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Chapter 9: bitter truths
Elrond was standing at the base of the great staircase leading into the courtyard.
His long burgundy robe along with his raven hair was blowing behind him. A cold wind had come up and the clouds threatened rain. Two search groups had returned without success. Elisa had vanished. No sign from her on the road.
Elrond swallowed. How could a mortal woman, still recovering survive in the wild? Glorfindel had assured him that he had provided her with everything he thought vital to help her survive, yet….
Why did she have to leave in such a hurry? He did not even know in which direction she had headed. Once she had mentioned that distant relatives of her dead husband lived in Gondor.
By the Valar, it was a long and dangerous way into the south.
He was startled out of his thoughts when a horse whinnied in protest. He recognized this sound instantly. Arwen´s mare. He had personally trained the beast to be the best protector Arwen could wish for whenever she left the sheltered valley. Now the beast could prove it´s worth by crossing the dangerous High Pass.
Not an hour ago, he had for a last time tried to speak to his daughter; to convince her to stay. It was a very emotional meeting and they had talked long and left nothing between them, yet Arwen had made it clear that she had to go nonetheless. Too many things had happened she had to think over.
Elrond had relented in the end. What could he have done anyway? He had lost his wife to the West and now his daughter was leaving her home too with only a vague promise to come back.
The talking with his parents-in-law had been less emotional and much shorter. They had promised to take good care of their granddaughter. Elrond did not doubt that. Arwen would return when she felt ready. To this hope, he had to cling.
He looked over the long row of riders ready to march. Additionally, to the Lothlórien warriors the Master of Imladris had ordered a contingent of Imladris to escort the group safely as far as the High Pass where a group from the Golden Wood would take over.
Elladan and Elrohir had volunteered to accompany their sister too. On their way back they wanted to look out for any trace of Elisa. They would travel as far as Tharbad to determine which way to Gondor Elisa possibly would have selected.
“She will be safe. I will watch over her.”
Elrond´s head snapped to his left. Galadriel was looking at him with an unreadable face.
The healer closed his eyes briefly. He had again not watched his thoughts.
He decided not to comment on this. Why the Lady of Light should have any interest to watch over a mortal woman eluded him. Elisa was gone and time would soon erase her existence.
“Celebrían is NOT gone, only far. She is waiting for you as soon as you are ready.”
Galadriel touched his arm briefly and some of the heavy load on his shoulders lifted. He wanted to retort something, yet she had already descended the stairs and was just mounting her horse. At a signal from Celeborn the group of elves marched out. At the gates Arwen turned and waved back to her father.
“She will come back,” Glorfindel said softly while Elrond nodded and waved back. As soon as the riders were out of sight, he returned to the house.
You used to captivate me by your resonating light
Elisa looked fondly at the infant sleeping peacefully in her arms. During her long journey to Gondor she had sometimes doubted that she would reach the great city in time to deliver her child in safety. Fortune however was on her side.
When she had just entered the plains of Rohan, a merchant and his wife had picked her up and taken her all the way to Gondor.
In the great canvas-covered wagon, she had travelled almost comfortably. The great brown mare the elves had provided her with had dutifully stayed at her side, even when she had turned it lose with the promise to return home.
During a longer stay in Rohan the merchant´s son had joined them. Elisa had made the acquaintance of the young man and even a friendship had developed between them. He had promised to visit her in Gondor should she permanently settle there and Elisa had accepted this with joy.
When they resumed their journey, the couple had been very supporting and she could not have wished for no better company along the rough way. The merchant had even volunteered to search for her husband´s relatives and within a week, he had returned with good news.
Her husband´s uncle did live on the outskirts of the great city of Minas Tirith and were overjoyed to welcome his nephew´s wife and the expecting baby.
Two months later, the strong cry of a newborn could be heard throughout the house.
“He´s truly a delight,” Jaylynn the wife of her husband´s uncle said while fondly gazing at the sleeping child. Tenderly she stroked the down of black hair.
“It´s so sad that his father cannot be here to see him.”
I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
Elisa swallow. Yes, her son´s father was far but he would get as much love as she could give him.
She looked out over the rolling waves crashing at the shore.
“I will name you Annion, my dear boy.”
Jaylynn raised an eyebrow.
“What a fitting name, he´s truly a gift.”
The lyrics are taken from the song “My Immortal” by Evanescence
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