Alenor kept her head lowered in meek position as she felt Elrond’s eyes bore into her head. Thankfully Elrohir was able to escape without hindrance, if only she had not slept in!
“Alenor.” she lifted her head cautiously. From the tone Alenor could tell Elrond was not about to try his silent torture. He wanted to know where his son was and would find out. Legolas was not there as Alenor had managed to bluff him out of the whole thing. It was also a good thing that Thranduil had to return home, otherwise he would have noticed that she was lying, she was sure that Elrond knew as well that something in her story didn’t add up.
“Yes?” she asked quietly.
“Where is Lord Elrohir?” Alenor very nearly started. Gandalf had been sitting so quiet that Alenor and judging from Elrond’ face, had forgotten he was even there. Gandalf had pulled a chair from the ring and was sitting contentedly by the open window puffing along on his pipe. His bushy eyebrows were raised in a quizzical upside V. “Perhaps Lord Elrohir has gone to meet his Lady friend that he was asking about the night before?”
“Alenor?” Elrond asked her.
“What Lady friend?” Alenor asked bluntly, but she couldn’t hide the guilty look in her eye and the sudden rising of a grin. Elrond crossed his arms and gave her a good stare and hard one. She was glad Erestor was doing something down south for the moment and wouldn’t be back for three more days. If he were here Alenor would have long since gone insane.
“Alenor you are the worst liar that any of the Elves have ever seen! You might as well tell us now before you cover yourself in embarrassment.” Gandalf nodded as he blew a blue smoke ring to the ceiling before proceeding once again to do it out the large bay window.
“He said she was a good lass and would be waiting for him,” Alenor said, finally letting go. She had done all she could, it was Elrohir’s job now to get as far away as possible without his father hauling him back. “He wasn’t lying. Uncle was very defendant of her and I’m sure that nothing stupid will happen other then him and her getting friendly.”
“Alenor!” Gandalf and Elrond cried out in mortified. Alenor had purposely meant what she had said. “That’s no way to talk!”
“What?” Alenor asked as innocently as she could. “I only said they may get friendly. I have no idea where she lives so you can get off me and go bug Corven, I saw him in the wine bottles yesterday. He was point blank drunk.” She crossed her arms and gave them the best angry and pointed stare she could muster.
“How in Eru am I to keep him out?” Elrond asked wearily. He had thankfully abandoned the talk for reasons Alenor could not guess and got on the more distressing one at hand. “I have banned him fifty million times already and you still find him drinking wine by the barrels.”
“Send him to Mirkwood?” Gandalf suggested. “He could test the wine for the King.”
“There would be none left,” Alenor pointed out. “Our own stock is rapidly depleted because of him.” Elrond sighed.
“I’m going to set him on a ship filled with wine barrels and ship him off to the Valinor! The Valar can deal with him there,” Elrond pronounced. Alenor couldn’t help but give a laugh, even Gandalf chuckled slightly at what Elrond had said.
“Where is he now?” Elrond asked Alenor.
“I don’t know grandfather,” Alenor admitted shrugging her shoulders. “Probably sleeping off another hangover only to get drunk again. Can Elves die from drinking too much?”
“We’ll find out soon enough,” Elrond said standing. “Glorfindel told me also to tell you to come to the arena for practicing two hours before lunch. You’d better run.” Alenor groaned flying from her chair and sped off to her room.
It had started five years ago to the day that Elrond had woken her up by throwing a long slender curving sword and quiver with matching bow on top of her and telling her to get out of bed and to the practicing arena. Since then Glorfindel would pick times, rain, sleet or snow and would drill her mercilessly until she was nearly falling over her own blade trying to stand. To make Glorfindel even more upset, in the beginning days, was that she couldn’t hit the target if it was dead in front of her.
That was five years ago and now she was good enough at archery skills to rival Glorfindel and quite well with the sword. Alenor knew there was another whole reason to the whole story though, but whenever she asked her grandfather he would give the look `whatever are you talking about?’ and she had soon given up except when curiosity had welled to an almost overwhelming point.
When Alenor arrived at the practice arena Glorfindel was impatiently pacing around.
“When did you get my notice child?” he demanded. “You’re late.” Alenor could only sigh; she was getting tired of being called child. I guess it can be amended though Alenor thought dejectedly I am still a child compared to their years. Arwen was the only one who didn’t call her child at all.
“Grandfather only just gave me the message,” Alenor explained. Glorfindel was silent for a few moments then nodded seeing that she was not lying at all, she couldn’t lie anyway.
“All right,” he said purposefully switching to the Common Tongue. Alenor could have groaned. She could never get this tongue straight! She was always slipping back into the Elven Tongue if she wasn’t careful.
“What,” she paused groping for the word, Glorfindel stood patient waiting for the answer. At last she found the word she was looking for. “Are we doing?”
