Days had passed and about a month had gone by. Aurelin had spent most of the time in the company of Laswing or speaking to Elrond. But to tell the truth – she had had time to have a longer conversation with the Lord of Rivendell only four times during that stretch, being talking or out riding with Gilgaer. He had effectively occupied all her time, seemingly just happening to be around and with nothing better to do when he met her. He also kept calling her Aurelin though she had tried to tell him to call her Andhúwen Nínlos. Aurelin had had time to read the old scrolls however, of what she was glad; she had asked some questions about what she had read from Elrond but mainly she seemed to ask those questions from Gilgaer Laswing and he had been glad to answer her queries as best he could.
Aurelin was not sure how she felt about spending that much time in the company of another Elf. She had been quite alone for a while now and the constant presence of another near her made her at the same time happy for the company but also a little edgy. Being set in her ways, it was hard for her to completely trust him for she hadn’t believed in anyone with a blind trust besides her parents, Elrond and Arwen Undómiel, and her twin brothers. However, she was getting more and more at ease with having Laswing around.
Of course without her knowing Elrond was thanking Gilgaer for helping to open up the sad lady of Mirkwood. The Elf from Lindon was enjoying his task – it was good to be in one place longer than his usual short stays and long journeys. Aurelin had a bright mind and it seemed that she could take in everything that he could tell her, she was a good listener and asked him many wise questions. He saw her as the young Elf that she was (and how she hated to be taken) but he also accepted her wish not to be treated that way. He had been in Middle-earth for a long time and it felt good to pass on and share his knowledge.
It chanced that on a bright early winter afternoon Aurelin was sitting in her room and reading as was her most usual way to pass her time. She was currently half through a piece about Túrin and his stay in Doriath. Morwen entrusting his son to the hands of Elu Thingol was both brave and sad because everyone knew what had been the fate of the son of Húrin. While reading she was thinking about her first day back in Imladris and the quick meeting of Laswing, followed by her days spent mainly in his company.
The air was a bit cold so the window and door-openings had been covered with a thicker cloth than silk but Aurelin, being an Elf and not bothered by the cold much was wearing the usual kind of dress that she favoured – long and wide sleeved violet and blue gown with embroidered flowers on it.
She was fingering a tiny braid when the understanding of what had bothered her since her first day back hit her like a lightning bolt from a clear and sunny sky. Elrond’s introduction and Laswing’s ever present company fit in her mind like pieces of a puzzle.
Aurelin could feel anger welling up in her. She put down the pages that she had been reading, smoothed her hair and dress and pushed back the cover before the doorway. A cold moist wind blew her auburn hair to her face as she stepped out of her room and walked slowly but deliberately to search for Gilgaer Laswing.
Her eyes were glowing and anger was seething inside her but so far she had managed to keep her temper. Those who happened to walk past didn’t dare to speak to her, seeing the look in her green eyes.
Aurelin found Laswing in the stables after she had had to ask a few people where they had last seen him. He was talking to his silvery grey horse when Aurelin strode in. She patted Alagos’ neck and whispered, “Mellon nín”, to what her black stallion answered her with a soft whinny. Turning her gaze to the Elf she told him, “I need to speak with you!” and headed out of the building again without looking to see if he followed.
At first she didn’t know where to go because she wanted to find a place where there wouldn’t be anyone overhearing her, knowing that her temper was on a short leash and that she did not want any bystanders get caught in her account-settling. She knew that Laswing was following her but had decided not to give any indication of it. Then Aurelin remembered that at this hour the Hall of Fire was usually empty. Deciding to speak her mind in the hall, she took the path that lead to the place – Aurelin gliding in the front and Gilgaer walking some distance back. Both did not utter a word.
Coming to the warm hall Aurelin went to stand before the fireplace where the fire was always burning and then turned. Laswing had followed her with interest, not knowing why she acted like that. But when she spun around and stood before the fire, he could see that here eyes were glowing as intensely as the sparks flying from the flames. Deep big green emeralds seemed her eyes to him in that moment, full of anger.
“I guessed your and Elrond’s plan,” she spoke finally.
“I thought you would, the Lord of Imladris predicted rightly – you are bright,” he answered in a voice calm and not surprised, eyes thoughtful.
“So you admit it!” Aurelin got even angrier, “You both plotted behind my back to gain my trust. Be glad that I don’t know how to shoot with a bow! Otherwise I’d…”
“Calling it plotting would be too much. Elrond just asked me if I could watch after you.”
“Watch after me, take care of me. Is that all you have to say? Just to look after me! Of course, what does poor Aurelin need but someone to hold her hand every step of the way?” She paced angrily before the flames.
