Chapter One – In The Beginning
Elrond stood on a path high above Imladris, looking down the valley through the trees. Far below he could see glimpses of the river, clear, smooth, sliding water, or in places white with foam as the water surged over rocks and rapids. Even here he could hear the roar of the waterfalls that tumbled the length of the valley.
He was deep in thought, thinking of Celebrían, his wife. He loved her, he knew that. He had never loved anyone more, not his parents, whom he had lost while still a young child, not even Elros, his twin brother, who had died a mortal death, so many years ago. She was his life. Since their marriage twenty years before he had never felt so happy. But just lately he had felt something was missing, had felt the need for something more. But what? With Celebrían he was complete. So what was it he lacked?
Elrond sighed. The beauty and tranquillity of Imladris could not provide an answer, any more than the silent stars could, nor the long, sleepless hours of night. Finally he stirred, feeling stiff, realising he had not moved for several hours. The sun had long since set, and beneath the trees all was darkness. Despite the darkness of his path, he moved unhesitatingly, with the familiarity of years. He was soon back in the torchlit courtyard, and from there entered his library from the wide windows.
A bright fire burned in the grate, and Celebrían was already there, in a deep sofa facing the flames, engrossed in a book, a tale of Lúthien, his great-grandmother, her great-aunt. He sat beside her, placing an arm around her shoulders, drawing her close. He kissed her lightly, and she nestled closer in contentment. He had noticed a certain restlessness lately, and it eased his heart to see her so relaxed.
"My love? I have been thinking," she murmured, destroying his ease.
"And what would that be?" he asked her.
"I love you. You know that. But –" she twisted in his arms, to look up into his face. "I long for a child. A daughter. Or a son. But a child of our own, of our love."
"A child." Suddenly, all his own vague longings were crystal clear. That was what he had missed, had felt the lack of. A child. "Yes. Oh, yes, of course! You are right, my love. But when? Tonight? Now?"
She giggled suddenly, sounding no older than an elfling. "Not so fast! I think –" she hesitated, counting. "I think next week would be perfect."
"Next week? So long?" Elrond sounded dismayed.
Celebrían clung to him suddenly, no longer an elfling, but a loving, experienced wife. "It gives us several days in which to practise," she whispered sultrily.
Elrond retained just enough presence of mind to shut the door to the library and draw the curtains before Celebrían pulled him down onto the rug placed before the hearth, and he lost himself in overwhelming sensations.
Now, several days later, Elrond drew his wife to him again, kissing her lightly. The memory of that ecstatic night still made his senses reel. There had been many other such nights since their marriage, but that one, in particular, was very special.
"My love? You are blushing" Celebrían's soft voice drew him out of his erotic memories.
"I am?" He paused, feeling the heat in his face. "Yes, I am," he admitted. "I was remembering that night. Those nights. I have never loved you so much."
"And which night," she murmured. "In particular," her breath was warm against his neck. "Did you mean?" her lips brushed against his.
"You know very well what I mean," he growled, pulling her closer. His hand dropped, resting flat against her abdomen. He extended his healing senses, feeling a faint stir of life there. "I mean that," he breathed, incredulously, awed at sensing the living confirmation of their love.
"You do? Then tell me what you feel."
"I feel … " he listened carefully, hearing the slightest murmur of song. "I feel … a son?" Elrond raised his eyes to hers, smiling broadly. "A son," he repeated in delight.
Celebrían shook her head. "Well - not exactly," she admitted, with an enigmatic smile.
Puzzled, Elrond placed both hands against his wife, concentrating. Alongside the faint song of life, there was something else – something different. Something he had never felt before. Something wrong? Please, Elbereth, let there not be anything wrong with this precious child! Anguished, he listened again. Gradually, he was able to discern what he sensed. No, not something wrong – but something different. There was an echo; not one song, but two!
He swallowed, not daring to believe what he had just heard. "Twins?" He had never, in all his dreams, hoped for this.
She smiled, an unbelievably sweet, joyous smile. "Aye. Twins. Two sons. Our sons. My love, I think our lives will never be the same again!"
"Twins." His voice shook with mingled joy and pain, as memories of what should have been a long-forgotten sorrow suddenly resurfaced with a vengeance. A desolate sadness more than three millennia old swept over him. "Twins." Ai, Elros, I wish you could share this with me! I remember your own joy at the birth of your first son. I remember how I envied you. I still miss you so much.
"Elrond?" His wife's soft, gentle voice drew him out of memory. She knew, as always, what he was feeling. "Do not be sad. He would be so happy. He would rejoice with you."
"I know he would." He focused again on what she had said. "Cel? Twins? Really? I never imagined that! Such wonderful news! I cannot wait to tell Glorfindel and Erestor!"
"No, wait!" Celebrían stopped him by placing a finger to his lips. "Let this be our secret. Tell them we will have a child, we cannot keep that hidden, but this other – it can be a surprise."
"And what of names?" Elrond was still excited.
Celebrían considered. "Names? We will keep to family tradition. Elrond, Elros – I am sure we can think of two suitable names."
"Yes, of course. El – Eldacar. Elladan. Eldarrn. Elemmkil. Elenion. Elrohir. Elerríne." He would have continued, had Celebrían not stopped him.
"Hush! We will decide together. Let us wait until these sons of ours are born." Almost inaudibly, she continued, "Elladan. Elrohir."
To be continued …
The idea of Elrond and Celebrían 'practising' comes from Nilmandra's 'History Lessons' – I pinched it!