Paradox of the Fourth Age
4. Chapter 3 ~ Fleeting Moments
A/N Thanks once again to my lovely beta and friend, Ellisk. Thanks to the gang for being supportive! And of course, thanks to Tolkien for creating elves and letting me play in his world. I am making no money doing so.
Melethen - My love
Melethrilen - my beloved -feminine
Melethronen - my beloved -masculine
Meleth i guilen - love of my life
Laurëanna – Golden Gift
Indil – Iris
7th Day of May
Fourth Age, Year 25
Indil had moved in with Celebrían months after arriving in Aman. The two had grown close and when Glorfindel and Indil made plans to move into the house beside Celebrían once they were married, Celebrían had insisted that Indil move in with her until the wedding. Glorfindel had left the inn as well and living in their future home together. Indil was happy to have him so close to her as well having Celebrían living next door once they were married.
Taravil had not known Celebrían prior to Indil's introduction, but the two became fast friends. Before long, the three were like sisters and Indil had supported them as they grieved for their children. Thranduil had become close to the two ellith as well. Along with Rumil, their friendships had helped them ease into life in Aman.
Taravil and Celebrían were helping Indil plan her wedding to Glorfindel. Both wished for a lavish feast with the whole city involved despite the fact that they knew that Indil would hate it almost as much as Glorfindel. Neither had been able to assist their own children with wedding plans, so they tried to make her wedding, the wedding of their dreams. Indil was amused as she continuously turned down their oversized, dramatic plans in favor of more simple intimate ones. Glorfindel was terrified that the two would win over his future bride.
Glorfindel had gradually become less serious than he was in Middle Earth over the previous months and had even come to be more comfortable around others. Indil's friendly personality was contagious and it was hard to stay on the fringes when his beloved was usually in the center of it all. But he loved to see her smile and laugh so he rarely protested. He would never be the outgoing one in the group, but people who had known him for centuries were shocked by the subtle changes in him. Celebrían never failed to tell Indil what a good influence she was on him.
Indil and Celebrían were in the garden enjoying the beautiful day when Taravil rushed over.
"Another ship from Middle Earth just arrived in Alqualondë a few hours ago," Taravil cried.
Indil and Celebrían looked at each other before jumping up. Indil could not help but notice the flash of hope in Celebrían's eyes at the thought her husband, mother, or sons might be on the ship. This was the first ship to arrive since they had and she hoped some of Celebrían's family had come. As Taravil and Celebrían waited, Indil rushed next door to find Glorfindel.
When she came across him, he was sweaty and dirty from working in the garden. She smiled at his dirt-streaked face.
"You did not tell me you were working in the garden this morning or I would have come to help." She kissed him lightly, careful to avoid the dirt. "Or have you merely been playing in the dirt."
Glorfindel chuckled. "Well, I suppose my secret is out now. I was playing in the dirt."
Remembering the ship, she quickly told him the news. He picked up a flagon of water as he wiped the sweat from his face. She noticed the sadness in his eyes.
"This is good news Glorfindel," she reminded him. "More of our people have come home."
"You mean more have escaped." His voice seemed bitter to her.
"It is not the same thing?" she asked confused.
His back was to her now and he said nothing for a long time. She began to wonder if he had heard her.
Finally he replied, "We should have not have been forced to leave our home in Middle Earth nor should we have lost so many elves. Sauron should never have come to power."
Indil studied his stiff back for a moment. Her lip quivered for a minute before she said, "Glorfindel, none of it should have happened but it did. You must accept that. We left because we had no choice. Sauron did come to power and he destroyed many elves, as well as many of other races. You cannot dwell in the past and feel guilt over things you cannot change."
He remained quiet and she finally asked, "Will you go with me now to help the elves who have arrived?"
Glorfindel sighed and said, "No. I need to finish and … I am dirty."
He would not meet her eyes. She hated it when he withdrew from her but she knew it would do no good to argue with him now.
"I will see you tonight then, Melethen." Kissing him again, she then turned and left.
Glorfindel felt horrible for not wanting to help her now. She had fled Middle Earth as well. He was a warrior and was supposed to be valiant and strong. Yet she was the one with the strength to go provide comfort to those that needed it while he stayed away, wishing to avoid the memories. His friends could be on that ship yet he could not bring himself to greet them.
Indil saw the sad and weary elves from the ship light up somewhat as they gazed upon the splendor of Aman. Many of the elves of the city who still had kin in Middle Earth were down with her at the pier. Thranduil had also come with Taravil and Rumil and some of the Lórien elves. Indil saw Celebrían searching for any glimpse of her family and reached out to take her hand, squeezing it gently. Celebrían, in turn, held onto her friend tightly.
Indil smiled seeing Antaino, his sister Isilme, and his daughter Lalie from Mithlond. Antaino smiled at her before his wife, Alcie, came from the crowd and threw her arms around her husband and daughter. Alcie had been in Aman for over a century and when Indil arrived, she had helped her catalog the scrolls as the two discussed the events in Mithlond since Alcie had left.
"There is Aráto. He was one of Glorfindel's best warriors." Celebrían pointed out a tall and lanky dark-haired elf. "Let us go talk to him."
