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Hope in the Healing (PG-13) Print

Written by Susana

14 February 2011 | 36497 words | Work in Progress

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Hope in the Healing, Part II

Third Age 2934, Three days before Yule, Imladris

Elladan followed the familiar voices, and the rich smell of stew simmering, into the warm, well-lit kitchen of Imladris. His twin, dipping fresh-baked buttered bread into a bowl of venison stew, acknowledged him only with a nod, which made Elladan smile. Siana, the mistress of the kitchens, greeted Elladan with an exuberant hug, and the same hearty fare she’d already put in front of Elrohir. Siana then kept up a pleasant mostly one-sided conversation while the twins ate, also providing Elladan with mulled cider and Elrohir with hot spiced milk.

“I’d heard you two had returned from the wars, my lads.” The deep voice of Drystan rumbled. Elrohir grinned, and swallowed quickly, greeting Glorfindel’s second-in-command with a cheerful, saucy, “We heard that Glorfindel was desperate enough to send you out on long patrols. We knew then that we had to come home, you like the comfort of your fine wife and fire too much for that!” Siana laughed and blushed, pouring her husband a cup of mulled, spiced wine to warm him.

The light haired Drystan guffawed merrily, slapping Elrohir on the back. Elrohir, who had been expecting just that display of affection, didn’t even blink. “Fine living has weakened you, old friend.” The older twin jested merrily.

“And living from camp to camp with the remains of Aranor’s Dunedain has left you both rather scrawny.” Drystan criticized.

“Not so scrawny as Mel, when he comes with us.” Elladan pointed out, shaking his head at the display between Drystan and Elrohir, which he found ridiculous. Elladan missed Mel’s company on their sojourns, as Elladan alone had a much harder time convincing his twin of the absolute vitality of patronizing several of the Dunedain villages with better inns, for palatable food, during their excursions. Also, Elrohir easily embraced the occasionally rough-and-tumble humor of their warrior friends amongst the Dunedain. Elladan’s sense of humor, like Mel’s, tended to be more refined.

“True enough.” Drystan agreed, “but then Mel grew up on my Siana’s cooking, and its hard to eat camp fare after that beginning.”

Siana smiled warmly at her husband, before looking to the twins and sighing. “You mean to take my elfling with you, when you leave us in the Spring?” She asked them sadly.

“Aye.” Elrohir said, unwilling to lie to the elleth who had been, essentially, Mel’s second mother. “We’ve missed him with us, and there are several slight and clumsy but otherwise promising youths amongst this season’s group of trainee rangers. Mel has the surest hand, with training such youths.” Elrohir did not say so, but there were also several villages of Dunedain whom the twins had needed to help move, lock, stock, and all, following aggressive attacks by the orcs, prior to the fireboat incident which might have enraged Lord Dirhael (because the twins and several Dunedain had nearly died as well), but had neatly discouraged the orcs, for at least this season. Unfortunately, the villages had lost, in one case, the woman who had kept the bloodlines, such that her daughter still had her book of who was related to whom, but did not understand the abbreviations, and in the other sad case, both book and matriarch. Mel had the best memory for reconstructing that information, and was their best chance at helping the new matriarchs to decode the entries in the remaining book, for it had been Mel and Elladan together who had designed the mostly oral system for recording the genealogical history of the Dunedain, with the coded books as backup. The books had to be coded, because many of the Dunedain were related to the Kings and Queens of old Arnor. And no one wanted to give the orcs and other agents of Sauron a “Who’s who list” of humans to kill, to please their master Sauron. But the Dunedain needed such records, so that their village elders could make sure that young ones who were courting were not eachother’s near kin.

Siana and even Drystan nodded, though neither looked particularly pleased. Siana, who had once been Melpomaen’s parents’ cook in Lindon, brought out some pie and sweet cream for the twins and her husband, and then bid them good night.

“Lads,” Drystan begun, for the twins were less than half his age, and had been teenaged elflings when first Erestor had hired Mel’s former armsmaster and his wife the cook away from Mithlond, “The Dunedain have needed you, these past seasons since their Chieftain was killed. But no matter how many orcs you kill, ‘twill not bring back Arathorn your gwador, nor your siblings or Nana.”

