Fire crackled in the hearth causing light and shadow to bounce around the room and across rubbings spilled amongst piles of books and a few scrolls. Elaureth bent over the pages, her wheat-coloured hair framing her work and spilling in random tendrils along the desk. Absently, she brushed one side of the curtain behind her pointed ear and over her shoulder, her vision caught up in the way the contest of light and shadow made the runes seem more alive. The markings were similar to many she had seen, but were older and unfamiliar, nearly lost to the earth when she found the bramble-covered wall and its single-runed stones at the base. Her mind obsessed on what brought the area to ruins, what it was like when it still stood. The images were all too clear, latching on to her own memories and the world’s fragmenting past, too many grand works left in broken ruins like this.
Flickering firelight and grasping shadow made the pieces of lost history look as though they were struggling against burial…haphazard burials in a ruined town spotted with dirt-streaked survivors. Eldar laments haunted the scene with ghostly echo though she could see no one person mouthing the words. One of the Eldar pushed earth over a small mound, her mud-streaked hair concealed her from view until she turned her face to look directly at Elaureth. The resemblance was almost like looking into a reflective surface. Elaureth brushed the other side of her hair behind her ear, absent mud was only a minor comfort. The eyes of the other caught hers so fast that the distance between them closed without either moving. The stale wind carried whispers that she could not make out.
A sizzled pop made her startle, attention on the hearth for a few moments before awareness settled once again. Elaureth closed her eyes and rubbed at them before stretching. A small crick in her neck forced her back forward with a soft exclamation of pain.
“The surest sign of a needed break.” The soft Sindarin stole the edge from anxiety and pain.
“Sister–” Elaureth partly turned in her chair, her protest squelched by a cup of hot tea offered only inches from her nose. “Vivia–”
“I will not have no for an answer,” Vivianel returned with a soft smile.
Elaureth accepted the cup but looked back at the rubbings over her shoulder.
“Elly.” Vivianel stressed the ending of the childhood nickname in warning. “They have waited this long.”
Elaureth sighed as she set the cup and saucer down on one of the closed books to push the chair away and get to her feet. When she picked both back up and turned, it was to see Vivianel’s smile of triumph.
“It is nice out tonight, come sit and have tea with me in the yard?”
“As if I had some choice?”
Vivianel’s smile grew more amused and she simply turned and walked out of the room, leaving Elaureth to follow her down the stairs and then out of the house.
Both of the sisters settled comfortably beneath the flowering cherry, the sweet fragrance held just a hint of fruit and though faint, it caused the tea to taste divine. Elaureth closed her eyes as she sipped, enjoying the background of brook and crickets nearby.
Elaureth could hear the pleased smile in her sister’s voice. “Mmhm. I suppose I needed a break more than I realized.” She opened her eyes and returned the smile. It was difficult amongst the pleasant surroundings, but the vision of the decimated town pushed at the fringes of her memory.
“You have spent longer on these runes…” Vivianel mused, trailing off as she leaned against the cherry tree and stared up into its blossoms.
Elaureth stared down at her tea, moving it just enough to cause the remnants to swirl softly. “They are very different. I cannot seem to find any reference to them. And…” Elaureth trailed off, thinking once more about what she saw. Was she simply tired?
Elaureth shook her head again. “I…saw something. I think it was my imagination though.”
Vivianel’s smile was patient. “Words have power, Elly, you know that…runes all the more so.”
“Yes, I know that.” Elaureth frowned at her glass before taking a drink from it, stubbornly attempting to enjoy it as much as before.
“Must have been some vision to turn you so sour…what did you see?”
The small grave and whispers made her arms and neck prickle. “I would rather not revisit that.” She used the tea to push the memory back down.
“Perhaps those runes were best left buried, then?” Vivianel’s teacup made a soft clink against the saucer as she set it on the ground beside her.
“Perhaps,” Elaureth echoed, though she did not really agree.
Sindarin=most common language of elves
Eldar=generic reference to elven people more commonly used by elves to refer to themselves
Those who don’t know: This is a Lord of the Rings Online fanfic based around a character of my creation in middle earth as laid out in the books, but primarily as laid out in the online MMO based heavily on the books.