“Legolas!” Avnean called, ducking her head under the table. “Legolas where you?” Avnean frowned, placing her chubby little fingers in her mouth sucking on them, and looked around curiously. She was standing the dining hall of her home and Legolas and her were supposed to be playing hide and seek. He always hid here, under the massive table but he wasn’t there, so where was he? Avnean pouted and tried to find him with her mind but didn’t succeed.
Getting angry she plumped upon the floor sticking her fingers in her mouth again and sucking on them. “No fair,” she grumbled. “No fair Legolas!” As she stared angrily about the high chairs the scene before her started to blur. Avnean cried out in surprise jumping to her feet.
“Legolas?” she called again as the scene came to a gentle halt. She looked down at her hands, no longer chubby but full and slender. Shivering slightly she wrapped her arms around her and called again. There was no answer, except for the trees of her dreamscape staring at her like accusing eyes. “Legolas?”
“You’re alone my dear,” a voice said behind her. It was a voice of such malice that every word he spoke sounded like dripping poison.
Avnean turned around in shock, looking for the owner of the voice and gripping her dreamscape skirt with her hands. “Who’s there?” she called. “Come from hiding. I order you.”
“The Princess of Mirkwood ordering me?” the voice floated behind her and Avnean spun around.
She had never felt fear like this before. The fear, It hammered in her chest, the darkness of night pressed upon her body and seemed to kill her slowly. “Legolas!” she screamed. “Legolas I need you!” She tried to find him but he was nowhere in her mind. Gone, nothing left but an empty void. “Legolas,” her voice was panicky now. “Where is he?”
“You’re alone,” the voice taunted. “All alone. He’s gone.” Something flew from the staring trees and rolled to Avnean’s feet.
Jumping she looked down, a dismembered head. Legolas’s dismembered head. His blue eyes stared up accusingly at her. His lips frozen in death and blood still leaked from the severed neck. Avnean screamed and fell back away from the head. She hit the ground with a thud and scrambled back on fours trying to get away from her brother’s accusing face. “What did you do?” she screamed. “Legolas!”
“He’s gone,” the voice taunted. “All gone. You’re alone. All alone. By yourself. He’s never coming back.”
“No!” Avnean screamed. She was no longer trying to find the owner of the voice. She just wanted to get away. From nowhere hands came and took hold of her shoulders, in fright Avnean screamed and clawed trying to get free. The voice echoing in her head. “He’s gone, you’re alone. All alone.”
“Avnean! Avnean! Avnean wake up!”
The world came together in a jarring motion. First the ceiling, swirling above her and making her sick, then the slants of moonlight through some hidden window smiling in serene silver. Lastly her brother’s face floated before her own and though her mind was still hazy and out of place she was sure he was worried.
“Avnean are you awake?” he called.
His voice seemed to come from a long way away. Avnean groped blindly for it, seeking the rope to bring her back, back from the awful dream that had held her. She grabbed for the thread taking a firm hold of it and climbing upwards.
When the room came into real focus before Avnean’s wide eyes it took her a moment to remember what had terrified her so. She was aware of herself lying on the floor of their guest room, aware of the tangled heap of blankets that were piled on her body and nearly to strangling her. Then the memories of the dream flooded back to her and Avnean sat up. “Legolas,” she cried. “Legolas! Legolas where are you?” When no answer met hers she cast with her mind and in her fright didn’t notice that he was there with her.
In panic now, Avnean struggled to her feet casting the blankets around her and tipping precariously as everything blurred for a few seconds. Her frightened cries still ringing in the room and that taunting voice echoed through her mind. She didn’t hear the door open and footsteps come towards her.
“Avnean?” she heard the speaker and then she was held tightly. “Hush Avnean. I’m here. You’re not alone. I’m here. Don’t be scared. Hush. don’t be scared. Don’t cry Avnean. I’m here, I’m here for you.”
A startled moment later Avnean recognized her brother’s voice and wrapped her own arms around him pulling him as close as she could. Avnean buried her head into his shoulder and trembled and felt his comforting warmth surrounding her. “Legolas,” she trembled. “Legolas are you really there?”
“I’m here,” he answered. “I’m here for you.”
“Avnean,” the voice came on the other side of the room. “What happened?”
Avnean shivered an answer to Galadriel’s question as Legolas gently guided her back to her messed up bed, sitting next to her when he knew that she would not let him go.
“Legolas can you tell me what happened?” Galadriel turned her question to Legolas.