“You’re getting better,” he approved, stopping and letting the words sink in. “We are working on archery right now. You still can shoot worst then a stump when you don’t concentrate.” He paused longer this time before Alenor nodded and he received the scowl that had been expected.
“I. . .don’t shoot. . .worse then a stump,” she realized that worse had been said in Elvish. “Worse.” She amended. Glorfindel laughed.
“You lost ten arrows just three days ago,” he said not pausing this time, speeding the lesson quicker. “You have to get this tongue mastered Alenor if you are to venture into the southern realms.” Alenor shook her head and waited till the words came one at a time.
“Why. . .why would I go there?” she fumbled.
“Lord Elrond tells me to teach you and I will,” Glorfindel answered with a shrug. “Now stop talking!” Alenor wondered now why she had to learn so strongly. Three months ago Glorfindel had promptly told her she was learning the Common Tongue. Every Elf in Rivendell knew the Common Tongue to some extent or another, except for Alenor who had never had the time to learn.
Alenor had only taken two shots at the standstill targets that Glorfindel had placed in a maze of false bodies. She was to shoot them all as quick as she could. However it was two shots later when she heard the rattling on a sword brought from a scabbard. Hearing the wind whistling just behind her head Alenor ducked dropped her bow in a swift movement had her sword out and was blocking Glorfindel’s second blow.
“Good,” he said still in the Common. “Next time faster. Do you think a bunch of Orcs are going to stop just so that you can take out your sword? Pick up your bow lets try this again.” Alenor didn’t have to let this sink in; she knew that speech by heart. She would shoot targets, supposed to be keeping half herself on everything else around her and to drop the bow whenever she heard Glorfindel sword coming from its sheath and parry it. Over and over again it would occur, she was sure that in all Glorfindel just really wanted to take her head off with his sword. Really who would be firing arrows when you’ve got half of dozen Orcs attacking you at once?
“Do you plan on taking off my head?” she demanded picking up her bow and lovingly dusted it off.
“Speak the common tongue Alenor!” he said. Alenor rolled her eyes.
“Want am I going to use it for?” she asked. “Asking the Easterlings for a dance?” She ducked from Glorfindel’s cuff. “Do they even speak the Common? Maybe we should teach them Elvish!” she ducked again and felt his hand whistling over his head and raising the loose hair.
“Alenor!” Glorfindel said sharply. “Pick up that bow and start shooting or next time I will take off you head!” Alenor forced a grin down and concentrated on the target once more. Perhaps learning the Common Tongue was getting easier? For the next three hours, missing lunch all together Glorfindel drilled her as mercilessly as he had ever done. Before the three hours were done Alenor felt sweat stinging in her eyes and clinging to her hair and her breathing was labored. She could never tell when Glorfindel would do something next, it felt like worse then a real battle!
“All right done, go take a bath and some food,” Glorfindel announced at last. He dropped his blade and Alenor let hers clatter to the dirt of the arena. Every limb was shaking from the use of back and forth mock fighting and shooting. What irritated her, the most was that Glorfindel did not look one ounce tired. She glared hard at him. The Elf lord shrugged his shoulders.
“Pick up your bow,” he said in the Common Tongue. “And do as I say.” Alenor still glaring retrieved her weapons as best she could and loped off. She didn’t look back, had she done it she would have seen Glorfindel talking with Elrond as he slipped from behind stands where he had been watching the practice silently.
Glorfindel watched Alenor go with saddening heart. He didn’t want to drill her so on getting it right, but he had no choice. Aware that Elrond was coming from hiding he turned.
“Lord Elrond,” he said humbly, keeping to the tongues of men. “Must I be so hard with her?” Elrond sighed and watched her back. Alenor didn’t turn around once. She was weary beyond recall.
“It is her destiny, her fate,” Elrond told Glorfindel. “The Lady Galadriel has seen it and so has Alenor, I am sure though she doesn’t understand it.” Glorfindel sighed and brushed hair from his face. He may have not looked it, but he was exhausted as well.
“Lord Elrond,” he said. “Can we not explain to Alenor what is happening? It is not well for her to be practicing with no reason.” Elrond shook his head.
“No Glorfindel,” he said. “It is best we don’t tell her. Not even you know the whole of it. Go wash and get something to eat. Perhaps it is best that Arwen left instead of you?” The Elf Lord was silent for a long time and Glorfindel looked to the sky and waving branches of trees making it bearable for long practices.
“All right,” he said at last softly, slipping back into his Native Tongue. “I hope Arwen is safe and comes back soon.”
“And my son,” Elrond answered in sad voice. He looked Glorfindel in the eye. “I hope they are safe.” Glorfindel in friendly gesture clasped his shoulder.
“The Valar will guide them safely,” he said. “Be trusting. Now I think you should go and see how Alenor’s doing. I think I may have gone beyond the limits today.” Elrond sighed and nodded.
“I don’t like pushing her either,” he said looking Glorfindel straight in the eye. “But we have no choice.”
