Tale of Elrond and Celebrian, A: 13. Guests

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13. Guests

Wizard is a translation of Quenya istar […]: one of the members of an "order" (as they call it), claiming to possess, and exhibiting, eminent knowledge of the history and nature of the World. […]; they belonged solely to the Third Age and then departed, and none save maybe Elrond, Círdan and Galadriel discovered of what kind they were or whence they came.

Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

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Chapter 13 Guests

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He was reluctant to go into the gardens to find his parents; the moments his father spent alone with his mother were precious to both of them, he knew. But Elladan had insisted someone seek them, now that Glorfindel had returned from the Havens with a guest, and since Arwen had refused to go, he had maintained it was to be Elrohir's task. Elrohir suspected, as he stepped bravely over the grassy lawns besides the river, that Elladan didn't dare to go himself. Enduring one of his father's piercing looks was never enjoyable.

Mystical singing made him drift back into his childhood, to one of the lullabies his mother always used to sing… But not this particular one. The sadness in this one was too gloomy for a mere child. Yet he had heard it before, in the Hall of Fire, perhaps even from his father's own lips, when speaking of events in the Second Age.

Alcarelen né aran Eldaron.

Sen i nandaror lirë nimbanen:

i telwa ya ardarya né vanima ar latina

imbë i Oronti ar i ëar…

The accent of harmonic Quenya was noble, and possessed by a rare splendid Elven voice, even for one here at Imladris. But Elrohir smiled when he heard it, able to recognise his mother's voice anywhere.

Macilerya né lenwa, eccorya né laicë,

silala cassarya vahaia cenina;

i únótimë eleni menelo telluma

naltanar turmaryassë telpina…

Using his ears to find the soloist, he located both his parents. Ensuring they, in turn, did not notice his presence, he sat down on the sun-warmed ground, some shrubbery hiding him. Closing his eyes, he felt his father's pain translated through his mother's words, and Elrohir decided he couldn't interrupt. The singing resumed.

Nan yalúmë háya lendero,

ar mammen marnero úner pole quetë

an morniennan elenarya lantanë

Mordoressë yassen i huiner nar…*

His father sat against a tree along the Bruinen, one of their favourite places, as his mother rested her head upon his chest. She was silent now. His father stroked the tresses of her silver hair. It was something none of the children had inherited; the ancient strains in his blood had been stronger than those of his wife.

Elrohir turned away silently, rising and retracing his steps, back to the house. Elladan looked at him inquisitively.

'Did you not find them?'

'I could not…'

Elladan felt some hesitance in his brother's words. He did not ask further.

'Then we shall simply wait until they return of their own accord.'

 

Celebrían could sense the emotions in Elrond. Still after so many years…

If those words were sung or spoken by others, on those late evenings in the melancholy hours of the night, he would close his mind, forcing it to other things, or turn away. Not so now, in their relative privacy.

His fingers caressed her ear, and the touch made her kiss him, as it caused the yearning in her stomach to increase. Elrond pulled her closer by the upper arms, his grasp strong but careful, his lips gentle yet sensual when meeting hers. Celebrían felt him almost giving in to her, his hands trailing her back.

Then the touches became more comforting in nature and Celebrían rested against him, closing her eyes and enjoying the body warmth, combined with the cool breeze that swept from across the river.

'I fear we must return, my Lady.' He whispered, pressing his lips against her ear.

'And why is that, my Lord?' She replied, nestling even closer, closing her eyes tighter, hoping he was teasing, that she had somehow misunderstood.

Elrond laughed, charmed by her conduct. His voice was soft when he spoke.

'For, unless I am sorely mistaken, one of our sons has just arrived and departed, because he did not dare disturb your singing. Or my melancholy state.'

Celebrían listened to the vibration in his chest, and was content.

'Elrohir?' She asked tenderly.

'I believe so…'

Slowly rising, she extended her hand towards Elrond and helped him rise.

'Then let us return.'

Reaching the gardens bordering the part of the house where the library and their chambers were situated, Celebrían instantly noticed the shifting of Elrond's attention. Still holding her hand, he watched, and she with him, as Glorfindel approached. Apparently he had returned from his visit to the Grey Havens. Elrond tilted his head and softly spoke, not to any one in particular.

'They have arrived…'

Celebrían looked at him.

'Who have, my love?'

'The messengers of Manwë.'

