Journey Home: 3. Chapter III

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3. Chapter III

She is lain on the bed in front of him. His beautiful wife. Yes, still beautiful despite it all. Despite the emaciated figure, the ragged hair, the bruises and the bandages. Her body was a testament to what had happened to her, he need not ask, from the poison, the slash upon her forehead, the broken fingers to the ripped and damaged flesh on her feet. All this he had healed, had set on a path to recovery…but she was not returning to him. Watching the slight rise and fall of her chest, Elrond clenched back the tears that were gathering at his eyes.
He could save her, and he would.

Taking hold of her hand with the least bandaging and breaks, he began to slow his breathing to match her own. Closing his eyes he called out to her as their minds met, steeling himself and not giving away any sign of fear or horror at the images that he saw Elrond called out to his wife.
"Celebrían,"
Then he saw her, crouched and rocking in a corner, hair shielding her face. The room he was in was a shadow, not so much that he could not see the guard pinned to the wall and the blood that dripped to the floor. Weaving thoughts of warmth and light Elrond continued to move towards his wife, gently calling her name again. In her mind she was unharmed, though smaller and looking all the more defenceless.
"Go away," at last there came a shaking response, voice wavering and terribly quiet.
Forcing the pain he felt deep down, Elrond continued to build up an image of light, reaching his wife he crouched slowly down in front of her.
"Celebrían, its me. I've come to save you, I am here,"
"Its no use, there is no escape. You're gone." Voice listless, she looked up and around the room. Elrond was assaulted by the horrific images of her memory and mind that seemed to spin from every corner of the cell.
Face pushed roughly against the grimy floor, chocking more than breathing. A whimper escaping as rough hands grasp and the arm is twisted back. Screaming now, striving to wriggle free. Laughter as fingers are bent further and further back. Such agony. A splintering crack sounds louder than anything else in her ears.
Firmly ignoring the memories and his wife's blank tone Elrond spoke again,
"Of course there is escape, look:" he gestured towards the image of a path he had created, sunlight waiting at the end "Please love, come with me, I can save you." Managing to meet her eyes he held the wavering and terrified gaze, willing her back with his all.
Hesitantly Celebrían held out her hand and on unsteady legs stood and walked with her husband towards the light.

With a great gasping breath Celebrían sat bolt upright from where she had lain, eyes darting wildly around the room. And then seeing her husband, she flung her arms about his neck despite all the pain it caused her body and finally awake she cried and cried.

---
Carried by Elladan whilst Elrohir pulled the chair back ready, Celebrían tried to find a smile for their banter as they took her to where a breakfast was set out. Her strong and brave boys who went down to rescue her, her brave boys down in that terrible and reeking pit! Celebrían's focus drifted even further from the conversation as she imaged the sight they would have seen. The shame of it! Lying in the filth and mess, most likely even the blood too. How many had they killed to find her, all they had risked. On the verge of being overwhelmed by her swirling emotions Celebrían concentrated hard on the words of her sons.

Lowered into the chair she looked at the thin porridge in front of her. Slowly, mechanically she began eating, the smallest spoonfuls taking an age to swallow. It had to be this way; the first meals she had eaten since waking her stomach had rejected after the period of starvation she had suffered. Across the table and about the room as they tidied Elladan and Elrohir insulted each other playfully, behaving like the two children of their youths. Knowing these antics were for her Celebrían smiled, though it did not feel right.
---

The hazy afternoon and the gentle breezes found Celebrían and her daughter sitting upon a veranda, swathes of fabric around them and needles in hand. From time to time Arwen glanced worriedly at her mother whilst Celebrían stitching along the hem did not seem to notice, her gaze listless and eyes empty. Her healing fingers made the work slow, each stitch was an effort.
Celebrían did not need to look at Arwen to know the complex and fanciful embroidery that graced her dress, to look would only be to make the knowledge she would never again be able to create such patterns worse. Though mending, her fingers would never be deft enough to manage, as if to cruelly prove the point Celebrían pricked her finger with the needle for the fourth time that afternoon. She watched the blood seep out of her skin; it was nothing. It was nothing compared to the blood which dribbled from her guards lips as he was speared to the wall. Nothing compared to the slick battlefield where she had been waylaid in the pass those months ago, where she had been forced to walk over the bodies of orcs and elves alike.

Her thoughts turned abruptly: what was the pointing creating something beautiful anyway when it could be so easily destroyed? Eyes roaming over the treetops and the beautiful buildings Celebrían wandered would it last? She knew now that everything could be so easily broken, just like her fingers had been, in one rending snap.
"Mother," a pause, "Mother please," Arwen's pleading words came like an echo to Celebrían, who shaken from her morbid thoughts turned to look at her daughter whose eyes brimmed with tears. Allowing Arwen to take her hand Celebrían watched her daughter wipe the blood whilst a tear or two rolled down her face unchecked.
"I am sorry!" Celebrían sighed, embracing her weeping daughter, "I am fine, I am fine," she whispered into her daughters ear as they rocked slightly back and forth.

---

Steadily she moved, taking slow and careful steps the upward slope had not beaten her thus far. The bandages on her feet and the large cushioned shoes she wore still could not ease the pain of her ripped skin. Elrond had not even been able to tell her the damage and she had seen his face, normally so guarded when healing, she had seen the emotions beneath when he changed the bandages and rinsed the wounds each day and night. So still she continued moving slowly onwards, grasping branch or trunk where she could to ease her steps. Then with the moonlit brow of the slope in sight the dirt and ground shifted slightly beneath her unsteady feet and she was brought to the ground.

Lying face down and propped slightly on her arms Celebrían let forth a bitter cry of pain and sorrow. Was everything unreachable to her now? All she had wanted was to have visited that sacred place where Elrond had asked for her hand all those years ago, when he had told her of the first time he had seen her and how he had held back his feelings and words then until a more suitable time and how he had thought of her until that time came. In that moonlight where he had proposed it had been a different Celebrían she thought and at that knowledge immediately cried.

It would never be the same. Nothing ever could.

Looking up at the sky in misery in a broken voice she uttered "Why didn't you take me? Why didn't I die?!"

Her shoulders sagged in defeat and in those moments of utter depression Celebrían had not noticed her husband moving down from the top of rise, though when he reached her and gently helped her to stand again Celebrían saw in his face that he knew she intended to leave. Finding herself in his fierce and familiar embrace she gripped the front of his robes as she wept.

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.

Story Information

Author: Elfique

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Drama

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 03/11/10

Original Post: 03/11/10

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