Paradox of the Fourth Age
6. Chapter 5 ~ A Band of Gold
A/N Please be kind and review. Reviewing me is the best way to let me know what you think and I value your input. Thanks once again to my lovely beta and friend, Ellisk. Your help has proven to be invaluable. 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.
Le melon – I love you
Melethen - My love
Melethrilen - my beloved -feminine
Melethronen - my beloved -masculine
Gerich velethen – You have my love
Laurëanna – Golden Gift
Indil – Iris
9th Day of October
Fourth Age, Year 26
Glorfindel tried to hide his smile as he watched Indil struggle to rise from her spot on the bench. She was so swollen with child that she was horribly out of balance. He thought she looked beautiful though. She caught him watching her and gave him a dirty look.
"Stop your amused glances. Your son is being horribly active today," Indil said, pressing her hands against her aching back.
"My daughter is ready to come into the world," he smiled.
Celebrían looked at Taravil and said, "I will be so glad when this child is finally born so we can put this debate behind us. Glorfindel will never admit he is going to have a son until he sees him personally."
"That is because he is going to have a daughter," Taravil smiled. "A beautiful baby girl with her mothers sunny disposition and her father's intuitive nature."
Glorfindel winked at Taravil then looked back at Indil to gloat. His look grew concerned as he jumped to his feet.
"Indil?" He said, quickly wrapping his arms around her as she leaned into him. She was pale and a sheer glisten of sweat covered her pain stricken face.
"Glorfindel," she said in a panic filled voice.
"Its all right Indil. Taravil, can you go get the midwife?" Celebrían said calmly. "Glorfindel, you need to help me get her into bed."
Immediately, he bent down to scoop her into his arms and carried her into their bedroom. Indil had prepared long ago and had extra bedding, blankets, and towels already in the bedroom. While Celebrían rushed around getting water and other supplies, Glorfindel held her hand and smoothed back her hair, trying to keep her calm.
"Glorfindel, I am afraid," Indil said softly as tears filled her eyes. "What if something goes wrong?"
"Nothing will go wrong. Our child, son or daughter, is going to be healthy. And you will do beautifully," he smiled. Leaning forward, he kissed her, "Le melon, my sweet Indil."
A sense of calm washed over her as she looked into his eyes. "Le melon, my golden warrior."
Thranduil thought he would have to sit on Glorfindel before this day was done. Either that or tie him to the chair.
"Glorfindel, you are making me exhausted just watching you," he sighed.
Glorfindel had been pacing since Thranduil had arrived early this morning. Every once in awhile, he would sit down with a sigh only to jump right back up and start pacing again. Thranduil had tried getting him to drink some wine to calm him but so far he had only taken a few sips before he would resume pacing again.
"This is taking too long. It should not be taking this long," Glorfindel worried.
"I have already explained to you. Taravil was in labor longer than this with Legolas and Celebrían has reassured you that she was in labor longer than this with Arwen and even longer with the twins. This is the hard part. You must be patient," Thranduil said again. He almost snickered at the sight of the much-feared Imladris lord acting so frustrated and helpless. Perhaps it was best for all of their kind that Glorfindel had never been married in Middle Earth.
Indil had been in labor since the previous afternoon. Taravil had come to plead with Thranduil to come sit with Glorfindel because he was driving the midwife to madness. Celebrían had tried to order him from the room a few times before Thranduil had arrived. She finally convinced him that he was upsetting Indil so he reluctantly left the room.
Rumil was sitting quietly in the corner. He had arrived a short time before only to be yelled at when he asked how much longer the midwife thought it would be. Glorfindel did not know the answer and was very unhappy about it and made sure that Rumil was aware of his displeasure.
Celebrían came into the room and Glorfindel almost pounced on her.
"Is she well? Is the baby well? What is happening? How much longer does the midwife feel it might be?" He demanded without waiting for answers in between questions.
"Glorfindel, my word, calm down," Celebrían smiled. "She is fine and the baby appears to be fine. The midwife does not think it will not be too much longer. And Indil told me to tell you that she will not forget the fact that this is all your fault."
Amused that his wife still had her sense of humor after so many hours of labor, Glorfindel smiled. "Can I at least see her?"
Celebrían hesitated and he grew instantly anxious. "You are not telling me something."
"I am just concerned because right now…she is more calm than you are. I do not want you to go in there and cause her to be tense again," Celebrían tried to hide her amusement. Thranduil had to look away for fear that Glorfindel would see his smile.
Looking at the two of them, Glorfindel grew irritated. "Fine. Take amusement from the fact that I am a little anxious."
Against his wishes and much to his dismay, Rumil's snort could be heard by all. Luckily, Taravil coming into the hall distracted Glorfindel.
"It will not be much longer. Celebrían, we need you," Taravil said quickly.
After a few tense minutes, Indil's pain-filled screams filled the air and both Thranduil and Rumil jumped up to stop Glorfindel from running down the hall.
"It is normal. It is fine," Thranduil said calmly as he held onto him. Soon they all heard a tiny little cry. Thranduil patted him on the back and said, "The babe is here finally."
Glorfindel's heart was racing. When he heard Indil's pained cry, his heart almost stopped. Now it was racing. After what seemed like an eternity, Celebrían returned to the hallway with a small bundle in her arms. Gently, she laid the bundle in his arms.
"Indil said to tell you that you were correct again," Celebrían smiled. "Glorfindel, meet your daughter."
Glorfindel looked at her stunned and whispered, "Indil?"
"She is well. Very tired, but well. We are taking care of her now. Once we are finished, you can bring the babe back and see her." Celebrían kissed him on the cheek and said, "She is beautiful."
As Celebrían walked away, Glorfindel took his first look at his child. His chest felt tight, as he looked into the most amazingly beautiful, little face he had ever beheld. Her eyes were closed but after a moment she opened them and the beauty of her blue eyes struck him as they struggled hard to focus on him.
