Christopher hummed slightly as he hurried over the grass of Lothlorien. He had found the Halfling easily enough, he had just walked over to the small group and asked - in Sindarin - where his sister had gone. The fatter Halfling had stared at him with an expression bordering on awe, and odd experience for Christopher, he was used to fond exasperated looks from Silmewen and Rumil and his brothers, not awe. He soon reached the Mallorn that housed his family's talan and in a few short seconds was in the room that Silmewen reserved for patience. It was there that he found Maggie. She was lying on her back talking to Aragorn, who was laughing at what she was saying.
"Maggie!" Christopher called, interrupting their talk.
"Christopher!" She tried to sit up, but was stopped by Aragorn's hand on her shoulder.
Aragorn stood to his feet after he was assured that Maggie would not try to get up. "Anessen," he greeted, bowing slightly. "I will take my leave." He quickly followed the path that Christopher had just taken.
After greeting his adopted mother, Christopher moved to take the seat that had been vacated.
"How are you feeling?" he asked anxiously.
"In pain," Maggie told him, "but it's not as bad as before. Silmewen says that I will be allowed to move about in four or five weeks."
"This is good news!" Christopher grinned. "Do you know who Nan-Silmewen is?"
Maggie gave him an odd look. "A healer…" she said slowly.
"Not just healer, she is my Nana, or Nanneth, as some call it." Silmewen glanced over at hearing her name amid the stream of Westron, but after a moment returned to her work.
Maggie appeared to be trying to see her eyebrows while attempting to place where she had heard the word 'nana' before. Christopher took pity on her.
"The Westron, err, English word is Mother."
"Ah!" Now she nodded.
"So," she began. "Everyone is accounted for, except for Mom. Any ideas where she might be?"
Christopher shook his head. "No, and neither does the Lady Galadriel, I have asked. I think that she may have fallen out of the," he paused, "the truck when we crashed, though I cannot be certain. A lot was going on then."
"Yeah," Maggie agreed. There was silence for a while, and then Christopher called Silmewen over.
"Nana! This is my sister, Maggie."
"It is wonderful to meet you, Maggie." Silmewen smiled at the Halfling.
Said Halfling blinked, and then looked at her brother for a translation.
"Nana speaks only Sindarin," he explained, and then translated. "She said: It is wonderful to meet you, Maggie."
"It is wonderful to meet you, as well," Maggie replied, and then she grabbed Silmewen's hand. "Thank you for taking care of 'Topher."
"She said: It is wonderful to meet you, as well." Christopher shifted a little uncomfortably. "And, Thank you for taking care of 'Topher." at the questioning look he elaborated. "'Topher is the shortened version of my Westron name."
Silmewen squeezed Maggie's hand. "It was my pleasure, he is a joy to raise."
After Christopher translated this, Silmewen seemed to notice that the topic of conversation was making him a bit uncomfortable, and so she changed the subject.
"Where is Melgildur?" She fixed Christopher with her best you-are-not-doing-what-you-are-supposed-to-young-elf Look.
"I left him with Maggie's friend Sarah and Boromir of Gondor."
Silmewen raised an eyebrow. Christopher winched. Unseen by either of the elves, Maggie scowled at the mention of Sarah's name.
"Sarah likes taking care of children, she earned money doing it Before."
Silmewen nodded sharply. "Please go collect him, he is your responsibility."
"Yes Nana." Christopher bowed slightly.
Maggie giggled. She may not have been able to understand the words, but the body language was clear enough. Christopher turned to her.
"I have to go find my brother." he told her.
"You have a brother?" Maggie asked, very interested in this piece of information.
"Yes, an elfling. He is three years of age."
"Well go get him, before Silmewen uses that spoon she's holding."
Laughing, Christopher swung down the ladder.
He arrived in the Fellowship's glade to find his brother animatedly telling Gimli the Dwarf about his favorite toy bow. A small circle comprised of Halflings and Men surrounded them while Gimli nodded and smiled, awkwardly patting the elfling's head. All looked up at the sound of Christopher's laugh.
"Anessen!" With a cry, Megildur sprang out of the Dwarf's lap and tumbled towards Christopher, seizing his hand and drawing him towards his new best friends.
After detaching his hand from the overeager elfling, Christopher gave a bow to the others before turning to Sarah.
"Thank you for taking such good care of Megildur Sarah. Would you care to come to my talan? Maggie is waiting there."
Sarah shifted, a small frown appearing on her face. "I'll be fine," she said shortly.
Now it was Christopher's turn to frown. This wasn't the first time that he had a hint that not all was right between the girls.
"Are you shure?" he asked anxiously.
The Man Boromir of Gondor came up behind her and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Is there a problem?" he asked almost challengingly.
Christopher tried once more to convince Sarah to come. "Nanna's there, and I want you to meet her. Ada should be coming in a moment, he just has to give a report to Lord Celeborn."
Sarah was beginning to waver when Boromir interrupted again. He was really starting to annoy Christopher.
"Sarah, a word?"
Sarah nodded, and they stepped out of hearing, or so they thought. Christopher could eavesdrop without even trying. It was pitifully easy.
"Sarah, these are perilous woods. I do not trust the Lady, nor the other elves, not after last night."
"My sister is an elf!"
There was a sigh.
"I know, still, if you must go, be careful. There is no knowing what may befall you."
"I'll be fine, Boromir. I trust Chris-Anessen I mean. He is long past his 'chase-all-cats-in-sight' stage. Or at least, I hope so. If he isn't, there is something dreadfully wrong. Boromir, it'll be okay. What could possibly go wrong? Besides, Aragorn trusts them."