Indil followed behind her. When Aráto saw Celebrían, he greeted her warmly as he bowed to her.
"Aráto, this is Indil." Celebrían smiled at her. When the ellon turned to greet her, Celebrían continued, "She is to marry Lord Glorfindel soon."
The look of complete shock on the ellon's face caused Indil to burst into laughter. After a moment, he smiled and said, "It is truly an honor Lady Indil."
"No, the honor is mine," Indil assured him.
"Do you have word from my husband?" Celebrían asked hopefully.
"My lady, both Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel were well when we left," he replied. Seeing the look of relief replaced by a look of fear, he quickly added, "And both Elrohir and Elladan were well last I heard. Máranóno has letters and I am sure there are some from your family." He smiled gently.
"I am sure you wish to settle in. Perhaps you could come to supper with us tomorrow night. Glorfindel would enjoy seeing you," Indil suggested.
"Yes, please Aráto, join us for supper," Celebrían insisted.
"I will. It will be nice to see Lord Glorfindel again as well," he replied with a smile.
While Celebrían went with Aráto to find Máranóno to get the letters from her family as well as greet the other Imladris elves, Indil went to speak with Antaino, Isilme, and Lalie.
Glorfindel grew concerned when he saw Indil's tears. She quickly wiped them away when he approached. He had not seen her since this morning in the garden and had come to apologize.
"Melethrilen, what is it?" He sat beside her and pulled her into his arms.
"Mithlond was attacked after we left. It was a small assault but…" She began to sob. "My friends, Lótilos, Callo, and Raumo were killed. I have known them all of my life. Lótilos was like a sister to me and Callo and Raumo were both close to my brothers. Lótilos had gone to take a message to one of the guards and she just was…there when it happened. She should not have been there."
Glorfindel held her tightly as she sobbed. When she finally calmed, he kissed her gently, as he stroked her hair.
"Forgive me for not being with you when you heard this news. I had come to apologize for not going," he said, quietly.
"Glorfindel, I understand why you stay away," she answered dismissively.
"That does not excuse my weakness."
Indil smiled at him gently. "You are not weak by any means. It is easier for me to do these things because I did not see what you have seen of battles. You fight the battles and I will comfort the heroes."
Glorfindel smiled and kissed her again, drawing her into a passionate embrace. He savored the sweetness of her mouth until both were breathless. Reluctantly, she pulled away.
"Glorfindel, there is more I need to tell you."
"What is it?" He tensed because her eyes were serious and had grown even sadder.
"Aráto was one of the elves of Imladris that has come. You will see him tomorrow," she hesitated then took a deep breath. "Prior to coming here, they attempted another trip to the Havens but had to retreat back to Imladris when they were attacked by many companies of orcs of Saruman's. Both of his brothers were killed as well as a few others that you had once commanded."
Glorfindel stood and walked away, staring in the distance. He had known the three brothers all of their lives. Their father had fought beside him and he had trained the three in many skills. They had worked hard to be some of Imladris' best warriors and he would have trusted any one of them with his life. Now two of them, the youngest two, were gone.
Indil watched him silently for a while before coming to stand beside him. His eyes searched the horizon as if he could somehow find answers if he watched long enough. He put his arm around her and held her close as they mourned their friends.
"Perhaps now is not the ideal time for a wedding," Indil pondered aloud as she stood letting Taravil and Celebrían hem her dress.
"Indil, the pain of Middle Earth's losses will not heal soon. We do not know when the elves come to Aman. How long do you wish to wait to be married?" Taravil pointed out.
"It is just that…it seems wrong to celebrate happiness and love now," Indil frowned.
Celebrían sighed. "Indil, you love Glorfindel and he loves you. You wish to start your life together. That is not wrong," she said gently. "Besides, a celebration to remind us the joys of life is exactly what we need. Now I refuse to hear any more talk of postponing this wedding."
"Yes, and no one believes that Glorfindel will actually marry so this way we can stop the endless wagers amongst the ellyn," Taravil winked.
Indil chuckled. "I honestly find it amusing how they think of him. If they saw him like I see him…"
"Trust me, Indil, many ellith see him as you see him and would gladly trade places with you." Celebrían hugged her friend. "Thankfully, Glorfindel sees only you and cares for no other."
Indil smiled, joyful and in love. The thought of postponing their joining filled her with so much sadness, she chose to believe her friends.
26th Day of September
Fourth Age, Year 88
"Laurëanna! If you keep dropping your arm like that, it is going to get you killed. You are nowhere near the target. You are getting worse instead of better," Elrohir snapped.
"This is really pointless. She is not going to be fighting from a distance. She needs to work on self defense, not how to take down an orc from a league away." Elladan sighed.
"He is right. She can barely hold the bow up anymore. You two have been pushing her too hard for two days now. She is exhausted," Elrond said.
Laurëanna was trying to pull the loose strands of her hair that had fallen out of her braid out of her eyes. Her arm hurt. Her back hurt. Everything hurt. She was trying not to cry and just give up. Elrohir was right. She was getting worse. That last shot was far from the target.
