Chapter XXX: Valinor
Lyla crossed her arms and looked down at the small pile of packs that rested against the bed frame. It was hard to believe that their whole life in Rivendell could be summed up inside a few packs. She turned as she heard the front door open, and she smiled as Glorfindel entered the room. He had a pack slung across his shoulder and another in his hand. He set them with the others, and put his arms around Lyla.
"Hello, my love," he said. "Are you finished packing?"
She nodded. "Yes. Are you?"
"Yes. I finished packing my study today."
Lyla moved from his arms and went to the balcony door. "It is going to be nearly impossible to say goodbye to Rivendell tomorrow."
He came and stood beside her. "I know. But Valinor will be beautiful, even more beautiful than Rivendell."
Lyla didn't reply. She was still a little worried about not being permitted to enter the Undying Lands. She sighed as she felt Glorfindel's hand slide down her arm and take her hand. "Are you still worried about being turned away?" he asked.
He turned her face toward him. "Do not be."
She pulled away. "Have you seen Meredith today?"
He sighed. "Yes. I saw her earlier. She told me that she and Gilorn are nearly packed."
"I have been thinking about her and us the entire time I have been packing. Everything I packed seemed to bring a memory with it."
He smiled. "I have been thinking about our life as well. Everything in my office held a memory also. My books, my papers," he ran his hand through her hair and gave her a devilish smile, "the desk."
She laughed. "Ah, yes. The desk. It does have a lot of fond memories. It is a good thing your study door locks."
He leaned down and kissed her. "Indeed."
She smiled and sat on the edge of the bed. "It will be good to see Caleniel and Elhael again. I have missed them."
He sat beside her. "As have I," he said and kissed her again.
She lightly pulled away. "I truly hope I can enter Valinor."
"You will. I promise you with all my heart. Now, stop worrying." He took her mouth once again.
She broke away from him. "I cannot."
He gave her a frustrated look. "You have to, or you are going to go mad. And so am I." He gave her a light push and she fell back on the bed. He kissed her lips for a moment before moving to her neck.
"But what if I am forbidden entrance?"
Glorfindel growled and sat up. "I give up. I have been trying to convince you for weeks that you will be able to enter Valinor, but it has been to no avail. And tonight I have been trying to distract you from your thoughts, but it appears that I am not enough of a distraction for you. If you are determined to continue this dark thinking, then continue. I will not try to stop you any longer."
Lyla winced. She looked at her husband's profile and frowned. His face was a mixture of anger, hurt, and sadness. She moved beside him and touched his face. "I am sorry." He ignored her. She slowly rubbed his back and kissed the tip of his ear. "Forgive me?" He crossed his arms and shook his head. She stifled a laugh. It was his turn to be impossible. "What can I do to make you forgive me, my dear Lord Glorfindel?" She blew in his ear, and he growled at her and moved slightly away. She laughed softly. "It appears I am going to have to take aggressive measures to earn your forgiveness."
She leapt on top of him and pushed him back onto the bed. She kissed him hard on the mouth and sighed as she felt his arms tighten around her waist. She drew back and smiled at him. "Have I earned your forgiveness yet, darling?"
He shook his head. "You have slightly begun, but you have far to go before you completely earn my forgiveness."
"I see," she said and slowly began undoing the ties on his shirt. She smiled. His eyes were dark with passion. She ran her hand across his muscular chest and he groaned. She gave him a wicked grin. "As you know, my lord, I will stop at nothing to earn your forgiveness."
He smiled. "I know."
She leaned down and kissed him. Several hours later, Lyla lay in Glorfindel's strong arms, her worries about Valinor far from her mind.
The next morning, Lyla and Glorfindel gathered their possessions and joined the small group of Elves that were heading for Valinor. Meredith and Gilorn walked with them.
"Just think, Mother," Meredith said in English. "It will not be long before we are on the ship and on our way to Valinor."
Lyla smiled faintly. "Have I ever told you that I don't like boats?"
Meredith seemed surprised. "I thought you liked the water."
"So did I," Glorfindel chimed in.
Lyla smiled when Glorfindel spoke. She loved it when he spoke English. His accent made the words so melodic: it was a lovely thing to hear. "I do like the water. I just don't like boats." She glanced at Gilorn. His brow was furrowed in concentration, and she knew he was having difficulty understanding her. Elhael had attempted to teach Gilorn English and some other languages; however he never really took to them. She smiled at him.
"When I was young," she said, switching to Sindarin, "my father took me for a ride in a friend's boat that he had borrowed. However, my father's friend neglected to inform him that the boat had the tendency to break down repeatedly without warning."
"Break down?" Glorfindel asked. "I do not understand."
"This was not a ship with sails, but rather, it was a boat that was propelled by a type of power. It is similar to the automobiles of my world that I told you about." Glorfindel nodded and she continued, "When we were out on the water, the boat broke down, and it stopped so suddenly that I was thrown overboard. I was terrified, and I thought I was going to die. I was only in the water for seconds before my father saved me, but to me it seemed like an eternity. Now, whenever I get on a boat, I feel that same fear that I felt when I fell overboard." She gave them a wry smile. "Not to mention, I have terrible seasickness."