Every feature seemed perfect to him. A long fringe of lashes framed her eyes. Her cheeks were slightly chubby and her skin was the palest shade of pink. Her delicate ears and a dainty mouth with pale ruby lips accented her graceful features. Gently, he stroked the curve of her cheek and was amazed at the soft silkiness of her skin. Her tiny head was crowned with soft down that would soon become golden curls.
He confirmed that she had both ten toes and ten fingers. When he caressed her hand, she latched onto his finger and he watched in awe, as her hand closed and opened tentatively.
"She is beautiful," Thranduil said quietly, almost startling Glorfindel, who was so fascinated with his daughter that he had forgotten he was not alone.
"Yes, she is," Rumil agreed. Both were peering down at the child with smiles. After a moment, the two patted him on the shoulder and left him alone with her.
She was looking up at him and he smiled, stroking her cheek. His heart felt like it would explode at any minute. He had never thought it possible to be this happy. His daughter was the reflection of all that is good in the world. So pure and perfect, he could barely believe she was real and not a dream. Her soft, almost lyrical breathing reassured him that she was indeed real.
He did not even notice Taravil when she came to stand beside him. She rubbed his back gently and said, "Indil is ready to see you and her daughter."
Glorfindel smiled and thanked her. Walking slowly and carefully down the hall to their bedroom, he quietly walked to their bed and sat beside Indil who was propped up on many pillows. Gingerly, he laid the babe in her arms.
"Oh, Glorfindel, she is perfect," Indil whispered tearfully. She looked at him and he kissed her warmly.
"Are you well?" he asked, stroking her cheek with the back of his hand.
She gave him a weary smile. "I am exhausted, but well. Your daughter is as stubborn as you are. I did not think she wished to be born."
As if sensing herself being discussed, the babe began to cry softly. Indil nursed her as Glorfindel watched and soothed her cries. Soon after being fed, the baby fell asleep and he took her so Indil could get some much-needed rest.
"What shall we name her, Melethen? We must choose something," Indil sighed. She was tired, having been up every two hours for the last three days.
"I told you to choose one," Glorfindel said nonchalantly, not even looking up at her. His attention during the babe's waking hours had almost been focused solely on her.
"Glorfindel," Indil said, through clenched teeth. "I am tired. I have asked you what you want to name your daughter so unless you want her to be forever know as 'Glorfindel's daughter', I implore you, choose a name."
Glorfindel looked up surprised. He had not realized she was even upset until her last comment. Regretfully, he realized he had been disregarding her need for attention lately. He put the babe in her cradle and climbed on the bed with his wife, wrapping his arms around her still-tense body.
"I have been a horrible husband and neglecting my tired wife. Forgive me. You have my sole attention now," he said and caught her mouth with a lingering kiss.
After a few kisses, the tension in her body relaxed as she snuggled into his arms.
"I am not used to having to share your attention with another female," she smiled.
"I must admit, I am completely enthralled with her. She is an amazing gift you have given me," he smiled.
After a moment of thought, Indil smiled, "Laurëanna. Her name is Laurëanna."
Glorfindel kissed her and trailed his fingers down her face gently, just looking into her eyes. "It is perfect. As is she. I am blessed with two beautiful loves now."
Indil shook her head and giggled. "What have I done to you? Soon, you will burst into song. I will forever be known as the one who turned the great warrior Glorfindel into a minstrel."
He looked offended then laughed. "No, I will not burst into song. Besides, I have to make sure to keep vigil over that babe, so I must stay intimidating."
"Why is that? No harm will come to her." Indil looked at him confused.
"No but when she is older, many ellyn will want to take my daughter from me. I must be prepared for that day."
"Oh, Glorfindel. Most ellyn will fear that child. Not only will she be your daughter and will most likely have some of your more intimidating traits, but no ellon will want to ask permission from you to wed her. My poor daughter will never marry," she sighed as she rested her hand on his chest.
"That is perfectly fine with me," he responded with a laugh.
Glorfindel woke to the sounds of Laurëanna stirring. Quietly, he rose and checked her cradle. Even though she was awake, she was not crying. Carefully, he picked her up. Since she did not appear to be hungry, he let Indil sleep as he took the babe down the hall and outside to the balcony. Settling into a chair, he looked down at her as she silently watched him. The moon lit up her face and he could clearly see her eyes.
"Well, Laurëanna, you have me all to yourself now. What do you wish to speak about?" He whispered smiling softly. Amused, he realized that he was now talking to her as if he expected her to answer him.
Laurëanna looked at him expectantly. Since Glorfindel made it a practice not to sing, he proceeded to tell her stories. Knowing how her mother loved nature and all growing things, he told her the story of the Two Trees. She continued to look at him as if listening. When he had told his feelings upon seeing the Trees, he noticed her eyes were becoming heavy and she soon fell back asleep before the story was finished.
Glorfindel sat and watched her sleeping peacefully for some time. Her closeness made him feel more peaceful as well. As her mother had introduced him to happiness, she now was introducing him to the peace he had long searched for at last.
28th Day of September
Fourth Age, Year 88
The following days were spent preparing Laurëanna for Middle Earth as well as preparing Aman to defend against the Dark Lord's attack if she should fail. Lord Elrond, King Thranduil, and Lady Galadriel were all called to meet with other Elven leaders to discuss strategy of defense. The practice fields were full of ellyn preparing as well. The beaches at Alqualondë were also being studied for any weaknesses and prepared for battle. The city of Tirion swelled with the citizens of Tol Eressëa. The ellyn of the island remained, while the ellith and any children were brought to the city.
None of the citizens except those closest to Laurëanna knew of her part in this. Manwë had decided if she succeeded, the past would fade so no one would even remember this preparation and Laurëanna did not need the extra scrutiny of the other elves. She was grateful for this. As it was, she felt a huge weight on her shoulders that grew heavier each day.
