“Grandfather?” a hesitant knock followed the timid question. Elrond raised his head from his book that he been immersed in and gazed at the anteroom door. Wondering what time at night it was he rubbed his eyes irritably. He knew that he shouldn’t be reading in bed with this little light! The candles on the bedside table were guttering and dancing as they nearly died. “Grandfather?” the timid voice again followed by a knock roused Elrond. Closing the book over his hand, he remebered the page number, before deciding to set on the table, beyond the reach of the puddles of wax gleaming in the soft light upon the hard wooden bedside table.
“Come in Alenor,” he spoke gently. “You haven’t awoken me at all. Come in.” From where he sat Elrond could see the door silently swing open. Alenor stood framed by the doorway and Elrond felt worry descend on him. The young Elf was pale giving her a see-through look. From where he sat Elrond could see her trembling hard and casting frightened glances at the walls as each shadow flickered. Her eyes were haunted and frightened, and she licked her lips nervously over and over again. Her right hand was tightly clenched over something and Elrond could plainly see the blood seeping between the cracks of her fingers from the intense hold. The sight left Elrond in his own fear, what images had haunted Alenor’s dreams?
“Grandfather?” she whispered, she started making hesitant steps towards the bed, jumping at every step that caused a shadow to flicker across her path.
From where he sat Elrond smoothed the comforter out, beckoning Alenor towards him. The Elven girl moved no faster and coming closer Elrond saw her hair had been plastered to her head in sweat, her tipped ears just peeking through the mess. At last Alenor made it to his bedside and sank upon the side, shuddering and shivering like a child. A question formed in Elrond’s mind, why hadn’t Rana come to his sister’s aid.
“Grandfather,” she croaked, it seemed the only thing that she was able to say.
“Hush my grandchild,” Elrond crooned softly. He reached gently and pulled Alenor more firmly upon the bed. He gently stroked a hand through her hair, calming her frightened senses somewhat. The other hand searched for the tips of the fingers that gripped Celebrian’s Brooch. Celebrian’s, the name pushed Elrond off his thoughts for a few moments before he managed to settle them again. Her tried to pry her fingers away from the brooch but she pulled tighter giving a moan of fright. “Hush Alenor,” he crooned again. He moved the hand that had been running a hand through her hair and pushed her against his chest. He was overwhelmed when she gave no fight as she often did to this kind of treatment.
“Grandfather?” Elrond lifted his head, startled slightly at the new voice. Rana was framed in the doorway. His dark hair, so much like his father’s hung askew down his back and partially on his face. He wore only breeches and his muscular chest and arms, thought still easily befitting the Elven grace and slimness, were well defined without the hindrance of a shirt. His long Elven face had wrinkles of worry and his eyes. . .oh his eyes! They were slightly tilted like Elladan’s had been, so slight that only a trained eye could see, his eyes as well were clouded in worry. It was no wonder that Elrond saw many young Elven maidens eyes traveling on him as he walked, however Rana was happily oblivious that he was the sight of many women, unmarried and young in Rivendell.
“She’s here Rana,” Elrond spoke gesturing slightly at the trembling Alenor. “You got here in a hurry.”
“I saw she wasn’t in bed,” Rana explained coming to the bed. He moved with a deadly grace, even more grace with training as Ranger and his five years of wild living. “I got panicked and fled here, somehow knowing she was here.”
Elrond patted to a spot on the bed and motioned for Rana to sit there. “I think she will talk when she is done her fright. Give her, her needed space.”
“Thank you grandfather,” Rana whispered sitting where Elrond had motioned him to sit. Elrond saw his eyes move towards his sister and a hand inevitably extended towards her gently clasping her shoulder.
“You are a very noble Elf,” Elrond whispered quietly, more to himself than Rana. “Just like your father.”
“I would think that I am hardly noble,” Rana objected. “I’m hardly noble Grandfather, hardly at all. I am the son of a noble man, a man I never knew, I am the son of a mother I never knew like a child should know their mother. My real mother was always Alenor. Oh course I have always felt that I was the eldest and it was my duty to protect her.”
“Understandable,” Elrond agreed, shifting Alenor so that he could attempt once again to loosen her death-hold over the brooch. She only clasped harder, making Elrond give a worried frown. “Rana perhaps you can help?”
Frowning slightly Rana moved to the other side of the bed. “Hush sister, its only me,” he whispered gently when Alenor shrunk away from his grasp. Whispering softly Rana took the bloodied hand that gripped the brooch. At his touch to her hand Alenor gasped and struggled to get away as if in pain. “Alenor rest!” Rana seized her wrist and held it firmly as her hand dug into the brooch.
“Rana easy with her,” Elrond cautioned. “She’s scared out of her wits.”
“I understand Grandfather,” Rana whispered patiently. He held her wrist firm as Alenor started to sob and press into Elrond’s chest.
“Wait!” Rana looked up confused at his Grandfather. “Alenor’s still held in the Dreaming World, be quick, take the brooch out and cast it light to the floor. Something’s wrong.”
Rana bent over his sister’s hand once more and wrenched her fingers open. He reached and grabbed the blue brooch and tossed it to the floor away from Alenor’s grasp. At the removal of the brooch she cried out, her back arching in pain.
“Rana go get my satchel, so I can bind this,” Elrond whispered gently. “Careful where you step lad. Careful.” Once Rana had left for the anteroom of the bedroom Elrond slid out of bed and placed Alenor in it. Her face was pale and her open eyes had fear in them. “May your dreams be guarded and protected by the will of Irmo.”
Elrond left her side and went to the floor. Bending down he picked up his wife’s brooch. Hot tears of sadness welled in his throat looking at the blood coated top. What had happened in Alenor’s dream?
“Grandfather I’m back,” Elrond jumped and whirled around. Rana was standing once more in the doorway holding the satchel up.
“Thank you Rana place it on the bedside table,” Elrond breathed. He looked at the glittering surface of the brooch and then set it as well on the table. “See if you can wake her up Rana. I want to know what happened.” Elrond went to his satchel to take out a long strip of cloth, then headed to the basin of water on the other side of the room. Behind him he could heard Rana’s attempts to awaken his sister.
“It’s no use,” he muttered when Elrond moved back to Alenor’s side with the cloth. “She will not awaken. . .was she asleep the whole time?”
“No, Rana, she wasn’t,” Elrond explained. “She was awake until she fell into my arms. She was fighting off the vision in her dreams, until her strength waned.”
“Why are these evil dreams haunting my sister’s dreamscape?” Rana demanded.
“Rana,” Elrond started but paused. He stood silent as he wrapped the bandage around her right hand and wrist. “Rana, I can’t tell you.” Just like I can’t tell you you’re going to die in battle, in the arms of your sister.
“Why not?” there was anger in the young Elf’s voice. “Why not Lord Elrond?”
Elrond was opening his mouth to reply when suddenly Alenor’s eyes blinked. She looked around the room once, before in a quiet voice that was trembling she whispered, “The Ring calls to me.” Then her eyes closed and she slumped limply upon the bed.
“The One Ring?” Rana asked in confusion.
“The Tenth Ring,” Elrond corrected. “The Tenth Mortal Ring Rana.”