Chapter 1: Letters To An Idiot
Dear Stuck-up Jerk of an Elf,
I'm very odd for an elf, I realize that. Few others do, though. I've managed to blend in rather well, if I do say so myself. Apart from the whole most famous child in the wizarding world thing, I can make myself blend into any situation. Long ago I learned the utmost importance of becoming invisible without an invisibility cloak.
Really, it's rather funny how completely I changed myself. I do believe that dear Professor Snape would have a heart attack if he could see me now. I'm considered intelligent. Not just intelligent, but wise as well. I always thought of it as the ultimate prank on the wizarding world, actually. A Slytherin who was completely Gryffindor to the rest of the world, hiding everything important from prying eyes.
I can thank the same people who taught me un-invisible invisibility for that skill as well.
That was always my problem, you see. I hide far too well. It's bad enough when no one else knows there is a hiding game. Worse is when they can't even tell that you are hiding, because you're doing it in plain sight. Worst of all is knowing that quite possibly no one actually cares if you are or not. But I'll tell you a secret- I'm actually too much of a coward to see if there is anyone who really cares that I'm hiding.
I wasn't always, but then they got killed. Actually, it happened a couple times, if you think on it. First my parents and all of their friends. Then my friends at Hogwarts. I lost even more friends to Mordor. See? I did try once I got here. Yes, I couldn't believe that I got involved in ANOTHER war either. After that last war though, there was nothing left. Only one friend survived, and he lives in Lorien with his brothers. There's irony or something like it in the fact that I'm second choice once again. It's always something or somebody else. Dudley, the Greater Good, social status- only Ron and Hermione cared about me beyond everything else.
I can't say my parents, because they had a choice. They could have gone back to their families, decided that I was more important than the prophecy. Dumbledore convinced them to stay, and then lied to them about the Fidelius. Either of my parents could have held the secret, they didn't need Pettigrew. Still, I don't blame them for staying, but they chose the Greater Good over me.
But I digress. I'm an odd elf on the inside, because I still measure time more as a human than as an elf. My logic (which I still have, despite years with elves and wizards of various kinds) is different. I don't just burst out into song or dance or poetry. I'm not a very good female, either. I hate dresses and bright colours and PINK. I know that compared to others, I am very cold. Expressionless. Emotionless. I have never and could never care about anyone besides myself. Ha!
Despite myself, I know that I would walk unarmed into Mordor, if Lord Elrond asked it. If his children were in trouble, I would quite likely do something heroic and idiotic to save them. Lindir- I would walk across the world to keep him smiling, the dear heart. Figwit, kind soul that he is, I can never stay cross at him. The cook, who always has a nice word for me and worries about my diet. The guard who always smiles at me when I pass, because I remind him of his sister. Even Gildor, that careless wanderer of an elf, who never stops trying to make me laugh, and brings me silly little things, and hugged me when a stupid little toy he brought me made me cry. He never told.
Despite myself, I care for others. Far more than they care for me, but that's fine. I'm rather used to it, of course.
Perhaps you are wondering why I am writing this. I'm not sure myself. You can't read it, no one besides myself can, it's in English. Even if you could read it, you wouldn't understand the things I've written about my past life. It's just that you hate me, and I don't know why.
Yes, I'm different, but you aren't exactly the average elf yourself. It would be nice if you could just leave me alone. You scare me sometimes, because I never got over my reflexes and instincts built from first the Dursleys and multiple wars. You get that air about you, as though saying that if it were not for my gender, bad things would happen. I get rather tense, I can't help it. Why won't you tell me what I did that's so wrong?
You are an arrogant fool, too full of yourself to see that perhaps someone is hurting. Too blind to realize that different isn't automatically bad. I try to avoid you, but unfortunately we work for the same person.
I'm not going to sail, though. Nothing could make me spend the rest of until the world ends with you and your ilk. Because despite those few who act nice to me, the rest follow your lead. I'm a pariah in Rivendell now, thanks to you. Glares, hostile remarks, and the rumours! I can only imagine how much worse it will be in Valinor, where your title as Lord will mean even more.
No. I will take the risk of staying. I can blend in with humans, even if it means leaving a lot. I don't mind, I like travelling. I've never had a home, so it's not like I'm missing anything. I hope you're happy. I am only staying to see this fight with Sauron through. I'm no quitter, you see. Even you can't make me.
I won't let you get to me. Besides, it'd be rather lousy for me to survive so much (Vernon, Voldemort) only to get killed by a stuck up warrior. A stuck up BLONDE warrior at that. One of the fair folk. No way. I'm running on fumes, yes, but I still have that instinct to survive. You have nothing on the Cruciatus.
So I'm sorry that you hate me and I don't know why, but I won't give in. On the bright side, you'll be free of me once Sauron is defeated. I hope you're happy now, jerk.
Rose E. Potter, Girl Who Lived, Child of Destiny, Survivor.
Mithrandir came in, saving the parchment from the fire at the last moment. He had a feeling that this was important, and with a quick touch of magic, realized only a few moments later that a certain blonde warrior needed to read this.
With a smirk, he realized that this would shake things up a bit. Good thing too, since life was rather dull in Imladris at the moment. And honestly, the poor girl could use something to help her see how many people really did care. Humming a touch, he went to deliver the letter.
Dear Insolence in Elven Form,
I take great offence to your descriptions of myself in the previous letter. They were completely unwarranted and uncalled for.
That having been said, I will be completely honest and tell you that I do not like you at all.
Once an elf has died, they go to the Halls of Waiting. Once there, they spend almost the entire time around the fëar of other elves. Having been given a new hröa and returned to Arda Marred, I am far more sensitive to the differences in fëar. Yours is different and completely wrong for an elf. It is almost as though you are not an elf at all, or not supposed to be one.
I do now know what you are, or what your purpose here is, but I want you to know that I am watching you. Always. You will not harm those I have been sent to protect.
I do not know what your letter is supposed to mean, why you spun such lies in a rather blatant attempt to gain sympathy. It was not in this "English" as you claim, but in Sindarin, plain as daylight.
Play not such tricks, for you are far too inexperienced with the use of wit to match mine- indeed, perhaps these humans you claimed as friends were truly perfect for your level. Still, you cannot imagine to be capable of reaching any significant level by elven standards.
I warn you again, I am honour-bound to fulfill my duty to protect Lord Elrond and his kin. Do not attempt to harm them in any way, shape, or form.
Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, formerly of Gondolin, appointed protector of Imladris and her occupants by the Valar.
I think the form of address says it all, you prejudiced, empty-headed camel. I would die before harming any of Lord Elrond's family, or bringing harm to Imladris. I may dislike the majority of the people, but I am no Maeglin.
Perhaps you are confused, I hear it happens with ancient elves. Old age sets in, as does the loss of memory and intellectual sharpness. But you see, you are attempting to correct an oversight you made over an age ago. There is no enemy seeking to betray Imladris, I have my own protections against such a thing. If there is any evil dwelling here, it is the intolerance and superior attitude you and your groupies propitiate about.
Anything not Calaquendi is horrible, primitive, and barbaric. Were it not for my attachments (once again, despite myself) here, I would long ago have left for Greenwood. At least there the rituals celebrated are not only for the Calaquendi, but extend to all those who are (Gasp in horror!) Moriquendi. I have been treated with more kindness by those who are not the so-called High Elves. Think on that for a bit. The 'simple, silly' elves acting with more common decency. Imagine that. You speak of honour and dignity and respect for others, yet every day treat me with contempt. You say that females of all races should be treated with respect, and prove yourself a hypocrite with every interaction.
Truth hurts, does it not?
You are an arrogant troll of an elf, and you act as one. Everything must be done with sheer blunt force, either of will, power, or personality. I do not bend to this, and therefore annoy you.
What's more, that letter was never supposed to be found by you. I have a suspicion as to who translated it and delivered it. Still, if you speak of the contents of that letter to any elf, you will learn just why it is a very bad idea to make a wizard angry.
As it concerns my fëa, I do not find it any of your business. Still, I will tell you that if I had my druthers, I would have lived a nice peaceful, mortal life. As with everything else in my life though, nothing can be normal or nice. Or mortal either, apparently. Once again, not that this truly concerns you.
Now, if you will pardon me (or not, I care little for your blessings in this), I have an Istari to hunt down.
Erestor, the elleth who is going to stuff your letter down your face if you continue to insult me.
You would be wise to take greater care of false accusations. I know for a fact that the fair Lady Erestor spoke (or wrote, rather) no lies. As it stands, I am also well aware of her abilities. I fear my beard may never recover.
Be that as it may, I saved the letter from fiery destruction and translated it. I am a wizard, am I not?
The Lady Erestor makes many good points, you would do well to listen to her. What is more, you have a chance to prevent a grave error on your part, one which will cost you dearly in the future.
Perhaps asking that you become friends is too great a task- reborn or not, you are only an elf. Still, I do think it would be beneficial for all involved if you were able to be in the same area without attacking her.
hröa-body/physical form, singular
Calaquendi-'Light' Elves, who made the march to Valinor. Some only apply it to those who actually went to Valinor, others to those who followed with the original intent to. This includes the elves known as Vanyar and Noldor.
Moriquendi-'Dark' Elves, those who did not travel or attempt to travel to Valinor, therefore ignoring the Valar's call. Not politically correct, I believe, but still often used by the Calaquendi. This includes the elves known as Silvan and Avari.
*Spoiler Warning for The Silmarillion!
*Maeglin-Dark Elf who betrayed Gondolin to Morgoth (evil dude who predated Sauron), leading to it's downfall and Glorfindel's death by way of Balrog/mountain cliff falling
Chapter 3: Long Walks by Moonlight
To my everlasting chagrin, I must begin this letter by admitting that you are correct in at least one of your accusations. Attempting to prove you wrong, I asked some of our resident Silvans about celebrations and traditions, and whether or not they were adequately represented here. To an elf, they laughed in my face.
This does not vindicate you completely! What protections do you speak of? And how came you to desire a mortal life? Such a longing only occurs within the Peredhel. Can you count yourself among their number?
I have been threatened by Gandalf. And yourself as well, both in letter and by extension. I was unaware that so many colours existed in the spectrum, let alone that you could force them onto one Istari for so long. How long will he be a walking rainbow, if I may ask?
That is beside the point. Due to the threats on my person, I will attempt to be civil, if only because it is far better for Imladris if we are in agreement. The one who rules the household and the one who rules the army.
As for your accusation of being overly blunt, not all of us can act like snakes, sly and cunning and always ready to strike manipulate words as you can. True, I have played the role of diplomat before but it is in no way to my liking. I am a warrior first, it was my calling when I first crossed from Valinor, and it is no different now that I have been reborn. I cut through the barriers and accomplish what has been set before me, no matter how delicate politicians say it be.
You also claim that I am proud and a hypocrite. It pains me to say that perhaps you are correct. Yet there is something about you that warns me, and it is, for all your assurances, far too like Maeglin for comfort. I have seen far too many deaths at the ends of elves to simply trust your 'good word' that your intentions are not ill. It is a hard won lesson, and one I freely admit to be loath to release.
Still, I offer a slight branch of peace between us. Answer my questions, and I will behave neutrally towards you. It is my offer, take it or leave it. As mentioned before, I am no diplomat to bargain with, and my terms are not for discussion.
Be a dear and take a long walk off of a short pier, please.
Perhaps it would be a touch wiser if you were to actually attempt to make peace, and not just claim to in the name of pacifying myself and the Lady Erestor. I fear that if you do not actually try, there will be consequences and I will have to let someone else in on this ongoing discussion. Do not worry, I am sure that they will see everything from a more neutral perspective.
Do try to remember that you are the one who has forced my hand. You could not put your issues aside, and neither could you actually bother to reconcile yourself with Lady Erestor, preferring to instead harbor your ill feelings and nurse your dislike. I have seen and heard her attempts at reconciliation in the past, and watched them be rebuffed time after time. She has been forced to protect herself against you, and you must be more diplomatic, despite your dislike of such.
If you truly desire to aid Lord Elrond by making peace, perhaps you should act like it.
Mithrandir, Wizard with a rainbow beard.
Chapter 4: Playing Q & A
As so delicately insinuated by your previous letter (and Gandalf's staff), I must eat my words. I must ask that you not take this as a literal thing, as threatened before.
Fine. I propose this: I must know more of you, ere I make a judgment concerning your status here. Perhaps I could ask questions. You answer at least one. One your binding oath of honour, you will speak and write naught but the truth. In turn, you may ask questions of myself, and I will do as you. Next we see of each other we may make our oaths.
Just please do not tell Mithrandir. I did not think you were sharing your letters with him. He will be far too smug about it, and the only thing worse than an angry or upset Istari is a smug Istari. He will be insufferable for decades were he to catch wind of this. Please? I ask this of you as a token of your goodwill.
As I token of my own, I formally apologize for my own poor behavior. It would have been far more honourable to simply confront you, yet I allowed it to fester for centuries. This was extremely unwise and impolite of myself, and should you prove blameless in motive, I will be the malicious and cruel one for your persecution. Still, at least you were not completely helpless. You do have a strong mind, quick and always answer ready.
On a side note, I did enjoy how you managed to put that Councilor in his place yesterday at the meeting. He has no idea of military necessity, or of what war is, dwelling solely in his ivory tower of books and ink. I suppose this proves that you at least know of military matters, otherwise you would likely have sided against me, if not just for pure spite.
Still, whether you are a 'good female' I believe you said, or not, you are not male and therefore are obviously still under qualified concerning military matters.
My questions are as follows, should you choose to accept my new terms.
First, how long will Mithrandir look like a walking rainbow?
Second, what is your heritage? I ask this time with less bias, I promise.
Third, do you seek in any way to harm Imladris and her occupants?
Fourth, what is your favorite colour?
I accept your apology, half-baked as it is. While your letter came across as rather patronizing, I suppose that I must meet you half-way. At least you are trying, which is a great improvement over before, where you would simply insult me, and push me aside as you continued walking.
I accepted the terms, of course, and answer some of your questions, though perhaps not as fully as you would like. I do appreciate the 'free' question you gave, it was rather decent of you.
First, Mithrandir will be our resident rainbow for only another day or so. I am still wroth with him, but understand that he meant no malice. Still, there were others ways for him to intercede if it were considered to be so truly necessary.
Second, it is elf. Mostly. Trust me when I say that that is as clear an explanation as you are likely to get, as I am still confused over the matter myself. I was told so many lies growing up that I cannot discern what is truth and what is falsehood. The first two tales I was ever told about my parents were blatant lies. My mother was completely elf, and my father was mostly, I believe. What the other part that is not 'mostly' is unknown to me.
Third, this is rather insulting. In every letter except the last one, the only resident of Imladris threatened was yourself, and the fact that I would willingly die to protect Lord Elrond and his kin explained rather thoroughly. I have no intention of hurting anyone except yourself if you insist on being so very thick, and perhaps Mithrandir if he meddles more. Because I have not shown him my letters or those I have received of yours. Perhaps he is spying in some other way, which would not surprise me as he set this situation up in the first place.
Fourth, my favourite colour is green.
You stated that my status as female means that I am less experienced in military matters. I was in charge of the human army where I grew up, and served in the elven ranks during the last war against Sauron. Friends were lost in the Fell Marshes and at the foot of Mount Doom. I fought back to back with many of them.
You forget, war changed during the interim of your lives. Against Morgoth, any capable fighters were accepted, and the aid of the Valar to win did not change the new attitude. There are fewer female warriors than male, true, but I do not see you needing to treat them as fragile.
I am glad that you are making steps to destroy your misperceptions, including those about the Dark elf traditions. I will admit myself quite impressed when you actually paid attention and halted the rather insulting talk of those guards concerning the Silvan visitors. The soldiers and more listen to you, it will get around and if your are consistent about it, you will change a great many minds.
You do realize that you complimented me, and contradicted yourself. I thank you for admitting my intelligence, which previously was denied by you.
Do not think that I believe that letter to have been written of your own free will, I can practically hear Mithrandir behind you, forcing you to write something appropriate. You should also work on crossing out words, a simple line does not mean I am unable to read the sentence any more.
Still, I appreciate the olive branch, thin and leafless though it be.
Why follow the Noldor into exile?Was it difficult, readjusting to the new world?In the halls of Mandos, did you meet any who were kinslain?What is your favourite colour?
That is all for now. I will attempt to honour your request, but as I said, I am not showing the letters to anyone, I do now know how Mithrandir is gaining information. Still, he IS a wizard. Consider that well.
Very glad to see the peace offered, you sound almost polite. Perhaps it would be better if you had actually meant what you said, but for now it is done. Congratulations. If you keep this up through the next set of correspondence, I may have Elrond reassign you to riding patrols.
Mithrandir, the wizard who sees all including letters from warrior elves.
Chapter 5: You Truly Are
You certainly do not hold back anything, do you?
Perhaps it will surprise you, but my favorite colour is green as well. Yes, I am perfectly aware that I have ruined an age worth of tradition. Truly though, while blue and gold are both beautiful colours, I have had enough of both to last both lifetimes. Green represents life anew, rather fitting for my situation.
To be quite honest, I cannot recall ever even hearing of one kinslain within Mandos' halls, though I am curious as to why you ask. But yes, it is very difficult adjusting to a completely new world. Never mind the linguistic differences, defeat of Morgoth, and lifting of the exile of the Noldor. There is a completely different feeling to the world now that was not there before.
Actually, going back to an earlier point, as I have spoken more with the Silvan elves, I realize that they know what I mean, whilst other…ah, Light elves, do not. I do not suppose that you would happen to know why this is? It's in the smell of the air, the way the rain pours, it's almost indefinable. There I go, running my mouth with bad prose. Perhaps it is a sign that I have spent far too much time conversing with you.
The last question I will answer…I do not see that as any of YOUR business, but as I demand the same from you, then I will answer so far as I can. When I was younger, more rash, I understood my reasoning quite well. Now, though, it seems so petty and foolish. I claimed it was for family honour- we were, well, are, related to those who desired our aid- but I did not fool my family for one moment. It was my own pride. Like Galadriel, I saw an opportunity to make something of myself, for me. Not so very noble a purpose.
It turned out well, I suppose. Not the dying part, of course. But every experience, from the Grinding Ice to the building of Gondolin and it's fall, shaped me into someone I personally like far more than my first self.
