Several weeks after having
sent the letter Elrond was making his morning rounds when he noticed a peculiar sight above the eastern border of the valley. There high in the sky was a beautiful rainbow despite the fact that it had not rained
in almost a week. The rational portion of his mind said it was probably an abundance
of moisture in the air while the superstitious part reminded him that rainbows are often omens of blessings. These thoughts were quickly dismissed as he continued his rounds and allowed the tasks of the day to take
his attention. However, when he returned to his study and saw the message from
Lorien on his desk he remembered the rainbow and was sure this meant the lord and lady knew of a way to help Arwen. The elderly elf ripped open the letter as quickly as a five hundred year old elfling opens gifts on their
begetting day but unfortunately he was disappointed by the content.
Out of the shadows crept a form which
made it’s way to Elrond’s side and gently placed a hand on his shoulder.
“What does it say my friend?” Glorfindel asked quietly. Elrond didn’t respond but instead handed the message to his long time advisor
and friend. After reading the message the ancient elf sighed sadly, “My
friend this isn’t all bad, the lady is fairly sure that Arwen will recover if she comes to live with her in Lorien.”
Elrond raised his tear-filled eyes to meet the gaze of his friend, “Yes, but she would have to stay in Lorien. I would lose her as well! I don’t
know if my heart can handle another loss mellon nŪn.”
Glorfindel shook Elrond’s shoulder’s firmly, “Elrond! Listen
to me this isn’t the defeat you think it is, this is a solution or at least a potential solution. Would you rather have your daughter in Lorien or in Valinor or worse yet in Mandos’ halls? I know that this is a shock to you and the Valar know you don’t deserve it but I made you a promise
and it is one I intend to keep, I’ll help you through this even if it takes every ounce of my strength.”
Elrond nodded, “Thank you my friend, you are right this is a solution and I’ll not rest until I’ve
taken every opportunity to see my daughter healed even if it means I lose yet another part of my heart. Choose the best soldiers to ride with us because I’ll not have my daughter fall to the same foe as
her mother. I’m going to fetch Arwen and we’ll leave as soon as I
can get her on a horse.”
Glorfindel nodded and went in search of his best soldiers while Elrond went to retrieve his grief stricken child. When he reached the door he knocked, “Arwen?
Arwen please answer the door I have some exciting news.” Getting
no answer Elrond pushed the door open and entered the room and was able to see his daughter sitting on the balcony. He walked to her side and followed her gaze into CelebrŪan’s garden.
Elrond had to surpass a sad sigh, it was bittersweet that Arwen’s balcony overlooked the one place she had spent
so many hours with her mother. Elrond stood for several moments with his hand
on his daughter’s shoulder than knelt so he could look in her eyes, “Sweetheart I have wonderful news, your grandmother
has invited you for a visit”. This elicited no response from the elf so
Elrond opted for action instead of words and quickly threw some things in a bag and helped his daughter to her feet. The pair made a quick stop in Elrond’s room and then moved out into the courtyard
where they found a contingent of guards, including Glorfindel and the twins, waiting for them.
The ride to Lorien was fast
even by elven standards but it was agonizingly slow to Elrond who watched his daughter drift further and further into despair
each day. Just after dawn on the fourteenth day the party from Imladris arrived
at Caras Galadhon, the city in the trees, where the lord and lady awaited them. When
the party arrived in front of Galadriel and Celeborn no works of greeting were uttered but instead a single look was exchanged
between the lady of the golden wood and the lord of Imladris. Galadriel moved
to stand in front of her granddaughter who was staring at the dirt. When Arwen
didn’t acknowledge the presence of her grandmother Galadriel gently raised the younger elf’s chin until their
“Grandmother” Arwen said softly before throwing herself into the lady’s open arms.
Elrond looked on in amazement, “That is the first thing she has said in over a month.”
Galadriel took Arwen by the hand and addressed the group, “I must take her somewhere private for a few days in
order to determine if she can be saved from her grief.” She surveyed the
weary faces of Elrond and the twins before continuing, “While we are away you should rest and regain your strength for
you still have many challenges before you.”
Once his wife and granddaughter had disappeared Celeborn turned to Elrond and his grandsons, “Come you are weary
we will eat then you will rest.”
Late that night, long after the meal was finished and everyone was in bed, Elrond walked the halls of Caras Galadhon. Finally he came to a point that allowed him to survey the entire settlement while
he contemplated the possible loss of his daughter. He leaned on the railing as
anguish threatened to overwhelm him, he had failed to heal his wife’s spirit and in that failing he had caused his daughter
to fall to the lowest point of despair. What kind of husband and father was he
that he could allow these things to happen? While the half-elven lord stood there
wandering those dark paths in his mind another sleepless elf silently made his way to Elrond’s side.
