Lothlorien in Twilight - Part 4

After her audience with Galadriel, Calidis went off on her own to collect her thoughts (see Finding the Calm During the Storm). However it did not take long for the guards to find her again and lead her to where Edu was waiting, just outside the flet where Xan is imprisoned. Eduwiges herself had just recently returned there after having her own curious adventure in Caras Galadhon (See A Reunion of Sorts).

Calidis stepped to the ladder up to the flet, looking calm and composed save for the telltale tear streaks on her cheeks, only visible if the dim light illuminated them. She turned to the guards and curtsied, wordlessly dismissing them

The guards saluted her...and silently withdraw.

Eduwiges looked up from reflection as Calidis climbed the ladder to the flet. The sparkling sun reflected the golden leaves and the breeze blew a lock of Edu's hair across her face. She walked swiftly to Cal, "Well? what did she say? Why are you crying?'

Calidis turned and smiled somewhat painfully and shook her head. "Old memories. And a revelation I had not looked for. If the Lady's intention was to blindside me... she succeeded."

Eduwiges gave the elleth a gentle hug and looked into her eyes, 'Blindsided with what?' She paused to let the other woman speak but her impatience quickly took over, 'What do we have to do to get Lethy out of here?'

Calidis carefully skirted around giving an answer to the first query, wondering if she would get away with it. "Hunt down a fell spirit and drive it from Caras Galadhon apparently….but the Lady herself did not seem altogether sure."

Eduwiges repeated what Cal said under her breath, 'Hunt down a fell spirit'. She cracked her knuckles, 'All right, that can be done. But that does not answer my other question...' she left it hanging...

Calidis took a seat and looked moodily out over the edge of the flet. "... When the Lady of Pity and Mourning came to me, she said that that which I hoped for the most would never come to be. I then made a choice to remain in these lands, forsaking the ship to the Utmost West. But I failed to ask for the reason why she would say such a thing."

Eduwiges stepped back in surprise, 'I do not understand. Forsake the ship, you mean? Forsaking the undying lands? That is a choice? And why would you?'

Calidis sighed, 'Because that which I hoped for was to be reunited with my family in Valinor. If that was to never be, then there would be no joy for me there. And I wanted to remain with Xanderian and all those we love... But I was foolish, I did not think to ask why I should not be reunited with my family.'

Eduwiges asked quietly, almost a whisper, 'Why would you not Calidis?'

Calidis stood and turned away, wrapping her arms about herself. "Because my lady mother would not so much as leave the Halls of Mandos without my father to be by her side... And my father never entered those Halls, nor will he ever. There was... an exchange."

Eduwiges audibly took a breath, 'Oh Cal' her green eyes conveyed all the sadness and empathy words could not make clear. 'And the Lady, she told you this?'

Calidis shook her head. "The mirror."

Eduwiges sighed, 'I am so sorry, but did not the Lady say that what one sees in the mirror might not come to pass?'

Calidis nodded. "In regards to the future, yes. But part of what I was shown was the definite past. A piece of it that I did not see before. Regardless, when we rejoin with our friends, I will need to speak to Addiela and make sure she comes to no harm... But that is irrelevant in the face of this fell spirit we now must hunt to buy Xanderian's freedom.'

Eduwiges took a deep breath, knowing more talk was wasting time. 'Then we will do so together, like always. Lethy can make it right, what do we need to kill to get her out of here?'

Calidis nodded, 'I imagine first we will need to find it…whatever it is... Speaking of Xanderian, where is she?'

Eduwiges pointed, 'She is over there, dangling her feet. You know they tried to get me to run messages like their flet runners do. I made two jumps and decided I was made for the ground.' she gave her hearty laugh trying to lighten the mood and took Calidis' arm to lead her towards Xanderian.

Calidis frowned as she allowed Edu to lead her to the other side of the flet, casting her dark eyes about the place and letting her gaze linger in shadowed spots, feeling her skin tingle as if cold.

Xanderian looked up...and smiled in relief. "My dear ones...I trust you did not make any foolish bargains for my sake? No first born children to be turned over to the Lady of Light?”

Calidis shook her head solemnly and sat herself next to Xanderian near the edge, folding her legs underneath herself. "No, not any children. Though a bargain of sorts was made."

Xanderian tilted her head...leaning forward to kiss Cal's cheek gently. "Bargain?

Calidis nodded and rested her hands neatly in her lap. "Indeed. And when you are freed and we are reunited with everyone, I would very much like to have words with your sister." She glanced over to Xan and raised a brow slightly. "But you seem... remarkably at ease despite being held here."

Xanderian reached a hand out to Eduwiges to draw her closer, protectively. "Perhaps I am...I am not sure. Did the Lady tell you more of what this bargain involves?

Eduwiges shrugged, 'Drive off some fell spirit, I say, lets get to it, and get you out of here...'

Xanderian nodded slowly, well aware this was but the beginning of the story.

Calidis glanced over at Xan quietly, brows furrowed slightly. "Your dear sister unleashed said fell spirit into this city when she used that mirror shard in the Lady's mirror, but the details are not clear."

Eduwiges looked surprised, “Xandilif never mentioned it to me…'

Calidis looked exasperated. "It was a piece found when she, the girl Finchley, yourself, and Elsa passed through these lands on the way home (see Haldrith). If you recall the strange encounter with the Angmar priest, Desad, in which he used a  darkmirror to search Elsa's past. Xandilif spirited away the shard when it was supposed to be put away at home. She came here while Finchley was in Bree and used it, it seems, for some purpose of her own."

Xanderian smiled to herself. "Yes..the mirror....the Lady seemed most insistent upon that point...

