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Butterfly-Cocoon

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen

by Rous

“Good morning, Elrénia.”

“Good morning, Lady,” she replied, bowing slightly. “Thank you for seeing me.”

“With all that has happened, it seems your purpose in seeking me out is overdue.” The Lady smiled, trying to set the girl at ease.

“It does seem that way. Things have…interfered. I am no longer sure which direction to turn.”

“What are your desires?” Galadriel watched Ela carefully.

“To return to my father’s house. To have the life I was meant to have. The one stolen from me.” Ela continued standing.

“Is that possible?”

“Well do you know it is not.” She paced about the room. “Things have taken place that change me. I am uncertain of the course that I have chosen. The headaches are unbearable.”

“And yet, you have not gone to Glordinel.”

“No. There is nothing he can do.” She stopped, looking at the Lady. “The nausea returns, also. Not from the injury, but the press of those around me.”

“Do you want it blocked, once again?” asked Galadriel, already knowing the answer.

“That is no answer. There is enough hiding yet to be, I would not have it start now.”

“You know what you will surrender. Are you willing?”

“Only reluctantly. Will you discuss what you learn?”

“Only if you ask me. Nothing will ever leave me, otherwise.”

Ela’s emotions fought, her desire for independence with the desire to end her suffering. She had lived with her hidden secrets for so long, she was confused in how to feel; should she be relieved another would know how she had suffered, or ashamed another would see the secrets she had kept from Elrond. She nodded and lay down on the small couch. Closing her eyes, she felt the Lady’s presence move towards her. Tensing up, she forced herself to relax. She welcomed the Lady into her mind, albeit grudgingly. Then she felt nothing.

Galadriel was met with the same swirl of chaos as the first time. She slowly pushed it aside until she found herself in a long corridor. Her footsteps echoed softly. Walking along the polished floor, she glanced at the doors that lined the hall. All were closed, of differing colours and most carried locks. It seemed she had walked for hours before the scenery changed. There, in the middle of the hall sat a small girl in a chair. Approaching the child, Galadriel bowed.

“Hello,” she said.

The child cocked her head, as Galadriel had seen Ela do many times.

“Does she know you are here?”

“Do you mean Ela?” The child nodded. “She asked me to come. Do you object?”

“I suppose not. If she said it is all right.”

“Do you have a name?”

“You may call me Cera. It is one of many. Do you think to unlock the doors?”

“If necessary.”

“I would caution you to use extreme care. Some of these doors will open the world to her. Others will destroy her. How will you
know the difference?”

“A guide would be most helpful. Do you know the difference?”

“Aye. Nevertheless, it will not be easy. Some doors that should be opened will be difficult to unlock. Others that should remain
closed, will spring open with only a touch.”

“What are the doors?” Galadriel glanced around at the many doors.

“They are the memories. Of her, and her parents. Even farther back, if it is important.”

“How is this possible?”

“It is in her parentage; the blending of different races. An aberration. Her elven father gave her the sensitivity to feel others and heal. Her Indrel mother gave her the gift to touch other species. Her great-grandmother gave her a gentle and caring spirit. Through her veins runs the blood of the races of Arda. The noble elves, the simple Hobbits, the young men, even does she carry the blood of Haran. All, save the Dwarfs. And there is yet another. One not known to us. A Maia. He gave her a gift that has not yet manifested itself. One you will not be able to suppress. A gift that has the potential to destroy her and hers.” Cera stared into Galadriel’s eyes. “Are you sure this is the correct path to
take?”

“No. However, it is her choice. Do you have another option?” Galadriel wondered at the ease and comfort she felt talking to this child. A child that seemed older that ever her venerable years. She could feel the press of centuries emanate from the small form before her.

“No. I would offer advice. Do not open any black doors. I cannot stop you, but it will be of little help if we three are dead.” This was said so matter-of-factly, it took Galadriel several breaths to grasp the implications.

“May I ask a personal question?”

“I am not real. Would you think me offended?”

“Who, or what, are you?”

