Elwen was bored by mid-afternoon. She had flighted and put heads on nearly one hundred arrows and braided a new bow string. Using the height that came with sitting in a Mallorn tree, she began to look for Ohtarwen’s horse. But the horse did not come. Elwen sat drumming her fingers on the arm of her chair as the sun went down.
“Are they back yet?” tethcelebel asked coming up behind Elwen.
Elwen sighed and shook her head, “This is like Ohtarwen, she should have been back by now.”
“Maybe…” Tethcelebel began but broke off as Elwen sat upright, “What is it , Elwen?”
“her horse is back! But she’s not on it!” Elwen stood up and ran to the railing. She stared down into the forest looking at the horse. It stopped, and whinned at the stable door.
“Oh, no!” Tethcelebel breathed, her face lined with worry.
“Etarish!” Elwen slammed her hand on the rail, “Etarish, etarish, etarish!!!!”
Arwen heard Elwen’s words and came up behind her and cuffed her in the side of the head, “Do not use that word Elwen-Lothnar! You have no reason to say that other than you are unhappy.”
“Actually, there is reason to say it,” Tethcelebel spoke up, “Ohtarwen’s horse just returned without her. Something has happened to them.”
Arwen shook her incrediously, “You can not know that! Perhaps her horse ran away, they are fine.”
“No!” Elwen excalimed, “Ohtarwen’s horse is trained amazingly well. It would not leave unless she did. There is somehting wrong. Hurry Tethcelebel, we must tell your grandmother!” Elwen darted off followed by both Arwen and Tethcelebel. They ran into the main hall where most were finishing dinner and told Galadriel all that they knew.
“I see.” Gladariel nodded as they finished, “Thank you, now run along. The grown elves will have a meeting and decide what is to be done.”
“Can’t we stay?” Tethcelebel asked.
Galadriel shook her head, “No, this is a matter for those who are grown. Tethcelebel, you and Legolas and Elwen need to return to your rooms and stay there until we have found what has happened. It may not be safe for you to roam the woods.” Galadriel ushered Tethcelebel and Elwen out and turned to send Legolas on his way as well. Elwen stopped in the doorway to wait for her brother and as she stood there, Arwen came to stand beside her.
“Lasta lalaithamin*, Elwen!” she grinned evily, “You are sent away while I stay.”
“Auta miqula orqu*! ” Elwen returned as she straightened up. Legolas brushed past her and she followed him.
“Why do you do that Arwen?” Tethcelebel asked, “Why do you taunt her?”
Arwen rolled her eyes and left saying, “Do not think to hard on it Tethcelebel, you might hurt yourself.” Tethcelebel’s mouth dropped open in shock. Closing it, she shook her head and went off in search of Elwen.
Tethcelebel sat on the edge of her bed staring up at the ceiling. Elwen lay on her back on the floor below, playing with one of her knives.
“How long until they finish, and decide what to do?” Elwen asked rolling over onto her stomach.
“You have a while to wait, Impaitent One,” Tethcelebel laughed, “It has only been ten minutes. They will take at least an hour to come to a decision, probably more.”
Elwen sighed and stood up stretching, “I’m not going to wait that long; I can’t wait that long!”
Tethcelebel eyed Elwen suspiciously, “You don’t mean to go after her yourself do you?” She looked into Elwen’s mind and exclaimed, “You are going after Ohtarwen and Miredhel!”
“Yup! You want to come along?” Elwen nodded as she began to change her clothes.
“Elwen! You realize how much trouble we’d get in? First there’s the issue of us senaking away without permission, Secondly we’d be going on a highly dangerous mission, thirdly we’d most likely leave the boundries of Lothlorien, resulting in a beating…” She trailed off and glanced at Elwen to see her reaction. Elwen was pulling a dark green tunic over the russet shirt she had changed into. She had replaced her black pants with dark green ones, and pulled on boots. Elwen pulled on her cloak and looked intently at Tethcelebel. She returned the peircing gaze and continued, “And lastly, I have no clothes to wear, I can’t attempt to save Ohtarwen wearing a dress can I?”
Elwen broke into a smile knowing Tethcelebel was to go with her, “Just wear your riding clothes. But hurry and get dressed, we need to leave before Arwen becomes bored and comes looking for us.” Tethcelebel went over to her dresser and changed as Elwen gathered her various weapons.
“Ah, Elwen,” Tethcelebel turned around fully dressed, “shouldn’t we light a candle here so it looks like we are still in here?”
“No, the candle might catch something on fire. Just put a pillow underneath the covers and leave the lights off. It will look like we are sleeping.” Elwen suggested. Tethcelebel did as Elwen had said while Elwen secured a rope to the railing of the balcony. The two slid silently down the rope and made their way to the stable. The grooms were gone and the two elf maidens slipped inside and began to tack up their horses.
Suddenly Elwen stiffened and lowered her voice using Tethcelebel’s knickname, “Dina*, Celebel, someone comes. Asca, nurta*!”
