11. Ch.10: Visitors in the Night
Chapter 10: Visitors in the Night
"So, why hadn't I heard of your lover before, Elladan?" One of the border soldiers that were escorting them through the Golden Wood was too curious about the Half-Elven prince's personal life. He had asked at least twenty questions about what he did and what happened recently in Imladris and his family and all manner of things.
"Authion, that's enough. My lord Elladan does not deserve to hear your incessant bramble and questions about his personal life." Haldir walked silently next to him, scanning the trees as if an enemy lurked behind each one. He was not much older than Elladan and Elrohir and had been their friend for a long time. It disturbed Elladan that Haldir was continuously checking for threats, though Elrohir was none too concerned as he was enjoying himself by teasing Elladan as well.
"No, Haldir, I do not mind. Albeit, I have no desire to speak about Eruain." Elladan was leading his horse, Lainathion, who held Arwen aloft him, weaving in and out of the trees.
"Fine then, brother, I will speak about her." Elrohir started to motion with his hands to help describe her physiognomy. Arwen rolled her eyes and pledged to ignore Elrohir. "She has long dark hair. Her skin is the color of slightly browned honey. And eyes like the misty clouds that oft lie over the ocean." He gazed off dreamily as a jest.
"Sounds like you fancy her as well, Elrohir," an elf walking next to Haldir commented, her face hidden.
"Aye, lads, you should have seen the bosom on this woman –" He made a ridiculous moaning sound, squeezing his hands around an imaginary bosom.
"That's enough, Elrohir," Elladan chided darkly. Sending a narrowing expression, he almost let Elrohir go without demanding any reparations from his brother. And then Elrohir said the unthinkable.
"If she was mine, I would have stayed near her and fucked her stupid so we would not be in such a mess," he whispered.
Elladan roared as he sent himself flying at his twin, entangling his fingers in Elrohir's hair. He threw some punches and dodged what his clone sent at him. Before it could continue any farther, Haldir and Authion tackled him, holding his flailing limbs back. Arwen stared in fury at her brothers, her lips pursed in anger.
"What are you thinking?" she admonished them, jumping down from Lainathion. They whipped their heads in her direction. Their sister was never angry. The only other time she had yelled, ever, was in desperate depression when they turned up with their dying mother. She had blamed them that they could have saved her if they were just a little faster, if they had fought a little harder. But now it was different, she did not look as angry, but her eyes radiated ire. "These woods are not safe to be rolling around and fighting! Eruain will not be saved by you two throwing punches at each other. Elrohir –" He shrank away at the sound of his name. "You had no right to desecrate Eruain's image as you did. Just because you are jealous that your brother found love does not mean you must make fun of him. You know these last two months have been hard on him. And you," she turned, her fury now fixed on Elladan. "Just because your brother infuriates you with his incessant teasing does not mean you launch yourself at him! Yes, I understand that your heart is complete in pieces and you desperately want to see her to safety, but you need to start thinking with your head." She punctuated her sentence by pointing to her head. "Your heart is in too much pain to be leading your thought process. We are in danger outside the havens of Lórien and Imladris. So stop acting ridiculous, both of you!" She took Lainathion's reins and started to walk again.
The rest of the party followed in silence; Elrohir put his arm around Elladan and whispered, "I am sorry, my brother. I should not have said that nor did I mean it. I love you too much to hurt you in such a way." Elladan leaned his head against Elrohir's forehead and sighed.
"Brother, I need your help more than ever." Almost, as if in passing, he mumbled, "The bonds of pain burrow deep. And the Sun shields itself from my eyes. Even the beauty of the Golden Wood has diminished as if the leaves were already fallen and my kin were gone from this world."
"Elladan?" Elrohir pushed his brother to face him. "Look at me. Look at me!"
