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Glorfindel woke with a start, his body and bedsheets drenched with sweat, his voice raw with his screams as he struggled against the nightmare. There were shouts and pounding on the bedroom door and then it flew open and Finrod was there along with Daeron, the two rushing in, their faces full of alarm.
*Well, that’s not how it was supposed to go,* Irmo said with a disgusted huff to his brother, Námo, the two of them standing unseen in a corner of Glorfindel’s room, watching dispassionately as Finrod wrapped his arms around Glorfindel to comfort him while Daeron ran to the bathroom and came back a minute later with some water. By now, others in Edhellond were gathering at the doorway, but Daeron shooed them away, promising them that everything was under control. He shut the door on them and went back to the bed where Finrod had managed to calm Glorfindel down enough that the ellon was now quietly sipping on the water.
*It does seem as if you lost control there in the end,* Námo said mildly, casting a clinical eye over Glorfindel, gauging his mental and emotional states, not liking what he was seeing.
Irmo huffed again. *It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I do not like the implications of that.*
*Nor do I,* Námo admitted. *I find it interesting who showed up in his dream, though.*
*You mean Farrell.*
*And the Watcher. Glorfindel never saw it in real life; he simply heard about it from Frodo and Olórin after the Ring War, yet here it appears in his dream.*
*They all wonder what lies within Winterdark Tarn,* Irmo pointed out as he watched Finrod and Daeron minister to the Balrog-slayer. “Most suspect that it might be something similar to the Watcher or another balrog. It stands to reason that Glorfindel would dream of one or the other.*
*He shouldn’t have been dreaming of it at all,* Námo said, his aura oscillating along the frequencies between the violet that was his normal signature to a pale green that indicated amusement. *What do you hope to accomplish with these dreams? Each one has become more and more nightmarish.*
*The idea was to point him toward the talisman that is in Gwyn and Gareth’s safekeeping,* Irmo replied.
*Wouldn’t it have been easier to inspire the ap Hywel brothers to reveal the existence of the talisman to the other Elves?*
*Don’t you think I tried that?* Irmo retorted with annoyance. *Those two are too… too mortal or something. I can’t seem to get through to them as easily as I can with the other Elves, especially those who once dwelt in Valinor before the Darkening. And of course, Glorfindel was tutored by us and our Maiar after his re-embodiment, so he’s still more open to suggestions than others.*
*I think, though, that recent events have made it hard for him to be as attentive to you as he should be. Either that, or you’re losing your touch.* Námo’s aura spiked with bright yellow and had he been in fana, he would have been grinning slyly.
*I am not losing my touch!* Irmo protested. *But I admit that my dreams are being hijacked in some manner. This is the third such dream I’ve sent him. The others never even got as far as this one did, but they all ended in disasters of one kind or another. This is the first time he’s actually seen the talisman within the dream.*
*Well, my suggestion, and it’s only that, is that you stop with the dreams for now. He’s seen the talisman and that’s what matters. I fear that if you keep pushing it, the nightmares will only get worse and he can’t take much more. Look at him, my brother! I do not like what I am seeing.*
Irmo’s aura shifted toward the red spectrum as he acknowledged Námo’s observation. *You’re right. He fading. That should not be happening. Not now. Why now?*
*Perhaps all that has happened to him since the blizzard back in October is finally taking its toll,* Námo suggested, *but I think the problem lies in his mugging.*
*He was mugged before.*
*But not by Mortals and they did not slit his wrists. No, I fear that our Reborn has yet to face and accept this most recent trauma and how close he came to dying a second time and not even in a battle but thrown away like so much worthless trash.*
*Let us hope when he has his first session with Vorondur in two days’ time, that the ellon will see that Glorfindel is on the brink of fading.*
*I may have to do a bit of inspiring myself, just in case,* Námo said and then the two thought themselves away to report to Manwë and the other Valar, leaving the three Elves to themselves, though they never knew it.
“Do you want to tell us about it?” Finrod asked solicitously as he continued to hug his gwador.
Glorfindel shook his head as he handed the empty water glass to Daeron. “Just a stupid dream, a nightmare really. I probably shouldn’t have had that last slice of pepperoni pizza.” He gave them a weak smile at his attempt at levity but the other two ellyn did not rise to the bait.
