13. The Bonds of a Family
"Good morning." Telir's soft voice whispered in my ear as he gently helped me to my feet. I breathed a sigh of relief. No matter what happened, Telir would be there to help me. That was a great comfort to me. My wound continued to ache, but I ignored it.
Time completely meshed together for me. I can hardly remember a thing after climbing atop Telir's horse. I do not even know what happened to mine; perhaps it is now satisfyingly lining the stomach of a bloodthirsty orc. Ah, this is not the end I wanted for her. Such a sweet beast.
My thoughts even began to slow, but soon I slipped into dreams and forgot all limits of space and time. Could some maybe say that I was even beginning to fade away? Maybe so. Suddenly, my dreams were interrupted by a rather familiar figure.
"Maeve." My dream self turned around to find Celebrian standing there, restored to full health with a bit of pink in her cheeks and that old silver sparkle back in her eyes. I gasped; it had been at least a century since I had last seen her.
"Celebrian? My sister, is it really you?" I whispered, stretching out one hand to lightly touch her on the cheek. She smiled and grasped my cold hand inside her warm one. I stared into her eyes and searched her face, finding no sign that this apparition was not my sister.
"I must tell you something." She replied, taking one hand and running it along my hair affectionately. "You will not die; not today." I was slightly taken aback. I was mortally wounded and far off from the nearest healer. Certainly I would die and then we would be reunited forever in the Halls of Mandos.
"Why not today? Is not today as good a day as any?" I questioned, a tear tugging at the edge of my eye. Oh, how I had missed her! Just to touch her hand again was a blessing like no other. She lightly tilted my chin up, allowing my sad face to look into her ancient one.
"The work you were made to complete is not yet finished, little sister." She said, a small smile crossing her pale face. "When I sailed, the Valar knew that I would hurt so many who loved me. But I had accomplished something in this life. I have two sons and a beautiful daughter destined to marry a king of men."
"But what Naneth! And Ada!" I gasped and began to cry fully now, falling to my knees and burying my head in the sleeve of my gown. "And what of me, Celebrian? Not a day has gone by that I have not thought about you, nor wondered what kind of mischief we would be causing together if you were still alive!"
"Shh, my little sister. My time here was done, though I did not like having to go. Do you think that if I had the chance I would not have come to say goodbye? Of course I would have. But I was not given such a chance; my immortal body faded before I could do anything about it." She whispered softly, bending down on one knee and rubbing my back gently.
"So my time is not yet finished?" I questioned as my sobs slowed. Just having her around me again was soothing to me, though I knew it wouldn't last. Someday we would be together. But it was not this day and I did not know if I was to be thankful for a new chance at life or sad for loosing her one more time.
"No. Not quite yet, Maeve. But my time with you is finished, at least for now." She stood to her feet and smiled at me, a smile that I remember from my childhood. It wasn't that long ago that we were chasing butterflies and frolicking through the trouble free land of Lorien.
"You are going to leave me again, aren't you?" I cried, my voice a little weak from the tears. I got to my feet as well, wiping what was left of my tears on the sleeve of my gown. It was now ruined, but I didn't care. Why did it matter?
"Yes and no. I'm always with you, sister. And the next time I see you, it will be in Valinor." She said as she began to move farther away from me. I did not cry out or throw a huge tantrum, though I was sorely tempted. Wouldn't that make her stay? No, probably not. A stronger force was at work here and she had obviously gained much wisdom since her passing.
"Tenna' san'." I said to her, trying in vain to smile. She turned around for a moment and looked right at me; it was almost like the depths of her soul were mingling with mine. A strong mist began to gather around her as she raised one hand in passing.
"Namárië." She said in reply. "One more thing- do not be afraid of Telir. But make your choice about him. His love for you is strong and not easily broken, but he is mortal. Be careful." With that, the mist enveloped her completely and she was gone, leaving me to be torn from my dreams and thrust back into a world of pain.
< --- >
Telir looked down at the still form cradled in his arms. She had not even so much as stirred nor cried out since they had begun to ride again that morning. Was she beginning to fade? Oh, she would die. He knew it. And it would be all his fault.
What would he do without her? The world would be a dark and empty place, much like the one he had been travelling in for much of his life. He would have to return to that hopeless place, without sunshine or joy. Without the sound of her laughter, her playful smile as he teased her about her unnatural elven beauty.
"Hey!" The shrill laughter of Maeve itched his ears as he tickled her stomach playfully and then darted off into the tall grasses of the plains of Edoras, which almost sucessfully cloaked him. Not enough for her keen eyes- they somehow managed to pick him out. Soon, she had let out a load cry filled with false anger and tackled him, laughing.
"Silly elf." He said, gently running one finger down her little nose. "Why do you have to be so perfect?" She stood to her feet and dusted off her robe, flashing him a bright smile as a few rays of light caught the flying dust and sparkled like diamonds.
"I'm not perfect, but I do try hard to be." She replied in a falsly cocky voice, fully of fake pride. He laughed at her vauge attempt at being stuck up. Figuring that revenge was in order, he stood to his feet and then promply tackled her back to the ground, getting her all dusty again.
"Silly human! Why do you have to be so stubborn?" She shrieked, pretending to be concerned about the manner of her dress. He chuckled and got up off her, taking a small glance to make sure the horses hadn't strayed too far while grazing. Ah, this summer day was so perfect..
