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Monday, the Elves stayed quiet and did not participate in any way in the Memorial Day celebrations that were scheduled for the day, though, like everyone else, they joined the other residents of Wiseman in watching the fireworks later that evening, enjoying them as much as the Mortals.
On Tuesday, those who were interested in joining the Rangers left for a two-week camping trip into the Brooks Mountain Range and the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. The purpose was to familiarize them with the taiga or boreal forest biome which would be their area of concern.
“We’re also planning to take them across to the tundra to give them an idea of what that is like,” Paul Pettingill had told Glorfindel and the others when he saw them at their picnic.
“Should be fun,” Glorfindel commented. “I’m glad I’m not going.” The others who were listening to the conversation laughed.
Thus, with the healers away and now those who wanted to become Rangers, Edhellond became very quiet.
“Almost too quiet,” Daeron said when Finrod mentioned it.
“It can never be too quiet,” Glorfindel quipped, “but it certainly is peaceful.” And to that they all agreed.
Wednesday, Glorfindel showed up at Vorondur’s office for their session, though he confessed to the ellon that he didn’t see the point. “I still don’t think I’m fading, no matter what everyone else says,” he complained. “What did all those test show, anyway?”
“Well, they showed me what I already suspected, that you’re a model of perfect elven health, physically,” Vorondur admitted. “And yet…”
“And yet, what?” Glorfindel asked. “Ron, what is it?”
“When did you start lying to people?” Vorondur asked and Glorfindel blinked in surprise at the seeming non sequitur.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that little story you told my sons about the Twins and then that whole thing about the Elf-path and why the children shouldn’t wander off it?”
“Well, the first wasn’t really a lie, just not the truth, and the second was just for fun and to make sure the little ones didn’t go wandering off getting lost. So what?”
“How can what you told Dar and Cani be both a lie and the truth?”
Glorfindel sighed, shaking his head. “Fine. I never sold them, not even for a shekel a piece. What I did do was to send them off to learn a trade, separate trades. They were apprenticed to master craftsmen because Daeron and I decided they needed to learn something other than how to kill people. They were being a bit obnoxious about it and they needed to learn some humility. And it wasn’t for one measly year, either. They were apprenticed for the usual fourteen years until they achieved their mastership and I wouldn’t let them come home until they had.”
“And you had that much power over them?” Vorondur asked in curiosity.
“Damn right, I did!” Glorfindel nearly shouted, sounding almost angry.
“Loren!” Vorondur said sharply. “Get a grip and take a deep breath. No one’s questioning your authority here. I just want to understand why you’re acting as you are.”
Glorfindel took a deep centering breath, the tension in his body easing slightly. “Sorry. I seem to snap at the littlest thing lately. I was and am their captain. They know this. The few times when they’ve disobeyed an order from me ended very badly for them. They were forced to do the most menial tasks alongside mortal children also learning the trade. They hated me for it, and I don’t blame them for doing so, but as time went on, they actually took pride in their accomplishments, established friendships among their fellow apprentices and journeymen and now they often speak fondly of their time as apprentices.”
“So why didn’t you tell my sons this instead of fabricating the tale about the Twins being sold into slavery?”
Glorfindel shrugged, giving Vorondur a sly look. “Because it was more fun? I don’t know, Ron. At the time, it just felt right and don’t worry, I warned Daeron later and I’ll tell the Twins when they get back so if your sons try to ask them about it, they’ll know what to say.”
“And yet, in the end, the lie is compounded and you have to complicit three other people, four if you include me, into the lie.”
“Five, actually,” Glorfindel said somewhat smugly. “Finrod knows the truth as well.”
“And what happens when Dar and Cani learn the true story? How do you think they’ll feel?”
“Let’s hope that by the time they do, they will realize that their attitude towards Mortals is wrong and they have a greater sense of respect for them. Look, Ron, I’m sorry, but really? Does it matter? And as far as the whole Elf-path thing goes, that was just for fun because those kids love to see what they call Elf-magic. And it was a good way to make sure they didn’t go wandering off into the woods without some adult on constant guard. Their parents could relax and no one got hurt.”
“Well, I won’t dispute that, but I would appreciate it if before you leave here you tell my sons the truth about the Twins. I think they deserve that much.”
Glorfindel nodded, looking suitably chagrined. “Okay. Will do. Sorry. Guess I messed up.”
“As do we all from time to time,” Vorondur said with a gracious smile. “If they came with instructions, our whole lives would be a lot easier, if not as interesting.”
Glorfindel barked a laugh. “Atar Arafinwë used to say the same thing about raising Reborn.”
“Where were you when we were sitting around the bonfire in the clearing?” Vorondur asked suddenly.
“You were there physically, but I noticed that as the night wore on, you seemed to withdraw from the rest of us. I just wondered where you went.”
