29. Just Your Normal Family Get Together
Eli sat in the gathering gloom that signaled the coming of evening and silently pondered the past few hours that had seen many changes in the plans her family had so carefully laid. A soft knock at the door interrupted her train of thought and she considered not answering but the worried voice of Ildris called out to her and she sighed in resignation.
“Eli, please answer. I am sorry I was the cause of so much distress.”
Standing she walked to the door and hesitated only a moment before swinging it wide open to the strained face of the elleth. “Please Ildris, do not concern yourself so. It just all came out sooner then what we had planned on.” She waved the elf into the room and shut the door quietly.
Ildris turned and faced her friend a concerned look on her face. “Did not your meeting go well with Lord Elrond? He believed you, did he not?”
Eli nodded. “I am to join the family this evening for dinner.”
“Then what concerns you?”
“It is happening too fast. He wants me to appear in elven dress and I am not sure it is right to do so just yet.”
Ildris frowned. “That is no problem. You have the garb here in the chest and you have worn it before.”
“In this room, Ildris. I am not sure I have the courage to parade through the halls of Imladris masquerading as an elf.”
“You are an elf!”
“Am I? Other than my ears and a few other elvish abilities I have developed since our arrival I have seen little to indicate that.”
“You are the sell of Lord Elrond, Eleiann, He has acknowledged that to you and I see no reason for him to deny it to the rest of Elvendom.”
“I can think of several, but I am reassured that he did in fact accept my crazy story without question.”
“You had the proof. Surly you never doubted that he would?”
Eli shook her head, “No not really, but I did expect him to be more cautious in allowing me into the family circle.” She paused and grinned sourly. “Did you know that it was the twins we first met when we arrived here? Very scary to think those two are my half brothers. I can only imagine what their reaction is going to be when faced with another sibling. Especially one from …… so far away! I am not sure how Lord Elrond is going to handle that fact.”
“You have met them already? They are very popular with the ellyth. I am surprised they did not seek to use their charm on you.”
“They were in full warrior mode, I assure you. If they are the same when they are told of my relationship to them, then I have the feeling I had better find someplace to hide. It could make life here very unpleasant for us all.”
Ildris nodded. “Possibly, but they are gone much of the time and when you enter the Healing Halls for training, there will be few opportunities for you to have to deal with them directly.”
“If I am allowed, you mean.” She muttered gloomily.
“You will be. Master Hebperf has already approached Lord Elrond to express his hope that the ‘southern healer’ will be allowed to join the trainees. He is most desirous to learn whatever he can of your people’s healing techniques.”
Eli looked surprised then grinned at her friend. “Well maybe things will not be so bad after all.”
“Of course not. Now let us get you ready to meet Lady Amarie and the little ones and be officially be welcomed as one of the family.”
“Eli, you will do as your ada asks. He does not like disobedience in his hin.”
Eli grinned ruefully. “Perhaps, but his hin seemed to have survived their youth and I imagine there was a lot of disagreement from them from time to time.”
“Do not doubt it, penneth!” Ildris chortled. “Oh the tales I could tell of the gwanur and the Lady Arwen if we had the time.”
She crossed to the chest and withdrew a handful of garments and turned to face Eli. “Now we are going to remove those rather unflattering garments,” she gestured towards Eli’s tunic and leggings, “and turn you into a proper elf.”
Returning to Eli, she tugged at the scarf tied about the younger female’s head and tossed it aside. “And that is the first thing I will get rid of.” Pushing Eli gently but firmly towards the bathing chamber she soon had her ensconced in a tub of hot water and a mixture of rare oils and floral petals. She helped Eli wash her hair thoroughly and rinsed it briskly. Helping Eli dry off she sighed as she rubbed the shoulder length hair.
“It is too bad it is so short, Eli. It will be a while before I can dress as an elleth would properly wear it.”
Eli shrugged. “It will have to do. I have never had really long hair. It was not practical when I was in school and I had so much to study.”
Ildris paused. “I did not know the people of Khand and Harad allowed their women such freedom and provided a school.”
Eli froze then answered carefully. “My people are more from south east of here. I know little about those places you mentioned.”
Ildris nodded and resumed drying Eli’s hair and then helped her don the elven garments she had gifted the girl with earlier. Adjusting a sleeve or tugging on a shoulder she was finally satisfied with the fit. Nodding towards a chair she picked up a brush and indicated she was ready to dress Eli’s hair.
Eli watched her in the mirror and protested when Ildris started to twist her tresses into an elaborate design. “Please, leave it down. I will be much more comfortable facing this evening if something of the me I am familiar with remains.”
Ildris paused and looked into the mirror noting the strained face Eli wore. Nodding she brushed the hair back into place then gently pulled the sides back baring her ears. “I will simply pin these two bits back and leave the rest down. Will that do?”
Eli nodded and then stared at her reflection. What ever the Valar were playing at, it was clear she was intended to do it looking like one of the Eldar. When her hair reached the accepted length for elves, she would never be mistaken for anything else.
“Blessed Eru,” Ildris gasped. “Even your skin has taken on the cast of our people. Eli, how can you even doubt your heritage now?”
“I do not. What haunts me most is whether I have the choice that my brothers and sisters will be given, to choose a mortal life or that of the Eldar. It really does not matter which is meant for me, I only need to know! How can I make any kind of a life for myself here without that knowledge?”
The elf put her hand on the girl’s shoulder and squeezed gently. “I do not believe you will be left with such questions unanswered much longer. Things seem to be changing quite fast.”
Eli nodded and rose from the chair. “Well I guess I had best get moving if I plan to meet up with my uncle before going into dinner.”