“To you, I am who she was when her first world ended. I am the embodiment of all her happy memories from her childhood. I hold the keys to the doors before you. I control the memories of her ancestors. I know the thoughts of her mother’s people back generations. All that has been handed down from daughter to daughter since the time of the Wild King out of Harad. Histories have been written and forgotten since then. I am what keep the doors locked, until needed. However, things are not as they should be. Two incidents in her second world have shaken loose my control. I cannot now open the right doors.” The child’s mask slipped and concern filled her eyes. “Can you help her?”

“What must I do?”

“She will not be thankful for it, but you must seal the doors until I have had time to repair the damage. Then, when the time is right, I will be able to function.”

“That was not her desire.” Galadriel was hesitant.

“I am aware of that. Have you always known what is best for you? Sometimes we must rely on the wisdom of others.”

“How old are you?”

“If you think of me in terms of appearance, you will make grave errors. I am her, all her memories and experiences. But, this is the age she was most happy. Therefore, I am. Now, I will show you doors that must not be sealed. They are few. Come.”

Galadriel found herself following the small child. Cera stopped in front of several bright blue doors. She laid her hand against them, and motioned for Galadriel to do the same. There were four dark blue, almost black doors that she also indicated. The last were two white doors. Then Cera led her back up the corridor to the chair.

“What were the doors?” asked the Lady.

“The white doors are her everyday memories. The innocent happenings she needs to exist. The light blue ones are things she will need in the near future. Without these, she will not be able to make several life-affecting decisions. The dark blue doors are devastating incidences in her past that she must remember. Without the knowledge of these things, her life may be forfeit. They are her parents’ deaths, the attack in Imladris and the betrayal of her friend. Are you still sure you want to do this?”
“Will it help her, now?”

“It will. But you will suffer her withdrawal from you.”

“I am not thinking of me, I am thinking of her.”

“That is well. I am pleased. And she will return one day. Amidst great tragedy for her, but you will be the one to whom she turns. Another thing. It is a great burden for you to bear. You alone will know what is behind those doors. You must never divulge it. Not even to her. It may set in motion things not yet ready, and it will shatter her trust.”

“Very well. Shall we start? I am feeling weary.”

“Yes. Follow me.”

Cera once again lead the way. She stopped at the last door. Each placing a hand on the doors, Galadriel drew runes on the door that Cera had written out for her. They continued with each door, until they came to the first dark blue one Cera had indicated. Here Galadriel drew different runes. As she finished, the door dissolved and she could see into the small room beyond. Within an instant she had seen the death of Ela’s father. Part of it mirrored what she had seen in Imladris years ago. She watched as Ela awoke after the storm to find her mother gone, drowned in the sea; heard the frightened cries of the child, screaming for her parents; saw the days spent alone in a boat on the rough seas with no food and little water. She witnessed the finding of the girl by her grandsons, smiling as she watched the scene unfold just as they had described it. Shaken, she followed Cera to the next door.

They continued until reaching the second dark door. As before, when finished writing the runes, she could see into the room. She saw the man attack Ela, saw the thoughts in his head; felt Ela’s loathing as the man touched her. She watched Ela stab the man; feeling her reluctance to take a life, even to save her own. But worse of all, she saw what the girl had seen when looking at Caldelen. The smile of satisfaction. So, that was what she had hidden from Elrond all these years.

The third dark door was next. The scene here was the library the day Ela left Imladris. The brutal way Caldelen handled her shocked Galadriel. But once again, it was the thoughts that struck her. She was almost physically sick at what was in his mind. And Ela had seen all of this.

The final dark blue door showed the battle on the eastern marches. Galadriel watched Ela run out onto the battlefield without a
thought to her own safety. She only saw Del. Then the man attacked. She saw Ela strike the man, but also felt her great reluctance and loathing at the deliberate taking of a life. And the pain when the second man attacked with the words ‘demon-spawn’. Galadriel was confused by the man standing in the hall. She did not know the place, but the man held a familiarity. Shock compounded her confusion when she realized that Ela recognized who the man was. The Lady finally grasped how close both Ela and Del had come to dying on the field.

They moved on and came to the white doors. When viewed, Galadriel saw the little things that made up Ela’s daily life. Just simple things all took for granted. The happy memories of her childhood, the things she cherished about her life in Imladris and here in Lórien.