A Man stood waiting in the hall. He seemed as old as the world, clothed in grey, and the tiredness visible in his eyes reminded her of Elrond's, after a long day of straining work. Yet there was something more… She wasn't exactly certain what, but there was something she recognised…

Elrond seemed pleased with his coming, somehow anticipating it, even though she had never heard him speak of an expected arrival.

'Mithrandir…' She nodded, her voice soft, as her husband introduced her, and both Elf and Man seemed to smile upon her.

'Lord Círdan and Glorfindel have told me of you, my Lady. It is a privilege to receive some of the hospitality of your house.'

'Tis granted upon you with delight, my Lord.' She smiled, before resting her hand on Elrond's arm. 'But now, speak with my husband, for I know he desires it greatly.'

The Lord of Imladris watched his Lady leave their presence and turned towards the Man, carefully studying his face and what lay beyond.

'Círdan thinks highly of you, Elrond.' The Man spoke with a smile and Elrond returned a smile, motioning the visitor to join him.

'The intrusting of a particular item, imparts his trust in you, Mithrandir.' He replied, as they entered the study. Elrond playfully narrowed his brow, as Mithrandir gave him an amused look.

'The Three are closely connected indeed, if you recognise a carrier of one.'

Elrond nodded and made way for the balcony, which at this time of day was regrettably deprived of Anar's rays. There he turned towards the Man.

'You have not come alone?'

Mithrandir smiled and shook his head. His voice was soft, the words meant only for the Lord of Imladris.

'More of us came, but not all of us shall remain in these surroundings. The others will reveal themselves to you, if it is called for. One has gone east, and you will no doubt hear from him before long…'

Elrond nodded, understanding.

'Let it be known all of you are welcome in my house.'

 

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Celebrían stood waiting, a little restless, as Elrond still attended to the affairs of Imladris in the library above. This despite promising to join her to welcome her parents upon their arrival.

Glorfindel had gone up to request his presence, but had not returned. Arwen caught her hand briefly to reassure her.

'He will come, he promised.'

Celebrían smiled at her daughter, knowing very well her husband would be here in time. She understood his responsibilities. Not new ones, but old ones revisited.

It had all started almost one and a half yén* ago, when Mithrandir had visited unannounced, as he usually did, bringing with him Curunír, whom he introduced as the wisest of his order.

Until then, she had considered it coincidence her parents had come to visit, trying not to pay too much attention to the long conversations her father held with Elrond, lasting well into the night.

But shortly following the two Istari, came the news of a strange presence at the stronghold of Dol Guldur. Under duress, Elrond had already sent Elladan and Elrohir to Greenwood to listen to Thranduil's side of the rumours. Their return had not improved his mood.

There had been a council the following day, and Celebrían had sat beside Elrond, carefully listening to the worries that held her husband from sleep, and their bed, recited out loud. It had been Mithrandir who had voiced his suspicions about the occurrence at Dol Guldur, needing only one single word.

'Nazgûl…'

Elrond had caught her hand silently, all the while keeping his eyes on the man in grey. For a moment she had felt his qualms clearly. And discovered the main reason for the presence of her parents.

The council had lasted for the rest of the afternoon, and only after dinner had the two of them been able to retreat into the gardens.

Elrond had tried very hard to be cheerful, but Celebrían had not fallen for it. They had spent most of the evening in silence, simply relishing in each other's company.

The Istari had departed the following day, much as they came: unexpectedly. Upon meeting her parents for breakfast, Celebrían was confronted with their looming departure too. But they were not to travel home.

Celebrían had not spoken of it to Elrond, but from his manner she had gathered he had already known of their plans.

Galadriel and Celeborn had left Lórien under the watchful leadership of Amroth, whose high house had been in Lórien since the very beginning of its existence. Their journeys had been long, filled with enquiry. Celebrían had received messages, coming together with those to Elrond. Hers had been full of stories and reassurance, while those meant for Elrond were much more serious, no doubt conveying more of the real purpose of their absence.

Visiting both Rhovanion* and Gondor, it was only at long last that her parents returned via the borders of Mordor to Thranduil's realm, by then commonly referred to as Mirkwood, before passing the mountains to Imladris.

During their absence, Elrond had beseeched Celebrían not to visit Lórien, as it became evident the Misty Mountains had once again started to house orcs. But, much to her pleasing, he had had twice taken her to the old city of Lindon, reliving some of their reciprocal early memories.

It was true the courts had lost, together with their king, some of their glory, but for the duration of both their stays, they had been welcomed as in times long past. Arwen had accompanied them only on the second outing, excited to finally see where her father spent so many of his younger years.

