A/N: Two things you need to know about this story…
1.) In this story elves are generally in some control of their dreams.
2.) While I hold to the idea that Elves can see dream-images or shadows of other elves/people on the Olóre Mallë (Path of Dreams), for purposes of this story they normally don’t, and perhaps never do, actually meet others in their dreams. But something is going to happen in this story which is not normal.
Names/Pronuciations and any Translation will come at the end of each chatper. ( ) signals a footnote.
The spell-checker on my word processer is being stupid – I hope I caught all the mis-spells!
To my dear reviewers: All thanks and responses to a reviewer’s comments for a certain chapter will generally be found in the `comments’ section of the same chapter.
I think I promised a cliffy in this chapter, but it’s not really one any more… whether that’s a good or bad thing is for you to decide…
Get ready for a longer chapter!
Chapter 3.) Flights of Fancy
“I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after, bewildered by my laughter.” – Amy Lowell
“Come on Aiwe, you almost had me there. I know from personal experience that you are not that timid!” Kallindo teased.
They were in the middle of their tenth sparring match. After Kallindo had first found her, they had worked mostly on stance and certain techniques, but soon after lunch they simply let it all go. Oloriel had lost the first two rounds rather quickly, but as she began to warm to it, each match took longer than the last. Still, she had only won two rounds so far.
“Quicker on your feet, Aiwe! I almost cut off your ankle there.” Kallindo said through the sharp clanging of their swords.
Kallindo knew that she could do better than this. She had beaten him soundly the eighth round, and, although he won the ninth, she had almost had him cornered several times. `Perhaps she is getting tired,’ he thought.
But Oloriel was not that weak. She knew exactly what she was doing. She knew that she lacked the strength of Kallindo, and since he had taught her most of her better `tricks’ she couldn’t pull off any more easy wins. She was therefore drawing him in – leaving her side open; almost letting him graze her hand; seeming to falter under the pressure of his sure strokes – and he was starting to buy her ruse; it was almost time to spring the trap. He brought his sword in low on her right. She blocked with her own sword, but instead of holding it firm, she let the momentum of his arm carry both swords away to her left, leaving her right side wide open for attack. He took the bait – hook, line, and sinker. As he lunged forward in a rather sloppy manner, assured of his own victory, she side-stepped quickly, spun round, kicked him in the back of the knee, and had him kneeling in front of her with her sword to the back of his neck in no time at all. Oloriel chuckled.
“Thought I was tiring out, didn’t you?” She asked rather smuggly.
Comprehension dawned on Kallindo’s features. “The lady is, as usual, correct. You were drawing me in the whole time, weren’t you? I suppose I made the mistake of not thinking a lady would hazard herself to get at me.”
“Well yes, we both know you’re not handsome enough to deserve that kind of treatment from the ladies.” Oloriel deadpanned with a smirk on her face. “But I find that seeing you kneeling on the ground before me was well worth the sacrifice of my dignity.”
Kallindo groaned at her humor then put the conversation back on track. “Well, it was certainly a well fought match. You really didn’t do too badly today – three out of ten matches. And you said you hadn’t picked up a sword in several months. Shall we do it again tomorrow?”
Oloriel hesitated. She didn’t like being indebted to people, and there were certainly other things that Kallindo could be doing other than teaching her – she knew he was just doing this to be nice. And yet, she had truly enjoyed the exercise. It made her realize how sedentary she had become – sitting in the House of Healing, or composing new music for the Lady’s pleasure. Plucking a harp could not exactly be considered exercise. And she did have at least some skill with the sword – she should, as Kallindo said, develop it.
“Oh alright; but only if I have the time. I do not know what will be needed of me tomorrow.”
“I will ask the Lady again for your leave, if you would like me to.” Kallindo offered.
“You will do not such thing! It was rather forward of you to do so this morning. I will take care of the Lady, thank you.” Oloriel shot him a pointed glance.
“Alright, alright. Have it your way. Now, since we are done today, shall I walk you back to your flet?”
“No, I shall walk you right over to the Houses of Healing so that I can patch the both of us back together.”
Kallindo looked at the gash in his side and quickly agreed. He offered his arm to her, but she pretended not to notice the gesture as she gathered up the remnants of their lunch, and walked off toward the Houses.
