"I want to see him Glorfindel!" Serondai screamed, trying to pass him. He had told her about the incident with Elladan and Elrohir and was attempting to convince Glorfindel to allow her to see him; however he did not trust his temper and forbade her from doing so. She was almost frantic with desperation to speak to him, "please Glorfindel!"
"No!" he said harshly, putting out an arm to block her, "you can *not* see him! I will not allow it and neither will Elrond!"
"You can not stop me!" she cried, tears stinging her eyes. She grasped his arm, but obviously he was far stronger than she was and forced her backwards, almost knocking her over. He caught her before she fell and held onto her tightly, "let go! I want to see him!"
"I will not repeat myself again Serondai!" he said, raising his voice, "you will not see him today or any other until I say so!"
He had never raised his voice to her. She was speechless and stepped backwards open mouthed with a gasp passing her lips. She swallowed and turned away, feeling to some extent hurt by Glorfindel's behaviour towards her.
"I am sorry," he whispered, stepping forward. She recoiled and he halted, also hurt that she had shrank back from him. He said softly, "I am doing this for your own good Serondai. Elladan could have killed Elrohir and I am not willing to risk the same happening to you at the hands of his temper."
"He would not hurt me," she said, shaking her head, "I know he would not... you are only stopping me from seeing him because you do not want me to love anyone. You want me to yourself; you do not want me to spend time with another. You are selfish!"
"Selfish indeed!" Glorfindel yelled, raising his arms and letting them fall again, "I have spent the past thirteen years raising you, teaching you and loving you as though you were my own and you say I am selfish! Well, if that is what you think of your guardian then what must you think of yourself young lady! I believe it is time you looked at yourself and your treatment of those around you. There have been countless times when I have seen your selfish side, seen you hurt others, seen you be stubborn and callous for no reason whatsoever. I sometimes considered more than once having you over my knee when you were younger, but never had the heart and I for one think it is a shame you are too old for such a punishment. You have been far too spoilt and I realise that now! And you say *I* am selfish!"
"I knew you would be like this! You are all against me!" Serondai yelled, waving her finger at the old elf-lord.
"It is always about you! Do you ever stop to think of others? When will you grow up!?" Glorfindel emphasised the last few words for greater impact, but succeeded in only making the girl dart past him because of the bubbling emotions, but whether she was angry or crying he could not tell.
It was a cool evening. The air felt comfortable and fresh as it was sinking into the warm earth and Serondai breathed in the night, crushed by the tired sunset as she tiptoed along the dark passage. The stars, blinking in the sky watched her intently as she emerged from the shadows of the corridor into the courtyard and their reflections danced on the surface of the Bruinen. The moon gave slumber, for which she was grateful as she opened the door to Elrond's quarters where she could just distinguish the desk on the far side of the room. The staircase was to her left, and she moved to it silently, knowing that only upstairs the Lord himself slept. Next door was where Elladan had been locked and she fixed her eyes on the door as she climbed the winding stairs. Her breathing changed; it increased from the exhilarating feeling she felt in the pit of her stomach. She would see him if she had been prohibited or not.
She reached the door and knocked it lightly, praying Elrond was sound asleep. She could make out a faint shuffling, and then someone spoke behind the door.
"Serondai?" Elladan whispered.
"Yes, it is me," she replied, her heart skipping a beat, "I wanted to see you earlier, but Glorfindel would not allow it. I am sorry."
"It matters not now. At least you are here....I am sorry for all of this. I feel like I am being treated like the greatest enemy. They will not let me out until I have explained my actions to them- my father, Glorfindel, Erestor and Gildor I mean. They are holding a council tomorrow morning to decide what is to be done with me. I feel like they have turned against me my love," Elladan said, speaking out loud his feelings for the girl. She was not surprised. She had already guessed.
"I wish I could find a key," she said, though her voice seemed to echo and it was a while before she spoke again, "they will not send you away will they?"
"I hope not, I could not bare to leave you," he leaned against the door with one shoulder, "I fear it would be too much for me."