“You told me that you’ve been having disturbing dreams,” Finrod said with a frown. “This one appears to have been very disturbing.”
“How do you figure that?” Daeron asked.
“This is the first time he’s woken us with his screams,” Finrod replied.
Glorfindel felt himself blush. “Sorry.”
“You have nothing to be sorry about, gwador,” Finrod said sincerely enough, “but if these dreams are getting worse, then it must mean something. I’ve noticed since the High Kings left you’ve been acting irritable, not really attending to any of your usual activities, not eating and sleeping more than you probably need to and then your sleep is interrupted by these nightmares.” He paused, hesitating for a moment as if debating with himself as to whether to continue or not. When he did, he gave Glorfindel a sympathetic look.
“I know Helyanwë leaving has upset you.”
“I really don’t want to talk about it,” Glorfindel interjected.
“You don’t want to talk about anything,” Daeron said calmly, “and that is certainly your right, but I sincerely hope that you don’t waste Ron’s time by simply sitting there for an hour in his office refusing to speak.”
“I’m thinking of cancelling—”
“No!” Daeron said almost angrily and even Finrod looked surprised at the vehemence of the ellon’s tone. “You will go see Ron as planned if I have to drag you there myself, and don’t think I won’t, and when you get there you will tell Ron about the nightmares and everything else.”
Glorfindel gave his friend an almost supercilious look. “Is this where I say ‘Yes, Nana, anything you say, Nana’?”
“If you feel you must,” Daeron replied, not backing down, his expression set.
Finrod decided to intervene before Glorfindel could offer a retort. “Daeron is right, gwador. I know I pressured you into seeking Vorondur’s counsel, but I think you need this and there’s no shame in it. You know this. You remember how it was for us Reborn and the healers in Lórien.”
Glorfindel snorted. “All too well, unfortunately. Okay. I won’t cancel my appointment, but I don’t think Ron’s going to be able to help me with this.”
“Is it always the same dream?” Daeron asked.
“Sort of. It’s hard to say,” Glorfindel admitted. “This dream seemed to last for a very long time and there were very odd moments, like Charles Waverly showing up and me insisting he was dead and had been for over a year. Why would I even think that? The Man’s old, I grant you, but he’s not dead yet.”
“That is perhaps something you and Ron can discuss together,” Daeron suggested carefully. He glanced at the clock on the night table. “Well, I think I’ll go down and put some breakfast together for everyone. I’ll let the others know you’re fine.”
He went to the door and opened it to find Vardamir standing there with an arm out and the hand in a fist. He gave Daeron a startled look.
“Oh, I was just about to knock,” he said, lowering his arm.
Daeron chuckled. “Come in, Mir. I was just leaving to go start breakfast. Loren’s fine. A nightmare, but you may want to check him out anyway.” He stepped aside to let the ellon in and then left, closing the door behind him.
As Vardamir came to stand beside the bed, Finrod gave him a run-down on what had happened, speaking healer-to-healer. “He’s not been eating much lately, and he’s very restless, but when he attempts to sleep, he has these nightmares.”
“What do these nightmares entail?” Vardamir asked as he took Glorfindel’s left wrist and began checking his pulse.
“The usual mixed-up garbage,” Glorfindel replied with a shrug, not willing to describe the dream in detail. The last part felt all too real and he shied away from its memory.
Mir gave him a skeptical look but did not pursue the matter. “Well, if you ever want to talk about it, you know where to find us.” He nodded toward Finrod, including him in the statement. “I won’t pressure you at the moment, but clearly these nightmares are causing you great distress. If I didn’t know better, I would say you were fading, but we all know that can’t be happening, right?”
“Do you really think that is what is happening?” Finrod asked, his expression one of concern.
“I’m not fading!” Glorfindel insisted. “I’m just suffering a rough patch, is all. These last few months have been rather hectic for me, what with my mugging and then we had to go after the Twins and then the High Kings show up dragging Turgon with them and I have to deal with him, not to mention Roy and Sarah’s wedding. It’s just been one thing after another. It’s amazing any of us have had time to breathe.”
“Maybe so,” Vardamir allowed, “but it seems to me that you’ve suffered more than the others and it has to take its toll, both physically and spiritually. I can tell without even having to look too deeply that your energy is almost depleted, that you are on the verge of fading. Only thing is, I’m not at all sure what to do about it.”
