Leaves in the Wind

by Orangeblossom Took

Just a little something involving Elanor and Arwen.. As you'll see, part of it was inspired by this picture. Probably should have just done the story on that but then I thought of Elanor being at court.

Leaves in the Wind

The Queen was sad. The court had begun to notice her withdrawal and a shadow had passed over the bright summer days and dimmed the joy of the recent birth of the twin princesses. Even though the windows of her chambers overlooked a garden and she heard birdsong and fountains, smelt roses and jasmine, and saw fresh leaves dapple the sunlight, she was melancholy. She rarely left her rooms or, indeed, her bed.
Though she had born two girls with soft caps of black hair and cheeks like rose petals, she had done so with more difficulty than she had with Eldarion. She had been sick for much of her pregnancy, then the twins had come early and with much struggle and, as beautiful as they were, they were much fussier than her son had been.

Arwen missed her father more than ever, now, and the pang of missing her mother pricked more sharply than it had in many lives of Men. She would never have the joy of sharing her children with their grandparents.
It was not only that, either. Whenever she looked at the girls or even Eldarion, she thought about how ephemeral their lives would be. The Evenstar had come to the revelation that she had chosen a mortal life not only for herself but for these little ones who carries death in their blood from the day they were born. Illuvutar’s Gift did not seem like such a gift when applied to her children, who would live only a fraction of her days though long enough, she thought bitterly, to bury spouses and friends.
Her ladies, being Daughters of Men, could not understand this grief. Aragorn saw this and sent for Legolas. She was grateful for Elvish company but he was a male and her unhappiness was uniquely feminine.

“Your Majesty,” came a soft voice, “is there anything I can do to help?”

Elanor Gamgee was well-named, thought Arwen. She did remind the Queen of Gondor of the little golden flowers which had carpeted her grandmother’s woods. She had many younger siblings and could sooth the babies more rapidly than either their nursemaid or their despondent mother.

“Just talk with me awhile, my dear,” said the Queen to the Hobbit Lass, “and tell me if your mother was ever sad after having a child.”

“Oh, it is common, My Lady,” said Elanor, “ My mother wasn’t inclined that way, though she was a bit blue after my last sister was born. She had me to help her and was too busy to mope…begging your pardon, My Lady…”

The Hobbit Lass’ cheeks turned the prettiest shad of Poppy and, for the first time since her twins were born, Arwen’s laugh rang like silver bells but she quickly sobered.

“Time,” she said, “is part of what is pressing on my heart. My children’s lives will be much shorter than my own has been. That and I miss my parents.”

“That is hard, my lady,” said Elanor. “My father would say that each generation lives on in the next. Your parents are in you and your children. A part of both you and them will live on in their children.”

Arwen thought about this. “Yes,” she said, “there are ways in which Eldarion is like my father, little thinks like the curve of a lip or a mannerism. “ This realization comforted her and she asked, “Tell me, Elanor, would you want to live a very long time?”

Elanor replied, “you mean longer than old Bilbo Baggins? I really don’t think so, My Lady. I wouldn’t want any more time than is natural for a Hobbit. The oldest person I ever met was also one of the saddest.”

Arwen chuckled,”Am I not the oldest, then?"

“No, Ma’am,” said Elanor, “Shall I tell you the story?”

“By all means,” said Arwen.

Elanor began and told the Queen about how, one day during her twelfth summer, she had wandered into the woods in search of berries and mushrooms. She was enjoying the warm, placid day and was pleased her mother had sent her out berrying because it gave her some precious time alone. She loved her family and younger siblings but they could be plaguey.

That’s when she saw him, moving like a tree in the wind. She wasn’t afraid. She was a sensible girl and she had heard about such creatures from her Uncle Pippin.

“Mister Ent,” she called, “Mister Ent!”

At length, a reply came, “Liiiiiiiiiiiiitle Hoooooobbit…” The Ent sounded surprised and there was a long pause before he asked, “Have you seen any Entwives? They would like this country.”

Elanor admitted that she hadn’t seen any Entwives and asked the Ent how long he had been searching for them. He said that, the last time any Ent had searched these parts, it had been before there were any Hobbits. This made Elanor feel sorry for the Ent. How long and lonely the ages must seem.

She chattered as a Hobbit-child must and the Ent for the most part, ignored her as one would ignore the twittering of a bird, though he kindly offered to carry her around and she thoroughly enjoyed resting on his shoulders.

He sang a song in Old Entish that was slow and sighing and made her eyes heavy. She thought she could still hear it when she woke up in a small grove of trees near her home but it may have just been the wind.
The day had gone and the stars were coming out so her mother and father were quite angry once they got over their initial relief. When she insisted she saw an Ent, her parents thought she was mistaken or lying so made her do extra chores and forgo desert for a week. Only Uncle Pippin believed her, though they never could find the Ent again

“I’m afraid that is not a very cheery tale, Your Majesty,” said Elanor, “bit I sometimes fancy I can still hear that song. It seems to me that you found what that Ent was searching ages for, a loving spouse and children.”

“Well you remind me, Elanor,” said Arwen, “I chose this life, for myself and my children and cannot regret it now. But how fortunate you are to have seen an Ent!”

The Queen of Gondor was correct that Elanor was fortunate indeed. Elanor was the last Man, Elf, or Hobbit to known to have spoken with an Ent. It is also reported that the Queen became more cheerful after that and always kept the Hobbit Maiden close to her and mourned greatly when Elanor, years later, left the Court.