During the early hours of the day, Glorfindel, Elrohir, and Elladan worked with her on her self-defense skills with a sword. They had decided that spending too much time on archery would only hinder any progress with the sword. Even if they had tried to work on her skills with a bow, they would have had a difficult time due to the fact that the archery fields were so full as the Elven warriors refreshed their skills in battle. Rumil was not able to train with her for this reason.
In the afternoons, Laurëanna spent time with her family as well as Taravil and Celebrían. Everyone tried to familiarize her more with various aspects of Middle Earth. Since she was claiming to be from Thranduil's realm, she was trying to learn more of their history. She already knew much of the history of Imladris, Mithlond, and Lothlórien from tales told by her family as she had grown up but she knew little of Mirkwood, only being exposed to Thranduil on occasion. Taravil had not discussed much of it with her. To Taravil, memories of Mirkwood focused too much on Legolas and reminded her too greatly of her loss. She tried not to discuss the forest at all, even if she could not stop thinking of it.
They decided that it would wisest to say that she was born early in the Third Age, when Thranduil was king and Taravil the queen. She also was to be born after Legolas. Taravil told her who to name as her father and mother if asked. The couple she had suggested had been killed shortly before Taravil had left. They had no known family or any kin in any of the other realms in Middle Earth, therefore, she would not have to worry she would be discovered.
Laurëanna learned much of the dwarves and their history with the Mirkwood elves. She heard the history of Dol Guldur and tales of dragons and great spiders. She was told more than she could possibly remember, she thought to herself.
After the practices in the morning and the afternoon study lesson, Laurëanna would spend the evenings with her friends and family together at her parents' home. Glorfindel's mood had become less withdrawn and difficult since the day on the balcony with Laurëanna. He and Indil spent a lot of time with their daughter. At times, Indil would sit with Laurëanna's head in her lap as she stroked her hair and the two talked quietly. Glorfindel would watch them and his heart would ache. Every night, he would spend hours soothing Indil as she wept. With Laurëanna, Indil was a pillar of strength, as she always had been. Celebrían and Taravil were with Indil in the morning hours to keep her spirits up while Glorfindel was training with Laurëanna.
Rumil and Airemír came to visit as well. Despite the darkness that was now constantly surrounding them, they all tried to enjoy the few days left in hopes that the threat of Sauron would not come to pass. As Eönwë had said, the days became almost as dark as the nights with the sun barely able to break through the gloom spread by the evil threat. The elves that had been in Middle Earth during the War of the Ring grew more and more despondent as once again their old foe had returned. Nightmares, long subdued, came once more, and everyone grew more restless and discouraged.
Galadriel had come to live with Celebrían and Elrond rather than traveling back and forth to Alqualondë when she met daily with the leaders of the Elven armies. Swan Manor had been turned into a haven for the warriors along the coast. The life they had all lived prior to the meeting in Máhanaxar days earlier was now gone. The hope lie with Laurëanna, and the burden was at times too much for her to bear. Most times she quelled her fear in front of others so only Elrohir and her parents saw the torment that she now suffered. All of the years of peace she had lived had come at a high price to her.
At night, she and Elrohir would make love until both were exhausted, then he would hold her throughout the night. Her sleep was now disturbed with nightmares of what her failure would cost everyone. Elrohir worried that she would break under the pressure, so he watched his temper and mood around her. When she was not around, Elladan had seen him lose complete control more than once. Elladan let him rage, knowing how hard it was for him to control his temper for his wife's sake. He was always there to pull his brother back before Laurëanna returned to him.
Elladan's heartache was swallowed in order to support Elrohir and Laurëanna in any way he could. Celebrían and Elrond watched sadly as the brothers, once again, had to suffer in silence over matters neither could control. Nightly everyone prayed that Laurëanna would be successful and live through this so they would all be reunited again in Aman. Each of them had made the choice to remember their lives with her. No one had even hesitated when Eönwë had returned to ask each one their choice. Taravil, Thranduil, Rumil and Airemír would not be allowed to make that choice and each regretted it. They comforted themselves with the knowledge that perhaps their loved ones would be with them once again, and felt sure that they would know Laurëanna in Aman once they all returned.
On the morning of the ninth day, Elrohir woke to an empty bed. Sliding out of bed, he pulled on a pair of leggings and went to find her. When he did, she was sitting amongst the flowers of their gardens.
He watched her for a long time as she picked at the flowers absentmindedly. "Melethrilen, what is it?" He asked softly.
Laurëanna did not turn to him when she answered. "My flowers. They are all dying in this darkness. They will all been gone soon."
After a moment, she said softly, "I guess it does not matter though."
Elrohir searched for the words to comfort her. He walked to her and sat with her.
"These flowers will come to grow here when you return. We will live in this house again and both of our memories of Rivendell will help us return this cottage to the way it is now," Elrohir said as he reached out and stroked her hair.
The hopelessness in her face was distressing to him. His wife was rarely ever sad before all of this happened and it was unbearable for him to see her like this. He wanted to comfort her but there were no words that would do so. The days were murky and ominous, sapping the happiness from all that lived in Eldamar.
"If I return," she said sadly.
Elrohir reached her and enfolded her in his arms. "You will return and I will return with you. We will be together; I know it in my heart. I may be stubborn but there is no way I cannot fall in love with you."
"What if by changing the past, you die? Have you considered that? I could alter the past just to see my beautiful husband die. I could not bear it."
Elrohir had never thought of it. By altering the past, she could affect the lives of her own family and she would have to live with that guilt. The possibilities of what could happen were endless and terrifying.
Not knowing what to say, he gathered her in his arms and held her as she sobbed.
Laurëanna had insisted on one more day of practice even though no one's heart was in it. Elladan was sparing with her and Glorfindel said, "Elladan, you are holding back."
"I do not want to hurt her," Elladan explained, moving out of her reach when she swung at him. Each blow he deflected with ease.
"Let us hope the orcs are as polite," Glorfindel replied watching the two intently. "Elladan, do not hold back. They will not. Neither should you."