Kallindo had not expected her to take his arm – she was one of the most distant maidens he knew. And yet she had always intrigued him. Some of his friends would chide him about how he wasted time on her, but he couldn’t much help it. He was not truly in love with her, for her coldness had always stifled such a warm feeling from rising up in him. But after today, the new warmth in her was bringing his heart dangerously toward the edge.
Watching her spar had been even more inspiring. When she began to fight, her eyes took on a new light that was anything but cold. There was a fire there, and his heart could not help feeling that he had stirred it up in her. She looked breathtaking, with a few loose strands of hair hanging around her face, a determined look in her eyes, and a flush, rising and falling in her cheeks from the exursion. And the little noises she made when she was putting all her strength into a swing were quite endearing. He smiled at the memory, but then caught himself, `Kallindo, stop it now.’ He tried to reign his thoughts in – he did not need to be thinking about this. As he mentally chided himself, they arrived at the Houses of Healing.
Írima was there, cleaning up from some of the work done that day. Oloriel started to scold the extremely pregnant elf.
“Shame on you Írima! You know that you are supposed to be resting!”
“Oloriel, I am going crazy penned up in that room of mine. You must allow me to do something – I shall go mad!”
“I know that it’s frusterating, but a young elfing hasn’t been born in LothLorien for a few hundred years; everyone just wants to make sure that nothing goes wrong, and that we don’t have to wait another few hundred years. I for one am looking forward to personally spoiling that child, so I will not see you over-strain yourself!” Kallindo chuckled softly. Oloriel continued, “If you will not got back to your flet, at least sit down while I finish up. You can keep me company while I bind up Kallindo’s wounds.”
Írima agreed to this compromise.
That settled, Oloriel turned to Kallindo and told him in a very matter-of-fact tone, “Take off your shirt.”
“What!” Kallindo exclaimed.
“There’s no way I can dress the gash in your side with that shirt on. I am a healer and Írima is a married woman – there’s certainly nothing to be squirmish about. Come now, sit on this bed and take off that bloodied shirt.”
Kallindo did as she asked. The following ordeal did more than anything could have to pour cold water on his recently warmed emotions. While his heart seemed to lose its proper beat as he felt her delicate hands move across his torso, her eye held no reaction, and her complexion remained the same gentle ivory. She was just his healer – nothing more. And when she had told him to take his shirt off she had sounded more like his mother! During the process of swabbing, rinsing, and bandaging his several cuts, she talked cheerfully to Írima as if he wasn’t there. What had he been thinking? He knew that her heart was still frosted over, and that there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
When Oloriel was finished she finally raised her face to him.
“All done – you shall, despite previous reports, survive and fully recover in due time.” She declared jovially.
So perhaps she wasn’t his mother, and maybe she was more than his healer, but she was certainly nothing more than his friend. He sighed mentally, but smiled physically. Thanking her, he put a clean white shirt on from the House’s stores, then took his leave of the two ladies and walked out.
Oloriel had helped Írima with the rest of her duties, and then headed toward her flet, by way of a long meandering stroll through the woods. As she walked she began to hum little nameless tunes to herself.
“Ah, I thought that was you, Oloriel – your voice is so unique.” Galadriel, Lady of Light, stepped out from behind the large trunk of a mallorn tree a few yards from where Oloriel was walking. “How was your day with Kallindo?” she continued.
“It went well, I think – I did not shame myself. Although, I think I may wake up with several more bruises tomorrow morning!” Oloriel replied cheerfully.
Galadriel smiled warmly. “No doubt this is true. I must go now; therefore I shall bid you good night. May your morning be filled with light and gladness to compensate for the bruises.” The Lady began to walk off, but in her mind, Oloriel continued to hear the Lady speak. //Sweet dreams, dream daughter(1)//
Oloriel had the vague feeling that the Lady knew something that she did not. But Galadriel knew so many things that Oloriel had stopped puzzling over them. She turned with light steps, and made her way back to her flet.
This night she was not afraid to go to sleep.