The lighter blue doors were different. Galadriel was not sure what she saw. Sometimes there were duplicates of the people in the room. One saw Ela standing at the wards, but overlapping it was her crossing the Misty Mountains, alone. Another saw her with a man, wedded, but again, an overlapping that showed her dying. One that startled the Lady showed a man holding a dying child. She did not need to look twice to recognize the man, nor was there an overlapping to this room. Weak now, she followed Cera back to the chair.

“The blue rooms, they were confusing.”

“Sometimes there is a choice made, but it requires another to make it come to pass. Those rooms with overlapping scenes show divergent paths. She makes a choice, but because of another, it fades and another path is taken. If there is no overlapping, then that is what will be.”

“Fifteen years ago, there was a path that showed many strange things. What was that?”

“It is one of the doors that will not open any time soon. It is a glimpse of what is to be. Very few living now will see it. It is the world that will be after the withdrawal of all lesser races, when men will be left to their own devices. That door is a legacy from her grand-sire. Once you know who he is, you will know it for the curse it is. NEVER open that door.”

Galadriel was now to the point she almost swooned.

“I must go. Will I speak with you again?”

“I would hope the need does not arise, however, I will always be here.”

“Goodbye, Cera.

“Goodbye, cousin,” she said softly, as Galadriel faded.



****



When Glordinel went to fetch Ela from the Lady, he found her serving the Lady tea. He bowed and looked closer at Ela. She seemed different.

“Lady, I trust all went well.”

“Not as expected, but it is well for now. Ela, did you not have something to ask my husband?”

“Yes. You will excuse me. Thank you, Lady, for your aid,” she said to Galdariel. “I will only be a moment,” she said to Glordinel.

The Lady turned to the healer when she was gone.

“I have suppressed certain things for now. You will notice she is more as she was before the trip to Imladris. She remembers
everything, but the headaches will be gone and the overwhelming emotions from others.

“Is this a good thing?”

“It is best for now. When she is ready, the bars will again fall. If you do notice anything unusual, you will inform me.”

“Yes, my Lady.”

“I am ready,” said Ela, coming back to the small room where Glordinel waited for her.

“Well, then, we shall go. There is much to do today. My apprentice has been very lax of late.” He smiled, taking her hand on his arm.



****



“You are very chipper this morning.” Ela turned from sorting herbs to see Elrohir in the doorway.

“I feel better,” she said, smiling.

“You must have rested well last night.”


“That is all I have been doing for over a week. I am going mad. I think I would like to go riding.”

“Are you sure that is wise?” Concern coloured his voice.

“Wise or not, I want to go. I have done nothing for almost two weeks now. Surely, a short, easy ride would do me some good.
Maybe just to the eastern marches.

“I do not think you should.”

“Then it is best for me if I do not ask you.” She turned and went to Glordinel’s study. She stopped at the door.

“You did not eat again today, did you? Maybe you need a wife. Someone who will remember all the things you tend to forget, like eating and getting out of bed at a decent hour.”

“What I need is an obedient apprentice who knows her place,” he said, gruffly.

“I am sorry. You are stuck with me. May I go riding? Only to the eastern marches and very easy.”

“I have many things here that need attending. I do not see how I can spare you.”

“I will fetch you lunch,” she said in a singsong voice.

“Oh, very well,” he returned, resignedly. “Your lack of activity is wearing on me, anyway. A nice, slow ride. And only to the marches.”

“Thank you. I will return with your lunch.”

“See?” she said to Elrohir. “It is not what, but whom, you know.”

“I know what your problem is. No one has ever told you no. What will happen when they do?”

“Lots of people have told me no. No, I cannot go to the marches. No, I cannot stay in Imladris. I even tried to wheedle permission to go to Mirkwood, but for some reason was told no.” She started down the road that led to the lane home.

“You outflanked the March Warden and was able to go to the marches. You know why you were sent here. And I cannot imagine why you wanted to go to Mirkwood.”

“Because it is not here. Funny. I used the line on Lord Celeborn once and it worked. I should have thought of it this time.”

