Chapter 2- Year 107 of the 3rd age
Soft sunlight filtered through dusty windows. Piles of books and manuscripts lay scattered about in an order only the organizer would understand. A desk was in the far corner. It, itself, was quite dusty, though a dark haired Elf sat at it, writing vigorously.
“ Elrond?” a tall blonde haired Elf entered, almost hesitantly, “ Are you in here?”
The Elf at the desk looked up slightly with an irritated sigh.
“ Yes, Glorfindel?”
“ Celebrian is here,” Glorfindel said.
“ Tell her I am busy,” Elrond replied turning back to his work.
Glorfindel turned, and then turned back, a confused look on his face.
“ I’m sorry, Elrond, but, did you just say-” Glorfindel began.
“ You heard what I said, Glorfindel. I am too busy,” Elrond snapped, sending the lord a dark look.
“ Tis too bad, Elrond,” a beautiful blonde haired woman entered.
Celebrian, the daughter of Celeborn and Galadriel had inherited the best of her parent’s qualities: the silvery blonde hair of the Firstborn, the wisdom, gentleness and grace. She took note of Glorfindel’s relieved look at her. Her hand connected with Glorfindel’s long enough to give it a reassuring squeeze. Glorfindel sent her a small smile, obviously hurt by Elrond’s bad behavior, but not shocked. Glorfindel had actually been the one to send for her from Lorien. He feared that Elrond was dealing with Gil-Galad’s death by locking himself up in the old library. Celebrian looked at the dust, then Elrond’s working figure. Glorfindel was right.
She stood behind him, knowing he could not resist her for too long.
“ You have hurt Glorfindel with your behavior,” she said, resting a hand on his shoulder.
Elrond tensed, but did not reply, making her frown.
“ He is worried about you as am I. We haven’t seen each other since you left for war against Sauron. You’ve refused to write or even exit this study.” Celebrian’s irritation got the best of her. She sat on his work, right in the middle of the desk. “ Tell me what troubles you. When even fearless Glorfindel worries, I know something is wrong.”
Elrond leaned back, crossing his strong arms defiantly across his deep green tunic.
“ He should not be worried. I am fine,” Elrond’s calm voice surprised even himself.
“ Do not even try to take me for a fool, Elrond. I am not stupid,” Celebrian’s eyes lit with fire.
Elrond refused to meet her eyes. He knew if he made eye contact, all the defenses he would have built would fall.
“ I did not mean to anger you,” Elrond began.
Her deep gray depths drowned him, making him forget what he was saying.
“ Elrond,” she whispered, “ Tell me. You used to trust me.”
Elrond looked away, his defenses crumbling like fall leaves from their branches. So much was bottled up inside him. He couldn’t let her of all people see him breakdown. The soft feel of her robes and slight body as she slipped into his lap, gently caressing his cheek, grabbed his attention. He breathed in deeply the soft fragrance of golden elanor flowers hovering around her.
“ Trust me,” she whispered, “ I can see your sorrow and it slowly kills me too.”
“ He is gone. Gil-Galad is dead,” Elrond whispered, burying his face into her baby soft hair.
Celebrian simply let her hand caress the back of his neck. She could feel the wetness of his tears on her neck and said nothing. Elrond had looked up to Gil-Galad as an adoring son does to his father. Gil-Galad had been the only father Elrond had known. Elrond abruptly remembered where he was, pulling back, embarrassed at his outburst of emotion. Celebrian turned his face so she could see it. The red rims and defeat in his eyes broke her heart. Elrond watched as tears grew in her eyes also. Her thumbs gently wiped away his tears.
“ He walks Mandos’ halls now. We will see him again,” Celebrian whispered, “ And don’t you ever, ever, try to hide anything from me.”
Elrond pulled her close, resting his chin on top of her head. He made a mental note to thank Glorfindel for asking Celebrian to come.
A knock came and the 2 separated quickly, not wanting any rumors to begin of how close in fact they were. Celeborn entered. At any other time, Celebrian’s father would have joked about the situation, but this time, the Elf’s eyes were full of concern.
“ Glorfindel asked me to fetch you to the healing houses immediately. He was carrying something,” Celeborn’s voice relayed the urgency.
