18. Chapter 17 ~ Unbreakable
A/N Elf cookies to Viv for her advice and a chocolate covered elf to Elliska for her beta work.
11th day of October
Fourth Age, Year 81
Indil could not stop the tears from falling watching Taravil making some final touches on Laurëanna's hair. Her daughter's thick golden hair had celandine flowers intertwined in the braid that hung to her waist. Her white and porcelain blue dress with the golden embroidery and sleeves had also been her mother's wedding dress. For her wedding, Laurëanna had added a belt made by herself and Celebrían, golden threads woven to represent the union of the two houses. Also, Celebrían had presented her with a gold circlet with braids of gold and mithril from her wedding this morning. From her neck and ears, jewels glistened, gifts from her parents. Due to the cooler weather in the evenings, she also had a gold cloak with blue trim for after the ceremony.
"My dear, you look radiant," Indil said, touching her daughters face gently. "I cannot believe this day has come at last."
"I cannot either. It seems like this day would never come," Laurëanna replied, with a smile.
"You are lucky, my dear. Thranduil and I had to wait almost five years before we were wed," Taravil said then laughed at Laurëanna's horrified look. "Things were different then, and different in Middle Earth."
"Yes she is very lucky," Airemir said, watching her friend dreamily. "To marry one of the Imladris twins…"
Galadriel chuckled. "There was a time when most of the unmarried ellith in Lothlorien would gladly have traded places with you." Thinking back to times of happiness long ago, she could not help but think of the wedding that Arwen and Aragorn should have had.
Laurëanna saw the sadness in both Galadriel's and Celebrían's faces and looked at her mother for help. She knew that it was still so difficult for everyone to rejoice without feeling the shadow of loss always present. To Elrohir's family, despite the joy at him finally marrying, Arwen's loss was always there as well.
Indil paused a moment before saying, "It was not long ago that Celebrían, Taravil and I were here preparing for another wedding feast."
"Ah yes. But your mother was terrified, Laurëanna. You seem to be perfectly calm," Taravil added quickly to help change the subject.
"Why would I be afraid?" Laurëanna laughed. "I will be surrounded by those who love me most, at the wedding feast with my beloved. There could be no happier place in the entire world, I imagine."
Airemir grinned. "She is fearless now, but will she remain that way? I say no. Before the end of the feast, she will become nervous."
"I think this one is the daughter of a Balrog slayer," Galadriel replied. Resting her hands on Laurëanna's shoulders, she added, "My grandson is not quite as bad as a balrog. I warned my daughter at her wedding what would happen if she had a son with Elrond…"
"Nanath!" Celebrían said indignantly as the others laughed. "My son will be a wonderful husband. Just like his father." They all continued to laugh as they made the final preparations before going to the wedding feast.
The Terrace of the Sea, on the back of Swan Manor, was full of the family and friends of Laurëanna and Elrohir, all dressed in their finest clothing and in high spirits. Elrohir, wearing dark blue silk with golden threads, stood with his brother and friends, Rumil and Airemir waiting impatiently for his bride. His mother and grandmother had already joined them on the terrace, saying it would not be long. He tried not to watch the staircase every second, but despite the fact that everyone around him seemed unaware that time was now moving in slow motion, he felt…something he had never felt in ages. Nervousness? He could ride into battle and this made him nervous? This was madness.
"Elrohir, you need to calm yourself," Rumil said with a smile when his friend flinched. They had stopped him from pacing earlier with a glass of wine. He had never seen his friend look anything but composed.
"Yes, I am certain that Laurëanna has not changed her mind and run away," Elladan added. Airemir nudged him and he put his arm around her shoulders playfully.
"I am perfectly calm," Elrohir lied. The others shot looks of amusement at each other. Elrond and Celebrían stood close by with Galadriel. Celebrían had been fussing over Elrohir before Elrond rescued him by leading his wife to stand with him. It seemed as if all of Valinor were at the feast. Elrohir was not prepared to be as social as the rest of his family. He hated feeling like everyone was watching him.