"What," he snapped, acutely aware of the eyes of the border elves and those of his sister were on them. "Elrohir, what is it?" The trance was gone; he had life in his eyes now. Elrohir had seen it fade with his words. Worry and notice of his twin's waning sanity seemed to blossom in his mind. Of course, Elrohir, no matter the circumstance, was always the more rational of the two of them, in his mind. His numb feelings and expressions for everything left him immune to the hardships of the world and he was able to sort things out with knowledge. Elladan, on the other hand, was acute to every emotion he had and those he found in others. In Elrohir's opinion, this made him reckless and dangerous to himself and others.
Eying Elladan with a narrowing expression, he ended up shrugging off the situation with a smile and, "I thought I saw a big bug on your face. Sorry, my mistake, it was just your nose."
"You have a same nose," Arwen commented nonchalantly in a tone her brothers understood that meant the Lórien elves were ever inquisitive and it was not appropriate to be talking about such things as despair in from of them.
"Yes, dear sister, but I wear it better," he chuckled, leaving Elladan's side, content with hearing the border guards' musical laughter at his comment.
"My lords, my lady," Haldir stopped them with a hand, motioning for them to hide behind the trees. "Something moves behind these trees." He pressed himself against the wide bark of a tree, his hand snaking down to grasp his dagger. He pulled it free from its sheath as silently as he could walk. The soft rustling could only have been heard by elven ears and Haldir pounced. From the behind a tree he found a rugged man, whose clothing was worn and his body grimy. "Why should I not kill you, human," he snarled in Sindarin.
"Estel!" the half-elven called out in surprise. All three of them eager to exchange greetings with him.
"Halt." Haldir commanded, he eyed 'Estel' and the siblings warily. "How can I trust that you will not harm them?"
Estel pulled something on a chain from his pocket. It shimmered in the filtered light. "The Evenstar," Authion whispered in awe. None of the Lórien elves had seen something so beautiful.
"Sister, that's yours…" Elrohir cast a sideways glance at her. An unknown look was on her face; it was tenderness, but she was desperately trying to hide it. Elrohir narrowed his eyes. They thought he was stupid, his brother and sister. They thought he didn't notice these little things. But he did. And it hurt him to be treated like a child.
"Yes, Elrohir, it is. But not anymore…" There was only one reason why the pendant would be given away. She loved him. Elrohir sighed in exasperation. His siblings were smitten with mortals, such foolish siblings they were.
"I have never seen you wear it."
"Haldir, I did not sport it during my stay in Lothlórien many years ago, because it had been left behind. My father did not want those residing in Lórien to know my status in Imladris. It would have caused much stress upon your people and on me." She did not take her eyes off of Estel; their eyes locked together in an unbreakable gaze. It sickened Elrohir to see how badly she wanted to press herself to him and just kiss him. It was just like when Eruain would often invite Elladan to swim. It was indecent and unacceptable for elves, or at least the elves of their days.
The Border Captain spoke again, "Where are you headed?"
"To inform the Lady of the Golden Wood of the Mirkwood incident and to bring tidings from Mithrandir."
"What do you mean?"
"I will allow council with you if the Lady wishes that as well," Estel commented coolly, alluding that the information he wished to give was not for common soldiers' ears.
"Follow me then," Haldir motioned for their troop to move again. Silence enveloped them and they walked onwards towards Lothlórien.
He sat up drenched in sweat. The name that formed softly on his lips in a silent cry was that of 'Eruain'. He covered his face with his hands and let harsh mortal emotions take over. More and more his Mannish side was taking over. The Lust, the Greed, the Anger, the Grief. Everything was cascading down upon him and he felt as if his mind was warring against him, as mad as Eruain had become.
"What troubles your mind in the late hours of the night?" The sweet voice called to him, drifting on the wind. "What haunts you, young one?"
"Mother…?" he mumbled half asleep still. He caught sight of her and his eyes ceased their beaming they developed when he thought his mother was alive again. "Grandmother."
"Will you not grant me peace by answering my inquiries? What nightmare about Eruain has you hurting? Do not think I do not know of your love, young one."
