Tae was fast asleep when Elladan came to her; she had not woke at all since Elrond had roused her from her unconscious state. He took up a chair and sat next to her sleeping form. Light fingers tucked an errant curl from her face and she whimpered and snuggled into the merest touch of his fingers on her face.
Elladan stayed with her for the rest of the day and on into the night when she still did not wake, he left her side only to feed and water himself as he kept watch over her. He didn’t know why he stayed there as she didn’t need him; he had planned on staying for a short while and then leaving to prepare for his small outing with Glorfindel and his brother tomorrow. For some reason he could not leave her side once she had shown her unconscious affection towards his touch, he feared to wake her if he pulled his hand away which was still being used as a comforter by her.
Morning crept through the land and Elladan was made to leave when his brother came for him; he gently removed his hand from Tae’s warm embrace and kissed her cheek before leaving the halls of healing
“She looks so peaceful” remarked Elrohir
Some time later Tae awoke, she didn’t know what had woken her but she remembered feeling a significant loss as she slept. Yawning, she stretched and sat up in her bed, she noticed a cup of water by her bedside so she drank deeply from it; soothing her sleep-parched throat.
She was about to swing her legs off the bed when she saw Celwen approaching carrying a pitcher of water in one hand and some fresh clothes in the other. Tae cursed when she saw it was a dress but was resigned to wear it as she had not had time to clean her only set of clothes apart from the ones she had on now.
“You wake at last Tae, it is good to see”
Tae smiled at the elf as she poured the jug of water into a larger basin which she’d picked up elsewhere.
“Lord Elladan seemed most anxious for you to stir –”
“Elladan? Why was he here?” Tae asked curiously
“Why, he stayed with you all night and only left a few hours ago when Lord Elrohir came to collect him. He watched you all night”
She was surprised, curious and oddly flattered all at the same time, it must have been his presence that she had felt leaving her whilst she slept; Tae couldn’t help the blush that escaped and rose on her brown cheeks when she thought of Elladan watching her drool and snore throughout the night.
Tae was interrupted from her ponderings over Elladan’s midnight vigil by the female elf laying a nondescript sage green dress over a chair and drawing the curtains around Tae’s bed again before retreating behind them to allow her some privacy.
“-there is no sense in wasting a day as beautiful as this, wash and dress and I will escort you back to your lodgings. But I want you to promise that you will occupy your time until this evening ‘appropriately’, if you get my meaning”
Tae wondered at the way Celwen had emphasised the words ‘appropriately’ and then realised that she must be referring to yesterdays water fight with Elladan, she kept silent though and just nodded a promise. Tae had no doubt that if Rivendell was anything like where she lived on Earth; then rumours would already be flying concerning her and the elf lord’s antics.
Washed, dressed and back in her quarters alone Tae emptied out her rucksack onto the floor. Since Elladan wasn’t going to be around for the next couple of days she would have to find someone or something to keep her company. Priority number 1 however, was food, Tae hadn’t eaten since the morning before and her stomach was starting to protest. Tae selected her favourite flavour from the packets of cupasoups strewn across the floor and began stuffing her belongings back into pack, then she wondered why she was doing that and instead deposited her things in the wardrobe and atop the dressing table.
She found her belly bar which she’d taken out before going riding yesterday and slipped that and her silver hoop earrings back in. She’d removed the silver bar with the topaz blue jewel from her stomach as she’d experienced acute discomfort whilst riding with her piercing in in the past, caused by the waistband of her pants rubbing on it. Tae had taken her earrings out so as to make a good impression with Elrond and the others but now she was feeling a bit homesick, so, along with the cupasoup she was intent on making herself feel better.
Tae still had her dark curls in a tight plait so she unwound them an re- organised them into a low messy bun, thus garbed with her shiny ear jewellery, green dress and packet of chicken and mushroom cupasoup she opened the door to walk out and find something ‘appropriate’ to do, paused, ran back to get her CD walkman and continued on.
Her quest for hot water to make her soup was accompanied by The Calling’s Camino Palmero album. As you can imagine, humming along emphatically to ‘Adrienne’ only brought stares from the few elves that she encountered.
‘A—drienne, I thought I knew you
Once again, you’ve used me, used me
A—drienne, I should have left you
Long before, you used me, used me’
Lost in the music Tae could have been anywhere, if she shut her eyes hard enough she could imagine herself back home bouncing around on her bed hairbrush-microphone in hand. Alas, she was soon brought back to ‘reality’ when she turned a corner and walked into a young male elf.
“Whoops, sorry mate, didn’t see you there” she apologised and carried on towards the kitchens where she could at last eat, leaving the elf wondering how his ears had picked up her singing with a male voice with instrumental accompaniment when her mouth had only opened to say a few words of apology to him.
