As the shadowed eaves of Lothlorien slipped over Avnean she shivered, with delight and wonder. It was so good to be back in the trees again, even if these trees were strange and she could not place their names. Beside her she could also feel Legolas’s wonder and his own delight of the fair trees.
“The mallorn,” their guide explained without waiting for the coming question. “They are the trees of Lorien. Our people dwell within them.”
Avnean looked at Legolas her mouth opening in a silent `o’. Legolas smiled back and released her hand, looking around in avid curiosity. Avnean allowed him to do so, knowing her brother preferred to gaze curiously about new surroundings, while she herself simply walked on, wondering at the untainted feel of sunshine upon her skin. She had already known that the Golden Wood was different from her own wood but she had not guessed to this amount. The golden sunshine speared through the trees and it was silent. Not the silence of a waiting storm but the silence of the long lasting memory of the past. Avnean shivered at the thought and refused quickly to let her thoughts spiral downward.
“A relic of time itself,” she whispered quietly, finding that her own gaze was traveling back and forth quickly although hardly anything new met hers.
She didn’t realize that she had spoken aloud until the leader laughed. “You could say so,” he replied. “But it is my home to me.”
Avnean almost blushed when he answered, and was going to speak but decided it safer to just keep quiet.
“How long till we reach the city?” Legolas asked coming from his reverie. “I would like to know why the Lady sent for us.”
“Half-a-day young Prince,” the Elf replied. “In half-a-day we rest. As to why the Lady sent you I do not know.”
Avnean sighed and looked down. “Half-a-day of being next to Eru-awful horses,” she grumbled, to which Legolas hearing her and knowing the emotions started laughing. The Elves behind her hearing as well started their own laughter at her grumbles.
“If you want La….Avnean I will take your horse for you?” their guide asked gently and it was obvious he was hiding his own laughter.
“Thank you,” Avnean said graciously handing over the reins of her horse to the guide. He smiled openly then and accepted them. He started walking once more and the sound of hooves struck up once more on the forested path.
They continued untiring for the day and when night had covered the forest Avnean found herself staring up at the gates of a city. Caras Gladhon. Above the gates she could see the proud trees flaring up and the winking of lights in the homes. There also she could hear the smooth voices of the people, in the trees as they laughed and talked and prepared the evening’s meal.
“Welcome to Caras Gladhon,” their guide said. “If the guards will follow me we can stable our horses. The Prince Legolas and…the uh Avnean are to join the Lady immediately.”
“Um,” Avnean voiced both her and Legolas’s fears. “Which is the Lady’s house?”
“Talan you mean?” he laughed. “The largest, there.” He pointed towards a mallorn that fair dwarfed the rest and proclaimed its girth and height to sky with no fear. Far above Avnean thought she could make out tiny lights. //Ah Legolas brother my feet rejoice at the touch of ground but by the time they reach the top they will be more rejoicing to the hated saddle of a horse!//
//Do you jest with me?// Legolas asked her with a smile in minds eyes. //I thought you were an Elf Avnean and a solid impenetrable rock at that!//
At her brother’s joke followed by the rich laughter flowing into her thoughts Avnean turned around and punched him playfully in the shoulder. “I am more Elf then you!” she challenged. Then laughing she ducked under her brother’s own swing and darted across the green lawns of Caras Gladhon, towards the talan of the Lord and Lady of the Galadrim.
By the time both Elves reached the heights of the talan they were thoroughly breathless. The endurance of the Elves not even being able to match the long run up the winding steps.
“Never again brother!” Avnean panted, reaching out a hand to steady herself on her brother’s firm shoulder. “Don’t you ever start another race like that, or I just might have to kill you!” Gasping she closed her eyes. “And stop making me so weary Legolas.”
“Stop making me so weary,” Legolas shot back, resting his head on top of Avnean’s.
Avnean, still gasping for the breath that eluded her lifted her eyes to see the two Elven guards that watched the Lady and Lord’s house. They were watching the twins with open smiles and waiting for their breaths to be caught.
“Only two fine warriors could ever run straight up the steps,” one praised lifting his long sword from its sheath and saluting Avnean and Legolas with it. The polished metal gleaming in the twinkling lights of the house and the carved runes glimmered mysteriously along the keen blade.
“Dead warriors we be,” Avnean laughed and struggled for her breath. “And a fairer warrior I’d be if it weren’t for that petty embroidery and etiquette!” As she had rightfully hoped and carefully hid from Legolas her brother started to laugh. The young Prince started laughing which ended up him choking while both still laughing and struggling for breath.
“Avnean you were never a lady,” Legolas smiled at her as he laughed watching the way the lights flickered off her golden brown hair
“And my brother,” she returned gaily straightening as she had recovered her breath fully. (She rather admitted however that her legs were going to be protesting the next day from the foolish race she had started). “You were never a lady yourself, for which I’m doubly glad.” Her words were a jest from the comment Legolas had thrown at her while they had lain abed after his wound, to which Avnean noted sourly that he had been neglecting to treat properly.
Noticing the trace of her thoughts Legolas’s laughter choked to an abrupt halt and his cheeks flared a bright crimson, the child caught with the sweets before the evening meal.
“What is that you find so funny young Avnean and Legolas? Can you not give the Lord and Lady a proper welcome? You have journeyed here from afar and then come and stand on our doorstep and laugh. Is this courtesy to our invitation or a mockery to us?”
Avnean lowered her eyes guiltily. She hadn’t noticed that the Lady and Lord had been standing there and watching them serene and silent with their age and wisdom thrown like a mantel over their shoulders and flaring like the sun. “My lord my lady,” she whispered. “Had I known that we stood and laughed in your faces we surely wouldn’t have done so. We did not come so far to mock your invitation, though standing here it would have been better for tears. Ill news beats its wings against our heels but let us not speak of it here! The banter Legolas and I shared was one only twins could understand and forgive me for not being able to express it aloud.”
“For one who hates the more defined life of a lady you are remarkably well versed,” Galadriel spoke. Her voice was low and deep but filled with the richness of life and the wisdom sounded out its chord when she spoke.
“It is a curse on my tongue to hear such foul words,” Avnean said sourly. “Curse the lady ways!” Then realizing how she had spoken lowered her eyes to hide a blush. Legolas ducked his own head to hide his growing smile at his sister’s rather unpredicted ways.
Galadriel however watched them silently and traded looks with her husband that was missed because of the twins lowered eyes. //So much for them to learn of the bond they share,// she said silently to her husband watching with a smile as Avnean sought to hide her blush and anger and embarrassment and Legolas the growing smile that spread across his face. Galadriel remained steady for some time, until it become apparent that neither Avnean nor Legolas would lift their heads to her. “Are we going to stand here all day?” she asked them. “Dinner is getting cold and it would be best to explain why you are here during the evening’s meal.”
Avnean at this nodded her head mutely in agreement. She said something to Legolas through mind and he nodded as well. Galadriel traded another look with her husband before waving for them to follow. As she was walking up the steps towards the main chamber of the house she felt Celeborn’s thoughts twining with hers. //They won’t agree with this. They will fight against your teachings.//
//I already knew that// Galadriel answered him. //I knew that they would not agree.// For a moment she looked behind her to the twins .They were following quietly behind, Avnean was no longer blushing and had her head up straight and proud, from the look on her face and Legolas’s they were trading thoughts to each other and about to burst into laughter again. Oh yes, Galadriel though humorlessly, this was going to be like teaching the fish to walk on land and sing.
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.