9. Abominations Abound
Slowly, the Lady of Imladris grew stronger; she stayed awake longer; began to eat solid food. All of those who lived within the valley of the Last Homely House rejoiced. Galadriel left shortly thereafter, but Celeborn could not be persuaded to join her. Though Celebrían had been moved from the infirmary, he would not leave his daughter too far from him; he was moved to rooms next to Elrond's. The Lord of Imladris felt it only right that Celeborn should be close to his daughter. The pain he saw in the Telerin's face touched him to his depths and he could begrudge his mate's father naught.
Arwen had moved to closer rooms also. She never left Celebrían's side, except when night fell and Elrond gently shooed them both away. He had yet to lie with her, with his Celebrían, but found the settle in the room quite comfortable. He could watch her and she could feel his presence and, he hoped, take some comfort from it, though in truth, he saw only despair in her eyes.
One morning not long after Celebrían's awakening, after Elrond had gone to his study and Celeborn left to let Arwen attend to her mother's personal needs, Arwen helped her mother to the commode. Her mother seemed particularly weak this day and Arwen could hardly hold her up. As they returned to Celebrían's bed, she noted her mother had difficulty climbing into the bed, even with the help of the footstool that she now needed. Biting her lip, she asked, "How are you feeling today, Nana? I had thought we might carry you to the gardens this morning."
Her mother looked at her with the near-vacant gaze that had been her want since she first awoke. "I am tired," and Arwen flinched at the lackluster sound of it. Where was the sweet, musical voice that used to comfort and sustain her in everything she did?
"I would like to... Ada wanted to see you this morning. May I call him?"
"Not yet." Celebrían closed her eyes.
Arwen clenched her hands to her chest as she watched pain flit across her mother's face. "Would you like some tea, Nana?"
There was no response.
She would not panic, she told herself quietly. Slipping away from the bed, she went to the door and sent the guard for Elrond. Tears fell as she walked back to her mother's side. She sat on the chair left for those who ever guarded Celebrían and held her mother's hand. When Elrond entered, she held her finger to her mouth, gently kissed the hand, and placed it on her mother's chest.
"There is something wrong with her, Ada," she whispered as Elrond held her. "I know not what, but she is very weak and seems to be in pain."
"Yes. I gave her some athelas tea, but she would not drink."
Squeezing Arwen tightly, he kissed her brow. "Sit by the window and wait. I will see if she will allow me to examine her."
Arwen nodded and walked to the window. She sat as Elrond approached the bed.
The Lord of Imladris knelt next to Celebrían and took her hand gently in his own. "Garn nín?" She did not move. "Muin nín?" His brow furrowed. "She is fevered," he whispered but Arwen heard and understood. She ran from the room.
Celeborn entered but a moment later, followed by one of the healers who carried a litter. At the sight, Elrond blanched, but nodded his approval. The two picked her up and placed her in the litter, held taut by the guard and the healer. They walked her slowly to the infirmary. After she was placed upon one of the beds, Elrond motioned and all but Celeborn and Arwen left him.
"What ails her?" Celeborn spoke in muted tones, fear evident upon his face.
"I know not. It is not her outward wounds, though. They have almost all healed. Something is wrong with her... "
Celeborn nodded in understanding. Arwen stepped forward and began to undress her mother, gently kissing her and speaking words of comfort. When she was finished, she moved back, weeping openly. Celeborn moved to her side and held her as Elrond stepped forward, bringing a light with him. He sat on a stool and placed his hands upon her nether region. "There is no fever and that is a good thing." Gently, he moved a finger into her depths. Then he added another. She slept, eyes closed.
Arwen's hands flew to her mouth to cover a horrified cry as she watched her father work so impersonally.
At last, he moved back, took a towel and wiped his hands, and stood, motioning for them to join him in the outer room. "Her womb is broken beyond my skill to heal. It has become dislodged and hangs. It must be removed."
Arwen screamed into her grandfather's shoulder. Celeborn had become as stiff as marble, only his hand moving to stroke his fair granddaughter's hair. He nodded, swallowing hard. "I will help you."
Elrond nodded. "Arwen," he turned in anguish, "please stay out here. I will call you when it is done."
She nodded, miserably, and was left alone.
Elrond called for bandages, salves and such, then walked back into the room. Celeborn followed him, as did an elleth with the supplies. "Leave us," Elrond said as he placed the accoutrements on a side table. The elleth nodded and left.
"I will have to... "
"Just do what has to be done and tell me what you require of me. Otherwise, I will be silent and stand at your side."
The Lord of Imladris nodded, laid his hand upon Celebrían's brow and placed her into a deep sleep, then began his labors.
What seemed as hours passed. At last, Elrond opened the door and motioned for Arwen to enter. "She will be well. As well as can be, knowing she can no longer bear children." His face was ashen, his lips pulled taut in a dark grimace. "I will not tell you more, Arwen. Stay by her. Celeborn and I must speak."
Arwen nodded, kissed her father and sat at her mother's side. Celeborn patted her shoulder and they left.
