Darkness. He hated it, hated the overwhelming way it crept over the landscape, stealing colours, vibrancy and leaving behind a dull parody of the day.
Lindir hated darkness. He hid in his bed, covers over his head, as soon as the sun went down. In the summer this meant very little as the days were long and it was only a short time before the sun once again rose in her glory, bathing the world in the golden glow Lindir loved.
Winter was his nemesis.
Like plants, Lindir hid under a quilt his nana had made, and waited for spring.
Darkness. He had learned to fear it, learned that evil things came out of it, and ravaged, raped and forever changed lives.
Lindir had his quilt. Naneth had wrapped it around him tightly before pushing him far, far into the roots of the old tree down by the river. He had whimpered, trying to cling to her, to plead with her not to stuff him in the darkness, but she had been stern. Stern as nana never was, scared as nana never had been, and Lindir had been silent.
Silent all that night and the next day. Silent into the next night when, huddled miserable and cold, wet and terrified, he had watched in awe as the darkness had parted. It was glowing, this living, walking thing that looked very much like an elf, but not one Lindir had ever seen, not even when it knelt before his tree and smiled very softly.
Just that. A smile, a greeting, and that glow. Warm, golden….the glow was tugging at him and Lindir whimpered once before crawling out of the tree roots, blanket dragging behind him, and into the lap of the glowing elf.
He did not know the elf's name, not then. He didn't need to know. Lindir knew this elf had driven the darkness out before him and that was all he ever needed to know of Glorfindel.
Lindir twisted his hair, a nervous gesture that no one had ever been able to coax him out of, and looked up at the elf standing next to him. "It is very dark." Sidling closer, he trailed a hand up the long leg and slipped his hand in the warm, callused hand that was much, much larger than his.
"Lindir." There was a touch of exasperation in the voice. The voice commanded guards, troops and had once commanded a Balrog to halt.
Tremulous smile. "I don't need to go now."
Exasperation turned to dismay as the very tall elf knelt and turned the child. "Elfling, you did not…."
Lindir's cheeks flushed and his breath hitched. He hated disappointing people, but this particular person…. "I…I'm so-sorry…" Hiccup turned to a sob and he rubbed at his eyes, furious with himself for being such a baby. "I hate…"
"The darkness." Glorfindel gathered the child to him, hugging him, and smoothly stood. "Hush, Lindir. It's not the end of the world. Let's get you changed and then I will tell you a story."
"Will you sit with me?" He hated to be alone. In the darkness that wrapped around him, suffocating and trying to drag him under his bed where Lindir just knew something very awful lived.
Glorfindel stroked the silver hair, light as thistledown. "I will."
And he did.
Lindir shivered and pulled his cloak tighter to his body. "How much longer?"
The calm elf who had always steadied him at such times slanted a look and smiled. "Soon, Lindir."
It had been his idea, this testing. This proving. He had wanted to prove to everyone that he too could be a guardian. Lindir knew he could shoot a bow almost as good as the twins….well, the twins at his age. He knew he could run through the trees faster and more silent than any of his agemates.
And he knew he could last a night in the darkness of the woods.
The glow of the ancient elf was such a part of him, something Lindir always associated with this one elf, that he couldn't imagine what his life would have been without him.
None of the others glowed quite like Glorfindel.
Then again, none of the others had been born in Aman, come to Middle-earth, died and come back, had they? Even Galadriel could not boast of that.
Ha. He thought it secretly, deep where no one would hear it, but from the smirk on Glorfindel's face, Lindir knew it was no secret.
"You will be fine."
Hand clasping his shoulder, firm and transferring confidence, Lindir looked up at his mentor. "Will you be—"
Gentle, but a rebuke.
"I…I will be fine."
"Yes." A squeeze on his shoulder and then, like a ghost, Glorfindel glided away, and melted into the woods.
Leaving Lindir in darkness. Alone.
One night. Just one night. That was all and then no one could say he was… What? Coward? Sissy?
Music was his passion, not fighting or defending, but Lindir wanted to be a defender as well. He wanted to know that if it was needed, his hands and skills would help protect Imladris.
And so he waited in the darkness, composing songs out of the sounds he heard. The hoot of an owl and the soft, almost soundless glide of its passage above him. The creak and sigh of trees as the wind danced through, whispering of rain and secrets from far away. The gurgle of the river, dashing madly towards the falls as if it couldn't get there fast enough. Far away, the high cry of a wolf, soon answered by another…then another.
Lindir sang. He sang to push the darkness back, sang to soothe his fear and keep the memories of a tree and the horrible noises from his mind.
He looked up suddenly, startled by the rustle in the trees, and Lindir's gaze riveted on the splendor of the sea of stars, shining down in magnificent glory above him.
This was what he had been missing, hiding from darkness all those years? This silver choir spread out across the velvet of the black, singing praises to the sky, the moon, the trees, the seas, the Valar.
The songs. Lindir wept for the songs, forgetting that he was afraid, lost in the wonder of songs more ancient than even his race.
And he locked those songs in his mind just as he let the starlight burn the darkness away.
Lindir loved the darkness. Loved the soft glow of the fires after almost everyone had left for their beds or just to roam outside.
Strumming softly on the lute, he sang one of the first songs the stars had taught him that night he had spent alone.
Not alone. Never alone.
He knew that now.
A glow heralded the presence of his old mentor and Lindir opened his eyes with a smile. "Hello."
Glorfindel smiled, and sat facing Lindir. "The darkness parted that night."
"Yes." His fingers flowed into another, older melody. One that brought a smile to Glorfindel's face. "You knew."
"I hoped," was the gentle correction.
Lindir smiled. "Thank you."
A small shake of the head and Glorfindel leaned back on some cushions, letting his gaze settle on the distance, seeing only what he knew.
Lindir watched and learned. Would he glow like that someday? Likely not.
Lifting his voice to praise the stars, the maker, Lindir shined.