“I don’t know my lady,” Legolas answered, truthfully. He was still holding the trembling and crying Avnean to him. “I don’t know. I was sleeping peacefully and was startled awake. Avnean…Avnean was screaming my name and tossing in bed. I couldn’t do anything for a moment paralyzed in her own fear then when she fell out of bed I ran to her. I….I tried to awaken her but she wouldn’t wake up. That’s when I came and got you. Hush Avnean.”
Avnean gripped her brother tightly to her and refused to let him go. She was trying to forget the awful dream that she had just endured. Avnean didn’t want to remember it all. She barely registered that her nightgown was sticking to her body in cold perspiration. She heard the Lady’s footsteps come to the edge of the bed.
“Avnean come and look at me,” she said gently. “Look at me.”
Avnean obediently lifted her eyes and gazed down into Galadriel’s. She could only see the Lady because of the moonlight shining through the window and what she could see was that the Lady seemed genuinely afraid for her.
Galadriel smiled encouragingly. “Come Avnean tell us what happened. It might weigh easier on you if you do.”
“There….” Avnean choked to a halt. Legolas rubbed her arms and sent strength for her to continue and Galadriel took her hand and encouraged her with a nod. “I was really young again and playing hide-and-seek with Legolas back home. I went to where he was always hiding, under the big table but he wasn’t there. I called his name but he didn’t come and I couldn’t find him with my thoughts so I sat down to pout. The scenery changed……I…..I was a grown woman and I was alone. Legolas wasn’t with me. I got frightened and called out his name and he didn’t answer. Instead some voice said that I was alone I called for Legolas again and demanded for him to tell me what he did.” Avean paused and trembled. “He threw… He threw his….his head.” She choked to stop and began crying again in fear, pulling her hands away from Galadriel’s and curling up against her brother, holding him as close as she could; her tears of fright falling like rain down her cheeks.
“Oh Avnean,” Galadriel’s voice was soft. “A terrible dream. Come here child.”
Avnean shook her head `no’. She didn’t want the Lady’s embrace she wanted Legolas’s. She wanted to know that he was still there, his head still attached to his shoulders. The lingering effects of the awful dream hadn’t yet worn off and the images flashed before Avnean’s mind, making her shudder, holding her brother as close as she could to her. In front of her she heard the rustling of a gown as Galadriel stood up.
“Avnean,” her voice was still soft. “We won’t start what I had planned for a couple of days. It might be easier to go through with it if you’re a little more stable. Are you going to be fine?”
Avnean was sure that the Lady already knew her answer but for sake of clarity nodded her head both yes and no, clearly undecided. “I’m sorry my lady,” she said. “I’m…”
“No,” Galadriel cut her off. “Get some sleep and may it be peaceful.” Then Galadriel left the room, pronounced only by the sound of her dress rustling the floor and her soft footsteps. //May Irmo guard your dreams.//
Avnean nodded silently to Galadriel’s silent message, feeling somewhat calmed by it. Still shivering she drew away from her brother’s comforting embrace. Wiping the tears from her eyes she looked up into his worried blue eyes. “Stop looking like that Legolas you look like an adult,” she attempted the humor weakly but it made Legolas smile slightly. “Go to bed…I’ll be fine. I’m just going to step outside for a little Lothlorien air. I assure you I’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure?” Legolas asked, concerned. “Avnean if you want to be alone I…”
Avnean shook her head vigorously. “No,” she said quickly. “Don’t leave me. Just…just don’t intrude okay?”
Legolas smiled gratefully like she knew he would. “All right,” he said. He squeezed her head. “You going to be okay?” He already knew the answer but was checking up with her to make sure that she would be okay.
Avnean nodded her head and stood up, reluctantly untwining her hand from Legolas’s firm grasp. Smiling, mostly to reassure herself that Legolas wouldn’t die in the span of an hour, she grabbed a midnight blue robe and slid it over her slim frame. She didn’t feel like changing despite the fact that her nightgown stuck to her frame like a second skin. Legolas didn’t comment. Still smiling Avnean left the room aware of Legolas’s thoughts in her mind, it was enough for now.
Avnean’s restless mind didn’t halt when she came to the green lawn around the massive tree of the Lord and Lady. Her heart was still beating to rapidly in her chest and the memories to vivid for her to shake off. Deciding that a good walk might do her could Avnean started walking down a shadowed path. The night had an eerie silence about it, the silence of the dead. Don’t you start that! She chided herself and quickly shielded that emotion from Legolas. He already had enough to worry about, she needn’t add that.
