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.
A/N: An official word on sticking to canon… I would love to stick to book-canon through this entire story, but I’ll probably end up tweaking stuff a little to fit things into a more convenient time-line. I really don’t have the brain-power right now to figure out all the particulars of time (i.e., how long would it take two elves, riding horseback, to reach LothLorien from Rivendell?) … I don’t even wanna think about it… I’ll probably end up shortening some of the time that the fellowship takes to get from point A to point B, but I’ll try to be reasonable about it. (P.S. I’ve also grown up on the BBC recorded, *abridged*, version of LoTR, and I’m only half way through the actual book TTT, so things may not be perfect!)
Chapter 7.) Like Ships Passing in the Night
My voice falls dead a foot from mine own lips,
And but its ghost doth reach that vessel, passing, passing.
– Paul Laurence Dunbar
It had been almost two month since Oloriel last spoke with Elladan. They passed each other like shadows in their dreams and shied away from any communication. Neither of them were so socially backward that they could not have approached one another under normal circumstances, but these were not normal circumstances. Oloriel had come away from their last encounter embarrassed by her own weakness and confused by Elladan’s compassion, and Elladan had come away from it stung with a feeling of rejection. And so they both waited – waited for the other one to make the first move. And after almost two months, they were still waiting.
Despite her overwhelming desire to stay in bed and wallow in self-pity, Oloriel had eventually rolled out of bed the morning after her encounter with Elladan. She had also found the determination to accomplish this same feat every morning since. She didn’t have the same bounce in her step that had been present those few precious mornings when she was blissfully ignorant of Elladan’s reality, but she was up and walking nonetheless.
She was actually doing better than she expected. She had assumed that her nightmarish dreams would return with full fury, but was pleasantly surprised when she found that she had been mistaken. Her dreams no longer terrified her. And the more she thought about it, the more she began to think she knew why.
No matter how unlikely it sounded, she couldn’t help but feel that Elladan did have something to do with it. Even though they never spoke, his presence always seemed to cast a calming effect over her dreams. Her feelings were confirmed when one night Elladan did not appear in the dreamscape. A creeping sense of dread began to make its way into her heart, and it seemed as though the elements would yet again rise against her. She felt this way for several hours, but then, at the very moment when the tension in the air became so thick it seemed to fizzle, and when she was sure that the terror would strike, Elladan appeared. The shadow that had hung in the air was swept away. Having just fallen asleep, Elladan did not notice these changes. He saw her standing several yards in front of him and quickly turned away and departed, but she could still feel his presence. As much as she hated it, she was beginning to need him. He was a sign of hope for her, and she began to wait his arrival with anticipation; knowing that if ever he did not come, she would again be lost in a storm, alone.
When she wasn’t brooding about her dreams, she was caught up in the new routine of her life. She continued to work with Kallindo on her archery and swordplay; actually showing signs of definite improvement. And Írima’s new child provided an endless outlet for her energy. More often than not she found herself in Írima and Nimfallë’s home in the evenings. She loved to hold their new child, and play with her, and help to feed her… and secretly plan for her future. She was already sure that the tiny little fingers belonged to the hands of a healer.
“I shall steal her away from you as soon as she can walk and make her my own little apprentice.” Oloriel stated as she stared down into the small eyes of the elf-ling.
“You shall do nothing of the sort – no one is going to steal my child!” Írima declared, then added with a playful smile, “But perhaps I’ll let you borrow her.”
Írima did not feel the least bit jealous over her child. She knew that Oloriel needed a safe object into which she could pour out her pent up affections. And what could be more safe and harmless than an adorable little elf-ling?
Oloriel laughed at Írima’s comment and turned to stroll out on the small balcony, which was attached to the nursery. She held the tiny child in her arms, and was swaying her back and forth under the dappled sunlight coming through the leaves. She began to hold a one-sided conversation with her charge.
“Your mother can believe whatever she wants, but we both know that you are going to run away with me. You will be a wonderful little healer. All you’ll have to do is sit there and your smiles and laughter will fill the room and miraculously heal everyone of all their wounds and worries. Yes, that’s what you shall do.” She nuzzled the child’s nose with her own. “You will have a wonderful life, do you know that? You have me, and you have nana(1), and you have ada(2). And none of us will ever leave you, because we love you so very much. Did you know that?”
