2. A Father's Anguish
He stood at the lip of his talan, watching as Anor began its slow descent into the west. The sky was profuse with color, unimaginable in its beauty, yet the Lord of Lórien's eyes saw naught. His heart staggered in despair. He could not even remember the last day he had seen beyond the face of his daughter. She haunted his waking moments and screamed during his attempts at rest.
The air shimmered for a moment, and he knew his Lady, his golden love, stood beside him. He did not move. She placed her hand in his and said naught. His shoulders shook. "Of all the ills that have ever assailed me, this is the cruelest."
He felt her nod her head. He squeezed her hand. "I would fade." She did not speak, did not even flinch, and, in the midst of his agony, he wondered at it. "Do not ask me to stay here."
Once again, silence. He turned to her, his sorrow washed away, for the moment, as anger suffused him. "Would you ask me to stay? Would you wish to remain here, without her light, her beauty to keep us warm? Can you bear the thought of age upon age without her laughter? I cannot."
"So you would fade and return to Aman. And then what?"
He swallowed. "I would wait for her release from Mandos' Halls."
"Would she be Celebrían still?"
He screamed. Leaves from their home fell about him as the tree wept in the folds of its lord's anguish. He fell to his knees and covered his face. "She is fair and kind and all that is good of this land. All that is good of you."
"She covers over my failings?"
"I did not say such."
"She is the best of the both of us."
"Have you no power to save her?"
"If I had, she would now be in your arms. There is naught I can do outside of this place."
"Then what use is the Ring?"
"What use am I?"
He felt her kneel beside him. He turned to her and buried his face in the sweet depths of her golden hair. His tears wet it, but he knew she would not mind. Never before, not even at the fall of Menegroth, had his heart weighed so heavy. He took a shuddering breath. "I can no longer feel her."
"Neither can I. Yet, my heart tells me she yet lives."
"No trace of her has been found. Not along the path they traveled, nor in any of the caves that Elladan and Elrohir have scoured. If she is in the hands of the Yrch, as Elrond imagines, what will she be when she is returned? I cannot bear the thought of her suffering."
"If she can bear it, and yet lives, then you can bear it. You must, my Lord, for her sake. When she is returned to us, you will rejoice that you kept hope in your heart. She will know, she will discern your failing, if you lose such hope. She must have your full strength and support when she is rescued."
"Ionnath dín believe."
"They do. They know she lives and will not rest until she is found. Let us to Imladris. There is naught here that we can do to help in the search. My mirror shows me nothing and I chafe at this inaction. Come with me to Imladris. We will wait there, with Elrond, and welcome her."
"I would kill him, if I saw him."
"I believe he feels the same against you. Did not she leave in our care? Was it not our Galadhrim who guarded her on the path?"
"His were there also. She was in their safekeeping. Ours were supplemental. Though they gave their lives for her."
"As did his warriors. All of them."
He shuddered. "Yet, they took her. And for what purpose? Do they know she is my daughter? Do they torture her to assail me? Should I give myself up to them, in exchange for her? Would such a thing be possible?" He lifted his head as he felt a glimmer of hope wash over him. "I will offer myself in her stead. They will accept that."
"They will not."
He screamed again, total frustration wringing his despair into sound. "Then what am I to do?"
"You will go to Elrond and comfort him. You will wait for Elladan and Elrohir to bring her home and then we will rejoice."
"How can I bring him comfort when my own heart is torn asunder?"
"You will be strong, as you were in Doriath. As you were at the Dagorlad. As you are now."
"You will accompany me?"
"My trunk is packed, as is yours. My horse is saddled, as is yours. I wait upon my Lord."
He drew her closer to him, moved his face through her golden locks, and wept. Finally, straightening, he stood, offered his hand to hers, and drew her up. "Let us away from here. Let us to our daughter's husband. To give him comfort and support."
He felt the smile that graced her lips, but none would pass his own.
Elrond stood at the lip of his balcony, his slippered feet barely holding the last bit of wood. His face was dark, for rage was ever present. He railed once again as Erestor listened, mouth tight shut.
"He should have sent a full company with her. Did he not receive the reports that the pass had become Yrch-infested? Where was his sense? That great lord of Doriath. Fool I call him!"
