Back, and Not There Again: An elf's story
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“Moonlit nights, warm summers. Who needs them?” scoffed Valadron to herself as she stared up at the pale Moon. White leaves, as white as a new snow, sailed gently to the earth and from afar they were like angels falling from the heavens. Although it was night no shadows pierced the glow of the lanterns hanging from ridges and doorways all around the House. Valadron’s deep blue eyes absorbed and reflected the stars and her wavy golden hair rustled lightly and brushed her face. Many times she paced to the balcony and questioned the Moon, Seer of All. When her troubles were at their worst the night wind seemed soothing. Her rage from the outer world was lessened although she was never alone for long for someone would break the peaceful atmosphere.
Her thoughts were immediately answered as an elf shown in the brightly lit golden balcony doorway. Rich in robes, he was, as every elf that walked the elegant paths of Rivendell in these days. Long, brown, and straight was his hair that draped over his shoulders, unmoved and untouched. Fair was his face and rich were his dark eyes.
“Excuse me, Valadron, but the King expects you.” As he spoke his voice was soft but his words had a melody to them. “The celebration wouldn’t be complete without your presence. If you will come this way he will see you, please. I am aware that he wishes for you to meet someone.” The elf bowed and gestured her but she sat in place.
“Who is this person of importance who you speak of?”
“I am unsure of whom it is, Valadron. Elrond only wishes for your attendance. I have been told no more than that.”
“I have not forgotten the party,” she replied in a dignified tone, “nor have I remembered an invitation. If the Elrond wishes to break my peace as much as he wishes to have his celebration complete than I will come if I must. But do not force it upon me again for I would like to have him speak for himself.” She gazed at him as if she was a high queen on her throne waiting for a feeble reply.
“If you understand what I’m saying you’ll realize that this is no ordinary festivity,” he uttered. “The Fellowship that departed here has returned. I only wish to say that.”
“And what did the Fellowship do for me? Was I ever congratulated for walking blindly across Middle-earth? And my struggle was much less merciful for I was a mere child and heedless at that!”
She turned quickly to hide the buildup of rage that had overcome her. Below the children dancing and singing created a distraction. Music sounded along with laughter and people conversing. Jolly was their hearts and joyous was their spirits. They were pleasant, alive, and free most of all, undisturbed by anything. Among them, unable to be seen were the Eight remaining of the original Company. It was on this day that they had set off into perilous adventure long ago to straighten the paths of Middle-earth and to end the suffering of inhabitants all over the Land. It was on that day that the Nine set out to destroy the Ring of Power, the ring to which everything was succumbed into its glory. The Ringbearer Frodo Baggins, his closest friend Samwise Gamgee, and Meriadoc Brandybuck, and Peregrin Took represented the Shire. They were the first to set out from their lands pursued by the Nazgul. Aragorn or King Elessar, and Queen Arwen represented the Lands in the South. Gimli, son of Gloin, was for the dwarves, and fair Legolas was for the Elves. Gandalf the wizard and Bilbo Baggins were the Elders of Middle-earth and sent forth wisdom to all. Galadriel and Celeborn of Lothlorien came along with Faramir and Eowyn of Rohan and along with them Eomer came upon his aged horse. All had been summoned by Elrond to meet again on the important anniversary.
Valadron suddenly felt a sense of curiosity to meet them.
“Tell the King I will be down soon.”
She walked away from the balcony, leaving all but memories behind.
“King Elessar, I present to you my niece, Valadron,” said Elrond proudly to Aragorn as she stood at the end of the marble steps in the entry hall. Her pale gown glittered in her graceful pace forward.
“A pleasure to meet a king,” she said curtsying.
Aragorn nodded. “Enchanted,” he said taking her hand. “I would be thrilled to show you around. The King tells me many of the guests may interest you.” Valadron nodded and went along.
At night it was warm and also cool with a fresh breeze that followed the sunset. A dark blue had stretched across all corners of the sky. They entered the crowd of people and immediately blended in with its variety of groups but at the time both were silent for a short while until one spoke.
“You must be proud to have an uncle as wise as Elrond, King of the Elves,” Aragorn piped up.
“He’s not my uncle,” Valadron snapped quickly.
“He’s not my uncle. I was discovered by his sons. He cured me and took me as his niece. Therefore, I have no relation to him at all.”
Aragorn, being as proud as he could, didn’t ask any questions that might be irritating to her so he continued walking and waving.
“There,” he said pointing, “is the former Ringbearer, Frodo Baggins. He, as the other three hobbits, is from the land of the Shire in the West. And there ahead is Legolas who accompanied me to Minas Tirith. There are other elves here, such as Galadriel and Celeborn. They come from Lothlorien and from the way I see it, you must too.” Valadron didn’t speak.
They soon came upon many dwarves, one of them with a strikingly familiar face. “The King!” cried the dwarf and jumped up shaking hands. “A joy to see you again.” “And you, Gimli, son of Gloin,” Aragorn smiled. “It’s been long since I have heard from you.” As the two old friends struck a conversation, Valadron wandered off on her own unmanageable curiousity.