Oloriel buried her face in the child’s small, silky curls. She made sure to keep her back to the room inside because there were tears beginning to glisten in her eyes. “You will never be left behind, I simply won’t allow it.” She rocked the baby gently back and forth. “Of all the nonsense, there must be something in my eye.” She sniffed unconvincingly.
Írima had come up behind Oloriel. She slowly wrapped her motherly arms around her child, and her young friend, and hugged them both tightly. “We won’t leave you behind either, Oloriel.”
Oloriel did not answer at first, but continued to rock the child. Blinking away what remained of her tears, she allowed a smile to slowly spread across her face.
“Oh Írima. She is so beautiful. She will capture many hearts, but I’m sure she will always be gentle with them. She will be loved by all, and she will be protected. Light will follow her wherever she goes; I can see it. She has so much promise. She will have a beautiful life. I will make sure of it.”
Írima gave her another gentle squeeze, then whispered softly, “That settles it then. You’ve made my decision complete.”
“I have found her name.”
Oloriel brightened, she leaned down and whispered to the young one, “Do you here that, you have a name now.” Looking back up at Írima, she asked, “Well, what shall it be then?”
Oloriel smiled broadly. “Perfect.”
Before anything more could be said a very jovial Kallindo swept into the house and out onto the balcony. “And how is the little one today.” He made a move to remove the elf-ling from Oloriel’s arms, but she turned away swiftly.
“Oh no you don’t, she’s mine!”
Kallindo took on a look of indignation, “What? This is how you repay my patient instruction? I allow you to beat me in our last sparring mach and you won’t even extend me the courtesy of allowing my to hold this little bundle of joy?” He gripped his heart melodramatically.
Oloriel spun back around. “Ah! You did not let me win! I beat you fairly -” Kallindo gently swept the child into his arms. “Kallindo, give her back!”
For the sake of her child, Írima stepped into the fray, “Come now children you will both get a turn.” She looked pointedly at both of them.
Oloriel looked a little ashamed, but Kallindo smiled smugly. He looked down at the child, who presently had a firm grip on his finger, and whispered gleefully, “My turn!”
Oloriel rolled her eyes at him. “We have all been reduced to the state of children with this one little package. However does something so small manage to incapacitate the judgement of two full-grown elves?” She chuckled, and resigned herself to watching the “little package” trying to suck on Kallindo’s thumb.
After a few minutes Kallindo gave the child up. “I must be off. I have duty on the borders this evening. Shall I see you again tomorrow, Oloriel?”
“Oh no. You remember – it’s my day off.”
Kallindo looked slightly downcast, but Oloriel did not notice it.
When Kallindo finally left, Írima’s face froze in a thoughtful expression. Finally she addressed Oloriel, “I never knew that Kallindo was so fond of children. He never used to visit this often before Almárien was born.” She cast her eye sideways towards the she-elf.
“Hmm?” Oloriel looked up from the child.
Írima sighed in exasperation. “You never give Kallindo an extra moment’s thought, do you?” Oloriel looked puzzled as to her meaning. Írima continued, “Since my subtle hints have been getting us nowhere I will be plain. I believe that Kallindo comes here so often because he knows that you will be here. Are you truly unaware of his apparent affection for you?”
Oloriel smiled. “Well of course, Kallindo is like a brother. Not that anyone could ever replace Karnélas.”
Írima sighed heavily. “No Oloriel, not like a brother… like a lover. Kallindo has been infatuated with you for years; can’t you see it?”
A look of shock passed over Oloriel’s face, “Kallindo? No, you must be mistaken. I… I am just Kallindo’s pet-project. When he is bored he pesters me, that is all.”
Írima rolled her eyes. She strongly disagreed with her friend, but decided not to push the issue. Things would work out eventually, one way or another.
Oloriel soon left. She was flustered by the thought that Kallindo might have feelings for her other than those of a friend. She decided to take a walk outside the city walls would do much to calm her frantic thoughts.
Elrohir cast a worried look in his brother’s direction. They would soon be within sight of the Golden Wood. About a month ago, he and Elladan had been sent out as the advance guard of the fellowship. They were to ride to Lorien with news of the quest, urging their grandparents to assist the fellowship if they were to pass through their realm.
They had hardly been at home since their arrival from the north almost two months ago. They had gone out with several other elves to track the whereabouts of the Nine, and two days after they returned with their news they were sent out again on the present mission.