As she sank into her dreams, she found herself in a forest not unlike that of LothLorien. There were certain differences however. There seemed to be a pulsating, shimmer quality to the light as it danced across the golden leaves and the silver bows of the trees. Ripples of light slowly emanated from an unkown source along the ground. It was an utterly breathtaking effect. She stood still underneath the trees, this time in a silver dress that rippled around her and trailed along the ground.
For some minutes she stood in silence, taking in the beauty, but then she started to move slowly down a shimmering, pear-like path – a small tendril of the Olòrë Mallë, which weaves its way through the dreams of elves. Soon she turned off this path and walked down into a small glade, which was surrounded by flowering trees.
A small stream ran through it, bubbling gently over pebbles and rocks. As she stared at her reflection in the stream, she began to feel like she was being watched. She looked up suddenly and froze. There, half concealed by one of the trees, stood her dream-elf – the same dark hair and eyes, unusual for an elf… but not at all unpleasant to look at. Their eyes locked for several moments, and then, with a rediculously childlike urge, she darted away into the forest. She could hear him running after her and calling to her, but she kept running – she couldn’t help it. She felt like a small child again, playing a game of tag. A joyful laugh rose up out of her throat as she sped away with him in hot persuit. Behind her, she thought she could hear him laughing as well.
Elladan grunted as the healer drew out the arrow in one quick movement.
“You’re lucky this arrow wasn’t poisoned.” Said the graying healer, with a disdainful pucker on his face. “Quite cowardly, poison. To think that you should have the satisfaction of killing your enemy when your shot wasn’t good enough to do it in the first place!”
Elladan tried to smile at the remark, but it came out more like a grimace. He gave up, and lay back on the pillow while the aging man bound up the wound on his arm.
The group of Rangers that he and his brothers had been travelling with encountered a group of orcs during their march that day. They were travelling along the western side of the Misty Mountains, north of Rivendell. Orcs had been festering there for many years. Elladan and Elrohir were travelling with the Rangers until their paths diverged – the Rangers heading west along the road, and the elves heading toward Rivendell, to report to their father.
They were now resting in the house of the old healer. This man, with at least some blood of the Dúnadan(2) running in his veins, was almost as stubborn about keeping orcs out of the land as the Rangers were. He lived on his own homestead in the wilderness, a day’s journey from any village, and refused to be budged in the face of `cursed orc invaders’. This was convenient for the Rangers, since his house provided a handy stopping point along their weary road.
Corin, one of the three Rangers they were travelling with, came in as the healer, already finished binding Elladan’s wound, was instructing him to get some rest.
“He’s right you know. I will set a watch tonight, but you need not concern yourself with that. Get all the sleep you need.”
Elladan took the advice. For the first time that day he allowed himself to picture the green eyes that he had seen last night, and with this pleasant picture floating through his head, he drifted off to sleep.
He found himself in the same shimmering forest that Oloriel had encountered. Everything seemed to pulse with the same warm light. He was walking lazily underneath the trees, taking in their surreal beauty, when he caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He crept closer, and soon found himself gazing into a small open glade, with a stream running through it. And there, by the stream, stood the dream maiden. As he stared at her, he was struck again by her pensive beauty – and her deep eyes. They were no longer angry or dispairing, but there was still a gentle sadness in them: a sadness very deep down, where it could just barely be seen beneath the brilliant stars in her eyes.
He could have stared at her for much longer, but his perusal was cut short as she suddenly lifted her eyes to meet his, catching them in her gaze. For several moments they simply stood like this. Then, quite unexpectedly, she darted off into the forest. He stood there for a few seconds, and then did what seemed at the time the most natural thing in the world. He started running after her.
She seemed to be leading him on. She was always right ahead of him, but he never could catch her. He called out to her, but she kept running. He heard laughter bubbling out of her as she ran along the path, and suddenly a frenzied joy seemed to seize hold of him. He started laughing as well, and couldn’t seem to help it. He was sure that he hadn’t played a game of chase with his siblings in over a millenium, and it felt good to have the wind in his hair and to momentarily forget about the impropriety of chasing strange young maidens through golden woods.
As he came around the trunk of one of the larger trees he suddenly skidded to a halt. A few yards away, at the base of a tree, the girl was crouching down to look at a flower. It was pale blue, with a darker center, and a bubble bee, flashing gold, was busy at it work there.
