Paradox of the Fourth Age
23. Chapter 22 ~ Reflections
A/N Thanks to Viv for betaing this for me.
"A messenger from Imladris brought letters from Laurëanna and Elrond," Glorfindel said as he entered the room. Indil had her back to him so he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. "And what are you doing, melethen?"
Indil relaxed and leaned her head back to lie on his broad chest. She was happier than she had ever been and at times felt the need to pinch herself to assure her that it was in fact all real.
"I was thinking about this dream that I had last night," she murmured.
Glorfindel shifted around so that he could see her face. "A nightmare? Or a naughty dream about me?"
Indil laughed out loud when he waggled his eyebrows mischievously. "No! Neither. It was very fuzzy but…well it was about our daughter. I dreamed that we had a beautiful daughter."
"We will have a daughter, as well as a strong son. Our daughter will be as beautiful and fair as her mother. And our son, unfortunately, will be as stubborn as his father, but he will be brave and courageous." Glorfindel smiled.
"And what if our daughter is as stubborn, brave, and courageous as her father?" she replied. "Not all ellith are as meek and mild as I am."
"You are not meek. You are reserved. I like the fact you do not babble on about nonsense as some do," Glorfindel corrected her. "It is a sad fact that most underestimate the quiet reserved ones who hold the most strength. I would not be bound to a weak elleth." Indil did not speak and he studied her face for a moment. "What is it? Something is wrong."
"Glorfindel…I am not strong, brave, or courageous. And I sensed in this dream that I will need to be." Glancing at him sadly, she continued, "Something is very wrong. I woke feeling uneasy about this dream, and there is an emptiness inside me that has been growing. An ache that I fear will soon turn to unbearable pain. Ever since we left Imladris, I have felt this ache."
Silently Glorfindel nodded. He too had felt it, a desperation to return, but the thought of being without Indil was unbearable and this was her home. He thought she wanted to remain here so he had not mentioned his feelings.
"I want to go back to Imladris," Indil said resolutely. "I wish to return now and to be married there. I will ask Lord Cirdan if he will come along with some of my close friends. But even if no one can come with us, I want to be bound there. I know in my heart that we need to return to Imladris for our wedding."
"If that is what you wish, we will return. I do not want to take you away from your friends, though. We have plenty of time to visit Imladris, and if you wish it, we can return here to be married. I have been thinking…"
When he did not continue, Indil looked at him curiously. "Whatever it is, you can speak your thoughts."
"I wonder if it is not time that we sailed. I too wish to have a child, but I do not think I want to have her in Middle-earth. Indil, I cannot describe the Undying Lands adequately. They truly are beautiful, and our children should be born where I was." Glorfindel gazed off into the distance with a nostalgic smile on his face. "I do not know how you feel about sailing so soon. I know you have not lived as many ages as I have, but I am tired. Even though the destruction of the Ring and downfall of Sauron has begun to heal these lands, I still feel the weight of the evil that festered here so long. I do not think I can truly find peace here."
Putting her arms around his neck, Indil kissed him tenderly. He then rested his forehead on hers and she smiled. "My heart goes with you. We will visit Imladris soon, return to be married, and then we will sail to Valinor."
Glorfindel felt a surge of love for her that was almost overwhelming. He was amazed how quickly she had become so in tune with him. Their bond seemed ages old rather than a barely a year. He could not wait to marry her and begin their life together.
Laurëanna draped her arm lazily over the bench as she watched her husband practice with his fellow archers. The sun beat down on her and made her drowsy. She had not been sleeping well lately because Elrohir barely slept.
"Good afternoon, Laurëanna. Are you enjoying the weather?" Elrond appeared behind her, and she sat up quickly.
"Yes. It is a beautiful day." She smiled weakly as he sat down beside her.
Elrond studied her face then watched Elrohir for a few moments. "He is having a hard time adjusting to being in one place. I feel his restlessness."
Laurëanna nodded. "He sees Elladan and the others come and go and he wants to go with them, yet he also wants to stay with me. It makes me feel guilty. We have been here almost twelve moons now and each day he seems more and more frustrated." She sighed, brushing her hair back. "Perhaps when Elladan returns in a day or so, Elrohir will feel better. I know when they are separated it is harder for him than it is when Elladan is in Imladris. I suppose knowing his brother is off having adventures without him is hard."
"I have a suggestion. You two have established your home here and both seem to crave a change of scenery. Your parents are doing well at The Havens so it is best not to interrupt that courtship. Why do you not go to Lothlorien to visit Galadriel and Celeborn? I know they wish for you to see their lands as well as spend some time with them. Galadriel will not remain in Middle-earth much longer. I do think you should see Lothlorien while they are there."
The last few days, Laurëanna had considered trying to talk Elrohir into visiting her parents. Since they left Imladris, she had received word that they were betrothed to be wed in the spring the following year. She wanted to join them but knew that Elrond did not think it was wise. She had wanted to see Lothlorien as well, so perhaps this was a good idea.
