Refusing To Learn
Posted: October 31, 2008
Title: Refusing to Learn
Characters: Elrond, Celebrían, Celeborn, Galadriel, Twins
Disclaimer: All main characters belong to Tolkien; I am just borrowing them.
Summary: The twins want to learn about a human holiday.
As everyone sat down for the evening meal, it did not take long to realize that the twins were preoccupied. Normally they would scoff down their food and be asking for seconds before others had even filled their plates the first time. This evening, they barely touched their food as they whispered between themselves. Their mother decided to remind them of their manners before things went too far.
"Elladan, Elrohir, you know it is impolite to whisper at the table," Celebrían said in an effort to ensure the twins behaved and ate their dinner.
"But you do it," Elladan responded without thinking first.
Suddenly, the table went quiet as all anticipated their mother's outburst. While she was a good mother, she was known to not be as patient as she needed to be all the time. Having twins was enough to test any parent. Have twins who were peredhil and acted it was hard on Celebrían. She did not always approve of the human behaviors that the twins showed naturally and sometimes snapped at them without understand what or why they were doing something. Life in the Golden Woods had not prepared her for the more hectic, brash, and active childhoods that humans endured.
Rather than have the congenial mood of the evening disrupted, Elrond stepped in to resolve the situation.
"Elladan, you know that it is not allowed except in emergencies," he told his son. "You also know it is wrong to talk back to your mother. We will be discussing this after the meal."
At Elladan's nod of understanding, he continued.
"What has captured you and your brother's attention so?" he asked. It was Elrohir who decided to answer.
"When we were at the training field today, during lessons, we overheard the human children talking about some kind of party," he explained.
"A costume party," Elladan cut in.
"What kind of a party requires costumes?" Elrohir asked. "When we asked, they just laughed at us."
Elrond had been anticipating this question for years and knew it would be a point of dissension between him and his wife. He was perfectly fine with letting his son's experience human holidays, and in fact many were celebrated in Imladris by all. His wife was of the opinion that they were elves and did not necessarily have to learn about their other side. To her, if they were raised only as elves, there was less chance they would choose the path of the Second born when their choice was presented. Elrond knew better, that it wasn't that simple. Besides, he had many fond memories of this particular holiday and would not deny his sons the chance to participate.
"The party is one of the ways humans celebrate what is known to them as All Hallow's Eve. That is the night where bad spirits are said to cross the barrier between the living and the dead before they are vanquished with the sunrise on All Hallow's Days," Elrond tried to explain. "It is an old belief from the First Age that has lost its meaning as the truth became known."
"But why do they wear costumes?" Elladan asked.
"Originally, parents dressed their children in imitations of the bad creatures on the night of All Hallow's Eve in the old mistaken belief that the bad spirits would not recognize them and take them before the sunrise," Elrond continued. "Since then, it has become a day where the children dress up as before, but now it is aimed at fun and play."
"Do elves celebrate this holiday?" Elrohir asked carefully. The twins had long ago picked up on their mother's dislike and distrust of anything human even if they did not understand the reason why.
"No they do not," Celebrían injected as she tried to stop where this was headed. "Elves knew the truth so did not celebrate these false ideas."
"But we are half-elves, right?" Elrohir asked as he tried to get around his mother's censor.
"Yes you are," Elrond responded with a smile as he realized his son's motive. Elrohir would make a good councilor one day. "I have many fond memories of celebrating this holiday. Would you like to participate?"
"Elrond," Celebrían warned in an effort to stop her husband, but he just ignored her.
The twins looked at each other. They very much wanted to participate but knew that there would be a price to pay. Every time their father let them participate in something that was a part of their human heritage, their mother made them spend the next several weeks studying the elven beliefs and actions. They had begun to ask themselves if it was worth the effort every time they wanted to learn something. The twins had also learned that questions about their human heritage caused arguments between their parents. They did not know what to do.
Seeing his sons' hesitation and knowing the reasons behind it, Elrond sighed. It seemed he and Celebrían were destined to have another fight about her restrictions. It angered him that his sons were afraid to learn about their own heritage. They had discussed this before marriage, but obviously Celebrían had not taken him seriously. Last time he had interceded this way, she had gone to visit her parents for three years. He wondered how long she would be gone this time.
"We would like to participate," Elladan answered for both of them. They had decided not to cave into their mother's wishes. This was one time when the knowledge might be worth the punishment.