Serondai held her hand to the door, and somehow Elladan sensed the warmth of her body and did the same, placing it near hers and sighing inaudibly.
"I love you," Serondai whispered. It seemed so alien to her...they were words she had never spoken and yet afterwards she felt relieved, as though a weight had been lifted from her mind. She waited in hope that he would say the same words to her.
"Serondai?!" said the Lord Elrond, his eyes burning into hers when she turned to him, seemingly unhindered by his presence. He was wearing his evening robes of light blue and silver glittering in the darkness, "did Glorfindel not forbid you from coming here? I am sorry you are being made to suffer, but I must order you to return to your own quarters for your own safety. Elladan has not yet been capable of speaking to me about his conduct; therefore he shall stay where he is until then."
"You are a monster to imprison your own son!" Serondai hissed her hand still upon the door.
"Serondai," the dark haired elf said patronisingly, "you do not understand the reasons for keeping Elladan nearby. It is not imprisonment; he may leave when he decides he wishes to speak to me."
"But he does not want to speak to you!" Serondai defended angrily, "why will you not just unlock the door and let him talk to you when he sees fit. You can not force him!"
"Serondai please," Elladan said behind the door, though not unkindly, "you should leave. Go and rest and I shall speak with you tomorrow....I...I love you."
Serondai, feeling saddened and dejected gazed in Elrond's direction and gave him a helpless look, before turning and fleeing down the stairs, out once again into the cool night. Elrond was about to leave, when a weak voice whispered.
"Father, I am ready to talk to you now, if you will permit it."
"Of course Elladan," Elrond said, reaching for the chain around his neck for the key, "but please promise me you will control your temper."
The following day, the council was held to decide what was to be done with the two brothers. Elrond was sat opposite Elladan and Elrohir, Glorfindel upon his right and Erestor upon his left. Elladan had his head bowed; Elrohir stared straight ahead into the eyes of his father hopefully.
"I have called this counsel, albeit small to settle on a fair punishment for you, Elladan and Elrohir, my sons," he turned to Elladan, " I have as yet only received one side of the story, Elladan's, where it seems he was provoked into the attack upon you Elrohir. However, I still believe that your attack could have easily been avoided had you been able to control your temper and fighting with your twin was something I will not accept. Elrohir, I have decided to send you to join the Dunedain, Aragorn in the North where you will be helping protect the borders with the other rangers. Elladan, you leave for Lothlorien tomorrow to study. You will both exist in in these places for a year or two."
Elrond held up a hand to silence him as Elladan stood to plead not to send him away.
"No Elladan. I am afraid you have left me no other option and it is not open to discussion. You may return in a few years if you wish, but until then Galadriel and Celeborn will be watching you very closely. Perhaps they can succeed in controlling your temper where I have failed."
Elladan slumped back down into his seat with a broken-hearted expression. His brother watched him, feeling he had caused this disaster. If only he had kept his mouth shut, if only if he had never agreed to go to Lorien.
"I am sorry," Elrohir whispered, covering his brother's hand with his own, "I caused this. You must be torn apart."
"No," Elladan replied, squeezing Elrohir's hand, "it is my fault. I should not have hit you. I am to blame for everything. You deserve to go to Lorien, not I."
"Is there no other way," Erestor whispered to the Lord, leaning to the side to do so. He felt the punishments were harsh and did not wish to force Elladan and Elrohir apart in such a way, nor did he wish to break the young girl's heart who was residing in Rivendell.
"Ai! I fear not!" Elrond replied softly, stroking his chin wisely, "as much as I detest the idea of sending away my sons, I believe they need time apart with people who are wiser than they. I believe I have chosen the most appropriate path."
Erestor nodded sympathetically, though he still disagreed with the given reprimand. Glorfindel was sitting tall, his hands crossed in his lap. Elrond had expected more intervention from him, but had received none. It surprised him. He was not sure whether to be pleased or troubled by his lack of involvement in the council. He more often than not led the debates held in the council room.
