The force of Galadriel’s words diminished over time and so to did the years. They flowed by like any other time, but for a few Elves that left to Valinor and whispers of shadows in the east. Rana visited only once and though his stay was short, it was there. Five years in total had left since the day Galadriel had spoken those words to Alenor, and they fell dead on her ears. She had forgotten what the Lady had said and she did not seem to enforce it. For one thing in the years, Elrohir was different. There was still rejoicing and tears about it, but Elrohir paid little heed of it. His work was set keeping himself on level ground. Alenor was proud of him.
Alenor bowed her head in the lamp lit hallway as she intercepted Arwen who was hurrying at a lengthy stride a cloak billowing behind her.
“Where are you going?” Alenor asked. “It’s late you know. I thought you would like to see Glorfindel off in the morning.” Arwen stopped.
“Alenor let me pass, I must hurry,” she pleaded urgently. “Move aside!” Alenor smiled and raised her head a fraction. Her guessed had proved right. Arwen was gong to replace Glorfindel and take Asfaloth and ride off to find Aragorn on her own.
“It’s a dangerous road,” Alenor murmured to her aunt. “And the Nine will follow.”
“Dear me Alenor! You know of what I am doing?” Arwen asked in a whispered shock.
“Yes,” Alenor replied lifting her face now to see her Aunt. Taking her parcel in her hands Alenor shoved it into Arwen’s hands. “A bit of food for the journey Arwen. Anything left I bid you place into Aragorn’s hands and his companions. Now go! And be swift Glorfindel will soon notice his horse missing.” Arwen took the parcel with trembling fingers and Alenor saw tears streak her face.
“Bless you Alenor,” she breathed and before Alenor’s eyes it seemed as if she were a child saved a punishment from a person who knew what she did. “Thank you, I will do as you bid.” Then Arwen drew up her hood and pulled the cloak around her and hurried off to the stables.
“That was unwise child,” Alenor started. She turned to see Gandalf, who had recently arrived leaning on his staff watching Alenor from under his bristling brows. “Why did you let her go?” Alenor wondered at the wizard. What was wrong in letting Arwen go instead of Glorfindel?
“Why so?” she questioned. “Arwen has every right to go as Glorfindel. Perhaps more so.” Gandalf straightened and crossed the gap between them and looked her hard in the eye.
“Facing the Nine,” he whispered chilling Alenor’s spine, “is no small feat. Perhaps Arwen Undomeil can face them, but can she outrun them?” He straightened looking Alenor under his bristling eyebrows and watched her carefully. “You best ought to have a good explanation for it all when Lord Elrond hears.”
“I hear,” Alenor said bowing her head. “I hear well! But Arwen is more likely to find Aragorn then Glorfindel, for Arwen holds some of Aragorn’s heart.” Alenor looked into Gandalf’s eyes, unaware her eyes had taken a sudden change and they were deep to look upon and wise as if the passing of every age was known to them. Gandalf was to say the least, startled as he always was, by this change.
“Yes,” he agreed heavily. “But it would be best that Arwen lie safe till her time came to show herself.” The look faded from her eyes.
“Don’t worry Gandalf,” she said tenderly. “Arwen will be fine. It will be she who gives the Nine a run for.” Gandalf smiled and nodded then and agreed with her.
“Alenor go to bed, it is well late,” he said. “It is time we parted till tomorrow.” Alenor stifled a yawn, heartily agreeing with Gandalf and bade farewell and left for bed.
Gandalf watched her go before heading to Elrond’s study. He knew the Lord of Rivendell was not asleep, but taking counsel with Elrohir.
When Gandalf entered he saw that Elrohir was slumped in his chair eyes closed his head laid back in easy manner, despite the war that always raged within him. Elrond was working over his table and did not hear Gandalf enter. This was Elrond’s private study, where only he and people he needed to speak with entered. In another place of Elrond’s House there was an open study where Elves may pass to look through books that held special value of the years. This study here was much smaller. Here there were no bookshelves of artifacts of long ages, only a desk in the middle with a heap of papers five chairs around the desk, of wicker and hard wood floor underneath, the walls were colored brightly with varying light blue hues. A large bay window lay to greet the east rising sun.
It was only Elrohir that lifted his head when Gandalf arrived. Such a change had happened within him. Such a change through one who endured such anguish. His eyes held bright light now that was near to its old joys. His face was smiling now but still the hidden scars of pain showed when something funny happened and Elrohir would fall silent for long whiles and then smile wanly and vanish for an hour or two, or even weeks. All the same he would return and it would seem as if nothing happened. Elrohir this night was dress in midnight blues.
“Gandalf,” he greeted with a gentle smile. “I thought you had retired to bed long ago.” At his son’s words Elrond raised his head with a start.
“Oh Gandalf!” he said weariness deep in his voice. “I’m sorry I did not hear you. I have been looking at the reports from Rangers and the Valley scouts. Not good I must say. Come what brings you at this hour? Elrohir has abandoned be to this work while he sleeps.”
“I was not sleeping,” Elrohir defended himself. “I was resting my eyes!” Elrond shook his head, but smiled nonetheless.
