~ I apologize for the long delay between posting chapters. I had a hysterectomy at the first of April and like I recently told a friend, having a hysterectomy in your early 30s not only kills your sex and romance muse, it also digs a nice big hole, throws the expired muse in, sprinkles it with lime and then shovels the dirt back in and tamps it down. Hopefully my resurrected muse will stay alive and healthy now. And thanks to you all who've left reviews. You have no idea how much it means to me to know that people are enjoying what I write and then taking the time to say such wonderful things about it. I can't thank you enough. Now let's get back to getting Ilmare laid, shall we? :-D We can't have Elrond sending Jane Doe any more psychic pleas for help. I'm sure it took a lot for him to reach out like that and ask for help. (accompanying extremely big grin).
Since it's been so long since I've updated - a quick recap: we left Ilmare and Elrond at the dinner party, where she met Cirdan's lady friend, Irien, a Noldorin Elf and Ereinion's cousin, Ereinion being descended from Finarfin and Irien being descended from Lalwen, Finarfin and Fingolfin's sister. She also met two unpleasant Noldorin Elves, Rillion and his daughter, Anarrima, who Ereinion likes to call Deep Throat. ;-D ~
“Well, I am certainly thankful that is over,” Círdan said as they watched Anarríma turn and smile at the musicians before nodding to the applauding crowd that surrounded her. Círdan, Írien, Elrond and Ilmarë stood far enough away from the rest of the guests to afford them a little privacy, but not so far away as to appear rude. Círdan frowned and added, “I see little reason to serve us dinner only to follow with entertainment such as that.” He placed his hand on his stomach. “Now my stomach will be upset all evening.”
“Perhaps we should go to the kitchen,” Elrond said, studying Círdan with exaggerated concern before giving Ilmarë a subtle wink. “I am certain Haleth will have a remedy for your soured stomach.”
Círdan held up his hand and shook his head. “I thank you, but no… I truly dread to think of what fusion Haleth would prepare. Mortals seem to believe that the more disgusting a thing is, the more medicinal value it possesses. Haleth would no doubt have me drinking some concoction brewed from goat’s hoof and pig’s bladder, stirred thoroughly with a toad’s leg which she would later bury by the light of the full moon as she held a silver coin beneath her tongue.” Círdan shook his head with a sigh and said, “And Mortals believe Elves to be a strange folk…”
Írien pointed toward the crowd and said, “You should pour Ereinion a draught of that cure. It appears he shares your affliction of a soured stomach…although I do not believe his upset was brought on by too much song.”
Ilmarë turned to see Ereinion standing with a group of Elves, including Anarríma and her father, Rillion. Anarríma stood close to Ereinion with her hand resting in the crook of his arm and smiling. Several of the Elven lords spoke quickly in turn as Ereinion listened with a grim, unhappy expression.
“The lords from Harlindon appear to have taken advantage of the evening to gain an audience with the King. As Ereinion’s counselors, we should join him, Círdan, ” Elrond said and watched the silver-haired Elf shake his head.
“You are his counselor, Elrond, not I,” Círdan replied, frowning. He watched the group of Elves gesturing animatedly as they spoke to Ereinion. “Were I his counselor he would listen to my advice upon occasion. No, he chooses to ignore my wisdom and make his own foolhardy decisions….”
Círdan pursed his lips when he sensed Elrond’s reproachful gaze upon him. He glanced at Elrond’s accusing stare, then at the group of Noldor hemming Ereinion in, then back to Elrond again. He sighed and said, “Very well, Elrond…you bear too great a resemblance to your forefather when you glare. Thingol also had the gift of convincing people to see things his way with little more than a stern glance. If you will excuse us, ladies.”
Elrond leaned close to Ilmarë and smiled. “You do not have to accompany us, Ilmarë. I am certain you will find more enjoyment remaining here with Írien. We will not be long,” he said and Ilmarë nodded in agreement.
Elrond joined Círdan, and Írien and Ilmarë watched them cross the room side by side, Elrond’s dark hair and deep blue robes providing a sharp contrast for Círdan’s white robe and silver mane. As they walked through the crowd, people moved aside to let them pass, offering respectful nods, which Elrond and Círdan returned. Ereinion caught sight of their approach and Ilmarë saw him nod then move aside, allowing them room to stand next to him. Anarríma’s smile faded as Elrond and Círdan came to stand on either side of her and Ereinion. Ilmarë watched Ereinion, Círdan, and Elrond’s faces with curiosity, noticing that all the mirth and light-heartedness had fled from their expressions and now they seemed almost…imposing. Yes, that was the word – imposing. Especially in light of the way Ereinion’s regal stance called attention to his greater height. The circle of Elven lords surrounding them had pulled back a little, their faces now very dour. Írien distracted Ilmarë from her study of the Elves by letting out a deep, irritated breath and folding her arms across her chest.
