Title – Arms of Grace – Chapter 2 – Return to Rivendell

Author – Jules

Rating – PG -13

Summary – When Celebrian is taken by orcs while journeying though the Redhorn Pass, her sons vow to keep her safe and to avenge those who hurt her.

Disclaimer – They do… I don't. The lyrics are from Lifehouse's album No Name Face, the song is 'Everything'

Author's Notes – Again...angst and gore warning. You have been warned!

Return to Rivendell

Find me here, speak to me,

I want to feel you, I need to hear you,

You are the light that's leading me,

To the place where I can find peace again.

You are the strength, that keeps me walking,

You are the hope, that keeps me trusting.

You are the life to my soul,

You are my purpose,

You are everything.

Elladan's mind closed in on itself as his eyes took in the battered body before him. Numerous cuts and bruises adorned Celebrian's torso, her pale dress in tatters and the hair reminiscent of the Lady Galadriel's in a tangled blood soaked mess about her face. Salty tears snaked down the dark elf lord's face, mingling with the blood oozing from the large gash that his cheek had become. He frantically tore strips of his cloak and began binding the worst of his mother's injuries, stablising her broken ribs, splinting her fractured arm with his last arrow, praying the slender shaft would be strong enough for the task. Elrohir yanked at the ties of his own cloak, tearing the warm fabric from his body before carefully wrapping his mother in it. Elrohir carefully scooped the frail figure into his arms, forcing his mind to move past the moans of pain and began moving out of the cavern, waiting at the entrance for Elladan who was having difficulty moving on his own. The elder elf swayed as his balance wavered, forcing him to lean on the walls for support as they slowly made their way towards the entrance, Elladan's free hand staying on the hilt of his sword in case he were forced to defend himself again.

It seemed an age before the brightness of day yawed in front of them, each rasping breath from Celebrian seeming like a lifetime as her body struggled to keep functioning. Elrohir let out a low whistle as they finally stumbled out of the cave, and was rewarded with two sets of galloping hoofbeats. Both horses skittered to a halt in front of their masters, twitching their tails to keep the insects from landing on their own wounds the orcs had inflicted before the animals could escape. A velvety nose descended and delicately sniffed the still form in Elrohir's arms, whinnying softly as if to call the woman from her dreams. Elrohir looked around him and found a small cliff that would be perfect for mounting, with a quiet word to his mount he carefully picked his way forward, allowing his horse to stand below him while he mounted without disturbing his mother. A groan from behind him meant that Elladan had mounted also, and was slumped forward over his horses' neck, his wounds finally catching up with him.

" Elladan!" Elrohir called in alarm as he turned to see his brother in such a state. Elladan's head raised slightly as his name was spoken and he forced his voice to respond.

" Ride Elrohir! Ride like the wind! I will follow as best I can" He commanded, banishing any hesitations from his brother's mind with the tone of his voice. He knew he couldn't keep up with the speed required for Celebrian to reach Rivendell with any hope of living, and at the moment Elrohir was their only hope. He saw his twin about to protest, to make some remark about making it home together, but he cut off the reply with one of his own.

" Not this time Elrohir, if Mother is to have any chance, you must ride alone. Go!" he spoke forcefully, gritting his teeth against the pain speaking caused him. He would make it home on his own, somehow.

" I will come back for you brother" Elrohir answered softly as he nudged his mount forward, bearing his precious burden swiftly towards Rivendell.

The clatter of steel horseshoes on cobblestones awoke those who dwelt within the Last Homely House in the dead of night. Many could not sleep due to recent events and threw open the large wooden doors, hopeful that whoever was causing such a din would be the bearer of good tidings in this time of misfortune. Elrond was the first running down the staircase, his worry for his wife lending him almost unnatural speed as he flew towards the rapidly approaching horses. Asfaloth was panting heavily as he lead the guard, a contingent of seven horses in a protective formation, protecting something, or someone. The guards said little as the questions appeared on Elrond's face, worry and apprehension carving deep groves in the already creased skin. Slowly the guards and horses parted, revealing that which they protected. Elrohir sat wearily on his mount, cradling something swathed in his own cloak.  Elrond made his way over, carefully accepting the burden as Elrohir handed it to him. His heart caught in his throat as he saw what his youngest had recovered, and then heart plummeted as he realized only one of his sons had returned.

" Elladan?" he asked hesitatingly,  pausing to look Elrohir in the eyes. Why had only one of his sons returned?

" He is wounded Ada, We have sent a guard to find him and aid him home, I must go. Look after Naneth" He whispered, as if afraid that now he had released his mother she would cease to live.  With that Elrohir turned his weary horse once more and headed back across the bridge, Glorfindel riding beside him.

 Elrond made his way carefully up the stairs of his home and headed straight to the healing rooms, his wife as still as death under the cover of the cloak she wore. The healer worked for many hours, splinting bones, stitching gashes and applying soothing ointments. One thing still concerned him though, the wound at the base of Celebrian's neck still bled with a blackish tinge, no matter how often he flushed the wound. The orcs had poisoned her. Having done all he could presently for his wife he cleaned up and reclined in a nearby chair, wincing as his body sagged into the hard wood of the seat. His thoughts turned again to his eldest, still injured and alone in the woods.