As Elrond had visited Círdan, she and Arwen spent their day in the library, searching, much as Celebrían had long ago, for those volumes of ancient lore, long ago recorded by Elrond.

Arwen had been amused by the poetry, as Celebrían had once been. She had read it all before, though there was little he had not sent or gifted her, over the years.

Celebrían smiled when Elrond's old chambers appeared before her mind's eye; the place where she had first, indirectly, confessed her love for him. They had stayed in those rooms during the earlier of their visits, the night of arrival as passionate as their wedding night in Imladris; nervous like first lovers…

Close your mind if you plan such thoughts, meleth-nîn... Came his light reproach, together with a hand on her waist, as Elrond took his place alongside of her, smiling down. His other hand caught that of his daughter, as his eyes gazed into the distance, already detecting their visitors.

 

Celebrían hugged her mother tightly, relieved to see the both of her parents safe and sound. Meanwhile Celeborn and Elrond exchanged a cheerful greeting. As Celeborn took his daughter in his arms, Galadriel caught Elrond's face and kissed him on the forehead, before embracing him securely too.

Arwen was caught by both her grandparents at the same time. Both she and Celebrían were already halfway into the house when Celeborn and Elrond followed.

'And where have you hidden my grandsons?' Celeborn asked Elrond, whose face turned dark ahead completion of the sentence.

'Amon Sûl.' He replied sombrely.

'So it is true? From Dol Guldur the Darkness has now moved to Angmar…' Celeborn carefully stated, his eyes locked on Elrond's face.

'Sadly so.' Elrond nodded, as he watched Celebrían lead her mother and daughter, all the while discussing the journey.

'They have not gone alone?' Celeborn enquired, upon entering the main hall, following those leading the way.

'I sent Glorfindel with them, or rather the other way around.' Elrond smiled.

Celeborn seemed content with the answer.

 

Later, after dinner, Celebrían rested her head against Elrond's shoulder as he placed his arm around her, walking back to their chambers.

'Has my father spoken of departure?' She asked him softly.

Elrond pulled her closer, kissing her head.

'He has not, gwilwileth… But I suspect at present, they would be inclined to lengthen their stay indefinitely, if you asked.'

Celebrían looked up at him.

'Would you mind?'

It stirred a warm laugh from deep inside him.

'If it pleases my Lady, how can I possibly object?'

His reward came quickly, his arm languidly staying in mid-air as she kissed him.

 

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Within the next century Amon Sûl had been destroyed, Arnor invaded.

And yet it all passed; the Civil War in Gondor, the Kin-strife that followed Valacar's death.

What indeed, had the death of Gil-galad and Elendil given them? Elrond mused, looking out the window of his study. Realms in disarray, if not vanishing…

The outside world paid little heed to Imladris, and he was not exactly thankful for it. It had stayed as splendid as it had been for centuries, millennia, while the world changed around it. Exactly because of that, Gondolin had been the target of Morgoth's wrath. The Prophecy of the North…*

Indeed, he was wary to enter Imladris, and himself, into the politics of Middle-earth without invitation; his policy had not changed over the centuries; still reluctant to give his advice if unasked for, as he had been when the realm of the Elves had still been strong and glorious. Yet, if anyone wished the help of Imladris, it was here, together with his council, for the asking.

Gondor had long ago begun to sever its connection with Imladris; at present its ambassadors were few, if they came at all. And Arnor, Elrond perceived in retrospect, had been dwindling ever since the Disaster of the Gladden Fields. His attempts to preserve it for Valandil had only postponed what he now understood had been inevitable.

Elrond had been vigilant concerning Arnor and Dol Guldur, and due to this proximity-bound feeling of responsibility, the Great Plague* caught him, and not only him, unaware. Word of the loss of the White Tree in Minas Anor and the departure of a majority of Gondor's inhabitants made him painfully aware of the fact that Mordor had now been left unguarded. Not even the replanting of a sapling in the Court of the Fountain of the Citadel could manage to make him forget.

His family, nay, his household worried with him, trying to give comfort as best they could; Arwen, ever reassuring, never far from him, her arm around his shoulder, her head against his own; Elladan and Elrohir never hesitant to run his errands; Celeborn, as well as Galadriel, always ready to discuss his concerns with him, Glorfindel and Erestor much the same. And Celebrían…

If anyone could chase the gloom away, it was his wife…

Her policy had changed over the years.