“None of this is your fault.” Celeborn waited until Elrond
turned surprised eyes to him and continued, “Nor could you have prevented it.
I can see how much the loss of Celebržan and the uncertain future of Arwen have been plaguing you. Even now you can’t sleep. Galadriel and I don’t
hold you at fault and I wish you wouldn’t hold yourself at fault. Your
children need you at full strength Elrond, when was the last time you slept?”
Elrond looked up with tired eyes, “I’m not sure, last week I think.”
“It is I thought, Glorfindel is making one of your infamous droughts for you my lord” Celeborn said with
a mischievous smile, “And you will drink it and you will sleep. Then tomorrow
you’ll relax and allow the power of the golden wood to rejuvenate your spirit.”
At that moment Glorfindel
arrived and smirked as he bowed and held out a goblet to Elrond, “Drink up my lord”.
Elrond glared at his old friend
as he took the goblet but the rational part of his brain admitted they were right, he did need this to help him sleep so he
closed his eyes and downed it as quickly as possible. At the end of the drink
he opened his eyes in surprise and looked at the golden haired elf.
Glorfindel laughed, “Some
of us aren’t as sadistic as you my friend and add a little honey to make to go down easier. Now off to bed with you before that drought makes you fall down where you stand.”
Elrond smiled and departed
for his bedchamber, “His heart is still raw from the loss of Celebržan
and the possible loss of Arwen isn’t helping matters. He needs us now more
than ever.” Glorfindel murmured as they watched Elrond stumble into his
Celeborn smiled gently, “Tis
true my friend that his heart isn’t healed but your presence by his side has helped greatly for I believe that if it
weren’t for you he would have left for the undying lands with Celebržan.”
Glorfindel shook his head,
“No it was the love for and of his children which kept him here.
Celeborn smiled at the reborn
elf who was too humble to take credit for the comfort his presence offered those around him.
The silver-haired elf decided to let the subject drop and instead commented, “He isn’t the only one whose
heart has been aching my friend. Now off to bed with you before I make you one
of Elrond’s droughts.” Glorfindel narrowed his eyes at the elf in
front of him and Celeborn continued, “Rest my friend, Galadriel and Arwen won’t be back for a few days at which
time you’ll be needed at your best.
Each morning of Galadriel’s
absence the beauty of the morning called Elrond from his bed and he began to wander around the childhood home of his wife. When he reflected upon it later he found it odd that the place that held so many memories
of his wife could be comforting but somehow it eased his soul to be there. The
fourth morning dawned just as beautiful but there was something different about the day.
Suddenly Galadriel appeared on the far side of the meadow the lord of the wood and his extended family were dining
in. Elrond jumped to his feet and felt his heart drop to his stomach when he
saw the lady was alone. He quickly crossed the meadow and approached the lady
with a terrified look in his eyes.
Galadriel took his hand and
gazed into his eyes, “Be not afraid Elrond, she yet lives.”
The terror in his eyes weakened
to a look of fear, “But will she stay?”
“That is for her
to tell you. She is in the basin near the mirror, find her there and she’ll
tell you that which your heart seeks to learn.” Elrond nodded than continued
on to the basin while Galadriel turned and walked to the table where the rest of her family sat gazing at her with rapt attention. She stopped just long enough to give them a reassuring smile than continued toward
“I wonder what that
means?” Elladan asked quietly.
“Only time will tell
young one. Finish your breakfast” Glorfindel rebuked as he picked up where
he had left off on his meal.
When Elrond reached his destination
he stopped at the top of the stairs and gazed at his daughter. Arwen, looking
less sad and lost, was casually running her hand along the top of the mirror. As
Elrond gazed his mind automatically went back to the day he had met Celebržan and realized how much his daughter reminded
him of his wife. She had the same smile, the same patience and the same gentle
After long minutes of
gazing Elrond descended the stairs which caused Arwen to notice her father, “Ada” she whispered before running
into his arms. Elrond didn’t say a word but instead held his daughter tightly
to him placing his head on top of hers and breathing in the scent that had been associated with Arwen her whole life.
Finally he pulled back and
gazed deeply into her eyes, “You seem better”.
She nodded, “I am, grandmother
helped.” Than the she-elf walked back over to the mirror and gently ran
her hand along the rim, “It is funny is it not?” Her father just
gave her a questioning look so she continued, “That even with all the knowledge and power grandmother has at her disposal
she was not able to see what would happen to her own daughter.”