Elladan blinked, allowing a crystal tear to flow from his shining eyelash down his cheek. He bit his lip, holding the rest of them back with difficulty and Elrohir moved from his chair to kneel in front of his twin and his hand met his cheek to wipe away the tear lovingly. Elladan smiled appreciatively, for Elrohir had only succeeded in furthering his pain. He now realised what he had sacrificed.
"I am sorry," Elladan said, pulling Elrohir into a loving clinch. The other three elves watched their affection with interest, moved by the love between the twins. They had never spent a day apart in their lives, and now they would be subjected to a year without the company of the other.
"I will miss you," Elrohir said, without the others hearing. He pulled back and gulped back his own tears.
"It is odd how in such times you turn out to be stronger than I."
"Emotion is not a weakness," Elrohir reassured softly, "but what will Serondai say...how will you tell her?"
"Serondai!" Elladan cried, remembering he would leave her side also, "I must tell her!"
With that he was gone, running as fast as his long legs would carry him to her room beside Glorfindel's quarters. Her door was open, but she was not there. He felt frustrated and anxious and looked over her balcony window releasing the breath he had not realised he was holding when he spotted her in the courtyard lying down on the grass enjoying the warmth of the sun upon her face. Her cheeks were rosy and her complexion soft and pale; blooming like winter.
"Serondai, my sweet," Elladan said, casting a shadow across the grass which stretched all the way to her. She had not heard his footsteps and was startled. Elladan sat down beside her and already she knew he had come baring bad news.
"What is it?" Serondai asked, taking his hands in hers.
"Father is sending me to Lorien....I could do nothing to dissuade him," Elladan said, lifting her delicate fingers to his lips.
"I thought it may be so," Serondai replied, trembling, "oh Elladan, I will miss you!"
He wrapped his long arms around her small body and she lay her head upon his chest, feeling lost in her tears of sadness. She could hear his heart beating, faster than normal. Pulling back, she caressed his cheek with her fingertips and sighed discontentedly, a sad smile hinting at her lips. He entwined her hair between his fingers, avoiding her eyes for fear they would cause them both too much pain.
"You will not escape my mind," she said, closing her eyes, "only the stars know how close our souls have become. Take my heart with you to Lorien and you shall have to return soon for I can not live without it."
"No Serondai, I can not accept your heart. Even though I am deeply in love with you, even though you tantalise me, make my heart race and make me want to leap for joy even in sad times you must not offer to me your heart. It is too precious for you to give it to me while you wait in Rivendell for me to return when in fact I may not."
"You decline my most precious of gifts," Serondai whimpered, pushing him away from her, "you are rejecting me after all you have said and all we have experienced together? Elladan...why are you pushing me away like this? Why are you trying to hurt me?" the girl was on the brink of hysterics. For the first time in her life she had found someone who loved her and she loved back and she was facing rejection. After the loss of her family, she never expected to find another family or to fall in love, "our love can overcome this. We can survive being apart from one another."
"You may be able to Serondai, but I can not," Elladan said, stepping towards her.
"No Elladan, you can. We both can!" she said, tears streaming relentlessly down her cheeks. Elladan took her head in her hands and wiped the tears away with his thumbs.
"Save your tears my love. I do this because I love you, more than you can ever understand. I do not want you to waste any of your valuable years, remember you are mortal and I am not. Understand, I beg you."
She swatted his hands away, "of course I do not understand. You say you love me and yet you are causing my heart to feel so much hurt....how can you do this...I, I...I hate you! You are cruel and, and...."
"Shhh," Elladan hushed, as she fell willingly into his welcoming arms, "shhh. I am sorry. I am so sorry. We must part.....it is the only way."
He looked into her eyes, searching them for forgiveness. Titling her head up with his fingers, he leaned down until she could feel his warm breath on her cold skin. It seemed like an eternity before his lips brushed hers in a gentle, goodbye kiss. He lingered, before drawing back with his eyes closed remembering the sensation, keeping it locked within the very depths of his heart and soul. He was compelled to keep her in his arms forever, safe and secure, protected from harm, but he knew he must release her and he let his arms fall to his sides.
"Namarie hilde, breath in the night and remember me as I am," they were his final words to her before he walked away.
