An Elf maiden sat on top of a large boulder close by the edge of the wood of Lothlorien. She sat silently looking out the west, as though she could see past the sea and into Valinor. Tethcelebel sighed heavily, no matter how long she sat there, she would get a lecture when she returned to Caras Galadhon. Things in the realm of Galadriel had been tense lately. Shadow was growing, evil was astir. Galadriel was silent often, brooding and spending a lot of time gazing into her mirror, trying to see what the future held. Tethcelebel gazed at the border of the forest, longingly. Orophin had said he would come and sword fight with her on his way back from guard detail, but he had not come yet. As she stared off into the distance she noticed a lone rider coming her way. The rider was cloaked and hooded in black and rode a dark horse. The rider did not pause at the edge of the wood but ride in through it’s borders. Tethcelebel followed the ride, keeping on top of the hill. The hodded rider did not travel very far before it stopped to water its horse. As the figure dismounted and knelt beside the stream to drink, Tethcelebel drew her swrod quietly and walked up behind the figure.
“Surrender, or I shall kill you!” she ordered the figure, placing the edge of her sword at its throat.
The figure slowly brought its head up, keeping its face turned from Tethcelebel. “And good afternoon to you too, Celebel!” Elwen’s voice came from underneath the hood.
“Elwen?” Tethcelebel questioned, flicking the hood back wiht her sword point. Elwen turned her head and grinned at her cousin.
“Would you like some friendly advice, Celebel?” she asked rising to her feet. Tethcelebel nodded and Elwen continued, “When you are going to sneak up on a person, wear different shoes.”
“Did you hear me?” Tethcelebel asked. Elwen nodded and grinned.
“Don’t worry on it too long, Cousin. Anyone who wasn’t an elf wouldn’t have heard you.”
Tethcelebel smiled and hugged her cousin, “It’s wonderful to see you Elwen. What brings you to Lothlorien? And why are you dressed in black?”
“I am here to deliver some important news to Galadriel and Celeborn. I wear black because I traveled by night, and did not want to be seen by any orc.” Elwen answered.
Tethcelebel raised one eyebrow in doubt, “They sent you to deliver an important message? But you are still a child.”
Elwen grinned, “Not in my father’s eyes. I have grown up since I last saw you, Celebel.”
“How much have you grown up?” Tethcelebel asked still doubtful. Only seventeen years had passed since Elwen had departed with Legolas and Ohtarwen from Lothlorien.
“Enough to have Father let me go places alone.” Elwen stated loftily. Suddenly her eyes sparkeled with the look of mischief from the last time Tethcelebel had seen her. Her voice took on a different tone as she continued, “But not enough not to do this!” As she spoke, Elwen shoved Tethcelebel into the river.
As she hit the water, Tethcelebel smiled inwardly, Elwen was still the same. She was still as fun loving and mischievious as ever. Tethcelebel surfaced and swam over to the river’s bank. The bank along this part of the river was somewhat steep and slippery.
“Elwen, can you help me out of here?” Tehtcelebel extended her hand to her cousin. Elwen grabbed it without question, and Tethcelebel heaved backwards. The look on Elwen’s face was priceless as she sailed through the air before hitting the water. Elwen came up coughing out water.
“What did you do that for?” she asked, her eyes wide in astonishment.
Tethcelebel laughed, “Just for fun! You aren’t the only one who can play a good trick!” Elwen’s eyes grew bright with merriment and she too began to laugh. The two helped each other out of the river, and Tethcelebel went back to get her horse. She and Elwen rode to Caras Galadhon together, where they were greeted by Orophin and Elnar.
“Tethcelebel, you were not waiting when I arrived at the rock!” Orophin protested, “But Elwen is back!”
“Hello Elwen!” Elnar smiled.
Elwen smiled back, but her mind was on other matters, “Hi you two! I really need to talk with Galadriel, so I will see you later.”
“If there is a dance tonight, I get a turn with you!” Orophin called as Elwen and Tethcelebel started to walk off.
Elwen shook her head and called back over her shoulder, “With me? I would have thought that you would wish to dance with Tethcelebel alone!” Tethcelebel’s face grew red and she punched Elwen in the arm. Every one knew that Orophin liked Tethcelebel.
