“ Mother, must you go? Spend spring here,” Arwen urged, holding a small toddler.
Êlenrana had once again given birth to a son, Imuialion. The little boy babbled on in his own language, unaware of the struggle between the mother and daughter.
“ Child, I must go. I need to see my home. My soul aches for it, like tis my last time I will ever see it,” Celebrian smiled at her daughter’s worried face, “ Your father needs you to be strong now with your brothers and now I gone. I will be fine.”
“ Elladan spoke of the multiplying orcs,” Arwen continued.
“ My escorts will keep me safe. Now hold up your head and erase those worry lines for they are for naught,” Celebrian said, “ I will be back with the fall leaves.”
Celebrian kissed Imuialion’s forehead, pushing back the boy’s blonde bangs. She then mounted her horse. Elrond approached, speaking to her softly in Elvish. Celebrian let him take her hand to kiss it softly. The horse began to walk and their hands slowly drifted from the others. The company left out the main gates. None of that party ever returned to Imladris, as they were before, of course.
Êlenrana’s face contorted with pain. Glorfindel’s arms wrapped around her as she collapsed, her head buried in his shoulder as her thin shoulders shook. Elrond could only stare at Elladan.
“ If you are up to your brother’s tricks,” Elrond began, denial rising up his seldom seen anger.
“ Grandfather never received Mother in Lorien. We found the party at Redhorn Pass. They had been mutilated, all save Mother. Orcs, Father,” Elladan interrupted.
“ I will help,” Glorfindel said softly.
“ Twould be appreciated,” Elladan nodded.
Arwen rushed into her father’s arms. Elrond’s empty eyes showed that the situation finally fully comprehended. Arwen sobbed openly for the both of them.
“ Go,” Êlenrana urged Glorfindel, “ I will be fine. You must find Celebrian.”
Glorfindel left with Elladan. Êlenrana sat shakily, the sorrow cruelly fresh again. Her curse was one she had hid from for far too long. Sauron was rising. Her joy was to diminish ever after.
Glorfindel pointed silently at the light coming from some rocks. Orkish gibberish sounded roughly as they seemed to laugh.
* Over to the sides. We will trap them coming from 3 directions.
The twins moved off silently in opposite directions.
Glorfindel waited until they were in place before the 3 rushed on the orcs. The group lay dead before they even knew what hit them. Glorfindel bent beside Celebrian, pulling off his cape to wrap around the lady’s uncovered body. The twins ran up.
“ I want to see her. Is she ok?” Elrohir asked, emotion reeking from his voice.
Glorfindel was silent, mounting his horse and urging it to ride with the wind.
Elrond dashed after Glorfindel, seeing his wife in the lord’s arms.
“ Êlenrana,” Glorfindel called.
Êlenrana appeared, running along side him.
“ Help me with the healing potions,” Glorfindel whispered, “ Elrond will break down.”
Glorfindel disappeared inside the room.
“ Elrond, you cannot,” she began.
Elrond tried to push by her. Êlenrana pushed him back. Elrond’s eyes burnt with fire as he tried once again to get by. Suddenly he was on his back. Êlenrana’s eyes shone with an angry fire and in that instant, Elrond saw the true glory of the Valar.
“ You cannot enter. Not in your state,” she closed the door behind her.
Glorfindel was already at work, tending to the festering wound on Celebrian’s shoulder. Êlenrana took a deep breath, behind beside him to help.
“ You should go out to Elrond,” Êlenrana said softly.
Glorfindel wiped his teary eyes, looking up at Êlenrana with almost a defeated look.
“ He’s the only one skilled enough to save her now.”
Elrond jumped to his feet when Glorfindel exited.
“ Elrond, you’re the only one who has enough knowledge to help her,” Glorfindel stopped Elrond.
“ Let me by,” Elrond ordered.
The twins could see the struggle in Glorfindel’s eyes.
“ Elrond,” Glorfindel gently shook the lord, “ Listen to me.”
“ Let me see her,” Elrond ordered again, his voice laced with desperation, and then added in an angry tone, “ Do not make me order you again.”
“ You have to help her, Elrond. No one else knows how to tend to the poison,” Glorfindel’s shaking made Elrond listen somewhat.
Glorfindel moved away with a sigh.
Elrond fell to his knees beside her bed, tears running down his face. The regal lord totally broke down at the image of his lively wife so pale, so dead. He lifted his head abruptly.
“ Fetch me that,” Elrond ordered Êlenrana.
Glorfindel slumped in a chair, letting his head rest in his hands. The twins sat on either side of him.
“ Daddy,” Imuialion ran in.
Glorfindel scooped up the 3 year old absently. Êlenrana exited and Glorfindel put his son in Elrohir’s arms, standing. Êlenrana rushed into his arms sobbing. Elrohir put Imuialion aside and left. Elladan simply played with the young boy silently, not knowing exactly what to do.
Elrond exited, half of what he had been. His tired, dull gray eyes saw nothing.
“ It is not working,” he announced, “ You may see her.”
Glorfindel took the sleeping Imuialion from Elladan. A red rimmed eyed Elrohir entered.
“ Go inside,” Êlenrana urged.
Elrohir shook his head, a single tear falling down his cheek as he stared at his shoes. Êlenrana stood, pulling him close in a motherly fashion as his tears began again. Elrond sat beside Glorfindel.