That seemed to be the end of the discussion, and the two came back from the boulder. Christopher glared at Boromir as he walked behind Sarah. He did not take kindly to anyone insulting Lady Galadriel.
"I'll come with you," Sarah told him. "Just don't expect me to talk to Maggie."
Christopher gave her an odd look, but did not comment. There was definitely something going on between the two. Well, hopefully it would be resolved soon.
The two elves and girl set off across the green-sward to the slightly thicker part of the city. They soon came to the ladder. Megildur squirmed until Christopher put him down, and then he raced up the rungs. Christopher and Sarah followed at a slightly slower pace.
As they entered the flet, Maggie's delighted face quickly turned a bright tomato red.
"Err, S-Sarah," she stammered.
"Maggie." Sarah's voice was hard and unforgiving.
"Look, Sarah, I shouldn't have said that. I don't know why I did. I think it's the Ri - er - It. You know I'm not usually like this."
Sarah stared at her. "Sure," she said. "Blame it on the Ring." She snorted. "It's not the Imperious Curse. Wrong fandom."
"Sarah! I didn't mean it, truly. Please forgive me."
For a moment an internal struggle flashed across Sarah's face, before she nodded.
"I forgive you." With a few steps Sarah crossed the platform and very, very gently hugged Maggie.
"Thank you," Maggie whispered so quietly that even Christopher's ears barely caught it.
While the two girls talked quietly together, Christopher settled down with his back to a tree and cast his mind back to what Lord Celeborn had spoken about that morning.
(Christopher had not slept much that night, preferring to watch his sister sleep. Occasionally he spoke with Legolas, answering whatever questions the older elf had. Dawn had barely broken before Rumil had come for him, saying that Lord Celeborn would speak with him.
They quickly reached the great Mallorn, and with an encouraging nod Rumil left him at its base. Christopher climbed the ladder, passing through many small flets as he ascended the tree. When he came to the great hall it was to find Lord Celeborn waiting for him at the door.
"Welcome, Anessen Rumilion," Lord Celeborn greeted him. With a wave of his hand he invited Christopher to take a seat on a small chair by his great one.
Lord Celeborn looked at Christopher for a long moment, before nodding, seeming to come to a decision. "Lady Galadriel and I are in need of a messenger," he told Christopher.
"I am yours to command, my Lord," Christopher bowed as well as he could from a sitting position.
Lord Celeborn seemed pleased. "I had hoped that that would be your reply. You have come a long way from the scared and lost elfling that Captain Haldir found wandering about the Golden Wood. You are now a warrior." He reached over and gently lifted one of Christopher's braids before letting it fall.
"You are to take a message to Imladris, to Lord Elrond and Halbarad of the Dunedain."
Lord Celeborn waited for Christopher's nod, and then continued.
"You are to say: "Aragorn has need of his kindred. Let the Dunedain ride to him in Rohan!"
After repeating it several times to ensure that he would remember, Christopher asked the next question.
"When do I leave, my Lord?"
"Tomorrow, and go with all haste."
After a few more words, Christopher excused himself with a bow and left the tree. At the base he found Rumil with Megildur.
He had been handed his brother and his adar had left, going up to speak with Lord Celeborn. Christopher had immediately gone in search of his sister.)
Christopher sighed and got up, stretching his limbs. He came over to his mother.
"Nana, has Ada told you?"
Silmewen turned from her weaving to her son.
"Yes, he has. I do not like it, but no mother would. Take care of yourself, Anessen." Setting her shuttle to the side, she rose and went into the next room.
"Nostariel came by while you were gone with a gift from the Lady."
From a small bag propped in a corner Silmewen drew out a leaf-wrapped cake.
"Lembas!" Christopher exclaimed.
"Yes," his nana replied. "Enough to take you to Imladris and back. I have also packed dried fruit and a small amount of dried meat, and you can hunt, so that you will not have to survive on the Lady's gift alone, however generous it may be."
"Thank you Nana!" In a rare move, for Christopher at any rate (Haldir had been rubbing off), he reached over and hugged her. "I will miss you," he whispered.
"As will I. Come, let us go."
Christopher stood in the doorway to the talan in which Maggie lay, the pale light of dawn outlining his body. Maggie sat up propped up by pillows with Silmewen by her head.
"Novaer, Muinthel-nín. Farewell, my dear sister," he called softly, before turning and slowly descending the talen. Even before he reached the bottom he could here soft crying from the flet above.
Setting foot on the grass he turned to go, only to find his way blocked by Sarah.
"You'd better have a good reason for this," she told him, arms akimbo.
"Sarah," he began, but she interrupted him.
"No, tell me. Don't skip around the question.
"Lord Celeborn has sent me with a message for Lord Elrond in Imladris concerning Lord Aragorn."
Sarah looked puzzled for a second, and then relaxed. "Let me guess. You're supposed to say that Aragorn has need of his kin, and let the Dunedain ride from the North, or something to that affect?"
Christopher stared at her in open astonishment. She laughed.
"You forget that I read the book."
"Yes, book. I'll tell you when you come back. Christopher, once the Rangers assemble, come south with them. I should be with Aragorn at that point. Oh, and Christopher?"
"Could you find a way for a young elf maid by the name of Ithilwen to come with you?"
Christopher raised a single eyebrow in a very good imitation of Haldir.
"May I ask why?"
Sarah grinned. "You'll find out."
She stepped out of his path, and then into step with him as he headed for the gates. When they reached them, she stopped.
With a wave, both to Sarah and to Rumil, who he knew was watching, Christopher, called Anessen, disappeared into the trees.