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 Olórë 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/Pronunciations and any Translation will come at the end of each chapter. ( ) signals a footnote.
Hurray!!! I’ve got my spell-checker back!
Chapter 4: A Sleepless Night
“Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is the music: – do I wake or sleep?”
– John Keats
Even Elladan’s steady equilibrium was not immune to the shock of what had happened. His dream had come true; his arm was perfectly healed. He sat there for several minutes trying to sort things out. How could it have happened? Who was the lady? Was she a Maia(1) spirit? How else would she have that kind of power?
No. He did not believe that the lady he met in his first dream – weeping and soaked to the skin – could be one of the Maia. A lesser spirit then? Perhaps…
He shook his head to clear it – too much to think about. He wrapped the bandages back around his arm so as not to arouse suspicion. He got up and poked his head into the other room. His brother was sleeping, eyes open and unfocused; the other Rangers, minus Corin, were also fast asleep with their eyes closed, as is the fashion of men. As he watched them, Corin stepped in from another door that led outside.
“Elladan!” he whispered accusingly, “I told you to get rest. You do not need to worry about the watch.”
“Believe me, it is not of my own choosing that I am awake.” Elladan replied dryly. `In fact, I would have given anything to stay asleep.’ he thought to himself. “You forget, Corin.” he continued out loud, “The Eldar are not as frail as the Edain(1). I do not require any more rest at present. Have you just come in from your watch?
“I and my brother shall cover for the rest of the night. You know we do not require much sleep.”
Corin looked doubtful for a moment. He wanted to deny Elladan his request. Elrohir and Elladan had both fought better than well during the skirmish with the orcs, and Corin would have liked to let them rest. But, as usually happened, he had to remind himself that these were Elves. `I suppose he knows what he’s about.’ Corin mused. “Very well then,” he finally agreed.
Elladan gave him a small smile, and then headed outside. The stars were beautiful, but as he sat puzzling out his many mysteries, he stared at the ground.
The stars were just beginning to fade when Elrohir made his way out to where his brother sat.
“Oh no, you’re not tormenting the poor rocks again, are you?” Elrohir questioned with one of those mischievous smiles plastered across his face.
Elladan’s thoughtful gaze rose to meet his brother’s. “No, brother, my piercing glance has not bored its way through any unassuming pebbles tonight. All’s right with the world.”
“Aye, but at the moment I couldn’t care less about the world – what about you? Are you still troubled with your secretive brooding, or are we swooning over dream maidens again?”
“Not swooning, but thinking. Something happened last night, and I think you should know of it.” Elladan looked behind him as Corin came out of the small house. “We will speak of this later.”
Elrohir nodded in acceptance and the brothers turned to greet Corin.
That evening Elladan and Elrohir parted ways with their company. They would now make straight to Imladris(3). Their mission had been of great importance, but they were returning home empty handed. They had been sent along the north path to search for some wandering halflings. Over a week ago, Mithrandir(4) had ridden into Imladris on the horse Shadowfax, and brought with him some sobering news. While he had been held prisoner in Isengard, the Nine Riders had been on the trail of the hobbit called Frodo, who carried the ring of power. If they had made it out of the Shire, Aragorn should have found them. But no one could be sure.
The twins had never met Frodo, but his uncle Bilbo had been residing in Imlardis for several years, and both of them held a soft spot in their heart for the little man. They therefore sent up prayers to the Valar for the safety of his nephew, and hoped that the other scouts would have better fortune in their search.
The brothers were now trekking along in silence. Moving swiftly through the well-known land, north of their home. Elrohir was ahead of Elladan. As he reached the top of a small ridge, he turned and called back, “Well, brother, we parted ways with the Rangers some hours ago; will you not speak your mind?”
Elladan came up beside Elrohir and sighed. He did not quite know where to begin. He decided that speaking would not be as effective as showing. He unwrapped the bandages on his arm, rolled up his sleeve, and showed Elrohir, in the quickly dimming light, the perfectly healed skin where the arrow had pierced his forearm the night before. Elrohir’s brow knit in confusion.
