Dinner was a quiet affair, Elrond had decide not to throw Tae in at the deep end as it was only her first day so instead he had the cooks bring dinner for him, Tae, Glorfindel and the twins into one of his private guest rooms. Elrond sat at the head of the table with Glorfindel and Elrohir on one side and Tae and Elladan on the other. They were served a simple meal of venison and root vegetables. Tae was beginning to tire, she figured that dimensional travel gave you jet lag. She was glad that she didn’t have to contend with the stares of the entire population of Rivendell in one room. The conversation ranged between stories about Elladan and Elrohir’s childhood and tales about the surrounding countryside. Elrond told Tae more about the gathering that was taking place next weekend.
“Elves from Lorien and Mirkwood?” she asked. Elrond said yes. “Will King Thranduil and Prince Legolas be there then? And what about Haldir, is he coming up?”
There was a stunned silence in the room as the elves present wondered how Tae knew of their distant kin. In the end Elrond broke the silence with a melodious chuckle.
“Well, I certainly forgot that you would know so much of the comings and goings in this world. It seems that your mother left nothing out when she told our tales. I don’t think Thranduil will attend but I gather that Legolas and the march warden will be present”
Elladan frowned to himself. He didn’t want his blonde kindred coming here and stealing Tae away from him, she seemed interested in them as well. He would simply have to work extra hard in wooing her.
“I don’t mean to sound discourteous or nothing but, well.what am I going to do around here. You see I get bored easily.” Tae sheepishly admitted
Here was his chance.
“If Ada permits I could show you around, can you ride?” asked Elladan
“I can yes, I would love for you to do that for me Elladan. But I would also like to learn your language as if someone could assist me. I am thankful for Lady Galadriel’s gift but I have always wanted to learn Elvish and no there is no better opportunity.”
“May I be at your service Tae? I taught these two the finer points of the language so I could be your teacher too.” This time Elladan wasn’t fast enough.
“Thank you Glorfindel, I would appreciate that”
Elrond was extremely happy to see that Tae seemed to be settling in just fine, he had promised her mother to try and he was doing his best considering the heavy responsibilities the Lord of Imladris already had burdening him.
“We’ll also have to see the tailor about getting you fitted out in some elvish attire. A beautiful dress for the gathering dinner I think. You could design it yourself even, put an otherworldly twist on things.” Suggested Elrond with a smile and a gesture to her getup
Tae was optimistic. Dresses usually went with alcohol and strange happenings. She looked to her left and noticed Elladan silently comparing their arms. He had lain his next to hers on the table and was examining them with the utmost attention to detail. Tae had to admit that the twins were gorgeous, Glorfindel too. Even Elrond she thought had that older person charm, sort of like Kevin Costner or Harrison Ford. Tae sighed inaudibly. She didn’t doubt that next weeks visitors would be just as handsome as well, she just wasn’t ready for romance yet.though she was flattered by Elladan’s visible signs that he immediately wanted more than ‘just friends’.
Dinner continued without upset, Elladan kept trying to impress Tae and Glorfindel would laugh at his tall tales and explain what really happened. Tired but happy Tae began to wonder about herself again. It was certainly possible that she was a half elf but Tae wasn’t sure if that changed anything in her life. Back home she was no different from all the other 19 year old she knew, OK she was hooked on LOTR but that was kind of understandable as the books and lately the films had unearthed a multitude of fanatics. Tae had read the book herself when she was nine years of age, she knew most of it by heart anyway down to her mother reading it to her in small diluted parts as a baby.her fondest memory of her mother was sitting up in bed one night when Tae had had a nightmare and her mother told her the tale of Bilbo Baggins and his treasure hunt with the dwarves. Tae had near wet herself when Smaug had come in but it ended happily with Bilbo’s return to the Shire. At the time or even up until today Tae had not thought it strange that she was taught about Middle Earth but now it all fitted together with her mum being an elf an’ all.
Elrond recognized the thoughtful expression on Tae’s face and realised it was time for them to discuss things, only in a bit more private. He’d already set the necessary wheels into motion. He finished his meal and upon seeing that everybody else had, pulled his chair back from the table.
