Celebrian wandered aimlessly through the streets of Lindon. She was fast beginning to like this city.
Elrond hurried down the street. He had to soon finish the training of his men if he was to accept the campaign that Gil-Galad offered him. He was calculating to himself how many troops he would need to bring when he nearly stumbled into somebody.
“My lord I am sorry!” a young woman exclaimed. Elrond looked down and saw the daughter of Celeborn standing before him.
“No My lady, I am sorry, I was not watching, I was thinking to myself. I do not believe that we have met, I am Teleponar, or Elrond as I was named at birth, son of Earendil the mariner and of Elwing the fair. I am Regent of Eriador and first in command of Lindon and herald of the king”
“I am Celebrian, daughter of Celeborn the wise, and Galadriel lady of light. I am princess of Lothlorien.”
“Elen sila lumen omentielvo Lady Celebrian. Well met.”
“Well met my lord.” Celebrian lowered her head in a slight bow as the custom of the elves. She suddenly felt very exposed under his cold, piercing gaze, as if her heart and mind had been stripped of covering and revealed to this lord. She turned away very slightly. She soon regained composure and looked at the lord. She saw the same coldness in his eyes. They were sharp and cutting, hardened to war, death, slaughter and blood.
Elrond looked at the young woman intently. She was very fair with porcelain-smooth skin and hair that was golden as her mother’s, yet paler almost silver, as if remembering her father’s Telerin roots. He looked at her sky-blue eyes and saw wisdom beyond her years, and perhaps pain. “My lady, I am pleased to meet the daughter of the high lord Celeborn.”
“I am pleased to meet the regent of all Eriador My lord.” Celebrian dipped her head slightly with a smile. Her nod was returned but not her smile.
Celebrian found herself thinking of the commander more than usual. What had made him like this? Something very terrible she was sure. Several days later Celebrian saw lord Elrond standing upon the walls.
“My lord,” Celebrian called. She wished to speak to him and see if she could draw anything from him.
“My lady,” said Elrond dipping his head slightly, his cold expression never leaving his face.
“My lord, if I may question, how did you come to be raised by King Gil-Galad?” Elrond tensed at her words.
“I escaped from Maglor and Maedhros and fled to Gil-Galad, he took me in. He is my cousin-once-removed and was a good friend of my father.”
“What about your brother my lord? What happened to him?” the moment she said it she wondered if she should have.
“He escaped with me. He stayed with us for a short time before he chose mortality and left us to go to Númenor and rule as king to men.” Elrond did not once look at Celebrian as he spoke. He had a slight spark in his eyes, as if he wished that she would let him be.
“You miss your brother do you not?” Celebrian felt suddenly a deep compassion for Elrond, she felt that he was lonely, “I know how you feel, I miss my brother.”
“Yes, I miss my brother, but I have moved on and grieve not any more. Grieving does not show strength.” Elrond’s words were sharp and abrupt, as if he did not wish to speak of it.
“My brother leapt from a ship headed to Valinor when he realized that his love Nimrodel had been left behind. It was stormy and he perished in the waters.” Elrond saw great pain in Celebrian’s eyes as she spoke.
“I am sorry my lady, It is a great pain to lose a sibling. I truly see your pain. How long ago?”
“Not yet a year.” Celebrian looked at Elrond with understanding, “Even when a hundred years goes by I still will miss him desperately.”
“My brother’s name was Elros,” Elrond said, “He was my twin. What was your brother’s name?”
“Amroth, he was Lord of Lothlorien before my father.”
“I am sure that he was a noble man my lady.” Celebrian noticed the sudden softening of this man and wondered at it. “I must take my leave, I have many things to look after today. Well met.” He dipped his head slightly and Celebrian thought that maybe, just maybe, his lips had turned slightly forming the tiny beginning of a smile!