“Do you wish me to accompany you over to Lord Elrond’s private quarters?”
“Would you Ildris? I know where they are but I would appreciate your company. A strange elf may cause some undue excitement if I were to attempt to enter.”
“Lord Elrond will have left word he was expecting you.”
“More than likely, but I would still like your company.”
Eli squared her shoulders and accompanied by Ildris began the long walk over to her ada’s quarters. She was dismayed to encounter what seemed to be nearly every elf in Imladris and she was aware they were all studying her with great interest. She was shaking in her slippers by the time they arrived and much relieved to find her uncle standing at the foot of the stairs waiting for her.
“My God, Eli…” He stared at her in shock. “There can be no doubt now.”
“Uncle Ted…” Eli cautioned and he immediately fell silent.
One of the guards glanced over at her and stopped, his eyes widened in surprise. He continued to study her with interest and then smiled at her. With a wink he returned to his guard position and nodded towards her inviting his companion to appreciate her presence.
Ildris stepped forward and addressed the guard. “Mistress Eleiann and Master Theodore are expected. Will you let Lord Elrond know they have arrived?” At the guards acknowledgment, Ildris turned back towards Eli and smiled encouragingly. “I will leave you here. Enjoy your evening meldis nin. I will be looking forward to hearing about it later.”
The tall warrior cocked his head and grinned down at her. “Mistress? You are to go straight up. If you go straight ahead, you will see two carved doors. Simply knock and go in. They will be waiting for you.”
Nodding her head, Eli glanced at her uncle and sighed with relief as he recovered from his shock and offered her his arm. They climbed the stairs in silence for a moment and when Ted believed they were out of range of the guard’s hearing he stopped and turned to face his niece.
“My God, Eli, you even glow like they do. There can be no question that you are one of them.”
Eli looked at her uncle with great distress and it was all she could do not to weep openly. “I am still Eli, your niece, Uncle Ted. Please do not forget that.”
He pulled her into his arms and hugged her in reassurance. “Of course love, but you realize now this was meant to be and we made the right decision?”
Eli swallowed hard and rested her head on his shoulder. “I suppose so, but we still do not know what we are doing here or what will become of us.”
“Eleiann, mell nin, is something wrong?”
Both turned to look up at the elf lord standing at the top of the steps.
“Just the usual butterflies, hiren.” Eli replied as they continued up to meet her ada.
“Master Theodore, I trust you have found our library worth the trip?”
The human stood stunned into silence when actually faced with one of the characters of his literary world. Clearly he found the reality surpassed the imaginative. It was a few awkward moments before Ted was able to collect his thoughts and respond.
“Forgive my clumsiness, hiren, I still am having occasional difficulty in taking it all in.” Ted slowly shook his head as he continued to stare at the elf lord.
Elrond smiled at his guest’s wonderment. “I think I have a good idea of what you are feeling, meldir nin. I had a similar reaction upon my visit to your world.”
Ted hung his head sheepishly, “I came forewarned, hiren. I should not be reacting like a small hen.”
Elrond laughed and waved them forward. “Hervess nin awaits us and the hin are ready for bed. Elros would not agree to retire until they had met their muinthel and he was assured she was all right.”
Eli smiled and for the moment ceased worrying. She entered the sitting room and dropped to her knees as Elros broke free of his nurse and charged her throwing his arms about her neck. She hugged him and looked across at her muinthel who followed Elros more slowly.
“You must be Elwing?” She asked gently. The little hen smiled shyly and nodded her head. Eli opened her arms and silently invited her to join in the hug. Eli found herself embracing the little ones tightly.
Elros pulled back and patted Eli’s cheek softly. “Is everything all right? Have you decided to stay and be our muinthel?”
Eli nuzzled his cheek and nodded. “But there are still a number of things that ada and I must talk about before we tell anyone else.”
Elros smiled in delight. “I am glad El-ann. See Elwing, I told you she would stay.”
“And now you know that all is well hen nin, it is time for you to go to bed.” Amarie looked at the two gwanur sternly. “There will be time for you to see your muinthel tomorrow.”
With great reluctance the two said their good nights and departed with their nurse. Eli sighed and rose to her feet. She glanced about the room curiously and exclaimed when she saw a number of beautiful tapestries.
“They are the creation of Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain, the workshops that Amarie’s family founded.” Elrond moved to stand beside his sell.
“They are beautiful, hiren. Bar-Meneg-Mir-Lain? Does that not mean house of a thousand jeweled threads?”
She studied each in turn and turned to Amarie.
“They appear to be depicting the four seasons.”
Amarie smiled. “They do, and there is a story about them that might amuse you….” She turned towards the terrace where a table set up for dinner stood waiting. Unconsciously they followed her listening with interest and sat down as she continued the brief story of the lost three and their finding after she arrived in Imladris.
Elrond chimed in. “I had thought to give her the three at her welcoming banquet since her daer naneth and her muinthel had created them but I had cherished them for a very long time and at that point I was still selfish enough to loathed parting with them. You can imagine how happy I was when she presented me with the fourth.”
*Hannon le lirimaer, she is still carries great worries about her place here. * Elrond mentally caressed his wife.
*I know meleth nin, after she feels more at ease we will ease her concerns. * She smiled back him tenderly.
Eli saw the exchange and found herself warmed. “Perhaps all would be well after all.
Mell nin-my dear
Mildir nin-my friend mail
Hervess nin-my wife
Hen nin-my children
Daer naneth-grand mother
Hannon le-thank you
Meleth nin-my beloved
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.