“And then…..” Legolas was patiently explaining little events that had occurred during their training that Thenil had missed. Thenil was listening to the tale with rapt attention, hardly aware of Avnean who was packing.
It was exactly a month later after the accident at the edge of the river and it was their final night in Lothlorien. Stopping her packing, Avnean stood straighter, half-listening to the conversing men and brushed a hand through her damp hair. She couldn’t understand the feeling that was still spreading through her, she felt alive, grown up and somehow closer then she thought possible to Legolas. In the previous month Galadriel, with occasional, furious outbursts from twins managed to get through everything she had planned for them. And while Avnean was quick to say that she didn’t approve of nearly half the stuff Galadriel taught her and Legolas, she was also grateful for its protection and helpfulness.
“Hey daydreamer! Avnean! Sister! Can you wake up?”
Avnean gave a surprised jerk, realizing that she had indeed been quite lost the world and whirled around to see his Legolas. He was acting rather inappropriate by having his feet balanced on the writing table while tilting the chair back dangerously, there was also a silly little grin was plastered on his face. “Legolas wipe that silly grin off you face!” Avnean snapped at him, knowing full well the reason why he was grinning so impishly at her. She picked up a firm pillow from her bed and hurled it at her twin. The Prince ducked the oncoming pillow and in the act, as Avnean has been secretly hoping, he overbalanced himself and crashed to the floor with a loud bang.
“An old trick,” he groaned as he gingerly picked himself up, wincing. “And I still manage to fall for it all these years later.”
Thenil laughed from where he was seated upon Legolas’s bed. “You’re so gullible Legolas! No wonder Avnean controls you in the matter of your bondage together.”
“Who ever said Avnean controlled anything?” Legolas demanded slowly rubbing his sore backside and glaring at Avnean as he noticed that she was literally basking in the slight pain in her back. Avnean smiled at him warmly and in attempted innocence. “Besides she’s going to be the one paying for breaking the chair.”
Before Avnean could snort and shrug her shoulders at Legolas’s jibe there was a small, polite knock at the door and not bothering to be admitted the Lady entered the room.
Instantly Avnean felt a flare of anger in her that smoldered like hot coals; it was the way she always felt when within the Lady’s presence. She couldn’t understand the anger and frustration that she held towards Galadriel and she had nearly drove herself insane when she had tried to explain it to Legolas on one occasion. The anger was simply there and Avnean couldn’t stand to be alone in the Lady’s presence for long before the famous Thranduil temper overcame her polite behavior.
“I suggest,” Galadriel told the three after a small pause in which she had sized up the situation in a few flicks of her eyes, the longest resting on the broken chair. “That you get ready for the farewell feast, since I see you have not yet done so.” She gave a small bow of her head and left the room, as though she had never been there in the first place. Galadriel, while still not fully being able to see the thoughts of the twins could sense the ill will coming from Avnean even as the door shut behind her.
Once the door had closed Legolas looked at Avnean, a serious expression in his face. “Why do you not like her Avnean?” he asked her. “She did nothing….well nothing too wrong to us.”
Avnean crossed her arms impatiently and sighed. “Legolas you know I can’t explain it! I can’t….its aahh!!!” She cried out in frustration throwing her hands into the air.
Thenil laughed. “Leave her alone Legolas. You of all people should know Avnean’s limits on being able to come up with an answer.” He grinned openly. “Avnean I look forward to seeing you at the farewell feast wearing a dress!” Laughing, he hastily retreated from the room, a flying pillow accompanying his hasty retreat. The pillow unfortunately missed its mark, coming only to land against the closed door.
Avnean glared at the closed door, acutely aware of the unwinding tenseness within Legolas when he noticed that she was no longer frustrated by Galadriel’s short visit. Redirecting her gaze from the door Avnean smiled at her brother. “You know brother nothing has changed between us.”
“I was never worried about anything changing Avnean,” he comforted. He walked to the bed and sat down. He gestured for Avnean to come sit with him and when she did he drew his sister gently into his arms. “We’ll be stronger when we return home too.”
Avnean felt her throat constrict at the thought of him. Over the past month it had been a struggle not to think of her mother and that she would not greet them with open arms when they returned home. “I think you had best go to this farewell feast alone Legolas,” she backed up, away from the embrace and brushed at few leaking tears that had been sneaking down her face.
“Nonsense Avnean,” Legolas admonished, sitting back himself. “If this attempted escape is because you’re forced to wearing a dress well then I happily look forward to the dancing part.” He laughed at Avnean feeling her glare before he actually saw it. He paused suddenly however, a frown creasing his brow. “What is it? Avnean your thoughts are changing to fast for me! Are you all right?”
Avnean sighed and her shoulder sagged, trying to slow the rapid change of her thinking and emotions “I was just thinking about something Legolas. What do you think would have happened had we actually looked into the Mirror,” she looked at him. “I don’t know why…the thought just came to me suddenly. I’m sorry I’m confusing you, I’m just confused myself I guess. I mean I’ve been gone from home for over a month.” She looked down at her hands and attempted look noncommittal
Legolas drew her into his embrace against a half-hearted protest. “It’s alright Avnean we’re stronger now and we can go through anything together.”