As Elrond walked on to see to his duties he thought of Celebrian. He had before thought he saw pain in those beautiful eyes. He wondered at her strength. It had not been an easy loss for him when Elros died. He also wondered at Celeborn. To have your firstborn and only son die from such a thing as that must hurt him deeply. Celebrian also surprised him because of the way she had gently pitied him and not overwhelmed him with pity, as many women did. Why she felt such concern for him, he knew not.
Celebrian thought of Elrond that night as she brushed her long golden hair. The same man that she had found so terribly cold but days before had given her his compassion. He had pitied her for the loss of her brother.
“I will seek him out and speak to him again tomorrow.” Celebrian promised herself as she climbed into her bed.
That morning Celebrian went out to explore the woods and fields of Lindon. She soon found a beautiful place where there was a pond surrounded by a myriad of exquisite flowers. Celebrian settled down contentedly, she would stay here a little while.
Elrond wandered aimlessly through the fields of Lindon, strengthening himself for the day ahead. As he approached a small pond that was his sanctuary, he stopped. For there, sitting beside the pond was a maiden fairer than any, clad in white, lilies woven in her golden hair. Elrond at that moment was sure that he was seeing Vana, lady of youth. Then as Elrond looked again he saw that it was not a Valier at all, it was lady Celebrian.
“Good morning my lord,” Celebrian called to Elrond when she saw him.
“And good morning to you my lady,” Elrond had regained complete composure and walked over to greet the lady. “I did not expect to meet you here Lady, few people know of it.”
“I discovered it not even an hour ago; it is a very lovely place.” Celebrian felt once again that he was lonely.
“I have come here before going on campaigns for many years, just being here gives me strength.”
“I can understand that my lord, it is very peaceful and for sure the fairest thing I have seen in my life.”
“May I tell you where you can see fairer yet my lady?”
“Where my lord?” Celebrian asked with a puzzled expression on her face.
“My lady, you have but to look in a glass and look at the girl you see there!” Celebrian blushed at his flattering words.
“I thank you my lord.” A painful silence followed. “I have heard talk of you leaving on a campaign very soon.” Celebrian changed the subject to the relief of both.
“Yes I leave in but a few hours, I must leave now.”
“May I walk with you back to the city?” Celebrian asked, unsure why she still wanted to be with Elrond.
“I suppose so; I would ask some questions of you!”
“What would ask me my lord? I shall answer.”
“Did your father ever teach you with a sword, I perceive that you have been taught?”
“Yes my father taught me when I was still very small. We traveled much and the roads are dangerous and Father felt more at ease that I could defend myself. My brother taught me some things as well.” Celebrian said the last phrase quietly.
“Was he elder than you?”
“No, we were twins, as you and Elros were twins.”
“It is not light to lose your twin.” Elrond’s words were cold and abrupt once more, “I must go. Namarie.”
“Fare well my lord.”
Elrond hurried to Gil-Galad’s study to report before he left. His thoughts turned to Celebrian as he walked. He was slightly angered, she, like every one else, always had to bring up his brother! The one thing he never wished to speak of or think of again. He was sure of the campaign now; he needed to think of something else, clear his mind.
“Elrond,” Elrond nodded his head as he stepped into Gil-Galad’s study and he was greeted. “Elrond, please tell me why you have so suddenly decided to accept the campaign?”
“The men are now trained and armed to my satisfaction, they only thing they now need is trial in battle to strengthen them.”
“You are not running from something?”
Elrond looked up in shock, “running from something? Why? I have no reason to run.”
“I have seen you speaking with Lord Celeborn’s daughter, she breaks your ice and you converse easily with her, unlike anyone else, she reminds you of Elerrina in mood and appearance, and she mentions Elros more than you would like, she breaking through to you and you flee from it.” Gil-Galad knew that he had gone too far, for Elrond’s eyes blazed.
“I flee from nothing! I am stronger than that. I believe our army needs experience and the enemy draws near, that is why I go!”
“Then go, you have my leave.”
“Thank you Taran Nin.”
As Celebrian watched the men ride away, she could not help but hope that Elrond would gain great glory of some kind, for his sake.