"Erestor will talk to the human elders and see what can be arranged," their father said to cheers as their desert arrived at the table.
"Elrond, I will not allow this," Celebrían snapped at him when he entered their private chambers.
"Do not start Celebrían," he answered shortly. The meeting that had been scheduled after dinner had turned rather hostile and not gone according to plan. He was not in the mood to deal with this issue now.
"My children are elves and will behave as such Elrond," she continued. "I will not have them participating in a celebration of human darkness."
"It is not a celebration of human darkness," Elrond answered hotly. Her tone and insinuations had succeeded in irritating him further. "They are my children too Celebrían, and as such are Peredhil not elves. I will ensure that they learn about their human heritage despite your wishes."
"You bastard," she yelled. "You are trying to make them human. I will not have you destroying my children."
"It is you who is destroying them by denying them part of who they are," he answered in a cold, quiet, dark tone. "You are driving them to seek out the human side by trying to deny them the knowledge they need to make their choices. If my sons choose to be human because of you, I will make you regret it."
Celebrían knew she had gone too far when she heard the tone in his voice. Never before had he spoken to her thusly. But she was unwilling to give up her children. They were elves, as she was. Deciding to let him think it over for a while, she began to pull out clothing.
"I am leaving to stay with my parents a while, and the boys will be coming with me," she announced.
"I think not," he said in a steely voice. "You may go if you please but they are not leaving the valley. They are too young yet and I will not have them risked because of your prejudices."
Then he stormed out to appraised Glorfindel of the situation and have him arrange an escort. He gave orders ensuring that his sons stayed by Erestor's side, and that his wife would not take them from the valley. Only when he had watched her leave from the high tower did he finally sink to his knees and begin to brood.
Erestor spent the next several days arranging to have the Hallow's Eve party moved into the Hall of Fire. When word traveled through the valley of the party, there were many questions. Many saw it as just another way to celebrate but others who remembered darker times wondered at allowing such a thing. When word spread beyond the valley, and they began receiving inquiries from both the surrounding villages of man and elven communities, Elrond opened the party to all who wished to come. Erestor just sighed at the increase in work but gave the orders and oversaw the preparations as Elrond and his assistants did most of the other work.
The twins had ask Erestor to help them pick costumes, and then taken their choice to the tailors who suddenly saw an increase in activity. Many had decided to enter into the spirit of the event and were going to appear in costume. After consulting the humans, the tailors were even able to offer ideas to those undecided on what they wanted to wear. When asked, the twins refused to tell any what their costumes were as they wanted it to be a surprise. Elrond even entered the spirit of the event when he had calmed down from Celebrían's desertion by planning his own costume.
Celebrían rode as fast as her escort would allow until she crossed the borders into the Golden Woods. She was still angry and seething at Elrond's behavior. How dare he treat her like that? How dare he not allow her to take the twins with her? He had no idea how to raise a family having no parents to speak of him self, so how dare he tell her what was better for her sons. He was going to be sorry that he had interfered with her techniques. Just wait until she told her mother what he had done. He may not fear her, but he would never cross her mother she fumed.
She was greeted by her father as she rode up to the royal talan and dismounted. After a brief kiss and hug she hurried up the steps to find her mother. Celeborn sighed as he watched her retreating back. They had received two messenger birds from Imladris before her arrival. The first had been from Elrond. It had been short, brief, and to the point saying that Celebrían would arrive in the woods for an extended stay and nothing more. A week later they had received a bird from Erestor. It had described the twins' request and the subsequent fight between their parents.
Celeborn and his wife had discussed how to handle the situation before their daughter's arrival. He had feared his daughter would not truly understand what she was getting into when she married Elrond. Galadriel had said that it didn't matter as they truly loved one another. He had not been so sure. He was unhappy that he had been proven right. While she had not reacted to the human side of her husband with disgust as he had feared, she had become extreme in her efforts to make her sons elves. It was almost like she was trying to take their father out of them. Several times before, Celebrían had fled to the Woods when she had not gotten her way with Elrond when it came to their sons. It was time for this to stop. Celeborn and his wife had decided that it was time to quit coddling their daughter and make her face the facts she did not want to face. She had married someone who was not wholly elven and would never be. She was not going to like her talk with her mother.