“That is where the arrow struck you, is it not?” Elrohir enquired.
“Care to illuminate?”
Elladan chuckled, “I myself am confused, and I don’t feel that I could provide much ‘illumination’, but I will tell you what I know. Elladan proceeded to recount his dream – all of it. He didn’t like to keep things back from his brother, no matter how disconcerting it was to speak about the dream maiden.
Elladan whistled softly. “That is indeed a mystery, brother.”
“I know that already. But can you not make anything else of it? Why would she do that for me? How could she do that for me?”
“First of all, I think the emphasis that you are putting on ‘she’ is misplaced. The Valar send many messages by many messengers along the Olórë Mallë, but wether the package comes wrapped up in a green-eyed maiden or a bearded Dwarf doesn’t seem to matter too much. I know I spoke in jest about it before, but I tell you this now, brother, in all seriousness: do not swoon over ‘green eyes’ – she’s not really there.”
Elladan came to a stop and looked over at his brother. For several moments he seemed to hear the haunting sound of her voice in his head… the rhyme that she had sung in his dream the night before. But he blocked the music out, and then replied in a soft whisper, “I know.” He felt a small twinge in his heart as he admitted this. He tried to ignore it, and then dutifully buried it deep within his stoic exterior.
Elrohir and Elladan pressed on through the night; they did not stop to sleep.
Oloriel had watched with regret as the vision of the elf faded from her dream. ‘Why did he leave?’ she wondered. ‘He reached out to me like he wanted to stay.’ This puzzled her, but she could not search out an answer. She wandered along the path of dreams until the sun began to creep above the horizon.
Oloriel drifted softly back into the waking world. She sighed contentedly and snuggled deeper into the covers. She did not want to get up, and by the look of the light creeping into her room she still had a little time before she had to crawl out of bed.
She began to go over the events of her dream. It had been lovely. She had been pleasantly surprised at her success in healing the elf’s wound.
‘I suppose I’ll never see him again,’ she murmured to herself. He had performed whatever duty he was sent to accomplish, and she had been able to show her appreciation in return. There was no reason for him to come back. For some reason this made her sad. For the second morning in a row she smiled at the thought of his arm around her. Oloriel groaned. ‘Oh, don’t be such a puppy!’ she chided herself. It was definitely time to get up.
Oloriel threw the covers back and went to the wash stand. She poured the clean, cool water from the pitcher into the basin, and then splashed her face with it. The cold water sent shivers down her spine. “I’m definitely awake now.” she gasped. She turned to the mirror and blinked several times. She was looking better than she had for a while. The horrible dreams had been inflicting a higher toll on her, both mentally and physically, than she had allowed herself to admit. ‘But no more,’ she thought. ‘My dreams will be filled with light again. It is a new spring for me.’
She put on a light, rose-colored dress and then headed toward the Great Talan.
As she entered one of the open-air chambers, she saw the Lady in conference with one of the other artisans. Soon they ended their conversation and Galadriel turned to Oloriel with a smile.
“Good morning, Oloriel. And how did you sleep?” In her mind Oloriel continued to hear her. //Did you find peace again, dream daughter?//
Oloriel paused a moment. ‘Does she know of my troubled dreams? I suppose that wouldn’t be suprising.’ Aloud she answered the Lady’s spoken question. “Quite well, my Lady. So well that I was not eager to wake up this morning – the warm blankets were so very tempting!”
Galadriel nodded understandingly. “I felt that way myself this morning,” she replied with a wistful smile, “But, duty always calls us back into the world of the living. Speaking of duties, I have a new one for you that may take away from your studies as a healer. Trouble is brewing in the lands outside of the Golden Wood. Not even the wise can see all ends, and we must be prepared. Celeborn has request that several of my handmaidens become more versed in the art of war. There may come a time when all will need to defend themselves. Since you have already started with Kallindo, I would like you to continue with him. He is an able warrior. You will study with him four days out of the week, and you may pursue your other interests whenever you are not with him. Is this acceptable to you?”