“Well, for the moment you don’t have to do anything except go away,” Glorfindel said firmly, “the both of you. I don’t think I need an audience while I’m getting dressed. Tell Daeron I’ll be down shortly to help with breakfast.”
Vardamir and Finrod exchanged looks that Glorfindel chose not to interpret. Finrod nodded and sidled off the bed. “We’ll leave you to get dressed then,” he said and without looking back he and Vardamir left him to himself.
For a long moment Glorfindel just sat there with his arms wrapped around his calves and his forehead resting against his knees. “I am not fading. I’m not!” he muttered to himself. Then after a moment he sighed, straightened and threw back the covers and climbed out of bed, covering his nakedness with a robe as he headed for the bathroom for a quick shower before dressing.
Monday morning, five minutes before ten, Ercassë greeted Glorfindel at the front door of the house on Evergreen that was often as not referred to as Edhellond-two by the other Elves and even by some of their Mortal friends, ushering him inside with a smile.
“Ron is on the phone at the moment, but he’ll be with you shortly,” she said. “Would you like to wait in the kitchen?”
“Sure,” Glorfindel said with a nod and followed the elleth into the bright kitchen where a kettle was whistling merrily. She went to the stove to turn off the burner and check the soup that was also simmering.
“Cream of white asparagus,” Ercassë offered before Glorfindel thought to ask. “It’s a new recipe I found online. I thought I would give it a try. If you wish, please join us for lunch after your session with Ron.” She cast him a merry smile. “You can be the first to review.”
Glorfindel laughed. “Thank you, but perhaps I’ll pass on this one.”
Ercassë shrugged. “Your choice. Ah… here’s Ron.”
Glorfindel turned to see Vorondur walking in, smiling. “Sorry about that. One of my Mortal patients needed a little pep talk. He’s been having some self-esteem issues. Would you care to join me in my office?”
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow. “You mean I can choose not to join you in your office?”
Vorondur gave him a searching look. “If you would rather go somewhere that’s more comfortable for you…”
“No, your office is fine,” Glorfindel said hurriedly. “I was just surprised by the… um… formality of your invitation, I guess you can say. Though to tell you the truth, it’s such a lovely day, I’d hate to spend any more time indoors than I need to.”
“I quite agree,” Vorondur said, “but perhaps for our first session together, my office might be the most appropriate venue. Later we can certainly meet elsewhere.”
“You’re the doc, doc,” Glorfindel said with a grin. Vorondur raised an eyebrow at that but did not otherwise comment.
“Would you like some tea? The kettle’s just off the boil,” Ercassë stated.
“I wouldn’t mind some,” Vorondur acknowledged. “Loren?”
“Tea sounds grand, as Gareth likes to say,” Glorfindel said with a smile.
Vorondur grabbed a couple of mugs and the two spent a few minutes putting together some Earl Grey tea before heading for Vorondur’s office.
“So where is everyone else?” Glorfindel asked.
“Amroth and Della had an appointment at the hospital for a check-up and my sons are with the Three Amigos, no doubt getting into mischief.”
Glorfindel chuckled at that as the two entered Vorondur’s office. Vorondur gestured for Glorfindel to take a seat wherever he wished. Glorfindel ignored the easy chairs in one corner and chose a hardback chair that stood in front of Vorondur’s desk, taking a sip of his tea. If Vorondur wondered at his choice of seat, he gave no sign that he thought it unusual. Instead he settled himself behind his desk, placing his mug on the desk and picking up a legal pad and a pen.
“Relax, Loren,” he said with a warm smile. “We’re just two friends talking.”
“That’s just it, though, isn’t it?” Glorfindel countered. “I’m not here as a friend in need but as a screwed up ellon and you’re my psychiatric physician.”
Vorondur put down the pad and pen and picked up his mug of tea, taking a sip. “Would it make you feel more comfortable if you look upon me as just a friend with a willing ear? I know we’ve only known each other for a couple of years…”
“Longer than that,” Glorfindel interrupted. “Don’t forget that I knew you when you were living in Imladris.” He gave the ellon a sly look. “Though I grant you that I didn’t recognize you when you and Holly and Sarah showed up at Edhellond. Not at first.”
