It was clear that Caritas had been trashed from the outside. The door had been ripped off, debris trickling from the inside out. Angel and Aragorn both hopped out of the car the moment the car had come to a stop. Angel kicked a chair out of the way as he rushed through the entrance to the club, Aragorn close behind.
“Lorne?” Angel called, his eyes frantically scanning the floor. “Lorne!” No patrons were left. Just a lot of turned over chairs and tables and broken bottles.
“Lorne!” Angel shouted one more time. A soft groan came from behind the bar. Aragorn was closer to it and immediately followed the sound. Angel followed him, stranded papers and glasses catching on his feet.
“Lorne?” Aragorn said as he reached the bar. A crumpled up singing demon lay up against a small refrigerator
“You’re next up, kid,” he mumbled, shifting slightly.
“Here, help me get him up,” Angel said, moving to his friend’s side. Aragorn grabbed his other side. Lorne groaned as he felt himself being lifted up.
“Ugh,” he said. “I need a vacation.”
“Lorne,” Angel said. “What happened?”
“What *hasn’t* happened,” he replied, touching his hand to his bleeding head. “I’m assuming that it wasn’t really you or your charming alter ego that wrecked my place.”
“So it is habit of his,” Aragorn said in confirmation, looking uncomfortably around the club.
“What is?” Lorne said, hissing in pain as he touched his forehead.
“It showed up at the Hyperion,” Angel explained. “The dream demon. He looked like you. He has Dawn.” Lorne met eyes with the vampire, then down at the floor.
“He must have here to see if you might be hiding her here,” Lorne guessed as he attempted to dust himself off, “or to create a distraction to throw everyone off guard. Beautifully played, I must say.”
“Well, he made Fred think she was in Pylea again,” Angel said. “She’s hysterical. While they were chasing after her, he stabbed Lindsey and attacked Connor and took Dawn in Lindsey’s form.”
“Lindsey’s dead?” Lorne asked.
“Almost,” Aragorn answered. “Lord Elrond is a skilled healer. I have no doubt that he will be able to heal your friend.”
“’Friend’ is a bit much,” Angel muttered.
“Lord Who?” the demon asked.
“Elrond. My father.”
“What’s your pop going to be able to do from another dimension?” Lorne asked, confused.
“Oh, right…” Angel said. “That whole big thing. Dawn had a vision of his father and brothers-in-law being sucked into this world after you left. So we checked the cemetery out. Sure enough, they were there. The portal must have still been active there. It’s only been a few hours in Middle-earth. Er, Arda. Whatever.”
“Dawn is having visions?” Lorne questioned.
“Arien’s grandfather has the gift of foresight,” Aragorn answered. Lorne didn’t miss the subtle correction. He would just avoid saying her name altogether when in a conversation with the two of them. “She seems to also have this gift. His presence in this world could be strengthening it. If there was nothing encouraging and training her, she may not have known she had it or gotten into the habit of ignoring it. Elves with the gift of foresight have a strong bond.”
“Elves?” Lorne asked. “Like the blond?”
“My wife is an elf, as is Legolas, yes,” Aragorn explained.
“So D… Ari… Cupcake is an elf?” the demon clarified.
“She doesn’t have the…” Angel started, trailing off with a signal to his ear.
“Lord Elrond is a half-even,” the king replied. “He has both mortal and elven blood. I am mortal. Dawn ears simply display her human heritage.”
“Where did they take her?” Lorne asked.
“No idea,” Angel said. “The only person who would have a clue is a sniff away from dying.”
“But what about your dad?” Lorne questioned, looking at Aragorn. “If she really has this gift, is there a way he could… I don’t know… contact her somehow?” Aragorn looked at the two men in the room.
“It is possible,” he said. “It depends on the strength of Dawn’s ability. If it has been neglected for so many years, their bond might not be strong enough.”
“Well, there’s a small chance then,” Angel said, “and that’s more than we have right now.” Aragorn nodded.
“We must return to the hotel, then,” the king said. “The sooner we try to contact her, the sooner we can act.”
“Let’s go,” Angel said as he and Aragorn lifted Lorne on their shoulders.
“I need a drink,” Lorne said as they limped out of his club.
