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A/N: to understand this story thoroughly it would be advisable to read part 1.
Warning: the story is rated PG-13: this chapter contains violence, disturbing themes, and death
Chapter 2: shocking news
Galadriel looked up startled when Celeborn was staggering back after he had suddenly sprung up.
A delegation of Imladris had just arrived the day before and this evening was the first time for them to take a breather and enjoy the gathering away from council meetings and pressing topics to discuss.
On a rare occasion, Master Elrond had left his sheltered valley to personally report on a disturbing development and a frightening personal experience he had made. Not the least he seized the opportunity to visit his daughter. Since the death of his wife, Arwen was residing with her grandparents.
While listening to a report of one of her grandson´s, Galadriel had already sensed malice in the eather but had not deemed it directed against her husband.
However, before any of the other elves present at the dining table could react in any way, Celeborn had gone pale and had fallen to the floor unconscious.
All elves had sprung up in shock. Before kneeling down, the Lady of the Golden Wood had briefly looked at her son-in-law sitting opposite of her.
Elrond, however, had not answered the asking gaze. He was already hastening around the table to come to the fallen elf´s aid. He had also felt something approaching but was unable to determine the source of the malice and who would be the target.
Only one Elf-lord had not risen. Lord Glorfindel was still sitting in his chair his eyes closed. He had as well perceived something approach on another level than the elves powered with enhanced mental abilities.
This malice felt instantly familiar to him. It reawakened a terrible feeling in his gut. He had not to look at the felled Elf-lord to know what was ailing him.
After opening his eyes, Glorfindel caught the gaze of his lord over the rim of the table. Elrond had come to the same conclusion as he.
It was some years past when the healer had fallen victim to a similar mental attack. At that time, only the quick intervention of his mentor had rescued the Elf-lord from pushing him mentally beyond reach.
Back then, they could not discover where the attack had come from nor who was behind it. They had known one thing for sure, however. A new level of warfare had been heralded—the attack powerful, merciless and precise; nothing compared to the former intrusions. And, with one essential benefit. The attackers had not marched into a foreign land. They could launch their attacks from wherever they resided.
After recovering, Elrond had informed the leaders of the other elven realms, yet they had doubted that something similar could happen to the respective leaders. Today they were told otherwise.
Even if knowing what was ailing their comrade, Elrond counseled caution. Only guessing that the wood elf´s mind was attacked like his back then, it could be a different thing entirely.
Not knowing where the attack had come from they had only surmised Dol Guldur as the source of the malice. Lothlórien being much nearer to the dark fortress the power input could be more forceful and dangerous, even if Elrond doubted that his experience could be topped.
He had fallen into hell while experiencing masses of orc and Uruk-hai swarming Imladris and killing all in their way. In his fictive existence, Elrond had lived through many horrors; his whole family slaughtered during the siege of his valley.
It had taken a long time afterward for the Elf-lord to recover from this trauma. His mind and most of his confidence had been shaken to a level that had made him question his position to lead Imladris.
Now many years later, Elrond had come to the Golden wood to discuss among others this topic with Galadriel and Celeborn. If it was sheer coincidence or purpose that the attack was taking place right now no one could answer.
Maybe they now had the chance to discover where the attacks were coming from or the purpose behind this all.
Elrond had carefully turned the fallen Elf-Lord on his back and was already feeling for a pulse. The beating was there but erratic and uneven. Elrond directed a quick gaze at his son. Elladan was looking back with a grim expression. Too vivid were his memories when his father had been the victim.
Apart from keeping watch over the Elf-lord, Elrond refrained from doing anything further. He did not want to slight his colleague and comrade healers.
He gazed at Galadriel. Celeborn´s wife was still standing like a statue, her eyes closed and her face turned upwards to the canopy. A side glance told him that Glorfindel was also still sitting in his chair his eyes once again closed.
Elrond was sure that both elves tracked whoever had dared to attack one of the mightiest elf´s on Middle-earth and in his home among his family no less.
The healer shuddered. This was precisely frightening on a new concept. He also had been attacked in a surrounding where he had deemed himself safe. The sanctuaries were no sanctuaries anymore.
Elrond had not to wait long. Wholly and suddenly soundless, Calan, the Golden woods chief healer, had landed on the platform, not an inch apart from him.
Not letting his surprise be noticed, Elrond moved away to give his colleague space to do his work. Calan quickly examined the silver-haired Elf-lord and looked up with a frown on his face.
“What happened?” he asked at no one in particular.
Opening her eyes and kneeling down next to her husband Galadriel gazed at the healer.
“Something or someone is attacking his mind,” she said before lowering her eyes and placing her hand on the Elf-lord´s chest. Galadriel´s serene attitude seemed out of place.
Calan frowned while looking at the Master Healer from Imladris. Just yesterday, the Noldo-elf had reported of a vicious attack on his person not long ago.
Calan had been present and listened interested, yet not really understanding how this attack had affected the Elf-lord. It was a “mental access” the Elf-lord had said, something not controllable or stoppable, at least not from his perspective.
His frown increasing, Calan rechecked the heartbeat of his lord trying to determine what was ailing the silver-haired elf and if it was anything resembling what Mater Elrond had befallen.
To his dismay, he had to admit that he had had many doubts that a mighty Elf-lord like the son of Eärendil could be overpowered by a force not even recognized yet.
Celeborn was undoubtedly no less powerful than the other Elf-lords present. Should he be told otherwise just now? His lord was also felled without an apparent source. Could a mental force really be this strong and affecting?
Calan jerked his head toward his lady when a slender hand was placed on his shoulder. One look in her clear eyes confirmed his unvoiced question.
“Forgive my doubts, my lady,” he murmured while lowering his eyes and again gazing at the prone elf at his feet. A soft squeeze on his shoulder reassured his bad conscience.
Suddenly, however, Galadriel stood up.
“Bring him to the infirmary and guard his mind. I will put an end to this,” she said to no one in particular.
Calan and Haldir instantly rose and lifted the limp body of Celeborn. Quickly they descended the steps of the talan undoubtedly in the direction of the infirmary.
Without looking at another elf standing around her and ignoring the questioning and incredulous faces directed at her, Galadriel turned and was about to leave the great platform also.
“Galadriel, what have you in mind?” Lord Elrond called after the retreating she-elf after he had also risen.
A strained silence was stretching. No one had indeed dared to counteract against the mightiest elf in Middle-earth. Having first-hand experiences in this matter, Master Elrond deemed it appropriate to demand an answer.
Glorfindel had also risen and slightly moved into the she-elf´s path which Galadriel answered with a flash of her eyes.
Elladan and Elrohir were standing to the side, their stances rigid, however. Arwen was gazing uncomprehendingly at her father and her grandmother. The tension was nearly palpable.
“My lady,” Elrond said with a controlled voice. “I counsel caution. We do not know what is ailing your husband and if it is even similar to my experience. We could…”
The Master of Imladris had no chance to finish his sentence. Galadriel had whirled around her stance belligerent and her eyes flashing.
“Do not tell me what to do, Elrond Peredhel. I have clearly determined where the attack is coming from and I will not hesitate to strike. Until now the signs have been let un-encountered, the guilty unpunished, I will not.”
With that, she left the platform her long dress unhindering her in the slightest, leaving stunned and shocked elves behind.
To be continued…
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