Chapter 53 – "Better Days"
Having left Gandalf to travel back with Bilbo, we make our way towards the Grey Mountains. Gandalf tells us to travel not in Mirkwood but stay to the river. Elrond agrees, staying clear of Mirkwood forest all together.
Once we reach the Forest River that runs from the Grey Mountains into Mirkwood we make camp. The trek from the Lonely Mountain through the night into the early morning was hard on us all.
Kili holds me tight as I place the Lorien Leaf necklace back around his neck. He kisses me passionately, giving me his love with each caress.
After a small fire is made and a tent erected, we settle down for the morning. Elrond sits by the fire, Kilan staring at him. "Come here child and let me tell you a story."
With Kilan in his lap, Elrond begins to tell him a story he had told me and Arwen a thousand times.
Kili and I listen in, Arvandora and Fili sitting beside us. Arwen places some pheasant over the fire, her eyes shining like the star she was named for.
After the story is told and Kilan is fast asleep in Elrond's arms, I start to ponder on so many things and hope my uncle can give my mind some peace.
"May I ask you something Uncle?" Kili looks at me as if his mind has been pondering the same things.
"Of course Ruunya, I am sure there are many things all of you would like answers to. I will do my best to answer them for you." Elrond lays Kilan down on the blanket next to him, coming closer to us.
"Why did Gandalf have us still away in the dead of night without so much as a goodbye to any of the dwarves? I am sure they would want to know Kili and Fili live." The brothers look at me, nodding their heads.
"As the only living heirs to the throne they would be expected to take the crown but being they rose from the dead and having done so with light of Valar many questions would have been raised and perhaps a war between the dwarves. Those loyal to Kili and Fili would have demanded they take the crown that Fili be king but Dain and the others would have protested or even denied that Fili and Kili were actually dwarves of Durin. The elven light that sustains your lives has indeed changed you and Dain would have seen this. So my niece you see, it is best they know not." The answer given to me was so profound it instantly made things clearer now. Elrond turns his head towards Kili, my husband holding a question on the tip of his tongue.
"What of the tombs? They will see them broken and shattered, our bodies missing. What will they do then?" Kili inches closer to Elrond, his face so childlike in that moment.
"Do not worry Kili that is being managed. Gandalf took Dwalin and Balin into his council, telling them your secret. They will replace the stones and clear the tomb, leaving your bow and blade as it was." Fili's blue eyes hold a mist of tears behind them as he walks over and embraces his brother.
"Will we see them again, our kin?" Fili wipes his tears with the back of his hand, Kili keeping one arm around his shoulders.
"Come the spring Dwalin and Balin will travel back to the Blue Mountains. I have told them to retrieve your mother and bring her to Rivendell. If she has the mind to, I will welcome her to our home." Elrond reaches over taking the brothers by the hand. The three of them share a long look, acknowledging the kinship between them now.
Arvandora speaks up next, her swollen belly making a round bump under her dress. "Why did Gandalf not ask for my light? I would have given Fili my immortality."
Fili takes her hand as she scoots closer to him. "Ah yes, your light can still be shared but not while you are with child Arvandora. When the child is born then we will discuss such matters." Elrond strokes her face, her pink cheeks glistening in the firelight.
I watch as Fili wraps an arm around her, holding her to him. "No, you can't Arvandora. I will not take your life as well. Is not enough that Ruunya has to face the bitter years of mortality now?"
"Fili my love, please understand. I do not wish to linger on in my grief after you are gone, my many years stretched out before me. Can I not join in you in your peaceful slumber? Our child will be a Halfling much like Kilan. We do not know what years will be granted to them. Should I watch my child perish as well?" She looks to me, her blue eyes pleading.
"She is right Fili, I am glad my years have been shared with you. I watched you die once I do not wish to watch you fade again without the promise I would soon join you. It is not right for a parent to outlive their children." I look at Fili with the understanding he does not wish for Arvandora to feel the cold bite of mortality and comfort him with a smile.
