Laying out the new flowers in the early morning upon her father and mother’s graves, it was still very early Alenor knew because she could feel the wetness on the hem of her spring green dress. The morning dew was still clinging to the leaves and grass blades. It was this that refrained her from kneeling to spread the new flowers out. It was a habit now to come every day and spread new flowers across the worn brown surface of her parents’ graves. The silver circlet she had placed upon Elladan’s grave five years back was gone; Elrond had probably taken it away so that it wouldn’t get ruined. Straightening with a groan Alenor massaged her back. Well that was the pain for falling off the bed twice that night and hitting the chair both times. It was a surprise that her brother hadn’t woken to the clamor. A faint smile trailed on her lips. Rana. Everything seemed to slide into place, her brother was home again. She felt as if the room was more like the room she had grown up with him in. The snoring has been a welcome relief, she hadn’t known was gone. It was like losing someone dear then realizing you hadn’t lost them at all. Raising her head to the House of Elrond she decided to root the kitchens, if she could possibly find a way not to do the dishes. Another faint smile trailed on her lips as Alenor ascended the worn steps from the grave sight and crossed to the house to go search for some breakfast so she wouldn’t have to endure the crowded tables.
Finishing off the last of the sweet syrup from her fingers Alenor straightened to leave. It had been her luck that the cooks had ended up being up all night and were blearing eyed this morning, with headaches from the overdosage of wine and ale kegs reserved for the Dwarf guests. Standing up to take her leave Alenor suddenly heard a piercing scream echo across Rivendell, it sounded like a maiden confronted by a mouse, high-pitched shrieking. Alenor found herself frowning who was that?
Aragorn couldn’t remember what had woken him up? At first it might have been his usual time he roused or the sound of something in his room. Whatever it was had caused him to stir. Opening his eyes, he met with a very unpleasant sight. He was staring a cricket right in the face. Memories of his childhood came rushing back into his face. The crickets, what the Elf had told him about them. He had tried countless of times to rid himself of that ridiculous fear, but every time it came back to haunt him. Laying there he stared at and felt more, he felt one scuttle across his hand and crawl up his arm. He did the first thing that came to mind. Aragorn screamed. He didn’t know who was frightened more when he did it, him or the crickets. Haunting images of that young child coming to his mind as he screamed and he was horrified, though he didn’t stop when he heard himself start shouting: “Save me! Lord Elrond! Save me! They’re going to eat me!”
Not moments later, still screaming, his throat was raw, though his fear not less, that he heard the banging on his door. The door was locked. Aragorn felt his mouth clamp shut and he froze. They were in here, he was alone. They were going to eat him! Once more his berated him for his foolish thinking and as before he couldn’t believe himself. He could feel them on the comforter, the one on his face had moved. They were going to eat him! He nearly started screaming in panic again when the door burst open.
Elrond rushed into the room with Erestor behind him. Aragorn wasn’t surprised that he had probably woken up all of Rivendell with his scream. Quickly both Elves disposed of the crickets and Elrond sat by Aragorn. Immediately he pulled the Lord of Rivendell into a fierce embrace as his whole body trembled.
“Shh Aragorn, it’s all right,” Elrond whispered consoling in Aragorn’s ear as he held the man
At first fearing that Aragorn was in trouble Elrond was surprised when he had seen the crickets hopping on Aragorn’s floor and bed. He was almost startled into laughter at the paled face and the large fearing eyes, and his mouth half open to scream once again. Luckily he had been able to calm himself and was now holding the other man in his arms Elrond could feel him trembling and shaking like a leaf. Aragorn was very terrified and he was upset at who had played this trick, even though it was in a sense of way hilarious. Aragorn was muttering too, rambling so that Elrond couldn’t make sense of what he was talking about. His thoughts turned to who had played this trick on Aragorn.
“My lord?” he turned his head to Erestor standing by the door.
“Tell them everything of what happened in here,” Elrond instructed him. “I’ll be here for awhile, Aragorn, Estel’s not about to let go of me any time soon.”
A smile touched his chief counselor’s face. He was probably remembering the day that seemed so not long ago of the young Estel who had told them the story he had heard from an Elf. That was when the fear had taken hold. Elrond, with bitterness, remembered that he thought that the fear would pass fade with the years. He was wrong and the trembling Aragorn in his arms proved it noticeably.
“Yes Lord Elrond,” Erestor bowed and a very ill-concealed snort of laughter followed him as he left the main room.