Hearing a slight commotion, they all looked up to see Glorfindel and Indil descending the stairs with Laurëanna in between them. The sight of her took Elrohir's breath away. Even beside her father and mother, impressive and regal looking elves themselves, she far outshined them both in his eyes. Knowing that soon they would be forever bound to each other made it even more impossible that this beautiful creature had chosen him.
"She looks…" Elladan began, but stopped. Laurëanna literally glowed with happiness in a way that left even him speechless. He was equally touched by the joy in his brother's eyes. At last, Elrohir would put his demons behind him and Elladan was relieved and glad for them both.
"Yes." Elrohir nodded. His eyes had not left her for a moment and she seemed to be having an equally hard time looking away from him. Glorfindel and Indil greeted the well-wishers as they walked past, but even though she wore a resplendent smile, Laurëanna's eyes were only on Elrohir. At times, she walked faster than her parents and Indil had to pull on her arm to remind to greet their guests.
When Glorfindel and Indil reached his family and stopped in front of them, Elrohir merely stood staring at her. Laurëanna nodded towards her father. Still a little distracted, Elrohir did not understand her hint. Finally remembering what he was supposed to do, he bowed his head towards Glorfindel, then held out his hand to her.
After a long pause with no one moving, everyone looked towards Glorfindel. Muffled laughter came from the guests as they realized he was having his own internal conflict about letting her go. He was looking at his daughter with a proud smile, blue eyes matching hers taking in the adult she had become.
"Ada?" Laurëanna looked up at him and whispered, concern flickering in her eyes, after another delayed moment.
At last Glorfindel placed her hand in Elrohir's with a gentle kiss on her forehead and a smile towards Elrohir. Indil, whose own eyes were misty with joy, took his arm and blinked back tears.
Elrohir led Laurëanna, followed by their parents and family to the center table. Everyone waited for the couple and their families to sit down before they took their places at the tables surrounding them.
Elrohir could not take his eyes off Laurëanna. His heartbeat raced with excitement and, while the wine was being poured and people were beginning to stop watching them at last, he reached over and brushed his fingers along her cheek reverently. He understood finally why the idea of marrying in Middle Earth had never appealed to him; Laurëanna had not yet been born.
"My love," Laurëanna whispered with a shy smile. "You are staring."
Elrohir chuckled and replied, "My bride, I have never seen such glorious beauty before today. I cannot help but stare. You take my breath away."
Laurëanna could not help but blush. She had forgotten the others at the feast until her father welcomed everyone and the toasts began. She tried turned her attention to what was being said, but kept sneaking looks at her groom. Elrohir held her hand, stroking the back of it lightly with his thumb. Such a simple gesture, but it comforted her. All of her life prior to this moment seemed like mere practice for this moment.
After Elrond and Glorfindel welcomed the guests and toasted the couple, Elladan rose.
"If anyone had told me years ago that Elrohir would bring our family together with Glorfindel's I would have assumed they were mad. I think most people were surprised when Glorfindel married Indil and even more surprised when he had such a sweet natured daughter. As she grew up, however, she began to show more characteristics of her father," Elladan said with a wink at Laurëanna. "Including her need to conquer a Balrog." The guests chuckled and Elladan raised his glass towards Glorfindel, who smiled in return. "It would take someone rare to love my brother, for he is quite…unique himself. I have spent every day of my life with him and I still find myself bewildered by some of the things he has done. When he wanted to court Glorfindel's daughter, I once again found myself perplexed at this risky…perhaps deadly…choice." More laughter ensued as Elrohir smiled at Laurëanna. "But over time I understood. The two of them were always hunting for that undeniable fire that only resides inside the other. And once they found each other, Valar help anyone who tried to keep them apart. I know my brother's fëa and from the moment he saw Laurëanna, he was as drawn to her as she was to him. From the first moment he knew her, he loved her, even before he acknowledged it. I have never seen happiness in him like he feels now and for that, myself and my family are eternally grateful." Placing his hand over his heart, Elladan looked Laurëanna's tear-filled eyes then at his brother, twin to twin no more words were needed. Turning back to the guests, Elladan said, "Let us drink to Elrohir and Laurëanna's many ages of joy and peace at last."