Elladan parried another well-aimed thrust but then went on the offensive. He hooked his blade high and wide, almost catching her off guard. Recovering quickly, she deflected his strike and spun before attempting to lash out at him to the mid-section. He launched an attack on her so hard and fast that Glorfindel cringed every time she parried a strike. After a flurry of blows against her, Elladan eventually knocked the sword from her hands and her to the ground. He looked mortified as he checked on her. Elrohir also went to see to her when she burst into tears.
Glorfindel began to walk over to her, then stopped. He realized that in two days he would not be there and she would have to rely on the brothers, not him. He watched painfully as the twins took care of her.
"Laurëanna, are you hurt?" Elladan said, falling to one knee.
"I cannot do this," she said as she sobbed. "I am not ready. I …"
"Laurëanna, what is it?" Elrohir said checking her for injuries.
"Elrohir, I think she is more shaken than hurt," Elladan said softly. Both watched her as she covered her face and sobbed harder.
After a few moments, Elrohir said, "Laurëanna, you cannot stop and cry if attacked by orcs. Now stand up, we need to try again."
"No, I do not want to do this anymore. I am tired," she said, shaking her head.
"Laurëanna, you do not have a choice. Now stand up," Elrohir said putting his hand under her arm and rising, bringing her with him.
Elladan watched the gathering storm between the two of them, yet said nothing as he stood off to the side.
"Stop, Elrohir. Just leave me be," Laurëanna said, trying to pass him.
"Elladan, sword," Elrohir said, still blocking her way. He could see how angry she was getting and he was pushing that emotion to the limit. Elladan quickly handed him his sword. He reached down and picked up Laurëanna's sword from the ground as well.
"You wish to stop?" Elrohir asked her.
"Yes," she said angrily.
"You move past me and we will stop. Now take your sword."
"You cannot be serious," Laurëanna stared at him as if he had taken leave of his senses.
"Completely. Take your sword," Elrohir would not let her move out of his reach. Finally, she took the sword from Elladan while she glared at her husband.
They fought for hours, barely stopping to rest, and Glorfindel was ready to scream. Every time Elrohir would knock her down or strike the sword from her hands, he would make her retrieve it and try again. Each time he would come close to wounding her, he would stop and make her start over. The longer it went on, the angrier she became and Glorfindel was tempted to step in. He was afraid she would end up taking Elrohir's head off in his sleep that night if he kept this up. He could see that she was tired, but pure anger, fueled by adrenaline, kept her on her feet, so much so that fatigue barely slowed her down.
Elladan stood quietly beside him watching. Both warriors were observing the mistakes she was making and hoping to see her correct them, at some point, before they ceased sparring.
Finally, she caught Elrohir off guard with a few well-aimed strikes. Then, using her body weight, she knocked him back. Before he could deflect her blow, the tip of her blade was against his stomach. The two of them stood breathing heavily as she glared at him. He lowered his sword and looked at her.
"You did it. You finally realized you could not overpower me. You had to outsmart me," he said watching her eyes filled with fury.
Still glaring at him, Laurëanna threw her sword on the ground and walked away. Running past her father and Elladan without sparing them a glance, she left the three on the practice field.
Elrohir picked up both swords slowly and walked towards the other two. He had expected Glorfindel to be upset with him so he was surprised when Glorfindel nodded approvingly at him.
"I know that was not easy for you, Elrohir. But it needed to be done. She does not realize how fast things will happen if she is attacked," Glorfindel said looking at him. When he looked away, Elrohir saw the sadness in his eyes. "Unfortunately, we do not have time to teach her to react without thinking or work on her response time. There just is not enough time."
"It will be enough. This is dangerous but we all know that none of us will stand there and let her die, unprotected. Even if we do not know who she is, we will protect her," Elladan replied.
Elrohir was quiet before he responded, "You are assuming we all live to protect her."
"We are here now. Why would we not live through it?" Elladan said, confused.
"Laurëanna is afraid that her being there will change things and one of us will die because of it. It is possible that one of us will die. The visions show Aragorn's future, not ours. We do not know what will happen," Elrohir replied then followed Laurëanna up the stairs.
After he left, Glorfindel nodded at Elladan and said, "Laurëanna will be the only one who will know what has happened differently from our time now. She will carry the guilt and sadness if it is someone close to her that dies. If it is Elrohir, it will most likely destroy her. She could not take that pain."
Laurëanna ran up the stairs, brushing past everyone that she saw. She did not want to speak to anyone. When she got to her house, she went to her room and began to remove her practice clothes. As she took them off, she threw them on the floor. She grabbed a robe and went into the bath.
Elrohir came into the house cautiously. Hearing her bathing, he decided to wait to speak to her until she was done. He sat down with a sigh. He had hoped she would understand why he had pushed her so hard today. The orcs would not care how fair this was to her or how this had ruined her life. They simply wanted her to die.
When she finally came out of the bath, she went into the bedroom to change and he walked in quietly. He was silent as she dressed.
"You do understand why I was being so hard on you, do you not?" Elrohir finally said.
"No," Laurëanna replied not looking at him. "I know my husband has just spent hours trying to kill me over and over again."
He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her resting his chin on top of her head. Finally, he felt the tension leave her and she leaned back into his arms.
"Elrohir, I am so afraid. What if I get there and Legolas does not believe me?"
"Do you remember what Taravil said to him before she left?" She nodded. "Do you have the necklace?" Once again, she nodded. "He will believe you. Legolas will know you are telling the truth."
"What if we cannot convince Aragorn to go to Isengard?"
"Laurëanna, my love, you are panicking. We have prepared as much as possible for tomorrow. There is no point in you worrying all day about what happens if something goes wrong. You will figure out what to do, no matter what the problem is. I have no doubt that you will make things right," Elrohir said turning her to face him. "Then, when it is all over, you and I will fall in love and return to Aman and be disgustingly happy."
She giggled. Wrapping her arms around him as tight as possible, she rested her head on his chest.
"Do you realize that tomorrow I will be spending my first night apart from you since we were married?" She said. "I will be so lonely."