I pondered your words concerning female warriors, and to my utter chagrin find myself once again eating my own words on the topic. Fine. It simply does not sit well with me. It is quite one thing to try and stop Galadriel from doing as she pleases. It is something completely different to watch a female die in battle. I may be old fashioned, you see, but despite my behavior towards yourself, I was trained from a very young age about chivalry towards the opposite gender. Some things do stick even after all this time.
Some of it is also a holdover from losing Aredhel. She was such a free spirit, and thought herself capable of handling aught which came her way, forgetting the true dangers of Arda Marred. I believed her, and everyone paid a terrible price for that mistake, not the least Aredhel herself. Have I not just told you how my past has shaped my present? I am aware that it displeases you, but I find it difficult to strike a balance between treating female warriors with respect as due their gender, and not giving them special treatment for the same. It is a frustrating task, you must admit.
Still, I will try to take your comment to heart. Despite my mistrust, you seem to have good advice and wisdom. I was admittedly surprised when you noticed that I had done something, and if we are to stay true to candor, I must tell you that I thought you never watched me except to criticize. The fact that you not only saw, but complimented me on my actions is disconcerting to me dislike of you. Why can you not be the elf I thought you were? It is rather uncomfortable to have one's beliefs proven so completely inaccurate.
Still, I admit that the bit about your intelligence was misspoken, I shall endeavor to do so no more.
I accept your promise about Lord Elrond, that is well. I mistrust your magics, though. Though this was harmless enough, it smacks for me of the dark arts set forth by the Witch-King of Angmar. Such overt abilities are not for any real elves, we are far more subtle than that.
Your tale about your heritage makes little sense to me, and I question if your father was who you think it was, if you cannot tell for sure. Think on it, I ask, then grant me a better answer.
What do you remember of your time among the elven ranks?Why are you so cold and silent?Would it kill you to smile?Do you have any friends?
Before reading further or responding to this letter, I would suggest taking a good long look in a full body mirror. Go on, take a peek.
I mean it, go look. The letter will not walk away on it's own, I promise.
Yes, I am smirking. You have been warned about angering wizards, you should have taken the advice to heart. I also cannot imagine that Mithrandir would have left you without warning of the dangers of pushing me too far. Failing that, surely the example he kindly set for you would have been sign enough.
I have had more than enough of you, really. You not only compared me to a servant of the Dark Lord, you insulted my parents. I know exactly who my father was, you (unintelligible dwarvish here). I have told you all I can about my heritage.
Your questions are insulting as well. I suppose it killed you to go an entire HALF of a letter without insulting me. Do not think that I failed to notice that you did not specify which statement about my intelligence you took back. I do have friends, thank you very much. They simply do not run in the circles commonly found eating besides Lord Elrond. The kitchen staff know me by name, as I know them. All of the home guards. I suppose I can count Lindir and Gildor in them as well. There are others, but I will not expose them to your scrutiny.
But that is not even the greatest issue. Fine, you have given a reason for your rather old fashioned opinions on females and their abilities concerning war. Just as you justified your reactions and attitudes concerning moriquendi and even your ill treatment of myself. So you have all of your reasons lined up and thought through, and I will admit that most are legitimate. I have to wonder if they are truly your reasons, however. You ask what I mean? What I mean is that you have these reactions, and then find reasons to justify them, rather than looking at a situation, examining the evidence which includes the reasons, and then deciding on a position. Is there a difference? Yes, actually. One of these allows a narrow viewpoint to foster continually, while the other allows that other opinions may actually exist, also allowing that some reasons for the other opinion are legitimate.
I do not want you to agree with me on everything, I merely want you to rethink why you disagree with me. I know this may be difficult for you, considering your rather impetuous temperament. And before you accuse me of hypocrisy concerning insults, do remember that YOU are the one who is supposed to be apologizing here for YOUR faults. Also, that I am defending myself against you. Lastly, this is not intended to insult, but is in fact a perception of your personality.
Do yourself a great favour and reread the letters you sent-I have enclosed copies- and tell me if you had a sister, or if someone was sending these to your mother, how you would feel about them. Do they have the look of an elf even attempting reconciliation? THINK before you reply, I beg of you. If this correspondence is continued, I would recommend writing two drafts of the letter, attempting to curb your tongue the second time around.
If you truly intend to take my comments to heart, then this is my basic advice. Approach the situation differently than you have. Rethink whatever ideas you have.
I can smile, but whenever I am around you, you make me want to hit something (read: you) so badly that it takes all concentration not to.
I admit that I am not the most emotional of people, you are one of the few things that can get me wound up. I learned long ago at the cost of…well, never you mind. But it was a hard won lesson, and I never show weakness in front of my enemies.
Last but most certainly not least, I remember quite a bit. Orcs got decapitated, elves died. The End.
Erestor, bringer of wrath and revenge on idiot balrog slayers with too big heads.
P.S. Pink would normally be a wonderful colour on you, but with the burnt orange hair, it clashes badly. In case you were wondering why your new dress is that colour. Personally, I thought the purple lace contrasted quite nicely with the pink bodice and navy blue lining. How long this lasts depends on you. I will not hold my breath, dirt bag. ~E.
You are an idiot.
I take back everything I said in my previous letter. Please! Just make it stop! The colours AND the music! Every hour on the hour, it is the same annoying melody. I am very, very sorry, just make it stop!
Glorfindel, the desperate.
If you truly desire my aid, then you will have to accept certain terms of mine. I will no longer allow you to dictate this peace agreement, since you cannot hold your end of the bargain for more than ten seconds, or roughly the same amount of time it takes for words to form in your brain and make it to your mouth.
My demands are as follows:
1. I will make the rules for the letters
2. These rules will be followed by both parties
3. Truth only, otherwise simply say it is too private
4. Family insults are forbidden
5. We are not done until some sort of quorum has been reached; otherwise
6. Lord Elrond will be consulted, and one or both will likely be removed from Imladris
Please note that non-compliance with these terms once accepted will result in a return to your current state. Also realize that these are non-negotiable. Forced leaving of Imladris may seem harsh, but given the current state of affairs, this inability to work together will only degrade with time and end up endangering everything we both claim to protect. I worked far too long and too hard, I will not see that happen here.
If these terms are not agreeable for you, I have enclosed the lyrics to the song you hear playing. Quite charming, they get stuck in your head very easily.
Its a small world after all
Its a small world after all
Its a small world after all
Its a small, small world
There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It's a small, small, world.
Also, for the hair and clothes…you could wear heavy black robes over the clothes, and I believe the spell ends if you shave all of your hair off. Cheers!
Sincerely, Lady Erestor.
I highly recommend accepting Lady Erestor's terms. She has barely scratched the surface of her imagination, and you have pushed her very far. Know when to quit, please. For the sake of everyone's sanity, just make the song STOP. One must be on the opposite end of the house to avoid hearing it.
The colours are rather hideous together, too, although only small glimpses can be seen through your curtains.
So... Hopefully none of it gets stuck in your head. My apologies, otherwise.
Chapter 7: Foot In Mouth Disease
I acquiesce to your demands.
I have been using my newly found spare time (thanks to being perpetually hidden in my room during this time of horrible colour schemes and torturous melodies) to do as you asked me to do in a previous communication. I must admit, looking back on my letters I was rather busy impaling myself on my own sword, wasn't I?
I still don't think I like you, but now I am not sure exactly why. There is just something wrong with you- and please, please do not take that the wrong way. It is just that you should not be an elf, there is something very different about you and it drives me crazy.
I will also admit that despite this, I did not do as I should have. I should have asked you, elf to elf (metaphorically speaking), and should also have taken into account the fact that, as you say, you have never done anything detrimental to the health, safety, well-being, etc., of Imladris or any of her occupants.
Lindir came by to drop off your letter, and I talked with him a bit through the door. I decided that it was a very good thing that there was a door between us, because warrior or no, I believe he would have done serious damage to my person in your defense. To say that he is upset with me would be a great understatement. I think that perhaps you underestimated the attachment he feels towards you, he was quite protective. I believe he threatened to write more verses to THE song and go around humming them. He made up a few on the spot, and they were not complimentary towards myself.
I suppose he learned his sense of vengeance from being around you for so long. He's rather a fierce character once he gets going. If I ever see anything outside of my rooms again, I believe I will give Lindir a wide berth for a while. Just to let him cool down. No sense risking anything.
I am truly not sure what else to say. I am sorry, so many of the things I wrote to you were out of line, and had someone written them to a sister of mine, I would have taken great pleasure in dismantling them. This I do mean literally. Why I decided to overlook this fact with you, I cannot explain.
Nothing else I can think of, my sanity is stretched a touch thin at this moment. If you do not remove the song, perhaps you could at least add one more song to the mix? Please?
While I do accept your apologies, and forgive you, know this, though: forgiving is not forgetting. I will not and cannot pretend that nothing has happened in the past few centuries we have spent together. I am also unconvinced that your remorse is completely sincere- you must prove yourself to me, show that you truly have the honour everyone thinks you have.
I am very glad to hear that you have taken my advice to heart. I tell you to do this next, then. Take the issues we have discussed, or that you wish to discuss, and write them out in a list. Pick one, and elaborate on it. Write down your views on it, and why they are correct. Write down alternative views on it, and why they are correct. Examine the evidence. Think for yourself! Lord Elrond and the Lady Galadriel have managed to gain titles of The Wise- when really, they are only looking at all of the information, and then making in informed decision. True, they work with more information than most, but they have learned this interesting little skill known to some as critical thinking.
I do not desire that you share my exact opinions on everything, only that your opinions are well informed and truly your own. This, in fact, is where my problems with you all stem from. You act like a big-headed know it all. Guess what, being reborn after being stupid enough to die by leaving your hair untied in battle doesn't grant you omniscience. Granted, being reborn and hanging out with the Maiar and the like does give you a leg up compared to most elves. It still does not mean you know everything that they do. Considering your penchant towards making assumptions and then sticking with them, well, that seems to speak for itself, doesn't it?
You say you cannot understand why you seemed to make an exception towards me in your behaviours. Part of it could be that I do not act like a "Lady". My robes usually look as though they fought with a coal dust bucket and lost. My hairstyles are practical rather than pretty, although this has more to do with the fact that my hair is untamable than a personal choice. Most in my chosen vocation are male, I spend most of every day around males, I do not embroider, wear dresses, etc. Not to generalize all females, of course. There are exceptions- the Lady Galadriel, who is incredible with a sword. But she still wears dresses and has wonderful hair and has far too much beauty and grace not to be mistaken for a lady.
I never learned how, never had the time, example, or luxury of doing so. Being forced to fight a war before you're even old enough to marry can mess with one's perceptions of one's self, you see. Even as a child, I usually wore hand-me-downs from a boy. This did nothing to inspire femininity for me. Taking in a child's perception that girls need saving and boys do it, then forced into the saving role, well. My mind was just impressionable enough and my logic twisted enough to believe this. By the time I was old enough to realize that it was a rather skewed view, it was too late. Quite honestly, I'm far too old now to change, even if I wanted to, and I don't. I stopped caring about what most people thought a long time ago.
Still, despite this, were your training as automatic as you claim, you should have at least thought twice about it and perhaps felt a touch guilty about your behavior long before this. Yet you didn't. Do examine this, I think it indicative of what I am trying to show you. And if you tell anyone anything about what I just wrote to you, you will find yourself back in the Halls of Mandos so fast- well. Use your imagination, I have, just in case you decide to test me. Consider yourself warned, dear.
One more bit of wisdom to impart. I have removed the song, for your sanity as well as everyone in hearing range. Prove to me that you are sincere in your efforts this time, and plan to attempt more than the bare minimum into this, and you will begin to return to a more normal coloration, and find yourself capable of wearing something besides slightly too short dancing gowns.
In case you were wondering why I chose gowns, I find them to be a torture, and thought that it would therefore suit my purpose with you very well indeed. Making them just a touch short was the cherry on top.
Enjoy the silence of the coming hours.
Erestor, unassuming evil genius towards those who annoy her too much.
I would think that warning you again redundant, had you not proved yourself rather thick about everything before. Do make a real effort this time, else I fear that your current state may be made permanent, with even more nasty effects in place. In which case, it will be very clear which one of you ends up being forced to leave Imladris.
Try not to catch foot in mouth disease again, unless you wish to catch a slow boat back to Valinor.
First, I must express my eternal gratitude towards the removal of that particular curse. I dare say most of the house does, as well. Although my curiosity leads me to ask whether or not it bothered you? If I remember correctly, you rooms are not outside the area formerly affected by the song. Not that you must answer, or anything, just idle curiosity, I promise.
I believe that I understand the reasons for your demands better. It is rather disconcerting to realize that I had few opinions of my own.
First, I think I will get the treacherous ground of the female gender in general and my treatment of you in particular out of the way.
You have undoubtedly heard that I no longer remain in my rooms, despite the still colourful state of my clothes, hair, and the chosen mode of dress. Literally. Sorry, that was a bad pun. No more attempts to be witty and failing, I promise. Hmm, does that count?
Back to the topic! I have instructed my officers on ensuring equal treatment. I surveyed the duty rosters, and found that most of the female warriors were stuck with the dirty jobs. Weapon cleaning, etc. I asked why, and the officers said they were following my lead. And that hurt. I pride myself on fair treatment of all who have earned the title "Warrior" and find out that by my actions, I make myself a liar.
Must you be right so often?
I am sorry for being cruel for so many years. I looked at the situation from the outside, and decided that I was looking worse and worse as the years went on.
You may wonder what started it all? So did I for a while. It was several hours of just trying to remember before I could. It was not just one specific incident, you see. You do not, as you yourself said, act like a mild-mannered young girl. You do not socialize as other elves do, and that particular behavior sparked memories in me (please do not kill me for this comparison) of Maeglin. Not the not acting like a young girl part, the distance from others. It was unfair of me, I know. Still, I had just been reborn after dying thanks to that backstabbing yrch, paranoia had free reign. Aside from that, you involved yourself in councils of war and battle tactics. I did not bother to ask even, if you had experience with such. It irritated me greatly that you were there in the first place- I wanted to scream because you were so often right.
I understand that it was rather unfounded. I did not ask because I did not truly want to know, and did as you accuse me of doing, disliking something and instead of trying to understand it, finding evidence to support hating it. The fact that you were the object of on such opinion shames me greatly.
Much of your letter did confuse me, though. You have had a rather unpleasant past, that much is clear. Forgive, I do not want to sound meddling, but if I am to follow through with this treating you with the same respect I do anybody else in Imladris, that means I have to be concerned. Is your (partially, I understand I am responsible for most) self-imposed distance from others part of this? Your first letter, the one I was never to read, you mentioned surviving two people- I can only assume they played significant roles in this. It doesn't make much sense to me, honestly.
I am confused. Part of me still wonders at your abilities. Why keep them secret? Ill intentions or not, it still looks rather suspicious.
One last thing, and then you can write me back a letter about how this is none of my business. I wonder if that letter was the first time you had spoken of the past with anyone. Perhaps it would help if you spoke with someone else. Not that it has to be me, but I know Lindir is a great sympathetic listener, although lately every time he sees me he grins that evil grin and starts humming The Song. I also know that if you have managed to make any kind of friend with Gildor, he will be loyal and tell none of your confidences. His past isn't all sunshine and rainbows from what I know. Speaking of which, he will be coming through soon, in case you hadn't heard.
As much as I would like to tell you to get lost (or make like a tree and leave, one bad pun deserves another), I can't as it would make a hypocrite out of me to force you into telling me all manner of things and not say at least something in return.
Yes, those two that I survived dominated the landscape of my childhood and early adulthood. It is rather frustrating, as every time I believe myself to have gotten over everything, something else pops up.
Fine, the reason I try to distance myself (it rarely works) is because I have lost so many people. How many more times can I lose everyone and everything I love before going insane? And so many of them were mortal, I can't see them until the re-making of the world, however far away that is.
The reason for keeping my abilities secret is actually two-fold. They began emerging during childhood. The humans I was forced to live with disliked any sign that I was different from them, and that included magic. It is ingrained I into me to keep it secret. The second reason is because I am tired of people expecting me to fix things. I don't mind helping, but I can't be the only hope again. I just can't.
If one also includes the fact that I was manipulated for my abilities for the first few decades of my life, then perhaps this secrecy makes more sense. I understand that it may look suspicious, but if I had meant ill, I have taken a very long time to actually do anything. Quite frankly, I arrived as the Lady Celebrian had just been rescued from yrch, and that would have been a wonderful opportunity to take control of Imladris. I don't think Lord Elrond would even have noticed for several years. What did I do? I saw a problem, that the so called advisors and councilors were doing nothing at the very moment Lord Elrond needed their aid in running things, and took charge.
I didn't actually intend to stay. I liked the library, but I was going to read for a week or so and then move on. I just couldn't resist helping though, and decided to stay until Lord Elrond could run things again. Except then he asked me to stay after. I couldn't say no, really. He looked so sad. I remembered him during the war, and this look was like the one he wore after Gil-Galad's death, except worse. I wasn't about to leave the family in the lurch, considering his children, who should have been helping him, had all left. Arwen for Lorien, and the twins to get themselves killed- excuse me, that is, go on an yrch killing spree.
As to your suggestions for talking with others- no thank you. Everyone else has their own difficulties and problems and sorrows, there is no need to add mine to theirs.
I am glad that you have not just thought about things, but are taking action to correct it. Yes, I had heard of your walk through Imladris, it was quite the gossip everywhere. My congratulations on not acting like a jerk, correcting past jerk mistakes, and no longer having to wear a dress.
One last note: I thank you for not being an idiot to me anymore, but your concern, while kind, is unneeded. I have taken care of myself for just over 16 centuries, I think I can manage. Also, my being wrong tends to get people killed, so yes, I strive to always be right.
Erestor, the one who is always right.
You actually managed to be intelligent about things for once, my congratulations.
As you may have noticed, you have struck a sensitive note in the Lady Erestor. Your enthusiasm towards correcting past mistakes is honourable, but do remember that if the rather difficult past hinted at is true, then your resident magician does not give trust easily, and forgiven is not forgotten. You have a lot of catching up to do if you truly wish to help her. I warn against giving up after starting. Either see it through, or do not begin. Stopping in the middle of trying to help her with just hurt her (and by extension, you) more. Be warned.