She passed beautiful Elves, stout Hobbits, valiant Men, merry Dwarves, Princes, and Princesses, and all of them surprisingly unique. That’s when she spotted a familiar friend sitting on a stone bench amidst the commotion. She broke through a local crowd in excitement.
“Bilbo!” she called running to him. It had been long since they had talked last.
“Valadron! Good to see you,” he greeted with a warm laughter. He then turned to the fellow sitting beside him who had been talking with him before she arrived. “I’d like you to meet one of my friends who goes way back into the Old Age; the wizard, Gandalf.” Gandalf tipped his pointed blue hat and smiled. Valadron shook hands with him shyly.
“Strangely I have never heard of you before,” he said motioning her to sit down. “In what relation do you have with Elrond?”
Valadron’s expression dropped. “I’m not related to him. He’s not my uncle.”
“Excuse me,” said Bilbo getting up and walking over to speak to someone.
There now was a wide space between them on the bench so Gandalf moved over slightly.
“Continue please,” he said as he lit his slender pipe.
Valadron cleared her throat and looked far into the remnants of the past. “I remember the chill wind of that night in Lorien,” she began, her mind visioning it clearly. “I walked unhindered, unable to decipher where I was. My feet were bare and muddy with water from cold puddles, which I stumbled in often. The ground was icy, my toes were badly bitten by frost, and the wind was harsh as it spun me in whirls and concealed the path with fallen leaves. It was as if I was born there, that day, for I had no memory of past events unless the wind had swept them away. I had gotten no sleep for night wouldn’t let me with the eerie howls of ravenous wolves droning in my ears continuously. Finally I passed into an uneasy nightmare in which I was casually perishing. I lay on the solid ground and froze that night when I slept. I, for a while, believed that the night had stolen me and in the silence of the dusk I had died. When I woke I was in a soft bed in Rivendell and I was told later that the sons of Elrond found me a little while after dusk. They discovered me sleeping under a tree, slowly passing into a shadow. They carried me all the way to this fair house. I was cured by Elrond, he took me as his niece, and told me he was my uncle. It is here that they chose for me to stay, even after I was healed. I’ve never left Rivendell since.”
A brisk wind brushed against everyone’s back at that moment. The lanterns swayed in the whirl and a great hush was brought upon the guests.
“I never wished to go back there either even though the moonlit nights and warm summers here are dreary sometimes,” she said, almost in a whisper.
“And what of your parents?” asked Gandalf.
At the mentioning of that question Valadron silenced herself and turned her head away. For hundreds of years she was clueless, never blending in with the other elves for she was always the one with golden hair and not a deep brown, always the one with a great sensibility and not a calm manner. Lost, she was, that day. And if her parents did exist they had abandoned her. A rage rose, but not the angering rage. It was, instead, a stage of denial.
“No parent would ever be worthy of me, anyway,” she sighed and disappeared into the crowd.
Gandalf shook his head, unable to follow.
Valadron appeared once more on the serene balcony. She gazed deeply into the moon and then turned away from it. Her eyes were tired and her mind was weary. She wanted strongly to rest. Guests were leaving and everyone was returning to where they belonged. The hobbits would have a long journey back to the Shire and Faramir, Aragorn, Arwen, Eowyn, and Eomer were setting off on horses until their departure came. Legolas and the elves were off to Mirkwood and Lothlorien. Rest was not on any of their minds. Finally, in the stillness of the night, Valadron closed her eyes and passed into a deep slumber.
When she woke it was early noon. After taking time to realize that the previous night was not a dream, she wandered around the House. While passing through the passive halls she was stopped by Elrond.
“I have something to give you,” he said. “It is from Gandalf. It was given to him by the Lady of the Wood with best wishes that he used it wisely for whatever reason he would.”
He placed in Valadron’s hand a tiny glass bottle, neatly hand carved by elves.
“Hold it to the light,” said Elrond.
She raised it to the sun that had risen high over the mountains and a wonderful sparkle was created. It glittered off the walls and ceiling and matched the silver waterfalls nearby. The glow of it disappeared when she pulled it back to clasp it upon her pale silver chain.
“It is filled with water from the streams of Lorien. It has been glorified by the Lady herself,” Elrond explained.
“I’ll cherish it,” she said hugging her uncle. But her heart fell instantly. “Although,” she said hesitantly, “the only way I can truly except this gift is by going to Lothlorien. But I’ll need a guide to do it.”
“There is a way,” said Elrond. “Gandalf has not departed yet, but I am aware that he means to leave Rivendell by today. But this is a peril that is your choice to take.”
A long pause followed as Valadron peered over the edge into the valleys. Then her view changed to the mountains and then the waterfalls. She had a chance to leave finally, but that didn’t mean she would come back.
“Well,” said Elrond, “what do you choose?”
To be continued….