Hello, everyone. If you really hate hearing from the author, skip down to the chapter number. It will always be like it is now, unless the quick edit thing gets changed on me, so you can always tune me out and get straight to the story.
I suppose I should explain some things right off the bat. First: I am NOT Tolkien. If I was, I would seriously be having trouble typing now, as I'd be dead. Sorry for the morbid humor, but it brings me nicely to the second thing. I am not Tolkien, and no author alive today can be. Therefore, I cannot get into his head to know exactly what he would have wanted his worlds to be like, so I have to take some liberties, or there is no story to follow. And of course, I'm not making any money off of this, blah blah blah. And I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but the Sil--which would probably be the most helpful--is on my summer reading list, along with my neuroscience text book. I'm on chapter two in both.
I love hearing from my readers, and I will get paranoid if no one reveiws a chapter. It makes me think no one cares to read more, so I may put off posting more. I accept constructive criticism--I welcome it, actually-- and ideas. This story is actually done, but will be posted about a chapter per week. Anyone who reads the author's notes in my other current story will know why it's such a wonderful thing that I was able to salvage this completely before my computer began eating disks.
Anyway, this is for everyone who wanted it: Hope it's what you were looking for. Since this is mostly what was in the teaser, the next chapter will be up a bit faster. Hopefully, the story stands well on its own.
"I shall not. I simply shall not."
"But, my lady, your grandfather—"
"My grandfather knows how I feel about such ostentatious affairs. I shall not—that is final."
"My lady, please, do not be obstinate."
Lunian sighed and closed her eyes for an instant. Obstinate. "Why should I attend? It is merely one feast among hundreds—among thousands. Why should this one be any different from the rest?"
"The royal house of Eryn Lasgalen shall be there, for one thing, dear one," a well-known voice stated from the open door of Lunian's room.
Lunian smiled at her mother, but returned her attention to the dress before her. "Yet even for grandfather's friends of old I am not usually asked to submit myself to the horrors of formal wear and stuffy parties."
Lenaith's face drained of color. "What of the prince?"
"Prince Legolas?" Lunian turned curious eyes to her mother. "Shall he be there, then?"
"Yes," Lenaith stated quietly, eyes cautiously searching her daughter's face. "Will you not come for him?"
Lunian tilted her head, studying her mother intently for a long moment, almost seeming to sense something was being left unsaid. "It is important to you that I go, mother?"
She saw the older elf hesitate. "I would like you to go, yes," she agreed at last, a faint frown drawing her brows. Her normally bright blue eyes had darkened slightly.
That shade of pain had always tortured Lunian. "Mother, what is it?" she asked, moving forward to lightly touch her mother's arm in an unthinking attempt to offer comfort. "What troubles you?"
Her mother smiled faintly, shaking her head. "Something I must not speak of with you right now, I'm afraid. Your father is a different story, however, and I shall be off… Shall we see you at the meal?"
Lunian sighed again, deciding not to probe deeper into whatever pained her mother… at least, not right then. She would later, if things hadn't resolved themselves quite quickly. "Must I wear that thing?" she asked, glaring venomously at the gown.
"You may not wear leggings," her mother answered at once, before smiling as her eyes began to twinkle, becoming bright again, putting Lunian fully at ease. "As long as Elladan isn't dressed better than you, I don't mind what you wear." She began to turn, before turning back. "I meant it about the leggings, though. They are really not clothing for ladies."
"But it's so much easier to climb trees and ride and run and—"
"Enough!" Lenaith laughed, shaking her head. "I know, I know. Not tonight."
Lunian rolled her eyes but sighed half-heartedly, giving in. After all, at least she didn't have to wear that hideous lavender contraption. The gown was beautiful, and it made her look lovely… but she didn't want to look lovely. These affairs were bad enough without being unable to fade into the background and virtually disappear. There were few who would ever seek her out once she tried to remain unseen. Other than family and servants, only a handful of friends had ever done so.
So, it should be relatively easy to make it to the feast's end without fear of death by boredom. If the worst came, she could slip outside and watch the stars in the garden.
That decided, spirits lightened, she dressed quickly in a fairly common-looking, plain gown, before picking up a book to read until dinner from those she had taken from her grandfather's study. She wandered down the halls, turning automatically in the halls as she read, finally getting to a room. She knocked twice and entered without waiting for a response. Crossing the room without looking up from her book, she absently sat down sideways in the chair that had been there for centuries, folding her legs beneath her as she felt the setting sun warm on her back.
"Relax, Nallina," she called, looking up as a soft curse hit the air. "What are you so frantic about, anyway?" she asked, observing her friend's disheveled closet and floor for a moment before returning to her reading.
"Lord Legolas will be there!" Nallina hissed, frowning as she looked at the calm elf. "I would think you'd still be getting ready."
"Why? He's just another elf-Lord."
Nallina was silent for so long Lunian looked up from her book again. "No, he's not."
Lunian shook her head and went back to her book.
"He's not just another elf, Lunian," she repeated, her voice closer.
Lunian didn't even bother to look up. "Elf-Lord." She turned the page. "I know he's not. After all, he was your lord for a while, so I suppose you've the right to feel antsy." Suddenly a great pain struck Lunian. She looked up to see Nallina had collapsed to the bed. "Nallina? What is it?"
Book forgotten, she rushed to her friend's side, cupping her hand under the elf's chin to draw her eyes up.
Pain, confusion, torment all stared back at her from Nallina's wide blue eyes. Then the she-elf slowly bowed her head, resignation flowing through the skin contact to Lunian. "It is nothing."
"Not it isn't! I felt it, Lina, and it was not nothing!"
The older elf smiled faintly, feeling all of her years in that moment as she looked at her still young friend. "There is nothing you an do about it, though, not anything I can do about it."
"You could tell me of it."
Nallina looked at her oddly for a moment, and then shrugged half-heartedly, getting to her feet. She picked up a discarded gown and put it on, before absently gathering the rest, putting them on a chest which stood near the bed. She picked one up from the pile, folding it rather automatically. "No one really speaks of it, any more. Each with their own reasons." She stared down at the cloth she held as if it could tell her what to say. With a soft sigh, she moved to put the clothing away. "Suffice it to say there was once a great love which was unbroken by death, though severed by it."
"Arwen and Aragorn? I have heard of them in innumerable stories through my life until I almost can picture them in my dreams. And all elves known of Luthien and Beren, Idril and Tuor. So which do you speak of?"
"None of these, for the mortal was also half-elven, but the Valar did not give to her the choice your grandfather was given. She was mortal, but she loved him with everything within her, and possessed a strength in their love that is rivaled only by elves who have been joined with their mates for many times my life over."
Tilting her head, Lunian studied her friend. "You speak as if you know her."
"I…I did," Nallina murmured at last.
"And what became of her love, then, when she died?"
"He spent years wandering the wilds of Middle-Earth, before finally coming here."
"Is he happy?" Lunian asked, feeling some pity for one who had a love so deep ripped away by something as incomprehensibly horrid as death.
"Last I saw him… he had hope." Nallina closed her eyes.
Lunian smiled, missing the uncertain sorrow on her friend's face. "That is good. But such gloomy musing before a feast!" she exclaimed, laughingly fastening a few missed ties on Nallina's dress.
"Yes," Nallina breathed, biting her lower lip with a frown.