Rina sat in the candle-softened dark of Rivendell’s library, wrapped in a light blanket. It was late, and most of the residents of the house had long gone to bed. But Rina still sat in the dark, alone with her confused thoughts and musings….Why had she come here? No great mission had come to her; no great revelation, no commission to heroism. Homesickness gnawed quietly at her spirit and deep down she wished she could be in Valinor with her family…she missed them so!
"It is late…you should be resting…like everyone else…" Elladan stood surprised on the threshold to the library, as he awkwardly almost scolded the younger girl.
"Like everyone but you it seems" Rina replied sharply
"I…I am sorry…I did not mean it like that, I was simply surprised to see you here, and you are still hurt, you need your rest" Elladan crossed the distance between them and sat down awkwardly on the farther end of the lounge that Rina rested on, "Why are you still awake?" he finally asked after a long moment.
"I have many things weighing heavily on my mind…they are my own thoughts" Rina spoke politely but guardedly.
"You are troubled…" Elladan looked down and ran his hand over the velvet of the lounge slowly, "Sad even, I think….And I do not think that you should keep such sadness…to yourself…perhaps?" Elladan’s brow furrowed in frustration as he searched for words, and his eyes remained ever down upon his hands.
Rina sighed, "Perhaps it is not good for me to hold my thoughts to myself….But I do not think that you would understand my feelings of homesickness" Rina smiled at Elladan as he slowly looked up at her.
"No….perhaps not…" Elladan looked down and furrowed his brow once again.
"But it is not a homesickness for a home so much as it is for a family…" Rina’s voice faltered to a whisper. Elladan’s head jerked up slightly at her words. It was Rina’s turn to look downward.
"You miss those of your family who left for Valinor do you not?" Elladan moved closer to Rina as he spoke, "You wish you could follow them, go to Valinor and be with them once more, but some strange thing binds you here….of this pain I know much of my lady!" Rina looked up as Elladan set his hand gently on her arm. "I miss my mother just as you miss yours…Lady Elerrina, there is a reason you feel bound here, you have some purpose to play here still." The room grew very quiet as Rina considered Elladan’s words. The curtains by the balcony stirred and a cool, late night breeze swept through the room, causing the candles to flicker fitfully. Rina pulled her blanket tighter around her and shivered as her mind was brought back to the place and time she was.
"I have not thought how you must miss your mother…so long she has been gone from here, you still must miss her so," Rina’s voice was still quiet, "But you have others here with you…your father, your brother and your sister…you are not alone…and you are a prince! of the most noble lineage that could be born! there are three of the first kings of Elves among your ancestry! you were always born for nobility, as were the many, many other kings and lords and princes in your peoples past!"
"They had their noble hearts and they counted on by many to lead…there is not need for me to a leader of Elves, there is my father and my grandfather and their many noble lords! The mortals care nothing for the wisdom and leadership of Elves….our time here is waning, and little is great enough to keep me here on these shores, now in these seemingly darkening times…." His words were interrupted by unsteady footsteps in the hall. Both Elves turned to see a little curly haired boy with sleep squinted eyes stumble into the room.
"I can’t sleep El’dan…it is cold…" The little boy walked towards the prince with outstretched arms, and Elladan picked him up and cradled him in his arms.
"You are cold Estel?" The little boy nodded, and Elladan picked up a folded blanket on the stone floor and wrapped Estel in its softness. "You can sit here with me till you fall to sleep, would you like that?" Estel nodded sleepily and smiled as he snuggled deeper into the blanket. Rina looked closely at Estel and realized, upon her second look, that this was a mortal child that Elladan held in his arms, a mortal child of perhaps two years of age.
"This is no Elvish child?" Rina half asked.
"No, he is of the Dunadein…a Numenorean child…Estel is his name" Elladan whispered so as to not disturb the now sleeping child in his arms, "More aptly named than many would imagine, I think…though it will be many years till any can say…" Elladan smiled softly at the little boy and pulled the blanket around his tiny shoulders.
"He is a beautiful child" Rina whispered as she gently brushed her fingers over the little boy’s curls. "How is it that I have never seen or heard tell of this little child before? Who’s child is he? Why is he here in Imladris…"
"He is of the Dunadein…he is my father’s ward…and in some sense, a secret child. Father thinks it is best that not too many folk know of him…at least not outside of Imladris." Elladan glanced between Estel and Rina, "Do not speak often of him, at least not until Father has decided for sure that it is safe to…his identity cannot even be known to himself until he can bear it with strength."
"He is my reason" Elladan murmured as he stood and carried little Estel back to bed.
Rina knew that Elladan would return soon, but she suddenly realized that she was weary. She sat a moment longer in the library, savoring the redwood shelves and their beautiful designs, the beams above her head and candle light flickering off of the books.
She slowly got up and made her way up the up the hallway and up the stairs to her chambers. She slowly lowered herself onto her window ledge and stared out the stars for a long moment, feeling all of her swirling confusion settle and vanish somewhere inside her spirit. She did have a purpose here, just as Elladan had little Estel whom he believed would one day bring the hope he was named after. She smiled as she thought of the tiny little curly headed child, curled up so tight against Elladan. She also thought of Elladan’s quiet smile to the little boy and how gently he had held Estel in his arms and carefully taken him to his little bed.
Rina slid off of the window ledge and walked slowly across the cold stones to bed. As she slid between her sheets and rested her head on her pillow, she briefly asked the Valar to grant her the reason that so strongly held her on these shores.