"When she is in Middle Earth, she can just tell them she is too tired to fight and the orcs will just leave her alone, right?" Glorfindel replied frustrated. "Rumil, go get the arrows from the targets. And the ground and everywhere else she shot them. Laurëanna, you have to do better than this or you will never be ready."
Laurëanna nodded sadly. She rested her arms waiting for Rumil to return.
"I am stepping in here," Elrond said and took the bow from her. "She is exhausted. We have been at this since dawn and you two have been doing nothing but yelling at her for an hour or more. She will drop dead of exhaustion before she can even go back to Middle Earth."
Elrond put his arm around her back and started leading her away. Elladan quickly followed picking up her sword from the ground. When she reached for it, he shook his head with a smile.
"You just concentrate on walking home. I fear I might be carrying you for part of the way."
Elrohir and Glorfindel both looked at each other. For a long time they watched, not speaking, as Rumil picked up the arrows.
"They are right. We have been pushing her too hard," Glorfindel said, picking up the various weapons left on the ground.
"We have to. She needs all the skill she can learn," Elrohir argued.
"Do you want to spend her last few days yelling at her or complaining about her posture? No, we need to slow down. Your father is right. She is exhausted. I do not think she has spoken for the last couple of hours. We have demanded that she does something and she has tried. Then we sat there and complained that she was not doing it right. Pretty soon she will look forward to going to Middle Earth just to have us stop fussing at her," Glorfindel replied.
Elrohir sighed. "We cannot teach her all she needs to know in the remaining days. There is not enough time. I do not want to spend all of this time doing this. I would rather be…" Elrohir trailed off when Glorfindel glared at him. "Spending time with her elsewhere."
"Tomorrow you should take her to see Galadriel. She needs a day away from this," Glorfindel said walking towards the house with Rumil coming up behind them both.
"We cannot stop training for a whole day!" Elrohir argued.
"Fine." Glorfindel looked at him. "Stop at midday and take her to the beach. She needs some time."
Elrohir did not argue. Laurëanna was so exhausted last night she had fallen asleep in the bath. But today she worked just as hard and did not complain. She was doing better earlier in the day. He knew he had pushed her too hard. Tonight, he would take better care of her.
When they arrived at the house, Indil was standing outside waiting for them.
"You two are killing her. You need to stop now. And do not start with me, either of you. I am not going to spend the next few days with my daughter so tired she can barely speak to me," Indil said angrily.
"Forgive me, Indil. It is my fault but…" Glorfindel began only to be stopped by his wife's angry glare.
"Glorfindel, you need to say two things to me. And this goes for you as well Elrohir," Indil said shaking her finger at both of them. "One, you need to say you apologize for being over demanding tyrants and, two, you need to promise me that this will not happen again tomorrow. If it does, both of you will have to face me."
Rumil tried to sneak past them. "Rumil!" Indil yelled.
"Yes?" Rumil stopped quickly.
"You take those bows and the arrows to Lord Elrond and you tell him to keep them and not return them to either of these two tomorrow," Indil replied with a tone that left no room for argument.
"Yes, Lady Indil," Rumil said as he quickly fled the scene.
Rumil had never seen her angry and she was almost as scary as Elrohir or Glorfindel. She looked like she wanted to beat both of them.
"Indil." Glorfindel smiled.
"Not a word Glorfindel, unless you plan to sleep outside tonight," she warned. "Elrohir, go home. Take care of my daughter. Your brother has walked her home because we were both afraid she would drop from exhaustion before she made it there. I suggest you take her some place special and tranquil tomorrow, if you wish to see her. If I see either one of you two on the practice field tomorrow, she will be coming with me to Swan Manor. Without both of you." Indil turned and slammed into the house.
Glorfindel and Elrohir just stared after her. For a long moment both were too stunned to say a word.
"Has she always had that temper?" Elrohir asked quietly.
"No, this is the first time I have seen that. I am almost afraid to go in the house." Glorfindel smiled. "The Witch King was less scary."
"The Witch King was evil. You knew that. She is not evil. I am not quite sure what to expect from her now." Elrohir smiled to Glorfindel. "I would sleep with one eye open."
"I am hoping to charm my way out of harm's way."
"You are not that charming." Elrohir smirked.
Glorfindel glared at him then sighed. "You are right. Perhaps Elladan can come charm her for me."
Elrohir shook his head. "I think she still likes him. I am not so sure about either one of us."
"Good, you are both here," Lord Elrond said walking up. "Why are you two standing here staring at the door?"
"Debating the safety of entering the dragon's lair," Elrohir replied with a slight smile.
"Yes, your mother is not happy with you either, by the way Elrohir. I suggest you avoid her as well." Elrond smiled at the two of them, looking quite uncharacteristically baffled. "Elrohir, give this to Laurëanna. It will help her with any aches and pain she has tonight."
Elrond handed Elrohir a small glass bottle of green lotion. "Now go home and take care of your wife."
Elrohir nodded and began walking home. Everyone was of one mind on this. He and Glorfindel had been horrible. And for once, they had been horrible together.
When Elrohir walked into the house, Elladan was sitting on the chair waiting for him. Elladan smirked at him.
"I see that Indil has spoken with you. You still have that shocked expression on your face. Apparently, Glorfindel's temper is affecting her as well." Elladan sighed as he stood. "Although personally, I think she is completely right and I do not blame her."