“Whereas, I recognized you right away,” Vorondur retorted with a sly smile of his own.
“I’m unforgettable,” Glorfindel quipped with a smirk.
Vorondur chuckled and then his expression sobered. “Seriously, though, I hope you know me well enough to know that you can trust me with any confidences you might have. I’m here for your benefit. I know you’ve been under a lot of stress of late and recent events haven’t helped. How are your eating and sleeping patterns? Are they normal?”
“Finrod says I’m not eating at all and sleeping too much, but even my sleep has been disturbed by these very troubling dreams and Friday night, well, actually it would’ve been early Saturday morning, I woke screaming.”
“Would you like to tell me?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Of course you do, Loren, and you know it,” Vorondur replied equably, apparently not at all upset at Glorfindel’s belligerence. “You are not here under a court order or duress. You are free to walk out of here at any time. I’m here to help, but only if you want me to. Do these dreams center around Helena?”
Glorfindel gave him a startled look. “No. She’s got nothing to do with them. In fact, I’ve been having these dreams or nightmares for a while now, even before Helyanwë decided to go back to Valinor.”
“The same dream?” Vorondur asked, frowning.
“Sort of.” Glorfindel paused, furrowing his brow as he tried to recall exactly what the dreams had been about. Even the last one was difficult for him to recall in any great detail. There was simply the overwhelming sense of dread that seemed to permeate all his dreams of late. “I don’t recall anything specific about them, only that I wake up with this sense of dread that seems to hang over me, like some doom that’s coming and I can’t avoid it.”
“Dreams or something else?” Vorondur ventured.
Vorondur shrugged. “You’ve experienced it before, or so I have been led to believe.”
“And whenever it’s happened, I’ve been wide awake.”
“Does that mean it can never happen while you’re sleeping?”
Glorfindel blinked as if the thought had never occurred to him, and truly it hadn’t. “If only I could remember more clearly what the dreams were about,” he said after a moment, closing his eyes and rubbing the space between them.
“I could do a regression,” Vorondur suggested carefully.
Glorfindel gave him a sour look. “You mean hypnotize me?”
Vorondur shook his head. “I don’t care for that word as it has too many negative connotations. What I do is put you into a relaxed state so that your subconscious can come out and play, so to speak.” He flashed Glorfindel a bright smile and Glorfindel snorted in amusement. “You will be in complete control and will know everything that is happening to you. All I will be doing is guiding you to remember more clearly what your waking mind wants to forget because it’s too disturbing for you.”
“I’ll have to think about it,” Glorfindel said.
“Take your time,” Vorondur said and if he was disappointed that Glorfindel had not immediately accepted his suggestion, he did not show it. “We can do it at any time you feel comfortable enough about it. If you want someone like Finrod or Daeron with you when we do it, that’s perfectly fine.” He picked up his pad and pen. “Now, this last dream, is there anything about it that you do remember?”
“Just bits and pieces now,” Glorfindel admitted. “My overall impression is that it covered a lot of subjective time, weeks even.”
“What were you doing?”
“Looking for something… or no, not looking but attempting to retrieve something, but now I don’t remember what. All I do remember is that people showed up in it that I would normally not expect.”
“Well, Charles Waverly, for one, but in the dream, he was dead and I was speaking to his ghost or whatever.”
“And can you recall what your conversation was about?”
“Something about having hope,” Glorfindel answered. “There was a passage from somewhere that he was reading to me, but now I don’t know what it was, yet, at the time, it was very significant.”
“Anything else you can remember about the dream?” Vorondur asked as he jotted down notes. When his question was met by silence he looked up and saw that Glorfindel had become pale, his eyes haunted. “Loren?”
“Oh Eru, Ron, I died,” Glorfindel whispered and then his body quivered as if from cold. He hugged himself, hunching over and he began weeping. “I d-d-died. Please, I d-don’t want to d-die again.”
Vorondur stood and went around the desk, pulling Glorfindel into his embrace. “Shh… Loren, it’s okay, it’s okay,” he said softly as he continued to hold the ellon. “It was just a dream, a bad dream. You’re alive. You’re not dead. Keep that in mind. It was just a dream.”