Glorfindel took her hand. "Nothing like that will happen, and even if it did, you would have a host of Elves coming to your rescue."
Meredith and Gilorn nodded, and Lyla laughed. "My heroes. What would I do without all of you?" she asked.
Glorfindel put his arm around her waist. "What would we do without you?"
Lyla stopped walking and put her arms around all three of them. "I love all three of you so much." They all smiled and remained in the embrace for a moment. Gilorn was the first to break free. "I do believe we are being left behind," he said, pointing to the company of Elves in the distance.
Lyla laughed. "We had better hurry. I would hate for us to be left behind because you three had to listen to the ramblings of an overly emotional woman."
They grinned and ran to catch up with the party of Elves. Lyla frowned. Meredith was right. It would not be long until they were on their way to Valinor. Soon Middle-earth would be nothing but a memory. Soon their fate would be decided. Soon everything would change.
The Grey Havens was beautiful: exquisite marble buildings, lush trees, and a sea so blue it rivaled the sky. A boat unlike any Lyla had ever seen was docked at the harbor. It was crafted of fine wood that was so white it was nearly blinding. Elven script and symbols were carved into the wood, and white silken sails swayed gently in the warm breeze.
As they boarded the ship, a familiar fear begin to curl in Lyla's belly, but the gentle squeeze of her hand by her husband and the encouraging smiles from her daughter and son-in-law helped her to suppress her fear. They moved to the railing and as Lyla placed her hands on its smooth surface, her mouth curved into a small smile. She could feel her father in the air around her. She could still hear his words from that day: "I'll never let anything happen to you, Princess." And he never had.
She sighed contentedly as Glorfindel put his arms around her. Everything was going to be all right.
Lyla clutched the deck railing and heaved the remainder of what was in her stomach into the sea. She had been suffering from seasickness for days. She also hadn't eaten for days, and she wondered how she could have anything left in her stomach to lose. She sat down and rested her head back against the rail. Closing her eyes, she tried to stop trembling.
The night breeze gently caressed her face and she sighed. She had not left the deck in what seemed like forever. She had tried to go below once, but she found that she felt even more ill below deck than she did above. Therefore, she had remained above deck. Glorfindel had remained above deck with her and had been trying his best to make her feel better; but seeing how that was impossible, she had told him to go below deck and to try to get some rest. He was below deck now involved in some meeting with Elrond and Erestor. Meredith and Gilorn had retired some time ago as well, so Lyla was alone on the deck. Or so she thought.
She opened her eyes as she heard someone gently clear their throat. Looking up, she saw Frodo staring down at her, compassion in his eyes. "How are you feeling?" he asked.
"Wonderful. Makes me wonder why I did not take a long sea trip sooner," she said.
Smiling, he sat beside her and handed her a small, brown root. "This should help ease the seasickness." Seeing her confused glance, he laughed softly. "Chew it."
Lyla bit off a piece of the root and chewed it. It tasted absolutely terrible—like a mixture of rotten fruit and dirt—but it did seem to ease her seasickness. "It is delicious," she said, her tone sardonic.
"I never said it would taste good."
"And it does not, but it is easing my seasickness."
He smiled and leaned back. Lyla studied him. Even though his mood was light, she could sense the heavy burden that weighed upon his soul. She knew thoughts of the ring and of what he had endured still plagued him, and she knew that they would always do so. Closing her eyes, she thought of the war. It had been horrible and it had taken its toll on everyone, Frodo most of all.
Lyla remembered how much the war had terrified her, especially when Glorfindel had ridden out of Rivendell to search for Frodo and to bring him to Imladris. She had paced the entire time. When he had returned with the young Hobbit, Lyla was so happy that he had returned safely, but she was so worried for Frodo, for he had been gravely injured. With the aid of Elrond's healing abilities, Frodo had recovered, although his wound would never fully heal. She remembered the first time she had met the young Ringbearer…
Lyla walked through the gardens and paused before her favorite statue. She loved to look at it, for to her it was the symbol of her love with Glorfindel. Hearing footsteps approaching, she turned and her eyes widened slightly as she met Frodo's gaze. His eyes darted between her and the statue, as if unsure of what to think about either one of them. Lyla smiled.
"I see we have similar taste in art," she said.
"It is beautiful. I have never seen a piece that is so lifelike."
"It is my favorite. It holds special meaning for me. I am Lyla."
"I am Frodo."
"I believe you have already met my husband as well." He frowned in confusion and she smiled. "Lord Glorfindel."
He seemed surprised and studied her for a moment. "You are human?" he asked.
She grinned. "Yes." She pushed her hair behind her ears. "Is it not obvious?" she asked, gently teasing him.
A faint smile crossed his lips. "Yes… and no. You look human, but you do not seem human. How long have you been married?"
"Almost three thousand years."
He stared at her, his eyes filled with disbelief. "But you… you would have to be…how?"