"Do I have to hear a lecture from you as well? Where is Laurëanna?" Elrohir asked.
"She is bathing. And perhaps you should hear a lecture from me," Elladan said looking sternly at his brother. "For I know you better than anyone."
"Elladan, what are talking about now?" Elrohir said avoiding his brother's gaze.
"Elrohir, you are hurting and angry. Plus you do not like feeling helpless. I have seen this before with you. Last time, it took us decades of slaying orcs for you to ever get any relief. We do not have years for you to work through this. You cannot do that anymore and you know it. She is your wife."
"I know who she is. Do not talk to me like I am some kind of fool!" Elrohir said loudly.
"Listen to you. You are yelling at everyone and constantly angry. Half of the time you are looking for a reason to yell at someone and the other half you are arguing with anyone who dares to get in your way," Elladan said, his voice raised as well. "Including Laurëanna."
"Do not worry about my wife, Elladan, nor my temper. You have a home. Go there. Now," Elrohir replied in a dangerously low voice.
Elladan walked to his twin. "If I leave here now, you might throw your horrible temper tantrum with her and she is too tired to fight back from your bullying any more today. Perhaps you should go for a walk and ease your anger, Elrohir."
Elrohir's eyes narrowed and he was going to respond when Laurëanna came into the room. She was wearing a thin robe and her hair was wet as if she had just leapt out of the tub.
"What is happening?" she asked from the hallway.
The brothers glared at each other. Finally, Elrohir turned and smiled at her.
"Elladan was just leaving. I thought perhaps you might spend some time alone with your husband tonight." Elrohir walked up and put his arms around her. With a final glare, Elrohir said pointedly, "Goodnight Elladan."
Elladan shook his head and sighed. "Goodnight Laurëanna," he said, ignoring Elrohir as he left.
"Why are you two arguing?" she asked looking up at him.
"We were not. Let us get you dressed so we can have supper and get you into bed." Elrohir turned her around towards the bedroom.
"That is it. I have had enough." Laurëanna turned away from him and stalked back into the sitting room. "You have done nothing but yell at me all day. Now you are treating me like a child, which I might overlook, but I will not tolerate you lying to me."
Elrohir took a deep breath. Looking at her sadly, he walked to where she was standing.
"Laurëanna, we were arguing because I am a fool and he was telling me that. And you know I hate that." He smiled and she appeared to be trying to hold a smile in. "Between your mother and my brother, I have been told how horrible I have been to you today. And they are right. I have been horrible. Forgive me."
Elrohir kissed her and drew her to him. Eventually, she relaxed his arms and snuggled close to him. The scent of her bath oil and the thin robe clinging to her damp skin was very arousing to him. Pulling her wet hair out of the way, he began to kiss her neck. Allowing her head to fall back, she exposed her throat to his hot lips tasting and teasing her flesh. He pulled her tight against him as she put her arms around his waist.
They had not made love since the night before the meeting in the Ring of Doom two days ago and their desire was heated. Pressing her gently against the door behind her, he captured her mouth in a ravenous kiss as she sucked his tongue and buried her hands in his hair. Soon she began pulling at his tunic and he quickly pulled it over his head before he resumed his passion-filled kisses. As he was torturing her mouth, she began running her hands over the sleek ripple of muscles on his chest and abdomen. He pulled her robe down off her shoulders and nibbled her shoulders softly. When he jerked the robe completely off and let it drop to the floor, she gasped in surprise as her nails dug into his waist.
"Elrohir." she whispered in between kisses as he claimed her mouth again. "Let us go to the bedroom."
"No. It is too far." he said caressing her breasts until she moaned.
"But…" she tried to speak but his tongue flicking her nipple as his thumb was teasing the other distracted her. "We…cannot…"
"Yes, we can," he whispered in between moving from one pert nipple to the other. As he sucked it into his mouth, he was unfastening his leggings. Her hands quickly moved to help him, needing him as much as he needed her.
A knock on the door startled both of them, causing them to jump. Grabbing her robe off the floor, Laurëanna ran into the bedroom. Elrohir put his head against the door for a moment trying to breathe normally again. Another knock. He picked up his tunic and pulled it back on with a deep sigh. Finally, he opened the door.
"Elrohir, I brought supper for you and Laurëanna. I knew she was too tired and I assumed you would not take care of it."
Celebrían brushed past him into the house with a basket. Elrohir silently prayed for strength.
"Naneth, I would have made sure she had supper. Apparently, everyone thinks I have turned into some type of troll overnight." Elrohir sighed as he ran his hands through his hair.
"From what I have heard, you have not been acting like yourself, so I was beginning to worry if you had succumbed to some type of madness." His mother fixed him with an angry look. "Why else would you be acting like such a fool?"
Elrohir opened the door and looked outside.
"What are you doing?" Celebrían asked.
"I was looking to see who else was waiting to tell me I have been a fool," Elrohir answered as he was shutting the door. When his mother opened her mouth to continue her tirade, Elrohir stopped her by saying, "I know. I have been a fool and a heartless troll. According to Indil, I am also a tyrant and Elladan says I am a bully as well. You are all correct. Now, if you will allow me to try and make things better with my wife, it would be appreciated."