It had been in the days before they set out toward Lorien that Elladan had finally revealed to Elrohir what had happened in his dream. He had been skeptical at first; he did not see how `green eyes’ (as he continued to call her) could be real. But when Elladan revealed her name to him it became harder to refute. Elrohir was aware of the small maiden that his brother had looked for all those years ago, and the revelation of her name seemed to lend credence to the possibility.
He was aware that his brother was giving the dream-maiden a very wide berth. His brother seemed to have convinced himself that the girl was offended by his very presence, and was determined not to inconvenience her with it any more. He hoped that Arwen had been able to talk some sense into their overly tense brother.
Arwen had at least given her advice to Elladan. She had accidently stumbled upon her two brothers when they were speaking of Oloriel one afternoon, and since Elladan had always trusted his sister implicitly, he told her the whole story.
When Elladan had finished his narrative he exclaimed, “It is the most uncomfortable situation! She won’t talk to me, and I know she doesn’t want me there. But what am I to do about it?”
Arwen looked sympathetically toward him and then asked, “You say that she has never spoken to you since?”
“And you think this is because she is angry or offended?”
“What other explanation is there?”
Arwen sighed. Her brother seemed to lack a great deal of understanding when it came to women. “How about this: she is scared, confused, and intimidated by your rank and position. She is probably very self-conscious, having only ever cried like an elf-ling in your presence.” Elladan opened his mouth to respond, but she held up her hand to silence him. “It doesn’t matter if she had a reason to cry or not, just that she did so in the presence of a strange, high-born elf. I do not think that she is angry with you. I grant you that she was certainly displeased when she discovered you `spying’ on her, but, though perhaps it was not a logical reaction, it was an understandable one. She probably cooled down very quickly and is waiting for you to make the first move. As long as you approach her in a straightforward, open manner I do not see that there could be any problem. All of this must have happened for a reason, and you must endeavor to discover that reason. But you cannot do so as long as you continue to sulk in a corner.”
Elladan looked at his sister in consternation. Elrohir chuckled softly to himself – no matter how old his brother grew, he always managed to make himself look like an elf-ling when he was aggravated or confused.
“Are you sure about that?” Elladan questioned.
Arwen raised one of her fine eyebrows at him. Elladan sighed, “I suppose this is another one of your `I’m always right’ moments… What you say does carry a wisdom that cannot be denied. I will think on your advice.”
It had been almost two months and Elladan was still thinking.
As they drew closer to the Golden Wood his nervousness multiplied, and he could not help fidgeting in his seat. It was this action that had drawn the attention of his brother.
“You have not taken our sister’s advice.” It was more of a statement than a question on Elrohir’s part.
Elladan sighed and slumped in his saddle. “I couldn’t do it. I just can’t work up the courage to approach her. And what if we meet unexpectedly while we are here. She has no notion of me being near her home, and I cannot imagine what our meeting would be like under such circumstances.” Elladan again wore his confused elf-ling expression.
“Well, there is not much chance of that,” his brother stated, “since we will only be here for a few hours. Father told us to make all speed back home, and so, after taking a meal with our grandparents, we should be on our way again.”
“That is something I suppose.” Despite his statement, Elladan did not look very convinced.
Oloriel had gone west from the city. She was strolling along a small path, puzzling over her new mystery, when suddenly she felt a presence – a sort of tugging on her heart. She looked up. There, through the trees, ahead on her left, were two elves riding horseback, and several of the Galadhrim guard attending them on foot. Her heart almost stopped. The two riders were the sons of Elrond. Picking up her skirts, she quickly darted behind a tree. Breathlessly she watched them pass, hoping that she had not been seen. Somewhere in the back of her mind she was still wondering if the elf in her dreams was truly the real Elladan, but she didn’t want to take any chances. She did not want to be seen. They had passed her by now, but were still within plain sight. She peeked out from behind the trunk of the tree to watch them continue on their way. As she did so Elladan suddenly turned in his seat and seemed to scan the trees behind him. She quickly ducked back into her hiding place. With wide eyes she whispered to the trees, “He knows I’m here.”
Elladan groaned inwardly as he pulled the covers over his head. Somehow he and his brother had been talked into spending the night in Lorien. In his head he knew this made sense. There was no use heading out and having to make camp in a couple hours. They might as well sleep in a real bed this night.