Anyway, just so we all know: Neither character is espousing my personal views about anything (except dresses, I really DO hate dresses), especially as regards women in combat. This is not a soapbox for me (except the dresses), and I am only trying to stay as true to the LOTR universe as possible. It is hard, since- as anyone who has read angst or h/c stories with Harry- his(her) thinking can get warped. Being forced to save the world by means of a very bloody and costly war, plus an unstable childhood at best, can do that and this idea gets played with a lot in the HP fanverse.
I seem to sense a few different things about you from your last letter. I take it you do not approve of the twin's way of avenging their mother? I agree. It does not seem to even be avenging so much as desperately trying to avoid the pain of facing what happened. It is rather disappointing that neither of them bother to help Lord Elrond. Arwen either, for that matter. Of course I understand grieving, but they all went about trying to heal themselves and only Lord Elrond thought of anyone besides himself. Perhaps you could give some insight on why he has not taken a firmer stand? I know he is hurt that his sons seem to be doing their best to forget they have family besides each other. If you have been here since that terrible period, then you must know more than I.
Yes, I, Lord Glorfindel, am admitting that you, Lady Erestor, know more about something than I. Just do not let it go to your head, dear Seneschal.
I also sense that you are rather reluctant to receive help. Surely you must have needed some in the past? You do also realize that by not speaking about this with others, I know (and Mithrandir, curse his eavesdropping) more about you than anyone else- alive, at least.
Except, perhaps, for that friend you mentioned in your first letter, the one in Lothlorien? At least he knows some of what you have lived through, and may offer you more comfort than I.
I understand not wanting or even needing sympathy, truly I do. It seemed as if every well-intending lady (well, intending to find a nice husband that is) and lord either side of the Bruinen was willing to lend a sympathetic ear to my tale of dying, and cry at all the right moments. As if my dying was their business! Perhaps I exaggerate, but only because it was difficult not to reply with something largely inappropriate and angry. If not for Lord Elrond and his more understanding listening, I may have broke a nose (and arm or three) before all was said and done.
I truly do understand that difficulty, and the pressures of being the one who can get a great many people killed. There are some things that one simply does not tell to all and sundry. But everyone needs someone, and from what I can see you do not really have anyone. Yes, you mentioned those others multiple times in previous letters, but how much do they know the real you? Think on it, m'dear.
Ha! Turn about is fair play.
I would like to make a suggestion, just for you to think about. Would you agree to meet in person? We cannot communicate only through letters, and must learn to get along in the same room together eventually. Not immediately, but it should be soon. Just think on it (ha! Again).
This next bit of information may come as a surprise and shock to you, but I have also been spending time in the library, reading. In a dark corner. With a hood up. My hair is still horrible to look at, and clashes with everything. Truly, how did you manage to enchant it into polka-dots? Anyway, I wanted to research more about the more neglected customs of elves not of Noldor descent. I am not sure what to think though, I may have read the wrong book. Perhaps you could help me? It just left me rather confused. The book is titled Life and Ways of the Moriquendi: Avari Under Scrutiny. It was written by a scholar named Gilthalion*. I am not sure where to start, but perhaps you have read or at least know of the book?
I was going to start on the issue of Moriquendi vs. Calaquendi, but realized that I knew very little. Any aid would be greatly appreciated. See, I can ask for help.
Humbly bowing to your greater knowledge and experience,
You admit my superiority in something? And that you need help?
Who are you and what have you done with Lord Glorfindel!
Indeed, this is most unexpected. I half expected people running screaming through the streets "Beware, the whole world may come to ruin!" as the sky turns red and begins to rain destruction from the heavens. This also involved pigs flying, and Mordor turning into another field of grinding ice.
Back on topic, I can aid you in your quest for knowledge concerning certain elves. Gilthalion sailed a few years after my arrival here in Imladris. He was a Noldo, born in Imladris, had never travelled beyond her border, and his 'experience' with Moriquendi was limited to the servers at dinner and his laundress, his conversation with them limited to demands for something. Everything in that book is based upon second or third hand knowledge or outright hear-say. It is, quite frankly, propaganda. We keep it only because his father was friends with Lord Elrond's father, and Lord Elrond of course has to honour that relationship, despite almost never having spoken with Gilthalion himself.
There are a few other books that would be far more useful, and I am sending two of them with this letter. One, Tales Through Time is a collection of different historical incidents that are significant to our celebrations, with a footnote indicating how they are celebrated now and why at the end of each tale. It is a child's schoolbook, so it is sure to be at your reading level. Also, it is a good way to get a general idea about us. It is not written so much as compiled, and was the work of over a dozen different elves who have spent centuries studying this subject.
Here I give you a quick piece of advice, never call us Avari or Moriquendi to our faces, it is usually a very bad idea, especially considering they were intended as insults, really. How would you like it if we walked around calling the Elda's a word that meant "Those who invented Kinslaying, brought the madness of the Silmaril's upon Arda, and were too wimpy to stay when called to Valinor"? Is it pleasant? No? Didn't think so. Instead, we distinguish ourselves as "Tree" elves and "Star" elves, for those who sailed to Valinor and lived under the light of the Two Trees, and those who remained and only knew the stars.*
Anyway, the second book, A Brief History of the Stars is another good choice for a more complete telling. This goes chronologically and connects events to each other, unlike the previous book which is just specific times explained. It also goes deeper into the events. I wrote it, don't you dare laugh.
Last but not least, I have another wonderful suggestion: Ask one, stupid. Really! You said you spoke with Lindir? Guess what? He's not exactly a Noldor, if you couldn't tell by the hair. Honestly.
I suppose we must meet in person eventually, but I am not certain immediately is a good idea either. It hasn't been so very long since you were bothering me every waking moment, and I am not ready to pretend it didn't happen.
So fine. You understand the whole constantly under the pressure of perfection or death thing. Great. I still think that you should stay out of it, though. Whatever happened is in my past, and I will deal with it as I please. Also, my friend is Lothlorien is none of your concern, thank you very much.
Your concern is touching, I am sure, but how exactly am I to know that it is not another ploy to gain some hold over me? I have had my trust broken by more people than you could imagine, and by people you would never imagine it from.
Indeed, Lord Elrond's children seem set to make their father's life as pain-filled as possible. You must understand that Lord Elrond has, as you know, lost everything time and again. He is determined to do his best as a father and as an important player in the fate of Arda, unlike his parents who chose Arda (or his father who chose Arda, his mother who chose a shiny rock) over their children. He understands those decisions, at least mentally, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't hurt by them. And I understand that. My parents had a chance to get to complete safety, but stayed because they wanted to help the people. And I understand, but they are still gone and it still affects so much in my life.
He almost expects people to leave him, and so I suppose he wasn't as surprised as he could have been when his daughter decided she would find more peace with her grandparents, and his son's being consumed by their pain and leaving him in his. He is the rock for so many, yet none stay.
I do not blame the Lady Celebrian, mind. Not at all. I saw how much it hurt her to leave. But you see Lord Elrond is afraid to ask, let alone force his children to come stay with him, lest they reject him. He has been implicitly rejected before, to be explicitly may just break him.
It is why I am determined to stay for as long as I may be helpful, you see. Unlike what I was told, my father was (usually) a rather thoughtful person, and I always imagined him to be just a little like Lord Elrond. Perhaps it is foolish of me. He did spare me a thought when no other thought of me when first I arrived here. It was this combination of kindness, wisdom, and a kindred spirit in pain that leads me to stay, as dedicated as any elf could ask for.
If you truly wish for a change, I think you had better start with the twins. Something leads me to believe that there is more at work with Arwen than we know. The twins also do occasionally come home, and are therefore easier to talk with, though I doubt that talk will do them much good. Yet they look up to you, and perhaps they need people reminding them that they have a father who hurts just as they do, yet cannot simply mindlessly spend his grief killing orcs and nearly getting himself sent to the Halls of Waiting. One thing they did not get was Lord Elrond's sense of responsibility, partially I suppose from his desire to spare them from the hardship of it.
Your hair is staying the same, there is much left to do between us. And I think the polka-dots were a wonderful idea, don't you?
I see you have chosen to continue that road. Good. Do not grow discouraged because she is resisting. I told you it would not be easy! Few things in life truly worth doing are. Beware though, you seem to have triggered her first line of defense, sarcasm.
One last bit of advice, I would suggest guarding those books with your life lest it become forfeit once Erestor finds out. And she will, believe me, she will. She always does.
*1. A name I made up. Actually, it's what I call my faithful Chestnut Steed in LOTRO (Lord Of The Rings Online)-yes, I am such a nerd! Bonus points to the reader if they can find the LOTRO reference in here.
*2. I made this up, this is solely for my little universe and is not in Tolkien.
So I thought, why not double-post chappies on the weekend. I'm bored.
Chapter 10: Still Waiting
Dear Lady Erestor,
I believe that I can see clearly now why you were so insulted when I continued to accuse you of disloyalty against Lord Elrond and his family. I once again beg your pardon for this grievous error.
I would have thought that Arwen were the better choice, but upon further reflection I believe you are correct, the twins are a better choice. They are closer, and lose themselves to anger. Arwen is lost in memories and grief and whatever her grandmother has planned with that mirror of hers. I can deal with anger better than grief.
There are a few different approaches that could be taken with this. One, the wake-up call. Hit them hard and fast, making them see the facts. Two, ease into it. Leave them hints, they always were too curious for their own good. Three, start off with a completely unrelated situation and show the parallels between that situation and theirs.
Personally, I think the third is far too subtle. While it would be best if they realized as much as possible for themselves, I doubt if they would actually come to the realization for themselves without a great deal of aid.
Now, do not think it escaped my notice that you spared but a few sentences about yourself directly, and spoke far more on Lord Elrond and the historical books. Which I thank you for, by the way. They were rather informational, and also explain why I see so many elves wearing the same colours during Mid-Winter, for example. It was actually rather interesting, on the whole. To be completely honest, I never truly thought about Lindir's heritage, obvious as it should have been. I had a rather informative discussion with him as well. That is all beside the point.
As concerned as I am for Elladan and Elrohir, I do believe that these letter are supposed to be more about us and our previous...ah, relationship difficulties. Very clever, distracting me with such a big issue, but you shan't confuse the issue.
Look, I realize that we are still not on the best of terms, but the letters allow for too much posturing. It is one thing to get along with someone you have not been forced to see for a while, it is quite another to meet them face to face.
I propose a challenge, then. We meet for tea tomorrow. Just tea. We sit down at a table together, talk about the weather (sunny, methinks), drink a cup of tea, eat a scone or some such, nod politely and then leave. Simple, no? But a good first step.
If you like, we can make a list of things we should discuss for a more congenial future. Also, we can mock Gilthalion for being such a poor scholar. Having spent less than a week studying the topic, I am all ready more learned on the subject than he was. It does comfort the ego to know that there are people more ignorant than oneself out there. I suppose you get that feeling all the time.
Let me know if meeting for tea is agreeable for you, or if you say no, or if it needs to be at a different time due to a scheduling conflict. Either way, I look forward towards our first meeting. I think it would be beneficial if we did think of it as an introduction to each other. I promise not to jump to conclusions or make half-baked assumptions. Just two elves talking as if for the first time.
Hmm, or not. Perhaps we could discuss certain matters that require more delicacy than even parchment gives. It is rather difficult to tell the tone of voice reading a letter. If we meet in person, it may convey to you the sincerity of my desires to aid you. Plainly put, m'lady, it is quite clear that you have been deeply hurt in the past, numerous times, and haven't completely healed from them.
You realize, that in not telling anyone else, I know more about you than anyone else. Just to remind you, in case you forgot. Once again, excluding the mysterious one in Lothlorien. Still, we are bound to keep each other's secrets, perhaps this will be a good opportunity to share their burden. Even if not all, some.
Firstly, I am not your "dear" anything. Go soak your head. Oh wait, reading this next line will do that for you, you may want to move the letter farther from your body.
It may help you to know that this letter has a water repelling charm on it, so do not fear if you were unable to keep the parchment completely dry.
You may be asking yourself if my reaction to your error was appropriate in response level. I say yes, especially considering I let you get away with it in your previous letter, and that (intentionally or no) you just had to include an insult. My ego? Really, Lord of the Beautiful Long Blond Hair of Epic Beauty? And yes, I did hear you saying that to yourself. First sign of mental instability you know, talking to yourself. How very Narcissus of you.
For your information, Lord Glorfindel, I actually spent almost my entire childhood knowing less than anyone else. It had a habit of making bad things happen and getting people killed. I suppose it is part of what drives me here to know so much about everything, because I was tired of not knowing anything, especially the important things.
I am not so sure about the meeting. I remain unconvinced that it is a good idea, although the idea of poking fun at Gilthalion is tempting, I admit. Be that as it may, I do not feel the need for deeper intimacy with you through sharing of life stories. Yes, you know more than almost anyone (save the Lorien friend, and once again, he is not your business) but that does not grant you a complete understanding or a monopoly on my memories.
So. I find that you must needs convince me that we should meet so soon. If your next letter is more persuasive than you last, then I shall indeed meet you for tea tomorrow. Leave the caring and concern back at your room though please, I have no need of it, least of all from you.
I do appreciate that you realize just how foolish it was to think I would ever try to harm Lord Elrond. I have dedicated my life to protecting people, and the past almost 7 centuries have been spent aiding him and his family. They are incredibly important to me, so while I will admit that it was mostly a distraction tactic, it is still a very legitimate concern for me. I care too much for them to let them continue hurting if I can help it.
Lady Erestor, crushing swollen egos for over 16 centuries, and not your 'dear' anything.
Perhaps you need someone to read your letters over before you send them. I understand you did not intend to insult her, but you did anyway.
I hope you know what you're doing, inviting her to tea. Invite a nice cobra too, and an orc while you're at it!
I will hope that you come back at least vaguely recognizable as elven.
Chapter 11: The Calm Before
So bored, so extra update today.
It appears that my brain is too often disconnected from my mouth, and I apologize whole-heartedly for that. It was never my intention to insult you in my last letter. I had not intended any of my words to be offensive towards your person, but considering my less than stellar record, I should have examined my words more carefully before sending them to you. I therefore beg your forgiveness, and though they are annoying when inflicted upon my person, I also admit your, hmm, punishments clever. If only this knowledge was not through personal experience! I must beg you not to join forces with our resident pranksters, for the sanity of all.
Now, speaking of sending words, I am returning the books you generously lent me. I have finished them both, and I thank you greatly for the use of them. Some of the customs intrigue me, and I would like to participate in some of the ceremonies if that is agreeable to you. I understand if you would rather not have to share something so special with someone you dislike so.
Perhaps it is a tad early for a meeting, but I am anxious to meet with you. I wish to see how far I have progressed- to prove to you and myself that I have truly changed for the better. It will likely not be a perfect change, but if I do not find out what and where my weak spots are, how can I get better? You dislike my attitude towards you when we meet, well, here is the chance to point out my flaws. You do have a great talent for doing so. I do not intend that as an insult! You have a keen mind and I admit that your honest opinion is, though humbling, correct and necessary.
Still, I suppose that as the past aggressor, I should not attempt to force you into something you are uncomfortable with. I understand that I may intimidate you, especially if you have had difficulties in the past with male figures (Vernon and Voldemort were male, I am guess? I am horrible with telling gender when it comes to human names) and I have no desire to add to that any further than the previous centuries of hostility on my part have.
I realize that I am not the most, ah, sensitive, of elves sometimes, but do understand that I am trying. I know you harbor some (rightful) anger and wariness towards myself, but reconciliation is good for the soul.
Before you ask what I would know of reconciliation, I will confide this to you: I am reconciled to Maeglin.
Oh yes, I have no doubt that this surprises you. I clarify that I will ever hate what he did, and am in no way fine or happy with his actions and the results. But I could not leave the halls with such hate and anger in my heart. The entire occurrence is blurry, but I did meet with him and forgive him for (indirectly) killing me. It was difficult, and I have no doubt that the process is what made up the majority of my stay in the Halls of Mandos. He is in no way cleared of his crimes, but I do not hate him.
I do realize that in coming back to Arda Marred, I have allowed my past life and the ending thereof to influence my time here. You were different and therefore suspicious, and I allowed past experience to colour my better judgment, and judged you falsely. Still, while I continued to hate the actions, the actual person is, at least for myself, forgiven.
I cannot force you to forgive me or to become a friend. Know that I have realized that I was wrong, and will continue to try and correct that error. You have told me very little yet I can tell that you are sad and hurting, that I increased your troubles, and so it is only right that I try to aid you.
I promise I will be on my best behavior. Just think on it, I ask. That is all I ask. I will do my utmost not to play the fool.
As much as I wish I could say otherwise, perhaps it is time to test each other in person. I cannot claim to want peace between us and then avoid seeing you as much as possible. I dislike doing anything halfway, and this matter must needs be settled.
I also realize that you, being at least somewhat honourable, feel the need to earn my forgiveness. Do not. If it is given, it will be given because I choose it, not because you tried to pry into my life.
And as much as you claim it is about care and concern, I do not care about these motivations. I have said it before and will say it again, I have always and will always take care of myself by myself and need not your counsel in the matter. It would aid our reconciliation if you would let this be.
Fine. I will meet you for tea and we will see how well we can stand each other's presence. For my part, I promise to do my best to be patient. I should be used to the idiocy of males by now, yet somehow they still manage to amaze me, even after all these centuries.
Tomorrow for tea, then.
All the signs are practically screaming "DANGER! THIN ICE AHEAD!" but you must insist on moving forward, mustn't you? Just because you survived the Grinding Ice once does not mean you must attempt it again. I beg of you to be ever so careful. It would be better if you did not push her so hard…
Although perhaps that is what she needs, is someone to force her out of her self-constructed walls. But be gentle. Those walls were built out of necessity, and come out of bitter experience.
She will be a good friend, if you can win her friendship. Aside from that, I wish you well, and here's to hoping you survive your friendly little tea chat with her tomorrow. May Eru help us all if you incur her wrath again.
Chapter 12: Tea for the Tillerman Pt I
There were very few times Glorfindel had ever been truly afraid. On the Grinding Ice, there had been a very close call and a moment where he thought himself lost to the yawning chasm below before being pulled to safety at the last minute. Falling from the heights, in those final seconds before his death. Standing before The Council, giving account of his life.