"Do not get surly with me, young man." his mother warned.
Elrohir laughed and held up his hands in surrender. "I am not Naneth. I promise."
Celebrían looked at him for a moment then walked towards the door. Kissing him on the cheek, she started through the doorway. She stopped and turned to him.
"Elrohir, we know you are upset. Perhaps you should tell her your feelings. You cannot keep closing yourself off from everyone for the rest of your life, son. She loves you and she needs you now more than ever."
"I know, Naneth. I am going to take her to Alqualondë tomorrow so we can have some time together." He smiled slightly. 'Alone,' Elrohir thought to himself.
"I am glad," Celebrían said then hugged him quickly.
After she left, Elrohir called out to Laurëanna. She came back into the room with a robe on and he smiled.
"Mother has brought supper for you and her tyrant bully of a son. Let us eat it now as I am certain you are hungry." When she smirked at him, he smiled. "For food, Laurëanna. Supper now. Lovemaking later."
Grabbing her to him, he playfully bit her ear before letting her go. Handing her some lanterns, he picked up the basket of food then led her to the gazebo in the back of the house. Throughout dinner, he fed her, not allowing her to touch any food with her hands, as they both laughed. After they were both full, Laurëanna began to once again feel aches and pains, which had been temporally soothed by the hot bath. Elrohir carried everything inside as she walked slowly into the house.
"I feel like I have been running all day," she moaned. "While being beaten by an angry mob."
"You are so weak. You would never have made it as a true elven warrior." he laughed as he picked her up and carried her to the bedroom.
"That, my love," she smiled and kissed him "Is why I married you. You are strong and brave. Plus, you are easy on the eyes."
Elrohir laughed as he dropped her on the bed. She groaned and rolled on her stomach. Taking the lotion his father had given her; Elrohir began to rub it into the muscles of her arms gently.
"Mmm…that feels wonderful." She sighed.
Making her sit up, he stripped her of the robe then she lay on her stomach again and he moved her hair off her back. Taking more lotion, he massaged every inch of her back with slow and sensual strokes of his hands. He was enjoying the non-healing aspects of the massage as well. He moved his hands further down her body, over her buttocks and then put the soothing lotion on her legs as well. Feeling confident she was sufficiently covered with the herbal remedy, he put the bottle on the table.
Gazing over her feminine curves heatedly, he ran his hands over her glistening skin softly then leaned over her to whisper in her ear.
"Laurëanna, my love, I want to…" Elrohir stopped as he looked at her face and noticed her eyes were closed. She was sleeping peacefully.
Elrohir groaned as he rolled backwards onto the bed. Looking over at her, his aroused body screamed for him to wake her up and make love to her. Standing up quietly, he undressed. He lay on the bed and reached over to pull her to him. As she snuggled against him, he covered her with the blanket. His tenderness for his wife won over his desire.
Laurëanna had just awakened when she heard the soft knocking on the door. Glancing over, she saw that Elrohir was still asleep so she jumped up quietly. Grabbing a simple dress nearby, she pulled it over her head and smoothed her hair back. When she was dressed, she heard the knock again. She looked quickly over at her sleeping husband then rushed out of the room silently.
Opening the door, she was surprised to see Eönwë.
"Good morning Laurëanna," he said with a warm smile.
"Would you prefer to speak in the house or outside in your garden?" he asked.
Not wanting to wake Elrohir, she walked outside and the two of them sat down facing each other. Laurëanna noticed how dark it seemed and wondered if it was earlier than she realized. Eönwë must have noticed her looking around.
"Yes, the days are darker now," Eönwë said sadly. When she looked at him, he continued, "Sauron is coming and the skies are darkening. Within the next week, every day will be as if the sun never rose."
Laurëanna nodded sadly. Tears filled her eyes and she struggled to hold them back.
Observing her for a moment, Eönwë said, "There is nothing wrong with you being frightened, Laurëanna. No one thinks you are weak for your trepidation going back to Middle Earth. Fear is nothing to be ashamed of. Everyone feels it."
"Not my father, nor my husband. I do not want to disappoint them," she said softly.
"Both have fears of their own that they are battling now." He smiled slightly. "Yes, even the mighty warriors have fear."
"But…" Laurëanna stopped. She did not want to appear disrespectful and argue with him.
"Do you think your father fears nothing?"
Laurëanna laughed. "No, he knows no fear. He is incapable of being afraid. It is not even part of him. And Elrohir has not been afraid in thousands of years, if ever."
"My child, you are very wrong. They show no fear in battle, perhaps, but they both have much fear. It is just of a different kind and it is easier for them to mask," Eönwë replied. When she looked at him confused, he took her hand.
"Laurëanna, your father fears losing you. That is why he is pushing you so hard daily in the practice field. I have seen you there. And I see his fear, as you cannot. He worries he cannot protect you any longer." Laurëanna's tears began to overflow her eyes. "Elrohir is afraid of losing you as well. He is once again helpless to stop someone he loves from being hurt."
