Sie GlennHa: So It Goes
"Celeb Amaurea" (Silver Dawn)
"Sie Glenn-Ha" (So It Goes)The White Tree once again bloomed in the courtyard before the palace. Aragorn had walked with Gandalf, and came upon a young sapling not seven years old, hidden on the stony mountain side. So the old tree was uprooted, and laid to rest in Rath Dínen, and the new tree planted in its place. There was much rejoicing among the people.
Legolas stood before it, staring up at its silver leaves and white flowers, and wondered at it, remembering a thing that Mary had said to him, long ago on a stone wall while they waited for doom to fall upon them:
"Your many brothers(sworn) circle you, and (a) white tree flower(s) in front of (a) stone castle."
"Ah, Mary." He whispered to the air, gazing at the tree with a smile. "Le gar-lammen anwa, ananta le deli han-esse sui ceri-golodhrim " Ah, Mary. You have spoken truth, but yet you hide it as elf-folk do.
The day before Midsummer, messengers arrived announcing the arrival of a company of fair folk, and Aragorn seemed filled with much joy and bid the city prepare. The next day, on Midsummer's Eve, Mary did not wander the palace garden as was her habit, and Legolas wondered at it. Then a servant of the house came to him, and bid him array himself in his finest robes, as the Lady Mary said Aragorn wished. So Legolas left to his own chambers, though he was puzzled by the request.
Mary, meanwhile, in her own room, washed herself in a bath drawn by the serving maids. The water was warm and gentle on her skin, and scented with oils. Then she rose from the water and wrapped herself in a long white towel, and went to her bed where her clothes had been laid out. Taking the ice yellow dress she dropped the towel to the floor, and carefully slipped the velvet over her head. Drawing it down she slid her arms into the winged sleeves, and then she took up the gold and silver brocaded belt and set it around her hips. As she stepped to the mirror to do her hair she paused a moment, taking in her reflection, and her hand traveled to the silver and gold brocade of the v-neckline, and the brocaded bands on her upper arms. The sun filtered in through her window, and seemed to light the yellow dress on fire with a white light. Taking up her comb Mary ran it through her drying hair, then shook it, and combed it again, over and over again, until it was dry and as soft as silk. Letting her dark hair fall down her back she then set down the comb and picked up a circlet, given to her as a gift by an unknown person. It was twisted silver of a vine design, and its leaves were made of gold, dropping to a point in the middle of her forehead. This she set on her hair, and secured it. Turning this way and that she studied herself, and satisfied, she glanced out of her window. The sun was low in the sky. It was time.
Legolas waited before the gates of Minas Tirith, with Aragorn and Gandalf and Gimli, and the four hobbits, and Éomer, and his sister Éowyn with Faramir, now betrothed. Aragorn was dressed in all of his splendor, with his crown upon his head, and a black surcoat edged in gold, with the white tree and seven stars on his chest, and he waited with a look of patient joy and anticipation on his face. Legolas wore a white robe belted with a blue-grey embroidered belt, and over this he wore a shining blue robe with a high collar clasped with a silver butterfly, and on his head he wore a simple, silver circlet.
Looking around, Legolas wondered where Mary was, and felt the beginnings of agitation as the sun sank lower into the sky, casting the western expanse in a golden glow, and in the east the sky turned a deep blue and the first of the evening stars appeared. He could sense the coming of something important, and still she was not there.
Then he saw her, coming like a ray of light down the street to join them, the dark of her hair spread across her shoulders, almost black against the ice-yellow of her dress, and the circlet gleamed upon her head. No longer did she look like the strange woman they had met so long ago, dressed in her strange clothes. Strange she was still, but more like a princess of another world, crowned with a circlet that gleamed against her hair. Legolas smiled; he had hoped, when he had sent the servant to put the circlet in her room, that she would wear it for Aragorn's marriage to the Lady Arwen, if ever the elven maid came to Minas Tirith. That Mary wore it now made his heart glad, and yet he also wondered now about what was to happen that night.
A call from a silver horn announced the arrival of the company of elves, clear and ringing through the cool evening air. Among the company was Galadriel and Celeborn, and Elrohir and Elladan, Aragorn's adopted brothers, and last came Elrond and his daughter, Arwen.
"You were right." Legolas said to Mary. "There is great pleasure in this surprise."