Elladan's head swam as his horse picked its way towards Rivendell, the relaxing rhythm doing nothing to ease the blurry vision nor the anvils crashing inside the elf's skull. His mount knew he was injured, and so walked in a smooth gait, avoiding anything that would cause more pain to its rider. Time had ceased to become nothing but a blur of pain and nausea for the elder twin, his stomach was still churning even though he had lost what he had last eaten hours ago. How long his faithful mount had smoothly walked he did not know, until, despite all his horse had done, it stumbled, slipping on a moss covered rock and crashing onto its hocks, its front legs splayed out  in front to stop it from coming completely down. Elladan was thrown backward, completely unable to stop his fall and collided with the rocky path, the dull thump of his head connecting with the granite heard by all but his own ears as consciousness was robbed from him.

A frightened whinny echoed through the close valley, ricocheting off the clifftops and alerting Elrohir and Glorfindel that something was amiss. Asfaloth trumpeted his own reply, his flanks quivering as the loud whinny was issued.

"It must be Elladan" Elrohir muttered as his horse picked up its pace towards the origin of the first whinny. A short time later both riders were greeted with a sight neither wanted to witness. Elladan's pale mare was desperately nuzzling her master, trying to rouse him from his slumber even as her own hocks streamed blood down her lower legs. Glorfindel dismounted immediately and ran to the elder twin, gently pushing the mare aside as he examined the dark elf. The entire side of Elladan's face was a bleeding swollen mess, oozing already from what must be an infection. The dirty bleeding lump on his temple the reason he was unconscious. Elrohir joined the golden elf and peered with utmost concern at his brother.

" Elrohir, quickly see to your brother's horse, she cannot move far with hocks in that shape" Glorfindel ordered as he tried to rouse Elladan, but to no avail. Elrohir accepted the small medical kit from Glorfindel and quickly applied ointment and bandages to the mare's bleeding legs, allowing them to lead her home without fear of the wounds becoming infected or seizing with swelling. Glorfindel had already applied some ointment to Elladan's face but knew the elder twin's injuries were far beyond his meager healing knowledge. He mounted Asfaloth and indicated Elorhir to pass his brother up to the blonde elf. The dark elf was still unconscious, his pale skin almost translucent in the silver light of the waning moon. Seeing the Elorhir had mounted his own horse they headed swiftly back toward Rivendell.

More clattering hooves woke Elrond from the slumber he had unwittingly drifted into. A quick check of Celebrian told him she was still unconscious, and showed no sign of waking soon. He groaned as his muscles complained, stiff from being cramped in the wooden chair moved, sharp twinges making themselves known as he forced his leaden feet toward the door. He discerned three sets of hoofbeats as he neared the entrance hall, meaning that Elorhir and Glorfindel had indeed found Elladan, or at the very least his horse. The large wooden doors were again thrown open as the house guard rushed towards the newcomers.

" Bring the healers! Elladan is badly wounded" The blond elf commanded, easing the unconscious twin into a guards arms as he dismounted, glancing back to see Elrohir being aided off his own horse. Elves assigned to the stables appeared and lead the sweaty horses away to be cooled off and stabled, earning many a reward for their hard efforts.

Elrond leant against the solid wooden door for support as the house guard bore his eldest toward him, while others assisted Elrohir in his efforts to stagger up the stairs. He turned quickly and motioned for the guards to follow him again to the healing wing, indicating the beds in which to lay his sons as they entered the large room.

Elorhir slumped backward as he was eased onto the soft bed, his energy utterly spent hours ago but still having fought onwards, critically weakening his body to the point of collapse. Unconsciousness swiftly claimed the younger twin as his mind finally gave in to his body, allowing him to slowly recover his strength.

Elladan moaned and shifted as his body was carefully lowered onto the linen sheets, awareness flirting with his mind but never allowing him to fully awaken. Elrond peered closely at the oozing mess that had become the side of his sons face and palled at the pain his eldest would have been in. The white of cracked bone could be glimpsed in several places, and oozing fluid could be found in others, attesting to the infection that was rapidly setting in. Being as careful as possible the healer probed the bone for further fractures and breaks and was somewhat pleased that he only found one. Stiffly Elrond rose and prepared a poultice to draw out the infection and aid in the recover of the smashed tissue and applied it gently to his sons face, applying a little also to the hard swollen lump had had claimed his son from the waking world to begin with. Just as he was finishing, Elladan stirred again, this time almost becoming lucid as the pain of his injuries forced his mind awake. A sedative draught was quickly prepared and given to the groggy elf, forcing his body to relax and recover as his mind surrendered again to the darkness.

Finally leaving Elladan, Elrond moved to his youngest, quickly binding his son's leg wound and cleaning up his other cuts and bruises before returning to his vigil beside his wife. A comfortable chair had been brought in sometime while he was tending to his sons and he gratefully sank into it, sighing as his stiff muscles relaxed into the yielding fabric. He carefully took the pale hand of his wife's between his own and simply held the cool flesh, warming it with his own as he savoured the only bond he could share with her. He would fight for her, he would die for her, but now he could nothing but wait. It tortured his mind, gnawing away at his thoughts until weariness stole his thoughts from him completely.  He drifted, exhausting from days of worrying and hours of healing finally catching up with the elf lord and forcing his mind to rest.

How can I stand here with you, and not be moved by you?

Would you tell me how could it be, any better than this?

You calm the storms, you give me rest

You hold me in your hands, you won't let me fall.

You still my heart, and you take my breath away.

Won't you take me in? Take me deeper now.

Cause you're all I want, all I need,

You're everything,

Everything.

To Be Continued.