Laurëanna lowered her head as tears streamed down her face. Eönwë gently cupped her chin and pulled her face up to look at him. "Do not hide your feelings from them. As you all hide behind these walls of bravery, you are spending your final days together here in Aman more distant than you have spent all of your days before. Your mother sees this as well and is helpless to stop it. Your loved ones do not know how to bridge this gap between the three of you. Neither your husband nor your father will admit their fear to anyone but you. But they will only do that when they know you will understand it."
Laurëanna nodded. She was confused why he thought they would tell her after hiding this all of this time. But she trusted him to tell her the truth.
"I come on the other matter we discussed. I wish I could have come sooner, yet I feel my answer will soothe your distress about that." Eönwë smiled. "Manwë and Varda have granted your request."
Laurëanna grinned, relieved. She had not told anyone of her request of the Valar for worry that it would not be honored. When she did not hear from Eönwë for two days, she assumed their response was the request would not be granted.
"Both of your parents, Elrohir and Elladan, as well as Elrond and Galadriel will know when they return to Valinor about your past with them. Celebrían will remember when the first one of your family does as well. Neither your friends nor any others will remember however," Eönwë said. "But your loved ones must make this choice voluntarily before you leave. And they must know the consequences of their decision."
"I do not understand," she said confused.
"If your parents were to come to Aman and be bound to someone else, it would perhaps deeply hurt both of them," Eönwë said watching her face.
As realization sank in, she looked at him sadly. "But … if they were intended to be together, would they not be? Is it possible that they could fall in love with another?"
"Your parents will be different if you accomplish your task. They will not be the same people that met years ago. Their lives will be different. Therefore, their paths will change. There is no way to know if they will be together in the future." He watched her intently. "Just as there is no way to know that you and Elrohir will fall in love."
Laurëanna's heart sank. She looked away unable to think about her parents not being in love, or she and Elrohir not being together. It did not seem possible to her that it could be any other way.
"Perhaps it would be best if they never knew then," she said forlornly.
"That is their choice. I do not imagine either will choose not to know. Even if they are not together in the future, they would want to know their daughter." Eönwë reached out and took her hand with a smile.
"And if I do not return to Aman? If I die in Middle Earth, would they still know?" Laurëanna asked nervously.
"Yes. If they make the choice to remember, they will know no matter what happens in Middle Earth. They will reach the shores of the Undying Lands and will remember all that has happened. If you do not come here, they will suffer losing you."
Laurëanna looked at him with confusion and pain. She did not know what was best for her family. If she died, they would have to mourn the loss of her twice, when she leaves in a few days and if she never returns.
"Laurëanna, this must be their choice and they will choose what they will. Do not fret over it." Eönwë stood and she rose after him. She walked with him to the archway. "I will return to you at midday in eight days. You will need to say your farewells before then for only one will be allowed to come with you before you leave."
"Only one?" Laurëanna asked. She wished to have her mother and father as well as her husband there when she left.
"Forgive me but the Valar have decided that is best. Will you be here on that day?"
Laurëanna shook her head. "No, I will spend as much time with my parents as I can. I will be with them and the rest of my family and friends at their house."
Eönwë nodded. He walked to the archway then turned back. "Laurëanna, I am proud of you for embracing your duty and know that you will accomplish it. You are much stronger than you realize."
After Eönwë left, Laurëanna sat in the courtyard quietly thinking. Her thinking was interrupted by the arrival of Elladan and Rumil.
"Ah, fair maiden, where is that tyrant brother of mine?" Elladan said as he kissed her hand with flourish and drama. Laurëanna laughed as Rumil rolled his eyes.
"Elladan, have you not yet learned that it is useless to try and win the affections of your brother's wife? Your choices of ellith to charm baffles me," Rumil said shaking his head.
"Yes, but I know that Laurëanna will not fall under my spell and wish to be bound to me. So I may be safe to live my carefree life without threat of being tamed."
"Tamed? You have been tamed since birth, Elladan. If it were not for me, you would have made a fool of yourself for centuries," Elrohir replied from the doorway where he stood clothed only in leggings.
"Ah! 'Tis the tyrant!" Elladan turned and looked at Elrohir. "And in a foul mood as usual. Laurëanna, why you have bound yourself to this brother of mine confuses me. What have you done that deserves such punishment?"
"Trust me, I could tell you many things that the "sweet and innocent" elleth has done and how many times I have suffered the punishment for being the instigator of the mischief," Rumil said with a smile as he sat beside Laurëanna.
"My wife is the perfect example of what sweet and innocent should look like. " Elrohir smiled. "But looks are very deceiving."
"Hmm…why did no one warn me that I would have to suffer such assaults on my character today?" Laurëanna said, trying to look offended despite her amusement.
Rumil had been her friend since birth, it seemed, and she loved Elladan dearly. She had the most fun with the two of them and her husband. Laurëanna heard a familiar giggle and saw Airemír arrive. Elladan grabbed her in a forceful embrace. Airemír and Laurëanna had been friends for many years and Airemír thought that Elladan hung the moon and stars himself. She gazed adoringly at him even as she hugged Laurëanna.
"Airemír, I am so happy to see you. These rogues were attempting to impugn my near flawless reputation." Laurëanna smiled. Rumil snorted before he too embraced Airemír.