The marriage of Aragorn and Arwen was filled with great joy and peace, and there was laughter and song and dance and music, and flowers were strewn at their feet, and garlands went before them, and there was a great feast. Mary sat with Legolas and Gimli and the four hobbits, and laughed with them, and sang with Gimli, and danced with the hobbits, and her feet were light and the hobbits' laughter contagious. Gimli held his metal-wrought tankard, his beard combed and braided, and his roaring laughter added to the sounds of celebration.
Noticing Legolas sitting quiet beside him, his eyes watching the dancing, Gimli looked out and saw Mary and the hobbits, with Gandalf towering over them all, dancing to some merry music. "The Lady Mary looks fair and bright tonight." Gimli surmised.
Gimli glanced sideways at his friend, seeing the slight smile. "It is a pretty coronet that she wears." He said, eyeing him with curiosity. "I have not seen it before." From the corner of his eye he saw his elf friend give the barest of movements, shifting slightly. "It shines beautifully against her dark hair." Legolas leaned to one side, resting his chin on his forefinger and thumb. "Most delicate and finely made, too." Gimli mused. "Made by a skilled craftsman. I wonder who it was that made it for her."
Legolas would not look at him, instead keeping his gaze firmly forward, and Gimli chuckled. "You have fine taste, lad."
"I don't know what you mean."
Gimli gave a huff. "I'm sure you don't."
There was silence.
"Does she know?"
"I thought not." Gimli took a long drink. "Yet it would appear she shares your sentiments."
Blue eyes snapped to his, then turned to gaze at the dancing maiden again. "I do not believe so." He whispered.
Gimli looked at him sharply. "What?" he exclaimed. "You do not see how she looks at you? Her eyes glow as bright as the moon, Legolas!"
The elf looked doubtful. "Mary is one to speak her mind," he said. "And she has said nothing."
"She speaks her mind of all else but herself." Gimli observed quietly. "You are an elf, and high above her in wisdom and in years. And to top it off you're a prince. No, I think she would keep silent, unless she could be sure of your feelings for her."
Legolas watched the spinning lady before him, her dark hair and yellow dress twirling about her, her cheeks flushed and eyes dancing with laughter. As the burn in his chest began yet again, Legolas pondered Gimli's words, and wondered if they could be true. Then her dark eyes suddenly turned to him and caught his gaze, and for a moment there was a flash of sorrow and longing in them, so great that a pang went through his heart. Then it was gone, and Legolas wondered if he had not imagined it.
The celebrations lasted for many days. On the last night Legolas saw a flash of yellow on the outskirts of the crowds, and he realized that it was Mary, making her way towards him through the shadows. She was very fair as she approached him, yet in her eyes there was wistfulness that stilled him.
"Veduí, Héri Mary." He said. Greetings, Lady Mary.
"Veduí, Haryon Legolas." Greetings, Prince Legolas.
"Manen nalyë?" he asked. How are you?
"Im maer." She replied. I'm well.
He gazed on her. "Sanda?" he whispered. Truly?
She laughed then at the familiar words they spoke, and dropped her head, and her laughter died. For a moment she did not answer, but then she raised her face, and smiled. "Sanda." She said; but the smile did not reach her eyes. Truly.
"Baw, le ú." No, you (are) not.
She sighed, and her look was fond. "Mana ceri-im ceri-as le?" she asked. What do I do with you?
In unison they turned, and began to walk together around the edge of the courtyard, their feet stepping together. "What will you do now?" Mary asked.
"I shall go first with Gimli to see the Glittering Caves, as I promised," Legolas said. "And then to Fangorn Forest to wander a bit and speak with the trees. After that–" he glanced up at the starlit sky. "I shall ask my Elven-lord to permit me and a group of my kinsmen to come here and live a while, to make it a place of bird song and growing things."
"That will be lovely indeed." Mary said quietly, as though to herself. Then: "What is Valinor, Legolas? Is it a place where only the elves can go, or is it where all souls go, by sea or by death?"
Legolas looked sharply at her, yet nothing in her countenance was downcast or shadowed to give him alarm, merely curious. "You ask me many strange questions, Lady." He said in bemusement.
"What?" she looked up at him. "I have only asked you the one strange question tonight."
"I am thinking of all you have asked me on our long journey together." Legolas said with a smile. "And that adds up to many."
