The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say…
I softly sang the words of the song as I passed beneath the golden-leafed trees. All around me the crisp leaves fluttered slowly to the ground, coming silently to rest on the ground which was already littered with gold and bronze colours. I breathed in the icy autumnal air and sighed. Winter was close; I could tell by the way the cold air nipped at the tips of my fingers. I looked up and smiled as the familiar stone gateway came into view. I threw back the hood of my cloak as I walked through the arch and stared around the beautiful courtyard. A light breeze caught my dark brown hair and blew it across my face. Tucking a few strands behind my ear, I walked forward until out of the corner of my eye, I saw him walking across the courtyard towards me.
“Suilaid, hir Elrond.” (Greetings, Lord Elrond.) I murmured, bowing low as a sign of respect.
“Le suilon, Rana.” (I greet thee, Rana.) He replied. I felt his fingertips lightly touch my chin and tilt my face upwards, until my eyes met his. I couldn’t help but grin broadly as he smiled. I stood up straight and threw my arms around his neck, hugging him tightly.
“It has been too long.” I sighed happily. “I’m glad to be back.”
I pulled back from the embrace and smiled.
“I am glad also; you have been missed these past few years.” He said.
“I must ask, why did you summon me here?” I enquired curiously.
“All will become clear soon.” Elrond replied mysteriously, “For now, you should rest. You will find your room and all your possessions exactly how you left them.”
“Hannon le, but I would rather take a short walk, I have missed these woods.” I looked around at the area, carpeted in fallen leaves.
“As you wish, for now, Namárië”
“Farewell.” I softly echoed his reply in the Western tongue as he turned and glided away.
I gazed around the deserted courtyard. It hadn’t changed since I had first laid eyes on it, save for the ever changing seasons. It was autumn then too, when I had first arrived. I closed my eyes and allowed my mind to travel back to that day, the day when I first arrived in Rivendell.
*** Flashback ***
I allowed my father to lead me by the hand through the ancient stone archway. I did not know where we were going, every time I asked, he avoided answering me. As we stepped into the large courtyard, my breath was taken away by the beauty of the place we had arrived in. I yearned to break from my fathers grasp so I could explore, but he held my hand tightly, preventing escape. In his other hand were the reins of his horse. We had ridden for several days and nights to reach this place. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a tall man appeared and walked up to my father. His walk was graceful, as if his feet barely touched the ground. He wordlessly took the horse’s reins and led it away from us. As he left, his long, dark hair was caught in a gust of wind and for a brief second, I was able to see his strange, angular ears.
“Father? Father was that an elf?” I asked quietly, seeming to understand that I should not raise my voice in this peaceful place.
“Yes.” He murmured, as if I had dragged him out of deep thought. He looked down at me. “Rana, I must go speak with an old friend of mine, promise me you will stay here. Do not leave this courtyard.” He commanded me. I nodded as he released my hand and walked off, disappearing beneath a small archway. I walked over to a small stone bench that stood not far from me.
I brushed away a few crinkled leaves before sitting down with a sigh. Absentmindedly, I gazed around me, inspecting every nook and cranny from where I sat. I was curious child. My father had often told me that. I almost jumped when I noticed the boy sitting across the courtyard from me, reading from a large, leather-bound book. He looked a few years older than I was and he had dark brown hair, slightly darker than mine, which fell into his eyes as he read. However, I couldn’t see his eyes, as they were hidden by his hair. It didn’t seem like he had noticed me, but after a minute or so, he glanced up at me and met my eyes with a curious, piercing, grey gaze. I quickly looked away, not wanting him to know that I had been staring. I casually swung my legs as I sat – they did not quite reach the ground- waiting for him to return to his book. He was reading again when I next dared to look up, so I began watching him again. Once again, he looked up at me and I dropped my gaze instantly. We continued like this for some time, every time our eyes met I would look away, but I was beginning to run out of things to pretend to look at, and each time I dropped my gaze I could feel him staring intently at me. During a particularly long pause, I heard him close his book quietly and stand up. I presumed that my staring was distracting him from his book and he was going elsewhere to read. I felt a little sad, yet I wasn’t sure why. I sighed quietly and waited for his footfalls to die away, but to my surprise they seemed to get louder, as if he was walking towards me instead of away from me. His footsteps stopped in front of me, and I slowly looked up at him. He looked down at me curiously and I stared back, unable to speak.