“I am at my Lady’s command.”
“Aye, you always have been.” She paused. “Kallindo came this morning to-“
Oloriel looked up quickly. “I told Kallindo not -“
Galadriel raised her hand to stop the impending flow of words. “Be at peace child, Kallindo did not betray your trust. He merely said that he would come by after lunch to see if you were available. It was then that I asked him if he would undertake your training. He will come back for you in a few hours. But, until he arrives, let us speak of how your studies progress in the House of Healing.”
“Ai! Much better, Oloriel! Your arrows are already flying with much more accuracy. I think your archery skills will require less polishing than your swordplay.”
Oloriel and Kallindo had been sparring much of the afternoon, but toward the end of their session Kallindo requested that she try her hand at the bow, in order to see what skill she possessed.
Oloriel would have been rather pleased with his praise, had not his comment added to her growing suspicion that Kallindo was not quite at ease. “You called me Oloriel. Or, more importantly, you did not call me Aiwe. If my count is correct, that is only the third time that you have used my given name in the past seven hundred years or so. And the other two times were when you were angry at me for pushing you out of a tree, and for getting you in trouble with your father. What is wrong?”
Kallindo looked slightly uncomfortable. He had made certain resolutions the night before, and the general idea behind all of them was to make sure he didn’t fall for Oloriel. He knew she didn’t think of him that way, and he was trying to save himself a little heartache. Therefore, his manner had been somewhat distant toward her that day – he was not acting like his usual carefree self. “Oh… um, nothing – just a slip of the tongue I suppose.”
Oloriel did not believe him, but she decided to let the matter rest.
“Are we done for today?” she asked.
“I believe so. We will meet again tomorrow after lunch, if that is alright with you.”
They both stood there for several moments in a slightly uncomfortable silence. ‘What is wrong with him today?’ Oloriel wondered. ‘I have never seen him like this.’ An idea popped into Oloriel’s head then. She knew that she had a tendency to be a little reclusive, and Írima had told her a few days ago that she should spend more time with other people. What better opportunity to practice then on her friend, who definitely looked as though he could use some cheering up?
“It is far too early to head back home,” she said, with her eyes raised to the still bright sky. “There is nothing to do there, for I have finished the book I was reading, and Írima was very rebellious, and did all the laundry before I could offer to help her. I thought that I would take a walk under the golden leaves.” she lowered her eyes back down to his. “Won’t you join me?”
Kallindo’s head told him that this would not be wise. ‘But,’ he reminded himself, ‘How often do I actually listen to my head!’
“I am at the lady’s command.” he declared as he held his arm out to her… and he was pleasantly surprised when she actually took it. They started walking down a small, worn path, leading through the silver-gray trunks of the mallorn trees.
‘How shall I cheer him up?’ Oloriel questioned herself. She decided that she would never really find out until she started talking to him. ‘But what to say?’ She decided to start on safe, neutral teritory.’
“I wanted to thank you for your care of me. It was very kind of you to offer to help with my training the first day, and also kind to agree to continue with it.”
Kallindo smiled slightly. “I’m still trying to sort that out by the way.”
“Sort what out?”
“Why you agreed to let me help you, of course. I was rather surprised that you did. You’re always so self-reliant, or at least trying to be, and I wouldn’t expect you to accept help from anyone if you could avoid it. Of course, I still had to try.” he finished with a small, mischievous grin.
Oloriel returned his smile, “Yes – you always try. Sometimes you can be quite annoying, you know: always popping up unexpectedly and trying to help me when I don’t need any help. But I suppose I’ll forgive you.” She poked him playfully in the ribs, “To answer your question; well, I’m not entirely sure. I suppose you caught me at a good moment. I had a very peaceful dream the night before, and it colored my whole day for the better. I was in a very good mood.”