Galadriel soothed her daughter and decided to give her a few days rest before she began the arduous task of making her accept truths she did not like. Seeing that Celebrían was fed and bathed, she then gave her daughter a calming tea into which she had placed sleeping herbs. Then she helped her husband finish packing his bags and ensured that the elflings traveling to Imladris for the All Hallow's Eve party were ready to leave in the morning at first light before settling down for a quiet night in her husband's arms.
The next morning, Celebrían came down and broke her fast with her mother.
"Where is Ada today?" she asked.
"He left at dawn and will be gone for several weeks traveling but he will return soon," was the only answer her mother gave at the time. She had learned long ago that prying did no good when it came to obtaining an answer, so she did not ask further. Her father would tell her about his trip when he returned.
"I have council meetings for most of the day," her mother explained. "Are you going to spend the day with your friends?"
"That would be nice," Celebrían answered happily. She knew she had time to discuss Elrond later and a day with her girlfriends would be so enjoyable. There were few females of her station in Imladris and she did not have many friends there. Coming home to the woods was the only time she could enjoy herself with out the responsibilities of being the Lady in charge also.
The next day, Galadriel decided that it was time to begin confronting her daughter.
"So, what is your reason for coming this time, Celebrían?" she asked with a knowing look in her eyes. She had her own reservation about her daughter's marriage but would not expose those to her yet.
"Elrond is trying to make humans out of our sons, mother," Celebrían began before she let loose with a tirade against her husband and his human loving antics.
Galadriel let her rant until it was all out of her system and she might be willing to listen to reason.
"Celebrían, do you love Elrond?" she asked.
"Of course," Celebrían asked in surprise. It had not been the question she had been expecting.
"All of him or just his elven part?" Galadriel pressed.
Celebrían tried to work out her mother's meaning. She never asked such direct questions without them having a hidden meaning. When she could not decipher what her mother wanted, she caved.
"I do not understand what you are asking," she admitted.
"Tell me daughter, what is Elrond?" came the unexpected question.
He is the Elven Lord of Imladris, the last High King's heir, the heir to three thrones actually, Thingol's, Turgon's and Gil-Galad's," she answered.
"Is that all?" she mother asked.
"Well, he is a master healer and Lore master. He is considered one of the wisest elves around," she answered.
"I asked you these questions before you married Elrond," Galadriel pointed out. "Your father and I were concerned that the marriage would not work."
"I begin to see why. I should have listened," Celebrían answered. "I never dreamed he would try to kill my children."
"Celebrían," Galadriel said in a harsh tone to ensure she had her daughter's complete attention. "He is not trying to kill your children. We did not think the marriage would not work because of Elrond, but because of you."
"What?" came the startled reply.
"The answers you just gave me are exactly the answers you gave before your marriage Have you learned nothing about your husband in all these years of marriage?" Galadriel asked. "Have you not come to learn and accept the fact that the man you married is not an elf?"
Galadriel then got up and left Celebrían alone to think about her answer. It was as she had feared; her daughter could not totally accept her husband despite her love for him. No matter how much love Elrond had for her, he could never change what he was. Nor would he allow another to dictate his children's path no matter how much it hurt him. Celebrían had been raised in a world of elves and was having trouble accepting another heritage. Galadriel wondered if there was a way to solve this problem, or would her daughter and Elrond's marriage be doomed despite their love for one another.
As All Hallow's Eve approached, decorations began to go up and the appropriate party food was prepared. Thranduil arrived with two of his sons and a party of men from Dale. They had heard about the party from traveling dwarves and decided to see what it was about. His younger son had promptly sought out Erestor, and the tailors, and had a costume created. Elrond helped Thranduil's older son pick and prepare his costume as one of the human village leaders took the men from Dale under his wing. The valley was surprised when Cirdan arrived with a group of elflings from the Havens. He explained about allowing Gil-Galad to participate when he was a child and how much the former King had enjoyed himself. The twins and Legolas were impressed enough to pester Cirdan with questions and Erestor enjoyed a break from the constant calls for information.
The morning of All Hallow's Eve arrived to find that Gildor and his people had shown up in the middle of the night. When appraised of the situation, they gladly joined in the festivities. As the day wore on and anticipation built, Elrond declared at the midday meal that the feasting would begin at sundown. As the Hall was cleared and set up for the children, Elrond was informed that another party with children in it had arrived to participate. He was beginning to wonder, what kind of monster he had created.