"Just do not turn to Legolas for comfort," he smiled as he stroked her hair. "Or Gimli."
Laurëanna and Elrohir went to see her parents. They had invited his family, Thranduil, Taravil, Rumil, and Airemír for a farewell supper for Laurëanna.
As she looked around the table, Laurëanna's heart ached knowing that she would be seeing her family and friends for the last time like this. The next time she saw them, they would not know her. Taravil and Celebrían would not even be in Middle Earth. And the others would be scattered in their different realms so she may never see them again. Even their friendship with each other would change without the tragedy of Middle Earth; some of them would never have met and might not meet, such as her mother and Rumil.
Galadriel assured her that the twins would visit her at some point so she would see her, Rumil, and Airemír eventually. Knowing that if she saw Thranduil in Mirkwood it would expose her lie, she would most likely not see him again. And only her family would know her in Aman. Her dear friends would not know her at all.
The others sat drinking wine as Laurëanna slipped onto the balcony for a few minutes. Even though it was late afternoon, it was so dark it seemed like nighttime. Laurëanna looked at her beloved home and her chest felt tight. She was overwhelmed with sadness because of the thought that if she failed, her friends and family might die trying to protect this. It was no longer the beautiful serenity that she cherished throughout her life. It was dark and surrounded by evil. And she was wrapped in sorrow.
Hearing the door open, she smiled seeing Rumil and Airemír come onto the balcony with her.
"Laurëanna, we are leaving. You should spend time with your family," Rumil said softly, trying to hide the sadness he felt.
Tears filled her eyes as Laurëanna said, "This is goodbye then, isn't it."
"Yes, it is," Rumil said and Laurëanna put her arms around him.
"We will never again have the fun that we had as I was growing up. But I will forever remember in my heart. When I see you in Lothlórien with your brothers, I will befriend you again and this time I will finally meet Haldir and Orophin," she whispered and he nodded.
"Beware of Orophin, he is easily infatuated by every beautiful elleth he sees. My brother was always searching for the one that he could spend his life with. He wanted to be in love, always the dreamer. You will like him very much," Rumil smiled. "Haldir is harder to know. He has been accused of being haughty and distant. But underneath that hard exterior, he is very caring. Perhaps you can see past the outside and see the goodness underneath."
"You have told me so much about both of them, I feel as if I know them already. I am sure I will love them both," she smiled. "I will always love you, Rumil. You suffered so much when I was a child, always the target of my evil plans. And now as adults, I have the most fun with you and Airemír."
Laurëanna and Airemír hugged. Tears began to flow freely for both of them. No words were spoken because neither could say goodbye. Rumil looked away with tears stinging his eyes. They all had so many good times together.
Airemír withdrew from the hug and looked at Laurëanna for a long time as she stroked her hair. "Promise me you will be careful. You must make it through this, Laurëanna. You deserve to have your life back to what it once was. To do this, you must be strong. Protect your heart as well. Even if your friends and family see you as a stranger, you know the truth. Keep those memories in your heart no matter what. I wish I could say I will never forget you but I cannot. You must promise you will never forget me, my beloved friend."
"I will not. I will not forget one moment we have all spent together. Losing the bond between us will be worth it if you will not suffer again the horror of what happened in Lothlórien. I wish to see you both of you happy and safe even if you do not know me," Laurëanna cried clutching her friend to her. Rumil came and hugged both of them and the three friends stood for a long time, as they would never be again.
Finally, Rumil said, "Airemír, we must go. Laurëanna has many farewells to say."
Airemír nodded. Kissing Laurëanna on the forehead, Rumil walked in the house choked with emotions. Airemír continued to hug Laurëanna both with tears streaming down their faces. When they pulled apart, Airemír whispered, "Be safe, my friend."
When she left, Laurëanna wiped the tears from her face and once again turned to look over the balcony, her mind flooded with so many memories of the good times she had with her friends. They would always be in her heart.
Elrohir walked onto the balcony and, taking her in his arms, kissed her gently and said, "Laurëanna, Taravil and Thranduil are leaving as well. They wish to say good-bye to you."
"This is not going to be any easier. I am leaving behind so many people, Elrohir. Yet I will see Legolas and the things I have been told of him will make him a friend to me from the beginning. The same is true with both Rumil and Airemir's families. I will finally meet Arwen and Aragorn. I hopefully will see for myself the beauty of Lothlórien. I only hope that things will happen as they should," she said softly.
"They will, have faith. And you will see all of the wonders of the Golden Wood. Do not let the pain of their parting make you forget why you must sacrifice their friendship," Elrohir said stroking her back. He wished he could take the sadness from her face and once again see the beautiful, cheery woman he had known.
"I know. It is all worth it. But it does not make the pain any less," she said.
Elrohir took her hand and led her inside. Thranduil and Taravil were standing near the door waiting for her. Taravil held her for a long time. She had been there when Laurëanna was born. She remembered the joy she felt seeing her beautiful face. She had watched her grow from that beautiful baby to the more radiant woman before her.
"I remember as a child, you gave me flowers that you had uprooted from my garden. You were so happy and proud, completely unaware of what you had done. I could not be mad once you handed the cherished flowers to me, telling me that my beautiful flowers should be inside as well," Taravil said with a smile.
Laurëanna laughed, "At least, your future gardens will be safe from me."
Taravil smiled. "You can always pick flowers from my garden as long as you are happy and smiling once again."
"Yes, but this time I will need to at least introduce myself before picking your flowers," Laurëanna smiled.
"No. Legolas will introduce us when you return," Thranduil said with a smile.
Taravil hugged Laurëanna tightly with tears streaming down her face. Thranduil squeezed her hand and said, "Be safe, Laurëanna."
After more talking and drinking wine, Lady Galadriel came to sit beside her and took her hand. The two sat for awhile listening to the others speaking. Once Elladan had everyone captivated by one of his stories, Galadriel looked and her and smiled.