It was just a little tea and talk with someone he had known for centuries. He shouldn't be ranking this moment up with the previous incidents in levels of fear. And yet he was, because this was no everyday tea, and upon recollection, he truly did not know this person half as well as he had assumed. Said person also had proven short tempered of late (not that he could blame her) and had the power to back up any threat. Glorfindel idly wondered if she could actually turn him into an actual ass to fit his prior ill behaviour, and if she would drag him outside to do so or perhaps banish him to the wilds of Dunland or some such place.
Vainly attempting to push such thoughts away, he tried to strike the proper balance between confidence and healthy fear. Not fear, he reminded himself, healthy respect. Mostly because respecting her preserves my good health. Promptly as the clock struck the hour, his recent pen-pal showed up and took her seat at the table.
They were situated in an alcove, usually used by either couples or elves desiring to do business over lunch without the interruption from others inevitable in the common dining area. Doing his best not to look nervous, Glorfindel gave what he imagined a welcoming smile.
"Greetings, Lady Erestor. How fare ye today?" Perhaps that was a touch much. The raised eyebrow (had she learned that from Elrond or the other way 'round?) indicated it was. Inwardly wincing, Glorfindel offered to pour tea, which was accepted. He was rather surprised to find that the seemingly rigid and epitome of self-control sitting across from him took an almost obscene amount of sugar with her tea. Or at least it would seem to some, Glorfindel usually took more. Between the two of them, the sugar bowl was almost empty.
"I do thank you for agreeing to meet with me, and for giving me a chance, Seneschal Erestor-" here he was cut off by a raised hand. He hadn't angered her so soon, had he?
"Please, at least for now there is no need to name my title. I know it well enough. Just Erestor will suffice. Now please forgive my interruption, you were saying?"
Glorfindel mentally released a held breath in relief. "Ah, yes, the same for me, I mean, you may call me Glorfindel, of course." Rambling. Right, a wonderful impression. Taking a sip of tea and a bite of pastry that he couldn't quite taste thanks to the sugar in his cup, he steadied himself. His hair, although not back to normal quite yet, was no longer the same, glowing colour it had started out being. If he played his cards right, he could keep it from relapsing.
"As I was saying, thank you for meeting with me. I realize you would have preferred to wait, but I am afraid that despite my rather advanced age, I dislike the time it takes to accomplish things. I like to get things done as quickly as possible. You seem to understand that, with the way I've seen you work." There, that was safe enough, was it not? Erestor had been sitting quietly, sipping tea.
He should have noticed sooner, but she was looking rather strained today. The tea seemed to be helping though, and she answered in a reasonable tone of voice. "Yes, I dislike the in-between stages. I used to be horrible at them, rushing through without care. I learned soon enough that particular folly though."
That was odd, Glorfindel thought, but perhaps she was more stressed and weary than she appeared?
"Yes, well, not to push about the other issue, but out of curiosity, I was right about those being male names, correct? In my last letter?" Curse his curiosity! And his big mouth! Glorfindel began looking for cover, thinking it would have been a good idea to look for some beforehand.
"Hmm? Oh, yes. Yes, you were correct. Actually, your guesses have been correct about a lot of things. It's rather annoying, actually. I've spent centuries protecting all of these secrets and you just waltz in and guess at them from the little you've been told."
Glorfindel blinked. This…was not what he was expecting. At all.
"I am currently 1,503 years of age. I learned, sometime around the age of four or five, never to let anyone know more than they strictly must about you. With a few notable exceptions, most of whom have died, I have kept this rule. I found it particularly essential when dealing with those I dislike or who dislike me." A sharp glance came his way, and Glorfindel found himself scared of the colour green for the first time in his life. Who knew green eyes could look so cutting? And where was she going with all of this? After all of those letters detailing a desire that he keep away from her business, here she was just telling them willingly? And then something she said penetrated his thoughts.
"Wait, you are only 1500 years old? That means you could not have been more than 50 or so during the war! A mere child-"
"A mere child who had never been a child since her parents died before the age of two. A mere child who had been fighting for her life since then. A mere child who had shouldered the burden of a war since the age of fifteen, and the lives to be saved or lost through it." Oh, that those eyes would stop glaring at him! "A mere child I may have been in physical age, Glorfindel, but physical age can be one of the least accurate way of telling how old a person truly is."
That was certainly true enough. This particular body of his was centuries younger than his fëa. Looking into Erestor's (really, really, scary) green eyes, without knowing her proper age he could have sworn that she was at least as old as he was. In fëa, that was. Nodding his understanding, he took another sip of tea. It was a magnificent blend, a new one brought by visitors to Imladris.
"You are right, at least partially, about the age telling. Still, if your previous period of life had been as difficult as you say, then you should have had the chance to rest from that before diving into another war. Experienced or not, children should not have to fight in war." There, that was politic, was it not?
"Except I have always lived to be the exception to the rule. Besides, I have a special…gift…" Gift? From the look on her face it was one she wished to return to sender- "that made me a valuable weapon in the war. Few knew my true age, and considering that they were not exactly over 100 themselves, they were not about to turn me in. True, children should not have to fight, ever." Erestor was adamant here, and Glorfindel looked nervously about as the china rattled ominously.
"But it isn't as if an orc is going to say, 'Oh, you aren't an adult yet? Don't worry, I won't gut you or eat you yet. Go on your way!' I am always old enough to be killed by an orc. If I can fight back, then I will, whether or not someone believes me old enough."
Glorfindel was feeling rather uncomfortable now. He had hoped they would have a nice stimulating discussion about the weather, and perhaps over whether or not King Thranduil would throw his centennial temper tantrum upon his visit next year. Rumour had it that his wife had smoothed over his ill-temper quite a bit.
"Admittedly, your magical abilities would make you a valuable asset. Still, you shouldn't have had to face death, not when you could have-" Glorfindel found himself cut off by a rather bitter laugh.
"My magical abilities were not the gift I spoke of, and I never faced death." Glorfindel raised a skeptical eyebrow of his own.
"Oh, really? I was unaware that everyone could be killed except for you," he remarked, with a healthy dose of sarcasm to boot. The smile he got in return was very dark.
"And now you do know."
Glorfindel's head snapped up at that. "What? I'm not sure I understood you."
"Yes, I believe you did. I may have mentioned that my parents died? They died as mortals. It's a very long story," she said, contemplating while idly stirring her tea, "but to shorten it, my parents used a very old magic. I needed protection, never mind why right now. It allows the users to be granted one wish each, but in return, each must pay with the dearest thing they have or could have. My parents gave their immortality, one for protection from the initial attempt on my life, the other that the protection would continue until I was old enough to fight for my own life." A bitter smile appeared on Erestor's face.
"Hmph. Well, I used that spell as well. It did not take my immortality, for I have never wanted it." Glorfindel felt shocked here, and something inside squirmed uncomfortably.
"It could not take my life, for I have never particularly cared for that either." Again, something in Glorfindel turned and twisted inside.
"So it took the one thing I did care about, with all my family and friends gone- my potential death." Full horror showed on Glorfindel's face now. That explained…just about everything, actually.
"It is one of the reasons why my fëa seems so strange, because it is. Anyway, it is a rather useful thing to be incapable of being killed. True, it's a terror when the orcs who've captured you find out that you just cannot be killed, but it makes a person a truly valuable tool." Glorfindel felt he should say something right now, but he couldn't. The absolutely ghastly implications of that statement rattled around, though he did not focus on them, trying to continue listening.
"Oddly enough, in order to make this bargain, I was actually mostly killed. Mostly, because although technically I died, I never made it all the way to the Halls of Mandos." She sighed, and Glorfindel sat stock-still in shock, unable to comment to save his life. He no longer wondered why she was telling him so much, he just wished she would stop. He desperately needed to think. "It is ironic, that that is how it happened…"she trailed off, frowning at the tea. Looking up at Glorfindel, she asked sharply, "What is in this tea?"
"I do not know, it is a new blend." Erestor frowned even deeper, looking at the tea again.
"I shouldn't be talking this much. I shouldn't feel this calm. I shouldn't be telling you any of this. Why am I?" Transferring her gaze towards Glorfindel again, she began to grow agitated. Glorfindel began to look for a safe place to hide.
"I ask you one more time, What. Is. In. The Tea."
Chapter 13: Tea for the Tillerman Pt II
Last time, on Letters: "I ask you one more time, what. Is. In. The. Tea."
Glorfindel shook his head, arms held placatingly out in front of himself.
"I do not know, I promise! We can ask someone-" Erestor dashed towards the kitchen, returning a moment later with a strange pink flower.
"Apparently the primary ingredient is the Babble Flower." Glorfindel was unfamiliar with it, and felt confused and worried. Was this a good thing or a bad thing? "That's not the flower's true name, but that's what I call it. I have a…strange reaction to it, tends to make me spew everything on my mind without censure." She scowled, picking up her tea spoon to emphasize her point. "The other ingredients are used in a calming tea, the sort we always desire to force-feed Thranduil when he visits." Pointing the spoon directly at Glorfindel, she said, "Tell me truthfully. Did you do this on purpose?"
Eyeing the glinting spoon, he wondered what would happen if he said 'yes'. Likely she would cut his heart out with it from the way she looked. "No, I promise. And if we could just calm down, and put the spoon down, nobody has to get hurt" especially me " and we can talk this through and figure out just what is going on."
Erestor put the spoon down, smirking at Glorfindel as she did so. He desperately hoped she could not tell what he was thinking, though it would not surprise him if she could.
"The tea is new, I never had it before, but the kitchen staff assured me that it was wonderful, so I decided to try it for this afternoon. That is all I know. Some visitor brought the recipe with them and dropped it off this morning-"
"Some visitor? Anything more vague?" A desperate headshake 'no'. Erestor frowned, then examined the tin containing the flowers.
"This is not Lord Elrond's container, or any of the kitchen staff's. I remember it from somewhere…"
It was only a moment before the explosion occurred.
"That meddling Istari! I WILL kill him!" Glorfindel ducked under the table, just in time as the china shattered all over, and the chairs exploded into splinters against the walls. Erestor began pacing and muttering angrily for a few minutes, before stopping and looking under the table.
"Captain Glorfindel?" she asked, "Are you hiding under the table from me?"
"Maybe," came the semi-defiant answer.
"The Balrog Slayer, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, Hero of Angmar, Challenger of the Witch King, Twice-Born, Glorfindel, is hiding from a girl less than half his age." Glorfindel blinked, unsure of what to say. He received another shock when Erestor began to laugh. Not the dark bitter ones that had accompanied her story, but a truly amused laugh. Surreptitiously the still-hiding warrior pinched himself to make sure he was not dreaming. Maybe those flowers caused mood-swings in Erestor, as well.
Calming herself, Erestor waved a hand and the crushed chairs and china reassembled, good as new. Reaching out a hand, she helped Glorfindel out from underneath the table.
"Glorfindel, I thank you for the tea. It was very interesting. I need hardly say that the faintest hinting of anything said here today will end very badly for you." And understatement if ever one was said, and Glorfindel quickly nodded his understanding. "As I thought. If you will please excuse me, I have an Istari to teach a lesson to." She smirked, and Glorfindel found himself pleased that it wasn't meant for himself. "Any suggestions?"
Thinking a moment, he said, "Perhaps something that dumps a bucket of cold water whenever he reads something that was not written by himself." Erestor nodded thoughtfully.
"Yes, I think that is rather doable, and very fitting. I like your thinking." The warrior was unsure if that should be a good thing or a bad thing. "Thank you for your input. I will tell you the results in our next letter."
Glorfindel nodded as she left, softly bidding her good day. Still, he broke out in semi-hysterical laughter upon realizing that it was not he who was in danger from Erestor's wrath. After cautioning him so many times on it! Briefly, he considered warning Mithrandir. Then he remembered that he narrowly avoided being impaled by a spoon thanks for the Wizard's meddling. He decided not to interfere, it wasn't his place.
Still, the shocked yells that later echoed through the house had him shivering in sympathy, though he felt it rather justified. His hair was slowly returning to normal, there was no need to risk a 'relapse' for an Istari who was (supposedly) more than capable of taking care of himself.
He had more important things to tend to, anyway. For example, how Erestor would handle Glorfindel's unplanned knowledge of her past, the past she had been fighting to keep from anyone and everyone. Now that the shock of it all had worn off, he felt a sudden loathing for himself and his past actions. Yes, something about her was strange, but had his father not drilled into his head that different was not automatically bad? Maeglin had appeared far more normal than she had, and he remembered how well that turned out. It was an unfair judgment on his part, and thinking of all the days he spent doing his best to make life miserable for her…
How desperate would someone have to be to use such magic as that? And to care so little for living that death was more important- it left him feeling rather ill. When he also took into consideration that she had apparently been captured before while unable to die…what exactly had she been forced to live through?
Though this brought to his attention one question, why would she be able to fade if she could not die? This puzzled him, for her first letter had implied that it was only by force of will that she did not. It did say something to the change of heart Glorfindel had experienced that his first thought was not that she had lied about everything, but rather that he should ask her for an explanation.
The one good thing that he could see coming out of this rather horrifying situation was that perhaps, she might feel more comfortable confiding in him now that the ice was broken, so to speak. Still, he could see better now just how true Mithrandir's words were. She was very strong, and presented no weaknesses to others, but inside was a very hurt soul. Had he not been so blind, he would doubtless have noticed this centuries ago and determined to heal instead of add more hurt.
As it was, his decision to ensure that she had every chance to heal was the best he could do at the moment. The question of discussing something of the situation with Lord Elrond crossed his mind, and not for the first time. He had no desire to be on the receiving end of Erestor's wrath, but he also knew that Elrond was an excellent choice for confidant. Shaking his head, he realized that Erestor would likely never confide in him, at least not while she needed aid. It would go against her character to add any more stress to Imladris' keeper than necessary.
No, it appeared that it had fallen to him (and partially by Mithrandir's choosing) that aiding Erestor had fallen to him. Well, he was stubborn, just as much as she was. While it was more his personality to break things down, her protections would need to be worn away, like water pouring over a rock. He would insinuate himself into her life and be her friend, whether she wanted his friendship or not.
He had spent his past four centuries in Imladris hurting someone who should have had his protection- he would willingly spent thrice as long helping them.
He did wonder what Mithrandir was about, forcing such confidence between the two. If Erestor hadn't realized that it was Mithrandir, not Glorfindel, who had in essence drugged the tea…he shivered, despite the warmth of the summer night. Perhaps he should have warned the old coot, but he was an Istari after all and capable of protecting himself.
Seeing him the next day brought that last statement into doubt, and Glorfindel laughed smugly as Mithrandir passed him, soaking wet and grouchy to say the least. Served him right, the frustrating old busy-body.
Chapter 14: Raspberry Fields Forever
Glorfindel was pensive. This in and of itself was a rare feat. Not because he did not think things over, but rarely did he have the luxury of sitting and turning a problem over in his mind for an extended period of time. Beyond the rarity of this act was the fact that his pensive mood did not seem to have an ending in sight. He was attempting to write the next letter. The tea meeting, while having ended better than he feared, had not gone quite as he had hoped it would.
If one counted a drug induced monologue as success, then everything was fine. But without Mithrandir presenting himself as a greater enemy than Glorfindel, there was still a great chance that Erestor would be less than amiable towards his presence in the general vicinity. Finally he sighed, deciding that a less than perfect letter was much better than no letter at all.
My sincerest apologies are offered for the tea incident, I promise that I had no knowledge that a certain wizard had decided to involve himself.
I was wondering (as you did not answer in your last letter) if perhaps I could attend one of the upcoming celebrations mentioned in the books you lent? I cannot remember which is coming next, but I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you again as well as gain a greater understanding of distant elven kin. This may also be a good chance to meet without running the risk of food poisoning.
I have been thinking over some of what you said in our meeting. It seems to me that you have been left to handle yourself every time you could have used help. Yes, I do realize that is a rather obvious statement. Coming back to the original statement- I think you have fallen into the habit of doing everything for yourself. Once again, out of necessity, but now that there are people around you more than willing to help, you still do not ask. Most likely because you must relearn how.
Well, I have decided that I will help you. I have been cleared of all patrol duties for the foreseeable future (thanks to our resident busybody) and so, besides training which can be done without my direct oversight, I only have a few papers to occupy my time. Therefore I offer my services. I understand that Summer can be a very hectic time, with all the travelers, traders, and temperamental Thranduil's coming through while the travel is manageable.
Even if it is just to rant and rave, you have any and all such aid as I may render you. Before simply dismissing this offer, do think on this: it is a good opportunity to practice actually working together. Except we will be in your dominion, I will be following your instructions. There will be no clash of duties to spark off frustration.
Now, I have a question for you. If you could do anything, what would it be? Personally, I would be living high on a mountainside, drinking tea, riding horses, and spending evenings with friends in front of the fire. I have thought about it, and tell me how close I am to being correct. You would enjoy a forested area, a large library, lots of tea, and two cats. Only two, and both of the same gender. One white with blue eyes and one black with green eyes. There would also be a rather large supply of raspberries and pecans- I checked with your friends in the kitchen, and they told me you enjoyed those.
Which reminds me! As a semi-apology for the tea meeting turned bad, I have asked Lindir to guard a tea tin and take it straight to your hands. Inside is a favourite blend of mine, more for the memories than the taste, but if you truly like tea as much as I think you do, and raspberries, then you will appreciate it. The main ingredient is, of course, said berry. It was a favourite of Idril's.
Back to your daydream according to Glorfindel. There would be a distinct lack of diplomats and wizards. You would have a nice garden, with lots of roses, and flowers most elves think of as blooming weeds, and it would be a lot less structured and appear more like wilderness than a garden. Aside from the library, it would be a smaller structure.
How did I do? Upon sailing to Valinor, I will have access to my family's very large library- perhaps you would like to come and see it? I remember you saying that you would not sail. Consider this a bribe. If your memory is a excellent as Gildor claims, you could likely recreate the entire Imladris library to add to my family's. Have I convinced you yet?
Anyway, that is all for now. Let me know what you think of the tea.
Glorfindel, fellow non-poisoned tea drinker.