"I have finally learned what it is to be loved. Is this how it is to be then?! Heartache and misery from the very nightmares of my soul! My heart has been torn out of my chest and cast aside" Serondai screamed collapsing upon the grass and weeping unremittingly until her tears had dried after which she lay down in silence with her arms hugging herself, shivering from the bitter cold which seemed to have replaced the warm rays of the sun so quickly. Even when the rain began she did not move, instead allowing the icy drops to seep through her clothes to her skin, freezing her weary body, freezing her thoughts...freezing her heart and soul.
"Legolas," Helkakemen said in a hushed voice. Legolas did not stir. He was sat upon the ground with his head supported by his hands, gazing pensively into the night sky with an unreadable look in his eyes. He was wearing his green travelling tunic with leather strapped around his wrists and his bow was propped up against a nearby tree. Helkakemen sat beside him, wondering why he had left his precious bow unguarded; usually it was never out of his sight and the older elf tried to read his eyes for a sign of emotion, "you should rest Legolas. We have many days of travel ahead and I fear you shall not be prepared to counter attack our invaders when we arrive in Mirkwood."
Legolas looked at him, though Helkakemen felt transparent from the gaze he received, "you are right," Legolas sighed, lying backwards in the grass, under the cover of some low trees. He rolled over onto his side, but did not make any effort to sleep.
"Is something wrong Legolas?" Helkakemen asked, placing his friends bow beside him, "you seem more distant then when last we met. I am worried to say the least about your lack of participation in everyday conversation. You have barely said one word since we begun our travels."
"I am fine," Legolas answered, blankly staring at Helkakemen's dark green boots.
"You are also a fine liar young Prince." "I am merely tired and I miss my friends in Rivendell."
"I sense something more. Come Legolas, I have known you since you were first born and you have confided in me in everything. We have heard things in Mirkwood Legolas, about a young elf you are friends with...."
"What do you know about Serondai!?" Legolas snapped, sitting up sharply, "if you believe all the rumours you have heard then I no longer consider you to be a friend Helkakemen!"
"Legolas, I suggested nothing. I have simply heard say, that; perhaps, you have become quite taken with someone. Although, it seems that is indeed what has occurred. Who is this, Serondai, you speak of. She is an elf I have not heard of in Rivendell."
"She is not an elf," Legolas sighed again, wrapping his arms around his knees, "she is human and I miss her with all of my heart, mind and soul. All I wish to do is to return to Rivendell if it is only to see her and not to, well..."
"You realise what your father would say if ever he found out," it was more of a statement from Helkakemen rather than a question, offering no support or sympathy to the tormented golden elf. He was so glad to have the Prince coming back to Mirkwood that he did not wish to sway his decision into returning to Imladris even if it meant he was suffering. His family missed him to a great extent, as did his friends, and Mirkwood was not the same without his presence. It was lit up. It was gracious .It was alive. Helkakemen would not risk losing him again. The green wood needed him.
"Do you not think I have thought day and night about what the elves would think; about how much scandal I will bring upon my family, let alone the embarrassment I would cause Serondai? Do not lecture me on what people will say Helkakemen, for you have no idea how much I have 'realised' over the past four years. I have wept in my room for hours from the pain so do not talk to me about what my father will say for I DO-NOT-CARE!"
"You are being irrational Prince Legolas."
"DO NO PATRONISE ME!" Legolas screamed, causing the heads of the remaining escorting elves to turn in their direction, "I am not a child Helkakemen and I do not appreciate your condescending approach to me. You of all elves I expected to show some understanding."
"Did I not show the utmost consideration and sympathy when you found your own brother sharing his bed with Alistiel? Did I not show you all of the support I had to offer!?"
"So what is so different now that you can not do the same!?"
"Because, Legolas you are in love with a mortal! You will have no approval from your family young Prince, I assure you of that."
"I should have stayed in Rivendell!" Legolas growled, turning his back on him. He walked out into the trees.
"Where are you going!?" Helkakemen said, jogging after him, "you can not wander in the woods alone, it is dangerous even for such a fine archer as yourself!"
Legolas had already vanished into the gloom.