After the two lords walked through the infirmary and out into the garden, Elrond spoke. "You asked what had happened; I could not bring myself to tell you in her presence. We yet know if one so stricken can hear in the midst of their pain." He turned as they reached a bench. "I think it best if you sit while I tell you what I believe happened and caused this." He took a deep breath, as one who approaches a battle, then looked deeply into Celeborn's eyes and began. "The Yrch thrust their hands, probably up to their elbows, into her womb. Those were claw marks that I showed you before I had the womb taken away to be buried. They must have pulled at her while in her. They tore the fiber that held her together. A damaged womb does not always exhibit signs of abuse at the time of injury. I did examine it, but felt the cuts at the opening were what caused the bleeding. I know not if I refused to believe what further might have been done to her." Tears were slowing falling down Elrond's face. "Sometimes, it takes awhile before the womb falls out." He was shuddering as he spoke. "But that is not why I have asked you to join me. You asked if I had seen anything so heinous before. Have you not wondered about Elladan and Elrohir and where they have been these past weeks?"
Celeborn remained silent, knowing the question was not one that an answer was required.
"Come with me," Elrond said and walked away from the House towards the stables. As they reached a small shed, the Elven Lord put his hand on Celeborn's shoulder. "I... I cannot bear to show you this, but I know not how to help my... ionnath." His voice shook, then broke as he spoke the word 'ionnath.'
Celeborn, shaken himself by the loss of seemliness in his friend, shuddered himself. "You know your own ionnath. How can this be - that you cannot help them?"
Elrond did not reply, but opened the door and ushered Celeborn inside. Yrch cocks hung from the ceiling, others were nailed to the walls - hundreds of them on display. The Lord of the Golden Wood reeled in horror and forced himself back through the door, holding a hand over his mouth. He turned away and retched until his sides hurt and his stomach ached.
Elrond had not said a word. When at last the Lord of Imladris touched him, Celeborn felt the tremors that ran through his grandson's father. "How did this come to be? What have they told you?"
"They do not know I have discovered it."
"You truly believe it is their handiwork?" Tears pooled in his eyes and Celeborn tried to blink them away. It was a futile attempt; they spilled over and fell.
"I have Glorfindel to thank for the discovery. He watches over them, unbeknownst to them. When they returned from their last sortie against the Yrch, he followed them. Something in their demeanor alerted him. He came to me and showed me."
"You did not suspect?"
"My every thought has been for Celebrían. I could not imagine. I did not want to know... I saw the hate in their eyes." A shiver coursed through him, so vicious he had to stop speaking and wrap his arms about himself.
At this, Celeborn stepped forward and took the Elf into his arms, clutching him tightly to his bosom. Elrond, not ever allowing such familiarity from any but his immediate family, stiffened in surprise. After only a moment, he relented and let the warmth and love that he felt flowing from the great Lord of Lórien encompass him. The walls he had constructed around him broke as Beleriand must have broken when Eru Ilúvatar smashed the land and drowned it into the sea. He choked once, twice, then began to sob disconsolately.
Glorfindel watched from the stables. At last, as Elrond disengaged himself from Celeborn's arms, he stepped forward. "My Lord, what would you have me do with this?"
The Lord of Imladris looked at his seneschal. "It is not your problem to deal with, Glorfindel, though you have my gratitude for your circumspection."
"Nay. It is part of my purview. The twins are under my authority. I cannot allow this in the ranks, no matter whether they are your ionnath or no."
"You cannot think they... They are grief stricken. They know not what they do."
"I think they know too well what they do. That is why that room is so filled."
Celeborn stepped between the two. "Glorfindel, though I am not your lord, I am descended from Elwë, High King of the Sindar and friend of your kinsman, Finwë. I deem my word is worth respect. You may not touch them, nor punish them, nor even speak a word to them. This is your lord's purview."
Elrond placed a gentle hand on Glorfindel's arm. "Do not take umbrage at what Lord Celeborn says. He speaks truly. You may not discipline Elladan and Elrohir. If I must, I will send them West, for I know not if they will ever heal from this wound. The matter is in my hands."
Glorfindel nodded. "As you wish. I would have them barred from service for the nonce."
"It will be done; however, the word barred will not be used. I will send them to Lórien. Perhaps Galadriel... they may find some healing there."
Glorfindel bowed and left them.
Elrond walked to the stables and sat on a bench by the door. Celeborn stood next to him. "They will not leave. They will not stop their reign of vengeance."
"They will or I will send them West. I am still their Lord as well as their Adar." He hissed quietly. "The building must be burned to the ground."
"I agree. Shall I order it?"
"Nay. Erestor will order it so."
"Galadriel will care for them. It is a wise decision, Elrond. They cannot stay here; they cannot continue these deeds."
"Will you stand with me...? When I order them to Lórien, will you stand with me?"
"You need not ask. For their sake, I would do anything."
A/N - 1) There is controversy, as always with Tolkien, about Celeborn and his origins. I am following the 'tale' that states he is Elwë's grandson. 2) I am also going with the 'tale' that Glorfindel might have been the son of one of Finwë's daughters. 3) Telerin - I know the singular for Teleri is Teler, but when I researched this, it seemed that Telerin was used as an adjective to describe a Teler. If I am wrong, I would greatly appreciate correction.
Muin nín - My beloved
Garn nín - my own
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