12. Everlasting Respect
Note: Someone mentioned Elves sleeping… Well, my opinion is: in normal situations, peaceful times, they sleep with their eyes closed, just like we all do (I assume ;-)), and only when they have to stay awake, or vigilant, in more dangerous times, do they 'sleep' with their eyes open, in the way it is described in LotR, ready to react on their surroundings. I assume sleeping (with eyes closed) is a sign of trust in surroundings (or parents).
And about whether I can correctly call Elrond Half-elven; he's supposed to be (according to one more intelligent than I) 3/8 Adan (Man), 5/32 Vanyar, 3/32 Noldor, 5/16 Sindar and 1/16 Maia… As you might understand, I kinda got disinterested at this point and therefore will not get into the discussion ever again. Elrond is Halfelven. Bite me. ;-)
Young she was and yet not so. The braids of her dark hair were touched by no frost, her white arms and clear face were flawless and smooth, and the light of stars was in her bright eyes, grey as a cloudless night; yet queenly she looked, and thought and knowledge were in her glance, as of one who has known many things that the years bring.
From Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter 12 Everlasting Respect
The sound of two young men, just into their first century, reached the largest study of Imladris. With a smile it's Master left his books and notes, making his way down.
Elrohir stood closest; waiting for his brother to finish his conversation with Glorfindel, before going up to greet their father. As Elrond neared, he turned and smiled, stepping towards him for an embrace.
'Tis good to see you.' Elrond spoke, as Elladan approached as well. 'I hope you left Lórien well?'
'Lórien is always well, father.' Elladan grinned, allowing his father to pull him close, very aware of the reason behind the query. 'And mother too, but she did not indicate the time of her return.'
'She asked us to ride on without her.' Elrohir added.
Elrond smiled half-heartedly and motioned the twins inside, where lunch was being set.
They had ridden to Lórien, together with Celebrían, at the beginning of spring. After a short stay there, the brothers had ridden on to visit the newly crowned king of Gondor, Earendil, on an errand of their father: bringing well wishes from Imladris. Returning, they had travelled via Lórien, and Elrond had hoped the twins would bring news of Celebrían's return.
He was always glad to receive notice of her homecoming.
It was not exceptional for a husband and wife to dwell separately for periods of time. Elrond understood and respected Celebrían's desire to house in Lórien, even if it was only for short periods every couple of years. But Celebrían's absence made him restless. She always tried to persuade him to accompany her, she had; before leaving less then a month ago. But too often his responsibilities kept him here, at Imladris, like they had this time.
Silently he watched his sons eat; hungry as ever, as if they wished to grow taller still. Elladan winked at Elrohir seeing his father drifting off into thought.
Elladan's conversation with Glorfindel had been to relay a message from his mother. A message his father was not meant to hear.
'Make sure the Lord of Imladris is not informed of the Lady's imminent arrival.'
When Elrohir told Elrond that Celebrían asked them to ride on without her, he had spoken the truth. He had merely omitted the fact that it had not been in Lórien, but at the river Bruinen, where they had parted.
Only Elrond's drifting saved the plan from being discovered, Elrohir pondered. When they had been younger, he had only needed a single glance at them to discover mischief. Now, he seemed preoccupied.
Little over an hour later, just as Elladan had said, Celebrían dismounted and greeted Glorfindel. Her cheeks had a blush on them. He suspected it was not from the journey. Rather it was the thought of being reunited with her husband. Her visit to Lórien had been short; less than a month.
'My Lady, welcome back.' He smiled, offering his arm.
'Thank you, Glorfindel.' She answered, accepting it. 'How is he? Did he notice?'
Glorfindel smiled broadly.
'He is entirely unsuspecting, my Lady.'
Celebrían's lips curled upwards and her face began to shine.
She laughed inwardly at her own nervousness. Well over a century into their marriage, and Elrond could still do that to her. Celebrían had to be careful not to lower her guard now, or he would immediately sense her presence.
'Do you want to change and refresh first?' Glorfindel asked, bringing her back to the early summer beauty of Imladris and its more private hallways. She smiled and shook her head.
'I cannot… He will learn of my presence if I do… The library?'
'After lunch he returned to his work and your sons retired…'
Celebrían patted Glorfindel's arm as she released it.
'I will go to him right now, thank you Glorfindel.'
As Glorfindel watched the Lady of Imladris ascend the steps which led to one of the library entrances, he didn't find it hard to understand Elrond's dedication to her. He considered she brought joy back into the heart of Imladris, in more ways than one.
Celebrían almost held her breath as she entered the library, finding her husband, still not aware of her presence, standing at one of the large massive tables, studying one of the many large leather-bound volumes. His dark hair, partially braided so it would keep out of his face when he sat writing, flowed over his back, somewhat shorter than her own. It was difficult to keep her thoughts from him, watching his face, the light of the heavens shining in it, just as in his father's. The beauty and wisdom of the Eldar, with the strength and power of endurance of the Men of old…
Celebrían watched him leave the table, collecting a smaller volume from a nearby bookshelf, turning the pages at the spot, his back towards her.