After Elladan's toast, the feast continued around them and everyone was having wonderful time. Even Glorfindel was jovial and teased Elrohir and Elladan about them now being family. At last after all the plates had been cleared and Miruvor had been poured, Laurëanna felt a rush of excitement as Lord Elrond stood and Elrohir followed him, signaling the beginning of their vow exchange. Indil and Laurëanna both rose and followed them up two steps to the dais that was visible by all, with the sights and sounds of the sea in the background. Celebrían, Glorfindel, Elladan, and Galadriel also stood to either side of the dais.
Lord Elrond smiled at the couple and said, "It is rare that an elf marries so late in his life, but my son never thought much about marriage before meeting Laurëanna. His duty was elsewhere and never to himself. I am very proud and happy that he can, at last, be at peace and enjoy each day with his beloved. His love for her has both healed him and made him stronger. Then I look at Laurëanna and I see so much love for Elrohir that she cannot even begin to hide it. It flows out of her and wraps her in a golden glow that shines from within." Laurëanna blushed with a shy smile. As Elrohir and Laurëanna joined hands, Elrond wrapped a gold chain with a green jewel on it around their clasped hands. Indil did the same with a gold chain and a blue jewel.
"Eru Ilúvatar has allowed for you to find one another. Let your sorrows always be less than your joys and may Manwe's blessings always keep you safe each day of your journey," Lord Elrond said with a proud smile.
Laurëanna's eyes filled with tears even as she smiled at Elrond then Elrohir. Coming forth her mother covered their hands and said, "Eru Ilúvatar has guided both of you to choose to spend your remaining days together. May Varda bless this joining of our families and may her stars shine down on each night of your life together."
After their blessings, Indil unwound the necklaces. Her gift to him, she placed the necklace of gold with the blue jewel around Elrohir's neck. Elrond placed a necklace of gold with green jewel around Laurëanna's neck, his gift to her. Elrond then led Indil down the stairs to stand with the rest of their family.
Now alone with his bride on the dais, Elrohir stood tall and proud, the wind from the sea blowing in his thick dark hair. Releasing her hands to remove the silver ring from his finger, he said, "I return to you this ring that was given to me by you to represent our betrothal. We have proven our intent to spend our days together." Laurëanna took the silver ring from him and placed it on her finger. Elrohir then presented her with a slim gold band with delicate carvings. Placing it on her index finger of her right hand, he then took both her hands in his own. "This gold band represents our eternal circle, which is unbreakable. From this moment, until the end of my days, I solemnly vow that I love you with all of my being. I did not feel truly alive until the day I felt love for you. You have my whole heart, Laurëanna, and without you, I would be lost forever. Before The Ilúvatar, I bind my fëa to yours."
So full of emotions, Laurëanna had to take a moment before she could answer him. Her heart felt like it literally swelled with joy. She used this time to remove her silver ring. Regaining her composure and ability to speak, she said, "I return to you this ring that was given to me by you to represent our betrothal. We have proven our intent to spend our days together." She then presented him with a gold ring and placed it on his right index finger. "This gold band represents our eternal circle, which is unbreakable. From this moment, until the end of my days, I solemnly vow that I love you with all of my being. Elrohir, I have loved you since the day that I met you and there would be no other to win my heart. Before The Ilúvatar, I bind my fëa to yours."
As their friends and family cheered and applauded, Elrohir took Laurëanna into his arms and kissed her deeply. When they separated the two of them were both smiling so much they could not stop even as they kissed a few more times.
"Ahem," Glorfindel said, clearing his throat. "May I please kiss my daughter as well?"
Elrohir did not even look at him before saying, "No" then kissing her again and making everyone laugh.
When Elrohir finally let Laurëanna go, Glorfindel hugged them both before kissing Laurëanna. The rest of the family was now on the dais to congratulate them as well. Elladan grabbed Laurëanna after her father and hugged her, spinning her around a few times, both of them laughing. He only put her down when his mother insisted.
The tables were moved to the side so dancing could begin while Elrohir and Laurëanna walked amongst the guests. Amidst the congratulations, were songs being sung and also wagers being paid, since Elrohir had survived the wedding without running away or Glorfindel killing him. In fact Glorfindel seemed to have made a complete change after the discussion with Elrohir. The thought that he could make his daughter unhappy or push her away was one he could not abide. He watched her now, a subtle smile on his handsome face. Soon Indil joined him.