“It is a waste of time for Ereinion to have these gatherings,” she said, leaning closer to Ilmarë. “With the exception of the food and music, these are not parties – they are little more than business meetings. Círdan says Ereinion prefers these gatherings to formal meetings because then it is socially acceptable for him to drink liberally when dealing with those lords from Harlindon.”
Ilmarë laughed at the thought and then turned to Írien with curiosity. “Do you attend many of these parties? You do not seem particularly fond of them.”
“No, I am not fond of them, and for that reason I rarely attend,” Írien said and looked down at the full glass of wine she held before setting it on the tray of a passing serving woman. “Much to my parents’ disappointment.”
Ilmarë’s eyes searched the crowd. “Are your parents here this evening?” she asked Írien, who immediately shook her head.
“No, my father traveled to Greenwood the Great seven days past and my mother accompanied him. He makes regular visits there on Ereinion’s behalf. Ereinion hopes to maintain a sort of friendship between the leader of the Silvan Elves there - Oropher, their self-styled king,” Írien added with no small amount of sarcasm. “He is pompous and conceited, as is his son.”
Ilmarë raised her hand and lightly touched the side of her head, feeling the beginnings of a dull ache there. Again she berated herself for not having listened to Elrond when he said they should remain upstairs. But looking at Írien, Ilmarë decided that she was glad she had not. Over the course of the evening Ilmarë had enjoyed Írien’s company and her friendly nature. She was given a sense of ease she had not felt around another woman since Melian. That in itself had been worth braving the crowds and the unpleasantness of the evening thus far. The only times Írien’s pleasant nature had faltered was when discussing her father’s duties for Ereinion. Ilmarë’s roused curiosity momentarily distracted her from the ache behind her temples.
“This Oropher and his son…you have had unpleasant dealings with them?” Ilmarë asked.
Írien nodded. “With Oropher, yes, on one of his rare visits here to meet with Ereinion…but then Oropher is that way with all Noldor,” Írien admitted with a slight shrug. “He lived in Doriath before its ruin, a noble in the court of Elu Thingol. After Thingol’s death Oropher and a group of his men left Beleriand and traveled to the realm of the Silvan Elves… to Greenwood the Great. Though he claimed a desire to return to Elven life as it was before the Valar’s interference, Oropher did not hesitate to establish himself as king of a people who had never before had a king or royal family. Who never had rulers of any sort, for that matter.”
She paused and looked slightly guilty as she met Ilmarë’s eyes. “I have never met his son…yet I have no doubt the great Prince Thranduil is as vain as his father,” Írien said with renewed conviction. “I know women who have met Thranduil and they endlessly carry on about how handsome and charming he is. No male can have women fawn over him in that fashion and not be conceited to a fault. And he calls himself Prince, which proves to me that he is no different than Oropher.”
Ilmarë had been about to express surprise at the fact that Oropher had known Thingol but caught herself before she spoke realizing it would seem odd for her to speak of Thingol in a familiar fashion. “Írien, it is not fair that you should dislike someone so intensely whom you have never even met,” Ilmarë said, thinking of the treatment she herself had received earlier that evening from Rillion and Anarríma.
“Then I will remain eternally unfair to Thranduil for I will never meet him, though not for lack of my father trying,” Írien replied, toying with a bracelet on her wrist as she spoke. “My mother and father see Thranduil as a potential suitor for me, and despite Oropher’s dislike for those of Noldorin descent, he has apparently warmed to the idea as well. In recent months Oropher has made it a point to request that I accompany my parents on their visits to Greenwood, but I will not go.” Írien released the bracelet and shook her head in irritation as she looked at Ilmarë. “I will not be forced into a marriage to further Ereinion’s good relations with the Silvan Elves and to increase Oropher’s power by having familial ties with the Noldorin king.”
Ilmarë turned to study Ereinion as he nodded at something Círdan was saying. She frowned and said, “Do you mean to say that your own father would force you into a loveless marriage? And that Ereinion would allow such a thing? I did not know women of these lands were forced into such arrangements.” The pressure of Írien’s hand on her arm drew Ilmarë’s attention away from Ereinion. She found Írien’s blue eyes filled with embarrassment.
