she knew was just taken from what she saw. Against herself Alenor could not resist a final jab.
“But Galadriel, say I do what you advise of me, for not easily is advice to fall on immortal ears and stay, for we do not take it kindly. More oft we do not take kindly to advice when we understand not the meaning or form in which the advice is given. What say Galadriel, I do as you say and face a man shows no evil, in eyes or face, yet he is evil. Then tell me how to judge which emotions stay true and do not betray the reader that I should heed such advice on my immortal ears?” Galadriel chuckled.
// We shall speak later of this.// she said in Alenor’s mind sending the shudders once more. //For we have company at the door, for which your speaking over rid your hearing.// Alenor started up and smiling shamefully quickly hurried past her grandfather and Elrohir.
For the rest of the day, Alenor was constantly watching out for Elrond and Elrohir. Even the thought burned her cheeks. How much had they heard? Had they heard her rebuking the Lady in thoughtless words? A couple of times they nearly spotted her and she quickly dove out sight. One of most lucky things to happen was food. Acting on impulse Alenor had wandered down to the kitchen and was promptly jumped on by the cooking maids. Instead of striking a deal they started fondling her like a helpless babe and gave her enough food to last a year! Somehow or other Alenor managed to eat on good will and hurriedly darted out, before they could give her more. She was quite wishing that she had ended up doing the dishes instead of the other way around.
So it came when evening faded to night and Elebereth’s stars where at there brightest and shone down on the world with such reverence with the moon that there was no need of candles to light ones way along the paths or the corridors. It was late around ten and the sound outside her door was slowly going downwards to a low ebb. Alenor was unable to sleep however as she gazed at her brother’s bed and felt overwhelming wonder. She wondered if he had food and shelter. If he was safe. She knew it was quite hopeless to think such things, but she wouldn’t let fall what had taken so many years to wrought. Stifling a sigh Alenor tore her eyes from her brother’s bed and heard the door open.
Sitting up like a shot Alenor glanced around, but was calmed when Galadriel spoke kindly that she need not to be afraid. The Lady’s nightgown rested lightly over her frame and her bare feet made soft sounds as they crossed to Alenor’s bedside. No circlet she wore and her hair fell freely in golden waves about her shoulder and sides of her face. In the glowing show of moonlight and starlight she looked like a Queen, terrible and beautiful, a remanent reminder of deadly queens in years gone by.
Then breaking the spell of awe that held Alenor she sat upon the chair that was by the wall near her bed.
“I said we would speak later,” Galadriel spoke softly and her words were gentle. Alenor knew out of pity she was using talk instead of mind speech. Alenor sat up letting the blanket fall from her bare arms. Summer was on hand and the nights were warm and spoke of hotter nights to come.
“I forgot,” Alenor apologized. “How is Celeborn doing?”
“Well,” Galadriel answered grimly. “Or well enough that he awoke and stubbornly refused to sleep until he had walked the entire antechamber round once.” Alenor looked away from Galadriel’s face.
“So what is it that you wish to speak with me?” she asked, her face still turned away. “Something urgent otherwise you would be tending to Celeborn and not me.”
“I will not stay long child,” Galadriel rose then and parted to the door where her fair hand rested on the knob. “I came only to say for you sleep well. Yet one last thing Alenor. Mighty doom is laid upon you, in kin to Luthien of old. For love you will stay and yet for another reason. Do not fear death for at all times one must accept the arms of it. Farewell Alenor till tomorrow and remember the doom that is laid upon thy shoulders.” With that Galadriel left so silently it was as if she had never been there. Alenor was startled. Don’t be afraid of death? How was she not to be afraid of it? Death was not something the Elves knew about. What did her words mean? Knowing that was all Galadriel would say Alenor decided to get some sleep and ponder what she said when morning came to the word once more. Shaking her head in wonder Alenor laid down and fell asleep surprisingly fast.
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.