“Females!” he said exasperatedly, and carried on towards the library.
Finally reaching the vast kitchens of Rivendell Tae switched off her CD player and found a pan to boil some water, putting a small amount of water into the pan which she found in a clay pitcher nearby, Tae boiled the water for a few minutes then filled a cup with it and the contents of her packet of soup. Mixing the two together with a spoon Tae then cleared any mess away and headed out to the gardens to enjoy her liquid meal.
Celwen was right, today was beautiful. Tae found a secluded spot away from any others that were enjoying the garden and sat down. She watched a pair of red squirrels chasing each other around the trunk of an oak tree while she sipped her drink, their coats gleaming bronze in the sun that cast dappled light effects through the trees’ branches. Tae coughed as some soup went down the wrong way and one of the squirrels turned towards her as if seeing Tae for the first time, the inquisitive creature alerted its friend and the two cautiously sniffed the air as if to discern Tae’s alignment as friend or foe. Deciding she was harmless they crept up to her, bushy tails erect, till they where both only a few feet from her elvish slippers.
“Here you go fellas” she said softly, throwing the pair a couple of croutons from her soup. The squirrels stuffed them into their little mouths and were about to move closer to Tae when, without warning they stiffened and scampered away.
Puzzled as to their running of Tae looked in the opposite direction from which they had ran and saw Elrond coming her way.
‘Great’ she sighed negatively, not in the mood for some more discussions about her role in the fate of the world.
“I see you are up and about, for that I am glad; I thought you might miss the festivities this coming weekend and sleep through the gathering” he chuckled
Tae strained a smile “What’s up?”
Elrond was hurt to say the least hat after only three days Tae had already associated him with there being something up.
“Nothing Tae, I just have a few hours spare and I thought you may like to learn some proper elvish; rather than the slang dribble Glorfindel spouts” his joke received the desired effect when Tae chuckled. He eyed the mug that was set down next to suspiciously; Tae caught the look and answered his silent question.
“It’s cupasoup, soup in a cup. I brought it from my world, it comes in packets in a dry granular form then you add boiling water and hey presto- you have soup fit for a king–or an elven lord in your case”
Passing him the cup which was still three quarters full, Tae watched the fearless warrior elf lord scholar sniff the liquid apprehensively, then take a tentative sip. After a few moments a small smile spread across his elven lips.
“Fungi——and some breed of fowl” he guessed
“Yeah, chicken and mushroom”
Handing back the cup Elrond noticed a circular contraption from which a black cord extended, then split into two pieces ending with plug like things.
“Another thing you’ve brought from your land?” he asked, indicating the curious object.
Tae explained all about her CD player and how it could play music out of the earphones. The Lord of Imladris was suitably nervous when Tae brushed back the long hair that fell across his ears and inserted the ‘ear phones’ into his leaf shaped ears. When she pressed play and The Calling launched into ‘Nothing’s Changed’ he jumped a little as you would expect but after a while he became used to the strange music machine.
“I’ve got more peaceful music back in my room, even a couple of CD’s that were composed with Middle Earth specifically in mind” she said
Elrond took out the earphones and passed them back, he didn’t bother mentioning that he couldn’t understand a word the man in the CD was singing about; of course he didn’t have Galadriels ring to translate for him. He liked the tunes none the less; however odd they were compared to what he was used to.
“Do you still want me to teach you a few words of my language?” Tae nodded “Right, I suppose we should start with greeting, you take your necklace off then I’ll say ‘well met Tae’. Just repeat what I say replacing Tae with Elrond.
Tae unfastened her necklace and placed it on the ground before her; she listened as Elrond greeted her and replied in kind; trying to inject the same melodious lilt into her words.
“Mae govannen Elrond”
They carried on for just short of two hours, by the end of their session Tae could say ‘My name is Tae’, count to ten and say ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘thank you’ as well as well met.
She put the necklace back on and Elrond explained that he had to go and ‘see an elf about a dog’ so to speak, but he invited Tae along.
“Cormyr organises the flower arrangements for any special occasions such as the one we’re having— she also is the chief distiller of Elderflower wine” he whispered conspiratorially as they walked down through the gardens and out into the flower filled meadows beyond.
“I see—so you’re going to sort out the wine supply for the party”
“Exactly” confirmed the Noldor elf with a grin.
‘So Saturday’s going to be a knees-up after all, I may even enjoy myself now. Alcohol; the perfect thing to make me relax in this strange world, all I need is a bottle of wine and a corner to hide in’ she thought sneakily.
“Oh yes, I forgot, I like your ear adornments Tae, they suit you tremendously. Not very elf-like but you wear them well”
Tae didn’t know whether that last part was a compliment or not so she just thanked Elrond and carried on towards the winemakers’ lodgings, planning how drunk she was going to get at the gathering.