“Forgive me, Ilmarë, I should not have spoken that way of my father or Ereinion. Though my father encourages me to meet Thranduil, he would never force me… nor would Ereinion allow me to enter into a marriage that was merely for his benefit.”
Írien bowed her head causing a mass of golden hair to fall across her shoulder and hide her face from Ilmarë. “I do not enjoy feeling as though a decision that should be mine alone is being manipulated by others – both discouraging my relationship with Círdan and encouraging me to pursue a relationship with someone I have never met. I fear I have come to view the situation in a highly cynical light. To be truthful, if there is anyone who relentlessly attempts to coerce me into meeting Thranduil it is my mother. She claims to have had a vision not long after my birth, although she will not tell me what it was she saw. Only that my meeting Thranduil is very important.” Írien sighed and said, “My mother believes that all of our fates were decided long ago in the Music of the Ainur, but I believe we each decide our own fates, for what point would there be in living a life that has already been decided for us?”
Ilmarë placed a hand over Írien’s, still resting upon her arm, wishing she had answers to comfort her new friend, yet finding none. Ilmarë well understood the confusing nature of romance and relationships, but could offer nothing but empathy. As for the Music and Fate, Ilmarë knew from what memories she had been given that Fate was sometimes a mystery even to the Ainur. For just a moment the dull pain in her head was replaced by the sound of an unfamiliar male voice, little more than the echo of a faint memory. The words slipped out before Ilmarë could think to stop them.
“Some of us are given a fate that is beyond our power to change…” she said in a soft voice, staring absently at the polished wooden floor. Then the pain in her head returned sharper than before causing her to close her eyes in a tight grimace as she brought her hand to her forehead.
“Ilmarë…are you unwell?” Írien asked, tightening her hand on Ilmarë’s forearm and studying her with concern. Ilmarë nodded and Írien’s gaze went immediately to Elrond, who gestured in irritation as he debated a point with one of the visiting Elves. “Here, let me help you sit and then I will fetch Elrond…”
“No…no, I am fine,” Ilmarë said, but did not open her eyes. A heavy weariness filled her, weighting her limbs and bringing a sudden longing for sleep. Though she was becoming more accustomed to it, this Mortal body and its weaknesses still caught her off guard at times. Ilmarë waited a few moments, then sighed and said, “I am just a bit tired; attending this party has been more wearing than I anticipated. Elrond said…”
“…Elrond said that you should remain upstairs this evening, but you would not listen.” The sound of Elrond’s deep voice as he approached them brought Ilmarë’s head up. He reached Ilmarë and took her hand, watching her closely.
“Elrond…I am sorry, I did not mean for you to leave your responsibilities,” Ilmarë said and frowned. “You do not have to abandon your duties to Ereinion for me…”
He glanced over his shoulder and nodded to Ereinion, who watched them with a concerned frown. “Ereinion and Círdan are perfectly capable of finishing the discussion without me. When I saw you felt unwell I took my leave of the conversation. There was nothing being said that has not been said a hundred times before. Come…we will step outside for a few moments and allow you some fresh air and then I will take you upstairs and make you some willow bark tea. That will soothe the ache in your head.”
Ilmarë sighed and turned to Írien. “Forgive me for leaving so abruptly, Írien. I have greatly enjoyed your company this evening.”
“And I yours,” Írien said, offering Ilmarë a warm smile. “There is no need to apologize. We shall see each other again soon. I shall make it a point to visit often while you are Ereinion’s guest.” She gave a small bow of her head and then walked to join Círdan and Ereinion.
Ilmarë allowed Elrond to lead her away from the crowd and toward a set of doors that, when opened, led outside to a large stone patio lined with carefully trimmed hedges. The night air cleared her head, although it was cold enough that she did not protest when Elrond pulled his robe off and placed it around her shoulders. He left his arm around her shoulders as well and stood close to her.
“I am sorry this evening was not more pleasant for you,” Elrond said, rubbing his hand up and down her arm. “Elves are no different than anything else in Arda, I suppose…there are those who are agreeable and those who are not.”
“I made Írien’s acquaintance…that made the evening pleasant, regardless of whatever else.” Ilmarë relaxed as the pain in her head began to ebb. “Elrond…you said earlier that there were other reasons for Anarríma and Rillion’s dislike for me. Will you tell me of them now?”