“Is it aware to you that Glorfindel was to start out tomorrow to seek Aragorn?” Gandalf asked. Elrond nodded. “Is it aware to you that he was to take Asfaloth?” Again Elrond nodded, questions in his own eyes at such silly questions. “Is it aware to you that Arwen is gone?” Elrond’s head moved to a nod, but stopped as Gandalf words registered with a click. He stood up quickly as Gandalf finish. “Is it aware to you that Asfaloth is gone?”
“Arwen where is she?” Elrond demanded standing, his fist pounded the desk making papers rise. “Where is Asfaloth?”
“Even now she rides away,” Gandalf said. “In search of Aragorn. I only just learned”
“Did anyone know of this of this?” Elrond demanded.
“Alenor,” Gandalf replied. “She knew well and gave Arwen food and bade her haste. I told her it was unwise. . . ” here Gandalf faltered and gazed away from Elrond.
“Alenor let her go?” The Lord cried in anger. “Why??”
“The wisdom light came to her eyes as I spoke,” Gandalf said looking up at his face. “And she said thus to me: But Arwen is more likely to find Aragorn than Glorfindel, for Arwen holds some of Aragorn’s heart. Thus she said and thus then the light of wisdom dwindled.” Elrond sighed and sat in his chair and Elrohir rose saying he would return with hot cups of tea.
“What she says is true,” Elrond said. For then on there was silence as Gandalf witnessed Elrond’s silent war that included Arwen’s love for Aragorn and his to her. After a time Elrohir hurried in nearly spilling tea all over as he hastily gave it to Elrond and Gandalf. After he had safely placed his own cup in hand and wincing as he scalded his tongue on the hot tea, Elrohir spoke of what drove him so quickly.
“Father,” he cried. “Arwen as you know is gone, but her weapons as well!” Elrond started, he nearly started upright and was very close to pounding his fist against the table.
“What is she planing to do?” he demanded. “Fight the Nine?”
“It would appear so,” Gandalf said dryly. Elrond glared at him.
“Gandalf this is not time for jest,” he said tightly as close to scolding him as you could with a wizard.
“That’s not all,” Elrohir said quietly as he took a long draught wincing more as the hot tea slid down his throat and tongue. “Midnight and Alenor are gone.” This set Elrond off, he jumped up.
“Are you saying that Alenor’s run off with Arwen?” he demanded his voice harsh. He grabbed the tea and swallowed it one gulp, seeming not to notice the liquid that flowed down his throat. Elrohir nodded grimly. Gandalf sipped quietly at his tea.
“There is very little you can do now Lord Elrond,” he said. “Alenor and Arwen are beyond our hands. Were we to try and call them back and send out riders to take them back, we only jeopardizing Aragorn and those with him.” Elrond looked downfallen and slowly sat down once more and placed his hands between his head.
“I feel old,” he said gravely. “How is that they pass and the sentries did not notice their coming?” Elrohir grimaced.
“They’ll have headaches in the morning,” he replied and there was no need for other words.
“They hit other Elves?” Elrond asked in dismay. Elrohir nodded as Gandalf swallowed more tea and realized that it was really hot.
“There is nothing we can do Elrond,” Gandalf said painfully because of the hot fire on his tongue. “There is nothing we can do. Nothing at all, we must let them take their course and hope they come to us safely.” Elrond nodded, his face set in grim lines.
“May the Valar bring them back to us,” he prayed. For a while thereafter the three sat in silence, Gandalf sipping his tea and wondering why. Elrond shuffling through the papers every once in awhile making annoyed sounds and kept sipping from the tea cup, where there was no tea, he had yet to realize that it was empty. Elrohir sat still, his tea hardly touched and he was looking far off, with a look of silent war inside.
“Father,” he spoke at last, his voice quiet. “I’m leaving for a few days.” If anything was apt to attract Elrond’s attention that was it.
“Elrohir!” he said, his voice raw suddenly with fear. “I will not have you leave Rivendell!” Gandalf raised his head slowly from his brooding as Elrond mastered himself.
“I won’t be alone,” Elrohir whispered. “I’ll be in good hands.”
“Who are you taking with you?” Elrond asked, his voice had the calm it did, when he knew that it was not the time for emotions to rule. He was sitting calmly, brow smooth and unfurrowed and he had a patience aura around him.
“No one from Rivendell,” Elrohir answered in a meek voice that really caught Gandalf’s attention. Elrohir no matter how changed could never be meek. He might be soft, willing and nervous, but never meek. From the way Elrond stiffened Gandalf noted the Lord of Rivendell had noticed this as well, which would prove hard for Elrohir as Elrond would try to wheedle the truth out of his son.
“Then from where,” Elrond asked patiently.
“Not where, I’m going to. . .” Elrohir trailed off and his mouth clicked shut and his cheeks flamed.
“Her?” Gandalf finished, with a wild guess. Elrohir blushed fiercer unwittingly giving off his answer.