Galadriel was walking down a hall, deep in thought, when she collided with something. She lost her balence and landed on the floor in a very uncomfortable manner.
Elwen grimaced as the full of Galadriel’s weight landed on her leg, “Sorry, My lady!” she apologized hastily.
“Elwen-Lothnar! Why do you continue to run recklessly through the halls of my home!” Galadriel exclaimed in frustration.
“I’m sorry, My Lady, but I had a good reason this time!” Elwen sopke as she extracated her self from underneath Galadriel. Tethcelebel helped her grandmother up.
Galadriel straightened her dress as she stared at Elwen, trying to see into her thoughts, “And what is so improtant that you have to do that you must run?” she asked as soon as she realized that there was no way to see Elwen’s thoughts.
“The creature, Gollum, has escaped!”
As soon as Elwen spoken, Tethcelebel and Galadriel’s eyes grew wide in astonishment.
“How did this happen, Elwen?” Galadriel asked.
Elwen shook her head, “We did what Lord Elrond said. We kept Gollum in a nice area, and had several soldiers accompany him on walks in the forest each day. Well, one day, he climbed a tree and wouldn’t come down. The soldiers sent two men back to tell my father. By the time they arrived back at the tree it was already dark. That little piece of scum was gone! The soliders were dead, slain by orcs! Gollum is gone!” Elwen looked and sounded angry, “Five elves are dead. Five of my friends and countrymen are dead becuase of the creature! why did we have to treat him so nice?”
“Calm down Elwen.” Galadriel placed her hand on Elwen’s shoulder. “Tell me, is Elrond aware of this?”
Elwen took a deep breath calming herself, “Yes, or he will soon. Father sent Legolas to Ilmalderis and me here.”
Galadriel’s eyes became sad and she stared past Elwen speaking to herself, “I feared this would happen. The Ring must have been found.”
“The Ring?!” Elwen and Tethcelebel exclaimed at the same time.
“The Ring, as in the One Ring of Power?” Tethcelebel questioned.
Elwen picked up where her cousin had left off, “The Ring of Sauron, that Ilsildur failed to destroy in the fires of Mt. Doom so long ago?”
“Yes, I am afraid so.” Galadriel ndded, “Excuse me, I must go speak with Celeborn. But, Elwen, you should rest before the feast tonight.”
Elwen’s eyebrow rose incrediously, “We are still going to have a feast, in light of what has happened?”
“Yes Elwen-Lothnar, for none must know that the Ring has been found. Not yet. You and Tethcelebel must keep this thing secret.” Galadriel stared at the elf maidens seriously.
“I will tell no one!” Tethcelebel spoke, “I swear it upon the grave of my father.”
Elwen nodded her approval, “I also will keep this secret. I swear on my bow!”
Galadriel smiled, “The oaths are not necessary, I trust your word. But go now, enjoy yourselves.” Tethcelebel and Elwen turned and left as Galadriel went her way.
“In spite of whatever reason brought you here, Elwen, I’m happy you are going to be around for a while.” Tethcelebel hugged her cousin as they walked.
Elwen smiled sadly, “I’m glad I get to see you, Celebel, but I don’t know how long father wants me to stay.”
“Didn’t he tell you?” Tethcelebel asked.
“No,” Elwen shook her head, “But I was supposed to deliver a letter to your grandmother. Silly me, I must have forgotten as soon as I told her of the Creature.”
“I wonder what he wants to tell her?” Tethcelebel wondered.
Elwen’s eyes sparkeled with mischief, “Want to find out? My father did not seal it.”
“Ah, Elwen, we going to get in trouble!” Tethcelebel shook her head, “Grandmother won’t be pleased if we read her letters.”
“But how is she going know?” Elwen asked, “And besides, my father did not even seal it, how important could it be?”
“You have a point there, Elwen.” Tethcelebel admitted, “I guess there’s no harm in reading it.”
Elwen’s face broke into a grin, “I’m corrupting you, Celebel. You never would have given in a few centuries ago.”