The last bit was said with
a trace of bitterness so Elrond walked to his daughter and took her hand in his own, “Not even the wise can see all
ends1. Just as I can not see what now troubles your heart.” He lifted her chin so he could look in her eyes, “Tell me what troubles you.”
Arwen turned her head out
of her father’s hand and walked a few steps away than released the information which was keeping her heart captive,
“I can’t go back with you.”
Elrond was stunned at his
news and a little confused so he walked to his daughter, “What do you mean? Are
you leaving for the heavens?”
Arwen lifted tear filled eyes
to her father, “No, I’m not leaving Middle Earth but neither can I return to Imladris. The valley holds too many memories of mother and I’m afraid I cannot find peace there. Perhaps in time I’ll be able to return but for now I need to stay here with grandmother.”
Elrond pulled her in
for a hug and nodded into her hair while tears ran down his face. He couldn’t
believe he was losing her, the long-term memories of an elf would never allow her to find peace in her childhood home. Finally Elrond broke the embrace and raised Arwen’s chin, “Were you afraid
to tell me?” When Arwen nodded Elrond continued, “Why? Were you afraid I’d be angry?”
Arwen broke away from her
father and shook her head, “No I didn’t think you’d be angry I just didn’t want to wound your heart
anymore than it already has been.” Her father opened his mouth to interrupt
but Arwen continued, “I know your heart was wounded when mother left but you ignored the pain and stayed in Middle Earth
for us. I didn’t want to add to your pain by revealing that I was going
to leave Imladris.”
Elrond embraced his daughter
once more, “As long as you are healthy and staying in Middle Earth I’ll be just fine little one. Would you like me to tell your brothers?”
Arwen shook her head to the
negative, “I’ll tell them. Will you ask them to meet me here?” Elrond kissed her head then made his way to the meadow where he had left his sons. Once he reached his two identical sons he simple directed them, “She is waiting
for you by the mirror.” When they saw they were going to get no more information
out of their father they set off toward the basin. Elrond acknowledged Celeborn
and Glorfindel with a nod and set off into the forest.
The two elf lords exchanged
a look than went their separate ways with Celeborn seeking out his wife and Glorfindel searching for Elrond. Actually the blond knew where he would find his friend and when he reached the small pool he quietly went
to his friend’s side, “She is leaving?”
“No, she is staying
but she is staying here instead of in Imladris” Elrond murmured.
Glorfindel took a deep breath
and began to try to reassure his friend, “Here is better than the halls of Mandos.
I know you’ll miss her but this isn’t forever one day you’ll be together in Valinor. When that time comes the years Arwen spent apart from you on Middle Earth will seem but a moment in time”
Elrond smiled at his friend,
“What would I do without you?”
Glorfindel returned the smile
and wrapped an arm around the other’s shoulders, “Lets hope we don’t have to find out.”
The twins found Arwen just
where Elrond had left her and eagerly went to greet her. Elladan embraced his
sister than asked the question which was eating at his heart, “Are you sailing?”
Arwen turned away from her brothers, “I’m not leaving Middle Earth but neither am I returning
to Imladris.” The twins turned identical looks of shock on her but she
held them at bay with a gesture which asked for patience, “Please understand I can’t be happy there right now,
the memories are still too fresh and it hurts too much. You had each other for
company and reassurance, Ada had his duties in running Imladris and I had mother. Now
that she is gone I find no peace there but here I have grandmother. She can’t
take the place of our mother but she does make the void manageable.
Elrohir walked to his younger
sibling, “Little one don’t turn from us, we aren’t angry. I
wish you could come home but since the memories are too painful I’m glad you’re able to find peace here.”
The small family spent several
happy weeks together in the golden wood but eventually it was time for Elrond and the twins to return to Imladris. On the morning of departure Elrond found his daughter standing at a spot which overlooked the elven city,
“It is beautiful is it not?”
Arwen smiled at her father,
“Aye it is but I wonder how much it’s beauty will diminish after you leave.”
Elrond embraced his daughter,
“Don’t let its beauty diminish in your eye just because we aren’t here.
We will never truly be parted from you because you carry a piece of us in your heart.”
Tears started to meander down
Arwen’s face, “I’ll miss you ada”
Elrond held to his daughter
even tighter, “I’ll miss you too little one but your brothers will visit often and I’ll come when I can. When you are ready your welcome to visit anytime just promise to bring an escort.”
Arwen nodded, “I promise.
“Goodbye little one.”
Soon after the father and
daughter said their farewells the party left the golden wood for Imladris. They
rode with the knowledge that they would never be parted from Arwen because the love they had for her could easily stretch
the distance between the elven realms.
1- Tolkien, C.
1951. The Fellowship of the Ring.