Elrond sighed and looked up at the night sky. “Rillion dislikes you because of your friendship with Círdan.” He paused, then said, “Rillion is Noldorin and holds to the belief that the joining of the bodies equates to marriage. He also believes that all Elves who live in a country under Noldorin rule should follow the Noldorin beliefs…even the Silvan and Sindarin Elves who do not hold to such beliefs. He and the other Noldorin lords you saw this evening try to pressure Ereinion into making a law to force all the Elves in Lindon to abide by Noldorin rules, and to provide consequences for those who do not. Círdan defies the Noldor at every turn, which makes things difficult for Círdan because the majority of the the Noldor live in Harlindon, near to him.”
Ilmarë did not like the thought of forcing beliefs upon others. “Would Ereinion pass this law if not for Círdan’s disagreement?”
Elrond shook his head and said, “No…I do not believe he would. Not all the Noldor wish to do this, only a small group of Elven lords who live in Harlindon. But Ereinion attempts to deal with those Elves with some modicum of tact and polite overtures.” Elrond smiled and shrugged. “Círdan, on the other hand, does not even attempt civility with them. He does not hesitate to tell Rillion and his associates that they are arrogant and selfish.”
Now his smile faded and Elrond searched the sky as he considered his words. “I believe Ereinion resents Círdan to a certain degree in that Círdan is free to express his opinions as he will, while Ereinion must tread a narrow line and try to please all parties. There are times when I wish that Ereinion would not try so hard to make others happy, for it is usually at his own expense. I do not think Ereinion is as happy as he leads others to believe.”
Ilmarë remained silent, thinking of Ereinion’s behavior the night before, and she had to agree with Elrond…Ereinion did his best to hide his unhappiness yet still it was there. A heavy guilt settled on Ilmarë as she thought of how her heart had leapt to hear Ereinion’s admission that she was his image of comfort brought on by the lissuin’s scent. Clearly he felt a deep friendship for her, which made the stirrings she felt for him all the more unacceptable.
After leaving Ereinion the night before she had lain in bed next to Elrond, trying to will her body back to sleep. The power of her Maiar spirit was far greater than this mere Mortal form, so why then did she have to continually remind herself not to allow the weakness of her body override the strength of her spirit? Trapped inside this mortal shell, the strength of her spirit seemed somehow lacking…confined…as though it had been sealed up within the layers of flesh in which it was now bound.
The flesh is a powerful thing, more powerful than I could have ever imagined…
Ilmarë thought to herself as she studied the night sky as well, and this power was no doubt the cause of her inappropriate attraction to Ereinion. He would be shocked and offended if he knew, as would Elrond…Elrond
…While Ereinion affected her Mortal form, Elrond stirred both her heart and spirit, and she despaired of the confusion caused by her differing feelings for the two. And she would have to keep company with both of them continuously throughout the winter months – the very thought of it caused Ilmarë to heave a great sigh.
How I wish I had not given Ereinion my word that I would wait until Spring to leave for Eregion. Then Elrond and I could be alone and I would not be forced to live with this confusion…
She jumped when Elrond spoke and looked up to find him watching her expectantly.
“Does something trouble you?” Elrond asked, studying her with a frown and tightening his arm about her shoulder.
Ilmarë looked back to the sky as she tried to think of what to say. She could not tell him what had truly been in her mind, yet despite Ereinion’s admonitions that she must learn to be untruthful when necessary, she could not bring herself to directly lie to Elrond. Distraction would be preferable. Seeing the glittering points of light above them, Ilmarë pointed up.
“Look there, Elrond…do you see that?”
He followed the line of her finger and studied the stars for a moment, then nodded. “Yes. It is the grouping of stars we Elves call Menelmacar. I believe Mortals call it The Hunter.”
“Do you see the star there?” She moved her finger slightly. “Just to the left of the row of three?” Elrond leaned his head closer to hers and followed the line of her finger again, then nodded. “That star is mine,” she said.
“Yours?” Elrond pulled back a little and looked down at her. “What do you mean?”
“Varda lit that star for me the morning I left Valinor,” Ilmarë said, a forlorn ache now replacing her confusion. “When its light dims I will know that my time here has ended and the Valar have called me home.”
Elrond frowned at her, though her eyes were fixed upon the star and she did not notice. He heard the longing in her voice when she spoke the word ‘home’ and his stomach clenched with apprehension.
“Do you miss Valinor so much?” he asked, immediately giving a slight shake of his head. “Of course you do…after living in such perfection, the lands of Middle-earth must seem very lacking.”