"It was not a dream nor was it a nightmare. It was something similar to father's premonitions. She," his voice broke. "She struggles through her labor, a masked man stands beside her, coaxing her to scream as he carves the dreadful poem onto her back as she pushes the baby. The midwife is worried because her hips are too narrow to give safe and easy passage for her child. She is calling for me." He did not dare to mention to his grandmother that she called for Haraduien as well. "She pleads for my help. She pleads for murder. It is as if she does not want the baby. I could hear her praying for a boy, mumbling something about how it has to be a boy. There is blood everywhere and her skin pales. Finally, she is successful in pushing the baby out, gasping for breath. She starts to thrash and scream when she learns it is a girl, cursing the babe. She calls it Krahiya, mumbling something about how it means hate. Then a blonde elf is there and promises that he would not kill Alatar as he said he would but has slain many of his concubines and their children in anger, warning her that next time it had to be a boy. And she falls into a deep sleep, Krahiya whines at her breast and Eruain screams within her dreams." He sighs, tears falling from his eyes as he relives the dreadful vision of her labor. "That is what deeply troubles me…"
"It seems to me that you have glimpsed the future. It is not something you can change, but you may have time yet to save her and this child."
"Then let me go!" He exploded with anger. All of these wise elves were just holding him back. None of them actually wanted him to save her, he knew. "Why is it that none of you acknowledge my love for her? Do you think it is just a trifle?"
"No, but you are not prepared to wield any weapons against her captors. And that is why you must stay here. Your father sent you and your siblings here for me to monitor because he did not wish to lose you as he knows you would foolishly throw away your life for this human." Lady Galadriel was not harsh, but her voice did hold disapproval.
"I love her!" he spat. "That is why I would throw my life away just as you would for the life of your kin! I wish I had been born a mortal…"
"You have been graced with immortality, my dear one…"
"As you command, young lord," Galadriel took her leave of him, disappearing as she had come into the star filled night.
In a desperate manner, Elladan searched for a knife, a dagger, just anything sharp. It was a frenzy he had delved into, his pace quickening as he started to lose faith in finding a weapon. Sighing in ecstasy, his fingers brushed the smooth hilt of a dagger. He smiled as he put the cold metal on his skin, the flesh of his arm tingled with the familiar feeling. He lost himself in the sensation as he drew it softly across his palm, coaxing the blood out with a shudder. Such a sick habit he had developed, he mused as he watched his blood start to clot. How wonderful pain and the idea of death was. He played gleefully with the dagger, drawing the edge of it across his skin chaotically, and frowned as the blood clotted almost immediately. Such was the horror of his immortality. Finally he seemed to grow bored with his ministrations and set the bloodied blade down. Wiping himself of blood, he crawled back into his bed.
Another visitor. His eyes narrowed at his window as the easily distinguishable silhouette of his brother emerged. "Finished with your playing, my brother? It was just getting dangerous," he whispered in anger. His brother, his own brother, was becoming insane. Or maybe it was his nature that drove him insane.
"Perhaps you'd like to join me next time, brother," Elladan whispered just as darkly.
"I'll pass. I'd much rather suffer alone than have to enjoy the burden of your suffering." Elrohir strode over to Elladan's desk where the dagger sat and picked the knife up. In a flash, he sent the blade out the window, throwing it hard. "I'm sorry I've seem to have lost your play toy."
"Just leave me alone." Elladan whined, almost promising himself that he would search for that dagger. "You cannot help me. You do not know what it is like to love someone like I love her, or how Arwen loves Estel."
"Yes, but I do love you, my brother. You should not hurt yourself so." Elrohir chided him as he moved closer.
"I do not require nor do I want your help. Just leave me. If you want to still have my love, leave." He whispered again. And this time Elrohir obeyed. "Why is it that they care so much?" He sobbed again. "Why can I not be Eruain? I'd rather be tortured by a creature of Mordor than endure such pain! You are lucky, my love! You fair better than I!"