"It is Arvandora's choice Fili. She is correct; we do not know the length of your children's lives. It is best to reason on the side of caution." We find ourselves sitting in a circle around Elrond, the four of us gathered together by love and light.
Arwen interrupts our questioning with a plate of roast pheasant, potatoes and cheese. I grin at her as she hands me a small portion of lembas bread. "Sister, do not fret over your child. He will live long and be a great man among dwarves and elves."
We eat our dinner, the brothers sharing their battle stories. I cringe inside when Kili tells of the arrows that pierced him, the blades that cut him. Fili's story matches his and I see the same pain on Arvandora's face.
As the story lingers on I see something change in Kili's face, as if he was reliving a moment. "Ruunya, do you remember telling me to not resist the light when it comes for me. Do you remember that day back in the old woods when the light had taken you?"
I crease my eyes, my thoughts going back to that day. I remember the light and how it consumed me but I do not remember those words. "No my love I do not."
"You did my love and I think I know why. When the cold darkness of death came for me I saw a bright light but not as bright as yours. I felt myself being drawn to it until I felt warmth surround me. I reached out to touch it and it pulled me away from the light that beckoned me. I closed my eyes and walked into it and heard your voice. You said to wait for you that your light would bring me home. That is the last thing I remember before waking up in that tomb." My tears cover my face once more, Fili making the same statement. My light had come for them and kept them safe from the cold grip of death till it could wake them once more.
With the noon day sun beaming down on us we take up our packs, load up the tent and start back on our journey towards Rivendell. A peace covered me knowing my light burned bright inside my husband and his brother.
Arwen smiles over at me as Kilan stands up on the horse, holding his arms out. "Faster Da." Kili looks over his shoulder at his son, shaking his head.
"I see trouble ahead for us Ruunya, he is too much like me." We share a good laugh as Kilan giggles at us.
"Elrond, Kilan is a Halfling but will any of my other children be so?" I see a gleam of interest in Kili's eyes, my face blushing.
"You are still an elf Ruunya just one without the light of immortality. Losing your light did not change what you are, it only means you will age and die now my child." Elrond looks at me as a father not an uncle.
"This is why I wish to share my light so that the ailments of the mortal world will not come to our Ruunya." Arvandora reaches out to me and I take her hand, our husband's sharing a proud gaze.
"You wish to share your light with Ruunya? Can she do that Elrond?" Fili's voice has a sharpness to it, his blue eyes dancing.
"If she wishes it she can but I will have to take council with our Lady Galadriel first." Elrond rides up between us, his wise eyes gazes at us.
I look back at Elrond knowing I still have my elven father; the one that helped raise me from a babe, held my hand and watched me grow. This elf before me had seen me at my best and loved me through my worst but my heart aches knowing the one Kili and Fili loved like a father lay dead in a vault in a mountain never to embrace them again. Part of me will always wonder why my light could not save him, why Thorin must die when Fili and Kili gave up their lives for him.
We ride through the afternoon, Kilan constantly asking to go faster. I whisper to Kili as I wink at Arwen. Arwen lifts her brow, the corners of her mouth curving. "Let's show them what Belan can do." I grip Kilan tighter, squeezing my thighs to my horse. Kili lifts up off the saddle thrashing the reigns. Belan takes off, his hoofs moving in a blur.
Kilan laughs out, his little face alight. "Go Da … faster." He giggles again causing my heart to overflow with joy.
We stop at the forks of the River Langflood, Belan snorting as his breathing becomes labored. Kilan pumps in the saddle, not wanting to stop. I slide out of the saddle, Kili taking me by my waist. Kilan pushes against his chest as he leans in for a kiss. Kissing me quickly he takes his son walking over to the river to fill our canteens. When we turn Arwen is already at the river, her pompous smile across her face.
"What took you so long? I have been waiting for you." Opening my mouth to answer her back I quiet my tongue seeing her father standing behind her.
"Yes daughter I saw you ride up to the river, I was here first." Holding my laughter Arwen takes her horse by the reigns walking away.