“Nowhere.” Glorfindel frowned, his eyes narrowing. “I… I guess I just zoned out, as they say. I remember sitting there feeling suddenly tired for some reason but I didn’t want to worry anyone so I just sat there when all I really wanted to do was to go back to the house and sleep.”
“Why didn’t you? A few others retired and nobody thought twice about it. You could have left.”
“Maybe, but with everyone watching me for signs of fading, I just didn’t want to bother. You don’t know how tiring it is to be watched all the time.”
“I was not aware of that, Loren. I’m sorry. Had I known, I would have put a stop to it.”
“Not your fault, and you can’t be there twenty-four-seven anyway.”
“Still, I will speak with Darren and Finrod and make sure they understand. I know that you are under a lot of pressure and they shouldn’t make it worse for you. Now, moving on, have you thought further about what we talked about earlier, regressing you to see if you can remember your dreams more? Have you even had more such dreams?”
“No to the second question, for which I am thankful,” Glorfindel said sincerely. “I’m still not sure about being regressed. I don’t like the idea of not being in control—”
“But that’s just the point. You will be in complete control. You will be completely aware of everything that is happening and you will have the power to end the session at any time it becomes too much for you. I promise, Loren, that I won’t be mucking around in your soul. The regression will have one purpose and one purpose only: to bring to your conscious memory what your unconscious knows about the dreams you’ve been having. I think it’s important for you to remember them. I have a feeling they are somehow tied in with your fading.”
“Can I think about it?” Glorfindel pleaded. “Right now, I’m too busy planning our trip to Fairbanks.”
“Take all the time you need, Loren, to be comfortable with the idea. Talk it over with Finrod and Legolas if you want. See what they say about it. And if you decide to go ahead with it, you’re welcome to have whomever you want present with you and we don’t need to do it here. We can do it in Edhellond or wherever you feel the most comfortable.”
Glorfindel nodded. “Okay. I’ll let you know when we get back. What if I decide not to go ahead with it?”
“Do you mean, will I stop being your friend or anything like that? Well, you can put your mind to rest on that score, Loren. While I may wish you had decided otherwise for your sake, not mine, I will not stand in judgment and will continue to help you as I can and as you allow. That is true with all my patients. I can’t force you to do something you’re not ready to do, but I will be there regardless whatever your decision.”
“Fair enough and thanks. Why don’t we go find your sons and I’ll tell them what really happened.”
Vorondur nodded and stood. “I believe they’re in the garden watering the plants they stole.”
“When do they start working at the nursery?” Glorfindel asked as he followed Vorondur out the door.
“Next week. They will work for three hours, three days a week.”
“And will it really take them five years to pay off their debt?”
“Probably not,” Vorondur admitted with a smile, “but they don’t need to know that just now.”
“Ah…” Glorfindel said by way of a comment.
Vorondur led him into the back yard and called for his sons while he and Glorfindel found seats at a table shaded by an umbrella. The two ellyn showed up a moment later and joined them.
“Come and sit,” Vorondur said to them. “There’s something that Glorfindel wishes to tell you.”
The two younger ellyn did as they were bid and gave the Elf-lord their undivided attention. Glorfindel cleared his throat. “That story I told you about the Twins?” Dar and Cani nodded. “Well, let me tell you what really happened….”
“They seemed to take it pretty well,” Glorfindel commented later, when he was back at Edhellond, telling Finrod and Daeron about his session with Vorondur. The three of them were sitting around the breakfast nook enjoying a midmorning snack. “At least they didn’t run off yelling how they hated me or anything like that.”
“I’m sure they don’t hate you,” Daeron said with a smile. “Did they ask you why you told them that story?”
“Yeah, and I asked them which version impressed them more.”
“Ah… yes. I can see that,” Daeron allowed. “Next time, though, I think you should just stick to the unvarnished truth. It’s less of a hassle on us all.”
“Yes, mom,” Glorfindel said and both Daeron and Finrod laughed.
“It’s a good thing Elrond never heard you tell that story,” Finrod said.
“Shh!” Glorfindel said, looking around furtively and the other two snickered in amusement.
“Well, I am glad that’s settled,” Finrod said. “I need to get going or I’ll be late.”
“I’ll give you a lift,” Glorfindel offered. “I need to do some shopping anyway.”
“Thank you,” Finrod said and in a few moments he and Glorfindel were gone, leaving Daeron to clean up after them before he went out into the back garden to see how Elrond and Celebrían were doing, the two working side-by-side in planting roses.
They both looked up at Daeron’s approach. “So, what happened?” Elrond asked the loremaster.
“He told them the truth,” Daeron answered.