“Valinor is not so perfect a place,” Ilmarë said, thinking of the consuming pain and loneliness from her dream. Then the faces of Melian, Thingol, Varda and Manwe replaced those thoughts, “…yet I do miss it. On my journey here the thought of seeing these new lands and new people excited me. Now that excitement wanes in the face of the toils accompanying this Mortal form. I will appreciate the experience while it lasts, but I will be none too disappointed when the time comes to be shed of it and return to my assumed form.”
Elrond studied her intently. “You have seemed so helpless since your arrival; it is easy to forget that this body is merely a shell to house your spirit.” He smiled wryly when he thought back over his words and said, “But then, is that not what purpose a body serves for us all?” His eyes searched her face once more and he said, “Is your assumed form so different than this one? So different that I would not know you?”
Ilmarë hesitated, then said, “I do not remember the appearance of my assumed form though I know it is far different from this one. The feel of it upon my spirit was light – like a breeze or a thought. The flesh of this Mortal body hangs heavy and confines my spirit like an ill-fitting piece of clothing.” A thought came to her then. “In those first days after I awakened on the ship Linquendil said that outwardly everything about me had changed, yet when he looked into my eyes he recognized me. Perhaps it will be the same for you.”
“Can you not wear your assumed form here, in Middle-earth?”
Ilmarë shook her head. “No, I cannot. We Ainur have no place in these lands anymore. They now belong to the Children of Ilúvatar, and if we wish to travel in the Mortal lands we must wear these forms that we may walk among you unnoticed. So Manwë has spoken, and so it must be. I cannot return to my assumed form until I leave these lands.”
The wind brushed over Ilmarë and she felt the cold even through Elrond’s robe and his embrace. “It is not only my assumed form that I miss. It is also the lands of Aman that do not change, lands that do not grow barren and cold with winter’s chill. The lands of Eressëa are beautiful and unchanging, Elrond,” she said as she looked up at him. “You will see for yourself when you return there with me.”
Elrond looked away from her and back to the sky. “I am not ready to make the journey to Valinor, Ilmarë. I have not tired of these lands and it is not yet my time to leave.” He looked down at Ilmarë and even in the shadows of the night she could see that his smile was forced. “But there is still time before your task here is finished. One of us could very well have had a change of heart by then.”
Ilmarë was uncertain how to respond, but Elrond saved her that by asking a question.
“You also knew Melian and Thingol well…do you agree with Círdan’s assessment of my resemblance to Thingol?”
Ilmarë turned her attention to this idea, for she sensed that Elrond did not wish to discuss their ultimate departure from Middle-earth. She studied him so closely that Elrond laughed.
“Is it so hard to tell, then? Should I offer you a different angle of inspection?” he asked, turning his head away and holding his chin up, as though allowing her a better view of his profile.
Ilmarë smiled and shook her head. “No, I am not comparing your appearance to Thingol’s. I was pondering your personalities. I’m afraid I must disagree with Círdan. While you certainly have Thingol’s strength and presence, you bear a greater resemblance to Melian. She is strong as well, as strong as Thingol, but hers is more of a quiet strength like yours, and her wisdom is outdone only by her kindness. Yes…you are much like Melian.”
Now it was Elrond who was at a loss for a proper response. He had asked the question only half-serious, wanting just to divert the discussion from the thought of his remaining in Middle-earth while yet another person dear to him left him alone. He had not expected such an answer from Ilmarë. That she thought him alike to his foremother Melian gave Elrond a stirring of pride. There had been many times since Elros’s departure that Elrond felt alienated, an oddity among Elves and Men for there were now no others like him in all the lands of Middle-earth. Then there were times such as these, when his distinct ancestry was a source of pride and he could see the strength of his Maiar blood as the gift it truly was.
Elrond turned to Ilmarë, taking in the beauty of her smile and her soft gray eyes before lowering his face to hers and capturing her mouth in a gentle kiss. The wind blew over them again and Elrond felt shivers run through Ilmarë’s body that were not brought on by the touch of his mouth.
“We are going back upstairs now,” Elrond said, though his stern look was undone by the hint of a smile. “First we should make our goodnights to Ereinion and the others.”
“It is a selfish thing, but would you mind greatly if I waited for you here? I do not wish to go back inside,” Ilmarë asked. “The thought of going back inside to that milling crowd causes the ache in my head to return.”
Elrond nodded and pulled his robe tighter around her shoulders before placing a kiss to her cheek. “You remain here then. When I return we can follow the path around the house and enter through Ereinion’s study. That will allow us to avoid any guests and return upstairs unnoticed.”