"I will discuss it with Elrohir tonight. I think you are right: we need a change of scenery." Laurëanna smiled brightly.
The thought of something to look forward to made her happy. She had felt uneasy lately as well, wondering if she was keeping Elrohir from what he wanted to do. He reassured her often that he chose to be with her here rather than always on the move, but she knew he had wanderlust.
The nights were cooler in Imladris despite the summer heat during the day. A gentle breeze carried the sound of the crickets chirping outside their bedroom window. Laurëanna sat on the window seat in front of it, wearing only a thin gown, enjoying the peace. Bright stars, gifts of Elbereth, broke through the inky blackness of night. Elrohir came and rested his chin on her head as he wrapped his arms around her.
"You seem very contented tonight, my sweet." He absentmindedly stroked her collarbone with his thumb.
Pulling him to sit beside her, she reached out and caressed his cheek. "I know you have been very restless lately and it has been…"
"It was my choice to stay. I have told you not to feel guilty about…"
"I know what you said, but listen to me. Your father had a good suggestion. Why do we not visit Lothlorien when Elladan returns? I would love to see it, and you would enjoy leaving Imladris for awhile."
Elrohir nodded before pulling her into his arms. "Yes, that would be nice. I would like to see my grandparents and friends there. And maybe while we are close, we can visit Eryn Lasgalen as well."
Her face buried in his chest gave her the perfect cover so he did not see the startled look on her face. She simply had not thought he would suggest that, and she mentally pinched herself for being so careless. Sighing, she decided she would have plenty of time to think of a good excuse on the way to Lothlorien.
Before he came up with any more brilliant ideas, Laurëanna distracted him by placing kisses slowly down his neck. Elrohir pulled her so she straddled him and was face to face with him.
He stared at her for a long time before saying, "I never thought it would be this way. I cannot imagine loving anyone more than I love you."
When he kissed her, her pulse raced as her spirit soared. The time they had spent since their marriage had been almost perfect. He was so different than he had been in Valinor, and she enjoyed exploring the differences. She had not decided which Elrohir she preferred, but she was glad that she had the pleasure of knowing both.
Laurëanna and Elrohir eagerly awaited Elladan's return. After his brother had a chance to rest for a few weeks, Elrohir brought up the trip to Lothlorien and Elladan jumped at the chance to travel with his brother again and together show Laurëanna the lands between Imladris and Caras Galadhon. Within three weeks they began the journey, taking their time so the twins could show Laurëanna the lands in between. She really enjoyed the mountain passes but sensed her husband's sadness. Celebrian's attack on these passes would forever haunt him.
Reaching the woods of Lorien at last, Laurëanna felt nervous and excited. She could not wait to see her old friends Rumil and Airemír, plus Galadriel and Celeborn, as well as visiting Lothlorien. But she was also nervous about being around Galadriel too much. The Lady of the Golden Wood knew something about her and was not happy that Laurëanna still guarded secrets. Elrond had warned Laurëanna to be very careful and in fact had second guessed himself about recommending the visit.
Laurëanna was beginning to have trouble remembering things from her past, and it was troubling her greatly. They were minor things, gaps that did not make sense. She brushed it off at first, but when it began to happen more and more often, she talked to Elrond at last about it. He tried to comfort her, saying it was probably normal due to the fact she was living a new life. But she sensed he was placating her. That was one of the reasons why she had wanted to go visit Glorfindel and Indil first, as a reassurance.
In fact, she was worrying over the words of the song of Amroth and Nimrodel, which she should know from her childhood, but now could not recall, when the twins stopped abruptly. Elrohir placed his hand on her arm. They waited for the guards, she knew. She could feel them, sense their presence, and she smiled when she saw an ellon with that familiar silver hair.
"Elrohir, Elladan, it is good to see you again," Haldir said, walking over to the twins. He was followed by Rumil as well as two other guards.
"Mae govannen, mellon." Elrohir embraced Haldir with a smile.
Elladan greeted him as and while the twins were greeting the others, Haldir turned to Laurëanna and said with a slight bow. "You must be his wife, Laurëanna. Suilaid." With a quick smile to Elrohir, he added, "We have heard all about you, and the ellith in Lothlorien mourned the news of your union while the ellyn rejoiced. Now if we could only convince Elladan to marry…"
Laurëanna laughed. "It will take a strong woman to marry Elladan. And a very tolerant one."
"Some would say the same of you. You must be very brave to bind yourself to this…troll." Rumil smirked, then ducked when Elrohir tried to hit him.
"She has tamed him. He is a well-trained warg now," Elladan replied as they all walked further into the woods.
Laurëanna was amazed at the beauty of Lothlorien, and she quietly absorbed her surroundings as they made the journey to Caras Galadhon. It was nice to see Rumil again. She could not help but notice how different he seemed. Haldir was exactly as he had been described and was kind enough to point out anything especially interesting to her along the way. She could see why the burning of Lothlorien had been such a lasting devastation to all of the elves. The trees, plants, and animals all spoke to her of their long history. Holding Elrohir's hand, she allowed herself to be completely immersed in their tales.