Elrond took off at a brisk walk. Celebrian accompanied her father to follow.
Elrond entered to find Glorfindel bent over a young woman, much younger than Celebrian by looks. The gold haired girl writhed and moaned, her eyes shut tight and sweat trickling off her forehead. Glorfindel’s deeply clouded gray eyes met Elrond’s long enough to convey worry, something not accustom to Glorfindel’s manner. Something was exceedingly wrong.
“ We thought she was one from Eriador, but no one knows her. She collapsed in the hall by Gil-Galad’s old room,” Glorfindel explained softly.
Elrond bent beside her, compassion flowing from and softening his stern face. The girl whimpered but relaxed. Celebrian took the girl’s hand to comfort her.
“ Mother?” the girl’s now open eyes were fixed on Celebrian.
“ No, I’m Celebrian, daughter of Galadriel,” Celebrian replied gently.
“ Galadriel was a traitor,” the girl said.
Galadriel had entered to join Celeborn in the chaos. The lady turned from her place.
“ What do you mean, Child?” Galadriel asked.
“ Do not child me, daughter of Finarfin. I remember Valinor far better than you. You left the Blessed Realm, listening to Fëanor,” the girl answered, “ Though you made no oath, you, part of the Noldor, rebelled against Manwë’s wise words and ultimately against Ilúvatar.”
Galadriel’s head dropped as she nodded at the girl’s truthful words.
“ I did rebel. Who are you?” You look too young to have seen Valinor,” Galadriel asked in a whisper.
“ Tis my home,” the girl answered, and then shut her mouth tightly.
Some attendants entered with food and medicine trays. They sat them down and then left.
“ Galadriel, maybe you and Celeborn should take a walk around the gardens while I tend to our patient,” Elrond said gently.
Galadriel complied with Celeborn’s leading.
Elrond sighed in relief when the doors shut.
“ I’ve never seen her so pale,” Celebrian said almost worriedly.
“ She will be fine,” Elrond squeezed Celebrian’s shoulders, and then turned to the girl, “ How do you know the Lady?”
“ Valinor was my home,” came the same tight-lipped reply.
The girl’s eyes darted around nervously, her eyes reveling more than she wished to divulge.
“ What is your name then?” Glorfindel asked.
“ Êlenrana, my mother named me,” Êlenrana answered.
“ I will send a letter to Círdan. He must know where you came from,” Elrond picked up a tray to take over to the bed.
“ Do not ignore what I say. I came not from Lindon, but Mordor, and before that, Valinor. I saw the king fall when evil did.”
The tray slipped from Elrond’s hands with a resounding crash. His face had paled a ghastly white.
“ Wait, I remember you,” Êlenrana’s storm cloud colored eyes scrutinized him, then Glorfindel, “ And you too. You spoke of Isildur and his taking of the Ring.”
“ Elrond,” Celebrian stood, slipping an arm through his ramrod stiff one.
“ You saw him die? How-” Elrond swallowed, struggling with his emotions, “ How did it happen?”
“ He was outnumbered by those mutated things. He fought them well, using skills that would have made Tulkas smile, but he was outnumbered grossly. He didn’t see this one…” Êlenrana trailed off.
She drew her knees up to her chest before dropping her head in her hands, resting her forehead on her knees. Celebrian’s hand slid up to Elrond’s shoulder, her eyes glued worriedly to his pale profile. His reached back with the opposite hand as hers to touch it reassuringly as well as glance back slightly at her. Glorfindel, who was closest to the girl, gently rubbed her back comfortingly. Êlenrana looked up, sorrow set deep in her eyes.
“ I had never seen death before, but here, in this land, it is everywhere. My heart is broken for this place and no medicine will cure it nor will death consume me,” she whispered.
“ Come, dinner is soon. You should rest, so you may be presentable,” Celebrian said, trying to shield the distaste in her eyes at the girl’s dirty rags.
“ Take no offense, Lady Celebrian, but you need not go to such great lengths. I do not hunger nor need the things you do.”
“ Then at least let me supply you with fresh clothes,” Celebrian replied.
Êlenrana nodded, her eyes meeting Elrond’s then Glorfindel’s.
“ I was meant to be here, according to Ilúvatar, though neither you nor I know why.”