Rina woke up somewhere near the middle of the night, her head on her chest and her neck stiff and aching. ‘The Lay of Leithian’ was still open on her lap even though it was dark and her candle had gone out long ago.
Rina remembered a strange dream she’d had while she slept…a dream about Beren and Luthien dancing in the forests of Doriath together. But she didn’t think on it too long, her neck was sore and her eyes were tired. She gently lay the silk tail across the pages she had been reading and lay the book gently on her little table, and then snuggled into her blankets, resting her tired head on her pillows and surrendering once more to the beauty of sleep.
“Good morning Elerrina! Good to see you awake” Rina rubbed her eyes as Elanna pulled the curtains away from the window, letting the sunlight stream in like floodwaters held back by a dam. “It is a beautiful morning isn’t it?”
“Yes it is lovely, and good morning to you as well” Rina smiled, a slightly less forced smile than the previous evening. She pulled her thick hair back behind her, greatly regretting her decision to leave it loose for sleep. “You said that I may be able to get out of bed today?” she remembered suddenly.
Elanna smiled at Rina’s impatience, “Perhaps, I will look at your wound, and if it has closed to my satisfaction, you may walk down to supper tonight. But the least I can do for you now is brush and braid your hair” Elanna could see the tangles in the Silvan Elf’s hair, and she knew that no lady would like to have them for long.
“Thank you…and please” Rina breathed deeply, “please…call me Rina.”
The ring of steel on steel rang out harshly through the cool Imladris morning, coming from the conspicuous direction of the training ring where the sound was magnified by the surrounding stone and echoed to Elrond’s study.
The lordly Elf rose from his desk, putting his quill in its stand and walked over to the wide window that looked out over the ring. A serious smile, strangely alike to Elladan’s, crossed his face as he watched the two identical, dark haired Elves pound steel against each other with huge grins on their glowing faces.
Clang! Clang! Clong! Thud!
Elrohir stumbled backwards, almost losing his footing after his brother’s blade landed squarely on his chest, “Well struck brother! Well struck indeed” there was laughter in his voice and Elrond knew that his son had heartily enjoyed being beaten by his brother.
The ancient lord smiled a happier smile and shook his head at the sight. Celebrian had loved nothing more than watching her sons spare; even unto her last sorrowful days in Middle Earth she could be found outside the training ring, thin and frail, wrapped in a cloak smiling weakly at the strength of her boys. Ah, she had loved them so!
‘Ah, and you loved her so!’ Elrond smiled the serious smile, an almost sad smile at the memory of his sweet wife. He pushed away the memory of her small, weak, frail body sat on the grass outside the ring and pulled forth another memory: bright blue eyes, thick, golden hair in the wind, rose colored cheeks and a strong, fair and perfect form cut out against the sky of Lindon; his perfect Celebrian.
“Good fight brother good fight!” Elrond gently surfaced from his reverie and looked back down at the twins, now sheathing their blades and slapping each other on the back, heading back to the hall, probably for their breakfast, Elrond thought with a smile. It was that time of morning after all….
Elanna had insisted that Rina stay in bed all day, then she come walk down to supper that evening, and despite her restlessness, Rina agreed. She buried herself all day in the Lay of Leithian; captured in the rhyme and flowing words. There was something in the story of Beren and Luthien that captured Rina, something that she felt in common with them, even if she couldn’t explain it. It passed the time, anyhow, and she felt that the closer they came to the end of their quest, the closer she was to the end of her imprisonment in her bed.
Elanna had hung the gowns from Arwen in the wardrobe in the corner of the room, along with the two gowns that Rina had brought along with her. Rina kept eyeing the wardrobe as she came to the end of each canto, mentally trying on the beautiful silks and satins in the wardrobe, deciding which color would be best suited to her for dinner.
The hours, passed by Beren and Luthien, were finally over, and it was time to prepare for her entrance to the great hall.
“You are sure you want to wear the green one?” Elanna asked with a bemused smile in her grey eyes. Rina leaned on the wall, wrapped in her bathing robe with her wet hair falling around her face. She was reserving her little strength for the long walk down the stairs, and trying not to look over excited.
“Yes, I am quite sure” Rina smiled excitedly as Elanna drew the green silk out of the wardrobe and handed it to her. She hurriedly limped into the small bathing room adjoined to her own chambers and dropped her robe unceremoniously on the floor. She carefully slid into the gown and laced it up; it fit her perfectly.
“Well come now Rina, you cannot go down with your hair soaking wet” Elanna called.
“Not much though!” Rina could hear the preparation in Elanna’s voice.
“I cannot be long anyways, the twins have begged to escort you to the hall, and I promised them they could…so you must be ready.”
Later, Rina found herself surrounded by the warmth of the Hall of Fire. The evening felt perfect; she talked and laughed with the other Elves sitting around her at the table during the meal, and generally watched the festivities swirl on around her, only wishing her side was healed and she could take part.
Amusedly, she watched the twins interact with the guests around in their very different manners. Even though they were confused with each other by the guests, and occasionally by Rina, their personalities were plain.
Elrohir drank, laughed, flirted and danced the evening away with all the merriment of a boy at his first feast. His interactions with the older guests were short and informal, jesting lightly inquiring of their health. Over all, he seemed the picture of carefree.
Elladan on the other side of the scale was merry indeed, but in a quieter, far more princely manner. He danced only a few dances, and consumed perhaps half the amount of wine that his brother did. He remained close to his father, enjoying the conversation between his father and the counselors.
Rina watched amusedly for some time before her eyes grew heavy.
“You are tired Lady?” a kind Elf seated beside her inquired.
“Yes indeed my lord, the evening has been long and pleasant” Rina smiled as she attempted to stifle a yawn.
“My lord Elladan, the Lady Elerrina is quite tired and wishes to retire” the Elf called out. Elladan turned and stepped Rina’s side immediately.
“I shall help you to your chambers then” he said, helping Rina to her feet.
“It is strange how alike, yet how different the twins are, is it not?” Rina asked Elanna, as her caregiver brushed out braided hair.
“Indeed it is, Elrohir as light and free as the first morning of summer, Elladan like an evening of autumn” Elanna said with a shake of her head, “So serious Elladan has always been, always lost somewhere in his thoughts. Then you disturb his thoughts and you can just see him fold them up like so much silk and put them safely away for another time.”
Rina laughed at Elanna’s descriptions and their truths, and snuggled safely into bed as Elanna bid her good night and left the room. Rina turned and looked out the wide window to her right side, and saw the twins, Elrohir singing gaily as he walked down the garden pathway, his course perhaps a little less than straight. Elladan was standing on a small balcony above, shaking his head at the sight.
Rina watched Elladan for a moment, watched him get swept up in his thoughts, as if the balcony and the garden had vanished. Suddenly, Elrond called for his older son and Elladan came gently out of his reverie.
Rina smiled as she watched him, “Folding them up like so much silk” she murmured softly as she drifted off to sleep.