Glorfindel walked with him to greet their new guests when he encountered Celeborn entering the front entrance. Stopping, Elrond was suddenly unsure of himself before his wife's father.
"We will talk tomorrow after the party," Celeborn told him as he saw Glorfindel bristle. "Do we have time to clean up first? I am sure the elfling should have something nutritious before they eat nothing but candy and snacks. Then they need somewhere to put on their costumes. My tailors will be put out if they learn that the elflings were not able to wear the costumes they made."
Elrond was surprised but nodded as Erestor appeared to take charge of the situation. Calling Lindir and his wife over to take charge of the elflings, he escorted Celeborn to his normal rooms beside Thranduil.
"Are you in need of a costume, my Lord?" Erestor asked before he left.
"No, I brought my own," he answered with a smile. "Thranduil and I coordinated by messenger bird."
"Do your wives know that you two plan to go around in little more than a loincloth and paint tonight?" Erestor asked as he considered what he knew about Thranduil's costume.
"No, and don't tell her," Celeborn said as he closed the door in his face.
"Calm down and don't worry," Glorfindel told Elrond as they dressed in their costumes. "If he were angry, he would not have brought a bunch of elflings with him to the party. This is one fight that you are in the right on."
"I know but I have always been wary of him," Elrond answered as he put makeup on Glorfindel's face. It had surprised Elrond when Glorfindel had decided to dress up as Namo for his costume. He had ordered everyone to be sure and not make the costumes too life like. He did not want to scare anyone or have any accidents.
"I thought you were friends?" Glorfindel asked as Elrond finished and exchanged places with him.
"I have always respected him and considered him a friend since reaching my majority," Elrond said as Glorfindel inserted his vampire teeth. "Having him as a father-in-law is still scary though. You will understand when you marry."
Glorfindel just sighed as he considered that Elrond had not given up on his matchmaking yet.
"So, what did the twins choose as costumes anyway?" he asked.
"I don't know," Elrond said. "They wanted it to be a surprise. Erestor is going to bring them here first before we go down together."
There came a knock on the door before two little balrogs, complete with whips and wings, ran in. They ran circles around their father and Glorfindel while growling. Then they stopped and reached their left hands out. Suddenly, flames shot out from their fingertips towards the adults. Jumping back Glorfindel began to curse.
"Glorfindel," Elrond snapped as Erestor grabbed the twins' arms. "Erestor, how did they do that and why?"
"I don't know," he answered. "I let Gildor help them put on their costumes. They didn't do that when we picked then up yesterday from the tailors."
"I will get him for this," Glorfindel growled under his breath. Then he began to examine the costumes closely. "These are amazingly lifelike. I wonder how he knew?"
"Tuor and Galdor drew some rather graphic pictures of Balrogs after Gondolin fell," Erestor supplied. "I gave them to the tailor to use as a reference. He made most of the costumes rather life like despite Elrond's instructions."
"Will we have a problem with that?" Glorfindel asked.
"Most did not choose such costumes," Elrond supplied. "Many are wearing costumes of mythical or ancient creatures instead. Not all are so life like."
"Wait until you see Celeborn and Thranduil," Erestor joked. "They are going to cause problems of an entirely different sort."
Elrond just rolled his eyes as the twins raced to Celeborn's rooms when told he was here. They followed at a much slower pace picking up Erestor's wife and Lindir with the Lothlorien elflings. Upon arrival, they saw Legolas exiting their rooms dressed like a giant spider.
"I don't think I have ever encountered a blonde spider before," Glorfindel joked as he ruffled Legolas's hair. He choked on his next sentence when Celeborn exited his room followed by Thranduil and the twins. Elrond just started laughing as he shook his head.
"You both are on your own tonight. I would recommend locking your doors if you do not want unexpected visitors regardless of race," he said. "Do your wives know you came with the attention of running around with nothing on but paint?"
"We made concessions, we are wearing loincloths," Thranduil provided. "The first Avari elves didn't."
"I hope you have a herb bag ready Elrond," Glorfindel teased. "People are going to need calming after seeing these two."
"Make that three," Cirdan said as he walked up dressed the same. "Celeborn, I didn't think you were brave enough. I know I wouldn't want to face your wife after this stunt."