Her mouth pulled to the side in a wry smile, conceding his point.
"Valinor is the home of the Valar, and of the elves– those who journey across the sea." Legolas said, frowning a little as he attempted to explain. "Only elves are allowed to cross, unless the Valar grant access to a particular mortal. Within Valinor is Mandos, the Halls of Waiting, where the souls of all those who die– elf and man alike– go to await their final fate."
"So no mortal man may enter Valinor, by sea or by death." Mary said quietly. "Unless given permission."
Legolas glanced at her. "I do not know what fate the souls of men await in Mandos," he said gently. "Why do you ask these questions?"
For a moment she did not answer, her lips pursed as she thought of how to explain. "Eight there are here," she finally said. "And one that waits, and another who would join them together. But the horizon is clouded, and though that one strains to see, they cannot, for sight has been taken from them, and they can only hear now. But there is nothing but silence."
Legolas shook his head slightly. "You have the gift of weaving your words with mystery."
She smiled a little. "Isn't that what life is to all of us? A mystery? We can see clearly the road behind us, for we have walked it, but the road ahead is still strange and unknown."
"Yet a light now shines to show us the way." Legolas said. "As you told me all along it would, though I did not fully understand then."
"You understood enough to hope." Mary said quietly. "That was all that mattered."
They were silent, then, for a little while, until they reached the edge of the courtyard and the wall, and looked down upon the city and out across the plains.
"What of you?" Legolas asked. "Where now will you go? Or will you stay?"
Mary leaned against the wall with her arms, her hands clasped together in front of her, and the cool wind blew her dress, and carried her hair against her face. "I would love to stay." She whispered, and her eyes were distant. "Yes, I would have loved to stay." Then she turned her eyes to his, and they were black and bottomless, and the stars reflected in them. "Take in the beauty of the caves, Legolas, and all that the mountain has to offer, and listen well to the trees of Fangorn, and rest in their shade for as long as you wish." She said. "Promise me this."
Legolas stared at her. "I promise."
"And… think on me when you do?"
The slightest frown drew his brow, yet he agreed. "I shall."
She nodded, seeming satisfied, and her eyes took on all the luminosity of the moon, and Legolas suddenly understood what Gimli had said before. Then a great horn blew long and deep, signaling the end to the night's festivities, and the end of the celebrations. Mary and Legolas glanced behind, and then at each other. Mary smiled softly at him, and for a moment her hand strayed close to his upon the wall, without touching. "Lissi n-lí lór." She whispered. "Namárië, nin ernil." Sweet be your dreams. Farewell, my prince.
Then she was gone, a spark disappearing into the darkness of the night.Aragorn sat by the fountain with his queen, Arwen, and as they spoke quietly with one another Legolas approached them. Bowing slightly he greeted them, and they him, and then he looked Aragorn in the eye. "Lord Aragorn, I would ask a question of you."
"When my travels with Gimli are done, and we have gone to the Glittering Caves and to Fangorn Forest, I will visit my homeland for a time." Legolas said. "But then after I would beg leave to return to Gondor with my kinsmen and dwell here."
"Your wish is gladly granted." Aragorn said, his grey eyes joyful. "You may have Ithilien as your home, if that please you."
"It does. I would also ask that the lady Mary be given a home, either here in the palace, or with my kin in Ithilien."
Aragorn regarded him thoughtfully. "I have given much thought to that," he said. "And mean to speak with her in these next few days." He was silent a moment, hand on his chin. "If I know her mind even a little, I believe she would wish to live in Ithilien." He finally said. At Legolas' look he answered: "She has grown close to you, closer than to anyone else."
Legolas tipped his head in acknowledgement of Aragorn's assessment. "Shall I extend the invitation to her, then?"
Aragorn nodded. "With my blessings."
As Legolas left, he passed by Frodo, who walked toward the courtyard and the fountain where Aragorn and Arwen sat. "Mae govannen, Frodo." Legolas said. Well met, Frodo.
"Mae govannen, Legolas." Frodo said, pausing to look up at the elf, his eyes squinting in the sunlight. "Where are you off to?"
"I go to speak with the Lady Mary." Legolas said.
"Oh." Frodo glanced back. "I think I saw her going to her rooms after we spoke at breakfast. She said she had to finish packing."