One year has passed since the Half-Elven passed into the Realm of Lothlórien:
She watched as the orcs threw rocks against the walls of the main tower in Minas Morgul. They bounced off harmlessly around Krahiya, who blew bubbles cutely in her basket that was set against the wall. Her daughter waved slightly at the air and looked over at Eruain, cooing. Eruain's eyes narrowed.
It happened in an instance: a rock exploded against Krahiya's head, smashing the soft, developing skull in. Blood erupted from the wound and brain matter fell to the ground. Eruain scrambled over to her daughter, scooping up the blood and brains that had splattered against the ground and wall and attempted to push it back into her baby's skull. Sobbing, she picked up Krahiya, and pulled out her sword. "Kneel, you pieces of shit!" She screamed, her voice breaking as she commanded the orcs. "Kneel, damn it!"
They came and knelt in front of her, chattering quietly and she came upon them. "Do you know what you have done, you bastards?! Do you?!" They said not a word. "What if I took a rock and smashed it against your heads? What if I threw you all off the walls and watch you die a slow death as your blood flowed from your wounds? What have you done to me?!" She cut the first orc's head off; it's black blood staining her and the other orcs around him. A few started to get up. "Stay where you are!" She moved down the line, hacking and slashing until all eleven of the orcs were dead.
She set Krahiya down on the ground carefully and took each of the orcs and pushed them over the edge of the wall. Then she picked up Krahiya again and ran to her chambers. As she arrived, Annatar looked up from the book he was reading. She thrust the dead baby towards him, showing him the horrendous corpse of his daughter. "Look what your servants have done to your heir! Look at her! Look at our Krahiya!" she screamed.
"Eruain," his voice became like honey. "Bring her here." At the simple command, she obeyed and let him have her daughter. He brought his right hand upon the broken and bloodied brow of his child and she dissipated into ash that floated out of the window.
Eruain watched as he set down his book, stood, and went over to the window to close it. He turned around; his face was cold and unsympathetic. He felt her grasp at his robes and whisper hotly into his ears, "Give me another one."
"What?" He watched her start to disrobe him, kissing his jawline passionately.
"Give me another child. I promise it will be a son this time," she smiled seductively and ran her hands over his bare chest, making an effort to kiss down his abdomen. She knelt on the ground in front of his and threw off her black robes, becoming suddenly naked in front of him. "It will be a son, I promise, my love..." She tugged lovingly at his trousers.
A hand stayed her and brought her to her feet. "Tell me what you just said again."
"It will be a son, I promise..." She resumed nipping at his skin, running a tongue along the base of his neck.
He thought for a second before grasping her face tightly, "Did you kill our daughter?"
"No," she whimpered in pain. "Why would I kill our child?"
"Answer me truthfully, Eruain!" he bellowed. He thrust his forehead against hers and broke into her mind. He watched the scene replay. The orcs threw rocks against the wall, none of them even close to hitting their child. And then he felt the presence of an idea come to her mind and watched her pick up a rock. She proceeded to stone their child. He felt her mind become somewhat proud of what she did and then turned sour. She screamed and ran to the child, trying to put her mangled body back together. She turned on the orcs and murdered them all, finishing by throwing their corpses off the wall. Pulling out of her mind, he whispered quietly to her, "Why did you kill her?"
"You want a son. I needed to have had a son! I failed you! What am I worth if I cannot accomplish one small task of having a son?" She knelt before him. "Please," she begged, "Give me another one! Another chance."
He took her by the arm and threw her on the bed. She smiled in delight as she got her way. He pulled off his pants and climbed on top of her, kissing her passionately. "Your transformation is complete, Naraca." He spoke her given Quenya name. It was then she accepted his body and readily gave herself to him, instead of screaming the entire time. She wanted to please her master, she wanted a son. She loved Annatar and would kill for his love. She no longer considered him evil or what he did to her in the night to be rape. It was pure love now and she knew it would be a son, or she would murder her own once more.