The feast was beautiful. The hall was decorated beautifully, and was lit with hundreds of candles. Maegwen had never seen so much food in her life. She sat by Legolas, and they talked about things that had happened recently, but not of what had happened to Gollum. Legolas promised he would tell her, but not until later when Elrond would not hear. So instead, Legolas got her to tell him more about what had happened with Haldir. It was really easy to talk to the elf because she felt strangely closer to him than she had when they had both been back in Mirkwood. He was a good listener. But Maegwen could not ignore the way his eyes kept trailing to her stomach. And she was still a little disappointed he had not just let her go and covered for her.
After a while, Legolas and the elf at his right got into a deep conversation. Something about why Dwarves should bathe more often. For two mature elves, they giggled like young elf girls. Perhaps it was the wine…
Maegwen looked about the table to see everyone that had come. They were mostly elves, but the ones that weren’t were easily to pick out. The four hobbits save Frodo, who seemed more the gentlemen then the others, were filling themselves to their stomachs content. Not to say the other hobbits were complete slobs. Meriodoc and Peregrin were mingling with some other peoples, and even made a few laugh with their silly hobbit-humor. Sam was attempting to serve his master many times, but eventually sat down in defeat. Maegwen smiled and frowned at the same time, looking rather sympathetic when Sam glanced her way. The dwarves watched the elves suspiciously and talked mostly amongst themselves, except a white-haired dwarf who was in fact talking with Frodo Baggins. Maegwen already knew this dwarf. In fact, Bilbo talked of him sometimes. He was Gloin, one of the Dwarves that had gone on the great adventure to the Lonely Mountain. At that moment, the woman began to look around for Bilbo — she had yet to see him. Elrond at the head of the table was conversing with Glorfindel and Gandalf. He looked so lordly and noble as the candle light danced in his eyes. Arwen was watching the doors to the room, as if waiting.
Another hour went by and then her father and sister rose. Elrond motioned for Maegwen to join him, and she walked with him to the Hall of Fire, all others in tow. It was a room Maegwen had visited seldom, but liked very much. It was so peaceful and calming, and the perfect place to sit and think.
“How has your night been?” asked Elrond as he pulled Maegwen with him to the chair that had been set for him. Maegwen sat on a cushion next to the chair and sighed.
“It’s been nice.” She said. Elrond easily detected the disappointment in her voice, but thought it was just one of her mood swings. The night went on, and Maegwen quickly fell into drowsiness and asked for leave. She went to her room, but did not sleep. She looked at the pack holding the things, and smiled. No one was around, and now was her last chance to escape. To be free. Her heart was crying out for Haldir the entire time she made her way to the stables. She saddled the horse up, and was about to mount when she heard a voice from behind her. She turned and saw standing there a man with a perplexed look on his face, as he still studied his surroundings but made his way to her. He was tall, with dark hair and grey eyes, and his face was stern, yet soft and comforting. He was actually quite handsome in her eyes.
“Hel… hello.” Maegwen stuttered. The man’s gaze turned to her.
“Good evening. Do you think that you could kindly direct me to Lord Elrond of Rivendell?” he asked softly. Maegwen hesitated.
“I…” she closed her eyes, collecting her thought. She knew if she did not, this man might mention something to Elrond, and then he would have people after her in a second. Then they both looked back over their shoulders as someone approached in the dark. It was Legolas, and he saw what was going on. He saw the horse’s saddle and Maegwen’s riding garb. So there was only one thing she could do.
“Yes.” Said Maegwen sharply. “Follow me and I will show you to Elrond.”
She shot Legolas a dark look as she pushed past him. A tear rolled down her cheek as she made her way back to her room followed by Legolas who was trying to be secretive, but she knew he was there. Had Elrond sent him to watch her? Did her father now know what she had planned for that night? Whatever the reason, Maegwen would not be seeing Haldir as soon as she had anticipated. She sobbed into the late morning, and she did hear Legolas’s pitying sighs through the night.
So all her plans had been dashed the night before. She could not think of any better opportunities at the moment which might present her a chance to get away before her baby was born.
The next day, she wondered around Imladeris, and there was an odd silence in the air. There were no people about and it was very cold and lonely. She knew why. Legolas had briefly spoken to her about a council to be held that day. That’s where they all were. All save two hobbits. Merry and Pippin were sitting on a bench, small legs dangling off the side, and to no one’s surprise, they were eating. Maegwen went to them and talked with them for a while, and they told her about their home and their journey to Imladeris. And in turn, she told the two halflings about her latest journey to Mirkwood and most of what had happened there. She made it sound a lot cheerier than it really was, and left out the parts about Figwit and the things that had happened in Lorien. Still, the hobbits seemed thoroughly satisfied, and when Maegwen took leave to go to the library, they farewelled her pleasantly, and after that, Maegwen really liked hobbits. They were nice creatures who had a very easy life style and were very jolly creatures. She was smitten with jealousy.
Maegwen entered the library to find that Rochon was there. She was actually very surprised to see him, for she had not spoken with him much since they had arrived back. He greeted her with a tight embrace, and welcomed her to sit. Maegwen did, and they talked for a little while. About many things, some things darker than others. Gilgnalad had attended the council, and Rochon was expecting a full report back afterwards. Maegwen planned on getting the truth from Legolas, if she had to hang him from his ears and tickled him with her quill. The conversation gradually died, and Maegwen went off to the usual (gaping at maps and trying to figure out sometime when she could go) and Rochon left. Maegwen was alone.