Ilmarë watched Elrond as he stepped back into the brightly lit room and closed the patio door behind him. She walked further out onto the patio and looked out over the yard, enjoying the still quiet of the night, a dramatic difference from the noise of the crowd inside the house. She was allowed no more than a few moments of the evening’s peace before hearing the sound of a door opening and closing. Ilmarë turned to see that no one had come out of the doors behind her and she noticed that the patio wrapped around the house. She quietly followed the close-set stones of the patio, crushing the evergreen plants growing up between the stones as she walked and sniffing at the pungent side that arose from them. When she reached the corner of the house she peered cautiously around the corner, hoping it was not someone looking for conversation or company.
The sight of Ereinion and Anarríma walking away from the house surprised Ilmarë. They walked almost to the edge of the stone patio, far away from the doors. It did not take the wisdom of a Maia for Ilmarë to realize that Ereinion and Anarríma had come outside for privacy and that she should allow them that privacy. Yet what harm could it do to listen if they were not aware she was listening? At least that reasoning seemed sound to Ilmarë as he moved closer to shadows of the house so she would not be seen. Ereinion caught Anarríma’s arm and quickly turned her toward him. Ilmarë was shocked to hear the anger in his voice.
“What were you thinking of, showing up here tonight?” he demanded. “Did you think this a proper place to continue the disagreement we had last night?”
Ilmarë thought with confusion, and then the realization hit her. Anarríma is the friend Ereinion paid a visit to last evening.
Anarríma’s soft laugh carried across the patio. “It was not the disagreement I wished to continue,” she said suggestively, sidling closer to Ereinion and smiling up at him. “You made a mistake and I have forgiven you. Not even kings are above poor judgement at times. Later, after your guests have retired for the evening I will come to your room and you may return the favor I paid you last night.”
Ereinion shook his head and said, “You know very well I never have such meetings here. I certainly would not have one with so many guests in my home.”
Ilmarë watched Anarríma raise her hand and gently run her fingers through Ereinion’s hair. “I know you have not had such meetings here in the past, but it is time for that to change. It is time for many things to change.”
Ereinion stiffened and said, “Things such as what?”
Anarríma slid her arms around Ereinion’s neck and moved her body directly against his. “Things such as the relationship between you and I. After the events of last night I realized the importance our relationship has for me and I wish for it to be more than it has been. I believe it is time for us to consider making our union lawful and binding.”
“Did last night cause you to realize the supposed importance of our relationship…or did it cause you to realize that you were losing something you imagined belonged to you?” Ereinion’s tone was flat and gave no indication as to what he was thinking. “And we are both aware of how much you dislike losing.”
Anarríma did not answer, only reached up to kiss Ereinion. Ereinion did not respond at first, but when he did Ilmarë felt a strange sensation stirring in her as she watched Ereinion return the kiss. The nature of these feelings were unfamiliar to her, but they welled in her chest, making her heart pound before working their way up into her throat, constricting her breathing and choking her. Ilmarë could watch their kiss no longer and quickly turned away. Her constricted throat opened with a loud gasp and her body jerked in surprise as it collided with Elrond’s. His arms came around her and kept her from stumbling.
“Elrond, I…I did not hear you return,” Ilmarë said breathlessly, feeling ashamed at having been caught spying.
“Now you know Anarríma’s reason for disliking you,” Elrond said, his arms remaining around Ilmarë as he looked down at her. “She and Ereinion have known each other…intimately for many years now. She does not like Ereinion having a beautiful houseguest who garners so much of his attention.”
Ilmarë shook her head and said, “But that is an unfounded dislike. Ereinion thinks of me as nothing more than a friend whom he has promised to help.”
She forced herself to remain still beneath Elrond’s assessing gaze and was relieved when he finally said, “You do not need to be outside in the cold. Come, Ilmarë. I will take you upstairs and tend to you. We would not want you to become ill again.”
Elrond put his arm around her shoulders as they walked away from the patio. He looked back over his shoulder and nodded politely, but Ilmarë was staring at the ground and did not look back. If she had, she would have seen Ereinion’s stricken look as he returned Elrond’s nod and watched them walk away before he turned and strode angrily back into the house. And she would have also seen Anarríma watching Ilmarë’s retreating form with a victorious smile before following Ereinion back inside.
Irien's name and ancestry come from the HoMe volume, Morgoth's Ring. There is a reference there to Finwe having three daughters as well as two sons, and Irien was a discarded name for the daughter, Lalwen. Many thanks to Jillian for making the suggestion to use that bloodline idea.
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.