Elrond fought hard in the battle, returning victorious with many great deeds that he would be remembered for. He had been given a minor wound by several orcs who had cornered him; he got off far better than they did. As they began to approach the city he wondered if Celebrian was still there.
She was and she was standing upon the wall watching them ride up while the people cheered. She worried some when she saw that Elrond was not wearing his cuirass, a mark that he was wounded.
After the great welcome and after the crowd had dispersed, Celebrian searched out Elrond.
“My lord, you are wounded?”
Elrond turned to her slightly shocked, “Yes, it is not mortal or deep, it will heal soon.”
“It should be dressed, allow me to now, if it is not, mortal now it shall be if not cared for.”
Elrond did not fight her, but allowed her to dress the wound. “You have been taught in healing?”
“Yes, while my father and brother taught me the sword, my mother taught me in the way of Este.
“She taught you well. Many things I learned form my mother in healing, many things also I learned from Lord Gil-Galad.
“I must ask something of you my lord, I spoke to Gil-Galad but the other day and made mention of a maid named Elerrina, he said I looked like her. Who was he speaking of?”
“My cousin. She was the daughter of my mother’s brother Elured. When he was killed, my mother Elwing took Elerrina to raise as her child, she was as a sister to me.”
“I see. What happened to her?” Elrond tensed.
“Amrod killed her. She fell over the cliff side but I caught her hand. Amrod held me back Maglor struck my hand with his dagger, I lost my hold on her, she fell to her death.”
Celebrian heard the sadness in his voice. “It was not your fault my lord. It was the son’s of Feanor. You know that he would have made you let go no matter how long you held on.”
“Very few have ever said that,” said Elrond, “I was commonly blamed for letting go. Often I blame myself, but I know that it was Maglor and Amrod.”
“It must have been awful.”
“The sack of Sirion.”
“It was. It was that night that I swore to keep from vulnerability for the rest of my life.”
“Why? It is natural to feel vulnerable.”
“When they tried to take the silmaril from my mother, they bound me,” Elrond choked slightly before forcing himself on, “They threatened to kill me if my mother did not hand over the jewel. She would not give over the jewel, but threw herself over the cliff side.” Elrond choked but forced back the tears.
“I have heard of the story, but not all of it, I am truly sorry. You could not have done anything.”
“I know this! That is why I vowed never to allow myself to become vulnerable again!” Celebrian could hear the tears in his voice. She had long since finished binding his wound.
“Come Lord Elrond, let us walk awhile before it gets to dark, I believe you need it.”
“You are right Lady Celebrian, you are right.” They walked on in silence for some time.
“My lord, why did you not heed my farewell when you rode from the gate? It troubled me.”
“I struggled against you.”
“Why? I have not threatened you.”
“I felt threatened, you were breaking my shield and revealing my pain and loneliness, I did not want anyone to see that I was alone.”
“I saw your pain, if pity is what you fear I do not pity you, plenty others do that. I felt compassion for you and a want to comfort you.”
“In a way you make me feel vulnerable. I look into your eyes and I feel that I cannot escape what is there in my heart.”
“And what do you feel my lord, what is there?” Celebrian’s voice shook. She drew closer to Elrond without knowing why.
“Love.” Elrond trembled slightly as he spoke, “I love you Celebrian daughter of Celeborn though I did not know it until this very minute. Please say that you return it!”
“I do. I do return your love, now I truly understand my heart, I love you Elrond Teleponar son of Earendil, and I always will.”
Elrond drew near to Celebrian and pulled her closer to him.
“I pledge myself forever to you Celebrian Mela Nin,” Elrond slipped his arms about her waist and looked down into her upturned face.
“I will be yours and no other’s forever, I swear it now.” When Celebrian’s words finished, Elrond reached down and caressed her cheek, and then bent down and kissed her lovingly and tenderly. Elrond would always say that he remembered that moment above all others in his life, alongside the birth of his children
Soon Celebrian drew away from him and laid her head on his shoulder. Elrond laid his cheek against her golden hair and wished that the very he was in, he could always remain in…