Serondai released a shuddering sigh, trembling from the bitterly cold breeze sweeping across her face. Slowly she pulled away from her companion and wiped her eyes feeling ashamed of her outburst of emotion. Legolas lay a reassuring hand on her shoulder while she composed herself and she smiled up at him gratefully, taking his hand in between hers. His long fingers were freezing.
"I am sorry," she whispered, slicing through the silent night like a knife.
"Do not be sorry for your grief. It is understandable- you have suffered a lot," Legolas tenderly whispered in reply. She avoided his eyes and dropped his hand turning towards a clearing a few feet away.
"I should go, Glorfindel will be wondering where I have got to," she said sadly, gulping back more tears, "thank you Legolas." She walked towards the clearing, glancing back for a moment before disappearing from Legolas' view. He watched her vanish from his sight and then reluctantly he followed.
Glorfindel was sat in an armchair with an open book upon his lap. Serondai opened the door as quietly as possible, but it creaked and immediately Glorfindel was wide awake. His eyes settled upon the young girl as she sneaked across the room and he folded his arms in his usual way and raised his eyebrows.
"Ahem!" he coughed. Serondai gave a start and turned to see a rather disgruntled elf before her, his head to one side enquiringly, "where have you been?!" he snapped, slamming the book shut. Serondai grinned sheepishly and climbed further up the stairs so she had an easier escape.
"I was studying the sky," she replied, smiling innocently with her cherry lips, "after you taught me about the stars recently, I have not been able to keep my eyes off it."
"As much as I am glad you are taking such a keen interest in my tutoring, I do not want you creeping about at night alone!" he said, standing tall, "you are lucky I do not inform Elrond about these trips in the dark."
Serondai lowered her head shamefully and shuffled her feet, mumbling a just audible sorry. Glorfindel shook his head and climbed up the stairs until he was standing directly in front of her. Lifting her chin with a single finger, he smiled and looking into her eyes he whispered, "you are not alone child. We all love you here- do not be afraid."
"I have the nightmares Glorfindel, even now. The scars will never heal I fear."she trailed off, feeling tears on the brink of release again, "I need her."
"Who?" Glorfindel whispered, taking both her small hands in his large ones.
"My mother. I feel guilty that I showed her so little affection as a child. When she." she paused, fighting back her emotions, ".when she died, I suddenly understood what I had lost and now I feel as though there is a cold emptiness in my heart waiting to be filled."
"You are young, Serondai. You will find someone to love who will love you more than anything in return. Do not dwell on the past my dear, what will you achieve? Let me offer my counsel- come, sit with me a while," he led her down the winding stairs again and together they sat in two large wooden chairs with a scarlet red cushion on each. Serondai would often sit with her eyes closed as a child and listen to Glorfindel sing until she fell asleep, after which he would kiss her goodnight and take her to her room.
Serondai sat patiently with her hands in her lap while Glorfindel sat in silence, deep in thought. After a few minutes peace he stared out towards the balcony above the courtyard and said, "destiny and fate bind us together in what we know as Middle-Earth. The choices we make determine where our lives will lead and every future possibility is laid out for us in millions of different roads and paths. We must simply decide which path is the best for us."
"But how are we to know?" Serondai enquired, leaning forward and balancing her head on her hands.
"We do not know. Elbereth aids us in our choices, but does not intervene. We must follow our own paths and find guidance in the wise, but only you and you alone can truly understand what you need from life. In the case of your family, their chosen paths lead to the Halls of Mandos and the tragedy of their deaths was meant to come to pass."
"I do not understand. Why should it be my family that suffered.and why did I survive."
"Some things we are simply not meant to understand, but know this.even though you have lost one family you have been lucky enough to gain another and surely that will help you understand why you are still here to live out the rest of your life. Do not underestimate the importance of your existence," Glorfindel smiled, feeling he had offered a sufficient explanation to the clearly confused girl, "now, I would like some rest and I should imagine you would too."
Serondai chuckled and looked up at the old elf, realising he did not look a day older than he had when they had first met.
"Thank you Glorfindel," she whispered, embracing him. He kissed the top of her head, returning the embrace warmly by wrapping his long arms around her, "I am not sure what I would do without you."
*** Legolas opened the door to his quarters and closed it behind him quietly. The cold air had woken him up and he felt energetic and alive as though he would never be able to sleep again, so he pulled out some parchment and a quill and started to write.
My beating heart beckons when you draw near, And though my soul dances, I tremble with fear. The night is cool as I hold you in my arms, But alas, I am forlorn, I am dreaming.
A hidden gesture has clouded your view. In sleepless nights I pray for you. Torn between joy, sorrow and love. You are sheltered from me, I am broken
I will let the stars fall, I have your eyes, They cannot compare with you. I turn, I smile and I sigh.
I could only hope, but you will not stay, Accept my burning heart I pray
A single, lonely tear dribbled down the young elf's cheek and dripped onto the parchment causing the ink to expand and soak through. Legolas lay down the quill on his bedside table and lay his head in his hands and abruptly he erupted into bitter sobs of despair and misery as though his entire world had collapsed in on itself. For four long years had his heart rendered the pain he was suffering? For four long years he had waited for his love to be returned. For four long years he had been tormented..and still the young child he had encountered only a few years ago did not return his affection in the way he had hoped for.
"Oh Elbereth, why do you make me endure such pain...?"
I am Lifted, But You are Heartbroken