The next morning I was summoned to Elrond's office. I sat waiting in a chair, knowing this was about what happened the previous night.
Gandalf came in and looked at me with what could have been a glare but also could have been curiosity. Amusement? I really couldn't tell; maybe a mix of everything.
"How are you?" I asked uncertainly.
"Quite good, quite good." He said. "A small concussion, they said but what is life without a few minor injuries?"
"Not much of a life at all." I responded.
I'm a despicably human being!
Actually, you're an elleth.
"Indeed." He sat looking at me, puffing from his pipe for what felt like an hour. I cleared my throat but he kept staring at me. I cleared my throat again before speaking.
"So, are you going to tell me what I did last night?"
"Magic." He said by way of answer.
"Yeah, you…said that. But how did I do it? I didn't even know I had magic."
"I believe we found the answer to the mystery of your second heart." He said.
"You do not have a second heart, but magic inside your chest, beating like another heart."
"Um…oh. Okay, is…that normal?"
"'Relatively.' That's not much comfort."
"It is common enough that we know what to do to help you. All you have to do is call the magic out and learn to use it. It happens sometimes with wizards or elves."
"Do you know why?"
"Indeed, it can happen when they experience something traumatic. It just…gets caught before they are born."
"And they need to call it out?"
"Yes, and so do you. Don't look so worried, 'tis not so difficult."
"I'm not worried."
"Good, then let us get started." He moved his chair closer to mine and put his hands up, palms forward. After a brief pause, I hesitantly put my hands up and touched them lightly to his. I was vaguely aware of Elrond standing close by, probably just in case something went wrong.
I need you to concentrate. The Wizard's voice sounded in my head. Close your eyes. I obeyed. Now, I want you to imagine a light. Imagine a ball of light inside your chest. Good. Imagine the light beating next to your heart. It's expanding…good. Imagine the light growing; it's covered your heart, filled your chest. It's spreading up and moving through your entire body. Do you feel it? Good. Now, imagine the light melt into your bones, through you skin, let it envelope you entirely. Good. This is where things will get difficult. I need you to imagine the light explode, make it hot.
I was on fire. Everything was burning, I couldn't breathe.
Ena! Listen to me, it's not real, the fire isn't real!
My skin was on fire!
It's just the magic.
Just the magic?
Instantly the fire cooled down.
Good. That's good. Your magic is free. Are you in control?
"I think so." I whispered.
"Good." In an instant, the force that held me in place was gone and my arms dropped to my sides. I opened my eyes. Gandalf was smiling at me and I smiled back tiredly.
I turned toward Elrond. Aragorn and Legolas were with him.
"When did you get there?" I asked.
"An hour ago." Aragorn said.
"An hour?" I said shocked. "How long was I here for?"
"Two and a half hours." Legolas answered.
"Two and a half…it felt like a few seconds."
"That is normal with magic." Gandalf said.
"Okay. So…can I go now? I was supposed to go the training field to practice sword fighting."
"Yes, you may go."
! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
I had a different trainer that day. I scanned the field for the hobbits but didn't see them.
"Grab a sword." The elf said pointing with his weapon to the swords I was to choose from. He seemed strict. Really strict. Not good, I hated really strict teachers.
I chose one of the swords I always chose and when I turned around, the elf was staring at me—no, not staring but glaring. I ignored it and took my stance in front of him. Barely a second later, he was swinging his sword at me and the fight began. This was more difficult than usual; I hadn't had time to size him up, judge his good traits and the ones that would be his undoing. He was fast but then, all elves are. It took him longer than I expected to size me up and estimate my next moves which meant he wasn't the best judge of strategy which meant I had to change mine occasionally to keep him guessing. His movements were like some sort of foreign dance. I mean, all sword fights are like dancing but his was sort of…aggressive, animal-like, giving his moves a look of randomness.
"Having trouble?" he asked snidely.
"You kidding? I got you all figured out."
"Such arrogance." He replied in pitying tone.
"And you must be very smart. You have brains never used."
"Do not be so proud of being quick—a sharp tongue does not mean you have a keen mind."
"I know, you're living proof of that."
"And you are living proof that there are indeed greater troubles in the world."
"Keep talking, I always yawn when I'm interested in people's bulls**t."
"You are disgusting." He said stopping the fight. "You and any other…false elf." He sneered. "People like you do not deserve the magic you have."
"And who put you in charge of judging people like me?"
"It is every elf's right to judge people like you. It is beyond me why you were invited to the council meeting tomorrow."
I'm invited? I didn't know that.
"Why do you care?"
"Because you are a lie."
He suddenly swung his sword at me and then we were fighting again. He was moving faster this time and I didn't have time to find the pattern. I wished I'd had more training or was a natural fighter. I mean, the bow and arrow and dagger throwing were relatively easy for me but sword fighting was a different story. I was no match for him. He had me backed up to a tree in less than a minute.
"You should not have come here." He whispered threateningly.
"And you should not have cornered me." Something inside me stirred and a great wind kicked up and flew toward us. The elf—I hadn't asked his name, I realized—was blown backward and landed thirty feet away from me. I swayed and fell, landing on all fours. I was so dizzy; the whole forest was spinning around me, inside me head. I collapsed on my chest. I couldn't move, I was so weak, so tired. Distantly, I heard shouting. A few minutes later I heard people come through the trees. A hand touched my shoulder and I tried to lift my head to see who it was.
"Do not try to move." Aragorn whispered. I tried to speak, to ask him what was happening but no sound would come out. He always seemed to be there like the big brother I never had and I found comfort in that fact. I wondered if he thought of me like his sister. That would be nice.
"Where is she?" a voice was shouting and I vaguely realized it was Gandalf. And he was angry.
"Here," Aragorn called.
"Wait until I am done with that foolish girl—"
He broke off, probably saw me lying on the ground and decided to delay the execution.
"Bring her to her room, she needs to rest." He said. "I will deal with her later." That was the last thing I heard before Aragorn picked me up into his arms and for the second time since I came to Rivendell, I passed out.