The silent reviving walk continued for awhile and Avnean feeling better was about to go back when something caught her attention. The path that she had been walking on ended in a sort of clearing surrounded by a hedge. Her curiosity caught the better of her and Avnean slipped in the night towards the hedge. As she neared she could see a silver gate with worn steps heading down into a hollow. Statues lined the steps at intervals their hands holding the holders for candles. The candles themselves were flickering in the silver beams of moonlight as if they had just been awakened.
This must be the Mirror of Galadriel! Avnean thought with shivering mischievousness. She’d heard in her home about some mirror of Galadriel, flying rumors. Avnean reached a curious hand out to the gate afraid to touch it, wondering is somehow it would strike her down. Her hand closed around the silver gate and nothing happened. What were you thinking? She laughed at herself and suddenly noticing that Legolas was becoming concerned with her new thoughts, quickly shielded herself and heard him curse. Curiosity flowed through her like a stream and Avnean having coming this far couldn’t stop herself from pushing the gate open. It slid open on silent hinges, welcoming and bidding her to travel downwards. Avnean obliged to the silent call, carefully shielding her trespassing from Legolas.
Down the steps, worn smooth by the passing of years and the traveling of feet, Aveann slowly descended. She crept forwards cautiously afraid to get caught and berated for what she had done. Her hands went out to the sides as if expecting a wall for her hand to follow, there was only air and the brief brushings against stone. When she neared the bottom of the steps Avnean shivered and wrapped her robe tightly around her frame though she was not cold.
The steps ended in a small little round bowl. The sides of the bowl sloped gracefully down and the bottom was covered by sweet smelling grass. In the middle of the bowl stood a pedestal with a silver ewer set on top of the pedestal, its bottom sloping into the stone. On the far wall a stream, the stream that came from the fountain in the middle of the grass lawn in Caras Gladhon entered in a small basin. As it fell down splashed quietly like a tiny waterfall. A silver pitcher was set next to the basin.
Shivering and realizing that if she were caught now she would end up probably going home in disgrace, Avnean almost turned back, curiosity burned from her. As she went to turn a different sort of pride welled in her, she wasn’t soft and scared of a few rules! The determination set before her Avnean lightly stepped across the grass to the basin for a closer look.
“I knew I could not keep this hidden from you Avnean.”
The soft, deep voice of wisdom behind Avnean made her jump. Almost blushing she whirled around to see Galadriel standing next to the stairs, silent and as still as one of the statues. Avnean’s cheeks now burned with the shame of not noticing the difference between statue and living. “My lady,” she gasped. “I…”
“There is no harm young Avnean,” Galadriel shook her head. She stepped forward now, beyond Avnean towards the basin. “Have you come for a look in my mirror?”
“I cannot say,” Avnean replied shrugging. “I just wanted to see with my own eyes.”
“And has that helped Avnean?” Galadriel asked. “Do you believe now?”
“That I have seen?” Avnean asked. “Yes.” //I’m fine Legolas. Can you leave me alone for a few moments? I need a private moment.// Instantly she felt Legolas withdraw, not a block but where he would not accidentally read her thoughts.
“Do you only believe in what you see Avnean?” Galadriel asked her, laying a hand on the pitcher. “If you only believe in seeing, the Mirror will not help you.”
“I do not believe all that I see is true,” Avnean shrugged. “And I do not believe that all I hear is true.”
At her words Galadriel laughed. “Wise words coming from so young lips,” she laughed. “And much more have you to learn.”
Avnean shrugged again, crossing her arms and looking at Galadriel’s back. “You knew I was coming,” she said. “I have heard that you see sometimes. Did you see?”
“No,” Galadriel smiled to herself. “I knew that you would find out. You were meant to.”
“Is this fate you’re talking about?” Avnean asked sharply.
“Not at all,” Galadriel replied. Her fingers now curled around the pitcher. “Do you wish to see what the mirror can show?”
Avnean shook her head. “No,” she said simply. “Knowing now is enough Lady. I do not wish to see my future. I am content now and I feel that to know will be a burden on my shoulders.”
Galadriel didn’t say anything but released the pitcher. She turned to Avnean and looked at her. Her age-old eyes watched her. “You know much,” she said. “How are you?”
“Better,” Avnean answered, glad to get off the touchy subject. “I’m not that frightened.”
“That is well,” Galadriel said her words seemed to have a cryptic meaning. “Well indeed. Perhaps we can start tomorrow after all?”
“A question,” Avnean asked. “Why did you bring us here?”
“You will learn,” Galadriel offered no more information. “The night is growing old Avnean let me escort you to your room.”
Avnean looked at the lady and shivered. She didn’t like the way the conversation had ended up and was wondering if she should have looked into the mirror. Avnean shivered again and decided definitely not.