The Abduction of Celebrian

by NorthStar

Part I – Journey Interrupted

The late afternoon mist cooled my skin as I stepped out of my working chambers onto the veranda, which overlooked the courtyard. With a start, I looked up at the waning sun and realized that I had been inside for most of the day. I sighed. Working at my books took my mind off the fact that my Celebrian and Arwen were no longer within the palace or indeed even within the borders of Rivendell.

They had left in the early dark of the last morning to ride to Lorien, to stay for a time with Celebrian’s parents, Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel. The escort party had assembled in the courtyard, and I remembered the feel of Celebrian’s soft touch on my cheek and the sensation of her kiss on my lips as she leaned down from her mount. She had gathered our sons close and whispered to them, making them smile though they hated to see her go. They had wanted badly to go with her, but she had insisted that they stay here with me, continue their schooling and warrior training. She had laughingly declared this trip a “ladies adventure” and had swept Arwen up into the saddle with her and set the pace at a gallop out of the gate, making the rest of the party scramble to keep up with her. The memory made me laugh.

I watched the sky deepen into hues of purple and gold, missing my wife and daughter. They were far more beautiful to me than even the most spectacular sunset. My mind occupied with thoughts of them, I almost didn’t hear the clamor in the courtyard below.

As I turned, I felt an urgent hand tug at my sleeve.” Lord Elrond, come quickly! “ The fear in his voice was evident. “One of the escorts from the traveling party has returned…” The sentence was not finished and cold fear filled my heart.

In the courtyard, members of the household staff were physically supporting a small elf. He was bloodied and covered in dirt. Kneeling, I immediately recognized the lad as Glaston, one of Celebrian’s pages. He trailed after her everywhere, faithfully, and had begged to be allowed to accompany his mistress on her journey to the Golden Wood. She had said no at first, as he was very young, but his pleas had melted her heart and she had finally agreed to let him ride with her. His face that morning had been shining and excited – now it was scratched and tear stained. He was trembling so hard he could not speak – but when he saw me, he threw his arms around my neck an  sobbed. I held him tightly, soothing him as best I could, sending calming energy into his mind, willing him to regain his ability to speak. As I comforted him, I felt him quieting. When I judged that he could once again speak, I implored him to tell me what had happened.

He started, struggled and burst again into tears. He whispered one word. “Orcs.”

The word rushed through my veins, filling them with ice. I could not stop the pounding of my heart as the enormity of that one simple, ugly word echoed in my brain.

Around me, the servants were pale. In Rivendell, sheltered from all that was warped and dangerous, orcs were a legend, not a reality. Stories of their dark atrocities were told in hushed whispers in hallways and corners. They were most feared and reviled. And now such evil things had touched their mistress.

I willed myself to stay calm and commanded my leaden limbs to sit on a chair in the great hall. I brought Glaston close to me, holding him by the shoulders and looking into his eyes. As our gazes held, his mind became clearer and he was finally able to speak, haltingly, of what had happened.

“We had traveled nearly the full day, my lord, without incident. We rode in single file, surrounded by the guards. We were laughing and singing, excited to be traveling. When we came to the shallow brook, near the pass through the mountain valley though, we found that rain had swelled its banks and made the usual spot nearly impassable.” He stopped, took a breath and closed his eyes, remembering. “ The guards felt that even trying to cross at that spot would be dangerous. So the guards separated; three went up the river northwards to see if they could find a better spot to cross. Three others went southward to see if a level spot existed anywhere upstream. We traveled with ten protectors, so four remained. After several minutes had passed, there arose a commotion northerly, the sounds of blades crashing. Two of our guard immediately went to assist their comrades, leaving only two with my mistress. The clamor grew louder, and those that remained gathered together under a nearby stone ledge, so that we were no longer out in the open.

Suddenly there was silence. Complete silence as though Arda herself had ceased to breathe. I could see that the my lady was frightened. I drew close to her, and kept my hand on my sword.” He looked up at me. “ I would die for her, my Lord.” I nodded, for I had no doubt that he would. He continued then, his voice a bit stronger now. “ She pulled Arwen close to her and wrapped her in her mantle until all you could see of her was bit of dark hair. My mistress whispered something to Arwen… I could not hear what it was, but in the middle of her whisper she sat straight up and cried out, “Fly!” She spurred her horse into a gallop, just as a black shape hurtled out of the woods into the spot she had been just a moment before.

I made to follow her, but I was pulled off my horse by one of those foul creatures and thrown aside into the broken rocks. A host of them charged after the Lady, screaming something I could not decipher in their black, ugly words. She rode hard, but was overtaken.” He choked up, visibly fighting his tears. “She fought them, my Lord…I heard her cries, and I know the sound of her blade, but there were too many of them. When last I saw her, they were bearing her away like a sack of food, slung over the biggest one’s shoulder.”

I tightened my grip on him, as despair washed over me in a great wave. “Glaston – was she alive? And where was Arwen?”

“ I feel she was still alive my lord…. but I do not know. And as for Arwen, I did not see them take her. But I cannot swear that they did not,” he hung his head. “ I could not see very well, as the blood from my wound had run into my eyes and all but blinded me. I could not follow her, my lord. I lost her.”

He wept bitterly now, reliving those moments. Around me, a swell of murmurs rose to indignant shouts of anger as the household reacted to the news.

I let go of Glaston, and felt my arms go limp. My wife was in the hands of the foulest of creatures and I knew not whether she was alive or dead. My daughter was missing somewhere in the wilds of the Misty Mountains. The thought of either of my loves in the hands of orcs made me physically sick, my stomach knotting.

The cries for vengeance were growing louder by the moment. Glaston was taken away to have his wounds tended to; but before he was borne away, he turned and came to me, taking my hands in his, his tears imploring me to not banish him, exile him for his failure to save Celebrian. I raised his face and looked into his eyes. “You were brave, my young one. You tried to save your mistress, and such valor will never be forgotten. I swear.” I touched his forehead where the orc blade had slashed him and knew that for the rest of his days, he would look at it and remember the battle as his failure. With the tips of my fingers, I traced the wound, and murmured in a voice none could hear, save myself, a vanishing spell.

He would not have to live an immortal life scarred by what he had not created.

At my nod, the healers came and gently led him to his room. His eyes were now closed, and I knew the spell was working its ancient magic.

His blood shone on the stone floor. Never before had blood stained the realm of Imladris, the last safe haven in Middle Earth. But now I watched as the blood congealed and sank into the surface, leaving nothing but a dark stain that would blacken with age and never allow me to forget this day.

I was filled with anger that I had not thought possible. It flooded me, burned me like fire. I was not aware that I had risen up and raised my hands until the room fell silent and all eyes turned to my face.

I fought to control my emotions in front of my people; for their sake I had to remain calm. For their sake I could not give in to my warrior instincts, which cried out for orc blood. For their sake, I must be strong and lead them as I always had. For their sake I had to remain Lord Elrond, first, and desperate husband second.

But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the greatest reason to be strong. My sons stood trembling in the doorway. They had heard every word.

And in their eyes, I saw vengeance.