"We have discussed it and thought it best if we all said farewell to you tonight so that you might have the morning hours with just your parents and your husband. Tomorrow will be difficult enough for you without adding farewells to four more people," Galadriel said quietly.
Laurëanna nodded. "Just do not say anything nice now or I might cry again."
"Then perhaps you would like a handkerchief?" Galadriel smiled.
Laurëanna laughed softly. She dreaded saying goodbye to everyone. She had never had to leave anyone other than for a short time. It was another new and terrible experience for her. Every day she woke and wished it had just been a nightmare, but it never ended. She knew that tomorrow it would be real and she would at last say goodbye to everything and everyone in her life. Tears filled her eyes at the thought.
"My child, you have a light that shines from within you brighter than most I have ever seen. In the past few days, that light has grown as dim as the skies outside," Galadriel said as she pulled Laurëanna's face up gently to look at her. "You cannot let that light go out. It is part of you and you are letting it wither away."
Laurëanna's tears began to stream down her face when she saw the tears glistening in Galadriel's eyes. She had never seen her cry or look this vulnerable. With a start, Laurëanna realized that the darkness and evil outside were affecting Galadriel even more so than the others. She saw deep pain of many ages in her eyes. The foe that she had tried to defend herself against and had killed her husband, her beloved granddaughter, and countless others she loved was now close to destroying everything she knew. She had finally escaped to Aman yet her peace was once again shattered.
Laurëanna felt a horrible sense of guilt. She had been so consumed with what she was losing, she had forgotten that they were dealing with facing an old foe that had almost destroyed them all. Lightly, she squeezed Galadriel's hand.
"I will be fine. Once this cursed Ring is destroyed, I will come to Lothlórien and see all of its glory. Elrohir can bring me there," Laurëanna said with a little smile.
Galadriel touched her face gently. The two said nothing further for there was no need for words. The room grew quiet and Celebrían came over and took Laurëanna in her arms.
"Please be safe. You go with all of our blessings, Laurëanna. We will be here waiting for you when you are ready to come home," Celebrían said. Lowering her voice, she said, "Do not let him push you away, child. He is stubborn, but you two belong together. Give him time to see that. Do not give up on him."
"Never," Laurëanna smiled through her tears. Both Galadriel and Celebrían gave her long embraces. Lord Elrond hugged her and kissed her forehead. They walked to the door leaving her parents sitting with Elrohir.
As they were leaving, Elladan took her hand and brought her outside with him. Once the others had walked away and it was just the two of them, they just stared at each other. Finally, she started laughing.
"Why are you laughing?" He smiled.
"Because I am trying to imagine you being serious enough to say goodbye without making me laugh," Laurëanna giggled. Growing serious, she said sadly, "You always make me laugh."
Elladan smiled but there were tears in his eyes. Pulling her to him, he hugged her tightly for a long time. Laurëanna couldn't speak for fear of losing her composure completely. She knew she would see him soon but this was the last time she would see the Elladan she knew: the one she loved as she did.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"For coming into our lives. You are so special and I am proud that you are being so brave," Elladan said, his voice strained with emotions. "Promise me something."
"Anything," she said as the tears began to flow despite her best efforts to stop them.
"Do not fall in love with me, no matter how tempted you might be," he said in a deadly serious voice despite the twinkle in his eyes.
Laurëanna laughed and held him tighter. The two stood for a long time just holding onto each other tightly. When he finally pulled back, she looked at him with a smile and he kissed her gently on the forehead.
"You poor thing. You will be helpless to my charms when you meet my evil twin," he chuckled.
"That would create a lot of confusion when we all returned to Aman, would it not?" She giggled. Holding his face gently, she whispered, "I love you Elladan."
While she still could, she kissed him quickly and went back inside. Elladan stood for a moment before Galadriel came and, putting her arm around him, walked back to his parents' house with him. Everyone knew how much this was hurting him despite his jokes and smiles.
While he was the one the least likely to be riled, his demeanor did not allow him to show his emotions anymore than Elrohir's did. Elladan's humor covered his hurt as much as his twin's anger covered his. He felt as if he had lost another sister and it was agonizing to him. He knew he had to be there to support Elrohir tomorrow so he and Galadriel talked until late into the night as she soothed him with her tender words of comfort. Celebrían and Elrond consoled each other: seeing their sons hurt again was as heartbreaking to them as the possibility of an upcoming battle.
Laurëanna and Elrohir had said goodnight shortly after the others left and returned home. They wanted to spend some time alone together. At home, Elrohir walked out to the gazebo and stood alone for a few minutes. It was eerily quiet. No insects were chirping; no wind was blowing. The stars were not visible. It was like the whole world was shrouded in a thick blanket of malevolence. This was not the first time he had stood in a gazebo just like this one, feeling the same thing. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw a flash of light and looking up, he saw her.
Laurëanna was standing in the doorway and she took his breath away. She was completely bare and her skin was bathed in only flickering light of the lamps inside but her inner light was radiant to him. Her thick hair hung in waves to her waist and he knew without being close to her exactly how it smelled. He could remember the way her skin felt and tasted. Everything about her was part of him now, imprinted in his very memory. Slowly, he walked to her and when he reached her, he pulled her into his arms.
"Laurëanna, there are no words to tell you how much I love you. You are everything to me," he whispered in her ear. "I had lost almost everything and my heart had begun to harden, yet you gave me so much love. Your spirit overwhelmed my sadness until I began to live with joy and laughter when I thought there was none left in me. And now I pray that you will do this again and not lose faith in our love."
"You are everything to me. I cannot imagine my life without you. You have given me so much; I cannot remember a day where I did not feel blessed to be your wife. The first day I saw you, I knew that you would be the one to make me complete and you were. You will always be my light in darkness, the one who holds my heart. I would sooner lose the stars than lose faith in your love," she lightly pulled him to her for a kiss. Picking her up, he wrapped his arms tightly around her.
As they kissed, their minds became one as memories of their lives together flooded back to them. Images from the day they met until this very moment drifted through their minds as their tongues danced gracefully together, lips joined lovingly. It was as if time stopped and it was just the two of them.
