Saturday, April 6, 2013


I have really begun to wonder why I thought everything would be easy and calm after having so many children born so close together. With Ettelendil, Erondir, and Fiendir it is like I have male triplets this time around. It doesn't help that their sleeping schedule has somehow become so varied that they are never all asleep at the same time. One is always awake needing attention, and that means my own amount of sleep has been very low. I've had to rely on Galaran so much. Otherwise, I would never have any time to rest at all. I know I needed to let Herindur go off on his own, but I do slightly regret not asking him to stay around a little bit longer. I just wish I could find some way to get a tiny break.

I do manage to find peaceful moments here and there though. Most of those moments come when I'm spending time with Minai. I'm doing everything I can to make sure that she's not being overlooked or forgotten in this crowded house of boys. I'll even give up an opportunity to sleep in order to get a couple minutes alone with her, and I can tell Minai appreciates the effort. Even if that effort is me unsuccessfully attempting to help her with her homework. All in all, she takes living in a male loaded household in stride. Although it's probably because she's grown up surrounded by brothers that has made her so tough.

Everything was in its routine of typical controlled chaos. Then one relieving mildly calm day came. For the first time in a long time, I thought we were going to make it through 24 hours without any major incidents or problems. I should have known that would be impossible. Not that what happened is something I'm going to complain about.

A knock came on the front door. Since it was already after dinner, I had a hard time thinking of anyone who would be visiting so late. I thought my mind was playing a horrible trick on me when I opened the door. Eiji strolled in with a big smile on his face as if things had never changed. I was struggling to find words when I noticed two more figures behind him. Eiji had brought Londuil and Ninnor with him, but they're no longer the little toddlers I remember. I couldn't react at first.

Then when Ninnor rushed up to hug me, I held him so tightly I thought I might accidentally break him. I controlled myself better when I hugged Londuil before caving and giving Eiji a hug as well. I was finally able to ask him why they were there after that. Eiji thought since the boys were on summer break, it would be a good time to bring them down for a visit. And he didn't mention this idea of his because he decided a surprise would be better. He had planned on them arriving earlier in the day, but their flight had been delayed. And besides, Eiji said, because I've been so distant over the phone he thought maybe we could talk properly now.

It would be a bit later before we would get that chance to talk. Galaran and Minai caught wind of the commotion and came rushing towards the door. As soon as Eiji and Galaran caught sight of each other, tension came over both of them. I know Pararil, Galaran, and Herindur still haven't forgiven Eiji for taking away Londuil and Ninnor, as well as causing me pain and leaving them. Though as soon as Galaran started talking to his brothers, the anger left his eyes, and Eiji (and I) relaxed.

The front room became so loud then. Eiji was, surprisingly, absolutely thrilled and excited to meet Minai and Ettelendil. He wanted to see Erondir and Fiendir too, but they were already asleep. Ninnor and Minai hit it off quickly, and the two of them started talking so fast that I couldn't keep up. Galaran eventually took Ette from Eiji, and he and Minai took Londuil and Ninnor on a tour around the house since the two  couldn't remember it.

Eiji and I were alone. I waited for him to speak. He started out by telling me that while he knew I wouldn't mind Londuil and Ninnor staying over, he had gone ahead and booked a hotel room for himself. I almost agreed that he had done the right thing, yet once more, I couldn't get the words out. While my brain was confused on what I should say, my heart made me spit out the words I really wanted to say. I insisted that I would rather have him stay here. I was tired of fighting to keep him at a distance, and maybe things can't be like what they were before, but that doesn't mean we have to be strangers. I want things to be right between us.

Eiji says that's exactly what he wants too. He was half amused, half serious when he told me what I just said is what he's been trying to say over the phone all this time. Was it really that hard to let him say what he had needed to? I smiled and apologized, but then reminded that if I had be probably wouldn't have come along on this little visit. Eiji smiled, and then said that since it was so late he should start getting the couch set up for his bed, right?

Exactly, I told him.

I helped him to get the couch comfortable for a night's sleep. I was about to leave the room when I asked Eiji if he needed to contact the hotel or something. A large, guilty smile spread across his face. Eiji admitted that he had been lying when he said he got a hotel room. He knew from the start that I would let him stay.

I threw a pillow at his face.

I found out the next morning that Eiji wasn't quite done with his surprises though. Bringing Londuil and Ninnor was only the beginning. When we all finished eating he asked if I remembered the time I told him of how Eloril and my other children surprised me with a trip to France. I did remember. Eiji said he hoped that I didn't mind too much, but he had decided to copy them a bit. He had prepared a trip to China for Londuil, Ninnor, and I. That way I could relax, and the three of us could have some true quality time together.

Oh, I wanted to go so badly, but I was about to reject the offer. I couldn't just leave Ette, Erondir, and Fiendir out of the blue. There was no way Galaran would be able to handle all of them and his job by himself. Perhaps both Eiji and Galaran could sense those thoughts going through my mind, for Eiji pointed out that he hadn't said he was going on the trip as well. He would be able to help take care of the household while I was away. Galaran fully support him. With Londuil and Ninnor look at me with such anticipation, I couldn't say no.