The world seemed blurry when Fred woke up. She fixed her eyes on the figure in the chair next to her bed as the blurry world came back into focus. She smiled weakly, relieved to see that she could finally see Wesley’s face, not the face of an inhabitant of Pylea. He looked tired, slouched in that uncomfortable looking chair. She slowly lifted her hand to his face, letting the back of her finger gently wake him. He started a little, his worry disappearing as soon as it had had begun when he saw her. He closed his hand over hers, holding it to his face, kissing her knuckles.
“You look so tired,” she said softly.
“I am tired,” he replied just as quietly. Fred smiled.
“Why don’t you get out of that chair and over here with me,” she suggested. Wesley returned the smile, resolving to pull himself out of the chair, a small groan escaping him as his bones and muscles cracked in disagreement.
“I’m getting old,” he complained half-heartedly as he joined his girlfriend on their bed, resting his head on her shoulder.
“You’re not getting old,” she said, wrapping her arms around him. “You’re perfect.”
“No more nightmares?” he asked.
“Not for now,” she said. They laid in a comfortable silence for what seemed like hours, but was probably no more than a few minutes.
“I love you,” he said. Fred’s smiled widened at the simple declaration.
“More than your books?” she asked.
“I’d burn every text in this world to keep you safe,” he said through a smirk she didn’t need to see to know it was there. “At least the ones that have been digitized.” She giggled, playfully slapping his shoulder.
“I love you, too,” she said.
“More than your calculator?” he questioned.
“More than all the calculators,” she said, kissing his forehead. Another long moment of silence passed between the two of them. She twined her fingers with his, feeling sorry he hadn’t gotten any rest in days.
“Something bad happened, didn’t it?” she asked. It was more of a confirmation. Wesley opened his eyes, not sure he’d ever be ready to answer have the conversation they were going to.
“We found Lindsey stabbed when we got you back,” he said. “I went downstairs when you fell asleep. Connor was attacked, too.” Fred sniffled, trying to hold back the tears.
“And Dawn?” she asked.
“She’s gone,” he said. More tears fell. She curled up on her side opposite of Wesley.
“It’s my fault,” she said. “If I could have… just not…”
“No,” Wesley said. “It’s not your fault.”
“I was so scared,” she said, curling up tighter as her boyfriend wrapped her arms around her. “I couldn’t see you. You were all Pyleans. And you were calling me a cow. I… oh God, Wesley. It was so real.”
“It’s over now,” he soothed, forcing her to turn around toward him. “We’ll find her. And we’ll make sure he’ll never scare either of you again.” She sniffled into his shoulder a bit, not ready to open her eyes, afraid too many tears would fall for his shirt to handle.
“What will we do?” she asked quietly.
“They found Aragorn’s father and brothers,” Wesley said. “ Dawn was right. They had crossed over. Lord Elrond has done what he can to heal Lindsey. He said somehow the sword miss his organs. It was too far to the side. They think the dream demon must have been too rushed to be paying attention. He’s just lost a lot of blood.”
“But he’ll live?” Fred clarified.
“We think so,” Wesley replied, looking down at his girlfriend. “He will maybe have an idea as to where they’ve taken Dawn.”
“Did I miss anything else?” she asked, a weak smile forced on her lips. Wesley looked down at the pattern of the blanket, studying it a few moments.
“Aragorn knows who is daughter is.” A long silence blanketed the couple.
“How?” she asked.
“Any number of ways,” Wesley said. “It doesn’t matter really. Not now. Only getting her back. They hope that Elrond can somehow contact her.”
“How would he do that?” she asked.
“He is her grandfather,” the ex-Watcher explained. “If she has any of his powers of foresight, he might be able to reach her. It’s just a matter of whether or not she can access them.” Fred nodded.
“Well,” she said, rising up. “I guess we better get our bottoms down there.” She stood up out of bed, walking around it, and headed for the door.
“Fred?” Wesley said. The physicist stopped as her hand reached for the door handle, turning to see Wesley still seated on the bed.
“Huh?” she asked. He stared at her a while before also rising from the bed, and walking over to stand right in front of her.
“I’m afraid I’ll never find an appropriate time for this. Our lives are too insane to ever allow it. And I can’t wait any longer. I need to do this before something worse happens.” She furrowed her eyebrows together.
“What in the world are you talking about?” she asked. She realized exactly what he meant as he carefully dropped to one knee before her, his eyes never leaving hers. Her eyes widened as a delicate white gold ring appeared on the tip of his index finger as he lifted it up for her inspection.
“I’ve been out of training for gentlemen for quite sometime: but I believe this is still how it’s done.” Fred’s eyes darted back and forth from Wesley to her the ring, not sure what she should be staring at. She wasn’t capable of strangling out a sound, even if she knew what to say.