“Who?” Elrond pressed gently. Elrohir shook his head, his mouth stubbornly shut as he realized the blunder only muttered: `she’s a good lass, we’re just friends.’ He was served from further weariness and wheedling as the door opened and Alenor stumbled in and fell into the closest chair. Had she been wearing something nice that evening it was ruined and soaked with mud and her hair was in wild knots that would prove hard to take out. Her face was pale and she looked absolutely wearied.
“Where were you?” Elrond’s hard voice was belied by the worry and how he quickly hurried to her side. Alenor’s hand was clutched about something tightly.
“No where,” her voice was strained. Elrond kneeled before her taking her chin with his fingers and gently lifted it to his face. “I was no where Grandfather.”
“Then why was Midnight gone?” Elrohir asked tactlessly. Alenor’s head sunk to her chest once more despite Elrond’s fingers still under her chin.
“Elrohir, see if any of the maids are up this late,” Elrond bade his son. “If there is tell them to get a hot bath ready and clean clothes.” Elrohir straightened and quickly left.
“What do you hold in your hand child?” Gandalf asked. He noticed Alenor’s hand clutch it tighter and her face grimaced as if feeling old and new pain.
“Nothing,” she said faintly. Elrond noticing now took her hand and pried her fingers open. To his dismay Elrond found her grip weak. Gandalf leaned forward trying to find what it was when he heard the Lord gasp.
“Eru,” he breathed. “Gandalf look at this.” From Alenor’s hand Elrond held up a sharp cut gem that was in the basic pattern of a diamond. Three hues seemed woven into it and changed like soft waves lapping against the shore when adjusted against the light. The gem shone with light, but only enough that it wouldn’t betray the wearer to any enemies. The three hues there were sky blue, medium mysterious blue and then a blue so dark it was nearly black.
“Eru,” Gandalf found himself copying Elrond. “Where did you find this?”
“My fair Celebrian,” Elrond whispered then his voice hardly auditable. His dark head bent down and kissed the gem lightly. “My fair Celebrian lost it when we were riding.” Gandalf felt as if his throat was constricted, what was to say with old wounds reopened? Alenor’s mouth was slightly open in silent gape and she seemed like she was trying to say something.
“I hit my. . . .head on a branch,” she stuttered at last. “When I woke up. . . .I found it.” Elrond clasped his hand around it as the door opened silently. Elrohir entered the room absently dragging fingers through his hair.
“Fath. . .” he stopped when he saw Elrond kneeling on the ground his head bent to one hand, the one with the stone.
“Do you remember her Elrohir?” Elrond asked, there was old pain to his voice. “Can you remember your mother?” With careful fingers as if the gem would crumble to dust Elrond held up the odd blue gem. Elrohir’s mouth clicked shut for the second time that night.
“I remember that stone,” Elrohir whispered there was so much pain in his voice that Gandalf feared for a few seconds. “Glorfindel caught me about to throw it into the water one time to see if it would change colors within the water and because mom wouldn’t go swimming with me.” He sighed. “The maids are in the room.” Then he turned and ran out of the room and neither asked where he went and didn’t need to know, they knew that when Elrohir ran like that he was going to hide for some time and try to forget old pains that were still new in some ways. For a few minutes afterwards a heavy silence weighed in the room and then Elrond straightened himself and lifted a half-dozing Alenor into his arms.
“I’m too old grandfather,” she protested weakly. “Don’t carry me.”
“Hush,” Elrond said in a firm but whispering voice. “Hush Alenor don’t fret.” Alenor seemed at this point too tired to worry and rested her head against Elrond’s chest and her breathing rapidly descended till it was aware that she was asleep. Elrond turned to Gandalf, who was still sitting in his chair and pressed the gem in his hand.
“Gandalf,” he bade him in a quiet voice. “I want you to run down to the smithies and tell them to make a brooch out of it, they’ll do there best when the see what it is. Keep it quiet, Celebrian. . .Celebrian would have liked Alenor to have it.”
“I will,” Gandalf vowed and tightened his hand over the jewel and was painfully aware of the edges cut into the skin of his hands. Elrond shifted Alenor’s weight in his arms.
“Thank you Gandalf, when you leave please douse the fires I’m going to bed after Alenor is settled,” Elrond said and he moved past the ring of chairs to the door only pausing long enough to hear Gandalf’s last words: `I will.’ For awhile Gandalf sat there mindful of the gem in his hands and wishing for a pipe to close some thoughts and make them bearable. He came to wonder how Alenor had come to grasp such object that had been lost many a year and why none of the sentries noticed it on their rounds. It was a mystery he was sure to breach when Alenor awoke and he would get it out, with words instead of the silent treatment that worked for Elrond. He was too impatient for that and he was too impatient to wait for her to wake. It would have to wait though and Gandalf rose dousing the fires and left the room to tend to what Elrond bid though it was likely the smiths had already fallen to bed by now and it would have to wait for morning. Morning, such weights there were when it arrived, burdens shouldered off the night before would return with full weight and it was another heavy day of toil.
*-I just want to say I hope I’m not bouncing around to much with the years. If I am please let me know!