“You said it was prophetic,” Glorfindel countered as he pushed himself out of Vorondur’s hold, wiping the tears from his eyes with the backs of his hands. Vorondur reached over to the box of tissues on his desk and handed it to Glorfindel who took it.
“I said no such thing, Loren,” Vorondur objected mildly. “I offered it as a possibility. There are many reasons why you might be having the same dream or same type of dream over and over and foretelling is only one possible reason. Another is that your subconscious is trying to tell you something.”
“What?” Glorfindel demanded as he took some tissues and blew his nose.
“That is something you have to decide,” Vorondur replied. “It’s not my job to tell you this or that. My job is to help you to find the answers you need within yourself. Usually when a person, a Mortal, has the same dream over and over again, it’s a sign that the subconscious is trying to tell that person something about himself, and I can certainly help you to learn what that might be but it’s up to you to interpret what you learn. I won’t do it for you.”
“You’re a lot of help,” Glorfindel said somewhat sarcastically, though there was no animosity behind it.
“More help than you know, my friend,” Vorondur said with a smile. “I give you the help you need, not necessarily the help you want.”
“Man, that sounded so…so Valarish,” Glorfindel exclaimed.
Vorondur laughed. “I suppose it does, but it’s true nonetheless.” He gave Glorfindel a searching look. “Would you like to tell me about it?”
“You mean dying?” Glorfindel countered, then shrugged as he retook his seat while Vorondur returned to his own. “All I really remember was I was chasing someone across a bridge and then… uh… something like the Watcher in the Water that Mithrandir described to us after the Ring War came up out of the water below and grabbed me, taking me under with it and I was drowning. That’s when I woke up screaming.”
For a moment, Vorondur did not speak, mulling over the ellon’s words. “We’ve all wondered just what sleeps under Winterdark Tarn.”
“And I’d just as soon never find out,” Glorfindel said quickly.
Vorondur nodded. “I totally agree, but what I’m getting at is that we each, I think, have our own theory or fears about what it might actually be. All any of us know for sure is that it’s an ancient evil out of the First Age. These dreams may not be prophetic, showing you the manner in which you might die again, but they obviously are important, or you wouldn’t be having them.”
“This is the first time I’ve ever had the dream go all the way to the end, I mean, the other times I’ve had similar dreams I never got so far into the… the story, I guess you can call it, yet I somehow know that the dreams are the same. I dread sleeping again. I don’t want to dream, not if it’s going to end up with me dying all over again.”
“Then perhaps we need to bring the dream to the surface so we can deal with it,” Vorondur said. “You need to bring the dream into the light of day so that it no longer has any power over you.”
Glorfindel nodded, sighing as he closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. “I am so screwed up,” he said softly.
“No more than the next person, Loren,” Vorondur assured him, “but I admit that your screw ups are far more interesting than most.”
Glorfindel opened his eyes and saw the twinkle of amusement in Vorondur’s eyes. “I’m so glad you find me entertaining,” he drawled.
Vorondur laughed. “Oh, my friend, you have no idea. Now, putting aside your dreams for the moment, how are you feeling about Helyanwë leaving?”
Glorfindel gave Vorondur a rueful look. “Well, I wasn’t expecting it and it hurts, but I’ll get over it.”
“Do you resent Daeron?”
Glorfindel gave him a surprised look. “Resent? Why would I resent Daeron?”
“Because of Melyanna. Do you resent the fact that Daeron has found someone and you haven’t?”
“No. I don’t. I’m very happy for him. Ron, you don’t know what it was like for him before Dan and Roy and I found him. I seriously thought he would end up fading whatever we did to succor him, but he’s stronger than even he knows and he deserves every happiness.”
“And you don’t?”
Glorfindel shrugged. “Depends on your definition. My life is my life and I have few regrets about the direction in which it has gone over the ages. I’d hoped that Helena… well, I admit that at first it was because she reminded me so much of Alassiel, but that was just on the surface. I cherished her for herself, but apparently it wasn’t enough, at least, not for her.”
Vorondur took a moment to jot something down on the pad and, not looking up, he asked, “How do you feel about Dan and Roy leaving to go back East?”
Glorfindel sighed, glancing at the clock, which read 10:30. He had the feeling it was going to be a very long half hour before their session ended. “Well, it won’t be the first time we’ve not been together….”
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