Erestor scowled heartily at the letter, received two weeks ago. She hadn't responded yet. It looked as though he would not be scared off so easily. Fine. He couldn't last forever, and they would eventually sail. Despite his very interesting library offer, she still had no intention of spending the rest of who knew how long with more elves like Glorfindel. Even if he was turning out to be less of a yrch recently, she was still far less than enthused at the idea of spending time with others like him.
Perhaps it was irrational, but considering how much of her life had been spent with people who disliked her, perhaps it wasn't. Anyway, she had no time to think about any of this, he was more than right about one thing: Summer was incredibly busy. And this one more so than usually. For whatever reason, every elf this side of the Isen had decided to at least pass through Imladris. Worse still, there were refugees coming from every side.
Top it off, Lord Elrond had left before everything had happened and was not expected back for another month or so. His two sons had no interest in running Imladris, and were out on patrol as it was. Erestor wished she could recall the Lord of Rivendell, but unfortunately he had gone to Greenwood the Great and if he was forced to leave before Thranduil was done with whatever treaty or trade agreement he had decided on this time, there would be Mordor to pay. This left Erestor in charge of just about everything, and unable to write too much to Lord Elrond lest he decide to cut short his time in Greenwood despite the threat of a grumpy Thranduil.
Sighing, Erestor tried to finish her paperwork before another group of people arrived and demanded her attention, or a messenger with an *URGENT* message knocked on the door, or smoke and screams signaled yet another kitchen fire. To make matters worse, it was hot. Not that she was particularly affected by this as an elf, but wearing robes with the sort of stifling, thick, heavy warmth that permeated the valley made for an uncomfortable day.
Deciding that she couldn't afford another distraction, she pulled off her outer robes. She truly hoped no one decided to come barging in. Not that she was indecent, but the odd semi-tunic/dress compromise she had forced upon the seamstress was odd for most elven sensibilities. It was also a rather bright blue, with green and silver trimmings despite protests about the colour. Stupid seamstress thought she was queen of all and could do all she wanted. Erestor ignored the fact that she was wearing the tunic and had therefore lost that particular battle.
It wasn't five minutes later when someone did indeed burst in the door. The fact that it wasn't an important visitor relieved her until she realized that it was worse- it was Glorfindel. He was so eager to take her advice now, she mused, why couldn't he take her earlier advice and take that long walk off of a short pier? Doing her best to look poised and serious despite wearing clothing coloured more for a maiden at a dance than a serious seneschal, she gave Glorfindel a *look*. It said 'Make this important and quick or run for dear life'.
He ignored it, the stupid oaf.
"Seems rather busy," he stated. Attempting to ignore him, she crinkled her nose and dipped her quill into the inkwell, focusing on the letter draft that must be ready by that night, lest blood rain from the sky and the sun turn into a ping-pong ball. Or at least, that was the impression given by the rather harried looking youth who had delivered the message to her a half hour earlier.
"Did you read the letter yet?"
Why wouldn't he just leave her in peace? As tempting as it was to hex him, there were too many important people to impress currently mooching…ah, that is, visiting, to have their Head of Security walking around looking like a cross between a Barbie and a Troll doll. Sighing at the possibilities, she continued to ignore him. Just her luck however, he refused to give up.
"Ah, I see you have." Good job, Sherlock. Now buzz off. Some of us have actual work to do.
His offer to aid her however, kept buzzing in her ear despite all attempts to squash it. If there were a time where someone with experience were to help, it would be now.
"Erestor." He placed his hand right over where she was attempting to write, forcing her to look up in irritation. That idiot. And he claimed to have changed. Here he was, bothering her and making work harder. Of course his offer to help was fake, she should have known…
"Let me help you. Please, I want to help." Darn it. His blue eyes were far too familiar to another pair. Not in shape or shade exactly, but with that desperate pleading of a friend who just wants to help…Cursing the timing of the flashback, she found herself nodding yes before realizing quite what it was she had agreed to. The smile in return was blinding. Rather like Hermione when…
Refusing yet another trip to the past, Erestor crisply gave the apparently oversized elfling orders. "The diplomats from Rohan need immediate attention. They want to discuss the possibility of furthering a trade agreement. Here is a copy of what they want- it is something Lord Elrond has desire for a long time, but we were unsure of the reception. It will be simple enough, make nice and be excited about the increased cooperation between our two kingdoms. They will give a gift or two. Melpomaen has the gifts for them. A feast will be expected- the kitchen staff and serving staff can handle that by themselves, so long as they don't catch the kitchens afire again." Glorfindel raised an incredulous eyebrow at that.
"That should not take over-long. I will be in the Healing Wing after I finish this letter, there has been a massive influx of sick and wounded from surrounding human settlements. Some civil matter gone rather badly combined with an unexpected bit of flooding. We will also need to ascertain how much aid they will need in order to make it through until the next harvest, as apparently this one is ruined. If you would help the healers check inventory, then we will be able to tell the traders for some of our medicinal supplies what we will need, and they can then go their way."
Supposedly, elves did not get headaches, but the situation certainly called for one and Erestor rubbed the bridge of her nose for the non-existent pain. Glorfindel snapped a salute, said,
"Right away, m'lady!" and jaunted out of her office. Two less major things…and the letter had formed itself in her mind.
She scowled again. Just because he had helped this time didn't mean she liked him, or that he was a friend. He was still annoying as anything. Looking at her desk again, she noticed that he had left a cup of tea there. Sniffing, she realized it smelled of raspberries. This didn't mean he wasn't annoying. Still, perhaps she should answer his letter.
The night was breezy and cool, at least compared to the previous few days. True to his word, every morning Glorfindel had popped up with a smile on his face and offer to help- and tea. Erestor had given him tasks to fulfill, and he did so. She had worried for a bit upon hearing that there had been another kitchen fire and Glorfindel had helped put it out, unsure if fire brought about bad memories. Concerned but unwilling to voice it, she had checked on him in guise of bringing him an important document.
No dark memory clouded his eyes, and he seemed tired, smelled slightly smoky, but otherwise was in fine state of mind. This was not a sign of friendship, Erestor thought to herself. No indeed, it was simple concern for another being. She had to remind herself that not every other elf suffered from memory triggered fears or reflexes as she did.
Putting the incident neatly out of her mind, she turned back to the letter she was struggling to compose. In some ways it was easier when the letters were at least semi-hostile. Insults she could do, concern over personal matters pertaining to herself- ah, not so much. Still, she had ignored his previous letter and he had only forced the matter in person.
Indeed, he had actually met her outside of her rooms the last morning. Not that she had been given time enough to sleep in the past few weeks, but it would never due for her to show up in the same clothes she had been wearing the day before. Changing as quickly as possible, she opened the door to find Glorfindel just walking up. It had surprised her, quite frankly. At least it would not happen again.
The worst of the rush was over, and Imladris was calming down, and she no longer had an excuse for not answering his queries. Sighing, she put quill to parchment and began writing.
First and foremost I must thank you for the aid rendered during the past few days. I, as well as countless members of healers, servants, cooks, diplomats, and guards, are greatly appreciative. It was very kind and thoughtful of you. I also thank you for the tea. You were correct, I have enjoyed it.
As to your guesses- I can only suppose that you have been talking with Lindir and Figwit, for you are almost completely correct. I would most certainly appreciate a forest, but I would also love a mountain and a lake or even ocean. It reminds me of where I went to school, which is where I first remember being happy for extended periods of time.
I accept your apology for the misbegotten tea, I took my revenge beautifully upon the party that wronged me. I admit it was also rather amusing to see you hiding under the table.
As for the festival, of course you may come. Tomorrow at midnight, elves will be gathered to celebrate Summer. Traditionally, bright green and gold will be worn, and no shoes, although you do not have to go barefoot the entire night, only while we are celebrating in the glen. It is rather hard to find, so I recommend meeting up with Lindir and I. We will meet half an hour before midnight just outside the kitchen door closest to the herb gardens.
This is one of a series, and I will not tell you which one it is. You may appreciate it better seeing everything for yourself.
Once again, I thank you for your aid.
Looking the letter over, she sighed again. Perhaps by not addressing his observations about her reluctance (to put it mildly) to accept help he would get the hint. Doubtful. He could be thick as a brick sometimes. She wondered if he would actually come tomorrow. Before the past few weeks, she would have said no, but after these past few days especially… she wondered.
Glorfindel had almost given up hope on getting an answer, and was considering writing another letter when Mithrandir passed by- completely dry- and handed him a letter, written in Erestor's precise and almost calligraphic handwriting. The look the wizard gave him was almost smug, and knowing, and Glorfindel wondered if the Maiar knew who had suggested the water prank. The frustrating old man turned and walked swiftly away, far too swiftly for one of his seeming physical age.
Glorfindel was surprised, but pleased with the answer. He did of course notice the non-discussion of certain topics, but was happy to have received an answer at all. It was almost dinner now, and that left him with little time to prepare. Gold was easy enough to find, but he wasn't so sure about the green…
Glorfindel was nervous. It was almost midnight, and there were many elves in the glen. He still wasn't sure how they had gotten there, with all the twists and turns and tree climbing he wondered if they were in Imladris's valley at all still. He hoped too that his guides would not leave him to find his way home, because he was fairly sure he wouldn't be able to.
The complete silence was strange. Not a bird, bug, nothing could be heard. It rattled his nerves a bit, but he pretended not to be worried about it. Lindir gave him a knowing look which the warrior ignored best he could. It was annoying to be noticed being less than completely confident by a minstrel almost a head shorter.
He got the scare of his life when Erestor grabbed hold of his hand. Almost jerking out of her grip in his surprise, he got a swift glare in return as he realized that everyone was holding hands. He steadfastly refused to acknowledge Lindir's bemused expression, and simply held on slightly tighter than strictly necessary for a moment to send his message.
There was nothing to hear- and then he heard it. It wasn't something heard by ears though, it rattled and rang through his head and heart and body. Realization struck him that he was hearing the trees singing, as they had sung during their creation, and the elves around him were singing with them. But not with actual voice, but their very spirits were vibrating the melody. He barely had time to register that he was doing the same before the song grew louder-
And then vanished. Birds sang again, crickets chirped, and a squirrel or ten dashed through the trees overhead.
Moving together, the elves released hands (except for a few young couples, clinging together still) and moved back towards the trees. Glorfindel, feeling desperate not to be separated, grabbed on to Lindir's arm for dear life, and allowed himself to be led to another glen. This one was lit with a bonfire, and it appeared that the entire cellar had been emptied for the feast prepared.
People began to talk, at first in murmurs, but then louder after the solemn mood was broken by a young child's laughter. Soon music started, and Glorfindel was left behind by Lindir as he moved towards the musicians.
"Glorfindel!" He turned, startled, frustrated that this evening was due to rattle his nerves so greatly. It was Gildor, with a pleased smile on his face, gold hair swinging freely and braided with ivy leaves entwined. It was an interesting look, but oddly enough suited him.
"Glorfindel, I must admit that I never thought to see you here at one of these. Glad you could join us!" Gildor led him by the elbow towards a tree, forced him to sit, then settled beside him.
"So, what did you think of it? Amazing, wasn't it?" Glorfindel could only nod dumbly. His companion smiled knowingly. "Don't worry, first time does that to everybody." A child came to them and deposited a rather large napkin filled with food in Glorfindel's lap before running off giggling. Gildor forced him to try a little of everything there, most of which seemed to consist of berry or apple themed pastry.
"So, Lindir tells me you are trying to get to know Lady Erestor better." It was an unfortunately time statement, as Glorfindel had just taken another bite of a rather wonderful blackberry tart. Trying his best to appear composed even as his lungs suddenly tried to hack themselves up, all he could manage was an incoherent grunt of affirmation.
"May I ask what your intentions are?" That startled the poor, choking warrior even worse, but he brought himself under control this time.
"Wh-what?" he half coughed. Gildor gave him a rather cool look that could have frozen a balrog.
"I asked you what your intentions are towards Lady Erestor." Yep, this could be bad.
"I only intend to be her friend, nothing more or less. It was brought to my attention that I was less than…honourable towards her in my behavior for the past few centuries, and I desire to correct that." Gildor hadn't killed him yet, which was good. He also hadn't stopped semi-glaring at him yet, which was bad.
"I also realize that for whatever reason, people have let her down in the past and she has been forced to rely solely on herself. I intend to help her whenever possible, and show her that she isn't so…alone," he finished, feeling rather lame. Gildor kept up that penetrating gaze.
"Just a friend? You do not intend to gain her confidence only to break it and so break her and force her to leave?" Glorfindel was almost shivering under that glare now.
"Just a friend, not an enemy." He looked Gildor in the eyes, praying that his good intentions would pass muster. Apparently they did, as the elf gave a satisfied nod and began smiling again.
"Good. Perhaps you should know, then." Glorfindel eyed him, worried.
"What should I know, exactly?" The traveler smiled.
"That her begetting day is four days from now." Stretching, Gildor stood up. "I leave it to you to decide what to make and do with that information," he said, and walked away, leaving Glorfindel with a napkin of pastries and whirling thoughts.
Four days, huh?
LATE LATE LATE LATE I AM SO SORRY LATE.
I do have an excuse: Mom's birthday is tomorrow. Nice lady, as long as she gets her presents. Otherwise...*shivers*...
Plus I'll be hearing about it for the next decade and a half. So I've been trying to help clueless males figure out something to buy for mom. Not fun.
Chapter 16: A Thousand Years
This…was turning out to be a touch more difficult than he thought it would be. Considering her reflexes (which he had accidentally tested and found in no way wanting, as proven by a lovely black eye) he ruled out any form of surprise. Gingerly, he tested the bruised skin around his eye. Oh yes, that hurt. And that was just with a fist, what would happen in a place with infinitely more dangerous objects to throw, like pen-knives and heavy books?
No, there would be absolutely no risk of startling Erestor in any way, shape, or form. Glorfindel stopped pacing. Perhaps he was looking at this the wrong way. Yes, everybody else he could think of would at least secretly enjoy having a fuss made over them, at least once in a while. Considering how long elves lived, most celebrated by centuries or even millennium. He could not recall anything being done for Erestor, though. He thought about it.
Considering her preference to sink into the background, he would need to rethink his tactic. Possibly, it would be better to keep up a slow, steady barrage rather than firing all arrows at once. He would need to coordinate with Gildor and Lindir, though. He grimaced mentally. Lindir was many things- a skilled minstrel, a kind soul, a good listener. He was not the best time keeper, though. He was also as absent-minded as an elf could get. That would be the rough spot in his plan.
He decided to try and distract himself with the needed letter.
I enjoyed the ceremony yesterday. I had never imagined that I would hear the Song of Arda outside of Valinor. It was unsettling at first, but I find that I greatly enjoyed it.
A question: Have you ever thought of hiring Gildor as your personal bodyguard? Because he would be a wonderful person to fill that spot. He threatened me to be on my best behavior. Very scary, that one.
What sort of things do you like to do for fun? Just to relax. I'm sure I've asked you before, but this time I would like a more extensive answer, a touch less perfunctory.
I would like to write a much longer letter, but I fear there is too much on my mind and I find difficulty wording it. I would like to mention though that if there are any other festivals, I would like to know about them. I even promise not to mention to anyone that you actually do wear something besides black, brown, and grey. To be quite honest, I am not sure if the Imladris population at large is prepared for such an earth-shattering concept.
Wishing you well,
Letter done, he turned back to what was on his mind. This birthday thing was harder than he though. Giving up his pacing, Glorfindel decided to take a walk outside. Walking outside was usually a great aid in his mental processes. It was also a beautiful day, too wonderful to spend inside. This led to a thought, a wonderful horrible thought that made him groan inwardly. Perhaps…perhaps he should see if Erestor would walk with him. Not through the gardens, that tended to mean a potential or active courtship and wouldn't that have the gossips of every kingdom of both elves and men talking? Besides, he had a feeling that she was more of a walk in the woods sort of person, considering her heritage.
The fact that he could think about that without suspicion made him rather proud, and it was with a self-satisfied smile that he began walking. He slowed down a bit as he neared the corridor where he would have to make his decision whether to ask Erestor or to take the path less likely to lead to injury of person and/or ego.
He slowed to a crawl and finally a stop right before the last corner that would reveal the two corridors. This was a rather frightening prospect in and of itself, inviting someone to walk with him. There were a great many elves in Imladris more than willing to do just about anything he asked simply because of his heroic life and death. The elves he trusted not to hero-worship him were few. That was beside the point, however. The decision before him right now was whether to risk life, limb, and pride, in asking Erestor to walk with him, or continue as though his mind had never conceived the thought.
As much as he would like to implement the latter course of action, something stopped him. What was so incredibly important about this idea that he couldn't let it go?
He found his ruminations interrupted by gleeful voices around the corner. He sighed, about to move on when he heard Erestor mentioned. His blasted curiosity got the better of him, and he waited and listened. What he heard made him feel angry, guilty, and frustrated. Angry, because they had just stolen what he reckoned was about a weeks worth of work from Erestor. Guilty, because apparently they thought it justified because 'Glorfindel was ever suspicious of her'. Frustrated, because not only was Erestor proved right again (the scorecard of 'Right' between the two of them was annoyingly heavy on her side), but this could have ruined any progress he had made.
Looking as angry and fearsome as only a reborn Balrog-slayer can, he turned the corner. Two of the elves were unfamiliar to him, he thought they might work in the stables based on the smell, though. The other was a new guard, Something-Dir or other, he thought. Before he could open his mouth to say something, however, the three dropped the papers, turned tail and ran. Not down the hall, but to the window, yanked it open, and jumped out. That was a bit worrisome, seeing as they were three stories up, but then he remembered that the bushes below were rather thick and thorny.
At least he knew which way he was headed, now. Picking up the papers, he realized with sudden clarity that he did indeed need to be more careful about how he used his influence. True, he could not be held responsible every time someone decided to do something bad, but he could at least not facilitate and appear to want those bad things to happen. This did bring him back to whether or not he should ask Erestor to take a walk with him, and why it seemed to important that he did so.