As Frodo smiled up at him and then continued on his way to Aragorn, Legolas looked after him, his brows drawn slightly together. Why would she be packing? Turning, Legolas left the courtyard and entered the palace, finding his way through the halls and up some stairs to the women's wing. The women there stared at him, some curious, others surprised. Finding the door to Mary's room Legolas knocked upon the wood, and as the door pushed open at the touch he paused. "Mary?" he called, and waited a moment. The room remained silent. With a feeling of dread Legolas cautiously pushed the door open and entered, looking around at the darkened interior. Some sunlight filtered in through the window, but the rest of the room was cast in shadow; and it was empty. The yellow velvet dress lay upon the bed, but her boots, cloak, sword, and the circlet of leaves were gone.
His heart sinking, Legolas turned and hurried down to the great hall, where he found Gimli and Gandalf with the hobbits– minus Frodo. They all looked up as he strode toward them, his uneasy air felt by all. "Where is Mary?" he asked.
His companions glanced at one another. "She is not in her rooms?" Gimli asked gruffly in surprise.
"No." Legolas answered. "She is not."
Merry looked worried, and Sam puzzled, but Pippin, his face downcast for only a moment, brightened and said, "Perhaps she is in the garden."
Legolas gave a barely discernable shake of his head. "Her things are gone." He looked at Gandalf. "Her sword, her cloak, everything."
Gandalf, his face unsmiling, stood. "Check the stables." He muttered, and left, with Legolas and Gimli close behind. The three hobbits looked at one another, then jumped up and ran after.
The stall where Ædelstan had resided was empty, its gate open. Bushy brows pulled together, and Gandalf strode through the stables until he found the stable master. "You," he said, advancing on the startled man. "Has anyone left this day? Did a lady come down this morning?"
"Yes, m'lord." The stable master confirmed, nodding and looking around nervously at the penetrating gazes of a wizard, an elf, and a dwarf bearing down on him. The three hobbits stood behind, listening. "As a matter a'fact, the prophetess came down not long after breakfast, all in her grey with her sword belted on her waist, and her cloak and a pack in her arms, and a bundle which she carried most gently, and she 'ad me saddle up her 'orse. Ædelstan, his name was, I think. So I did."
"Which direction did she go?" Legolas demanded, even as the wizard's mouth opened to ask his own questions.
"To the north, I believe, Master Elf." The stable master answered. "She was going to follow the Anduin."
Legolas hissed, his eyes narrowed and sharp in his frustration. The stable master stepped back with wide eyes, having never before seen an angered elf, and he wondered that any creature could look so fierce. "Why would she leave?" Legolas asked, turning his narrowed eyes on Gandalf and Gimli. "It is not like her."
Gandalf nodded, and his gaze was steady. "Go," he said to the elf. His voice was earnest. "I feel that she is running from something, something that haunts her." He lowered his voice even more, and stepped closer. "I have sensed something amiss since before the Midsummer," he whispered. "And it is not the death of Théoden that troubles her." He said as Legolas made to suggest just that.
Gimli looked up at his friend, and put a hand on his arm. "Go after her, lad."
"What's going on?" Sam asked, pushing forward, his round face earnest.
Legolas turned and strode through the stables. Pippin and Merry looked after him in confusion. "Wait!" Pippin called, and he and his cousin ran after, with Sam behind. Gandalf and Gimli followed.
"Where has Mary got to?" Merry asked, his hobbit eyes keen as Legolas opened the door to Arod's stall.
The elven prince swung himself onto the white horse's bare back, and looked down at them. "Tell Aragorn for me." He said. Then he bumped Arod's sides, holding onto his mane. "Arod! Nor-róvan!" he said, and the horse neighed and dove forward, bursting from the stall and pounding through the stables and out into the sunlight. Within moments elf and horse were gone. Arod! Ride hard!
Pippin jogged a few steps ahead, staring, and he raised his hands. "Tell Aragorn what?" he called.
The other two hobbits stared.
"You know," Merry announced. "If ever there were two folks who liked each other and didn't know, it'd be them two.Mary sat astride Ædelstan's broad back, her cloak draped behind her, a pack of food and a bedroll secured to the back of the saddle, and a small bundle– carefully wrapped– hanging from a small bag beside her leg and her sword. Dressed once more in her white underdress and split grey surcoat and boots, she had pulled her hair back with a leather tie and rolled up her sleeves, the sun growing warm on her right side as it shone across the river. Dark strands of hair had escaped, and hung about her face.