Losing her patience, Celebrían quietly neared him, trying not to let the rustling of her travel clothing notify him of her arrival. Anticipation soared inside her and she felt the blood stream into her cheeks again. As she reached Elrond, she slipped her arms underneath his, pressing the right side of her face against his back, feeling the body-warmth, smelling his scent. His heartbeat increased under her touch, her hands resting on his chest. 'Suilad, herven*.' She whispered.
Elrond, turning and catching her in an embrace, raised an eyebrow. Suddenly he seemed very aware of being somewhat misled.
'You will never cease to tease me, will you, gwilwileth*?'
Celebrían smiled and a tender kiss ensued, while she took the book from his hands, replacing it upon the shelve.
'Forgive me, my love.' She whispered, as a glimmer in his eyes indicated he already had, with her first touch. She had missed him as well, glad his face so vividly returned the sentiment. Seizing his hand she pulled him towards the balcony.
'Sit with me for a while…' She directed, pulling him down onto the bench, the same bench where they had sat so many times before, both together and with the boys when they were younger.
And all was well again, peace returned in Elrond's heart; what was missing had been returned. And yet…
'Tell me why you have returned so soon…'
Now Celebrían raised an eyebrow with a smile.
'I can go back to Lórien… But you will have to come with me.'
'And why is that?' Elrond asked as he settled back, genuinely wondering at first, until it began to dawn on him. He frowned at her, his eyes beginning to glimmer once again. 'You don't mean…?' He whispered, catching her hand.
'I discovered when I was in Lórien…' Celebrían returned, her breath quickening once again, folding her hand into his. 'You know I wouldn't have gone otherwise.'
Elrond smiled broadly as he looked at his wife.
'You know how I have longed for this…'
Celebrían smiled and pulled him up with her, embracing him once again.
'We have together…'
Elrohir's attention was immediately seized when he heard his father's laugh, a rare occurrence. A smile was common, certainly, but a discernable laugh at this time of day… It could only mean his mother had arrived.
Evidently, Elladan had come to the same conclusion. The two brothers met each other on the terrace linking their rooms.
'That was father, wasn't it?' He asked, as if he needed confirmation.
'I think so…' Elrohir grinned, walking to the balustrade and leaning over, trying to catch a glimpse of the Lord and Lady of Imladris, but not succeeding.
'And what could be so amusing?' Elladan enquired, as he followed his brother's example.
'I'd rather know why mother wished to return so hastily…' Elrohir replied.
'You did not perceive any signs of illness, did you?' Elladan asked, narrowing his brow in the same fashion his father always did.
'No, nothing… She seemed perfectly content to come back with us, eager even…'
For a moment both seemed to consider. Then their heads slowly turned towards each other.
'You have to be joking…' Elladan whispered, as a smile crept across Elrohir's lips. The next moment both were in a fit of laughter, happiness and awkwardness equally represented.
'I shall not be able to face either of them for at least a week.' Elladan grinned, running down the steps, down into the garden, Elrohir not far behind.
'Where are you going?'
Elladan, snorting with laughter, had a hard time forming the words.
'To the library, of course, to see if they are there.'
'I bet you it'll be a girl…'
'What's the stake?'
'You have yourself a bet, little brother.'
Somehow anticipating the objective of their sons, Elrond and Celebrían had already exchanged the library for the gardens.
However much Celebrían loved Lórien, there was no denying that Imladris was magnificent in summer. The rays of sunlight warmed her skin as she and Elrond strolled beneath the glorious trees, the leaves softly rustling. Somewhere, unseen as ever, the river; streaming water clattering onto the rocks.
She let herself be pulled closer by Elrond, his lips finding hers once again, before he voiced caressing whispers, his fingers slipping over her face, her neck.
Was this the stern, serious person, once vice-regent to Gil-galad, that she had fallen in love with so many years ago? Not that it mattered; possibly she loved him even more now.
Over the years she had discovered so much love, devotion, in him as well. All of it had lain hidden, somewhere deep down, where it could not hurt him. Sometimes she found it hard to believe that had only been a century and a half ago. There was so much to give…
He led her to the river, and sitting together, Celebrían rested her head against his chest, feeling his arms around her, his heart beating, his breath ever so serene.
'I wish we could stay here forever…' She whispered, resting her hand on his stomach.
'We can,' Elrond smiled, playing with her hair as it fell over her shoulder. 'I will order everything we need right over here and we can…'
Celebrían sat up and pulled his ear.
'Don't tease me…'
Elrond laughed and pulled her close again.
'So, you can tease me, but I cannot tease you?'
Celebrían smiled broadly.
Elrond smilingly shook his head and pulled her into a passionate embrace, feeling her hands resting comfortably on his body.
Elrond cupped his hands together, his elbows resting on the balustrade, as if he wished to catch the rays of the late afternoon sun within them. The warmth collected over his body; on the bare skin of his hands and face.
The blossom on the trees, the blue flowers that reared their heads from amongst the blades of grass, all seemingly called to him; announcing summer.
But he was well aware of the fickleness of spring. It would not surprise him in the least if, by next week, a cold wind from the mountains would sweep through the open hallways of the Homely House.