He thought about it a bit. He claimed that he wanted to be a friend to her. Friends did things with each other. He couldn't imagine Erestor coming and asking him if he wanted to do something, though. It was the same way in which she asked- or rather, did not ever ask- for help. She might need it, but long experience had taught her not to ask for it because it wouldn't be coming. If there were hostility among some of the resident the elves against her, perhaps this was another way in which she had built a wall to protect herself. It made sense. Therefore, to prove his good intentions and legitimate desire to be a friend, he would need to make the initial move. He would also need to continue doing so until she felt she could trust him not to betray her, to use her seeming weakness against her.
He wondered how many millennia that would take. His father had once told him that for every cruel word said, three kind ones must be said to heal it completely. Because it was like hammering a wall, or knocking down a sand tower. It was easy and simple enough to cause damage, it was much harder to repair it. Words meant things, something so easy to forget when used in anger. Damage caused by words was also harder to repair because it wasn't a physical damage. His mother told him that honour went beyond being someone who never hurt people. Being an honourable person meant realizing that he had hurt someone, and resolving to do his best to heal that hurt.
So, for all the times he had either hurt her directly or caused someone else to hurt her, Glorfindel resolved within himself once more that he would do his best to be the honourable elf his parents had raised him to be. With this new resolve, he steeled himself and walked through the scribe's working area, garnering many strange looks as he did. Erestor's door was partially open, and he stepped inside. He was shocked by the scene inside.
Melpomaen was crying softly, cradling his wrist as he did so. Erestor was- and this was almost enough to cause a heart attack- hugging him, as she sat beside him talking softly and occasionally stroking his hair. It was oddly maternal, especially when Glorfindel reflected that (by his count) Erestor was hardly an adult herself. That, and the fact that it was Erestor doing it. He had expected her to be in a frenzy, anxiously looking for the missing work. He cleared his throat uncomfortably, unsure of what else to do. He was feeling rather awkward just standing there.
He expected the sharp glance from Erestor. He did not, however, expect the startled reaction from the elf by her side. He looked ready to bolt, but Erestor kept a firm grip and kept up her reassurances until he settled. Glorfindel felt extremely uncomfortable now. "I brought this." Wordlessly, Erestor accepted the papers. It was Melpomaen, not Erestor, who looked relieved though.
"You found them! Thank you so much. I tried, but they took them from me and Lady Erestor had trusted me with them and…" Erestor hushed him and attempted to calm him down.
"I understand, it was not your fault and I am not disappointed in you, and you did not destroy my trust." Glorfindel had a feeling she had repeated this many times in the past few minutes. "You are not at fault, they are." She turned to Glorfindel. "Thank you for returning them. They are rather important, and Melpomaen has been rather…upset about their theft."
Further conversation was halted as a healer entered the room, and with efficiency that Glorfindel greatly admired, examined, diagnosed, and bandaged the hand. It was not Melpomaen's main hand, which was good. After dispersing stringent instructions, the healer departed as clinically (Glorfindel could think of no better description) as he had come. Between the relief of pain and returning of the lost papers, Melpomaen had stopped crying. Which was a mercy, because Glorfindel could do a great many things but comforting crying elves was not one of them.
His last experience had ended up with a slap across his face and the even more distraught weeper running off. That had been at the tender age of 172, and he had no desire to try again. Turning back to the present, he felt as though a piece or two were missing from this puzzle.
"What exactly happened here?" Erestor answered him.
"I planned for Melpomaen to take these papers to deliver to the correct persons. Mostly Lord Elrond, but some go to ambassadors preparing to leave for various locations. The papers were left in my office on my desk. Melpomaen entered, and upon finding those three elves" Glorfindel wondered how she could turn 'elves' into an insult without seeming to change her tone, "demanded their safe return. The three refused, and Melpomaen refused to move from the door. They did not intend to hurt him, we believe, but they were forceful and he hurt his wrist upon contact with the floor."
Erestor eyed him, as though examining a specimen she hadn't ever seen before and didn't know what to make of it. "He was rather distraught until you returned them. Those papers are the culmination of several months of work, both on his part and my own, and we thank you again." Glorfindel nodded.
"You are most welcome. I found the perpetrators just down the hall. I heard them talking, and a might have begun to lose my temper. Apparently I am rather frightening when I do that, because rather than face me, they jumped out the window." Melpomaen gaped.
"But is it not…"
"A three story fall with prickly bushes at the bottom? Yes, yes it is." Glorfindel gave a smile that was not very nice and closer in description to a smirk. Erestor was looking carefully at him again, and if he wasn't mistaken, there was a gleam of approval in her eyes.
"Which reminds me. I was also going to offer an invitation. What say we deliver those papers to the proper recipients and then go for a walk? This recent afternoon has obviously been rather upsetting, and I think that Melpomaen could use a little break. What think you, Erestor?" Ha. Now she had to accept, so Melpomaen could accept. Although she looked slightly displeased, she agreed.
"Fine. We can take that path to the Whispering Stream, that is your favourite, is it not?" she asked Melpomaen. He nodded.
"Splendid! Then come, let's not waste time." And so they went.
That was a completely unfair tactic, Erestor grumbled to herself. Taking advantage of the situation like that- the nerve, really! Still, the walk had not been as horrible as she had feared, although the consequences were currently annoying her. She had resisted as long as possible, but it appeared that she would indeed have to change her view of Glorfindel. It simply wasn't fair! She had spent the past few centuries learning to protect herself from him, and suddenly he turns nice. Not just not mean anymore, nice, as in legitimately kind. How bothersome.
This was like Draco Malfoy had decided to fall in love with her- unexpected, capable of freezing hell, and mildly creepy.
Fine, perhaps not quite that bad, but it was rather close. A more than civil Glorfindel was unsettling, even though she rather liked not having to plan her day around avoiding him as much as possible. Although now he kept popping up unexpectedly, bringing her papers so she wouldn't have to get them herself, leaving tea, yesterday he had just come in to see if she had needed any help. She hadn't, but he had waited around the office- Erestor determinedly ignoring him- until there was another kitchen fire, and Glorfindel went to deal with it so she didn't have to. Which was rather nice of him.
Currently, however, he was sitting in her office. Again. Erestor was hoping that there would be another fire, preferably soon. Very soon. She closed her eyes and counted to ten- nope, he was still there. Not that he was bothering anything, he was reading. That was shocking enough, but he was reading a collection of histories. This would not have bothered her, except for the fact that these histories had been written and collected by herself, and were rather dear to her heart. The different historical tales in the volume were collected from various peoples who had passed through Lindon after the Battle of the Last Alliance.
It was a rather exhaustive collection, featuring stories from warriors of all ranks and races. Dwarves, men, elves, the occasional fey creature from the woods, though few enough of them were left even then. They had served in different capacities, from witnessing the fall of Gil-Galad to surviving the marshes, to waiting their beloved one's return from battle (in vain or no). There were no other histories quite like it, all the other books telling the tale from an objective (supposedly), third person omniscient point of view. This volume was the companion of a collection of writings, mostly letters with a few orders and the like, that encompassed the same time frame.
She cast about for something to send him away for, some reason to get him to stop reading, but the book had come from the library- and who was she to tell a warrior to stop reading a war history? Still, as nice (she ground her teeth upon the word) as Glorfindel had been recently, part of her was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, and having something that had taken her so much work, something she had poured her heart into, in his hands for his judgment…it was nerve wracking. Not that she cared what he thought, but she didn't need anything flung in her face.
Well, if he was going to be here anyway she might as well write his letter so she wouldn't have to think about him again later after he had finally let her alone. She brought out a clean sheet of parchment, and Glorfindel turned a page.
More about my hobbies, my likes and dislikes? As you wish. I enjoy teaching the children. This might surprise you, but I have taught many children their numbers and letters over the centuries I have been here. Just think of it! All those children can read because of something I did. There are many ways to make an impact, and in this, in teaching children, I am making a rather big one. It is my secret pride, you see. Melpomaen was one such child, I taught him to read, and then he apprenticed under me. He is almost a full-fledged scholar now, and is currently studying under another scholar I also taught how to read.
Is that a bit more in-depth?
The colours I enjoy most are all colours that remind me of freedom, something I cherish more than…well, just about anything. That is a longer tale, and a private one, reserved for friends therefore you shan't hear it.
Though you might say that I still have not answered your question. There are few things I do for fun, but most things I do I enjoy at the very least. I suppose answering what I do for fun is challenging for numerous reasons.
I will confess, I do not completely trust you yet, and telling you such things may give you an advantage. What I do for fun is very important to me, and I do not feel like having those activities mocked.
Yes, you have been exemplary recently, but do not think that because you have been civil for a month I have forgotten centuries of dislike and hate on your part, and treatment in keeping with these feelings. Trust is not quite so easily earned, Lord Glorfindel, particularly from me. And just because you have taken advantage of times of vulnerability to force your 'help' and 'friendship' upon me, it does not mean that I like it, wish to accept it, or desire your friendship.
Feeling upset now, Erestor huffed and folded up the letter. Really, how dare he force his companionship upon her! She had been fine for centuries, she did not need a wet-nurse now!
"What?" she asked rather sharply, hoping the walking talking irritation in blonde would take the hint and stay quiet or go away. The latter being the preferred action on her part.
"Why did you put this collection together?" Drat. He appeared to be oblivious. She considered giving him a non-answer, but she determined to act professionally.
"I thought that having a more personal collection would be fitting. History is more than just a fact of 'someone did something in some year' and 'this someone killed this and someone died then'. History is the tale of living. There are all these lives woven together, telling thousands and millions of variations on the same story, different stories, with these stories woven together in different ways. So much is lost when just the plain, bare-faced fact is told. People cared about what happened, it scared them, gave them hope, love, angered them, inspired them to things greater than ever imagined."
Erestor's eyes held that fire particular to one who is speaking of something they believed in their core of being.
"History is not something in a book- it belongs to the people, the lands that lived it, it is a gift to all who have come after. We can learn from it, value it, honour it, weep for the glories that might have been and were lost, and laugh at the joys that were preserved, though they balanced ever so delicately on the edge of a knife." Glorfindel looked to be in awe of the animated, passionate elf sitting behind the desk. He had never seen her like this. Perhaps this was what Lindir and Gildor had seen so long ago, and protected so ferociously.
"I record this small piece of history, the small stories and the large ones, in remembrance of those who persevered. They did not sigh and wait for doom, but fought on just by continuing to live, some of them. History records the worst and best of us, and we deserve to keep that truth." Erestor fell silent, watching Glorfindel carefully before transferring her gaze to the window.
"I never thought of it that way before. I suppose…Well, I lived so much of it, it is easy to forget that others have not. Besides, everything I did, and saw, lived, it was all so big. You recorded the little things, too." Looking back at Glorfindel, Erestor saw that he was gazing upon the book, contemplating, not judging. Finally, he turned his face towards her and their eyes met.
"Sometimes I wondered what exactly it was that I died for. You know, what was I fighting for? I never really considered the actual people. It was so distant, just the concept of honour and protection and never wondering why. I suppose I have my answer now," he stated rather softly, and Erestor was annoyed to find herself empathizing with him. She also realized that she might have to rewrite her letter. Curses.
Glorfindel moved from the distant edge of the room, and sat in the chair in front of her desk.
"I have done some thinking-"
"Have you? Next you'll be telling me the sky is purple, you can smell rectangles, and taste the colour magenta."
Glorfindel smiled at her snark.
"Yes, I have. Ever since that nasty incident with the stolen papers, I have been thinking about how to make this better. The citizens of Imladris need to know that you have my protection now-"
"I have your what?"
"Protection now, and that any further occurrences of this kind will not be kindly met." Erestor meant to protest, she really did, but she looked at his face and it felt like kicking a lost puppy. With an injured leg. In a blizzard. Wagging it's tail and whimpering. Double curses, foiled again.
"What would this announcement entail?" She asked, with as firm a glare as she could manage with the lost puppy image before her, which meant she probably looked about as stern as a wilted flower.
"Ah! Do not worry, it will not be an announcement as such, just a friendly warning shot across the bow, that is all." Erestor gave a skeptical raised eyebrow face to his viewing. "Truly! Just trust me, I promised to be your friend and to help, and I think that letting others know of this determination will help."
"I see. So after all these centuries you decide to deem me worthy of such intervention? I am flattered, truly, but perhaps your help would be better appreciated elsewhere. Perhaps with someone who actually trusts you." Her earlier irritation as poured forth in the letter came back full force, and strengthened her resolve against his saddened look.
"So you still distrust me? I expected so. I promise, I will show you that I am trustworthy. Just wait, I will work until I have earned your trust. This I promise, on my honour and that of my family's."
Erestor could only feel shocked. This was as close to an oath as Glorfindel would get (considering the disastrous consequences of the Feanorian's oaths), and that he would say such a thing…she truly would have to rewrite that letter. He could not be lying, but how was she supposed to just change century's worth of thinking and habits overnight?
"I will see you later." So saying, Glorfindel departed. What had he said in between? Erestor was not sure. Looking at the time, she realized that it was time for dinner, and went to her rooms to change. How one could get dirty sitting in an office, she wasn't sure. Still, it happened and so she exchanged her robes for clean ones- black for a dark grey. How daring.
The knock on the door about made her jump out of her skin, though. Praying that it wasn't another emergency, she was surprised to find Glorfindel standing there, practically glittering in the light of the dying sunlight.
"Remember that conversation in your office earlier? Well, it starts tonight. Come, I am your escort. Nothing says 'designated protector' quite like dinner escort." Oh goody. Had she agreed to this? Could she say she wasn't hungry? Doubtful. Plus, she remembered with an inward wince, she had been asked by Lord Elrond to attend tonight and she couldn't very well tell him that she had to decline because an idiot was walking besides her to the dining hall. With as much dignity as she could muster, Erestor nodded and walked past him, setting a fast pace towards dinner.
Behind her, Glorfindel smiled in victory before smoothing his face to a more neutral expression and took pains to entertain her on the (it had to be at least an hour) five minute journey.
Still, she reflected, looking at many of the shocked faces as she and Glorfindel arrived, it was amusing to see the reactions to her escort- although the fact that he had somehow finagled to holding her arm caused her to come close to homicide. Restraining herself from kin-slaying in the eating area, she took her seat and said "Good eve" to Lord Elrond as though this sort of thing happened every day.
Later that night, she would once again be ready to kill Glorfindel upon realizing what exactly the gossips would have made of it by morning…
Double upload weekend: Part 1
When not occupying Erestor's office, Glorfindel had been preparing. Last night had gone better than he had hoped, especially with managing to grab her arm while she had been distracted. He did wonder though, if he had done the right thing by making that vow. Not that he regretted the action itself, but perhaps the timing…
Well, what was done was done. Today was very important. Erestor had come into the world this day, over a thousand years ago. He had a gift prepared, and even had a plan to make sure Erestor accepted and used it. He was becoming quite clever, if he did say so himself.
"Been playing with fire recently, have you not?"
The sudden voice made Glorfindel spin around, relieved and yet not quite upon realizing it was Mithrandir. Glorfindel snorted.
"At least I try. Where have you been hiding recently?" Mithrandir frowned, and shrugged.
"Wherever Lady Erestor was not. Still, you seem determined to end up with a new hairstyle and fashion sense." Glorfindel raised an eyebrow- darn it, it seemed to be catching.
"You were the one who recommended that I attempt to reconcile with Erestor, and now you want me to stay away? I do not think so. Thank you for the advice, but I have charted a course and I am staying to it. Good day." And with that, Glorfindel brushed past the Istari. If he hadn't been walking so fast, he would have been around long enough to hear Mithrandir chuckle after him.
Glorfindel had planned this carefully- the hard part would be not getting killed by Erestor once she found out who was responsible for Elrond's decision to bar her from her office and any work that day. At any rate, considering that she hadn't had a day off in any of the time Glorfindel could recall, it was about time that she did.
Glorfindel sighed ruefully to himself as he heard (several halls away) Erestor's protest against the locked office door. True, she could likely unlock it herself, but upon being told that it was her Lord's express command that she not to, all she could do was rant and rave. The sounds grew louder, and Glorfindel forced himself not to slow down as he drew nearer. Steeling himself inwardly, he smiled and greeted her boisterously.
"Good morn to you, my fairest Erestor!" She spun on her heel, scowling still. Glorfindel quailed inwardly, but forced himself to remember that he had faced a Balrog, surely one elf maid ages younger was no comparison. He almost convinced himself that he believed it.
"Excuse you? I am not 'your' anything, least of all fairest!" Oops, he hadn't meant to actually say that out loud. Right, quick thinking time. It didn't help either that the scholars and scribes passing by were casting amused or pitying glances in his direction. Think faster!
"Ah, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Erestor, and to me, you are fairest." That was bad. How was that supposed to make it better? How had he actually allowed those words to come out of his mouth?
"Go find yourself some blushing maiden, Lord Idiot, and flatter them. Just do not insult my intelligence so. Besides, lies do not become a warrior of your supposed stature." Why could she not just take a compliment? That was all he had wanted, was to compliment her. Weren't females supposed to like being told they were pretty? This was going to spin out of control, and Glorfindel could start to see his lives flash before his eyes. I really actually don't remember doing that, he thought to himself. Was I ever that stupid? Recalling the current situation, he decided he still was.
"I do not lie, Lady, I promise. Remember? I promised to gain your trust, and to be your friend. Friends tell the truth. You are beautiful and it is your begetting day. There are many things to celebrate, and you are one of them. All of your friends are waiting, so let us tarry no longer before the closed door to drudgery. Come, cease these futile rages and find joy as others take this chance to show how much they care for you." Glorfindel gave her his most charming smile. She glared daggers at him.
"Lady Erestor, Melpomaen, Lindir, and Gildor worked extremely hard to please you this day. Will you scorn their gifts because you had to stop working for one day out of thousands?" Erestor's glare lessened, and she appeared to be thinking it over. Praying that this would not end in his tragic death by way of paper-cut or defenestration, he waited for her to take probably everything into consideration before opening her mouth to say:
"As you wish. I will see what they have planned for me."
"Excellent! My dear lady, we will depart post haste!" He offered his arm, which was ignored- no more than he expected, but he had to offer anyway. Cheerily, and likely far too cheerily in Erestor's opinion, he made his way through the halls with her, until they made it back to her rooms. Glorfindel opened the door with a grand flourish and a bow.