The sensation, which had coursed through him a short distance outside of Caras Galadhon(3), had not returned, and he was glad of it. It had been… unsettling – like something was calling to him.
As he adjusted himself underneath the sheets he breathed a prayer that they would be able to ride out swiftly in the morning and avoid any chance meetings with green-eyed maidens.
As he slipped onto the Olórë Mallë he found himself on a relatively small island. Water was everywhere. He walked to the center of the island and found the maiden sitting underneath a willow tree. She looked up quickly then turned away. For the first time Elladan noticed that her eyes held no anger. In fact, the more he thought on it, the more he realized that they never had. If anything, she looked… nervous. His features softened as he looked at her. `Just like me,’ he thought. At that moment he almost stepped toward her and spoke, but the words caught in his throat, and instead he turned away from her into the trees.
She watched him go with a look of sadness in her eyes. `He probably doesn’t think I’m worth his time.’
The two of them avoided each other assiduously for the next few hours. Finally Elladan got fed up with the whole situation. `What am I frightened of? She’s just a maiden – she can’t do that much harm.’ He stood up resolutely from where he had been sitting and went in search of her.
He found her sitting up in the branches of a tree. He came to the foot of it and, in as polite a manner as he could muster, greeted her. “Lady Oloriel.” He bowed to her, ignoring the fact that she was several feet above his head. He glanced back up and offered what he hoped looked like a conciliatory smile.
She looked down toward him but did not speak for several moments. Elladan felt rather unsettled by her silence, and thought that perhaps he should say something else. In the end, they both started speaking at the same time.
“My lord – “
“I wanted – “
Oloriel blushed slightly and bowed her head. “Please, my lord, speak first.”
Elladan was about to object, but then thought better of it. “I wanted to forewarn you that I am in LothLorien.”
She smiled, “I know – I saw you ride into the city with your brother.”
Elladan gave her sharp glance. “Then you were in the trees. I knew something was there – I felt it.”
“As did I.”
They both stared at each other in wonder for a few moments.
Elladan finally spoke. “I hope that my presence in the city has not brought discomfort to you… I will be leaving in the morning.”
“Why should it matter if I experienced discomfort? No doubt your presence was required. I will survive.” She replied, rather curtly.
“Still – I should like to know that you are well… and that… you are no longer angry with me.” Elladan shuffled on his feet a little.
Oloriel softened immediately. She almost laughed at the image of a `shuffling’ Lord Elladan. “Well, if you must know I shall tell you. I was certainly surprised by your appearance, but did not experience lasting harm because of it. You are welcome in the Golden Wood.”
Elladan visibly relaxed. He smiled up at her, but before anything more could be said he began to fade…
Elrohir was shaking his arm gently. “Elladan, wake. It is time to depart.”
As soon as Elladan had faded from the dream, Oloriel called her mind back from it as well. She slowly opened her eyes. It was just before dawn. She slipped a thick grey cloak over her nightgown and made her way down from her flet and out of the city.
She sat perched high up in a tree for almost half-an-hour, but then she felt it – the same tugging, as if something was trying to get her attention. She looked up and saw the twins riding at a quick pace out of the city gates. They passed near her tree. As they did so Elladan’s head shot up. For several minutes he looked confused, but then comprehension dawned on his features. He spoke to his horse and drew up several hundred feet beyond the tree. He looked around him almost frantically, but she knew how to hide from unwelcome eyes, and so he did not find her. When he caught no trace of her his face fell in what seemed like disappointment.
She felt ashamed for being so timid, and was about to call out to him. But as she did, the words seemed to stick in her throat. The only sound that passed her lips, “Ell-“, was spoken so softly that it fell to the ground far short of the mark.
Elrohir had called back to his brother, urging him on. Elladan glanced one last time around the wood, and then, turning with reluctance, rode to catch up with his brother.
1. mom/mommy (short form of `naneth’, meaning “mother”)
2. dad/daddy (short form of `adar’, meaning “father”)
3. Caras Galadhon – city of the elves in LothLorien
Names to Know:
Oloriel: “dream daughter”
Írima: “lovely, desirable”
Nimfallë: “white foam”
Almárië: “be blessed”
Kallindo: “noble heart”
Karnélas: “red leaf”
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… = )