Fili and Arvandora join us, Fili being so careful with his pregnant wife. "If Arvandora was not on this pony I would have given you all a good race."
Kili closes his eyes nodding his head. "Sure you would have brother."
Riding on to the Western Pass of the Misty Mountains we make camp for the night. Elrond insists the four of us take the tent, he and Arwen watching over the traveling party through the night. Fili falls asleep with his hand over Arvandora's belly, her fingers laced into his. They look so happy, so very much in love.
With Kilan sleeping beside us Kili holds me close, his fingers stroking my face. I melt with each kiss, tingle from each touch, his arms smothering me in love. Fighting my heavy lids I do not wish to sleep. I had gone long enough without seeing his face, my eyes needed to drink him in.
Kili does the same, his eyes closing only to flutter back open. "Sleep my love, I promise to be here when you wake." Kili shakes his head, kissing me over and over.
"I have the rest of my life to sleep; tonight I want to look at my light. You don't need the light of the Valar to be the brightest star in the heavens wife. You will always be my elven star." He rolls to his back, pulling me to his chest. We both sleep very little through the night, our hearts too heavy with the loss of the last few days to do so.
Making our way across the pass, we walk the same path Haldir and I had taken. My heart quakes in my chest as I wonder what had become of my companion and friend. "Uncle, why was Haldir not there when we departed Erebor?"
"He left for Lothlorien when we arrived; he goes to bring your grandmother to Rivendell. She will be waiting for us, for you Ruunya." My heart returns to its even beating, my worries quelled for the moment.
Riding into the valley I see a haunted look on Kili's face, Fili's looking much like his brothers. The last they were here was with their uncle as they made merry with their kin. Spring could not come soon enough; perhaps having Dwalin, Balin and Dis here would help ease the pain of them missing their dwarven family. Once we settle in, I quickly go to Elrond hoping to make things more homely for Kili and Fili. Elrond sits his study, his fingers laced together in front of him. "Ruunya, what brings you here child? Do you not wish to settle in with your family? Galadriel has asked to see the four of you after you have rested."
"Rivendell is my home, my heart is happy here but I fear my husband and his brother will not be. I come to ask if we could make a home of our own out of the valley, in the forest by the Ford of Bruinen. We could protect Rivendell's borders and still be close to your home uncle. I ask this unless my light will not glow outside this valley." My heart feels the burden of my gift, hoping it would not keep my beloved tied to a home that was not his.
I hear a soft voice come from behind me, a gentle hand upon my shoulder. "The gift of your light will burn and glow till you reach beyond the elven boarders." Galadriel takes my hand, placing a small perfect crystal in my palm; it reflected the light around it, casting a million brilliant rays. "This my child is the elvish crystal of the Valinor, it was cast from the light of the Two Trees. With this crystal in your possession your light will be contained. Go to the River and make your home, live free but be warned, outside of the elven world the light of that crystal will dim."
I take the crystal feeling the warmth of its light in my palm. Galadriel walks with me to the arbor overlook Kili, Fili and Arvandora already there. "Ruunya, what is this all about?" Arvandora looks at me confused.
"I have given Ruunya the crystal of Valinor, you are free to go to the River Bruinen and build a new home. Once spring is upon us you can plot out your land and begin your new lives. The reason I have called you all here is to speak to you individually. Arvandora, if you wish to share you light with Ruunya then wait till the birth of your child. Come autumn I will join your light to Ruunya, allowing you to shield her mortal life. You must understand, this will limit your days and you as well will share her fate. Fili, oldest son of Dis, I come to you to give you the elven sword of Lorien, the warrior's blade. It was forged by elven hands but made from the iron wrought from the Blue Mountains. Kili, holder of the flame, I give you an elven bow and quiver. The strings of the bow are made of the finest silk, spun my elven hands. The bow carved from the great trees of Lorien. May its arrows always sail true. These gifts are nothing compares to the joy you bring to the valley, your children and your children's children will be the bond that holds the elven and dwarven worlds together." Galadriel bows her head, Kili and Fili bowing back at her.