And still he was content, this single moment, hearing birds chattering and catching fragments of conversations between inhabitants of his house. The careful whisper in the rooms within, where Celebrían rested.
For a moment expectancy was hidden in his heart, and he did not miss the nervous urgency that had been on him before.
A breeze caught the lighter strands of his hair for a moment, and he took pleasure in its refreshing of his heated skin.
Too hot the coming summer would be, he predicted. One of those that would force him into the breezy library during the hottest days, while the cooler ones would make it wonderful to meander in the woods, together with Celebrían.
Glorfindel sat near, eyes closed in sustained enjoyment, his hair gleaming brightly as it reflected the sun, his hand under his head.
Both were up when the call came, not entirely unexpected.
'My Lord, it has started.'
Elrond was back at his wife's side, leaving Glorfindel waiting on the balcony, as he had once before.
'How can such little living things make us feel even smaller?' Elrond's voice was soft as he carefully moved his fingers over the dark hair on the girl's head.
Celeborn smiled, his hand resting on Elrond's shoulder, who cradled the small girl in his arms. Amazed, once again, by the gift of love.
'A daughter is special, my friend, very special indeed.'
Galadriel who sat beside Elrond nodded, agreeing with her husband.
Elrond smiled, not able to take his eyes of her.
Elladan and Elrohir stood nearby and carefully studied their father, as he held their sister. Both were well aware of his longing for another child.
It had taken longer than expected, Elladan mused privately, at once reprimanded by his brother, who gave him a short poke. Everlasting respect. Elrohir reminded him.
Looking from Celeborn to Galadriel, Elrond smiled apologetically.
'I must return.'
Pressing the bundle carefully against his chest, he entered the bedroom where Celebrían waited. Elrohir neared Glorfindel as they watched him cross the threshold.
'Do you suppose they will fuss less about us now?'
'She is beautiful.' Elrond whispered to Celebrían, sitting down on the bed beside her. Celebrían watched him as the child rested in his arms, the small fingers closing around his larger ones, or the occasional braid of hair that came within range. Stretching her hand, Celebrían touched his cheek.
'She has your face…'
Elrond leant over and kissed her, before his eyes returned to his daughter.
'Is that a good thing?'
'It is…' Celebrían smiled.
Celebrían's hand found Elrond's without difficulty, as he listened to Arwen's soft singing, the little girl walking only a few paces ahead of them. It was difficult to explain how much the both of them meant to him. Especially now… He felt Celebrían increase the pressure on his hand, and he smiled down at her, thankful. She knew the pain in his heart.
Valandil was dying. He had made his final journey here, not two months ago, relinquishing the throne to his son Eldacar. They had talked much, the last couple of evenings, but Elrond knew the end was nearing, in fast pace. Too fast… He needed these peaceful moments with his family, to gather the endurance to help him through the evenings.
Arwen turned and ran towards them. Elrond released Celebrían's hand to lift his daughter onto his arm. She giggled while placing her hand on her father's shoulder, smiling down at her mother from her elevated position.
They were returning home, as Elrond was not willing to go too far. It was Glorfindel who came towards them, not running, but his pace too quick for comfort. He only had to give Elrond a single look to relay the situation. Kissing Celebrían he caught her hand briefly, before lowering Arwen, and joining Glorfindel.
Valandil died during the twilight of that same evening, with both Glorfindel and Elrond at his side. It was a peaceful passing, and Elrond thanked the Valar for at least that. It had drained him. When he at last replaced Valandil's rooms with his study, sitting by the small fire there, collecting his thoughts, a small hand was placed on his arm. With a thankful glance at Celebrían, who had sent Arwen in, he pulled his daughter unto his lap. Resting her head against his shoulder, she simply played with his hair, staying silent.
Neither Elladan nor Elrohir, at the age Arwen now was, had been tranquil enough to sit with him as she presently did. Pensively, he kissed her forehead, making her look up at him.
'Ada, can we watch the stars?'
He nodded and rose from the chair, clinging her against him. Her small arms were firmly around his neck as he carried her to the balcony. Only as she saw the sky did she loosen her grip. Fingering his collar, her eyes upturned towards the heavens, her voice was a whisper.
'What is the Evening Star, Ada?'
His voice was equally soft when he answered.
'The most important star of all, my little one. It leads travellers on their way, it gives light in darkness… Like you are my Evenstar, my Undómiel.'
She rested her head against his shoulder, and it was only when Celebrían touched his back, after he didn't know how long, that he noticed she was asleep.
They crossed the silent hallways of the Last Homely House, bringing the sleeping Elf-child to her bedroom, not far removed from their own rooms. Elrond watched Celebrían pull back the sheets on the bed before he carefully placed his daughter in the large bed. He could have sat there the entire night, simply because it gave him peace.
Celebrían motioned him away after a while, and only then did he feel the tiredness flowing through his body.
Elrond never expected anyone else to adopt the name he had given to his daughter, and he was not quite sure when it exactly began. But by the time she had reached maturity, she was Arwen Undómiel, no longer just the evenstar of her father, but that of her people.
'Suilad, herven.' : Greetings, husband
Still enjoying? Even though you must know what will soon happen?
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.