They made love for hours memorizing every second, every touch. They were united in love and body, becoming one fëa, their bond stronger and more powerful than it had ever been before. The world outside ceased to exist and they swore eternal love to each other yet again. For one night, the evil was held at bay by their love.
The following morning, the birds did not sing nor did the wind blow. The fragrance of the flowers could no longer be smelled as they were all withering from the loss of the sun and the foul air. All was still and Aman was grieving the loss of another day, bringing them one step closer to war.
As Elrohir was bathing, Laurëanna walked around her house touching various items and recalling special memories about each one. Her time was slipping by and she was torn between trying to recall all she had been told in the last ten days to prepare her and memorizing the moments of the life that she was leaving behind.
She was wearing leggings, a tunic, and a jerkin in the green and brown tones that a Mirkwood elf would be prone to wearing. Taravil had made her a cloak of deep green with embroidery sewn in designs that elves of that realm would have created. Her sword was smaller and lighter due to her size and she wore it so the scabbard was attached by a belt at her waist as well as one at her knee to keep it from moving too much. She wore soft brown leather boots that came to her knees. Her thick hair was completely braided and hung almost to her waist. Everything about her outfit was designed to resemble the fast, light elves of the woods.
Laureanna felt so out of place in her clothes, much like she was playing dress up as a child. She had always been very fond of beautiful clothes and now she was dressed as an ellon. She would feel so out of place once she arrived in Middle Earth, so this was really nothing compared to that. She sighed. All hopes of this merely being a horribly dream were gone. This was real and in hours, all that she loved would be gone. Tears stung her eyes but she would not cry again.
Elrohir walked into the room with his wet hair glistening. She looked up and smiled slightly. He looked so tired and sad it made her heart hurt. Reaching out, he handed her a long gold chain.
"What is this?" She asked as she took it.
"When Eönwë came to see me about my choice to remember, I asked him if you would be allowed to take your ring with you and he said yes. But if you wear it on your finger, it would indicate you were married and I would not…" He trailed off before he continued. "He explained to me that since you are going back through time, it will dissolve the bond between us, because it had not happened yet."
Laureanna nodded as she blinked back tears. She had not even thought of the ring and was touched that he had. She had worn this ring since he had given it to her at their wedding and it had never occurred to her that she should take it off. But if it had been seen in the past, Elrohir would assume she was married.
The bond between them would be dissolved and only exist in her memories. When he looked into her eyes, he would not know of their love. She had realized this since the Ring of Doom but looking down at the ring now, the full impact became real and was like a sword in her heart.
Sliding the ring off now, she placed it on the chain and Elrohir fastened it around her neck, along with the necklace Taravil had given her for Legolas. The chain with her ring on it hung low and would likely never be seen by accident. She looked down at her hand and realized how odd it looked without the ring. Wrapping her arms around him, she held onto him tightly.
"Thank you for asking him. I never thought to ask because I never thought to take it off. This will be the only thing that will travel through the ages twice. When we return to Aman, I will wear both my rings together," she whispered before she kissed him.
One slim gold band was all that would remain of this day. Just as one band of gold was the reason she was returning.
Glorfindel was sitting on the balcony when Indil came out and sat wrapped in his arms. He had not slept at all the night before. She had cried herself to sleep and, once he was sure she was sleeping soundly, he had come onto the balcony and counted the hours remaining. He held her now and both were silent. There were no words to sooth each other. The day had come to say goodbye to their daughter. Nothing could ease that pain except the possibility that it would only be for a short time until they returned to Aman.
When Elrohir and Laurëanna arrived, each parent spent a long time talking to her then they all were together. Time seemed to be moving faster. When the knock came at the door, Indil looked at Glorfindel panic-stricken.
"It's too soon. It is not yet mid day," she cried.
"Nay, it is not. 'Tis merely Elladan or Elrond, I am sure," Glorfindel squeezed her hand as he rose. Despite his words, his blood was cold now, as he was full of dread.
Opening the door, he was disappointed to see Eönwë.
"Glorfindel, forgive me, but Laurëanna must come with me now. Ossë has seen Sauron's ships not two full days from here. He has tried to delay them but through the power of the ring, Sauron stayed his assault," Eönwë said, distressed. "We are running out of time."
Glorfindel nodded sadly and let him into the house. Eönwë waited by the door as Glorfindel returned to the others.
"It is time, Laurëanna. Sauron's ships are closer than they feared. You cannot wait any longer," he said.
Indil started crying and she clung to Laurëanna who was trying very hard not to collapse in fear.
Pulling back to look at her, Indil cupped her face and said, "Be safe, my brave daughter. I am so proud of you. You will make this right then return to us. Do not make me mourn you twice. Stay close to Elrohir and Elladan. My love will always be there, even if it is just in your memories, but I promise, I will know your heart when I see you again. When the Ring is destroyed, bring your father to me."
Laurëanna nodded and said, "I will, Nana. I promise. I will miss you every moment until we are here again."
They held onto each other tightly, both with tears streaming down their faces. Elrohir and Glorfindel watched in silent agony. Finally, after a few kisses, the two pulled apart. Laurëanna looked at Glorfindel and began to sob. He gathered her in his arms and lifting her feet off the ground held her tightly.
"Le melon Ada. Take care of Naneth," she whispered when he lowered her to the ground and she looked up at him.
"You make certain you come to Imladris when the Ring is destroyed. If anything should go amiss, you come there straight away. Be brave, but safe. Do not look for valor. You are already a hero for returning to Middle Earth. Once you convince Aragorn to walk the Paths of the Dead, you have accomplished your duty. Then you focus on staying alive to see our lives brought back together." Tears were filling his eyes and his voice broke. "Le melon Laurëanna, more than I can ever say in words, and I am so proud of you. No father could be prouder."