Winter comes in with a hollowing storm, snow covering the entire valley. The roaring waterfalls freeze in places, giving the valley a jeweled like glimmer. Kili and Fili seem restless, traveling out to the boards of the valley to set out a plan for our new home. Elrond promises us stone and steel to build our valley home, Elrohir and Elladan coming fast friends with my dwarven kin.
Kilan grows during the winter as well as Arvandora's belly. Fili smiles from ear to ear every time he gazes upon his bride so full with his child.
I try to make the valley a home for Kili and Fili, giving our quarters some dwarven touches. Kili often talks of Thorin and I listen intently, letting him let out his heart's grief. My only hope was once his mother is again with him he could finally let out the rage, the sadness that still lives in his eyes.
My happiness abounds when spring arrives, our home on the verge of being built, Kilan growing taller and stronger and Arvandora's child only five months away from being born. My greatest joy comes on the day we see three ponies approaching the Ford of Bruinen. Running as fast as I can I call out to Kili and Fili as they work at the forge.
"Husband, brother, they are here!" I scream at the top of my lungs. They drop their hammers running towards me.
Tears stream my face when Dis holds both of her boys in her arms, all of them weeping. She smiles sweetly back at me, her hands waving for Arvandora and me to join her.
Dwalin and Balin wait their turns, hugging the brothers with great force. I kiss Dwalin upon the cheek making the dwarven warrior blush.
"Lassie, still feisty as ever." Dwalin picks me off the ground twirling me around.
Dis spoils her grandson, giving in to his every want. As spring marches forward Dwalin stays on, helping the brothers build our home. I assure Elrond I need no great dwelling but he will have it no other way.
With the warm days of summer I see my home start to take form, the markings of Thorin's Hall upon the doors. Dis stands at the large oak doors, her fingers tracing over the cravings. "My brother would have been so proud of them and of you, his elven niece. You have brought great honor to the line of Durin. There is much talk among the dwarves, they say that Kili's son should be King under the mountain someday but others say his elven blood will prevent it. I say my grandson will have is rightful place, as the son of Kili, nephew of Thorin and elven warrior of Rivendell."
My elven family holds a great feast at midsummers day to honor the new home we have built. The feast goes on through the night, Kilan enjoying the music and song.
"Mum, me want to stay up with Da." My two year old looks at me with his hazel eyes and I see so much of his father in him.
"Kili, can your son stay up … just a little longer." Kili waves for me to bring him, placing Kilan on his lap as he as Fili and he sing dwarven songs through the night. After the feast has ended and morning comes I gather my family around me, holding Kili's hand.
"Is there something wrong Ruunya, you have that look in your eye." Kili stands wrapping his arms around me.
"In two months Arvandora will grace Fili with his first born and come next spring I will grace you with your second." A great cheer breaks out as Kili picks me up in his arms.
Dis watches over her elven daughters, treating us as if we will break. I allow her the illusion that I take my days leisurely.
Kili's love for me only grows by leaps and bounds, our love making so passionate so heated there are times I think I may succumb to the bliss that washes over me.
Our home is a happy one, our lives in Rivendell becoming complete. On the last day of summer Arvandora's labor pains begin, Kili enjoying Fili's moment of panic.
By sunset Arvandora gives birth, Dis, Vandra and I by her side. I wrap the babe in a blanket handing it to her. Going to the door I call for Fili, his blue eyes full of worry and concern. "Arvandora, is she well?"
"Come see for yourself, come see your wife and your son Fili." Kili's grin covers his face as he slaps his brother on the back. Arvandora's father and brother wait as well, wait to great their newest member of their family.
"A son Fili, you have a son." I give Fili a quick hug before he enters the bedroom.
The next morning Fili introduces his son to Rivendell. "Thank all of you for everything you have done for Arvandora and me. Say hello to our son, Frili." We gaze down at the small babe, his blue eyes and blonde hair identical to his father's.