“I got it a month after we started dating, if that will somehow make you take pity on me and say yes, even if you wouldn’t originally.” A smile slowly managed to make its way across her face.
“I would think a gentleman would actually ask a lady the actual question,” she said playfully.
“Be my wife, Winifred Burkle.” She continued to beam.
“That’s more of a command that a question,” she teased as he stood to his feet.
“That’s because I won’t take ‘no’ for an-” the lips on his stopped him from finishing.
“Can you see her, Ada?” Elrohir asked, sitting down next to his father on the bed provided them. Cordelia had shown them the rooms Dawn and Connor had gotten ready for them after Aragorn and Angel had gone to find Lorne. Elladan’s room had been rather messy, as that was where the attack on Connor and Dawn had taken place. Aragorn, Gandalf, and the twins occupied the room in which Elrond was trying to find Dawn. The AI gang had decided to the give them some space, realizing their tendency to hover around the Elf Lord for any update on his efforts to communicate with Dawn.
Elrond stood to move towards the window to where Aragorn stood. He stared out over the foreign city into which they had fallen. Knowing his granddaughter was out there both disturbed and comforted the Lord of Rivendell. She was so close but so far away. If he could only reach her. He turned to look at his adopted son. His son-in-law. The most noble and honorable of men: broken over the loss of his daughter. Not once, but now twice. He also seemed to be scanning the skyline for her.
It had been five days since they had arrived in this world. Five days since Arien had gone missing from the hotel. Lindsey was still unconscious, but Elrond had been able to help him somewhat easily. The wounds were stitched and healing nicely. Tension was high in the hotel. Lindsey was the only person who would have any idea where Arien would be located. Angel, Gunn, Wesley, and Connor left every night to interrogate the demon population. Nothing. She was nowhere to be found.
“She calls to me in the dark,” Elrond finally said. Aragorn looked at him. Elrond turned back to the window. “Her mind is growing stronger. I hear her now, but she runs from me. She is always in the distance. She will not let me closer into her mind.”
“How is she keeping you away?” Elladan asked. “Why would she? Has she not seen you before? In a vision? Does she not know who you are?”
“I do not know the answer to your questions,” Elrond said to his son who was now pacing the room, itching for a fight. Elrohir put a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “It is so difficult to learn to communicate with one’s mind. If she does not even know that I am trying to contact her, it is even more difficult. So much about her was blocked from me. I do not understand why I could not see who she was. She stayed in Imladris for centuries, until Gollum found the Ring. She was but pure energy in those times. We sent her into hiding to keep her safe from Sauron. She managed to stay hidden while Frodo destroyed the Ring. It was always said that one The Key would be born into a child when the Evil was defeated. I could never see it. It is so obvious to me know. I can sense her power from afar.”
“You must keep trying, Ada,” Aragorn said, turning from the window, impatiently. It was a quality Elrond knew was not natural for the King of Gondor. Impetuous, yes. But Aragorn had the patience of a sage: a characteristic that ran short, apparently, when his family was in danger.
Elrond suddenly noticed Aragorn fidgeting with the jewel around his neck. The Elrond knew the jewel all too well. He had seen it pass from his daughter to the man who now held it. He had seen it dim when his daughter was fading and glow as brightly as it did now.
“Estel,” Elrond said. Aragorn looked to see his father holding out his hand. He hadn’t called him that in a long time. It took him a moment before he realized that he wanted the Evenstar. Aragorn took it off with no hesitation as he placed it in his father’s hand. Dawn had touched it. Her magic had run through it. She had seen visions thorough it. Surely Elrond could as well.
“Where are you going?” Connor heard behind him. He stopped in the middle of strapping a knife to his calf to turn and see Legolas in the doorway of his room. Connor returned to his preparations.
“I’m going to find Dawn,” he said lowly, reaching for more weapons in the trunk in his room.
“Alone?” Legolas said: a smirk on his face. “You can barely best me in a sparring match.” The elf had meant it as a light tease. Unfortunately, the Destroyer was not in a joking mood. Out of no where a staff appeared in the teenager’s hand, catching the elf behind the legs. Legolas found himself on his back looking up at a rather intense looking Connor. The teenager stared coldly down at him.
“I’ve been going easy on you,” he said before returning to loading a gym bag with weapons.