Erestor remained silent, knowing full well letting his lord rant was the wisest course, for the nonce.
"Galadriel has the mirror. Why did she not use it to find a safe path for my sell? Why does she not use it now to find her?"
Again, his seneschal remained silent.
"He is thrice a fool. How many warriors has he sent forth in the search? None! NU'umeta Nosta."
At this, Erestor cringed, but still kept silent.
"Naught I can say will bring her back. Your railing against the Lord of Lórien works to no good purpose. I am glad we are alone. Though if you raise your voice any louder, the entire valley will hear."
Elrond clutched the railing tighter. "I do not care who hears."
"Would you want Celebrían to hear such language?"
"I would have her hear anything," the Lord of Imladris sobbed, "if only she stood by my side."
"She will. Your sons will not leave her to..."
"To torture and torment. That is what you left unsaid."
"She may have escaped. May be hiding in the gullies and scrub of the mountains."
"Nay. We both know she is prisoner." He shuddered. "Would that I were out with the patrols, searching for her."
"You searched the first week of her disappearance. Searched the site thoroughly. You are needed here to serve as anchor for our patrols."
"You could be anchor, Erestor."
"I would, if you would allow me. But, if you remember, when you returned from the search, you expressly forbade me to do more than run the household."
"I am sorry. I was distraught."
"There is naught to be sorry about, my Lord. It was a wise decision. You should be the counterpoint. It gives our people hope to see you here, leading the effort."
"Hope." Another sob. "I have no hope."
"You have two warrior sons who love their Naneth and will do everything in their power and skill to find her. She will be found, Elrond. You know they will find her."
"I am sorry to disturb you, Adar." He turned as Arwen stepped onto the balcony. "I just wanted to know if you have heard aught?"
He took his Evenstar into his arms and held her close. "There is no news as of yet. Your brothers will bring her home soon."
"Thank you. I will leave you to your business. If you should hear anything," her sweet voice broke.
"Stay here another moment. Erestor is leaving me. We have finished our work."
His counselor nodded, kissed Arwen on the forehead, and withdrew.
"Come and sit with me. I am weary for I think I have stood most of this day."
Once seated upon the cushioned settle that overlooked Celebrían's gardens, he put his arm around her shoulders and held her tightly. "Tell me. What have you been about this day?"
She sobbed, a little half-sob, and buried her face in his tunic. "Naught. I weeded Naneth's rose garden. It has been... I did not want her to see it in such a sad state."
"Ah, melda, she will be pleased."
"She will return, Ada? She will?"
"She will." He said it with as much enthusiasm and conviction as he could, but he felt her stiffen and knew he had failed.
"I must admit that I am concerned, Arwen; however, she is daughter to Galadriel. She has fire in her blood. She is strong. I sometimes think she is stronger than I am. She will survive this and return to us. Have you no faith in your muindeir?"
"I want to be with them. Out in the forests and fields looking for her. Do you not also feel the same, Ada? Cannot we go together, to Caradhras, and save her?"
"We cannot. Better scouts and warriors than I am look for her now."
"You mean Glorfindel?"
"I do. But I also mean your muindeir. They are the best Imladris has to offer. Even greater than Glorfindel, in this instance, because it is their own Naneth that they search for. This should give us further hope and resolve," he lifted her chin to look deeply into her eyes, "resolve to keep hope. I admit I lose it now and again, but friends such as Erestor and Galdor, and a sell such as you, will help me find it again. We both need to keep our hope firm and strong, Arwen. She will feel it. Your Naneth will feel our strength and it will revive her own."
"Then I will be strong, Ada. I will leave you now. The weeds try to o'ertake the elanor. If... when you hear further, you will send someone to fetch me?"
"I will, beloved of my heart. I will come for you myself."
"Thank you, Ada." He wiped the tears from her cheeks and kissed her forehead. Watching as she walked slowly into the house, he sighed.
"Well done, my Lord." Erestor appeared next to him. "I trust you have found a measure of hope?"
"I have. And I will hold it to my heart."
Sell - Sindarin for daughter
Ionnath - Sindarin for sons
NU'umeta Nosta - bastard (of low birth)
Melda - Sindarin for beloved
Muindeir - brothers
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.