"I was sad to leave Calador," Serilinn said as she strolled along in the Palace gardens with her mother-in-law, the day after the funeral, "so very sad, to know I would never return. And yet this Island has a hold on me already. And I have been here but a few days."
Celebrian smiled. "In a few months," she said, "you will scarcely be able to imagine any home but this."
She glanced aside at the gardens, alive with butterflies and bees and hummingbirds that fluttered and buzzed over the wisteria and honeysuckle and roses climbing and drooping from the walls, where Bryseluthea and Meleth sat with Galadriel and Elwing and young Luthien near a large fountain, chatting over needlework and weaving, keeping an eye out for Luthien's little two-year-old daughter toddling and ambling about in her baby beauty and curiosity, while the twins walked with their father and little Edenost, who hung onto Elladan's arm. From time to time he cast a glance toward the little one, whom he had been told was his cousin. He had so many cousins here, it was a trifle overwhelming.
"He looks just like his father," Celebrian commented with shining eyes, "save that his hair is a little lighter. But likely it will darken in time."
Serilinn smiled. "Aye, he has brought so much joy to us. I longed for a child for so many years, and had almost despaired of ever getting one, when he finally came along. We raised my grand-nephew after his parents died in that terrible epidemic when he was a babe. I wish he might have come with us, but he would not leave Calador. He has a wife and a little daughter now, and another child on the way. I so hated to leave them behind...but now we have Edenost. And Elladan is such a wonderful father. I'm so thankful Ada lived long enough to see his grandson also. And I am glad my grand-nephew and his family are now living in Radagast's house. I still miss them. But I would not turn back now. It is such a relief to know that the friends I shall make here will not grow old and die right before me, and I am doubly glad for Edenost and any other children we shall have."
Serilinn blinked back tears. Celebrian laid an arm about her waist.
"I can scarcely tell you how thankful I am to you and your mother and sister for bringing back my sons to me," she said just above a whisper. "And you'll tell me more of Arwen?"
"I will be happy to...in good time," Serilinn said, wondering to herself just how she would speak of Arwen's passing. It had gone very sadly indeed. "Well, perhaps not happy. But willing. And likely Bryseluthea could tell you even more, although I know it will be hard for her also."
"I shall ask her in good time," Celebrian said. "Just now she is too fresh from the grief of losing her father. Although she does have her joy in her coming child."
"It seems joy and sorrow are as inseparable twins," Serilinn said. "Where one is, the other is not far away."
Edenost broke away from his father and came running up to his mother and grandmother, crying, "Nana, Radagast is here! What is happening to him? He is turning young! What does this mean, Nana?"
Radagast was coming through the garden gate with Olorin, and Serilinn gasped. She had not seen him since the previous morning, since he had been staying with Olorin and his wife Riannor and their youngest son at their country home. His beard was gone, the hair of his head now a dark brown throughout, his face smooth and unlined. And yet he was easily recognizable, still in his brown robes.
And a small falcon now perched on his shoulder.
"He is youthening," Serilinn said with wide eyes. "What a wondrous sight!"
"He is returning to his original form," Celebrian said, "as did Olorin, when he first arrived here."
Edenost ran to him, then stopped short at the sight of the bird.
"How do you like my new friend?" the Wizard said with a beaming smile. "Her name is Kulu."
"Hullo, Kulu," the boy said a little shyly. Olorin chuckled. Radagast took the falcon onto his wrist.
"Would you like to hold her?" he asked the boy.
"Aye, I would," Edenost said holding out his arm in the same manner the Wizard was holding his. He set Kulu on the lad's wrist. The falcon blinked her golden eyes--which had given her her name--at him. Edenost was used to birds, and liked them very much, and already could tell the names of many. Elladan sometimes joked that he was really Radagast's son.
"She's very pretty," Edenost said smiling. "Where did you find her?"
"Out in the mountains," Radagast said. "Soon you must come out there with me, my lad. The countryside is scarcely to be believed. I can hardly believe that I am truly home...at last."
He stood there full of a light that seemed to chase the clouds from the sky and whiten the pillars of the palace gardens.
"Aye, we all are," Serilinn said as her husband came up behind her to see the new acquisition.
Before anyone could say more, a cry was heard from the ladies about the fountain, and they all turned to see Bryseluthea standing, laying a hand to her slightly bulging belly. The others stood also. Serilinn looked to Radagast and then to Celebrian with concern, then to her sister again, then they all ran to her.
"It's moving!" Bryseluthea called. "Come and feel it! Ohhhhhh!"
Serilinn smiled then, recalling when she had first felt life stir inside her. Her reaction had been far different; she could only stand still radiating a joy that was too great to give voice. But Bryseluthea emitted a squeal that sent Kulu fluttering up into a nearby tree, then jumped up and down like a small child, then spun around with a dancing step, laughing and crying all at once, and she hugged first her mother, then her sister, then her mother-in-law, and finally her husband, who took hold of her very carefully, while Elladan smiled across at him over her shoulder.
"Is it going to be born now?" Edenost spoke up. His mother laughed a little.
"Not for a good while yet, dearest," she said. She took his hand and pressed it to his aunt's belly, beaming at the expression on his face. And remembering what Bryseluthea had said when she first realized she was pregnant.
"If it is a lad," she'd said, "I wish to call him Zylantheleu, after Ada. May I, Ada?"
Yet Greenjade had seemed not to recognize the name....
And five months later, when the babe was born, she was called Arwen Undomiel.
Eventually she would come to resemble her namesake aunt so strongly, both in appearance and in personality, that all about her would be constantly be filled with wonder and secret unbidden excitement.
Now she merely lay in her mother's arms, freshly bathed and sleeping, and Bryseluthea leaned her cheek on her newborn daughter's head and smiled with the exhausted radiance of which only a new mother is capable. Elrohir sat on the edge of the bed at her side, while Meleth and Serilinn stood at the foot with Edenost between them, the boy gazing transfixed and speechless at his new little cousin.
"I saw Ada," Bryseluthea said raising her head a little. "He seemed to look down at me from a great height, a tower atop a white and winding stair, and his face was like a star and he appeared clothed in...dazzling brightness. It was as if he had been...waiting...just for this. I looked up at him begging him to come down...but he just stood there and...smiled, until he was...all swallowed up in light...and then...he was...gone...and..."
She yawned hugely, then closed her eyes in sleep, her face inclined toward the western window, her free hand in Elrohir's.
And Meleth and Serilinn looked to the window, but all they could see was the sun sinking in the lacy-looking clouds over the glassy waters of the sea that reflected the scarlet and gold and green and silver-blue shifting streaks and puffs of the aurora in the twilight sky above, and the Evenstar peeping just above the brilliance of it all, as if enthralled by a distant sound of singing from the restless wavelets below.