Putting her arms around his neck, she said, "I hope you are not sad, my love."
"Actually I was watching our daughter thinking how happy she is. I remember when we got married I thought there was no way there could ever be anyone as beautiful as you," Glorfindel said, then nuzzled her neck. "I have been blessed to have two such gems in my life. It hardly seems fair to everyone else." Indil chuckled and settled in his embrace.
"It seems like the wounds from Middle Earth have begun to heal at last," she said after a moment while watching their friends enjoying the festivities. Even Celebrían and Elrond were laughing and watching Elladan and Rumil dancing with Lady Galadriel.
"Slowly for some but yes, you are right," Glorfindel said. "I see by looking at Elrohir that the ghosts of his past, even as long ago as his mother's attack, are fading. It will not be easy for him, but Laurëanna is like you. She will be strong and help him through the darkness as you helped me." Overwhelmed with love for his wife, he held her even closer, then kissed her intensely. "Do you realize that this is also the first time you and I have lived alone since our daughter was born?"
Seeing the look on his face, her face blushed with anticipation as she whispered, "Yes, and I look forward to spending lots of time alone with my husband."
Elrohir was finally able to have two moments alone with his new wife and pulled her into the closest empty room inside Swan Manor. The festivities had been going on for hours and it was now dark, but this was their first few minutes together. Shutting the door behind them, he kissed her until both of them were out of breath.
"Do we have to go back to the feast or can we leave now?" he whispered.
"I do not know. I think if we snuck off people would understand," she giggled. "But I do not think it would be proper."
"I am tired of being proper. We have been proper for way too long I think," Elrohir smirked. "If we hurry, I am certain we can leave before anyone notices."
"Elrohir we must say goodbye to our family at least. I mean…"
"Laurëanna…" Elrohir groaned.
Before he could say anything else, the door opened and they turned to see Elrond and Glorfindel standing there looking very displeased.
"Ada, we were…" Laurëanna began.
"Yes Laurëanna, I gather your new husband was trying to encourage you to sneak out of your own wedding feast," Glorfindel commented dryly. Cutting his eyes to Elrond, he continued. "Your son has always been sneaking around. I can remember having to go find him many times when he was avoiding facing your punishments."
"Apparently Elrohir has not grown out of that habit," Elrond said, shaking his head. "My punishments were nothing compared to your training though, Glorfindel."
"I doubt that he would ever avoid training with me though," Glorfindel answered. Seeing the look on Elrond's face, Glorfindel appeared surprised. "Ah, apparently I was wrong. He deceived me to get out of training as well?"
"Yes, many times and Erestor still does not know how often the twins deceived him. And snuck out of his lessons," Elrond shook his head. "Celebrían said they would both grow out of it, but I knew it would never happen."
"Personally I am surprised he has not gotten better at it," Glorfindel said turning back towards Elrohir.
Laurëanna glanced over at Elrohir before continuing to look at their fathers. "Ada!" she exclaimed. Before she could continue, she saw the smile tugging at her father's mouth.
"I am as well, Glorfindel," Elrond said. "You or I would have been half way across Aman in the time it has taken him to decide if they should risk to sneak out."
"Laurëanna, I do believe they have just given their blessing for us to leave," Elrohir said with a chuckle and he led her out of the room.
Outside the doors, their mothers were standing and laughing at the exchange. After kissing their parents, the two of them rushed out of the room before the other guests could interfere.
17th Day of March
Third Age, Year 3019
Minas Tirith, Middle Earth
Before she had a chance to say anything, Elrohir kissed her fiercely, burying his hand in her hair and bringing her body against his, lying down and bringing her with him. They both moaned when their heated flesh touched. His hands ran down her back and pulled her so every inch of his chest was pressed against her soft curves.
Laurëanna was shocked at the intensity of his kisses. She thought she had felt the full extent of Elrohir's passion during their marriage, but nothing compared to this overpowering and raw animal lust between them, not even their wedding night. Barely able to catch her breath in between kisses, she felt dizzy, but could not get enough of him.