Inside was part one. Melpomaen stood there, along with his cousin Duvenel. Duvenel presented a flowering plant- a miniature rosebush, to be precise. Glorfindel was rather pleased to see Erestor smile just the slightest bit at the gift. Melpomaen held a basket which let out a soft 'meow' as he handed it to Erestor. Melpomaen explained,
"Her mother died a few days ago, and all the other kittens have been adopted. We- that is, Lord Glorfindel and I- thought that maybe you would like company that does not give deadlines or make mean comments. She, I mean, the kitten you see, does not have a name yet. You do not have to keep her, but I thought that perhaps you would not mind at least watching her until another keeper could be found…"
Melpomaen trailed off here rather nervously, but relaxed when Erestor smiled at him and put a soothing hand on his shoulder.
"Thank you for your very thoughtful gift, I would love to keep her." Erestor gazed softly at the cat, seeming to think through something. Green eyes stared back from the calico ball of fluff that was currently held in Erestor's arms. It had been Melpomaen's idea, but it had been Glorfindel who insisted that this kitten was the one. It reminded him of Erestor for some reason, a bit small but determined all the same; quiet, intelligent, and preferring to remain in the shadows and unseen. A small movement from Erestor-
"Mîr," she murmured. And so the young cat was named. Yet the day was not over yet, and after Mîr fell asleep, Erestor was escorted by Glorfindel to the next stop, the little nook where The Tea (it had gained capitol letters in Glorfindel's head over time) had occurred. Here, Glorfindel served drug-free tea and what he had reliably been told were Erestor's favorite pastries. It seemed a miracle was unfolding, as she smiled at him(!) and seemed amused rather than annoyed. Then-
"So how many elves have asked you when we plan to be wed this morning?"
Glorfindel nearly choked on his tea.
"Wha- what?" he coughed out, trying not to look completely ridiculous and likely making it worse. Erestor merely stared at him, calmly, too calmly knowing her.
"How many people have asked about our 'relationship'? Surely you have realized what it looked like yesterday, escorting me into the hall as you did? The gossips have surely come up with an entire history, how our mutual dislike was merely an act all these years, that we have been pretending simply because we were afraid of something- perhaps your disinheritance or some such sordid affair- and that we have either finished with it because we are too in love, or there is no need for further deception. As it is, I have had two elves congratulate me on my upcoming wedding, three ask whether we are engaged yet or not, and no less than ten insinuated death threats from maidens who have been ignored by you but remain hopeful that you will notice them yet."
Glorfindel was stunned. This was a rather unexpected development. He truly had no idea… Coherent thought had fled, and all that came out of his mouth were monosyllabic sounds, intended to be words, yet falling short of existence even as they reached his lips. Erestor looked on amusedly. Fortunately, Lindir came to his rescue with the next part of Erestor's special day.
"M'lady dear, I present to you a basket filled with a few tokens of appreciation, trifles to prove our affection, gifts to display our devotion to you." Lindir was being ridiculous and overdramatic (he was master of this), but Erestor seemed not to mind, and Glorfindel greatly appreciated the filibuster while he attempted to recover his composure. It did not escape his notice that Erestor did not resent being called 'dear' by the minstrel. Then again, he couldn't recall Erestor ever having been constantly harassed by the musician either.
"These presents are from many people who care about you," Lindir said, smiling at Erestor as he placed the basket on her lap. "I leave them for your perusal, but for now I must away," and saying thus he was as good as his word. Erestor gazed wordlessly at the basket, before reaching for the first item- a card, wishing her well, signed by so many people that there was no more room inside or on the outside of the card for any more. Gently, she placed it aside. Glorfindel knew most of the contents of that basket, and eagerly watched Erestor.
Erestor seemed to be taking her time, enjoying the feeling. Glorfindel could guess her thoughts- she had claimed to have friends, but it had been a while since she had realized what that meant to them and not just to her. That the friendship went both ways, and that they were as glad to know her as she was to know them.
A quill box, an inkwell in the shape of an owl, a small book of poetry- then came the gift Glorfindel had been anticipating. There were no names on the individual gifts, so she had no way of knowing that this present had come from him. A silver sparrow, with a small green eye, caught in flight, wrapped in a silvery blue cloth. It was a hairpin, hopefully practical enough for Erestor in that, but also more than just something to hold hair. Watching eagerly while trying not to appear any different than before, Glorfindel was pleased to see that Erestor looked rather- dare he say it?- Happywith the present.
"Are there no names to go with the presents?" she asked, turning her gaze towards Glorfindel.
"Not for each present, no. There are names of those who contributed, but who gave what exactly is a mystery I am afraid." He tried to look authentically remorseful, but Erestor merely sighed, nodded, and looked at the pin in her hand again.
"It would be good manners, methinks, if you wore it. To show your appreciation, since someone went to all that trouble…" Glorfindel drifted off, but knew, despite the death-glare currently aimed his direction, that she would no doubt do the proper thing. Which she did, sighing just a little bit- Glorfindel caught the impression that it was aimed his direction. It was slightly insulting. Truly, he wasn't that trying. Really he wasn't. He just took a bit of getting used to, that's all.
Double update weekend: Part 2
Chapter 19: Sad Eyes
Warning: Switching Viewpoints
Erestor sighed, placing the admittedly lovely pin in her hair, ignoring the smug look Glorfindel currently wore. Honestly, he could look just a touch less pleased with himself. Still, she couldn't quite muster up the same disdain she normally held for him- he had, after all, gone through quite a bit of trouble to set it up. Especially since he couldn't have known for too long- Lindir could run off at the mouth, but he knew what to keep quiet. Few people realized this about him, but for all his talking he was actually rather discreet, something Erestor appreciated greatly. No, Lindir wouldn't have told him, and no other permanent resident in Rivendell actually knew her begetting date, which left Gildor, who had only been in residence about a week.
Well, now everyone knew. Hopefully they would get over this sentimentality by next year and things would go back to the way they were. Perhaps not exactly- being able to walk down hallways without being harassed by a certain blonde idiot was a welcome change. Still, everything else- people caring or pretending to care about her just complicated things. Erestor was tired of complicated things. Trouble was, as much as she tried not to care her stupid heart just kept right on ignoring her. It hurt when they betrayed her, or died, or left, and they always ended up doing one of the three.
"Erestor?" Oh look, Glorfindel was worried now. Why did he care? Why on earth had he completely turned around and started caring? She had just wanted to be left alone.
"Erestor? Are you well?" Ah, that's right. When spoken to one is usually expected to respond. Oops.
"I am quite well Glorfindel, merely thinking about a few things. Most people do at least occasionally- although it would not surprise me if you proved an exception." Shields up, she thought to herself. Defensive position, power at 100% and holding. Behold, my mighty wall of protective sarcasm. Get too close and I will skewer you with words and filet you with dark looks.
Glorfindel seemed to be completely unaffected. Stupid Balrog killing reborn warriors.
"I was just concerned. You seemed very far away for a moment, and you are currently pouring the contents of your tea-cup onto your apple turnover." So much for unaffected and smooth. She put the tea-cup down and sighed heavily, which was yet another mistake as Glorfindel managed to look even more concerned for her. This whole 'caring' thing was getting out of hand on his part, Erestor thought.
"It is nothing you need be concerned about," 'so back off and leave me to my misery' was the unspoken ending to that sentence. It appeared that Glorfindel wouldn't be scared off easily today though, as he merely got her an un-soggy pastry and refilled her tea-cup.
"Perhaps, but as today is supposed to be a celebration then it is important that anything bothering you be deal with as swiftly as possible." Smiling what he undoubtedly thought of as his most charming smile, her personal walking irritation continued, "so is there anything that I can or may help you with?" Looking at him, Erestor felt the pang of familiarity ring through her. How many times had her friends asked that? It was with this in mind that she blurted out (quite without thinking)-
"Why do you care?" By the time the words left her mouth, she remembered that there were no ghosts of her friends to ask, only the one elf she had decided to never trust and who had been working on reversing that decision.
"Why should I not? You need someone to care, and I can." No, no! Stop looking at me like that! She mentally begged. Such sad eyes, and why did she have to associate Glorfindel with her friends so often? Frustrated with herself and Glorfindel, she began to take it out on the innocent pastry. Glorfindel, rather than becoming intimidated from the fierce destruction of said baked good, merely asked in a bemused tone if perhaps she was no longer hungry?
"Come, there is a bit more to do this day. Many people still have their contribution to give to you. You are correct, there are a great many people here who do consider themselves your friend." Glorfindel looked at her thoughtfully. "I wonder if you realize how important that is to them." Erestor refused to make eye contact with him then, ignoring his presence as they continued their journey. After the most confusing route they could possibly take, with altogether far too many stairs and left turns, they arrived in the gardens, and to her surprise Erestor found herself escorted to her favourite portion.
This portion was a garden only by the loosest definition of the word, however. There were a few main paths, but one could wander off of them without risking the crushing of carefully cultivated blooms. There were mostly trees though, and the flowers were considered by many to be weeds. Erestor liked it, and not just because it was less popular and thus less populated. The Silvan in her blood felt much more at home here, where the trees grew as they willed. Unknowingly she relaxed and smiled just the faintest bit.
Glorfindel noticed, but made no mention of her change in mood, content in knowing that he had a small part in granting it. Her resistance to happiness- and him- made it difficult to stay lighthearted, as he could guess what was behind it. He cursed his past self as a fool, realizing that for all his good intentions now Erestor had centuries of experience warning her otherwise.
The frustrating thing was that it hadn't been just his own deeds. Others had pretended friendship in order to curry favour with Lord Elrond, or to have a request granted by the council, or simply to pass more work onto (a very overburdened as it was all ready) Erestor. She saw through them swiftly enough, Melpomaen had informed Glorfindel, but the fact remained that such a thing must hurtat least a little and that a great many people had a great deal to answer for. What was it about the unfortunate Lady that seemed to attract the worst behavior from peoples of all races? Personally, Glorfindel had never believed in ill-fated people, believing that at any time they could make a better decision, but he wasn't quite sure what decision there had been for Erestor to make. It did figure that she would be the exception to the rule, odd elf that she was.
Pulling himself away from these thoughts, Glorfindel smiled as he thought of the next presentation. Erestor caught his smile, and sent him a vaguely worried and frightened and suspicious look, which Glorfindel could not quite interpret. Was she worried for his sanity, what ridiculous thing he might have done now, or did she still trust him so little as to be worried that he meant her ill?
Determined, Glorfindel smiled brighter, projecting all his good intentions and feelings as he did so. This seemed to startle Erestor, which in turn startled Glorfindel (besides pouring her tea on her pastry earlier, she was the most composed and graceful person Glorfindel had met in a long while) as she managed to stumble over a tree root. Fortunately for both, a quick recovery on Glorfindel's part gave him the presence of mind to catch her before she fell.
"Thank you." This voicing surprised Glorfindel, but not enough to make him loose his grip on her arm. He didn't want to force contact between them, but being in contact would allow him to transmit the fact that he meant no harm even clearer. It would help her overcome her reticence to allowing herself to believe him.
They reached the intended destination with no further incident, although Erestor cast many looks at Glorfindel, as though looking for something. With a grand flourish, Glorfindel let go of her arm to take her hand, bowed neatly and declared grandly,
"My lady, your next gift." Her next gift had been a stroke of genius, if he did say so himself. Not that it had actually been his idea, but he had been there at the moment of its conception and had put in an idea or two for the design. Underneath an oak tree there was now a bench, sturdy, practical, yet with Erestor's name carved in it, along with roses, trees, and various woodland creatures. On one end was the sun, along with daytime animals, and the other end was the moon, occupied with owls and night blooming flowers. It had been just a bench when first Glorfindel saw it, but never underestimate determined Silvans, he thought to himself; the only ones who could give Noldors a run for their money in stubbornness and sheer determination.
Yes, he felt rather pleased with himself. Erestor looked…well, she looked as though someone had just given her the sun and the moon. Yes indeed, this had been a very good idea.
"It is for sitting on, dear lady. It would be a waste not to use such a wondrous gift." A deadly glare was sent his direction, but as he knew there was no true heat behind it, he ignored it and offered another smile. This one at least did not make Erestor trip, although she did sit down on the bench in a bit of a huff. Just like a woman, he thought, then realized that if anyone heard that he would end up becoming the thrice-born Balrog Slayer. Perhaps she had, he worried, turning nervous as Erestor's glare seemed to increase in intensity just as he thought that. Deciding to turn his thoughts to less suicidal channels, he sat down uninvited next to Erestor on the bench.
"There is just one more present for you, Erestor." As instructed, a basket had been left behind the bench for him to retrieve. Handing it to Erestor, he waited as she removed the cloth protecting the contents. Inside the basket were folded papers, and she tentatively opened one. Watching her carefully for a reaction, he was unsurprised when a look of shock passed over her face.
"This is a thank you letter." Glorfindel nodded.
"Indeed. As are the others. This actually is not the only basket, but we decided to leave the others in your room. There are quite a few of these, and pictures from some of the children. A great many people wanted to show their appreciation, and they helped with the gifts, or simply by writing their thoughts to you." Erestor still looked to be in a state of shock, so Glorfindel took advantage of the silence to continue talking.
"These are just letters from Imladris and Gildor's people, more letters should arrive from Mirkwood and Lorien and wherever else it turns out you have people who care for you." Glorfindel took a hand and held it, forcing her to believe what he was saying. "I understand what it means to work for a long time and wonder if anyone at all notices or cares. It seems that for every yrch I kill, three more replace it to do even worse deeds. I still fight though, because there are the people that are safe because I do so, and people still need me to protect them. You work constantly, tirelessly, to establish peace between realms of elves, men, and dwarves. There are so many people to whom you have shown kindness, helped through a difficult time." He paused, searching Erestor's face to see if she was listening.
"I am so incredibly sorry that I refused to see this evidence, and instead judged you on what I did not understand or even desire to understand." He realized just how tightly he had been holding her hand, and loosened his grip though not releasing it completely.
"Just know that people do care about you, and that I am now one of them. I am not sure why it was decided that my poor treatment of you was to be ignored, but there has been an awakening of sorts and even if I were to break my promise, there are now dozens of elves who will gladly send my back to my residence in the Halls of Mandos. I promise, it is not my intention to hurt you, and I do wish that you would believe me." Unsure of what else to say, Glorfindel stood and bowed.
"I wish you well this day, Erestor." He could feel her eyes burning the back of his head as he left the clearing.
Thank you for everything you did. It was much more than I thought…
Well. I am unsure of what else to say, except that I will attempt to trust your good intentions more from now on. I always was rather stubborn and slow to change when it came to emotions, which is why I try to think more with my head than my heart in the Council Sessions.
I do appreciate everything you did, and thank you for the hair pin. Yes, I know it was you. You are a rather poor liar, did you realize?
It was only as she lay in bed, with her dear little Mîr purring happily beside her that Erestor realized-she still hadn't addressed their status among the gossips. And the fact that he spent a large part of the day escorting her about in a celebration of sorts that had been planned largely by himself…
In the minds of the gossips, they were as good as married now. She could feel another non-existent migraine coming on. Curse that idiotic blonde fool for his obliviousness!
Chapter 20: Vindicated
Re-reading the reply he had received earlier that morning, Glorfindel smiled. Things had gone much better yesterday than he had expected, and the fact that he was completely uninjured was a welcome bonus. The letter he had received from Erestor promising to at least try and trust him was the cherry on top of everything. He had hoped, certainly, but for Erestor to take this enormous leap of faith- promise from him or not- seemed nothing short of miraculous.
A smile inspired by good work graced his face just as he looked up, only to be startled upon realizing that Lord Elrond was standing in the doorway.
"Lord Elrond! May I help you?" It frustrated Glorfindel to no end how solemn the Lord of Imladris could appear even when he was about to tear you to shreds verbally. Since his arrival in the Valley, Glorfindel had enjoyed a strong friendship with Lord Elrond, at least until just recently. Apparently Mithrandir had seen fit to offer an explanation for his request to keep Glorfindel from going on patrol for the near future. Since that time, he had received a rather cold shoulder. It had actually been one of the deciding factors in his decision not to act so horribly towards Erestor in the early days of their correspondence. He had asked why he was being held at arm's length, and upon being told that Elrond could no longer trust the truth of their friendship, demanding further reasoning. Glorfindel had then been told in plain terms that someone who would so abuse their position of power for so long was not the sort of person Elrond would ever be friends with, and as he had not seen such behavior in their interactions, he would have to assume that Glorfindel was only pretending at honour and kindness. Especially considering that if Glorfindel had a legitimate concern, then he would have acted on it. This was a mere abuse of power.
That had hurt quite badly. Glorfindel listened to very few critics of his character, but Lord Elrond was one of those few and to be told that he was little more than a glorified bully stung him more than he had thought it would. Worse still, he couldn't deny the truth of the claim. It had been a major turning point, but there had been litter interaction between Lord Elrond and Glorfindel since that day.
It was always a difficult task, to examine oneself- faults and all- harder still was admitting to the faults found there. Glorfindel had done so, but it was a rather unpleasant experience, if a necessary one. Still, there had been consequences to his poor behavior for the past few centuries and honour required him to take responsibility for his mistakes. Elrond had been the major impetus in revelation.
"If you are not busy, I would like to speak with you about a few rather important topics. Perhaps we should sit down?" Well, this was either a good sign or a very, very bad sign. Both Elf Lords sat down, and Glorfindel waited, feeling anxious and impatient. For all his old age, he had never been extremely good at waiting when it came to anything outside of combat.
"It has come to my attention that you have recently been attempting to apologize to Erestor, and to gain her trust." Glorfindel nodded.
"It is indeed, M'Lord. If only to gain her trust so as to put her at ease that she no longer need fear any sort of attack from my person." Lord Elrond looked thoughtful at his response.
"That is good. You helped her, I heard, whilst I was gone?"
"I did." Elrond gave him a pleased almost-smile, which surprised Glorfindel greatly.
"That is interesting. You must realize, she never lets anyone help her with her work, or I suppose she views it as her responsibilities, duties, and honours. I was quite in wonder at this, for others have offered before and been refused quite adamantly."
"I am not exactly sure, to be strictly honest. However, I did not just offer to help, per say, but I asked if I could." This gained another thoughtful nod from Elrond.
"That is a vital difference, I believe. There is also another topic of some import. When you escorted the Lady Erestor into the dining hall-" Glorfindel groaned, and Elrond stopped there, unfairly bemused at Glorfindel's reaction.