After a few hours, Maegwen went to go and look for the hobbits, but was greeted with a very different person. First, the orphan questioned Legolas about the night before, and if he had been spying on her. He swore it was not true, and he had only wondered where she had gone. Legolas then took her to the nearest bench, and told her all he was allowed. Maegwen was chilled deeply by what was said. The One Ring was in Imladeris, and she hadn’t even known. She noticed Frodo in a window, and was now almost frightened of him. She had had no clue that he bore such a burden.
“And the company will take the Ring to Mordor?” Maegwen asked with a shutter. She did not like to think of such dark things. Legolas nodded soberly.
“Who will accompany Frodo and Sam?” Maegwen wondered.
“I have expressed my feelings to accompany them.” Legolas said. Maegwen’s jaw dropped and she stood, arms crossed.
“What? You cannot go! It is very dangerous… you could be killed!”
Then Legolas turned on her. He did not want to be angry, but was not sure Maegwen understood the big picture. “And if the Ring is not destroyed and evil is allowed to grow and spread throughout the lands, then all might die. Everything. You, me, all the peoples of Mirkwood. I do not want to let my father down. And beside the point, I have not yet been picked. Lord Elrond might just as well choose some one else.” Legolas sighed. “Though I wish that he would choose me.”
“But why, Legolas?” Maegwen asked, not understanding why he would be so willing to throw his life away, to just die. To want to go to Mount Doom was surely a death wish.
“There are many things in this world I still yet to explore. There are places I have not seen, and wish to deeply, and there our path lies. Like Lori-” but he bit his tongue. Maegwen eyed him sharply.
“What was that you were going to say? Were you going to say ‘Lorien’?” she asked quickly. Legolas looked around as if looking for a way to escape.
“I have told you much more about the Council than I think is necessary.” Legolas said quickly and began to walk off. Maegwen grabbed his arm.
“Tell me, Legolas. Please. I need to know. Were you going to say Lorien?” she begged with such hopeful, yet sorrowful eyes that Legolas could not refuse. Already Gandalf was making plans to travel to Lorien, for he would be in the company. Maegwen smiled.
“Thank you, Legolas. But I must leave you now.” She stood, and walked quickly away to find her father.
“Maegwen!” Elrond said harshly. “I must press upon you the danger of which you are willing to throw yourself into. Perhaps-“
“Elrond, I know what it is I’m doing. I do not care. I only want to go as far as Lorien.”
The lord sighed heavily as he sat on his chair, and Maegwen kneeled in front of him. It was an hour later. She knew what she wanted, and if she got her way, then she might be able to see Haldir after all. She had asked her father to accompany Frodo and the not yet formed Fellowship to Lorien. Elrond was not taking it well. He wanted Maegwen to stay there where he could protect her. He did not want her to leave again. The last time she did, she had almost died. But Maegwen was insistent. Elrond forbid it. Still she begged. When Elrond told her to go and that the matter was no more to be discussed, she was utterly heartbroken.
“You do not want me to be happy, do you?” Maegwen yelled, tears streaming down her face. She stood and faced the door.
“I want you to be safe.” Elrond said softly, putting a hand on her shoulder as he too got to his feet. Maegwen pushed him away.
“You do not. You want me here so you can… can… tell me what to do. How to run my own life. You can not tell me what to do.” Maegwen’s chest welled, and Elrond shook his head sadly. His jaw dropped when she said the last thing.
“You’re not even my real father.” She spat, bottom lip quivering, tears no longer falling, her face slick with tears.
Elrond was overwhelmed with anger and pain. “How dare you say these things to me? I took you in when you were so little a child; there was not even a possibility you could have survived. I have given you food, clothed you, out of the goodness of my heart.”
“Goodness?” Maegwen shot back bitterly. “No. You would not have been able to live with yourself if you had turned away a defenseless child.”
“I loved you.” Elrond said, angry tears forming in his eyes. “I do love you. I give you everything that you want.”
“I want to go to Lorien.” Maegwen said. “My child’s father is there. You can not seem to understand that.”
“It is not a journey fit for one such as yourself. So easily you could be killed.” Elrond said quietly. He did not want to be angry.
“Why should it matter?” Maegwen said quietly so that the lord could not hear. But Elrond did. He put his arms around her and hugged her tightly as she whimpered into nook of his neck.
“It does matter. You matter much to me. I love you so much, Maegwen. As do I love this child you are going to have. I will be a grandfather. Of my children, which all others are years many times your own, you are going to have a child of your own and I want to help you care for it. Rivendell is the safest place to be for when it happens.”
“You are a great healer,” Maegwen said, standing back. “and no doubt that you could help me bear my child with less pain than anyone else. But I want to feel pain. I want to feel everything to do with this baby. And I want to see Haldir. He has no idea that I am pregnant and that he is going to have a child.”
“I will send a messenger. It has been long since I have sent word to Celeborn in any case.” Elrond said. Maegwen gave him annoyed look.
“You are not going, young lady.” Elrond said. “I… do you not think that there are no reasons that I wish you to stay? The One Ring is here in Imladris. Someone or something may snatch you up, or… waylay you in the mountains. Like Celebrain. And I do not think that I could…” His words came in a frightened, sorrowful whisper until they stopped completely. He always got like this when speaking of his wife. He missed her so much, and though he had tried to heal here, still she had left for Valinor, leaving him. Their love remained, however, deep in his heart, where it could not be mangled or frosted. So Maegwen said nothing else, and went to her room afterwards. She’d talk to him later when he had regrouped. She still thought she could get through to him.
Vana’s Verbal Annoyances (author’s notes): This chapter, though it might seem like it, was not completely a waist of your time. I was feeling angsty when I wrote this, so I took it out on my keyboard!