Elrohir rolled over, bringing her with him, so she was beneath him and he lay between her legs. Rising up on his elbows, he looked down and saw at last the necklace she wore with her wedding band. He reached for it and looked at her confused.
"It was my mother's," Laurëanna said quickly.
Elrohir appeared to accept her answer and resumed his ravenous kisses on her neck and shoulders.
"Wait," Elrohir mumured.
Sitting up, Elrohir smiled at her expression of shock and frustration. "Laurëanna , what of our vows? Should we not…"
"Oh!" Laurëanna said, relieved, thinking he had changed his mind.
"I do not know what to say," Elrohir said looking perplexed. "I am having a hard time focusing on anything but you."
"That is a good thing," Laurëanna smiled as she sat up. Gently she ran her hand across his face. "Just repeat after me." Realizing they had no rings, she quickly took the ring from her necklace and gave it to him. She knew the vows from their wedding could easily be used again with a few slight exceptions so she repeated them while looking him deep in the eyes. "May Elbereth watch over us for the remainder of our days. This gold band represents our eternal circle, which is unbreakable. From this moment, until the end of my days, I solemnly vow that I love you with all of my being. Before The Ilúvatar, I bind my fëa to yours."
Elrohir took a gold ring he had been given by his father and placed it in her hand. "May Manwë watch over us for the remainder of our days. This gold band represents our eternal circle, which is unbreakable. From this moment, until the end of my days, I solemnly vow that I love you with all of my being. Before The Ilúvatar, I bind my fëa to yours."
Kissing her, Elrohir felt such a deep and overwhelming connection with her, the emotions threatened to overwhelm him. Stroking her cheek he saw the tear running down her face as she smiled brightly at him. Looking at the rings she giggled. His was way too large for her and hers was too small for him.
"You keep your mother's ring and wear it as a sign of our vows until I can give you another," Elrohir smiled. His eyes turned stormy again as he pulled her hair away from her breasts. "My love, you are more beautiful than anything I have seen in Arda."
Wrapping her arms around his neck, Laurëanna pulled him to lie down on top of her again, kissing him passionately. Elrohir's hand trailed along her thigh, before pulling her leg to wrap around his. As she nibbled along his shoulders, she felt his hand tremble slightly as he moved it from her side to her chest. She moaned, her nails digging into his back.
Feeling like she would go mad with desire, Laurëanna squirmed under him when his hot kisses moved from her shoulders. Her body was on fire and she could feel his breathing deepen as well.
Elrohir groaned and stopped to catch his breath, attempting to regain control.
"Laurëanna," he whispered when he looked up at her face. Her blue eyes were darkened with passion and her lips swollen from their passionate kisses "Please. We need to slow down. I feel out of control."
"I want you to feel that way. I want you to be unable to control your passion whenever you are with me," she answered.
"I want tonight to be perfect for you and if you continue to do that, it will not be possible that I can make it so," he said, grasping her hand. Moving away from her, he sat up and removed his leggings.
Once again moving her on her back, Elrohir sat on his knees and gazed down at her. He had never seen anything more exquisite before; it was like she had been created from his dreams. Leaning forward, he kissed down her belly.
"Elrohir, please," she whispered urgently after only a few moments. Unable to resist her due to his own burning needs, he moved so he covered her body again.
"My love, I will try not to hurt you," Elrohir warned her.
Laurëanna remembered the pain the first time and how quickly she had forgotten about it during their lovemaking. Nodding, she kissed him and said, "I trust you."
Laurëanna could not remember the last time making love had felt so good. She knew he was trying not to hurt her, thinking this was her first time as well as his first. She had to keep reminding herself of that fact so she did not rush him or act too knowledgeablely, but she felt like a fire was raging out of control within her body. Her hands stroked every inch of him and she continued to tease his mouth with tantalizing kisses. Soon his control started to slip and his kisses grew more aggressive.
No longer able to resist, Laurëanna pulled away from his lips to look at his face. The way he looked at her, caused a shudder in her whole body. He began to kiss and suck on her neck. She clutched him to her, then cried out as they climaxed.
Still breathing heavily, Elrohir kissed her. "I love you, my beloved," she whispered.