“Dawn said you were once frightfully humorless,” the elf said after a moment, lifting himself off the ground. He knew the boy was grieving, and decided to not take offense to the action.
“She was right,” Connor said, his eyes on his work.
“What made you change?” Connor paused at the elf’s question.
“She did,” he replied, resuming from his moment of reflection. “I was alone when I came back to this world. You remember I was kidnapped?” Legolas nodded.
“Much as Arien was,” the elf replied. Connor scowled, purposefully ignoring the comment.
“Dawn was there for me when I came to live here. I had never known anyone my age. She was…” Connor looked up, staring into the wall, trying to remember what it was like when he first met Dawn. “My savior,” he finished, zipping up his bag, and putting the weapons he wasn’t taking away. “She was always there with me. Through my moods and fights with Angel, she was always there for the two of us, making the peace. I’d never have learned to love or respect my dad if it wasn’t for her. She taught me to laugh. And tease. And to not be scared all of the time.” Connor reached for his jacket and put it on.
“She kissed me once,” he continued. Legolas was startled by the revelation. Not so much by the actual thought: it was naturally for young people to interact with each other in such a way. But the fact the Connor was telling him surprised him. He was so secretive. “My first one.” Legolas watched as the he smiled at the memory. “The man who raised me in Quortoth was murdered. I was told Angel had killed him. It was all a set up to get me to kill him. I tried to punish Angel for eternity, instead. I locked him in a box and was going to send him to the bottom of the ocean forever. But Dawn stopped me in time. She could always get me to listen to her. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to tell her no. Angel was surprisingly forgiving, I must say. Probably because of Dawn. I cried the night I tried to get rid of my dad. She found me in my room… and she kissed me. She stayed and held me all night.” Connor trailed off for a few moments, lost in his own memories before meeting eyes with the elf. He snapped out of whatever quiet had fallen over him, slinging his bag over his shoulder.
“Of course she’s like my sister now. That doesn’t mean I’m going to give her up without a fight.” He stared at the elf purposefully. “To anyone,” he finished, walking out of the door. Legolas did not miss the meaning. Connor didn’t plan on keeping her only from Wolfram and Hart, but from them as well.
The elf followed the boy down a back staircase.
“I’m coming with you,” he said.
“I don’t need your help,” Connor retorted.
“Of course not,” Legolas said. “But I cannot stand by and let you save the day by yourself. I would be incredibly bored. Not to mention jealous of all of the praise you would get for single-handedly saving the day.” Connor begrudgingly allowed the elf to follow him, refusing to allow his mood to improve with the elf there. “Where do you plan on starting?” the elf asked. “Have you not exhausted all of your sources?”
“There’s someone they haven’t tried yet.”
“Why are you not telling your father?”
“Because he would try to stop me from going to this one.”
Dawn sat in the middle of the hall of the mansion. She wasn’t chained anymore. Her captor knew she would not leave him. She remembered the mansion well. She had spent a week in it when she was ten. Three vampires had decided it would be a good idea to torture the slayer by kidnapping her kid sister. She had left that situation surprisingly unscathed. She didn’t even remember being scared. Angelus had of course wanted to slowly pick her apart and leave the pieces for her sister. But Drusilla had stopped him. And of course what Drusilla wanted, Spike seconded. Drusilla had called her a ‘pretty light.’ She had braided her hair and made her drink tea with Miss Edith.
She didn’t have Drusilla or Spike to protect her now.
“Dawnie, Dawnie, Dawnie.” She hated it when he called her that. “You’ve been such a naughty little girl. Not one peep all day. Or yesterday. You now how I love it when you scream.” Angelus pulled backward on her hair roughly, forcing her to face him .She continued to stare at the down. “You’ll have to play nice, or I’ll punish you.”
“You’re not real,” Dawn said evenly. “You still can’t do anything to me.”
“You think not,” Angelus said, running a finger dangerously down her cheek. She hated to associate Angelus with the word ‘sensual’ in her mind, but she had to call it as she saw it.
“You’re just a figment of my imagination. If you actually hurt me, Wolfram and Hart will kill you. I need to be strong to control my powers.” Dawn stared into the vision of Angelus’s eyes. So dark. So real. But they weren’t. “You’re going to have to try harder than that.”
It had taken her two day to remember this. Angelus wasn’t there. Angel still had his soul. He was out there, somewhere, trying to save her. Angel would always come for her. Of all of the memories the dream demon had thrown at her, the vision of Angelus had come the close to breaking her. The Master. Sweet. Adam. The Mayor. Faith. Glory. Sauron.