Glorfindel hugged her again and pulled Indil to them as well. After a few minutes, Eönwë cleared his throat. Reluctantly, they pulled apart with final kisses. When Laurëanna began to walk to the door, Elrohir took her hand, feeling it shaking like a leaf. As Elrohir led her out of her parent's house following Eönwë, she glanced back at her parents and sobbed. Once the door was shut, she looked up at her husband. He kissed her on the forehead as he rubbed her back, drawing her close to him.
As they walked, Laurëanna grew more and more afraid. Tirion was in turmoil so apparently the news was spreading. She tried to take in all of the features of the city that she loved so dearly, committing them to memory. It was so dark, she could not see the gardens or the fountains, but she could almost envision as well. She tried to focus on the city not the people. If she thought of the people that she cared for so much, she would have gone mad. Neither Elrohir nor Laurëanna realized that Elladan followed them quietly so that Elrohir would not be forced to return to the city alone.
Elrohir felt like his fëa was being torn from him and worried that for the first time in his life that he might not be able to endure something. When they reached the Ring of Doom, he felt sickened. Manwë and Varda were there waiting. They both smiled calmly, yet their eyes betrayed their worry.
"Laurëanna, forgive me that we have cut your time with your family short. It could not be avoided," Varda said softly.
"I understand," Laurëanna answered, her voice barely heard.
"Laurëanna, do you have any questions that you wish to ask before you leave?" Manwë asked and she shook her head. "You must remember what you were told ten days past. You may not tell anyone, save Legolas, of the fate of Middle Earth. If Elessar once again makes the wrong choice, once he starts down the wrong path, no more can you do to intervene and you cannot tell family nor friend who you are."
Laurëanna nodded solemnly. Varda smiled at her reassuringly and Laurëanna could not help but feel overwhelmed before the two Vala.
"The blessings of the Ainur go with you Laurëanna. In times of doubt, know that we hold true to our faith in you," Varda said and laid her hand gently Laurëanna's head. "You must hold true to your faith and trust in Eru." Laurëanna nodded, tears glistening in her eyes.
"We will give you and your husband a few moments," Manwë said and nodded. The three Ainur walked a few steps away and turned away as they spoke softly.
For a moment neither could speak, as they looked at each other painfully. Finally, Elrohir said, "I love you more than I thought I could possibly love anyone. You have made me trust in love to heal even the deepest hurts."
Laurëanna stroked his face as tears flowed freely down her face. "I have loved you from the moment I saw you. Your love is more beautiful that all of the splendor of Aman and your heart is more precious than any gem in Arda."
"You warn Legolas that if one golden hair on your beautiful head is harmed, he will answer to me when we arrive in Aman." Laurëanna laughed before Elrohir continued solemnly. "Make me see our love as I see it now. Do not lose hope in me, my love."
Elrohir kissed her and for a few moment the world was perfect again, as they were bound within a spell of enchantment of true love. As her lips danced gracefully on his and his tongue found hers, they poured all their love into the kiss and it was so beautiful and so intense, yet heartbreaking. He held her and she wrapped her arms around his neck, merging their bodies, mouths, hearts, and fëa for one last time, blocking all else from their minds save each other.
When they broke the kiss, the spell was broken as reality crashed into them like a wave and a fell wind blew over them. Laurëanna shivered, as it seemed to grow even darker. The air that had been so still now was tumultuous and cold. The wind sounded loud as it crashed over the Pelóri, like a wild beast roaring through Calacirya.
"It is time Laurëanna," Manwë said gently and held out his hand to her.
She hesitated a moment, terrified, and looked at Elrohir. Painfully, he nodded and she looked back at Manwë then took his hand. Behind him, there appeared to be shimmer, a ripple in the world. He held her hand gently and brought her closer. She stopped and he turned to look at her reassuringly.
"It will not hurt. You will not feel a thing," he said soothingly in a quiet voice as he urged her to move even closer.
Laurëanna had never been more terrified in her life and without thought, she pulled her hand from Manwë's. Turning, she ran to Elrohir and threw her arms around him holding him tight and kissing him urgently. Even as he returned her kiss she could feel his tears falling on her face as well as his own.
Once again, she released him and he whispered, "My love, you must go now."
Nodding, she turned away reluctantly. She looked apologetically at Manwë and he smiled gently, noting she seemed calmer.
Laurëanna wiped her tears away and took a deep breath. Manwë walked with her to the shimmering area. As she stepped into it, she saw what seemed to be a tunnel of bright light and felt a blast of warm air surge around her. The bright light dimmed and she felt Manwë's hand leave hers. She turned to look one last time at Elrohir. When she turned around, her hands flew over her mouth.
Before her stood the broken walls of Helm's Deep. Her eyes widened at the sight of the Hornburg and the Deeping Wall. The gates were shattered and parts of the wall were completely in ruin. Every where she looked it seemed there were men scurrying about at work. Looking to her left, she saw the piles of bodies and almost wretched at the sight and the smells in the air. So consumed with the horrific scene before her, she did not hear the men of the Mark speaking to her. When someone touched her arm, she whirled around and stared at two men, both weary and filthy.
"My lady, where did you come from? You should not be here. This is no place for you. You should be with the other women," one man said to her looking at her suspiciously.
Laurëanna saw the doubt in his eyes and noticed his hand rested on his sword. She was still in shock as she struggled to remember what to say. Her hands betrayed how shaky and faint she felt so she quickly clasped them together for fear the men would see her nervousness and grow more suspicious.
"She's an elf," the other man said softly staring at her in awe.
The first appeared surprised but before he could speak Laurëanna said, "Legolas…I need to speak with Legolas."
The first man said, "I do not know this…Legolas…that you seek. You did not answer my question, I asked you where…"
"Legolas. The elf with King…I mean, Lord Aragorn," Laurëanna stammered. Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she continued, "I need to speak to him most urgently. I come on behalf of the Elven King of the Woodland Realm. Will you take me to him?"
The two men looked at each other for a moment and she grew worried. Finally, the first man said, "I will show you to Lord Aragorn, my lady."
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.