Anya made her way back into Rivendell, still in her good mood. Granted, she wasn’t sufficiently skilled in any trade to do more than scrape by as an assistant within Rivendell, and she couldn’t be assured of a long-lasting welcome. But her meddling with Arwen and Strider the Ranger seemed to be going well, and it was so cute to watch him blush and squirm.
Of course, story-time with the handsome yet scruffy Ranger had left her with all sorts of questions. Questions that might be answered in Lord Elrond’s library, if the right scrolls were in modern elven instead of middle or old. Middle she could muddle through enough to get a better idea of things. Old elven left her baffled.
“A good history scroll that I can read…” Anya looked along the shelf. It didn’t help that the library was organized completely different from any system that she was familiar with using.
“You seem far too pleased with yourself to merely be searching for a history scroll. What else have you been up to, Anya?” the voice of Lord Elrond interrupted Anya’s searching.
“I’d ask why you suggest that I could be up to anything, and accuse you of having a suspicious mind, but…” Anya shrugged. He had a good point, and she had been up to things. “Would it help if I said that I only mean things that won’t make your life more difficult, and that those meddling aren’t too much of why I’m in your library?”
“Why are you in the library?” He moved closer, watching her with a half-smile.
Anya shrugged, “I asked questions, and there was long and slightly tangled story time from someone who isn’t a historian. I thought I might find a nice history in modern elven to fill in some of the fuzzy areas.”
“Where does the meddling come into this?” Elrond asked.
For a few moments, Anya considered playing ignorant. Then she considered trying to distract him by dropping her dress and pouncing on him, right there against the shelves. Tempting, but… he’d still probably ask questions, and she didn’t know if the blunt approach for seduction would work. It seemed that the only route would be honesty, though maybe not full and complete disclosure. “You apparently won’t give your blessing to Arwen and her Ranger until two separate nations reunite. I pointed out that they could work together to make that happen, if they actually want to be married and happy.”
“Why?” he moved closer, pulling a few scrolls from a shelf. “Your future happiness is not tied to theirs.”
“I’ve noticed the way they watch each other. With that suggestion, either they do something about it, or they decide that it’s too much work, and try to find someone else, someone easier to have. Either way, it’ll break the whole frustrated tension.” Anya grinned a little, “And this way, if he becomes a king with a nation instead of a hereditary king in exile, I might be able to have a future as one of his meddling advisors instead of depending on the hospitality of Rivendell for the rest of my life.”
“Ambitious,” Elrond gave a small chuckle. “Do you know which they will choose?”
“They’ll probably at least look into what it would take to change the politics. I have no idea if they’ll go for it or give up before they begin,” Anya shrugged.
“In my younger years, I might have taken that as a slight against my daughter’s ability to complete a task that she sets her mind to accomplishing,” Elrond settled at one of the tables. “But you are not certain that she has accepted the task yet, are you?”
“While many things are said of your daughter, I haven’t heard anyone accuse her of being a fool. She’s going to look into what it would take to unite those nations, and then figure out if she wants to try it. At the very best, it’ll be a lot of work,” Anya shook her head, and wondered how much of Arwen’s likeliness to accomplish this political restructuring would be for the challenge, and how much to have her father’s blessing to have her scruffily handsome ranger. “You’d know better than I how likely she is to let the scale of the task convince her not to try.”
“Hmmm,” the frown accompanying that noise suggested that he had an idea what Arwen might do, and he didn’t care for his thoughts. “It would be a large undertaking.”
“Very large,” Anya agreed. “And I’m not going to be meddling any further.”
“Because you are opposed to meddling?” One eyebrow lifted in an expression of disbelief.
“Because I don’t know enough about the situation to meddle to any benefit,” Anya admitted. “I’ve got them thinking about it, and I don’t know enough to be any more help at this point. If they succeed, I can benefit. If they decide not to go forward with the idea… well, I don’t know that I benefit, but I don’t lose anything. But I don’t think I’d like them to go out and fail with pain and injury and maybe death. They seem likeable enough that I might get upset.”
“Which you would prefer to avoid,” Elrond’s voice was dry.
“Doesn’t everyone prefer to avoid getting upset? Don’t most prefer that people they consider likeable not get mangled or killed? I don’t know either of them well enough for more than fondness,” Anya decided not to mention that she also found Strider quite pleasant to look at, but that wasn’t due to his personality. “I’m just a bit blunter about saying such things.”
“And if I were to tell you…” Elrond paused, for a moment considering his words before he finished his sentence. “If I were to say that your future was not tied to the success or failure of their efforts to unite Gondor and Arnor?”
Anya had some wildly unlikely ideas about what other options she might have. Images of ripping those silken robes from his body and doing interesting things on the table. Of sneaking into his room to wake him up in a few very personal ways. She tried to calm her hormones, and smiled, certain that she was blushing. “I still would prefer they didn’t get maimed or killed. But it’s nice to have options, and I’d be interested in learning what those options might be. Some options have more appeal than others.”
“And there is no need to be over-hasty,” Elrond mused.
“Being too hasty can cause problems all by itself,” Anya agreed. She’d seen more than a few examples of that over the last thousand years.
“Perhaps you would be willing to spend some time with some of the craftsmen of Rivendell? To compare your bits of knowledge with some of the knowledge of our home?” The wistful note to his voice suggested that he had some sort of hopes and perhaps daydreams that he wasn’t quite willing to mention yet.
“I think I’d like that,” Anya smiled at him. She wasn’t certain what ideas he might have, though she had her own ideas and suspicions. But skill with magic could almost always be useful.
“There might also be the benefit that spending time studying magic would keep you too busy for further meddling,” Elrond smiled at her.
Anya just laughed. She’d let him think that magic lessons would keep her too busy to meddle if it helped him feel better.
End part 9.