“I know I heard it too.” Tethcelebel whispered as she and Elwen hid in Tethcelebel’s horse’s stall. The stable door opened letting in a shaft of moon light. A tall figure entered and closed the door behind him. He moved along the row of stalls and past Elwen. Elwen looked at Tethcelebel letting her read her mind. Tethcelebel smiled and nodded. The two rose silently and snuck up behind the person. He heard the sound of the footfalls and turned instantly being tackled by Elwen. The two wresteled on the ground for several minutes before Tethcelebel drew her sword and placed it at the throat of one of the two on the ground.
“Be still, or I shall cut your throat!” she ordered in a whisper.
“Celebel,” Elwen gasped as the sword poked her, “Remove your blade from my side! Stick him, not me!”
The figure wrestling with Elwen laughed low in his throat, “Nay, Celebel, it would not be good to kill your cousin, would it?”
“Legolas! Release your sister!” Tethcelebel ordered. Legolas complied and Elwen rose to her feet. Legolas stood and faced them with a smile on his face.
“And what are you two doing in the stables at this hour?” he inquired.
Elwen turned her attention back to her horse as she answered, “The same thing you are, going after Ohtarwen and Miredhel.”
“You cannot go!” the Prince of Mirkwood exclaimed.
Tethcelebel’s face grew hard with defiance, “And why not, Master Legolas? Why can’t we come?”
“You have no food, no water…” he explained in a condescending tone, “You are not prepared, you can not go!”
Elwen rolled her eyes and retorted, “Actually, My Brother, I have at least a weeks supply of Lembas in my saddle bags and I filled both Celebel’s and my canteen before we left our room. We are going!”
“But,” Legolas began.
“But nothing,” Tethcelebel broke in, “We are going.”
Elwen grinned finishing gearing up her horse, “Besides, you need someone to watch your back. Come Legolas, we are wasting time. Hurry, saddle your horse!” Legolas prepared his horse, as did Tethcelebel. The three led their horses out of Caras Galadhon and into the forest. They mounted and Elwen turned her horse’s head north.
“Elwen what are you doing?” Tethcelebel asked.
“I’m going to the waterfall where Ohtarwen was taking Miredhel.” she responded.
Legolas raised his eyebrows, “But the waterfall is to the east, my dear sister.”
“Only if you want to take the long way.” Elwen said, “Ohtarwen and I found this path last summer. Celebel was with us at the time; do you not remember Tethcelebel?”
Tethcelebel thought for a moment, “Ah, yes, I remember, we went through the river, did we not?”
Elwen grinned, “You have a good memory. Come, I’ll lead the way.” The other two fell behind her as she urged her horse into a gallop. The trio rode silently, traversing the forest and following the river until they came within sight of the waterfall. They all stopped the horses and dismounted, splitting up to make sure no one was waiting at the waterfall. Tethcelebel went east and seeing no one gave the hunting cry of a hawk. The cry was answered in the west by Elwen and in the south by Legolas. Tethcelebel made her way back to the pool at the base of the waterfall where Legolas and Elwen waited, kneeling on the ground looking at something.
“Careful where you step, Celebel!” warned Legolas, “You might wreck some of the prints.”
“Prints?” Tethcelebel questioned.
“Yes,” Elwen answered, “look closely here. Can you see the indentations in the ground?” Tethcelebel knelt down and looked where Elwen was pointing. There in the mud around the pool were small footprints, much smaller then either Elwen’s or Tethcelebel’s, and certainly smaller than Legolas’s.
“Ah, why these are the foot prints of children. And judging from the number, at least a dozen children. What do you think?” Tethcelebel sat back on her heels.
“Your estimate of number is accurate, at least by my reckoning,” Legolas said. Elwen rose and walked over to a tree and stood there looking intently at it’s trunk as Legolas continued, “But these were not children. No, look, see how deep these prints are where the ones of Ohtarwen and Miredhel are barely visible.” He pointed to the marks made by the two girls.
Tethcelebel nodded and asked, “Well, who made these prints, Legolas?”
“Nagruim*!” Elwen voice held vehemence and hatred at the name of the race, “See here on this tree, here is the mark of a dwarf’s axe. The dwarves have taken Miredhel and Ohtarwen!”
“Is Elwen right? Can this be?” Tethcelebel asked in astonishment. None of the elves really got along well with dwarves of any kind.
Legolas nodded sadly, “Yes, but why were they within the realm of Lothlorien? Why would they kidnap the girls?”
“Because they are scum! The dwarves are wasted forms of life!” Elwen announced bitterly. Tethcelebel stared at elwen knowing why she hated dwarves so much. Elwen’s hatred stemmed from the slaying of her mother, by dwarves, when she had been very little. Ever since then, Elwen, Legolas, and especially their father, Thranduil, had hated dwarves with great intensity.
Legolas smiled wickedly as his mind formulated a plan, “Let us track the dwarves and slay them all!”
“No,” Tethcelebel interveened, “That would not be wise and might start a war. Let us just find the dwarves and take Ohtarwen and Miredhel back.” Legolas looked at Elwen; she met his eye and they both nodded. They all returned to the spot where their horses were and led them along following the trail left by the dwarves.
Lasta lalaithamin – listen to my laughter
Auta miqula orqu – go kiss an orc
Dina – be silent
Asca, nurta – hurry, hide
Nagruim – dwarves