“No, Aiwe, you can’t blame it on the dream. All Elven dreams are peaceful, are they not? Why should this one be any different.”
A small shadow passed over Oloriel’s features. “No Kallindo, not all dreams are peaceful – I know. That is what made this dream so wonderful. It did not frighten me.”
Kallindo came to a halt, and drew her around to face him. “Have you had your own secret troubles, Aiwe? You’re always so calm, no one would guess. What dreams could have troubled you so? You sounded quite grave when you spoke of it.”
“So grave that I do not want to speak of it any more. They were terrible. But now they are gone. That’s the end of it.”
“And what brought this change, do you think?”
Oloriel hesitated, “Well… if you must know, I believe that the Valar answered my prayer and brought peace to them. I dreamed that an elf came and protected me from the storm, and since then my sleep has been untroubled.”
Kallindo took a few moments to digest this. “Do you think there was some meaning behind all this? Did the elf bring a message?”
Oloriel had never considered that there would be meaning outside of the actual events. “Well, there certainly was no message in the first dream – the elf never spoke. But in the second dream -“
“You saw the same elf again?”
“Yes – last night. And I do remember him saying something that struck me. He said that Eru had a plan for everything, and that he would always bring the spring – even after the harshest winter. Do you think that could be a message?”
Kallindo thought for a moment. “Perhaps.” he said, and started to guide her back down the paths.
Kallindo’s mind was churning. What if the elf in her dream had been a foretelling of what was to come? What if the winter that had surrounded her heart since her brother died was destined to give way to the spring? What if he was there when it happened? Suddenly all his well-intentioned resolutions flew out of the window. He spent the next hour strolling under the Golden Wood, glowing with hope, and basking in the warmth of the woman walking next to him.
“Well, I suppose I must bid the lady goodnight.” Kallindo smiled down at Oloriel as they came to the entrance of her flet. They had been walking for over an hour, and the sun was beginning to tinge the clouds with red.
“Indeed, I believe it will be a good night. It couldn’t be anything but after such a lovely evening.” Oloriel replied with her head tilted up toward him. She was very pleased with herself. She was not sure how she had accomplished the feat, but Kallindo seemed to be in much better spirits.
Suddenly her complacent expression was marred by the hint of a frown; her eyes seemed to cloud over. She was hearing voices in her mind. First there was a male voice… //I tell you this now, brother, in all seriousness: do not swoon over ‘green eyes’ – she’s not really there.// …Then came a second voice, strangely familiar… //I know// As the voices faded she felt a small ache in her heart. She gasped and started to fall; Kallindo caught her before she reached the ground.
“What is it?” He asked her urgently.
“I… I do not know.” she replied, her voice unsteady and faltering. “I believe that it is passed.”
Oloriel straightened up and released herself from Kallindo’s embrace. She tried to give him a reassuring smile – she knew that he would try to make a fuss over her. But before he had the chance to do so, one of the other healers came to a halt underneath her flet and called up breathlessly, “Oloriel, come! Írima has begun to give birth. We need help, and she wants you with her. Come to Írima’s flet! Quickly!”
Oloriel looked back at Kallindo in shock. “This is too soon! It’s too soon – she should not be birthing so early. I must go!”
With that she raced off, all thoughts of the strange voices pushed far into the back of her mind.
1. The Maiar are powerful spirits/beings, but not as powerful as the Valar. Gandalf is a Maia who took human form.
2. Edain: Sindarin for Humans (Human race?)
3. Imladris: Sindarin for Rivendell
4. Mithrandir: Sindarin for Gandalf
Names to Know:
Oloriel: see footnote 1
Aiwe: Kallindo’s nickname for Oloriel – meaning “small bird”
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 please, PLEASE review! I’ve never claimed to own my own muse, so I must get my inspiration and encouragement from another source! Come one… you know you want to…