Author’s notes: The previous chapter can be found here.
Disclaimer: All the characters and places, the entire world, besides Aurelin, Laswing, Calenloth and Belegorn, belong to JRRT.
In a week she was delivered the message that the work was finished and knives ready. She was amazed – the weapons were more superb than she had hoped for. The hilts were inlaid with silver and gold, all the ten blades were engraved with different blessings in Elvish. The balance was perfect and she got proof of that. A wooden plate had been attached to the wall for her to try the blades out. Like all the work of Elven smiths these knives were the best you could find (with maybe a few exceptions of Dwarves in some respects).
Aurelin took a light meal first and then went to her room. After dressing herself in the jerkin and leggings she headed over to the little open place in the trees where she had learned the bow. Using the same targets she began to throw the knives – one, two, three, two at the same time; faster and faster, ever hitting the centre.
She had decided that she was going to keep the knives inside her clothing, hidden but ready to be used. Two went into her boots, two behind her back, a pair under the wristguards, four behind her belt. She also tried fighting with them – two in hand, parrying and slashing with concentration. She practiced so every day, polishing her skills.
The time free from exercise she spent with her new friend. A golden haired and grey-eyed maiden had walked in the gardens when she was doing the same and they had both started to admire a flower. The Elf introduced herself as Elanor from Lothlórien. She and Aurelin had immediately bonded, talking the whole day. Elanor had come from Lórien where she was born, her mother had named her Elanor since her hair was the colour of the little flower. She had learned of Imladris, of the beauty of the valley from Arwen – and had decided to come here. Elanor also told Aurelin how she had lost her parents to the battle before the Black Gates in the Last Alliance. The loss of their parents was a thing that she and Aurelin had both in common and it helped them befriend each other. Aurelin also found out that Elanor was married to the same smith who had talked to her when she had asked for the knives and that his name was Celeblos.
Elanor was more sombre than Aurelin. The lady from Mirkwood had been full of grief but after she had got over the worst sadness, her old cheerfulness and fun-loving self had returned, Elanor however didn’t make so many jokes and was more serious than the playful Aurelin. They both liked to sing though.
In the days that followed Aurelin and Elanor were often together, sometimes gathering flowers, taking care of their horses or walking under the trees singing. Celeblos joined them occasionally.
Aurelin could see the love between those two. Elanor had told her how the reason for her staying in Imladris had been revealed to her. It had been her second day in Rivendell when she chanced to meet him on a path in the woods. Love at first sight had filled them both and Elanor had been wedded to Celeblos a year after she had arrived there.
Two months later Aurelin got the message of Laswing’s return. Her heart jumped on hearing the tidings and she ran to the bridge to meet him. She could see his horse Elthoron galloping to the bridge and her. A big smile blossomed on the Elf-maiden’s face. Laswing spoke to his steed and stopped in front of Aurelin. He jumped from the horse and Aurelin ran up to him, her eyes laughing. She could see that Laswing was as glad to see her too. He gave her a welcoming hug, “You have become even more beautiful!”
“You are back!”
“And happy to have returned. I had to bring these messages to Elrond as quickly as possible and I had to do it alone for greater speed.” He took Aurelin’s hand and they started to walk to the rooms of Elrond. “The roads of Eriador are not safe for a traveller on his own. After the Fell Winter Orcs and other evil creatures have roamed in the lands with a renewed hatred.”
“Are the times so bad and the tidings so urgent that you had to reach Imladris so quickly?” Aurelin asked with a worried face.
“Not exactly, but the Wise feel that important events are not far away, for good or ill. Little things are happening here and there, little compared to those that are to come. After Mithrandir discovered that Sauron was the master of Dol Guldur, many messages pass between Imladris to the Havens, to Lothlórien, Angrenost and Gandalf. The White Council is worried. Come, I have to go lord Elrond as swiftly as possible!”
They walked with a quick pace and in silence, Gilgaer intent on delivering the message and Aurelin pondering his portentuous words about the future.
“I heard that you had come back, Gilgaer Laswing,” Elrond greeted him, obviously already anxiously awaiting him.
“Yes, I have, with messages for you, my lord, from Círdan.”
“I guess you don’t need me here,” Aurelin told the two Elves before they could say more, “I shall be in the garden.” She bid Elrond good night and glided with the long dress trailing behind her down the walkway.
Elrond asked Leafspray to step into his council chamber, “Now tell me, what did Círdan think about my proposed…”
Sun had descended to the west, hiding her radiant light for another night. Aurelin sat on a bench, white flowers all about her feet, watching the dusk and the first stars springing up in the clear sky. That is how Laswing found her. Elrond had finally stopped asking questions and discussing his plans.
“You gave him the whole account and more besides,” said Aurelin for a greeting, knowing Elrond.
“Oh, and had to answer a hundred questions,” laughed the Elf. “I know how thorough the Lord of Rivendell is. I get to deliver the messages because I have always travelled much – I need to see the Sea at times and the woods at others, in this way I have become the main courier between Elrond and Círdan.”
“And I suppose you don’t like it,” said Aurelin with grin.
“I would rather not give advice on those grave matters but I have had to say a word or a few in all my years in councils. I am not fond of it. I’ll leave the gatherings to the Wise and deal with the enemies with my bow.”
“What is it exactly that Círdan wanted to discuss with Elrond?”
“They are discussing how to make Curunír see that Dol Guldur has to be attacked. But enough of this now, I have a gift for you,” he went on.
“For me!” Aurelin sprang from her seat.
“I had it specially made for you.” He was holding a silver pendant attached to a fillet in his hand and then put it in hers. It was a pendant of intertwined four silver wires.
“It is so beautiful!” she breathed. “You shouldn’t have got me a gift like that. First you gave me the bow and now this. I am ashamed, I have nothing to give you in turn.”
“There is no need. Seeing you gracing it is enough. Let me help!”
He took the pendant, brushed her long hair from the back of her neck and gently lowering the silver jewellery to her skin, clasped it.
Aurelin could feel his fingers softly touch her neck, warm and wonderful. She had made up her mind not to tell anything of the love she felt towards him, yet. She was willing to wait awhile and gather courage.
“The Silvershadow necklace for the Lady Aurelin Silvershadow of Mirkwood and Imladris.” Laswing bowed.
He had started to call her by that name after she had sneaked up on him a few times. He said that she was like the silver shadow of the Moon, gliding over the grass without a sound. The name had stuck and now Aurelin was known as Silvershadow to all in Imladris.
“I love it!” Aurelin was still breathless from the present.
“I talked of you to the Elves in the Havens and they shaped the necklace by what I had told, now I see how well indeed it suits you. Tell me what has happened here while I was listening to the waves and saw the great ships again.” He sat down on the grass and listened intently as Aurelin started to relate the most important events.