“I could accept it from him. With his wife and my parents gone I guess he kind of adopted me. But you! Who are you to come here and start taking care of me after a two minutes’ meeting? I don’t need anyone to do that, I can take care of myself very well. I have always had to count only on myself, I am alone, have been for so long!”
“That was the other reason for Elrond’s request. You don’t need anyone to hold your hand, no one ever said or thought that. The loneliness was and is what makes Elrond worry. He loves you as a daughter but you won’t let anyone get close to you. He remembers when you were laughing and singing, instead of having a sad look in your eyes every day. Aurelin, you can’t go on like that!” His effort to touse her fire failed though.
“I can! I was fine more than nine hundred years before meeting you. I have my books, scrolls and Alagos.”
“Now I understand what Elrond said about your temper being like quicksilver. You remind me of Fëanor and his anger.”
“Do not ever say that I am resembling Fëanor or any of his kin ever again! Because of his sons my family had to flee, they ruined Doriath! His sons slayed my aunt, my uncle and two cousins. The sons of Fëanor killed my brother by causing my mother to fall down a cliff when she was expecting. Never compare me to any of that cursed family!” Aurelin cried.
“I can understand your grief. I wish you would forgive my words!” Apology appeared in his eyes coupled with a will to make her understand his side, “But still, do you really think that riding and reading should be all? You read about history but you are not trying to make yours. Wishing for times past won’t bring them back nor your parents. Do you think that your mother or father would be happy to see you like you are now? They roamed through Middle-earth but you stay cooped up here and read dusty scrolls. I am not saying that you shouldn’t, to keep the knowledge from disappearing is important, but if it’s all you do, then something is wrong. Elrond asked me to try and change that,” Laswing explained to the pacing and angry sparkle-eyed Aurelin.
“And why you?” she asked with a sad note to her voice. ” I am always looked at as a young Elf, making me feel like that in turn. But you were willing to listen to me and tell me of old times without patronizing me.”
“Because I am not.Wouldn’t you guess that that was Elrond’s plan all along?” Laswing asked with a sudden smile upon his lips. He looked into Aurelin’s eyes, deep calm brown meeting fiery green. “I know you are young but I don’t have to treat you like that. Besides, my lady, you seem to be afraid of all people taking you as too young and you see everything in that light. Maybe everyone doesn’t think like that? You seem to have gotten used to the idea and since it helped you to draw away, giving you the explanation to be alone, you can’t let go of it and see that it is not the way you are though of.”
Aurelin seemed to have calmed down, she was not that angry anymore but rather sad. She turned her back to him, “I started to trust you, how can I now? The clever plan you two made is foiled. How can deceiving me help to make me trust you or anyone for that matter?”
“I was not exactly lying to you. And I haven’t failed your trust in me besides not telling you the first initiative of our meeting. I’d like to hope that I could regain your faith.”
“But you didn’t tell me,” was Aurelin reluctant to let go of her disappointment, “it was all a plan to get me off guard, all those stories about the First Age of this world.”
She stood there, red hair looking like red gold in the firelight, the blue of her dress the colour of summer sky. Laswing went to her and turning her head, saw tears in her eyes. She was really short for an Elf and looked fragile. Gazing down at her he couldn’t bear for one moment longer to see the light of those beautiful eyes blurred by tears, least of all tears caused by him. He tilted her face up and looking into her eyes vowed, “By the name of Elbereth and my voyage from the Havens to the West, I will never again give you cause to mistrust me again!
Do you really have that little faith in yourself that you would think that all this was because of Elrond? He set the path before me but it was I who started to walk down it. You already have a lot more knowledge of history than some others that I know. You are wiser than your years show and it was for your company and your sincere wish to learn about everything that I kept looking you up here in Imladris.”
Aurelin was deeply moved by the promise, she could understand now that her burst of anger was not entirely well founded. Like other times before, her quick temper had gotten the better of it when she should have thought about things calmly. Also the idea of actually trusting someone was helping to make up her mind. There was a pause before she spoke.
“I believe you,” she said to Laswing, “you did it just to help me, you and Elrond both. And if you are not too mad at me, I’d like to hear more of your accounts of your journeys.”
“Of course I’ll tell you!” he grinned and the mischievous light showed itself again in his brown eyes, “I’m glad we got this over with. It was difficult to be always on guard and wait for you to find out. And I remember you mentioned something about shooting me with arrows if you knew how.”
Aurelin looked embarrassed but smiled shyly, “I guess, I did say that. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it.”
“I bet you did at the time!” he laughed. “But I’m asking if that is true. You don’t know how to use a bow?”
“My father was going to teach me but when he didn’t come back from the trip to Lothlórien and my mother went away, I just didn’t feel like finding someone else to teach me.”
“In that case if you would have me as your guide, I shall teach you.”
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.