Lengthy conversations with the other lords were tolerated during the day, but as soon as Anar had surrendered the sky to Rána*, she would enter his study, a clear sign a meeting had ended. As she had just sent away her father.

You are right, of course, he commented inwardly, as her arms slipped underneath his from behind. Elrond kissed her hands as Celebrían nuzzled his hair.

'Of course I am right…' She answered, teasing. 'I pray this evening finds you well, my Lord?'

Raising his arm so she could slip underneath it, Elrond kept her hands in his.

'It does now, hiril*.'

Moving his hands to her neck he bent forward to kiss her with care, his lips teasing, coming and going.

Celebrían blindly followed the needlework on the front of his shirt with her fingers, one of the few of his garments she had personally embroidered. Not very skilfully, she admitted frankly.

'Why do you still wear these tunics?' She whispered, enquiring, a trace of incomprehension in her voice.

Elrond smiled, brushing his thumb along her cheekbone.

'I like them.'

Celebrían raised her eyebrows, smiling playfully.

'You would not except that as an answer from the children.'

Elrond grinned, for she was correct. Guiding his children in their studies, past and present, he had never accepted unsupported opinions. Little time was necessary to adjust his previous answer.

'I find wearing them enjoyable, knowing you have invested time in their completion.' he spoke softly, running his fingers through her long hair, not braided at present, the delicate curls shining in the light of the new moon.

'Ah, there is that silver tongue I so longed to hear in Edhellond.' Celebrían whispered, following his lips with her index finger. 'Do you not miss that time?'

Elrond breathed in deeply, as his eyes seemed to focus on something beyond.

'I remember it fondly… But I might slightly deceive myself; I deem my happiness lay in single moments. Unlike now, when it is ever-present.' With the last sentence, his eyes rested on Celebrían's face, and he smiled. 'You did love to listen…'

'As I still do…'

He kissed her as if his immortal life depended on it, with bated breath, almost forgetting to gather more, in-between the merging of lips.

Celebrían hands plucked at his tunic by the sides and he pulled back with a raised eyebrow, and a poorly held-back grin.

'What are you attempting?'

Celebrían looked up at him mischievously, her fingers already exploring the buttons at the front.

'To get you out of this horrible shirt…'

 

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The translation of the Fall of Gil-galad in Quenya comes from http://my.ort.org.il/tolkien/gandalf/read.html

Since I think it is one of the most breath-taking poems in Tolkien lore (that's personal, you don't have to agree) I'm giving you the full text and translation:

Lanta Alcareleno                                      (Song of The Fall of Gil-galad)

Alcarelen né aran Eldaron.                           Gil-galad was an Elven-king.
Sen i nandaror lirë nimbanen:                      Of him the harpers sadly sing:

i telwa ya ardarya né vanima ar latina          the last whose realm was fair and free

imbë i Oronti ar i ëar.                                  between the Mountains and the Sea.

 

Macilerya né lenwa, eccorya né laicë,           His sword was long, his lance was keen,

silala cassarya vahaia cenina;                      his shining helm afar was seen;

i únótimë eleni menelo telluma                     the countless stars of heaven's field

naltanar turmaryassë telpina.                      were mirrored in his silver shield.


Nan yalúmë háya lendero,                           But long ago he rode away,

ar mammen marnero úner polë quetë;        and where he dwelleth none can say;

an morniennan elenarya lantanë                  for into darkness fell his star

Mordoressë yassen i huiner nar.                  in Mordor where the shadows are.

 

Anar: the sun

Mithrandir and Curunír: Gandalf and Saruman

yén: often translated as 'year', really 144 of our years

Rhovanion: would later be called Rohan

It is mentioned in Unfinished Tales that Galadriel and Celeborn went to live in Imladris for many years, until the disaster in Moria (1980 Third Age)

The Prophecy of the North: also; Doom of the Noldor, Doom (or curse) of Mandos: the anguish, devastation and loss of integrity foretold by Mandos, provoked by Fëanor's oath and the disobedience of the Noldor to the will of the Valar, and by the Kinslaying.

Great Plague: the plague that swept across Middle-earth, coming from the southeast, wiping out Gondor's royal family, and killing the White Tree.

Rána: the moon

(by now you must be familiar with gwilwileth and meleth-nîn, right?)

hiril: 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.

Story Information

Author: Nemis

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: Multi-Age

Genre: Drama

Rating: General

Last Updated: 03/15/04

Original Post: 07/15/02

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