"I was told by your mother that Elladan and Rumil had been sent to escort you to Alqualondë. She suggested I come along so you would not be tortured by the teasing of these scoundrels." Airemír winked at Laurëanna.
Elladan clutched his chest. "Your words wound me, fair Airemír."
Elrohir rolled his eyes at his brother's overwhelming display of dramatics. Inwardly, he was irritated that Indil had insisted on a group of people going with them rather than him being able to spend time alone with Laurëanna. Sighing, he went into the house to dress. Laurëanna followed him shortly and, coming up behind him, she wrapped her arms around him, stroking his bare abdomen. Her hands slid down and he caught them.
"Laurëanna, I do not think now is the best time for you to tempt me. I do not wish to think of our friends and my brother in our garden listening to your screams of pleasure." Elrohir smirked as he squeezed her hands. She sighed and reluctantly pulled away.
When they arrived at Alqualondë, they had lunch on the terrace with Galadriel. While the males bantered back and forth, Galadriel spoke to Laurëanna and Airemír about events with their families and in the city. No one spoke of Laurëanna's upcoming departure. Galadriel was even more affectionate than usual with her but no one broached the subject, as if not saying the words made it not seem real.
Laurëanna went inside to find more of the wine they were drinking. Lady Galadriel followed her inside.
"Laurëanna, may we speak?" Galadriel inquired.
"Yes, of course." Laurëanna followed Galadriel to sit in the parlor.
Galadriel studied her for a while before speaking.
"Laurëanna, I am very proud that you are being so brave in doing the task laid out before you."
Tears burned her eyes as Laurëanna looked down. Softly, she said, "I do not know if I can do this. I am not brave. I am terrified. Sometimes at night I wake up so afraid I cannot breathe. They should send someone else, someone stronger. I cannot do this."
Galadriel pulled her into her arms and Laurëanna wept. The last two days had taken such a toll on her mentally and physically she was unable to keep her composure any longer. Galadriel stroked her hair and just held her.
Elrohir looked for Laurëanna and found them in the parlor. He could hear Laurëanna sobbing. He was so angry that she was hurting. She had done nothing to deserve this except being born in Aman rather than Middle Earth. He debated going to her but he saw that Galadriel was comforting her. He knew she would soothe his wife where he could not. He no longer knew the words to say. He was failing her and he was ashamed that he could not do what he needed to do.
Flashes of Middle Earth ran through his mind. He could not imagine her there. His sweet and gentle wife did not belong there. She belonged here with him where he could protect her. The pain of their parting weighed heavily on him. He had no say in what was happening. He could do nothing but watch as things were put into motion and he had no control. He turned away and walked slowly into the other room. Perhaps Galadriel could provide Laurëanna the comfort she needed. He no longer knew how.
Galadriel let Laurëanna cry until the tears no longer came. When she calmed, Galadriel pulled her face gently up to look at her.
"Laurëanna, you can do this. Do you have faith in the Ainur? Do you have faith in Eru?"
"Of course. I have total faith in them" Laurëanna insisted.
"And they have put faith in you," Galadriel said gently. "Why would you doubt them now? Laurëanna, no one knows their full strength until they are tested. You are capable of doing this. There is no question in my mind that you cannot. You are strong," Galadriel insisted.
"Why am I so afraid? Why cannot I not be brave like those around me?" Laurëanna sniffled. "You led your people and I cannot imagine you ever afraid."
"Because we have all been tested. We know our strengths and weaknesses. Rumil, Elrohir, Elladan, your father, Elrond, and myself, we have all been tested and know what we are capable of. You do not. But you were brave enough to accept this task. You overcame your fear and passed that test. When other difficulties are in your path, you will overcome your fear and pass another test. No one expects you to be a hero in battle. Once you convince Legolas and the two of you convince Aragorn what he must do, you have done what you have been asked. Then you must keep yourself alive. That is your only duty after Aragorn takes the Paths of the Dead. To live, Laurëanna. I have faith you can do this."
Laurëanna looked into her eyes and for the first time she believed she could do this. If someone as wise and brave as Lady Galadriel believed in her, why did she doubt herself? The Ainur and Eru believed in her and she could not lose faith in them. They knew her heart and fëa better than she did. She smiled and nodded. Galadriel hugged her tightly.
"I pray that when you return to Middle Earth, I will have a chance to know you as I do now. You have touched my heart Laurëanna. I hope I am that fortunate in the past," Galadriel whispered.
Laurëanna pulled away and looked down for a moment.
"Lady Galadriel, I have not told anyone this yet but I made a request of the Valar and it has been granted. Now that I know the potential consequences, I do not know if I have done the right thing," she said.
"What is it child?"
"I have asked that when my parents, Elrohir, you and the rest of my family return here, you will know who I am and remember our lives together," Laurëanna replied.
Lady Galadriel smiled. "That is wonderful Laurëanna. Why would you be concerned that this was not a good thing?"
"If my parents do not marry or they marry someone else, it will hurt them to remember their lives together. If I die, they must mourn the loss of me. Perhaps it would be better if they did not choose this."
"If you were in their place, would you choose to not remember? Would you want to forget the years you have spent with your parents, or the happiness you felt when you were married? Would you want to forget the love and joy we all shared together?" Galadriel asked.