“Did I interrupt something? Would you like me to leave?”
Both twins jumped visibly, startled as they had not heard the door open. Avnean raised her eyes, calming her racing heart and smiled warmly when she saw Celeborn standing in the doorway. Her feelings to the Lord of Lothlorien were of definite greater warmth than those directed at Galadriel. She was sure the feelings had to do with both of them sharing a secret lodged deep into their minds, a secret which was never going to be told twice.
“What are you holding?” Avnean asked sliding off the bed and looking curiously at the item that Celeborn had draped over his arm. “I hope that’s my escape route.”
“It’s quite the opposite I’m afraid,” Celeborn told her as he smiled sympathetically. His eyes traveled around the room and took in the packs that lay strewn across Avnean’s bed. “Packing so soon? You’ll have time tomorrow to do it you know.”
Avnean shrugged and realized then that the shadows were creeping in the room as the evening deepened into night and that they had forgotten to light the candles. “I guess,” she said, not bothering with the candles. They would be leaving soon anyway.
“Well here I wanted to give you this for the feast,” Celeborn smiled. “I know you brought no dresses with you and were borrowing one. I thought I would give you a dress that my sister wore a long time ago at a feast like this one. I don’t even know why I still have it in my care. Perhaps it has been waiting to meet you” At this time Celeborn lifted up the dress he was holding so the curious twins’ could see it.
The dress flowed down to the floor in a ripple like the silver ripples of a lake bathed with silver moonlight. There were tiny, diamond gems seamlessly embedded into fabric, making it shimmer like the inconstant ripple of water’s surface as the moonlight danced over it.
Even Avnean, who hated dresses couldn’t help but gasp in wonder at the beauty. “Celeborn, I…I cannot possibly wear this.” She was barely aware of Legolas’s mirrored shocked senses as she slowly walked forward to Celeborn and the dress. Fearful that if she touched it the dress might fade, Avnean hesitantly reached out and touched the fabric, it ran lightly through her fingers. “I can’t wear this!”
“Put it on,” the Lord encouraged her, placing the dress into her arms. “It will suit you. For me and Legolas will you try it on? This is probably the only time we will see you in a dress ever again.”
“Come on Avnean,” Legolas goaded behind her, coming to slightly though it was obvious he was still in awe about the dress’s beauty. “Put it on. I would like to see it on you as well”
Avnean sighed resentfully, fingering the fabric again. “Very well,” she agreed. She turned and went the change wall that was nestled snugly into the far right corner of the room. Once behind the wall she quickly changed into the dress, and couldn’t help but admire how easily it slid over her frame, though she was a bit worried that it might just fall off because it felt so light upon her. The fabric clung tightly to her frame but didn’t seem to hinder her movement when she walked a few paces. The sleeves ended curiously for the Elven fashion, they closed about her wrists, with a small triangle of silver fabric, touching her middle finger at its point. The dress was long enough that it flowed smoothly about her feet, hiding them almost completely beneath its splendor.
“Well Avnean are you going to stay there all day?” Legolas shouted suddenly. “I’m beginning to get scared! You awed by a dress? I thought I would have to die to see that day!”
“I’d be a lot more scared if you were standing here instead of me,” Avnean shot back, amiably to him and heard Celeborn chuckle at the humorous retort. “Well I guess I’m coming out. Don’t laugh, I think I look a little bit awkward.” A bit uneasily she stepped behind from behind the wall and frowned instantly at the open-mouthed expressions of the Prince and Lord. “I’m not that pretty,” she snorted.
Celeborn shook his head slowly as if coming from a trance and stepped forward. “Here Avnean for a Princess.” He walked up to her and gently set a circlet of silver on her head. He stepped back taking her appearance in. “It saddens me,” he whispered only for her ears. “That you must leave Lothlorien for you have become a daughter to me in the little time you have spent here.” He bent and kissed her brow gently. “I am also sure that the circlet will look nicer if you at least attempt to brush your hair.” Then smiling he left the room so the twins could have some time alone before the farewell feast.
Avnean didn’t bother to explain to Legolas about the private words Celeborn had spoke to her, she just went to the writing desk, picked up the brush and handed it to Legolas wordlessly. He laughed, understanding her motives and bid her sit down so he could brush out her hair. Avnean settled comfortably back against the bed and wished the night was over already. Home sounded so close and yet…..a firm warning from Legolas halted her thoughts before they could dangerously continuing on and Avnean smiled up to him.
“I can’t believe it Legolas,” she smiled. “I can’t believe that we are already going home.”
“First you have to survive tonight,” Legolas reminded her.
“Of course,” Avnean laughed. “And you’d better help me in the surviving part.”
“In another life,” Legolas snorted but he was smiling.
Growling in mock anger Avnean hit him in the shoulder before settling back. She couldn’t wait for this feast to be other with!
We return to the forests again. Our hobbit friend has lost all faith and finds the true meaning of apathy by the end of this chapter. He is taken captive by a band of elves and one human. This chapter suggests that some of his past will be revealed soon.