Calidis smiled frostily. "I intend to have quite a few words with her about that." Her smile disappeared and she reverted to looking at Xan, expression pensive, worried, and even... somewhat confused.

Eduwiges nodded, 'So it is connected then to what they are off doing in Fornost? I knew some of it, but most was confusing to me. Well then, let us clean up the mess and have words later. I do not want Lethy here against her will any longer.'

Xan smiled. 'I suspect, my lynx....this task will take us a long time indeed...to find a random spirit of unknown nature and send it out of this place.'

Eduwiges looked at Calidis, 'Did the lady give us any idea of where to begin?'

Calidis shook her head. "Of course not. Such is her way, and she seemed even more reticent than normal. We shall have to seek it out ourselves. Or rather, lure it perhaps."

Xanderian bit her lip softly. "I am not so sure about that....I am not convinced all that we have seen and heard is real....

Eduwiges tensed up, ready to unsheathe her sword. 'What?'

Calidis looked further confused. "Not real? How do you mean? That we are in some dream? Or that what is around us is an illusion?"

The huntress sighed, 'To speak freely, I have had some time to think in your absence (See Lothlorien in Twilight - Xanderian's Debate)....I had thought the animosity that the Golden Wood held me in had abated somewhat over the years since I left Mirkwood behind. I have dealt with the Lady of Light since. She is not fond of me, and distrustful....but I was not actively insulted or despised any longer, nor were the horrid terms used for my sister and I still common. I have been sitting here wondering what I had done to reignite her ire to such a great degree, to the point of reacting in illogical rage over what my sister had done.'

Eduwiges whispered, 'It makes sense, This is not the Lady I know of. I lived here for a time, before Imladris.' She cleared her throat in a know it all way, 'I believe I said this when they arrested you..' She smiled smugly.

Xanderian laughed gently. "Indeed you did my Lynx....

Eduwiges grinned, then got that muley look on her face. 'So what do we do?' She looked towards the distant guards and cracked her knuckles.

Xanderian noted Edu's gaze...."NOTHING precipitant....

Eduwiges smiled sheepishly, 'Ive learned, lets investigate first, and THEN send them all to Mandos..'

Calidis smiled a bit and almost laughs. "One, Eduwiges. One to Mandos. This shall not be another Rohirric Tavern, with explosions roaring around us (See The Great Horse Rescue)."

Eduwiges flexed, 'Point them out and let us have done with this nonsense. I am tired of us always being some foul person's chew toy...'

'I am not sure it is as simple as that....but I am fairly sure this tale of a fell spirit is a fool's errand.' Xan rested her hand on Edu’s arm again to calm her.

Calidis nodded. "Perhaps... I shall simply have to spend more time in Lady Galadriel's company to learn more, since she seemed so keen to share it and give me advice."

Eduwiges sighed, 'Everything is an illusion here then? We are not really in Lorien?'

Xanderian considered Edu’s question. "No, not everything is an illusion....more that....we and the lady both, perhaps more, are in a warped reflection. The mirror...'

Calidis thought in silence for a moment, looking more concerned by the moment, though, she was clearly keeping her swirling thoughts to herself.

Xanderian however noted Cal's expression....."What is it my love?

Calidis looked out over Caras Galadhon. "... I wonder if /she/ is involved. The Mistress in the Silver Mask (See The Masks of Imlad Gelair). Illusion and mirrored things seem to be her specialty."

Xan shook her head, 'No...she is not involved, at least not directly. However all this seems most familiar to her...'

Cal looked at her lover in shock at her answer…and controlled the desire to ask her how she knew this much about her evil doppleganger's thoughts. Just thinking of it left a cold pit in her stomach, remembering her vision in Galadriel's mirror as well as her own confrontation with "The Mistress".

Eduwiges felt her impatience rising, 'Lethy, can we not do this the Elvish way and just have done with this. Do not speak in riddles, speak plainly please about all of this.' she gestured to the trees. “I feel you already know what we must do.' she looked at Calidis for help...

Calidis said, 'I am as puzzled as you, Eduwiges. And as frustrated. I too wish for nothing more than to quit this place and continue on our way.'

Xanderian nodded slowly. "I suspect we are..well...being kept busy here for as long as possible. Using the fragment of the Mirror of Twilight here has confused things...caused a reflection which is confusing us, as well as the Lady of Light..,perhaps multiple reflections. Calidis and I were kept from joining you in Linhir by just such a tactic.'

Eduwiges says, 'What did the two of you do to escape?'

Xan looked down, 'Sadly we were released before we ever realized what had occurred, I know not how to deal with such a situation.'

Calidis whispered, 'The priest, Desad, was the owner of that mirror before it was shattered... and he was the one that waylaid Xanderian and I. Perhaps he seeks to keep us occupied once again.'

'Bloody hell. DESAD is the one behind this? He is here?' Edu pulled the sword Badu Druit from her back, keeping it in the scabbard for now.

Xan nodded slowly again, 'I suspect that he is....that the world seen through the mirror has become fragmented, and is misleading the Lady as it has misled others in the past, often with disaterous results. We all may be in great danger..the denisens of Lothlorien included.'

Eduwiges held her hands up, sword over her shoulder, 'Wait, So Lorien is real, the Lady is real, but we are kept because the mirror, ahh, Bema! I am getting a headache.' she sat on the the wood of the flet...'

'Lorien is real, the Lady is real....but what we are seeing is a distorted reflection, or several....through a glass darkly.' Xanderian looked back and forth between the two.  'Rather than waste time searching for a random spirit...we need to go back to the mirror...'

Eduwiges looked at Xan, then at Cal and rose again. 'At least that sounds like a course of action at last. No need to explain, just tell me what to hew..'