“I want to hear you ask Orophin or Gariel to go riding. Or Haldir.”

“In the first place, Orophin and Gariel would tell me to ask Lord Glordinel. And why would I ask Haldir? He is not my father. It should not concern him what I do.”

“For the sake of argument, I would like to hear what he has to say.”

“Are you here just to cause trouble? I can find enough of that on my own. I do not need your help.”

“That is a certainty. Still, would it not be fun to ask him?”

“Fun? You have a bizarre sense of fun. The last time he had fun with me involved a tree house. And,” she said at the look on his face, “I was fifteen at the time. So, put whatever thoughts trying to sneak out of your mind back in.”

“What do you mean?” he asked innocently.

She shook her head at him. Reaching the house, she went inside, followed by him.

“Gariel, do you have lunch ready?”

“Yes,” she answered, looking up from the kitchen table. “Hello, Elrohir.”

“Is there extra?”

“Did he forget to eat again?”

“What will he do when I am gone? I will return to find he has wasted away in that study of his, and no one will have noticed.”

“Oh, I think someone would notice.” Gariel managed to hide the look of panic at Ela’s mention of leaving, but it did not escape
Elrohir’s gaze. So, it would not be as easy as Ela supposed to leave. Gariel would fight her.

“I will take lunch down to him, but only because he is allowing me to go riding today.”

“Is he? Are you ready?”

“Yes. I am so tired of doing nothing. Master Unimandil will still not allow me on the fields. So, I thought a short ride to see Orophin would do.”

“Yes, that will prove interesting. Go put your things away and eat your lunch. Will you stay, Elrohir?”

“Only if you insist.”

Ela left the room.

“What is so interesting on the eastern marches?” he asked.

“My brother-in-law, and not the younger one. He will not be happy to see her.”

“Then I shall be sure to ride along. I have not had enough entertainment since arriving.”

“What entertainment are you talking about?” asked Ela, coming back into the kitchen.

“Just the joy of being around you once again,” said, around his food.

“What are you up to?” She gave him a suspicious look.

“Can I not enjoy being around you?”

She flitted her hand at him.

“Have you asked your future husband to wed you yet?”

They both looked at Gariel as she choked on her sandwich.

“That is none of your business, big brother,” she said, looking back at Elrohir. “And if this was Ada’s idea, he will know when it is time. You know me better than that.”

“It is just that, at his age, do you think he will wait another twenty years?”

“I rather think his other prospects at this time are undesirable. He will have to go far a field to find one as biddable as me.”

Now it was Elrohir’s turn to choke.

“You! Biddable? I think you have mistaken yourself for someone else.”

“Well, if he will not, there are other places to find a husband. In addition, who says I need one anyway? I am only thirty. Arwen is almost three thousand. I have a few years yet. Yes, that may be the best thing. I will wait. That way I can become a warden. I can return to Imladris. I may even go and see the Hidden Havens.”

“Do not forget your suitor in the White Mountains. He seemed very interested.”

“He was. And, I can tell you it was not interest in me. Frankly, I repulsed him. He cringed to his very core the one time he touched me. No, it was not me he wanted. And I have no interest in playing a pawn in a power struggle between two men bent on ruling a people that will be dead within a couple hundred years.”

“You know that will happen?” he said, skeptically.

“It is likely.”

“How do you know?”

“I cannot tell you that. But I can tell you that I am finished eating and ready to go riding. I can just drop Lord Glordinel’s lunch off on the way. I will be back for supper, Gariel. I will clean up.” She gave the older woman a kiss on her forehead.

“You will be careful?” asked Gareil.

“It is only a short ride out and back. What could happen? I will not venture past the wards.” She picked up the basket with
Glordinel’s lunch packed inside. “Besides, I am looking forward to dinner. I have a grave matter to discuss with your brother-in-law, and not the younger one.” She smiled slyly.

Elrohir stared at her.

“Now, if you are coming with me, I suggest we leave. It would not do to disobey Lord Glordinel because we are tardy.”

She walked from the house, knowing he would follow her.

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Chapter name
Chapter Seventeen
Created
04 Mar 2005
Last Edited
04 Mar 2005
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