"No," Laurëanna said after a moment. "I would want to remember every second, every thought, every feeling. Even if I was not married to Elrohir, I would want to know the love we have shared. And my parents, I would not wish to forget one thing about them. When I look back at my life, I cannot imagine anything I would wish to forget."
"We feel the same about our time with you, Laurëanna. When we are given the choice to remember, we will make that choice. No one would wish it any other way. Your parents, no matter what their life is like when they arrive here, would want to know their daughter. Even if you died, they would want to have the memories of your lives together. Perhaps if they have not found each other, their memories will cause them to seek each other out. Do not deny them that choice," She paused before saying, "Elrohir should remember your love. It was your love that softened his heart after centuries of pain and anger. He should remember his days of peace and happiness despite what has happened since then. Perhaps those memories will sooth his fëa at last," Galadriel said with a smile. "I will choose to remember. You are too dear to me to ever forget."
Laurëanna smiled as Lady Galadriel took her hand and squeezed it gently.
After spending most of the day with Galadriel, she bid them goodnight and suggested they go to the beach to watch the sunset. Elladan and Rumil brought wine and glasses and the five of them walked to a secluded area of the beach. The ellyn built a fire while Airemír and Laurëanna walked on the beach enjoying the final touch of the sun. Despite the darkening sky, the day had been pleasant yet it felt as if it had been twilight all day. Both ellith were quiet for a long time.
Finally, Airemír said, "Why are you doing this Laurëanna? It seems like madness to me and I do not understand. You could be killed. And for what purpose? A slim hope that it will make a difference."
Laurëanna sighed sadly. "Airemír, it is not as if I want to do this. I have no choice. It could save a lot of lives if I do this. If I do not, the Dark Lord will be in Aman in days. Do you want that?"
"No, of course not. I still have horrible nightmares of being in Lothloríen. I just do not understand why you would subject yourself to what we suffered. And why Elrohir and your family would allow this, I do not know." Airemír shook her head.
"It was not their choice. It was mine. But if it were one of them, they would go without a doubt," Laurëanna argued.
"Yes, but they have all been in war and fought many battles. You have not. You have never left Aman and have not seen some of the things we were forced to endure. Are you not frightened that it might be all for naught?"
"I am terrified in every way Airemír. But I cannot ignore a chance to make things right if possible. Perhaps it will be all for naught but I am willing to take that risk. I am obligated to do this." Laurëanna stopped and looked at her friend. "Would you not do this if the Valar asked this of you?"
"No. I would sooner die than go back," Airemír said sadly. "For if I went back, I could not endure it and would fade from the horror of it all."
Airemír turned and walked away leaving Laurëanna standing near the water's edge. Laurëanna felt tears well up in her eyes. Once again, she admonished herself for her fear and weakness. She stayed looking at the ocean for a long time before she heard Elrohir come up behind her.
"She thinks I am a fool," she said softly.
"No. She worries what will become of you. We all do," Elrohir replied as he stroked her shoulders. Resting his chin on her head, he sighed. "Laurëanna, everyone understands why you are doing this. Yet we have been there and know how hard it will be. We want to spare you that suffering."
"Would you prefer to fight the same battle again? On this beach instead of the fields of Gondor?" Laurëanna replied somberly. When he did not respond, she said, "No. You do not nor does anyone else. I must try to help at least. Even if I fail, I will not have to live with the knowledge that I was too weak or frightened to do one simple thing."
"Yet it is not simple. None of this is simple. I wish it were." Elrohir wrapped his arms around her tightly. "If it were, I could protect you from that nightmare."
"I know you would. But in some ways, it is unfair that I never suffered as everyone else did. I have always felt I was shallow and childish because I had such a simple and happy life and did not wish to suffer as everyone else has. Yet the guilt was always in my heart."
"Why would you feel guilty? Do you think you have done something to deserve suffering? No one begrudges you for the life you have had, Laurëanna," Elrohir said softly stroking her hair.
"Did any of you deserve suffering? No, you did not. You and Elladan stayed with your father and Lady Galadriel until every elf in Rivendell was gone. You waited until the last possible moment to leave. You were that brave and that honorable." Laurëanna looked at him. "You did nothing to deserve what happened to you. None of the people of Middle Earth deserved to suffer. So why should I not sacrifice as well? I am weak because I have grown up here. Like you said the other night, I have never suffered."
"No, you have not suffered first hand what we went through, but you have suffered through all of us, with all of us. If it were not for you, I cannot imagine ever feeling happiness," Elrohir argued.
Laurëanna laughed sadly. "You are in Aman, Elrohir. You did not need me to make you happy. Elladan is not my husband and he is happy. The same is true with Rumil."
"Yes that is true but that would not have been true with me. Even before the Fellowship failed, Elladan was much happier than I was. I had grown despondent before all hope was destroyed. Then I lived for my duty. I…" Elrohir stopped suddenly. Looking away from her for a few moments, he turned back with a slight smile. "We should return while there is still wine to be drunk. I am sure that Elladan and Rumil have started drinking our share."
Taking her hand he walked back to the fire. Laurëanna felt sad that he was once again shutting her out.
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.