7. Further Surprises
Towards early fall Amanda returned to the hospital to prepare for a six week trip she had scheduled to take her surgical team into a third world country as she had done in previous years. Eleiann asked to go with her so that she could spend as much time as possible with her before the passage to Middle Earth. She was also eager to use the time to further her knowledge of basic medical procedures that she hoped would prove useful in case of emergencies and that Elrond would welcome as well.
One of Amanda’s surgical team had a deep interest in native plants and their uses in medical treatments and used their trips to increase his knowledge of that region’s unique species. Her mother suggested that Eleiann approach him to see if he would accept her as an unpaid research and field assistant and when he delightedly accepted, she spent much of the following winter sorting, cataloging and transcribing his notes after they had returned home. Such knowledge could prove an important addition should the plants of Middle Earth proved to be similar.
Ted returned to the university where he taught for one final semester and transferred responsibilities for his classes to another professor reassigned his teaching assistants and grad students and finalized the arrangements for his retirement. To his associates’ questions, he merely said he was taking some time to travel and do research. While he was wrapping up his affairs he also arranged for the sale of the family home.
Owen moved back in with his father and found himself swept up in the preparations for what was now dubbed The Crossing. The sorting of his father’s papers and private library as well as the household items and other personal belongings brought home to both sons the fact that if their father did indeed make the crossing they would never see him again. When he and his brother were told to take what ever they wanted from the family belongings both Donald and Owen found themselves sharing their lingering misgivings. It was during this that a flippant remark was made that they both would feel better if one of them were going with the travellers.
It stayed with Owen. He knew it would have to be him since Donald had a family and surly the whole family could not be expected to go even had Donald and his wife had been willing. He could not arrive at a decision until he was sure the crossing would allow his inclusion. Quietly he began to make arrangements just in case. Better to be prepared he thought.
He began distancing himself from friends, knowing they would never understand. He dived into doing research on Tolkien’s writings and the medieval world that most closely represented the same way of life. His quizzing of his father on different points did not alert Ted to his real intentions. Rather Ted was delighted to expound on his favorite subject and thought that Owen was merely seeking to understand more fully the world that his father loved and preferred and why he had made the decision to go.
Owen took the opportunity to develop weapons skills by acting as a sparring partner for both Ted and Eleiann and joining with them on their ‘trial’ survival runs at the cabin. He teasingly volunteered to act as Eleiann’s long suffering partner in her language drills and found somewhat to his surprise he picked up both the Sindarin and Westernesse quickly. He began to think that it would not be so impossible after all.
For Amanda it remained a bittersweet time. She was not happy to face the loss of both her daughter and her brother but she knew it was the only way that Eleiann would have a chance to both meet her father and live a full life free from the problems her inherited elf traits would cause her in the future that lay ahead. If there had been some way to contact Elrond and tell him he had a daughter she would have felt much better sending Eleiann into the unknown. When Elrond’s knife was found she knew that there was indeed an intended plan involved, not just wild imaginations and so found a greater measure of comfort.
Amanda was relieved that Eleiann would not face The Crossing alone and have to deal with so much that remained an unknown. Ted’s knowledge derived from his study of Tolkien’s creations would help them both survive. His almost child like excitement at being allowed to experience what until know had only been imaginary was infectious. For him, it was as if all his dreams had come true. She could only hope that it was truly intended for him to make the crossing. It would be a terrible disappointment if he were not. He often would comment that the whole world would be very shocked to find out that they were indeed ‘not alone’ and other worlds existed out beyond the edges of their knowledge and understanding.
It had taken nearly a year for all of the arrangements to be completed. Amanda and Eleiann spent the balance of the previous summer at the family cabin along with Owen and Ted. It was during this period that the final plans were set and a date established for the possible move. When the equipment started arriving from the various artisans they were hard put to decide which who would get which sword or knife. For some reason there were some duplications. Much to everyone’s delighted surprise, golden wolves showed up and accompanied them as they hiked and camped the area learning to use the equipment that the travellers intended to take with them. The biggest surprise occurred when three wolves attached themselves to Ted, Eleiann, and Owen. When they realized that three, not two, had been selected, everyone stared at each other then at Owen. Owen sheepishly grinned back and everyone finally realized that he intended to go with the travelers if it were allowed.
As their D-day approached, the family members found themselves again gathering at the family cabin. Emotions were mixed and not everyone was happy to see it nearing. Amanda and Donald found it extremely difficult to accept this total sundering of their family. Amanda took the opportunity to have a long talk with Eleiann.
“Eli, there are some things that concern me beyond those we have already talked about.” Amanda began.
Eleiann laughed. “There are bunches that concern me too that won’t be answered until we get there!”
Amanda grinned wryly and shook her head. “We will have to trust that you have done enough basic preparation that will let you all deal with what ever you face. I want to talk about how you will approach your father.”
“I have thought about that. According to Tolkien, he has great power to communicate with people mentally like his mother-in-law Galadriel does. And the fact that he is a ring bearer adds to his power but is a dangerous piece of knowledge for us to know. In fact knowing who all the ring bearers are is dangerous for us and for them.”
“You may find yourself in great danger if the situation with Sauron has escalated beyond where it was when he left here. If you fall into his hands, it will be a total disaster for you and for the rest of Middle Earth.”
Eleiann nodded. “That is a concern, but I think since Elrond appeared here while he was hunting, he could not have been to far away from his hidden valley. We should also close by as well. But just in case, we will appear very ordinary so no one gets suspicion or takes an interest while we are traveling to Imladris. Once there we intend to hang back until we know what the situation is like”
Amanda thought about it and then nodded too, “That makes sense.”
“Uncle Ted and I have talked about it a lot and we think it best if we look like any other refugees landing on their doorstep. Once we know where they are in their timeline we can better decide what to do. If I have the opportunity to approach Elrond or one of the other elves privately I can tell him I am half elven and ask how I can find out more about others like me. I want to know what choices are open to me and what I should expect. I do not want anyone to know about my relationship to Elrond unless I can be sure he or his family will not be hurt by it.”
“He is your father, Eleiann, he deserves to know that.”
“I know mom, but if I spring it on him at the wrong time it could add to his troubles and based on what you have told me he has already been saddled with enough.”
“There is something else that I am worried about. If the time line is farther advanced then we have anticipated, he may have already sailed to the Undying Lands. If that has occurred, there is the possibility that there will be no one left in Imladris.”
Eleiann considered that and nodded. “That could have happened, but I cannot believe that everything has occurred only to dump us out in a deserted elven valley. But if it has, we will adjust. If anything remains of the elves Uncle Ted will be quite satisfied to settle and study whatever we find. If I don’t have the opportunity to choose to be elf kind but remain human than at least I will be somewhere I can make a difference. I may not have the healing powers my father has, but with my knowledge I should be able to become at least an entry level healer in some village or city’s house of healing. As for Owen, he should have little trouble fitting in anywhere.”
Amanda looked through tear filled eyes at her daughter with pride. “What did I ever do to be so blessed with someone like you, Babe? You are really something. I hope you have the chance to get to know your father.”
“So do I, mom. From everything I have learned, he is someone to be very proud to be associated with. Whether I get acknowledged or not, I will never regret our relationship.”
“I am going to miss you, Babe.”
“I will miss you too, mom.”
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.