“Just be quiet and read the letter.” Tethcelebel playfully shoved her cousin. Elwen grinned and leaned against a tree, opening the letter. Tethcelebel gazed intently at Elwen’s face, trying to read her thoughts. But Elwen kept her thoughts secrect as she scanned the page. Suddenly the expression on her face changed from surprise to disgust.
“What’s worng, Elwen?” Tethcelebel asked.
“Read it!” Elwen muttered and thrust the page into Tethcelebel’s hands.
Tethcelebel opened the letter and began to read it to her self, ” ‘Greetings to Lady Galadriel of Lorien from Thranduil of Mirkwood: Galadriel, I am sending my daughter to you with the news of Gollum. Before you wonder for the reason of my sending her, even though she has not yet reached adulthood, let me explain; Elwen is growing up. Granted she still pulls pranks but she is maturing. Also, the orcs on our northern border are atacking our outposts, and I do not want Elwen in a position to be hurt. So that leads me to this one request. Could you keep Elwen at Lorien for a while? I know she has caused mischief in the past, but I fear that she will do something rash and endanger herself if she returns back to Mirkwood. If I do not see my daughter within a week, I will assume that she is staying with you. May the grace of the Valar protect you, Thranduil.’ ”
“He wants me to stay away from the battles!” Elwen said softly. Tethcelebel looked at Elwen. Elwen’s face was downcast and she looked sad.
“I’m sorry, Elwen.” Tethcelebel shook her head, “At least he cares about your safety.”
“Etarish!” Elwen muttered under her breath.
Tethcelebel shurgged sympathetically, “Well, look on the bright side, at least you get to stay around here for a while.”
Elwen smiled, “Well, I guess that’s right. Well, since I’m going to be here for a while, what do you want to do?”
“Why don’t we go find Elnar? She’s missed you while you were gone and I’m sure she would love to catch up.” Elwen smiled at the mention of her friend, and she followed Tethcelebel to the stables where Elnar had last been seen. Elnar was delighted to talk with Elwen and the three girls spent the remainder of the afternoon catching up.
Evening came, and with it the welcome feast for Elwen. Tethcelebel stood with Elnar and Elwen in the doorway to the main room watching the musicians as they played a lively song. Tethcelebel was dressed in a long gown of white silk, and around her waist, wore a belt studded with pearls. Elnar was dressed in a seafoam green dress that barely brushed her ankels. Elwen, in an effort to please Lady Galadriel, had donned a dress. She wore a long blue dress that reached the floor, and a white belt woven from rope. She and Tethcelebel each wore a circlet of leaves in their hair and were barefoot.
“Are you sure I don’t look stupid wearing this, Celebel?” Elwen asked as she pulled at the fabric around her thighs.
Tethcelebel grinned, “I’m positive, Elwen. You look very nice. Grandmother will be pleased.”
“Well, I may look ‘nice’, but this dress has no place for me to keep my knife.” Elwen muttered. Tethcelebel and Elnar giggled. Elwen winked at them and puled the hem of her dress up revealing a sheath tied to her ankle. “I had to make a new spot for it.” the Mirkwood elf whispered.
“Do you always carry that knife, Elwen?” Elnar questioned.
Elwen nodded, “Aye, I do! Don’t laugh, for if anythign were to happen, I’m always armed. Besides, Celebel carries a dagger too.” Elnar’s eyebrow rose incrediously at this comment.
“Yes, I do.” Tethcelebel smiled, “Hidden in the folds near my belt.”
“Speaking of belts,” Orophin joined the little group, ” the one you are wearing is beautiful, Tethcelebel. As are you.” Elwen and Elnar both noticed Tethcelebel’s cheeks go red at being singled out for a compliment.
Elwen tried to help her cousin, “Shame on you, Orophin! A gentleman would compliment all the ladies standing together. You ought to know better.” Elwen’s eyes sparkeled with mischief, letting Orophin know that she spoke only in jest.
It was Orophin’s turn to blush as he was reproached, and his fair skin turned a deep shade of red, “I’m sorry Elwen. You do look beautiful tonight, as do you Elnar. But, in truth, I was trying to win Tethcelebel’s favor so that she might dance with me. Will you allow me the pleasure of having the first dance tonight, Tethcelebel?”
