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Chapter 8: not a night to remember
Celeborn approached his wife silently. She was sitting on the river´s bank her bare feet dangling down the slope. He smiled at the sight. With her white gown and her loose hair, an ingenious watcher could have mistaken her for a young maiden enjoying the rush of the mighty River Bruinen below.
He sighed. Galadriel was anything but a young maiden and she was surely not enjoying the moment. Knowing that she had long sensed his approach he sat beside her.
Even with her eyes open, she was not seeing the river or anything else in her imminent surrounding. Her gaze was directed a great distance away, her ageless face troubled.
Celeborn closed his eyes and let the serenity of the trees sooth his mind. It had been a long night but not only while the feast had progressed into the morning….
The evening before……
Elrond looked up when he felt someone slip next to him on the chair. He raised an eyebrow at his seneschal.
“Erestor, what`s your purpose tonight? Glorfindel is already watching me like a hawk.”
Elrond stopped speaking when he recognized that his words came out slurred. Had he drunk so much wine already?
Erestor had obviously noticed it too.
“Ignoring the Lord and Lady of Lothloríen may be wise or not but to decimate our wine stock at that rate I have to protest for.”
Elrond grimaced. Erestor had as always wrapped his irritation in sloppy words.
“I have nothing further to say to the Lothlórien elves. They will leave in the morning and I will be fine with that.”
“And Arwen will leave with them,” Erestor said matter of fact.
Knowing the impact of his words exactly, the dark-haired councillor did not start when the Master healer slammed a fist on the table.
“Not without my consent! Now leave me alone Erestor, I´m not drunk enough to endure more of this nonsense.”
Without a further word, the healer rose and vanished through a side portal. Erestor directed a concerned gaze at Glorfindel, who only nodded. He would keep an eye on the strange acting Half-elf. Erestor would make sure that the guests would not notice too much of the unruly behaviour of their Lord.
Not even two hours later, Glorfindel looked up at the noise of glass shattering on the floor. During an agitated conversation Elrond had wiped the glasses from the table.
Glorfindel gave the signal. Enough was enough. The Master of Imladris had definitely reached his limits. The feast had well progressed into the dead of night and some guests were already leaving to retire. A good opportunity to intervene.
Elladan and Elrohir were approaching the healer and flanked him on both sides. They steadied the swaying figure and steered their father toward the entrance of the Hall of Fire. They made sure not to attract further attention.
Glorfindel anticipated another protest like the hour before when he had already tried to convince the Half-elf to retire. Yet the swaying healer let himself be brought from the room after a short but fierce dispute with his sons.
Glorfindel took a deep breath and winked at Erestor.
The twins would make sure that the Master of Imladris would not return and take his rest and Erestor would further entertain the guests until even the last elf would leave for a break or greet the morning outside. Celeborn and Galadriel had already left and Arwen had not been seen for hours.
Not a night to remember.
Elrond tossed on his bed. Images of Celebrían, injured and broken – pictures of the gravely wounded woman, his sons blood-splattered bodies after coming home from a hunt and Arwen´s outstretched hand screaming for him mingled in his mind into an all-consuming black chasm threatening to swallow him at any moment….
I'm so tired of being here
“Shhh….it´s ok I´m here now……let go, I´m here, you are safe….”
“Shhh, I´m here, try to sleep.”
When I cried, you'd wipe away all of my tears
Elrond blinked into the night and reached out a hand to the silhouette leaning over him. Two hands enveloped his and kissed his knuckles. He opened his mouth but a tender finger was pressed over his lips. His mind was so confused…
“Cel…...,” he breathed.
She was here, next to him. He could feel her breath. He closed his eyes and sighed in contentment when a warm body laid down beside him. He buried his head under her chin –
- somehow, she felt and smelled different.
He reached out with his mind but encountered –
Again, she was blocking her mind, shutting him out. He was used to this. This night it did not matter. As long as she was here, all was well.
Arms enveloped him, held him close. He felt warm, safe, loved. He reached out to caress long wavy hair; the texture felt…different but nonetheless silky and smooth.
Again, his hand was stilled. The warm body snuggled next to him, soothing him only through it´s presence. He made no further try to reach her mind or speak to her. He only enjoyed being held.
Suddenly sobs threatened up his throat, all the strain of the last months could no longer be held back. He turned fully toward the warm body hugged her fiercely and was hugged back. A small gesture he had missed so much.
He wrapped the slender body with his own and without a conscious thought; a desire crawled up his spine. He kissed and caressed, stroked and touched the warm body, inhaled her scent so alien and yet familiar, he kissed her face, her mouth, her throat…
… “it cannot be…”
… “I need you tonight, please…”
… “I know, but it´s not possible…”
… “I do not care…”
… “please don´t” …
Elrond awoke with a start. It was well past morning and he blinked at the sun streaming through the window. He sat up and growled when a massive headache made itself known.
He shook his head. He could not remember much of the last evening or night. He rose. His bedsheets were tangled. Obviously, he had not slept well – damn wine!
On his way to the bathroom, memory came back with full force. The dispute with Celebrían´s parents and the following feast with…yes, definitely too much wine.
The healer growled. At least he had a pleasant dream to remember. For months, he was not able to walk the path of dreams but last night it had happened.
He would check on Elisa and then grab breakfast….
A knock sounded on his door.
“Elrond, are you awake?”
The healer sighed. So much for a pleasant morning.
“Yes, Glorfindel I´m awake. Come in.”
No sooner, he had spoken the invitation the door opened and the warrior entered, yet he was sure his chief commander had entered anyway.
After closing the door, the fair-haired elf kept standing just inside the door.
“Reticence isn´t a concept of yours. So, out with it.”
Smoothing his tangled hair Elrond regarded the warrior intently.
“Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel are ready to leave.”
Elrond blew out a breath. His headache was back full force.
“I will be there shortly,” he answered already turning toward the bathroom again.
“Arwen is with them.”
Elrond whirled around.
“For Valar´s sake, Glorfindel. I cannot convince her to stay…”
“You have not even tried!”
“Indeed! My daughter is no longer feeling that the Last Homely House is her home. What argument do I have against this?”, Elrond retorted.
Glorfindel recognized that anger but also remorse was coloring the healer´s voice. Yet he had to take another step.
“It´s not the House that drives her out, it´s you!”
Elrond took a step back and looked at his commander aghast.
“Elrond, she misses her mother….”
“I miss her too, for heaven’s sake, why does everyone doubt that….”
Glorfindel´s eyes blazed.
“No one doubt´s THAT, it´s your handling of Elisa…”
Elrond lifted his arms in a dramatic gesture.
“Elisa, of course, please Glorfindel stop it. Elisa is a patient – nothing more and nothing less. Let us visit her and she can tell….”
Elrond´s eyes narrowed.
“What do you mean “she´s gone”? he asked barely restrained.
“She left early in the morning.”
Elrond grabbed his dressing gown from a chair.
“And you have not stopped her?” he asked angrily already heading for the door.
Glorfindel sidestepped the healer purposely blocking the door.
“Elrond, listen to me. I tried to convince her to stay but she declined. I provided her with many supplies, warm clothing and a horse. It was her decision.”
“Off course. Go out of my way. I have to organize a search party.”
To be continued…….
The lyrics are taken from the song “My Immortal” by Evanescence
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