Undeterred by Erestor’s form of the story Alenor pushed past him into Aragorn’s room. Behind her she could heard Erestor call her name, but didn’t move from his post. Entering the room past the antechamber Alenor felt a wave of fear and anxiety.
Elrond was sitting on the edge of her cousin’s bed, holding the trembling man in his arms.
“Cousin?” Alenor asked hesitantly as she walked cautiously towards him. “Are you all right?” Aragorn raised his head a fraction and managed a nod before burying his head once again into Elrond’s robes. This scared Alenor, she had thought nothing could terrify him this bad! “Is what Erestor saying true?”
“Yes,” Elrond answered. “Hush Aragorn it’s all right. I told everyone to stay out.” He looked at Alenor with a measured look. Shifting her feet nervously Alenor was just able to return his gaze.
“I know grandfather. I got worried though and had to see for myself. He’s family right?” she told him.
Elrond nodded an answer. “Do you know who would do this?” Elrond asked her.
“No,” Alenor answered hurriedly before the knowing look of lying came out on her face. She knew, Arwen. Aragorn had told her yesterday that he had said something to her, Arwen had got even revenge. Smoothing out her fingers before they clutched her dress and her face went hot with anger she turned to go. Over her shoulder she called one last piece of advice to Elrond: “Give him some candy! It’ll calm him down good enough.”
Once past the room Alenor let the sweep of anger take hold of her. It was lucky perhaps that most Elves were crowding around Aragorn’s door to hear what condition he was in. In stalking grace Alenor swept down the halls until she came to Arwen’s door. As she stood there about to open it, she was suddenly and unexpectedly confronted with a memory. Her five years back, storming down the hallways about to teach Lindir a final lesson. Well that won’t happen this time she told herself firmly stilling the sudden rush of her heart and entered the room. The antechamber was empty the hearth standing cold, hardly noticing it Alenor went into Arwen’s room.
She found Arwen sitting on the divan outside calmly doing embroidery as if nothing had happened. Hearing Alenor’s approach she lifted her head.
“Who screamed?” she asked innocently.
“Aragorn,” Alenor answered with gritted teeth.
“Oh!” Arwen feigned surprise. “I should go see and make sure he’s all right! What happened?”
“Crickets,” Alenor answered with still gritted teeth. Her jaw was beginning to ache in order to keep back a mouthful of angry words. “And you did it!”
Arwen looked at her with a very good false mask of surprise. “Oh no!” she gasped making to stand up and set her embroidery away.
“Arwen you put crickets in his bed,” Alenor said. It was an effort to keep her anger in. To help she looked past Arwen. Behind the porch in the distance a waterfall wove down a cliff face. In front was a foot-worn path that wound in between the copses of trees and beds of many flowers that spread from Arwen’s porch. The trees were shedding their leaves and sending them to dance on the arms of the wind. The singing birds and ever-falling waterfalls was every sound she heard.
“Perhaps Alenor,” she said nonchalantly standing up to go by the railing around the porch. Flowers still twined up the delicate rails of the stairs and rail supports. “But how do you know I did it?”
“Oh Eru Arwen!” Alenor cried exasperated. She walked up beside her aunt. “You did something! Aragorn said so himself! You want to know where he is? Hiding in Elrond’s arms trembling like a baby.”
“He deserved it,” Arwen admitted in a soft voice. With a gentle fingers she plucked a living flower from one of the vines it was attached to.
“Oh so now you’re admitting to it!” Alenor cried out, clenched teeth making her words hardly understandable.
“Yes.” Arwen opened her palm to the wind letting the flower go to dance in its final days upon the light breeze. “I did. Now stop clenching your teeth, it’s bad for you.”
“If I do,” Alenor gritted. “You won’t know what hit you! You’re going to apologize right now.”
“Afraid not,” Arwen sighed looking at the distant waterfall. “Alenor, niece, you have to understand.”
“I am understanding that you scared your love into fright!” Alenor snapped. “And if you won’t go then I’ll make you.”
“It was his own fault,” Arwen shrugged her shoulders.
“Aragorn wanted to say sorry!”
“I know, it didn’t matter,” Arwen said calmly.
“Didn’t matter!” Alenor shouted. Arwen opened her mouth to say something, but never got the chance. Alenor’s slap caught her full force across the face. Then with a glare at her aunt she left the room.
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.