The maiden began to softly sing a child’s rhyme. Her voice was soft and mellow.
Light shines on the path
The sun creeps slowly by
It casts the shadows
Underneath the trees
The days they pass
To soon they fly
As quickly as a
Busy bumble bee
The trees stand tall
The leaves they fall
The snow falls soft upon the ground
The cold snows fade
New life is made
In the flower the buzzing bee is found
She was silent for several moments, then spoke quietly – almost to herself, “Spring will always follow winter, and the bees will always find a flower to take joy in. That is a comforting thought, don’t you think?” Oloriel inquired softly.
“It is indeed,” agreed Elladan, “I believe that Eru(3) has a plan for all things, and I don’t think that he will ever forget to bring the spring, even after the harshest winter.”
“Well today is the beginning of a new spring for me.” She turned to him with shinging eyes and a dazzling smile full of mirth. The mischievous twinkle in her eye should have warned him about what would happen next. Quick as a hare, she leapt up, gathered her skirt above the gound, and ran off again. Elladan gave an exasperated sigh, but was encouraged when she turned and called back to him, “Tolo!”(4)
He began to chase after her again, but still she eluded him. She was slowly leading him up an incline. Soon they burst from the tree line, and made their way up to the top of a ridge, that looked out over all of Middle-earth. Just as she reached the edge of the high bluff he caught her, slipping his left arm tightly around her waist from behind.
“You’re not getting away this time,” he whispered in her ear.
She giggled softly, then replied, “I have no wish to – this is what I wanted to see.” She swept her hand out along the horizon. There, along the wide expanse of green wove the pearly road of the Olórë Mallë. It is said that in Elven dreams, time and space do not matter, and that to wish yourself to another point along the path was enough to get you there. But the elf and maiden did not budge – they were both content to stay right where they were. They stood there for some time just taking in the glorious setting of the dream-sun. He still held her close with his left arm around her waist.
Slowly she turned around, then exclaimed, “What happened to your arm?”
Elladan looked down. His arm was still wrapped up in bandages. `That’s odd,’ he thought, `My physical injuries should not be with me in my dreams.” He looked up at her, a perplexed look on his face. “I don’t know why this is here.”
Oloriel thought it strange that a spirit sent by the Valar to calm her dreams would, or even could, have an injury. But then it sparked an idea. Perhaps this was an opportunity to return kindness for kindeness. She didn’t know whether or not her knowledge as a healer would have any use in the dreamscape, but she decided it couldn’t hurt to find out.
“Hold still,” she told him gently.
She slowly undid bandages, and then, holding the arm in her hand, began to chant soft words. “Lasto an peth nín! Tog nestad, gwedham i harn; tog calad, ednasta i dúath.“(4)
A soft blue glow emanated from under her hands. As she brought the words to a close she released her hands. Elladan touched his arm, then moved it, and realized that the pain and the wound were gone. Smiling up gently at him, she said, “That is a small token of my thanks.”
Before he could ask her what she was thanking him for, the dream started to slip away. He tried to reach out to her, to hold her there, but she too slipped away. He woke up in the same small room that he had laid down in.
The house was perfectly still – everything was at peace. He looked down at his arm and started. The bandages were no longer there – his arm was truly healed.
1. Oloriel’s name means “dream daughter”
2. “Man of the West” – Númenorean
3. Also know as Ilúvatar = God (greater than the Valar)
4. Tolo! = Come! (Sindarin)
5. “Listen to my word(s)! Bring healing, bind up the wounded; bring light, thrust out the shadow.” (Sindarin – translations from Hiswelókë’s Sindarin Dictionary)
The “child’s rhyme” was an original poem by me (Ilúvien).
Names to Know:
Oloriel: see footnote 1
Írima: “desirable, lovely”
Kallindo: “noble heart”
Olórë Mallë: Path of Dreams
Thanks to Blade-singer (Cathol-lin) of tolkienonline.com (go read her story “Legolas and the Olore Malle!) and `Wandering Minds’ of fanfiction.net for providing some sparks of inspiration!
Now… review, Reivew, REVIEW!!!!!!!! Pretty please with pink sugar!