"Who do you think gave me the idea?" he responded to the laughter of the others.
"I am glad to see such revelry still takes place among the elves," Mithrandir said as he appeared from out of nowhere and raised his eyebrows at the elf lord's costumes or rather lack of them. "I can't wait until you all sail. Aman will not know what hit them when you arrive. They have all grown old and stodgy."
There was much laughter as they all walked downstairs and into the Hall. The gasps that echoed through the hall at seeing the three painted elves preceded much cat calling and whistles by various warriors before everyone erupted in laughter and applause. Haldir and his men did not feel near as bad now being half dressed as Mermen.
As the elflings mingled with the human children Elrond gave his sons firm instructions about when and where they could use the little flame throwers Gildor had added to their costumes. Then he made a point of letting Gildor know that he was repairing any damage they caused before leaving.
There was much merriment and laughter as the children all ran around and played little tricks on people in order to get treats. The games stationed at different points all had long lines and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Elrond oversaw the festivities so that Erestor could enjoy himself as he had put so much work into making this night a success. Finally the night grew late and the children and elflings began to wind down and were taken to bed where they were watched over by volunteers as the party below turned wild. Elrond's eyebrows went up more than once at the silliness that ensued and he began to question whether someone had spiked the wine with something stronger. Towards dawn, the party finally began to die down as many gathered to watch the sun rise and pay homage to the Eru in song.
Celeborn waited until a day after the party to speak with Elrond concerning his wife. He let Elrond know that Galadriel was working with Celebrían on her attitude but was honest enough with him to explain the reasons behind the problems they were having. He also gently informed Elrond that there might not be a solution. He saw the depth of Elrond's agony at that announcement. He had known probably before Elrond of his feelings for Celebrían and feared the damage caused by her attitude towards humans. Celeborn left the meeting with an understanding that the important part was to lessen the impact on the children. The next morning, Mithrandir left with Celeborn and his party for an extended stay in the Golden Woods. He made a point before leaving of ensuring Elrond that no matter how everything turned out between him and Celebrían, he would not be left alone.
In the Golden Woods, Galadriel and Celebrían went round and round about her attitude towards anything human. Galadriel tried to understand where her daughter had picked up such ideas over the years but could only come to the conclusion that she was influenced by her friends and their attitudes. The only concession Galadriel was able to achieve from Celebrían was one of not trying to take the children away from their father until after their majority.
Celeborn and his party arrived home after being gone for several weeks. His daughter was surprised to learn that he had escorted the elflings to Imladris for the All Hallow's Eve party. She seethed with anger as she saw it as a personal betrayal and hid with her friends instead of confronting him. After being appraised of the lack of progress with Celebrían, her parents came to a painful decision. They would force her to go back and face the situation. It was past time to tell her that she could not use her parent's home as a hiding place instead of facing what she did not like. Celebrían promptly departed two days later after an uncomfortable confrontation with her parents at breakfast.
Elrond was surprised when the border guards relayed the information that Celebrían and her guards were returning. They would be here within hours. He knew that his sons would be happy as they had missed their mother. He missed Celebrían also but was wary. He knew that it was time to have a confrontation with her about the raising of their sons. One where neither walked out. He asked Glorfindel to take his sons on a picnic to the river the next day so he and Celebrían could talk. He did not want them around if the talk degenerated into a shouting match.
Celebrían acted like nothing was wrong when she returned except that she refused to listen to tales about the Hallow's Eve party. She actually got up and walked away rather than stay and listen to a story. Seeing the confused and hurt expression in their eyes, Elrond convinced his sons that their mother was just tired from the trip and would listen to them later. Then he tucked them into bed before finding Erestor and telling him to clear his schedule for the next day.
Celebrían knew that she and Elrond needed to talk but decided it could wait for the next day. In the morning she realized that Elrond had cleared his schedule and had Glorfindel take the twins to the river so they could talk. The shouting match that ensued from their quarters for hours worried everyone and Glorfindel was warned to keep the twins by the river. None knew what was said or agreed on that day but it was soon noted that whenever a human holiday other than Yule was celebrated in Imladris, Celebrían was no where to be found. The twins enjoyed many more All Hallow's Eve celebrations and made a point of teaching their little sister all about it. The only restriction came in the form or an edict that no costumes could contain flame throwers after the twins burned down the kitchen while chasing Glorfindel with them.