She sat down on the bench and smiled at him. "That, Frodo, is a very long story. Perhaps someday, if you wish, I will tell it to you."
Lyla started slightly as Frodo's voice met her ears. "I believe you promised to tell me a story, Lyla. And I believe now we have enough time," he said.
She smiled at him. "You must be a seer, Frodo, for I was just remembering that very thing." She studied his profile. He looked tired and drawn. "Are you certain you want to hear this, Frodo? As I said before, it is a very long story. Perhaps you would rather rest instead?"
He looked at her, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "You are not the only one who suffers from seasickness. The root can do only so much, and I have no desire to leave this deck. Sleep is something that is escaping me at the present, just as it is you."
She laughed softly. "Well, I see we have a long night ahead of us. My story begins in a land a very long way from Middle-earth…"
Several days later, the white shores of Valinor appeared on the horizon. Lyla resisted the urge to jump up and down like a child. Even though she was afraid of being refused admittance to the Elven paradise, the thought of getting off the boat was more prominent in her mind. She glanced at Frodo, and he gave her an understanding smile. Lyla knew what was going through his mind, for it was going through hers as well. At last! Dry land and the end of seasickness!
Glorfindel squeezed her hand and she looked up at him. "There it is, my love," he said, giving her a small kiss. "There is our home."
"I hope Caleniel and Elhael are at the dock. I want to see them so badly."
"As do I."
As the ship docked, Lyla looked down at the myriad of faces that waited on the shore. Elrond was the first one off the ship. He had eyes for only one person in the crowd, and when he reached Celebrian, he swept her into his arms and kissed her. Lyla and Glorfindel grinned. It was wonderful to see the two of them reunited. Meredith and Gilorn ran up beside Lyla.
"There they are," Meredith said, pointing at two very familiar people in the crowd. Lyla smiled. Caleniel and Elhael were frantically waving at them. The four of them left the ship and headed for Caleniel and Elhael. Meredith and Gilorn reached them first and were instantly drawn into tight embraces. Lyla and Glorfindel stood a ways back and grinned. Caleniel released Gilorn after a moment and hugged Lyla.
"Oh, Lyla. We thought you four would never get here. We have missed you terribly."
"And we have missed you."
Caleniel released her and hugged Glorfindel. Lyla made her way over to Elhael. She gave him a wicked smile.
"I did not know that trolls were allowed in Valinor, Elhael," she said.
He grinned. "And I did not know that orcs were permitted entrance either, but since you are here, I see that they are."
They laughed and embraced. "I have missed you so much, my friend," Lyla said.
"And I you, Lyla."
After a moment, they drew back from each other, big smiles on their faces. Lyla looked around the harbor and felt her fears ease. No one had refused her entrance. No one had told her she must leave and never return. Glorfindel walked up to her.
"Did I not tell you there was nothing to fear?" he whispered into her ear.
She smiled at him. "And you were right."
Elhael walked over and clasped hands with Glorfindel. As the two ellon talked, Lyla looked around at the numerous faces along the shore. Many of them were embracing one another, so happy at finally being reunited. Lyla frowned slightly. She felt like she was looking for someone, but she did not know who. The only people she was close to had either traveled with her, or she had already been reunited with them. However, her eyes continued to scan the crowd until they finally rested on the face of someone she never expected to see.
"Celin?" she whispered.
He stared back at her, and as she looked into his eyes, she realized he knew who she was. He smiled and walked toward her. When he was a few feet away he stopped and looked at her. She stared at him for a moment longer before walking forward and embracing him.
"I did not expect to see you, Celin," she said. "And even if I had, I did not expect you to know who I was."
"I knew you would come here eventually, Lyla. I am so glad to see you, Granddaughter."
She smiled at him. "And I am glad to see you, Grandfather."
Glorfindel and Meredith walked toward them. Lyla smiled. "My husband you already know, Celin, but this is my daughter Meredith."
Glorfindel clasped hands with Celin, and Meredith gave him a hug. Elhael, Caleniel, and Gilorn approached, and everyone began talking at once. There were so many questions and so many things to tell. After a while, Glorfindel pulled Lyla away from the group. They walked down the beach and stopped when they were a short distance away from their family. Glorfindel ran his hand through her hair.
"Are you happy, my love?" he asked.
Lyla smiled. "How could I not be? I am living in an eternal Elven paradise with my dearest friends and my beloved daughter. She reached up and touched his face. "And with my husband who I love so very much."
He leaned down and kissed her, the tide washing around their feet. Lyla glanced down the beach at her loved ones. She grinned. "Everything is perfect."
"Indeed it is, my love. But it is you that makes it perfect for me."
"And you for me."
"I love you, my sweet Lyla," he whispered.
"And I love you, my darling Glorfindel."
He kissed her again, long and passionately. They looked into each other's eyes and smiled. "Come, my love," Lyla said. "Let us go home."
They walked hand in hand down the beach to their loved ones. They knew that only years of happiness and eternal love awaited them in Valinor, and it would be so until the very end of time.
Please read the sequel "Marks of Time" for further adventures with Lyla, Glorfindel, and friends.