Smiling softly, he replied, "And I love you, my beautiful wife."
They made love once more before Laurëanna insisted that he sleep. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and she tried to not to think of what was coming in a few short hours. Before he fell asleep he whispered, "I will return to you, Laurëanna . I feel in my heart that this is not the end for us."
Laurëanna bit her lip trying not to cry. When he fell asleep, she lay in his arms for hours awake and dreading the dawn.
The dawn came much too soon. Laurëanna woke to the unwelcome visitor of the sun rising and peeking into their room slowly. Lifting her head, she saw that Elrohir was awake as well.
Neither spoke, Elrohir's fingers playing along her jaw line, then her lips as her hands slipped around his neck. Pulling him closer to her, she kissed him, her tongue flicking across his lip before nibbling gently on it. They lay entwined in each other's embrace kissing for a few moments before he pulled away.
"We need to dress and meet the others soon," he whispered.
"I know. I just wish…" Laurëanna shook her head. "I wish this was all over and we were safe and happy in Imladris. I wish I did not have to watch the horizon for the next few weeks for a sign of your return. I wish you did not have to risk your life again." She sighed and continued, "But I will not spend my remaining time with you wishing for things I cannot have."
"I will return to you as soon as I am able, Laurëanna. I promised you last night and I will honor that promise, somehow, some way."
"I trust you," she smiled. "Even Mandos cannot keep you from me. Sauron would be a fool to try."
Elrohir smiled then, kissing her once more, he rose and began to get ready. Laurëanna watched for a moment and then got off the bed to dress as well. As she braided her hair, he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"What am I going to tell Elladan?" he asked, then chuckled. Soon the both of them were laughing in between kisses.
Elladan was readying his horse beside Legolas and kept looking up the street for his brother. He did not realize that Legolas was also curious where Elrohir and Laurëanna were. Soon the couple came down the street holding hands and Elladan could not help but be annoyed that his twin was so blatantly disregarding her honor in front of the other men. When they walked up, he sensed something was different as his brother walked past him to get his horse. Before he could say anything, Gimli said, "I was beginning to wonder if you intended to say farewell, lass."
"Of course," Laurëanna smiled softly. "I could not let you leave without wishing you a speedy and safe return." Her eyes turning to Legolas, she added, "May Varda watch over you all."
Elrohir walked up with his horse and Laurëanna petted the horse's muzzle. Legolas smiled seeing the ring on her finger and reached for her hand. After kissing her hand, he said, "It appears that not all news today is ill. Congratulations my friends."
Glancing at them strangely, Elladan then looked at his brother who shrugged with a little smile. "Why are you…?"
"We do not have much time left," Aragorn said, leading his horse. Smiling at her, he said, "Laurëanna, we will see you upon our return."
Tears filling her eyes suddenly, Laurëanna was unable to speak and simply nodded. Aragorn looked so noble, she could not help but remember the stories of King Elessar and his deeds. He no longer looked like a ranger, but had the presence of a Númenórean king of the elder days. She wished she could reassure him about his legacy. In her heart she knew that the change had repaired quite a bit in her past. She wished she knew what and how this battle at the Black Gates would end. Would Aragorn return to be crowned King Elessar or would he die heroically at Sauron's hands again, as he did in her past? Aragorn touched her shoulder lightly then continued to walk to where the rest of men were assembling, his squire, flag bearer, and various other men following close behind.
After he walked away, Elladan turned to his brother and pulling him and Laurëanna aside he said, "Now that he is gone you can tell me what Legolas meant…where did you get that?" Finally noticing the wedding bands on her finger, for once, he was speechless and simply stared at them both.
"This is not the time to talk about this Elladan," Elrohir reminded him. "We can discuss it on our journey. Privately."
Nodding, Elladan was still stunned that his brother had bonded with Laurëanna so soon. It was obvious they had feelings for one another, but to enter into a marriage so quickly, in the middle of a war? He was amazed that his brother was capable of something so impulsive. Watching Laurëanna now, he worried that perhaps Elrohir had rushed things. What did they really know about her? What secrets had she kept that could reveal themselves later and possibly destroy his brother? For all her goodness, he knew there was much she kept from them all. The more he watched her, he realized that she might hide many things, but there was a goodness to her that could not be false.