Elrohir was quiet; he’d not spoken Arathorn’s name beyond absolute necessity since their friend’s death.

Elladan ventured into the silence, “We know that, Drystan. But it has to be done, and we are some of the only living Knights of Arnor, us and Melpomaen. Well, Glorfindel as well, but, ah, Ada needs Glor here.”

Drystan snorted. “You mean Glorfindel has not forgotten who Sauron views as his greatest remaining elven foes, with Elrond vying for the top of that list. Right below his formidable mother-by-law, and your cousin the King of the Greenwood not far behind them.”

The twins smiled at that mention of their Daernaneth Galadriel, who to them was Daernana, a pleasant, beautiful elleth who had given them sweets as elflings, and sharp, blessed swords and protective cloaks as mature ellyn. Drystan remembered the fierce and ethereal warrior Galadriel, from the War of Wrath, and had taken centuries to be able to relax in her company. Drystan and Elrond both said Galadriel had mellowed; the twins, and once their mother, had merely shrugged. Galadriel had always been a maternal figure to them, instead of a mythic one. An….odd, unique maternal figure, but a mother and grandmother nonetheless. Arwen, these days, serving as Galadriel’s chief handmaiden and deputy, saw her Daernaneth more clearly. But Arwen, as well, had rarely viewed Galadriel with the awe of most elves. The twins found Drystan’s silent respect-bordering-on-fear of Daernana Galadriel particularly odd, as they tended to find their father more intimidating, when Elrond was in his protective-Ada moods, and Drystan was not at all intimidated by their Ada. Oh, the old soldier elf showed Elrond proper respect as the Lord of Imladris in any official setting, but he had known Elrond, and his twin brother Elros, as tiny children tagging along after their elder-foster brother Ereinion, who had also been Drystan’s gwador. And Aran Ereinion Gil-galad, the last great King of the Noldor on Middle Earth. Drystan had barely survived Ereinion’s death without fading, and it had taken him over a century, and meeting Siana, to sober up and stop grieving. Drystan could see Melpomaen off to accompany the twins in part because of that; his guilt at having been unable to save Ereinion was terrible, but how much worse would it have been, if he had not even been there to try to save his King?

Drystan looked at Glorfindel’s two itinerant lieutenants sympathetically. “The orcs seem to have been discouraged by your, ah, innovative tactics. At least for this next season. Perhaps you could stay here for awhile, and share some of that creativity with your father, as he assists the old Wizard with coordinating opposition to the rising activity out of Mordor. We – Captain Glorfindel and I – could use your assistance, having so many more messengers coming from one quarter and another, and needing to assure them all safe passage.”

Elladan paused in his enjoyment of pie to ask, “Where is Glor, anyway? Normally we get in, and he’s right behind Ada, Mel, and Erestor.”

“He stopped by, gwanur.” Elrohir explained softly. Glorfindel had come to their room while Elrohir was dropping off bags. Imladris’ captain had helped his most gifted and determined pupil of the fighting arts to quickly sort through the twins’ travel bags. Elrohir had told his mentor that he had felt the twins were being followed for the last leg of their journey. Elladan had not had the same feeling, but he was too accustomed to his twin’s curious, near preternatural tracking sense to raise an objection when Elrohir determined to mention the matter to their military superior. Glorfindel, who knew Elrohir almost as well as his twin, had nodded and collected several guardsmen to go search the twins’ trail. But before he left, he’d said something that led Elrohir to believe their Captain knew more about their recent activities with the Dunedain than the twins might have deemed desirable. “He said he’d see us tomorrow, ‘Dan. It sounded like a threat.”

Drystan chuckled. “Oh, he wants to have a few words with the two of you, about your “innovative tactics.”

The twins winced. Elrohir sighed. Glorfindel would undoubtedly say, as he had said in the past, that he expected this kind of idiocy from Elladan. Elladan was like a younger version of Lord Elrond, without having had Elrond’s tempering experiences during the War of Wrath at an early age (what this said about Elrohir’s father, Elrohir wasn’t quite sure). But Glorfindel expected Elrohir to tell his twin “No,” when Elladan came up with these ideas. Only, Elrohir had been really frustrated with the orcs thinking that just because Arathorn was dead, and his heir disappeared, the Dunedain of Arnor were ready to roll over and play dead. And Elladan’s ideas often worked…

Oddly echoing the older twin’s sentiments, Drystan said, “Sure, and your ideas have often saved the day for us, and no mistake. The siege of Imladris, well, we might have fallen, were it not for you two.”