Elrond nodded and Celebrían sighed, but otherwise they did not offer any comments as they went back to their planting. After a moment, Daeron left them to go wandering in the woods for a time before he needed to get back to his own work.
Friday, Daeron drove Elrond to Evergreen Drive and dropped him off in front of Vorondur’s house. “I’ll pick you up in an hour,” he told him before driving off with a wave. Elrond went to the front door and rang the bell. Nimrodel answered it, giving him a radiant smile.
“Come in, Elrond. Ron will be with you in a moment.”
Even as she was closing the door behind him, Vorondur came down the hall and greeted him. “Would you care for some tea or lemonade while we talk?” he asked.
“Thank you, no,” Elrond said, feeling suddenly nervous for some reason.
Vorondur nodded and gestured for Elrond to precede him. “Second door on your right,” he said and shortly after the two were in his office. “Sit where you wish,” he told the Elf-lord and Elrond chose one of the overstuff chairs. Vorondur sat in the other and waited.
For a long moment, Elrond did not speak, taking his time to look around the small office, comparing it with his own in Imladris-that-was. Finally, he gave Vorondur a sad smile. “You have come a long way from when you were just one more warrior in my retinue guarding Imladris,” he said in Sindarin.
“We both have,” Vorondur replied in the same language.
“I am glad you found a purpose and a meaning for your life,” Elrond said. “When you left us, you and Ercassë, I feared for you both. The East was still a dangerous place even without Sauron, and we never learned what happened to the Blue Wizards. If even Maiar could disappear….” He shook his head. “Sorry. I did not mean to bring that up after all this time.”
“We had many adventures and several close calls,” Vorondur said, “and I know Ercassë missed all of you in Imladris and Lothlórien, but we were and are happy and have no real regrets. Looking back, I think this was the Valar’s way of keeping us here in Ennorath until the time was ripe for us to join up with Glorfindel and the others.”
Elrond nodded. “Which brings us to the reason I asked for this meeting.”
Vorondur nodded and waited for Elrond to continue. The erstwhile Master of Imladris licked his lips. “Daeron was the one to suggest this. He and Glorfindel both stated that I do not necessarily have to follow the same route as the other healers in becoming certified to practice medicine as the Mortals do.”
“That’s true. What do you have in mind?”
“Daeron spoke of my becoming either a psychiatrist or a psychologist.” Here he resorted to English.
“Well, either option would be of benefit to this community,” Vorondur said, speaking in the same language. “Psychiatry would involve becoming a certified doctor in psychiatric medicine. That’s a bit more involved than what the healers are doing at the moment, but it’s certainly doable. Going into psychology would not be as time-intensive, but it will still take you a number of years.”
“Glorfindel suggested I take the psychology classes at the college,” Elrond said.
“That would certainly help and allow you to decide which path you wish to take. I am assuming there is no particular hurry to decide either way.”
“None that I see,” Elrond allowed. “I do not wish to be the only healer unable to ply his trade.”
“That is certainly understandable. Perhaps we can arrange something with Geoff Harris and have you work at the hospital a couple of days a week with me.”
“I was unaware that you worked at the hospital.”
“Not in the same way as your sons or the other healers do, but there is a wing of the hospital that is the psychiatric ward, where people suffering from some psychosis or another undergo treatment. There are three psychiatrists on staff and we rotate through the ward, caring for the few patients that are there. Unfortunately, even here in the middle of nowhere, there are people with psychological problems that necessitate hospitalization. One or two of the patients are there under court order to determine their mental capacity to stand trial for the crimes of which they’ve been accused.”
“What would I be doing?”
“Mostly following me around on my rounds. I can teach you the pharmacology that we use in our treatments, and you can observe how I go about doing things. I may have you follow the nurses as well, since they are there on a daily basis administering to the patients.”
“I think I would like that, thank you.”
“I’ll speak with Geoff about it, get his permission. If he says okay, we’ll make arrangements for you to be able to work there. Not anyone can wander into the psych ward, you have to understand. Unlike any other ward in the hospital, you need a special key to get in, but that’s a minor detail. Once I have Geoff’s permission, we’ll set up a schedule for you to follow. I’ll also take you over to the college and have you registered for a couple of the psych classes. Northern Lights is just a community college and the courses offered are not as extensive as those at, say, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, but take the classes offered here and then we’ll see about getting you the classes you need to get your degree in psychology later. With distance learning and internet, it will be easy enough to have you take classes even from here.”
Elrond nodded. “Thank you and thank you also for getting Glorfindel to tell the truth about my sons.”
“Who told you about that?”
“Daeron, actually. Glorfindel told him what he had told Dar and Cani and Daeron told me and Celebrían, assuring us that it never happened. He did not want us to inadvertently hear the story and assume it to be true. I am glad that it was not, though I would not have blamed Glorfindel or Daeron if they had done just that. You remember how my sons were after their naneth Sailed?”