Sensing his eyes on her, Laurëanna glanced up and smiled shyly at Elladan before looking away quickly. This was the first time since they had met that he had ever made her feel uncomfortable. She sensed his shock and trepidation about their sudden marriage and it concerned her that she would not have time to convince him there was no reason to be concerned before they were all separated for a while. Hopefully his trust in his brother's judgment would win out over any concerns.
"I would prefer you to say your farewells here," Elrohir said. "I think it would be…easier." He did not know how to save her the pain of their departure but he wanted to ease it as much as he could. Although this was hard for him to leave her, she had to face him and her friends leaving her as well.
Laurëanna hugged Legolas and Gimli tightly and solemnly, then turned to hug Elladan even tighter.
"Please come back safely," she whispered. "And bring him back to me." She felt like she could not breathe and wondered how she would ever be able to let go of Elrohir. Finally she released Elladan and he looked deep into her eyes.
"You have my word that I will not leave his side, no matter what our fate is," he whispered.
Laurëanna said nothing, but closed her eyes for a moment and nodded. She had always known that if one died, the other would as well. They fought together. They survived together. Or they died together.
After Elladan followed the others down the path, Laurëanna turned to Elrohir, allowing him pull her to him. Her arms wrapped around his neck, she buried her face in his hair hoping that the scent of him would linger with her long after he was gone.
"I did not know this would be so difficult," Elrohir said after a moment. "I would not have put you through this if I had."
Laurëanna pulled back to look at his face. "Do not say that. Do not take anything away from last night, for I do not regret one moment. I would feel the same seeing you leave if we had not bonded, because you were already part of my heart. You promised you would return to me and I trust you to keep that promise."
"Do not spend your days looking to the East my love. When we return, we will return with the King of Gondor and all who live in the city will know, including you. Do not waste your days sitting and watching for me," Elrohir replied. "Laurëanna I must go now."
"I know," she said. Leaning down, Elrohir kissed her, tenderly and lovingly, until the sounds of the trumpets reminded them that it was time.
"I love you," he said, with one more kiss.
"I will always love you, Elrohir," Laurëanna said sadly. When he released her and walked away, the emptiness in her arms ached. She did not turn around because she did not trust herself to not run after him, fall to her knees, and beg him to stay. After a few minutes, she walked up through the city, wandering with little care to where she went. For her, time could not move fast enough.
The days that followed with no news were the most agonizing that Laurëanna had ever experienced. She felt like a part of her was missing and each day was maddening to her. Something told her she would sense if anything had happened to Elrohir, that she would feel it in her fëa, but she could not be sure and this was the longest time she had been away from him since the day they had first met.
Needing to do something, anything, to pass the time waiting for word, Laurëanna spent time visiting with her friends in the Houses of the Healing as well as helping out in the cleanup of the city. She sensed such sadness from Éowyn, she tried to cheer her up, but she sensed that her efforts were in vain. Even Merry's visits seemed to do little to ease Éowyn's melancholy. Laurëanna saw that the Steward, Lord Faramir, had taken an interest in Éowyn and hoped that perhaps he could coax some hope from the depths of her despair.
Most days Laurëanna worked from sun up until sundown so she would fall asleep so exhausted that she did not dream. The vast damage to the city required everyone to help out. Plus since many were not there, the normal daily chores needed to be done by someone. She helped out where she could, whether it was washing linens for the Houses of Healing or baking loaves of bread and other foods to feed the remaining soldiers. At night she would soak her blistered feet and fingers and then eat a small supper before collapsing into bed. A combination of exhaustion, worry, and loneliness, some nights she could not hold the tears at bay.
One day that seemed particularly gloomy, Laurëanna was walking towards the Citadel when she felt a sudden dizziness overtake her. She walked to a stone wall and leaned against it trying to right herself, but the feeling only grew worse until she felt like she was falling. Darkness blurring her vision, she slid down the wall to sit down.
Laurëanna's vision was suddenly clear again. She saw that she was in the grandest garden in Tirion, her favorite, and looked around in confusion. She rose and walked a few steps before realizing she was not alone. Turning around she saw her mother and father smiling at her. Running towards her, she allowed her parents to hold her tightly while Indil stroked her hair.