He had abandoned the horse some three miles back, knowing that it wasn't far now to Rivendell, or at least to someone who could help. How long had it been since he had seen Falathiel? So many years had passed since she had chosen the path of an elf of Rivendell and him the path of a human ranger. Her home was not far from here and he knew that she could help Maeve.
The sky began to grow dark and a light rain fell as Telir desprately banged upon the door of a small elven home, nestled right outside Rivendell. Maybe… maybe his sister would have mercy upon them. They could stay the night here and Maeve could rest, maybe, just maybe, Falathiel will have learned enough healing to let his companion even live through this night.
"Who is it?" A fair voice, but obviously that of a young male elf, peered out of a window in the side of the house. Telir sighed and stared at the little blond elf in wonder. He must be his sister's son, his nephew. Trying his hardest to smile despite the circumstances, Telir wiped a few strands of wet hair from his eyes before replying.
"A friend of the elleth who resides here." He replied, surprised that the little elf knew the language of men already. He was so young, but oh, how he resembled his mother! Within a few moments, the door to the house swung open and Telir stepped inside, taking care not to jostle the silent form of Maeve.
"Telir…?" The form of a beautiful elleth appeared behind her young son, her fair green eyes wide with disbelief. He nodded, gently setting Maeve down upon a small, elven fashioned couch. At first the brother and sister just stared at each other, almost not being able to believe that what they saw was true.
"Oh, my brother! I've missed you so!" Falathiel cried out, rushing into his arms. He embraced her tightly and placed his head on top of hers, trying not to cry. Meanwhile, her son crept over to inspect Maeve. Placing one hand upon her forehead, he soon withdrew it. His forehead crinkled up with worry.
"I've missed you too, sister. It has been too long, hasn't it?" He said as he placed a quick kiss upon her forehead. "I would have come to visit sooner, but…times have been difficult. I'm sorry to arrive with no notice." Grinning, he watched as the little elf tugged on his mother's sleeve.
"Nana, the elf is sick!" He said to her in elvish. Falathiel immeadiably looked down at him with worry in her eyes, then turned her gaze to Telir, who immeadiatly rushed to Maeve's side. He had gotten too caught up in the excitement of seeing his sister again and had nearly forgotten about the whole point of his visit. Falathiel followed right behind him, placing her hand upon the elleth's forhead just as her son had done.
"She is very sick indeed, my little one." She replied to her son. "Go, fetch a cool cloth and some bandages." Leaning down, she unbandaged the wound to inspect it, a hard look of steely determination in her eyes. Telir meerly sat back and watched, praying that he had been doing the right kind of treatment for the past few days.
"It's poisoned.." She muttered, reaching into her cloak pocket and pulling out a small vial. "This might hurt her, Telir…but without it, she won't live to reach Elrond. Which is where I assume you were trying to take her, that is." He nodded silently and then moved closer to Maeve, putting a firm hold upon both of her arms should she try to struggle.
Falathiel squeezed three drops of the potion into the wound and the elleth reacted violently. Her eyes burst open in pent up pain as she cried, streams of tears streaking down her face that had seemingly come from nowhere.
"Celebrian!" She screamed before she was silent again, drifting into the blissfulness of unconciousness. Telir and Falathiel let out a sigh of relief. It was then that Falathiel's son burst back into the room, carrying the cloth and some fresh bandages. Gently, she bandaged the wounds while Telir watched and gently mopped Maeve's sweaty brow. He had hardly noticed as her temprature rose before, why had he been so foolish?
Soon, the ill elf was settled in the spare bed, with the little elf watching over her. Telir and Falathiel retreated back out to the sitting room, even though it was already late into the night. Did she have something to tell him? Maybe Maeve wouldn't make it, and all his hope was only foolish desire and longing.
"Telir, please tell me that you know who that is." She whispered to him, not wanting to disturb the now sleeping elleth. Telir simply gave her a quizzical look, not sure if he was actually suppose to respond to her question. Of course he knew who she was, would he really bring her here if she was a complete stranger?
"Maeve, of Lothlorien. She has been my companion and friend…for the past two years, if not much more." He replied. "Why is it that you ask?" She sighed and leaned back in her chair, resting her eyes for a moment. Ai Valar, it only had to be bad news that she was about to utter.
"Take a look at this." She said, handing him a small sheet of parchment. He took it and studied it carefully, paying the closest attention to the portrait of a laughing, blond elf girl who took up most of the page. She looked so familiar, but she was beautiful in a way that was strangely different yet oddly the same as his beloved Maeve.
"Missing, the daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn. Any information leading to the safe return of Maeve of Lothlorien shall be repaid in any way that the informant wishes…." He whispered, reading the contents of the poster out loud. Dear Valar! No, it could not be!
< ---- >
Galadriel had been unusually silent for the past day. Celeborn had taken note of this, being sure to make sure that she ate and slept, lest the lady of the Golden Woods fade away. Haldir had been quite as well, but then again Celeborn knew that he cared deeply for Maeve as well.
And now she was likely dead. Perhaps they would arrive at Rivendell and it would be Elrond himself who would lead them to her body, bent and broken. Who knew what she had endured over these past few years? He dared not think. She was his own daughter, for Valar's sake! Something so precious to him should not be forced to suffer like this!
Sighing deeply, the small party made camp right outside the city of Rivendell. All three were deeply depressed and Celeborn felt that deep down in his heart, his precious youngest daughter was dead. He simply wanted to put off hearing the news for as long as possible.
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.