For a while she said nothing, lost in the storm of emotions that had raged within her when she had ridden through the gate of Minas Tirith. She had said her goodbyes, in a way, at breakfast, though she didn't think that anyone realized it. They would once she was gone. Legolas, most of all. Mary had not wanted them to know she was saying goodbye, however; they would have begged her to stay, and she was not sure she would have been able to resist.
Soon, however, the silence grew too lonesome, and so Mary started talking. Ædelstan's ears pricked and turned towards her, listening as she described for him some of the things she missed from her world, and some of the things she didn't. "I think the thing I miss the most," she said. "Are the showers. You would not believe the strange looks I received in the palace when people saw me, every morning, going to the washhouse to bathe. But I couldn't help it, you know? I mean, when you're traveling it's one thing. You can't help not washing all the time; you don't have the resources. But in the palace…"
How long they rode that way, with her talking continuously and Ædelstan listening, she did not know. Eventually her voice quieted, and she looked to her right to watch the river flowing away, going south towards the sea. In a quiet voice, that grew louder with each verse– to fill the silence that surrounded her– she began to sing. Her thoughts were on the reason she had left, and on a certain elf.
"In every heart there is a room,
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past,
Until a new one comes along.
I spoke to you in cautious tones;
You answered me with no pretense.
And still I feel I said too much,
My silence is my self defense.
And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns;
And so it goes, and so it goes,
And so will you soon I suppose."
Ædelstan turned his head, and whickered. Far behind she heard the sounds of a horse give a crying neigh, and Ædelstan snorted, tossing his head.
"But if my silence made you leave,
Then that would be my worst mistake.
So I will share this room with you,
And you can have this heart to break.
And this is why my eyes are closed,
It's just as well for all I've seen.
And so it goes, and so it goes,
And you're the only one who knows.
So I would choose to be with you–
That's if the choice were mine to make.
But you can make decisions too,
And you can have this heart to break."
Her voice dropped, and she sang it almost in a whisper to herself, even as the sound of thundering hooves drew near and behind her.
"And so it goes, and so it goes…
And you're the only one who knows."
Her chest clenched within her, and her heart leapt into her throat. "Legolas."
"Why did you leave?" he asked, slowing Arod's mad run to walk beside Ædelstan.
She would not look at him. "It was time."
Legolas did not answer, but she could feel his eyes as he glanced at her disbelievingly. "Aragorn has made you an offer."
"He wishes to offer you a home in Gondor." Legolas continued. "And when the elves come to live in Ithilien, to join them." He paused for a moment. "I, too, wish it."
Mary bit her lip, so hard it almost bled. "No." she finally said.
Legolas frowned at her. "It is not often that a king is so gracious to a stranger, to allow such a one to live in his land."
Mary's eyes widened, and she jerked on the reins, abruptly pulling Ædelstan to a halt and turning him to face Legolas. "What is that supposed to mean?" she demanded, her brows pulled together. "'To allow such a one–' Do you believe me unworthy? Is that it?"
"I did not say that." Legolas said as the horses danced in consternation beneath them.
"You said that he wishes it, that you wish it. What about what I wish?"
Legolas' eyes narrowed, and some emotion she could not read flickered through his eyes. "To refuse the wishes of a king and a prince is to insult their grace!"
Mary stared at him, her mouth open, and in the next moment her temper flared. "You selfish, uncaring, pointy-eared princeling!" she hissed, her eyes flaring with fire. Legolas pulled back sharply, straightening. "Just because you are royalty, you think you can control people however you want to? That you can tell them where to go and what to do as it pleases you? How dare you! I am not of this world, and therefore not under your command! I answer to Aragorn as my respect for him allows, but it is by my choice, and I most certainly don't have to answer to you!" Ædelstan tossed his head and snorted impatiently, circling Arod. "Who do you think you are?" she demanded. "What makes you think I want to live in Ithilien with you? I would have to see you every day, knowing I could never have you! What makes you think–"
She never had a chance to finish the sentence. With her unwitting confession Legolas' eyes had widened, and then, knowing that words alone were not enough for her, he had struck out with one hand to catch her head and pull her close.
Mary's eyes grew large, his mouth crushing hers with warmth and meaning and desperation, saying what he could not.