Arwen had entered the study and when she removed her cloak she received a barrage of wolf whistles and applause from her father and brothers.
Arwen blushed slightly, she took a couple of graceful turns showing off her dress and was just about to sit down when she saw her mother. Celebrian was lying on the daybed/sofa. She opened her eyes and saw her daughter.
“Oh, Arwen!” she gasped. “You look absolutly beautiful.” she whispered.
“Oh, mother. You don’t look a day different.”
Arwen knew that this was a little white lie, because even though her mother truly did not look much different except for a black eye and a few scratches. Then she looked into her eyes, deep wells of pain and memory. She saw immediatly that her mother would never be the stong, ill-tempered, and vivacious elf she once was.
“My little daughter look at how you have grown and I missed it.”
Arwen went and embraced her mother and when they pulled back Celebrian studied her with her intense eyes.
“I see a young woman that looks every inch a princess, but I still see her young, stubborn and wild spirit” she said with emphasis on the ‘stubborn’.
“Thanks mom.” Arwen said tears rolling down her face.
With a little help Celebrian went to the table and sat down right next to her daughter. They ate their supper without much conversation, they just enjoyed each others company. After supper the librarians were sent for and brought to the study to make the records. Celebrian told her story first.
“I was going to surprise Arwen for her 1,000th birthday by going to Lothlorien to visit her. I knew that Elrond would not permit me to go because of the many attacks that had happened recently. I just wanted to see my daughter and I thought that if I had disguised myself as a lonesome traveler not worth bothering that people would leave me alone. It turned out that I was very wrong. My attackers were not bandits as was thought at the time but Mordor orcs. They attacked me while I slumbered and took me to a cave in the moutains about a days journey from my campsite.”
Arwen started to cry. But Celebrian continued.
“When they brought me inside the cave, they tied me up. Standing against the wall with my arms above my head. I had a traveler’s pants and shirt on but when they saw my ears, they stripped off my shirt and started to whip me. At first very fine lashes and then the whip thongs grew bigger and bigger as if they were changing them every once in while.”
Elladan and Elrohir made threatning faces as if they were saying. “If we were there we would have torn your attackers to shreds before they made one lash.”
“When they finished after what seemed a thousand lashes later, they started to question me. When I refused to answer or they seemed unsatisfied with the answer I gave, they would punch me all over my body and face. I gave up then and told them everything about me. Who I was and were I was going, when they seemed satisfied with these answers, they left me alone for a while and sometimes through me scraps of food. Even though Orc food is enough to turn a rodent sick, I would have eaten it if I had been able to open my mouth. But I couldn’t because my face had swollen so badly. I lost all reckoning of time, but after what seemed like an eternity the ringleader of the pack told his officers to guard the prisoner which I assumed was me. My shirt had been torn to shreds and my pants were not much better off. Before the captain left he had his officers gather up his whips and strike me again. When the whips made wounds begin to bleed again, they….”
She stopped to gain control of her voice.
“They laid me on the floor and poured salt and vinegar into them. I felt like I would die from the pain but I refused to cry out in pain, I just would cry and remain silent.
Arwen was bawling by now and her father was having a hard time keeping his composure and had the same look of loathing that his sons had.
“When the captain left, I was with five officers who had been the ones assigned to guard me. I passed out and the next thing that I remember was that my sons had come into the cave and started to attack the guards. I don’t remember the battle itself but I do recall that the last one was badly wounded but he still had enough strength to put his arms around me and he stabbed me with the Morgul blade. How he got one is beyond me, all I know is that it hurt far worse than anything I had ever suffered before times ten. I must have passed out again because the next thing I remembered was that I had awoken and was in my own bed with my entire body heavily bandaged.”
Arwen went and hugged her mother and just held her close actually trying to comfort herself more than her mother.
The librarians asked if that was all and she said that she was finished. Elladan and Elrohir started to tell their stories.
“We had a funny feeling that mother would try and pull a stunt like this but by the time we realized it she was gone. she disappeared from under our noses.” said Elladan.
“We both knew of the dangers that she could have the possibility of encountering and so we prepared our horses for the journey. Mother was more than a days journey ahead of us so we decided to not rest but to continue until we thought that she was at least within a 100 yards of us and that is what happened.” said Elrohir.
“We did not want to make our presence know because we thought that she would try and ditch us, so we just watched from afar. That is when we made our fatal mistake. We had set a watch but we were both so tired that we fell asleep and the next thing we heard was her screaming. we rushed to her campsite to find it empty and branches cracking in the distance. When we gathered our horses and weapons the orcs already got the jump on us. About 15 of them attacked but we were just so intent on finding mom that we slaughtered them all without even realizing our pain and wounds or the time.” said Elladan.
“When we finished with those orcs, we mounted our horses and went of in the direction of the cracking branches. Orcs have always been stupid about leaving obvious trails and so we caught up to them in no time at all, but there were more, more than we could count. Over a hundred at least.” said Elrohir.
“We knew that we could not overcome that many at once and so we lingered behind killing those that slowed down or stopped to rest. Between the two of us we must have killed through out the night 40 or 50 of them.” said Elladan.
“When we saw them go into their cave we debated whether or not we should send for help but in the end our hot tempers won and so we stayed and waited outside the cave until an opportune moment came.” said Elrohir.
“Finally our moment came about 2 days later. The orcs or least a good number of them came out of the cave with the intention to go hunting. This must have been the last of them and there were about another 40 or 50. We folowed them and gradually over the day we killed all of them. We backtracked ourselves to the cave. We entered and saw mother on the floor with a great amount of welts and bruises without a shirt on. We had just untied her when five orcs came out of hiding. We killed them easily but one of them got to mother first and stabbed her with the Morgul blade.” said Elladan.
“Elladan gave mom his shirt to wear and I wrapped her in my cloak. We went into the woods and made ourselves a make shift stretcher and attached it to our horses. We lifted mother onto it and took her home and when she said that the next thing she recalled was waking up in her bed was about a week later.” said Elrohir.
Everyone in the study was crying now, even the librarians for they couldn’t stand the thought of their beautiful queen being put through this torture.
When the librarians finished making their records, they left. Elrond got up and said, ” I going to go make the annoucement to the people. Come with me Elladan and Elrohir.”
“What about Arwen.” they asked.
“We will make her excuses because she does not want the people to know that she is home.”
They three of them left the study and when it was a good safe distance Arwen followed them with her eyes on the floor and her cloak covering her. Elrond made his annoucement saying that he, his wife and sons were leaving on the morrow to the Grey Havens and that the kingdom was to be in the hands of Aragorn until they returned. He also said that Arwen had been sent for and that she would meet them at the Grey Havens to say goodbye to her mother.
In the morning Arwen woke up early because she knew that if she did not get out of the city before the day began, people would become curious and start asking questions. So she left the city and around noon time she greeted her father, mother and brothers and the set off for the Grey Havens.