“Tae, I can see that you are tired my dear. Would you allow me to escort you to your rooms” he said
“Yeah, thanks, I think I would have fallen asleep on the table if you wouldn’t have offered”
As Tae got up and turned her back to him Elrond caught his rising son’s eye in one of those ‘Don’t even think about coming anywhere near her tonight, I will be back down shortly and I insist that me and you have a little chat’ looks. Elves have very expressional facial features.
Defeated Elladan sat back down after wishing Tae a heartfelt goodnight.
“Night Tae” chorused Elrohir and Glorfindel in sickly sweet voices once she had left the room with the Elf Lord.
Elladan turned from the door and scowled at his brother and friend who just laughed all the more.
“My word Elladan, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you more interested in a lady! It must be love” chided Glorfindel.
For once Elladan didn’t rise to the bait and sat there silently. Wrong move. This just made Glor’ and Ro’ launch into a fresh gale of giggles.
Elrond watched the half elf absently twirling her hair until the soft curl resembled a corkscrew in her nimble fingers, he knew she was worried. He wasn’t surprised but he wished he’d found a book in the library about this sort of thing, he was even starting to wish that he’d taken Galadriel up on her offer and sent Tae to Lorien. The pair were sat on top of Tae’s bed in silence. It had been that way since they had left the dining table. The only difference now was that Tae had removed her black hat and had let her wavy hair fall down around her shoulders. ‘She has her mother’s beauty’ he thought to himself. The young woman had just found out that she wasn’t entirely human, she was bound to have some questions. ‘Who better than a fellow half elf’ he thought with a sigh.
“Elrond?” he heard a small voice ask from the other side of the bed.
He turned and looked at her, suddenly she seemed small, childlike almost. It was a stark contrast to the calm facade that had been successfully masking her true feelings.
“So I’m a half elf right? Like you?”
“Just the same my dear”
There was a pause and then Tae continued.
“Do I have elven skills? I was always good at skiing and horse riding” Tae was beginning to sound unhinged. Elrond moved over and put his arm around her protectively.
“We shall certainly find out Tae”
“I..I.I don’t feel like an elf Elrond” she broke and began to sob into Elrond’s robes.
He felt so deeply for her, those words triggered something in him.
“Come to the balcony Tae”
“W.What?” she said sitting up and wiping her eyes.
Elrond got up and held his hand out to her which she took tentatively. He led her out onto the balcony keeping hold of her hand all the while. With his other hand he pointed up at the clear night’s sky.
“You see that star Tae? Shining brightly right up there?”
Tae looked up and saw a star twice as bright as the North Star back home, it shone down at her like a diamond sitting on dark blue velvet, all the other stars paled in comparison.
“That is Earendil, our most beloved star. You know the story so I wont go into it, but sometimes when I’m feeling sad and I don’t know who to turn to I look up there and tell him. It makes me feel better even if it does sound a little demented” he said with a grin
“It doesn’t sound silly Elrond” said Tae holding him tighter, he was the only parental figure she had at this time of confusion and she wasn’t about to let go.
“Good. Now look down”
Tae followed his gaze down into the garden, she couldn’t see a thing down there in the dark and said so. To this Elrond simply did not reply and just whistled.
After a few moments Tae heard heavy footfalls in the garden and then she saw a light coming with them. It didn’t take her long to realise who it was though with the aid of the torchlight down below.
Glorfindel was standing below them waving and holding a prancing coal black horse. It’s coat shone in the torchlight and it held it’s head up high as if to look at Tae. She was speechless. Never had she seen such a magnificent animal and she stood there lost for words with her mouth agape.
“His name’s Onyx, I thought a proper elven steed would make you feel more elf-like” whispered Elrond.
Tae turned from the gardens and stared at Elrond disbelievingly
“for me?” she whispered
Elrond nodded and was hit chest on by Tae who wrapped him tightly in a hug, her head rested on his shoulder as there wasn’t much of a height difference. He waved down at Glor’ who took the signal and walked Onyx back to the stables. He soon felt a wet patch beginning to soak through to his shoulder and half carried his tired and emotional charge to her bed. He pulled back the covers and lay her down into the soft pillows. He stayed with her until she had stopped crying and had fallen asleep in his arms, gently swapping his arms for pillows he eased Tae off of him and stood up to leave. Kissing her fatherly on the brow he quietly left the room. It was late, Elladan could wait till the morrow.