"Is it over now?" Laurëanna asked. "Or was it all just a dream?"
"No, my darling, it was not a dream. I do not know if it is over, but I know one who can tell you," Indil said softly, her voice reverent.
Laurëanna felt a presence with them that caused her to let go of her parents and look to see who was with them. She was once again taken aback by the beauty and radiant vision of Elbereth standing beside Manwë. Laurëanna bowed her head respectfully and they both smiled at her gently.
"Laurëanna, we felt it only fitting that since you have sacrificed so much to right this misstep of Elessar, that you know the final fate of the Ring," Manwë said, his rich baritone voice washing over her, wrapping her in comforting warmth.
"The Ring was destroyed by Frodo. Sauron was stopped in time and Mordor is in ruins," Varda said with a smile. "King Elessar survived the march on the Black Gate and the vision that both Galadriel and Elrond saw has come to pass."
Relief coursed through her as both her parents hugged and kissed her.
"We are very proud of you, Laurëanna," Manwë continued. "But you must continue to keep this secret until you return to Valinor."
"I understand. There is still so much to do and see here. Plus I need to find my parents again," Laurëanna said, squeezing their hands. She then asked, "Are Elrohir and Elladan alive?"
"Laurëanna it is best that you go forth with no knowledge of the future other than that the Ring has been destroyed. We do not want to possibly affect your new future by telling you something rather than allowing events to fall into place, in their own time," Varda said.
"What?" Laurëanna exclaimed. "You have already changed my future completely. Please I beg you, I must know if my husband is alive."
The two Vala studied her for a long moment, compassion in their eyes. "It is for the best, Laurëanna," Manwë said. "Now we must return you back to where you were before. Farewell Laurëanna. Know that your sacrifice was not in vain."
Robbed suddenly of Varda's radiance and Manwe's solace, Laurëanna was jolted back to reality and surprised to realize she was no longer in Tirion. It took her a few moments to realize had happened. While she was relieved that Sauron had been defeated and the Ring destroyed, she felt distraught that she was not told of her husband's fate, nor had she had time to say goodbye to her parents. As quickly as they had comforted her, the Valar had ripped her out of that world and thrust her back into this one, full of doubts and uncertainty.
Distracted, Laurëanna did not realize a group of soldiers were walking by and, seeing her sitting on the ground, had stopped. Now they were looking at her with concerned eyes. Still unsteady feeling, she allowed one of them to help her to her feet.
"Thank you. I think perhaps the heat overcame me," she said, flustered. The day was not overly warm and she ignored the strange looks they gave her. "Please excuse me. I think I should go rest."
"Will you be fine by yourself, Miss?" the soldier asked.
"Yes. Do not trouble yourself. Thank you for your concern," Laurëanna said, rushing away before more questions were asked.
Going to her room, she lay down, trying to sort through her racing thoughts. She was so conflicted with both the wonderful news of the Ring's destruction mixed with the uncertainty of knowing if her husband and friends were safe. Perhaps if she focused her thoughts on Elrohir she could sense him or even communicate with him. In her life she had never had any reason to speak to another within their minds. But now she regretted not trying to do so before. She suspected that her parents had used it often, so there was no reason why she should not be able to do so as well.
Sitting up, Laurëanna grabbed one of Elrohir's tunics and held it tightly. She tried to imagine every inch of him, then tried to think of him standing before her. After some time of concentrating so hard on him, she realized this method was not working. Frustrated she threw down the tunic and began to pace the room. Maybe if she relaxed and opened her mind to him rather that trying to search his mind, she would have better results. Lying down again, she relaxed and tried to imagine herself floating with nothing tying her to the earth.
"This is hopeless," she whispered after a long time.
As she gave up trying, she was struck with flashes of images so quickly that it caught her off guard. Panicking she tried to make sense of it, but what she saw was enough to terrify her. Elrohir or Elladan was hurt during the battle. She saw one of them fall. Sobbing, she realized she did not know who it was or if they were alive. Perhaps this is why the Valar did not want to answer her question. They knew one or both of them were in the Halls of Mandos.