The valley home becomes full of life and love, Kilan so excited over his new cousin he barely leaves his side. I watch my son help Arvandora with her babe and hope I can give Kili another son.
Gandalf visits Rivendell come fall, gracing our home with his presences. "It is good to see you have done as I have asked. Our Lady Galadriel has given you a fine gift. The elvish crystal protects your light, allowing it to burn beyond these borders. It would seem your life here is a prosperous one, some day you will see there will be many more homes in this valley by the forest, the sons and daughters of the line of Durin will call these elven forests home."
"Gandalf, what of Arvandora's light. She was promised she would share it with me once her child was born but now I find myself great with child. What do we do?" Gandalf takes my hand, placing a green stone inside it.
"This is the stone of eternity; with it Arvandora can pass on her light. Let her gift stay stored inside and when your child is born you can then share her light. Keep the stone save until the day it is needed." Gandalf takes the stone to Arvandora storing part of her light inside. Giving the stone to Elrond, I wait for spring to come, for the birth of my second child.
Autumn becomes winter and winter becomes spring, the long seasons pass as if at once. Kili is ever by my side, the birth of our child looming. His love and tenderness never fading even though my elven beauty does. I see the silvery tone of my hair become a crimson red now that my father's light has left me.
On the morning of my child's birth we wake, going for a walk. Kilan holds my hand, asking when his brother will come. "Kilan, I told you I do not know and we do not know it will be a boy. You have to be patient little one."
"Mum, I want a brother. I want a little brother like Frili." Kili picks him up, tickling his stomach.
"Go play with Frili, Da will take you riding later." Kilan runs back towards the house leaving me alone with my husband.
Leaning against a tree I gaze back at my Kili, his fingers gently gliding across my cheek. "Dwalin will be here in the morning to go hunting but I will not leave you if you don't want me to."
Twirling a lock of his hair around my finger I kiss his slowly. "Go Kili, you and Fili need to get out of the valley. Take the crystal and go my love, this baby seems to be determined to stay …" A hard labor pain rolls through me as I grip Kili's hand tight.
He carries me back to our home, yelling for Arvandora. I can hear him and Fili pacing outside our room, Arwen and Elrond rushing to me. Dis, Arwen and Arvandora stay with me till my child is born, my labor hard and exhausting.
I swaddle my babe to me, the dark brown hair tipped red a mixture of both of us. Arwen escorts Kili in, his eyes fixed on me. "My love, you are glowing." He sits on the bed next to me as I present him with his daughter.
"I am sorry love; I wished to give you another son." He kisses her tiny forehead his eyes misting over.
"She is perfect Ruunya, I could not ask for more." Dis sits Kilan on the bed; Kili placing his sister in his lap.
"It's a girl …why?" We all laugh, Kilan taking her little hand.
Kili kisses the top of his son's head. "You are a big brother now Kili, it's your duty to look after her and protect her."
Kilan looks up to his father, smiling so wide his face can hardly contain it. "What's her name Da?"
Kili turns to me, my hand reaching for him. "Rufila … we shall call her Rufila."
At the end of spring Elrond gives me the eternity stone, Arvandora's light giving me back my elven warmth.
As I set in the arbor by the river I watch Kilan playing with Frili, Rufila sleeping in Dis's arms, my Kili having a sword match with Dwalin and Fili, the world of darkness all but forgotten.
I had walked Middle-earth for 2000 years but not till I met my Kili had I begun to live. That handsome dwarf with the charming smile took my hand and heart and gave me so much more in return. I bless each sunrise I wake in his arms and am thankful for each sunset we watch our children sleeping. Ruunya of Rivendell was no more, that elven maiden long forgotten.
Taking my Kili's hand I look into his eyes and see nothing but love staring back at me. Just as it was from the moment we met, when different worlds collided.
~ The End ~
A/N: Please give me your feedback on the conclusion of this story. I am eager to hear from you. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thank you all.