She realized the last one probably wasn’t really her memory: she must have absorbed it from Aragorn somehow. He was still pretty freaking scary.
But he had decided to pull out the big guns on Day Three and had come in the form of Angelus ever since, recognizing the effect it had on her. He had made her think he was torturing her. Killing the Sunnydale Gang in front of her. All sorts of things she had read about Angelus manifested in her darkest nightmares now brought to the surface. Things she would never tell Angel about when this was over.
Yesterday, he made her think she was seeing Angelus kill Buffy and her mother. The dream demon had miscalculated that particular step.
Granted, Dawn felt as if her heart would tear itself into pieces when she saw it. But it brought her back to reality after she regained her resolve. Buffy and her mother didn’t die and the hands of Angelus. It was not real. None of it was real. It was not really happening. The pain. The damage to her body. It was all in her mind. She had anchored herself on remembering that. When she was home all safe and sound, the gods above would be able to hear her cry when she finally let everything she was feeling out of her body. But she remembered her goal. Now was not the time. Keep it together, Summers. Keep it together, and you’ll survive.
“You’re beginning to annoy me, Dawnie,” the vision of Angelus started, picking up a hot iron from the fireplace rack. One of the many tortures she had felt in her mind over the past few days. “You shouldn’t-”
“Oh, shut the hell up,” Dawn replied, irritated. “Angelus is a hundred times more intimidating than you. He’d have had me begging to end the world yesterday. Is this the best you’ve got?”
And then he was gone. She was in the white room again. When she concentrated enough, she could bring herself here. It was better than waking up to remember she was really in some leaky, disgusting dungeon. She preferred to just stay in her mind. She probably resembled a vegetable in real life. Maybe this is how all of the vegetables were: so in love with their dreams that they refused to wake up. He couldn’t get to her here: the only place in her mind that he couldn’t touch. He could see her memories. He couldn’t see her soul. These were the memories he didn’t know she kept. So deep in her mind even she had never looked at them. She knew her body was in a cell somewhere; but her mind was here.
Oh, they were so beautiful: her memories. Maybe this was what the stars looked like to Drusilla. No wonder she spoke to them so much, in that case. Her chest felt tight, even though she knew it was just her mind imagining her chest was tightened. Some memories were easier to see. Angel holding her when she first came to live with him. Lorne singing her to sleep. The smell of old books as she looked over at Wesley. Cordelia brushing her hair as they watched old romantic movies and ate popcorn with Fred. Holding Connor when he came back from Quortoth.
And some were even harder to remember, but still there. Xander smelling like pepperoni pizza when she hugged him. Willow helping her with her math homework. Giles wiping his glasses. Playing with Buffy’s hair as she fell asleep when the slayer would sleep in her little sister’s bed if she was too afraid of the monsters. Joyce giving her a bath when she was young. Hank letting her sit on his shoulders at a county fair.
And some went back even further.
The smell of earth and herbs. A sweet perfume too subtle to be anything unnatural. Long dark hair. Bright blue eyes. White halls. Singing. Statues. A jewel in her tiny hands. A different language in her ears.
There was a knock at the door to her room. Dawn scowled. Who was it that kept knocking at her door? They weren’t allowed in here. Not unless she let them. How did they know about her room? Always knocking, knocking, knocking. For days, they were knocking.
She finally resolved to walk towards the completely white door and open it.
There stood a familiar face. Familiar but foreign.
“Who are you?” Dawn demanded quietly. “Why do you keep bothering me? You’re not allowed in here.”
“I am here to help you,” the man said. Dawn stared him up and down, evaluating him.
“You may enter here,” she said, moving from the door. “But you can’t touch anything.” The man with long dark hair moved into the stark white space. She noticed the jewel in his hands. She glared.
“That is not yours!” said accusingly, circling him. “Where did you get that?”
“My son let me borrow it,” he said calmly. “I believe it belongs to you.” Elrond held out the jewel, allowing Dawn to slowly reach out and take it gently from his hands. The elf lord stared at his granddaughter as she stared at the necklace in her hands.