I asked when we were supposed to leave. Two hours, Eiji told me. He really has taken a page out of Eloril's book...

As soon as Eiji dropped us off at the airport, all my reservations left and I became fully excited. Londuil and Ninnor haven't been out of the country yet, and they were especially glad to be going with me. I thought things might be a bit awkward between us with it only being us, but it wasn't. Our separation has done nothing to lessen our bond. I feel as close to my sons as I did when I still had them with me every day. We used the long plane ride to get caught up. I was surprisingly fascinated to hear what their lives are like living away from me.

As we landed, I made a resolution that this time around I wouldn't get pregnant by a man here. I don't want a repeat of what happened with Yves and Nikara. It's still hard to have my daughter so far away. No, for this trip, it's going to be all about spending time with Londuil and Ninnor. We were so excited that despite out jet lag we went sightseeing right away. We had a bit of trouble getting our bearings because not all of the locals here spoke our language like the locals in France did. I was able to find a woman though who was able to help us out. Thanks to her, we know knew what each building was and what the best places to visit were.

Just as we were about to sit down for lunch, a fight broke out between two men near us. They were shouting in Chinese, so I had no idea what the issue was. Londuil cheered them on, for which I was very disapproving of.

The two men stopped fighting and left the area as quickly as the altercation started. The three of us were then able to eat in peace. Londuil and Ninnor had no problems using the chopsticks we were provided. Mr. and Mrs. Hugh apparently visit often and always make traditional Japanese dishes for them to eat. I, however, was absolutely useless trying to eat with the chopsticks. Londuil and Ninnor did their best teaching me how to hold and use them. By the end of the meal, I was decent enough.

Most likely spurred on by the fighting men, Londuil really wanted to visit the martial arts academy. It's been a long time since I've practice the fighting techniques I learned when I was at home with the other elves. My skill used to be so great that on a good day I could best even my father. Unfortunately, all this child bearing has not left me a lot of time to continue to hone everything I used to know. My fighting abilities have become quite rusty. Still, a lot came back to me as I practice with the training dummy. Londuil, who I have to admit looked pretty ridiculous trying to figure out how to hit the thing properly, kept sending jealous glances my way.

Ninnor, who doesn't really care about martial arts, preoccupied himself with the nearby telescope.

I did go over and help Londuil get the basics of fighting down before too long. Then one of the women who was trained in the specific martial arts they practice here came and gave both of us a proper lesson. At the end, she gave each of us a real keikogi and belt. Londuil suggested that we spar next. We went up to the area provided for such challenges.

Londuil put up an unexpected challenge. He picked up the skill much faster than I thought possible. Our skill level was too different though. I didn't go easy on Londuil, but I wasn't about to let him win either. I kept the match going until I could tell he was satisfied before taking my win. Londuil didn't mind that he lost.

We spent the rest of the evening at the academy. It was only when it got dark that we went to the travelers' house to eat, take showers, and get some sleep. I told Ninnor that he could choose what we would do next since he hadn't really been interested in what Londuil and I had been doing.

Ninnor want to visit many more places. As soon as we finished eating breakfast the next morning, we made our way to the Temple of Heaven. It was a long trip there- it took us the entire morning walking up the winding road that led to it. The view from the top of the temple made the trek worth it though. The nice picnic lunch we had afterwards didn't hurt either.

We then legged it so we could as many places as possible.

The Dragon Springs,

the Terracotta Army, 

the Dragon's Maw,

and the Land of the Ancestors. We got to see them all. It was interesting to think about how my parents were alive even before most of this place existed. It really showed me just how ancient they actually are. I mean that in an endearing realization of awe kind of way.

We finished the day by going shopping for souvenirs. I felt bad that Galaran and Minai weren't able to come so I wanted to get something really great for them. I might have gone a bit overboard though. At first, I only planned on getting some fireworks and an incense holder. Then Londuil convinced me to get a training dummy and board breaker. Then there was a fortune cookie maker that I couldn't resist. It was a good thing Eiji had given me a decent chunk of spending money.

The last day of our vacation came. It was sad to see it end so soon, and it didn't help that word reached us that a tragic event had happened during the night. A local, Shan Cai Feng, had been burned to death in a fire. With Shang Simla being so close-knit, everyone we met was depressed. Londuil, Ninnor, and I tried our best to enjoy our last hours despite the heavy mood. I bought some new recipes, and Londuil and Ninnor hung out with some locals their age.

The inevitable time to board our flight came though. As we were taking off, I got one last beautiful look at the place that was going to be at the center of some very special memories for my sons and I......


Julie said...

See I told you Eiji is too cute - you need to find a way to give him elf immortality so when her task is over they can be together - we can but dream!!

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