The night after they arrived, Galadriel and Celeborn had a large festival to celebrate Laurëanna and Elrohir's marriage, belatedly. Personally Laurëanna thought it was just an excuse to have a huge celebration, but she was not complaining since she had a wonderful time dancing and feasting. The Sindarin elves of Lothlorien were less rigid than the Noldor were in their customs, so they reminded her more of the Rohirrim. They drank, sang, and danced more freely. Even Galadriel seemed less imposing and proper here than she had amongst the elves of Imladris. Of course, Elladan, Rumil, and his brothers drank quite a bit and flirted outrageously with the ellith. Every once in awhile Laurëanna would catch an elleth studying her and she knew they wondered how she had managed to capture Elrohir's heart. She had been asked that question many times before.
Galadriel kept the couple by her side in the beginning of the night and introduced Laurëanna to everyone. Then, after the feast, the wine flowed freely and dancing and songs began. Laurëanna barely had a chance to sit down in between dances with her husband and his friends. At times, she would catch her husband's amused look as she swung around the floor with yet another ellon she had just met that night. Eventually he would come rescue her.
Finally able to catch her breath and sit down, she let Elrohir lead her to a small opening in the trees. It was a private little glade surrounded by thick brush. In the center was a pedestal with a silver basin on it.
Chuckling, Elrohir said, "Do you wish to look into my grandmother's mirror to see if we will be found?"
Shaking her head, Laurëanna grew nervous being near it and walked toward a bench and sat down. Following her, he bent over and kissed her teasingly. She could taste the wine on his lips and sensed his eagerness.
"Elrohir, someone could find us," she whispered and he chuckled.
"We are married, it is allowed."
Pulling her to her feet again, he wrapped his arms around her tightly, as he nibbled on her collarbone. She sighed with contentment and ran her fingers lightly over his ears. He growled in response, causing her to giggle when he swatted her behind.
"I wondered where you two had wandered off to," Galadriel said as she glided by them. Laurëanna jumped away in surprise. "Elladan has gone missing as well. I suppose I should be concerned that he is doing something he is not supposed to be doing, but I know he most likely is."
"We are married; it is not forbidden, nor is it frowned upon, for us to display affection," Elrohir replied with a smile. "You are horrible for interrupting us."
"Yes, I know. But if I had not, someone else would have, and it could have been quite the scandal if you two were caught here, of all places." Galadriel winked at Laurëanna. "Come here dear. I wish for you to look in my mirror." Her look dared the young elleth to refuse, and Laurëanna knew she could not without looking guilty.
Hesitantly she walked over and stood before the basin. Galadriel was silent, studying her, as she poured the water into the basin. Laurëanna glanced over her shoulder at Elrohir, who smiled at her. She felt strength from him, but then, he did not know what she hid. She returned her gaze to the water and saw nothing for a moment or two.
The image soon changed to Imladris. Three children were playing, a dark-haired boy and girl and a boy with golden hair. An elleth she did not know was watching them while holding a baby with dark hair. Elladan and Elrohir both entered the room and Elladan embraced the woman as the two dark-haired children ran to Elrohir. Everyone seemed happy, and Laurëanna smiled, until she realized the golden haired boy did not move, he merely looked at her with intense blue eyes. The water rippled and the scene changed to Laurëanna standing by a grave, tears flowing down her face. Elrohir stood stiffly beside her, his face expressionless. Celeborn, Arwen, and Aragorn were there as well. Elladan sat on his knees holding a young child who was sobbing as he put flowers on the grave. Laurëanna and Elrohir turned away and, walking through the graveyard, they lingered for a long time by an older grave.
The water rippled again and Laurëanna saw Elrohir stepping off a boat onto the shores of Valinor. Celebrian greeted him as he stumbled, seemingly shocked by something. Elrond ran to his side to help him.
The water rippled then was still. Laurëanna waited for a few minutes before glancing up at Galadriel, whose face was a mixture of shock and anguish. The two shared a long look before Elrohir asked, "Well, did you see our future or your past?"
Swallowing hard, Laurëanna shook her head and took a step back, her eyes not leaving Galadriel's. "No! I did not risk everything only to lose everyone. I refuse." Turning away, she ran out of the clearing before Elrohir could stop her.
Alone, Laurëanna ran away from the sounds of the festival until she found a place that seemed quiet and off the path. She was sobbing and out of breath. Could it be possible? Obviously the mirror was showing the death of her children. Or was it? The more time that went by after she saw the images, the less clear they were. Who was in the first grave? Did she lose all of their children? Why did she not return to Valinor, or was she there but watching Elrohir from the ship? It did not make any sense, but she knew that at least two deaths were in her future.
"Ada…Naneth…I wish you were here for me now," Laurëanna whispered.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.