“Yes, I do,” Vorondur said with a slight smile. “Well, I’m glad that has been cleared up. I have to wonder though what other lies Glorfindel has been telling us lately that we do not know about.”
“Yes, that disturbs me as well,” Elrond admitted. “I am not sure what we can do about it.”
“There is one thing you can all do,” Vorondur said.
“What is that?”
“Glorfindel is aware that everyone else in Edhellond is watching him very closely and he is becoming resentful. You might warn the others to back off a bit. The other night he desperately wished to go to bed but was afraid to because of how others would react. We can’t have that.”
“No. In that you are correct. Very well. I will speak to Daeron and Finrod about it and we will see that the others are aware of the effect they are having on Glorfindel with their constant watching.”
Vorondur nodded. “Good. So, is someone picking you up or should I drive you over to Edhellond?”
“Daeron said he would pick me up at five.”
“Well, you still have about fifteen minutes. Unless there’s anything else you wish to speak to me about, perhaps you’d like to see the garden while we’re waiting for Daeron to return.”
“I would like that, thank you.”
Vorondur rose and Elrond followed him and together they left the office and made their way to the back yard where Vorondur gave him a tour of the garden. Ercassë and Nimrodel joined them, bringing tall glasses of lemonade for them to enjoy. When Daeron arrived, he was invited to join them and by then Amroth had returned from his own errands and they all sat in the garden enjoying each other’s company for a while until it was time for Daeron and Elrond to return to Edhellond for dinner.
“So, how did it go?” Daeron asked Elrond once they were alone in the car.
“Vorondur will help me register for classes at the college and he will arrange for me to follow him on his rounds at the hospital.”
“Good. I’m glad that’s working out for you. I’m sure Dan and Roy will be very happy to hear that you are making your way in this modern world. What about Celebrían? What do you think she would like to do?”
“If I know my wife, she would prefer to spend her days tending the plants in the garden.”
“Well, she can certainly do that, but I think she might benefit from finding actual work. You know, she could take classes at the college as well. They have an ethnobotany certificate program where she can learn about native plants and their uses in indigenous cultures and how that impacts on our lives here. She might consider a career in natural resource management services which help to protect the environment. Something to think about.”
“Yes, I agree. Perhaps if you could gather the relevant information…”
“Sure, and don’t worry, we won’t have any problems getting her admitted into the program, and I know Nell would be happy to show her big sister the ropes once she starts classes.” He gave Elrond a sly grin and the Elf-lord laughed at the idea of Celebrían having to allow Nielluin to teach her what she needed to know instead of the other way around.
From the sealed files of Dr. Ron Brightman:
Name: Elrod Ronaldson (Elrond Eärendilion)
Personality Profile: INTP: Wizard
Charm: ‘As kind as summer’
Planning ability: Strategic
Survival preparations: Better than average given his background
Weapons skill: Knows one end of a sword from the other, but his greatest weapon is his mind
Intelligence: Mensa would need to add a new category of genius just for him
Warm fuzzies: Reserved but full of compassion (a necessary trait for any healer)
Leadership skills: He refused the Crown of the Noldor-in-Exile after Gil-galad’s death, content to rule in Imladris as its Master
Motto: ‘I endure’
Analysis: Elrond is all about logic. His greatest weapon is his mind, but he does not use it to lord it over others. His strong Introverted Thinking (Ti) function, coupled with an Extraverted Intuiting (Ne) function, is evident in how he approaches the world, whether as a healer or as a leader. He is excellent at noting inconsistencies and able to posit multiple outcomes, not with the intention of making choices for others, but to ‘lay the cards on the table’ so to speak so every viable option is out there from which others may make informed choices, whether it’s a course of treatment for an illness or strategy for a battle. Elrond is pragmatic, practical and (outwardly) reserved. Within his core, though, he is empathetic and empathic to a degree not seen in even someone like Finrod. His ability for total recall and seeking detailed data as well as being able to analyze, categorize and evaluate according to principles, interpreting situations and relationships and picking up meaning and interconnections to other contexts — all this explains why he is considered one of the greatest loremasters this world has ever seen.
I think he will make an excellent psychologist and I am glad that Daeron has suggested this to him. Perhaps eventually he will want to study to become a psychiatric physician. Eru knows I could sure use the help!
Addendum: I find it interesting that Elrond and his two sons, healers and warriors all, actually share the same functions, but arranged differently. Thus Elrond is Ti-Ne-Si-Fe, while Elladan is Si-Fe-Ti-Ne and Elrohir is Fe-Si-Ne-Ti. The three actually complement one another quite well. Once Elrond starts working as a psychologist, I think he and his sons will have a basis for a new level of relationship between them. Only time will tell.
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