“And Nana.” Elladan spoke up loyally, “And Carmave and Caradhon.”

The elves all paused a moment to remember their fallen friends. Lady Celebrian had survived the siege of Imladris, but Carmave, Imladris’ former chief chef, pastry chef, and axe-wielder, had not. Nor had Glorfindel’s former second-in-command, Caradhon, a friend and comrade-in-arms to all three soldiers.

“Why all the glum faces?” A sprightly voice called out, as Tauriel, Carmave’s great-niece, Imladris’ head groom, and a good friend of the twins’, entered the kitchen.

“Just memories.” Elrohir answered with a smile. Tauriel had come to Imladris as an orphaned elfling, and the twins and Mel had enjoyed playing with her and indulging her. As she grew up, age-mates with Siana and Drystan’s daughter Eilunwen, Tauriel and Eilunwen had become Andreth’s favorite babysitters, and honorary older sisters. During the siege of Imladris, the twins’ sisters, and Tauriel and Eilunwen, had numbered among the younger elves who would often side with the twins, in favor of one of their crazy schemes.

Tauriel helped herself to the other half of Elladan’s pie, guessing accurately at the cause for her friends’ sorrow. “The siege? I still miss them, too. But more of us would have died, if we hadn’t managed to discourage long-range catapult building with that last sortie. Having their fortifications turn into fireballs really discouraged the Witch-King and his merry marauders.”

“Hmm, Elladan, you really do have quite a fondness for fire.” Drystan teased gently, “Imladris’ own pyromaniac. No wonder you’re always bothering Gandalf for hints, the two of you trying to figure out how to make fire fly further through the sky.”

Elladan smiled. He was pleased to have them think that’s why he spent so much time with Gandalf. The truth was the only secret of any import he’d ever kept from his twin, and it would not be good, to have it be learned. Gandalf might need him again, someday, after all. Now if only he could avoid taking Mel with him in the future….Lord Elrond still had more than one son to lose, and Elladan was not his heir. But Erestor had only Mel. Unfortunately, Melpomaen had found that logic remarkably unpersuasive. If it wasn’t too dangerous for his Lord’s son, then it wasn’t too dangerous for Mel, either, according to Mel. Sometimes having loyal retainers was quite a trial, Elladan thought.

“Its nice to have you back, ‘Dan.” Tauriel enthused, “this way we will have fireworks for Yule. Gandalf left some for you, but I do not think your father would set them off, if you were not here.”

Drystan nodded. “You two are our light in the darkness, in many ways. Like a fire lit in the coldness of a midwinter day. Your uncle had something of that, as well.”

Elrohir smiled appreciatively. Drystan had been an excellent source of stories about Uncle Elros, and their father when Elrond had been young. Then he suppressed a yawn. It had been a very long day… a long year, in fact.

Elladan was less successful in concealing his yawns, so Drystan and Tauriel urged them to go to bed. The twins were only too eager, but their father reached their rooms just as the twins did, and insisted on running them a bath.

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Brandie , Robbie , Robbie , Callum , Houston , Kellye , Rena , Luz , Lauri , Tamela , Venus , Treedweller

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NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

I really enjoyed this fic. I stumbled across it completely by accident when looking for a translation for “mellon muin nin” (which incidentally I read in another of your fics) The first chapter was my favorite because Faramir was in it. I LOVE your characterization of Faramir. I have been reading all your stories that contain Faramir over and over since I first discovered them last week.

One thing I think that you could do to make them better is to translate any elvish you use at the end of your chapters or at least put a glossary of terms somewhere. I don’t know about your other readers but I am not all that familiar with elvish. I can recognize a very few words and even those confuse me when they are used outside of the context with which I am familiar. I really want to know what all those terms of endearment mean exactly. :) Other than that, I love your stories and I love that you update so often! I can’t wait to read the rest of your series. (especially the stories about Faramir)

— firstar28    3 September 2011, 03:39    #

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