She had finally allowed him in. Here, in the deepest recesses of her mind, he could reach her, safe from any danger. Even the dream demon could not penetrate this place, which Dawn characterized as a white room. Flawlessly pure and blank. Only her most treasured memories here. Elrond could see them. He looked at the girl in front of him. She seemed to have a childlike quality in this place. She was openly hostile in her displeasure, and blatant in her curiosity. There was nothing in this most secret place to dull anything she felt. She was not in enough control of her mind to communicate as she normally would. That would only come with time and practice. It had been the same when he first learned to communicate outside of space. He had learned to control his behavior in his mind as he had when he was an elfling.
“This isn’t mine,” Dawn said, staring at the Evenstar in her hand. “This is Aragorn’s.”
“He gave it to his daughter,” Elrond said evenly.
“Where is she?” she asked quietly. It was almost a whisper. “She should have it.” Dawn looked up at Elrond, then down at the robes he was wearing and giggled. “Your clothes are funny.” She turned from him, holding up the Evenstar to the light. Elrond smiled, ever-patiently.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked her. She stopped laughing, turning to look at him as a sober look came into her eyes for the first time since he’d stepped into this haven in which she had allowed him in her mind. She slowly lowered her arms. She stared at him. She bore into his very soul with those eyes. Her father’s eyes. Her mother’s face. He had never been able to deny Aragorn much when he was a child. He had never been able to deny Arwen anything during any time in her life. A child that looked like the two of them merged into one was sure to be his weak spot when this was all over.
“I know your face,” she said, starting a circle around him. She frowned, eyeing him. “How did you get here?”
“You let me in,” he said.
“You would not stop knocking,” she said, irritated momentarily. “How did you find me here?”
“We are connected to one another, Arien,” he said.
“How?” she asked distantly, staring at Arwen’s jewel.
“By blood,” he said. “By time and space. By years that stretched to centuries that stretched to millennia. You are my granddaughter, Arien. You have the gift of sight that was passed to me that I have passed to you. You can connect with me outside of space.”
“Your granddaughter,” she repeated, not looking at him. She again cast her eyes to the side. “I have no family,” she said. “That’s not my name.”
“That is your real name; and you do have a family,” he corrected, walking closer to her as she shifted her eyes to him again. “You are the daughter of Aragorn, Son of Arathorn, King of Gondor. Your mother is my daughter, Arwen Undomiel, Evenstar of her people, Lady of Rivendell, Queen of Gondor.” He stopped in front of her. She looked up at him pitifully, a teardrop falling out of her eyes. Her bottom lip quivered as she gently shook her head as she took and audible breath. She suddenly turned angry as pushed him away from her with all the strength she could muster. She threw the necklace at him with everything she had. He instinctively grabbed it before it hit the floor. The elf lord shifted his eyes from his hand holding his daughter’s necklace to her: shock and sadness stunning him.
“Stop your lies!” she screamed. “I hate you for lying to me!” She turned from him, sobs wracking her body. Elrond longed to reach out to the girl. So hurt and confused and alone in this place. He feared she would push him away even further if he so much as touched her. Every sob was like a dagger to his heart. He approached her slowly, as to not alarm her; but he was quite certain she did not hear him. With as much gentleness as he could, he slowly reached his arms in front of her, necklace in hand, draping it loosely around her neck. She gasped softly through her tears, although she did not pull away. He quickly clasped the jewel behind her neck, and placing his hands on her shoulders.
~You mustn’t be afraid, little one, ~ he said in Elvish. ~You know in your heart who you are. Search it well. Remember us. ~ Her crying slowed to soft sniffling here and there.
“I don’t know what you’re saying,” she said as matter-of-factly as she could while she was crying. “I can’t trust you. I can’t trust anything anymore.” She paused. “I’ve seen her. I’ve seen my mother. He showed her to me.” He stared at the spill of her long lark hair he was facing, confused at her words. His hands remained on her shoulders. She stayed still. “She told me they’d be happier if I just disappeared. They don’t want a teenager with more emotional baggage than they can handle. They wanted their baby, and she’s gone. I’m all that’s left.
“That was not your mother,” he said. “Your mother begs the Valar for your return this moment. Your father and your uncles search for you now. Come back to us.” More tears fell down her face. Elrond was surprised by what he heard next.
“Lira. Lilta. Men,” she said slowly. She collapsed in a pile at his feet, her sobs taking her over.
And then he was gone. Dawn opened her eyes. The stale, damp smell of the cell invaded her nostrils. She coughed slightly. Her head hurt like a bitch. She slowly lifted her hand to find what she was looking for.
A bright jewel dangling brightly from her neck.