“ I should have been there,” Elrond said dully.
“ If you have been there, she would be not better off. You would be dead instead and she would still lie there,” Glorfindel replied.
“ How-” Elrond began.
“ How do you know that you could have changed anything save an early death?” Glorfindel interrupted, “ Go to your wife. Bring her back, Elrond. You’re the only one that can.”
“ Not even I can help her now.”
Elrond’s proud shoulders lay slumped as he entered. Glorfindel could only remember one time the lord had ever been this defeated and that had been Gil-Galad’s death and this time Celebrian wasn’t able to help Elrond cope.
Elrond could feel a hand caressing his face. He slowly looked up. Celebrian’s eyes were open slightly.
“ Celebrian?” Elrond asked softly, taking her hand.
“ Why didn’t you let me die?” Celebrian asked, “ You have brought me back to the very place I ran from.”
“ I wanted you to live, Celebrian,” Elrond answered.
“ You do not know what they…” Celebrian shuddered.
“ Let me take it,” Elrond urged.
“ I cannot,” Celebrian replied.
And she couldn’t. If she saw all she had experienced, it would break him beyond repair.
“ She is no longer Celebrian,” Glorfindel remarked.
The lady of Imladris walked forlornly down the hallway. She took not joy in the house as she once had.
“ I know,” Elrond replied, “ She is not the woman I married. Do you think Êlenrana would heal her?”
Glorfindel shrugged, knowing full well the answer. Êlenrana refused to use any of her powers that she might have that were different from any Firstborn’s. Her identity was still a secret after all these years. Glorfindel knew she would only use it if desperate measures needed to be taken.
“ She would not,” Glorfindel finally sighed.
“ Will Varda wait for us?” Elrond asked softly, “ Celebrian speaks of the Sea.”
“ Both of you cannot go. You have 3 children, Elrond. You cannot leave them,” Glorfindel answered.
“ I cannot live without her,” Elrond began.
“ She is not dead. You will be separated for but a short time,” Glorfindel replied, “ Think of leaving Arwen and your sons. They look up to your more than you know.”
“ They have you and Êlenrana,” Elrond argued with a shrug.
The 3 children of Elrond listened in from outside the door, praying for Glorfindel to reach their father.
“ Êlenrana and I are not their parents. They are your children,” Glorfindel said.
“ You can care-” Elrond began.
“ Where is your heart and mind? You will leave your children because your wife wishes to go over the Sea? Sauron has not risen yet. You would abandon Gil-Galad’s cause now, when the end is so near?” Glorfindel’s anger got the best of him, “ Gil-Galad would be disappointed of the Elrond I see.”
A loud crash came and Elladan pushed the door open. Glorfindel was ducking Elrond’s angry fists.
“ Father,” Arwen gaped.
The twins leaped into action, easily controlling Elrond.
“ How dare you speak like that, Glorfindel,” Elrond spat angrily.
“ You cannot abandon Gil-Galad’s cause now when it is so close to an end. If you do, then he died in vain,” Glorfindel replied, then left.
“ Daddy, do not leave me,” Arwen threw her arms around his neck.
Elrond stared dejectedly into space. Elladan and Elrohir exchanged a glance. They were going to lose both their parents.
Êlenrana found Glorfindel by their tree at dusk. He was sitting, his knees drawn up to rest his forehead on and his arms draped around his legs. She knelt beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“ I lost it, Ele. I just couldn’t control my temper with him like that,” he whispered.
“ Elrond announced that Celebrian will leave to go over the Sea, but he will stay,” Êlenrana said, “ Come back to the house. You missed dinner.”
He nodded, letting her lead the way back.
“ Hello, Celebrian,” Varda greeted the dull woman, who simply nodded.
Varda turned to Elrond.
“ She will find her peace and joy again in the Blessed Realm. She will be waiting for you after you complete what Gil-Galad started,” Varda said.
“ Thank you,” Elrond replied.
“ Do not keep Glorfindel’s words against him. He knows you would have done the same to him if the tables were turned and he is right. Your children will need you more than Celebrian. She will be in all the glory the Firstborn were made to reside in,” Varda finished softly.
Glorfindel approached hesitantly with Êlenrana, Annalin, Glórhen and Imuialion. Annalin was also going to Valinor, wishing to see the land of her mother.
“ Be good,” Glorfindel bent before his daughter, “ I will miss you.”
“ You will not be angry if I stay, will you? I can look after Lady Celebrian for Lord Elrond so he does not needlessly worry,” Annalin asked.
Elrond smiled faintly approaching.
“ It would please me very much to know that someone from the House of Glorfindel watched over my wife. He has seemed to always be there in my family’s times of need,” Elrond said.
Glorfindel smiled softly. He had been in Gondolin to help Elrond’s father and grandparents when they fled the hidden city.
“ All is forgiven?” Glorfindel asked softly.
“ I am sorry for my actions. Thank you for talking some sense into me,” Elrond smiled.
The 2’s simple gesture of catching of arms renewed the old friendship.
Êlenrana sent Elrond’s children a smile and nod. The 3 sighed in relief, happy to see the estrangement mended.
“ We must go,” Varda’s gentle voice reminded.
No escorts were needed as the 3 women mounted their horses. The 3 faded into the night as Glorfindel lifted his voice in a farewell song.
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees
The 2 Elves were never seen again in Middle-Earth.