Tethcelebel smiled graciously and nodded her assent. Orophin immediately slipped off, while the three girls made their way over to the table where Galadriel sat.
“Don’t either of you say one word!” Tethcelebel warned as they got near Galadriel, “Make one joke about me and Orophin and I will make you pay. I do not like him like that!” Elwen and Elnar bit their lips to keep from laughing as they were now standing before Lady Galadriel.
“Good evening, Tethcelebel, Elwen-Lothnar, Elnar.” Galadriel greeted them.
“Good evening, Lady Galadriel.” they responded in unison. They sat down as Galadriel rose to adress the assembly.
“Good Evening everyone.” She said, “As you know, this feast is held in the honor of Elwen-Lothnar. I am pleased to report that she shall be staying with us for a while.” Elwen rolled her eyes remembering her father’s letter as Galadriel continued, “As is our custom, the person who the feast is held in honor of will sing a song to begin everything.”
“What?” ELwen whispered to Tethcelebel, “I can’t sing!”
Tehtcelebel grinned, “Yes you can, now, go, stand up and sing for them.”
“I have no song!” Elwen protested her eyes dark with worry.
“Sing whatever pops into your head,” Tethcelebel smiled, “Now stand and sing!” Elwen rose slowly to her feet and cleared her throat. She shook her head and began to sing in a clear voice,
Silver flow the streams from Celos to Erui
In the green fields of Lebennin!
Tall grows the grass there. In the wind from the Sea
The white lilies sway.
And the golden bells are shaken of mallos and alfirin
In the green feilds of Lebennin,
In the wind from the sea!*
“That was beautiful, Elwen.” Elanr looked amazed as Elwen sat down amid wild applause, “I figured you could sing, but I didn’t think you could sing that well!”
“Well done, Cousin!” Tethcelebel agreed, “I’ve never heard that song before, where did you learn it?”
Elwen shrugged and her eyes took a far away look as she murmured, “My mother used to sing that. She taught it to my brother and I a long time ago.”
Galadriel laid her hand upon Elwen’s back, “I have never heard you sing before, Elwen. You did a good job.”
“Not as good as Celebel would have done. Maybe next time she should sing instead of me.” Elwen’s eyes sparkeled as she spoke. Galadriel shook her head and laughed. The food was served and everyone began to eat. As soon as they had finished, the musicians began to play a dance and Orophin again appeared, to claim the hand of Tethcelebel in a dance. Elwen and Elnar were likewise asked for dances and soon they were all out on the dance floor. To Tethcelebel’s annoyance, Orophin danced nearly every dance with her; the only two that he did not were dnaced with Elwen and Elnar respectively. Late in the night after the stars had begun to appear, Elwen grabbed Tethcelebel’s arm and led her out of the dance hall.
“Elwen, what are you doing?” Tethcelebel protested.
“Come on Celebel, I’m tired of dancing. ” Elwen led her down the stairs and out onto the grass, “Besides, there is something I must tell you!”
Tethcelebel sat down on a tree root and rested her head in her hands wearily, “What do you have to say, Elwen.”
Elwen sat down next to Tethcelebel and put her arm around Tethclebel’s shoulder, “You and Orophin appearantly made a cute couple out there tonight.”
“Elwen! Don’t you dare! It’s not funny!” Tethcelebel exclaimed atanding up.
“Hush Celebel, hear me out.” Elwen pulled Tethcelebel back onto the root, “I’m serious. I overheard Haldir tell Galadriel how well the two of you looked together. He said it would be a fine union.” Tethcelebel groaned and lowered her head. Elwen smiled and hugged her cousin, “Come on Tethcelebel, it could be worse. Your Grandmother could attempt to arrange a marrige, but she did not sound that way. But it is now late. Why don’t we call it a night? Unless we can find something else to do. Good night Celebel.” Elwen rose and extended her hand to help Tethcelebel up.
“Like perhaps sword fight?” Tethcelebel questioned as she rose to her feet. Elwen agreed with a grinand the two walked out towards the practice field together.
* Taken from The Return of the King.