Alenor flopped upon her bed. Her hair was wet from the exaggerated bath she had taken and it felt really good to be clean once again. However there was still the problem of being absolutely bone tired, enough that she didn’t even want to eat.
“Alenor, get up,” the command awoke her from her slight sleep. Groaning the lifted her head.
“Grandfather no,” she whimpered. “I’m too tired.” Elrond shook his head and gave a small laugh. He sat beside her. Gently he lifted Alenor till her head was resting against his chest, she breathed deeply.
“Come Alenor you need to eat,” he said. “I’ll carry you if I have to.” Alenor smiled at this and looked into his grey eyes.
“Why do I have to do this Grandfather?” she asked him standing and looked at the swirling leaves upon the floor. She now always left the balcony doors open to let in the air and nature when she was around and feeling well. Sometimes it was too chill for her to do it however. Elrond looked to the floor and lifted up a leaf that had turned orange and was still intact.
“See this leaf?” he asked her. Alenor nodded her head. “Alenor he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Doesn’t know why. Alenor you know why he does it though?” Alenor shook her head, feeling confused. “Because he trusts nature to let her take him safely away.”
“I don’t understand,” Alenor said looking at the leaf as Elrond let it go and it floated to the breeze that came through the open doors.
“You will Alenor,” Elrond said turning back to her. He took her hands carefully into his own. “You have to trust me that what I do, will help you. For better or for worse I cannot say.” Alenor sighed.
“All right,” she agreed. “Was it wrong that I let Arwen go? And Elrohir?” Elrond looked away slightly then turn back to her.
“I have to trust what you think Alenor,” he said. “I can do nothing. They are beyond my help.” Alenor hugged him.
“I did what I thought was best,” she whispered, burying her face into his robes. “I have lived so many little years please forgive me!” She felt Elrond move and smooth her hair while a breeze came and whipped it up and swirled it to lock with Elrond’s. She tucked it behind her pointed ear.
“There is nothing to forgive child,” Elrond said. He drew her to her feet. “Come eat.” Alenor accepted Elrond arm and he led her to the kitchen through the leaf littered hallways that smelled of winter to come.
Later that night Alenor stood upon the balcony, her bare feet chilled by the stone and looked to the moon. Quietly she sent a prayer to the Valar.
“Let those I love come home,” she whispered and gently grasped a floating leaf in her hand and gazed to the trees of Rivendell with ever falling noise of waterfalls. Rivendell was home, all the while Alenor knew that her road in life would not end here, nor Valinor for the matter. Drawing herself from the thoughts Alenor wrapped her robe tighter about her frame she went to turn when suddenly everything went black around her and she had the funny frightened expression that someone was behind her.
Afraid suddenly for whatever reason Alenor turned to look around behind her. There was no sound, there was no Rivendell, instead she saw something burning. With a cry of fear she flung up her hands to protect her face as she felt it was burning, but hands did nothing to help quench the heat.
“You can’t escape the Eye!” a harsh, mocking voice pried into her head, making Alenor drop her hands over ears trying to hide it away and she saw It. The Eye. Wreathed in gathering of flame, but for the middle it seemed an eternal void of blackness that wanted to rip apart her every being till she was left open in everything to the Lidless Eye. “Look into the Eye fall to the ruler of Middle-earth! You are nothing Elf! Listen to me and bow! Accept your death!” Alenor screamed in pain as the voice attacked her searing her mind in a rip of agony and she felt as if she was burning alive. She flung herself backward as if she could possibly escape the burning look. Alenor fell back and was met with the cold stone of the balcony the burning was gone, but Alenor was frightened. There was someone there and he held her gently in his arms and Alenor knew who it was.
“The Eye will not hurt you my child if you have the brooch with you always. It will remember you of our love for you and protect you against such evil,” he said and Alenor looked into his eyes and she was frightened. What she had witnessed went beyond words, she didn’t think she could ever think of it again without fear.
“He was going to hurt me father,” she blurted and the tears came then. Every feeling that had come with the vision came back and Alenor shook.
“I cannot stay my child, I draw upon your energy to form myself and I am going against the Lord Mandos’s wishes,” Elladan said quietly. His cold hands brushed away her hair. “You recovered remarkably well after our last encounter. Lord Elrond is coming now and I must leave he will look after you child.” He lowered his head and gently kissed her brow with cold lips. “Don’t forget my words Alenor.” Then he stood was gone seeming to fold upon himself, leaving Alenor alone. She didn’t have long to wait as soon as her father left Elrond burst onto the balcony and gripped Alenor in his arms as she wept and with stumbling weeping sentences tried to explain everything that had just occurred, except for Elladan who she always had kept secret. She would keep his words, for the Eye was not something that she would like to encounter again or forget. The thought made her weep harder with fear and Elrond held her.
*- I’ve still got the major case of hitting the brick walls, so I’m not sure how fast things will be going with that happening.