"Yes, apparently Erestor and I have been secretly betrothed or even married since before the Fall of Gondolin, or some such nonsense. That does not even make any sense, since Erestor was not even born yet!" A wordless huff of vexation came from Glorfindel's lungs, and Lord Elrond laughed a bit at him.
"I see. So you are not currently married to each other, hiding the fact that Lindir is actually your child-" Glorfindel nearly choked at this- "from a previous marriage?" The fearless Captain of Imladris was stunned speechless by that last bit. Elrond was enjoying this far too much he thought a moment later, listening to his Lord laugh at the entire situation. Sighing like a martyr, he waited for Elrond to collect himself.
"Forgive me, but seeing your reaction to that was priceless. I am pleased that you and Erestor are beginning to understand each other better." While saying this, he watched Glorfindel carefully, and Glorfindel had the distinct feeling that his entire soul was being examined.
"So am I. I never thought I would, but…" Glorfindel stopped, searching for words and Elrond waited patiently, "but she is more than a meek scholar, hiding behind parchment and afraid to experience anything outside of a book. If I had ever bothered to stop making assumptions, I would have realized that she knows too much about certain things- troop movements, the actually practicalities involved with organizing soldiers, customs of various peoples all over Arda, etc.- to have learned them all from a book." Glorfindel stopped, then spluttered an explanation at Elrond's raised eyebrow.
"Not that learning from books is bad! It is just that I believe some things are better experienced in life and not just theory…" he trailed off, relieved as the eyebrow lowered and a mildly amused look glimmered in Elrond's eyes.
"Fear not, I understand your meaning. I would caution you, though. You say you are coming to know her better, which is a good thing. If you are, then you must realize that she carries a great many hurts and that if you go through with whatever it is you have planned for the long run to gain her trust, that you must continue to help her." There was no amusement now, and the room was solemn.
"Trust is not given lightly be people who have been hurt, Lord Glorfindel. She will test you, try to push you away, even as she wants you to stay. I do not know much for certain, but I have a general idea of her life experiences and her wariness is justified for any elf, let alone one who contributed to her wariness for centuries." If Glorfindel felt much guiltier, he would begin melting into a pile of apologetic goo on the rug.
"I warn you now, do not betray her trust. Quite honestly, I am not sure she would survive it and if she did, I am concerned about the lengths she would resort to in order to protect herself, and there would likely be no healing from this wound, at least on this side of the Sea. This is a very serious task you have taken on, Lord Glorfindel, and while I wish you well do realize that if you fail there will be consequences for Erestor, terrible consequences." What could Glorfindel say to that?
"I will do my utmost, M'Lord." Elrond accepted this with a nod.
"It is well, then. I have great faith in you, Glorfindel. You have come very far all ready, I have no doubt that you can go much farther." He rose and walked to the door, pausing just before leaving. "Thank you." And with that he was gone, leaving behind a very introspective Vanya. At least it seemed as though Lord Elrond was no longer giving him the cold shoulder, even if they weren't quite at the same level of friendship as before. But they would be. Glorfindel was going to prove his honour, redeem himself, and fix the injuries caused.
See? No 'dear', but much less cold than "Lady" or just "Erestor".
I have a question, do not feel obligated to answer, but you said during the Tea Incident that you cannot die, yet in previous letters stated that you must fight fading. How is this so?
I am not accusing you of lying, Erestor, so please do not be angry over that. I am concerned about you. And while I am being incredibly nosy and possibly suicidal I must ask, are you fading (or fighting it) now? If so, is there anything I could possibly do to help you?
We are just beginning to become friends (or admitting to our marriage depending on who you ask, apparently forged at the Gardens of Cuiviénen, can you imagine?) and I do not wish to lose you to grief, and knowing that I contributed to that…
Well, turning to less saddening topics, I say to you that you are most welcome. I am glad that I was able to do something for you, especially since you are trying to trust me more now after it.
I did not realize that I was such a bad liar, but truthfully I do know that I have little practice at it and therefore cannot be held responsible for any such failings. I hope you are not offending by my deception, but I feared you would reject it knowing who it was from. I was delighted that you liked it, and do not deny it, I saw your face. I am getting better at reading your facial expressions, few as they may be most times.
Lord Elrond came to see me earlier today, and teased me about our supposed marriage/betrothal. Did you know that Lindir is my child by a previous marriage? I wonder if he knows who his mother supposedly is.
I am re-reading the book you lent me. It is refreshing to read about such important history from a different perspective. You did an excellent job getting a wide variety of contributors, I daresay I would not have had the patience to do half the work you did.
I bid you a pleasant 'Day After Begetting Day' Day.
Chapter 21: This Time Imperfect
Erestor was quite sure she was developing a nervous tic of some kind, perhaps an eye twitch. The nerve of that frustrating Elda, addressing her so! She would have to stipulate that calling her things that denoted a closer relationship than they actually shared was strictly forbidden. The rest of the letter left her thinking, though. With a sigh, she realized that she would need to talk with him in person. Curses.
Checking the time, she began a mental count down. '3, 2, 1, and…' Glorfindel came through the door, bearing tea as usual, although today he also carried with him a sandwich and a biscuit.
"You skipped lunch today- do not deny it, I asked the kitchen staff and your door guards out in the library and they all said you had been closed up in here since before breakfast. And knowing your habits, methinks you had none of that either. So! In addition to tea, I brought an offering of lunch. Well, I offer, Terrifying Threatening Head Cook Lady commanded, and I am not going back down there with your lunch untouched. And no, I will not eat it either. I like my fingers where they currently reside, thank you," he added with a shudder that Erestor knew was genuine.
Resigned to her fate, she ate her lunch, thinking and watching her (unwanted) co-occupant of the room. Not noticing, or at least pretending not to, the subject of her attention continued to examine the bookshelves in her office. She couldn't help but wonder what he was going to do this time, as it appeared he had a purpose of coming here, as opposed to simply lounging around her office while she actually did useful things, like her job.
Finishing the food, she sighed a little and waited expectantly. Turning to see that she was done, Glorfindel shot her a beaming smile that said, 'really, how can you not trust me?' and sat down in the chair just on the other side of her desk.
"Have you read my letter yet?" he asked, all blue eyes and smiles and caring concern that was almost frightening in it's intensity.
"Yes I have. I…I believe it would be best if perhaps I answered your questions in person-"
"But not here. It is far too wonderful a day to be inside, especially as you have been working since long before you should." Erestor prepared to protest this.
"I have things that need doing, I cannot just get up and leave whenever I feel like it, my responsibilities-"
"Can wait until tomorrow, I have it on very good authority that you have finished all time sensitive items and are thus free for the rest of the day," he finished triumphantly, completely unaffected by the glare that by all rights should have peeled skin. Honestly, interrupting her twice! All he did was stand up and offer his hand to her, once again utilizing that 'don't kick the puppy' look that made him half sad eyes, half sheer dejection. It should be shameful, an elf of his age, really!
Still, for all that she railed against its use, Erestor could not quite bring herself to deny him.
"You said you were going to try to trust me more. Here is your chance, why should you not prove yourself true to your word now?" Sweet Merlin and Morgana, why did he have to be right so often nowadays? Tentatively she took his hand, even as the logical, jaded part of her mind told her that even if this was real concern, it wouldn't last very long- didn't she have precedent after precedent of this fact? Still, she was (formerly, at least) Gryffindor, and honourable to a fault and apparently by default. There was, too, a very small part of her that actually did want to trust him. The fact that even the smallest bit of her actually did want to be friends with him unsettled her, and it was with this disconcerting thought that she was led through Imladris.
The fact that several elves began whispering and giving knowing smiles made the journey even more uncomfortable, although by now Erestor was beginning to resign herself to the inevitable. It wasn't as though it was a new experience, and within a week there would be something else to distract the gossips with their short attention spans and the now open-secret courting betwixt Lady Erestor and Glorfindel would be long forgotten.
They made it out to the gardens, and were soon heading towards Erestor's bench. It seemed funny that she could think of it as hers so soon after having received it, but that was what she thought. Glorfindel seated her with a gallant flourish and then sat down on the bench. Not directly beside her, but not all the way on the other end of it either.
"You asked a couple of questions that are rather delicate to answer, as you must surely know. Still, I will answer them truthfully. As to my ability to Fade…I suppose you could call it a reprieve. The Valar thought it cruel that an elf be completely unable to Fade- the ability to separate soul from physical as death is one of the things that makes us elves, and depriving someone of even that…escape, I suppose you could say, was intolerable." This was not something she wanted to discuss, not with him, not here, not ever, but that little voice of intuition that had kept her alive over the centuries whispered that it was something that she needed to do.
"Which brings us to your next question. In all honesty, I do not actually know. You have to understand, Fading is as much a physical reaction as it is a mental one. Just as the mind can only take so much bad before one day it is not longer right, the body has limits as well. Elves may be superior in many ways physically to other races, but even we can only endure so much. The body may appear healed and without scars, but the memory of pain is imprinted upon us, forever ours." Erestor took a deep breath, falling silent. She couldn't look at Glorfindel's face, and watched the far edge of the trees. He waited silently.
"I suppose I have been fighting it off and on over the past few centuries. Physically, I can fade at any time. It is sheer force of will that keeps me going. I have grown quite used to living day to day with Fading symptoms, and it has become rather normal for me. I am unsure as to whether I am currently Fading or not." Erestor attempted a nonchalant tone, but had a feeling that for some strange reason it had not worked.
"May I see?" The sudden query startled Erestor out of her thoughts.
"May I see if you are…Fading, or not. I know that one of the earlier symptoms is appearing cold to the touch. I did not bother to notice earlier, I am not sure why except hope that it was not true. May I?" There was nothing for it, the poor elf looked rather guilty and having lived with that particular emotion, sympathized with him in this and allowed him to feel her forehead.
"I acknowledge that I am not a healer, but I-"
"Ha! I knew it!" Startled, both elves whipped their heads toward the sound. Attempting to stand suddenly, Glorfindel moved the wrong direction and tripped over a tree root. Cursing in Dwarvish, he looked to examine their unwanted guest. Standing there in the clearing was none other than the meddlesome wizard himself.
"Knew what?" Glorfindel bit out. Normally Erestor would encourage him to better behavior, but as it was Mithrandir she didn't care. Served him right, the old coot.
"Knew that you would make good friends eventually. Really, I do believe I was doubted by some but I see now that it was truth." He treated both elves to a beneficent smile that made Erestor want to hex him. In fact…
"Could you not have talked with us before we went to a place where we could speak without interruption? At least, thus was our intent," Glorfindel said, gritted from between clenched teeth, still from his place on the ground. Taking pity on the fallen elf, Erestor extended a hand to help him up. He looked at it in surprise initially but quickly accepted the offer and was soon towering over Erestor as per norm. Mithrandir looked far too pleased with himself. Smug was a very bad look on the wizard, and Erestor had half a mind to prove to him the error of his ways.
Suddenly a gust of wind came out of nowhere, blowing through and yet somehow only affecting the annoying Maiar. It blew away his hate, and his robes flapped around him and snapping tightly as though about to be blown off. It lasted only a moment, but that was all the time Erestor needed to grab Glorfindel's hand and *Run* as they sought to hide from a nosy Mithrandir.
Finally coming to a stop behind a hedge, Erestor had a distinct feeling of being a naughty child hiding from daddy. The situation grew even more ridiculous when Glorfindel began laughing. It started as a little chuckle, but sort of bloomed from there. Grinning, Erestor recognized that quality Glorfindel had that made you want to laugh with him, although she managed to restrain herself.
"Did you really?" he laughed, barely managing to complete a word. Erestor was quite proud of herself.
"Why yes, yes I did indeed. Our dear venerable Grey Wizard is now Pink, Sparkly, and what you did not see was he is also currently… falsetto." Glorfindel gave her a look of unrestrained admiration, his laughter having calmed down to a smile fit to crack his face in two.
"Well, he's had it coming for a long time, I think," Glorfindel said, which seemed to close the matter.
Settled behind the hedge, they calmed from the adrenaline and a more serious mood returned to Glorfindel, for he asked next,
"May I please try again? I just want to be sure…" Granting her permission a second time, Glorfindel first held her hand, testing it's warmth, next very carefully testing her forehead. Erestor fought the impulse to refuse physical contact with a potential (not anymore, not anymore, he promised) threat. Perhaps sensing this, Glorfindel moved slowly. He looked unhappy with what he felt, feeling his own forehead in comparison and then hers again.
"I…I am not sure. It is not quite as cold as that of a Grief Stricken elf, but not as warm as a completely healthy one either." He looked so disconsolate and miserable that Erestor felt rather sorry for him. He truly did appear to care.
"Do not borrow trouble. With the cessation of hostilities between us, a great many things have become easier and I expect that as they do, a great deal of pressure on me will disappear. Full recovery in no time." She attempted to look reassuring, but wasn't sure it quite worked. She sighed, unsure of what to do to help him feel better.
"Glorfindel, please, do not become over-concerned. I will live, just as I have countless times before." This, for whatever reason, appeared to have the opposite affect that she had intended, for he looked guiltier than before. Right, no more motivational speeches for her.
"I am sorry, I know that I caused this and-"
"And you are not the only person to bear guilt for it, so do not take it all on yourself." Oh great, she was comforting him now. How had she managed to grow attached to the elf that until recently, would have been quite happy to see her leave. How quickly things change, and yet, she reflected, stay the same. How many times had Ron and Hermione despaired of her health while she attempted to relieve their worry?
"Well, that may be, but I am going to take responsibility for it, or at least for the person I hurt." A kind of fire blazed in Glorfindel as he said that, and Erestor had the sinking feeling that she would be seeing quite a bit more of him in the near future. "I will see you whole again, this is my promise, Erestor."
And really, who could refuse that?
Chapter 22: Black Is the Colour
Glorfindel was having quite the day. It was a fairly difficult day by most standards. It had been a nice, normal difficulty day-right up until the moment he suggested that they go to Lord Elrond. Erestor had emphatically nixed that. If it had been almost anything else short of a life-threatening wound, then Glorfindel would most likely have let it rest at that.
But this was Fading, and did technically qualify as a life-threatening wound even if no blood was involved. So he stood firm. That did not, by any means, make it an easy task. Erestor had apparently transferred all of her stubbornness from disliking him on principle to resisting a trip to the Healer. Quite frankly, Glorfindel was almost at his wit's end. He was feeling extremely tempted to simply pick her up and carry her to Elrond, but something told him that that would be a very bad idea.
"Why?" The question stopped Erestor short on her ranting.
"I asked you why." Erestor looked puzzled, so Glorfindel explained further. "Why do you not want to go? You are sensible enough to understand that you need to and that I will not let you not go, so why are you so set against this? What is upsetting you so much? And do not try to deny that you are upset, I am starting to be able to tell your moods and you rant whenever you grow upset." Now dubious green eyes watched him. "I am listening. You know I just want to help." Glorfindel sat down across the room from her, noting that she calmed a fair bit once he stepped away from her. Interesting, and possibly (Upsetting? Disappointing?) disconcerting. He made a show of settling into the chair, pointedly looking at her while doing so.
"I do not want people to know about this. Too many people involve themselves in my life without my permission, I do not want them to know something so…personal." Glorfindel nodded, and Erestor took that as a sign to continue.
"Next, I have things that must be done. I know you warrior types tend to discredit the importance of any work that is not swinging swords and arrows around, but if I do not do my work bad things will happen. Not could, will. I cannot afford to spend weeks 'resting' myself while Imladris is torn apart by the incompetents who believe themselves intelligent." 'We are not done yet,' Glorfindel thought to himself. Sure enough, Erestor continued.
"I also dislike…strongly…the Healing Wing." Glorfindel blinked at that. Unexpected. Thinking about it, he realized that Erestor was almost never in the Healing Wing, and for an elf who spent most of her time working with and for The Lord Elrond, Master Healer- it was rather odd.
"What do you dislike about it?" Glorfindel asked. Erestor seemed to be considering his question seriously, a rather encouraging sign.
"The smell." Glorfindel furrowed his brow in confusion. The smell? It had that annoying overly-clean smell mixed with bitter herbs and clean sheets, but it wasn't especially putrid.
"It smells like cleanliness and death." Oh. That would be off-putting, to say the least. "I mean, not that it really does smell like death, but that is what it reminds me of. I rather dislike it." Ah, another understatement from the green-eyed scholar. Glorfindel wondered if she taught classes in that fine art.
"I see. Well, for objection number one, you know that Lord Elrond will not say anything, and asking to see him will not engender any undue attention. You and I ask to speak with him all the time. Second, I understand that you do not want to be treated as an invalid- the fact that you have managed these past few centuries to work undetected despite the constant fight with Fading proves that you do not need to be treated as one. However, if we are to fix this once and for all, save sending you a-sailing to Valinor, you might have to rest." Glorfindel held up a hand against the interruption she was about to make. "I am gaining a better understanding of just how much you do around here. I will tell you that if Elrond is the soul, you are the heart and brain keeping everything running. But even those slow down every once in a while. You need not stop completely, but for your own sake it will go easier if you rest a bit more than you do currently."
Glorfindel took a steeling breath for the last one.
"If the Healing Wing does trigger such bad memories for you, then perhaps we should avoid it altogether. I can speak with Elrond, and we can have him look at you somewhere else. It is a rather common occurrence, actually. Many patients who are no longer at major risk are allowed to heal in their homes, and with something as delicate and personal as Fading, I am sure that Elrond would be amenable to making you feel more comfortable."
He stopped talking and waited patiently. This was the way to do it instead of a near-shouting match, and Glorfindel felt foolish for not having realized it sooner. Erestor was thinking, fiddling idly with the quills on her desk. He knew he had won once she sighed and looked up to meet his gaze.
"As you wish," she said, and Glorfindel couldn't help but smile at the almost sullen (not that Erestor would ever be so childish as that) way she had said it.
"Wonderful. Would you like to come with me, or stay here, or?..." he left off for Erestor to fill in the blanks.
"I will come with you," Erestor stated firmly, which let Glorfindel know that she wasn't sure about it at all. Was it just Erestor who was so complicated, or did all of the female species require translations? Either way, he truly did seem to be better at reading her moods. She was incredibly tense as they walked through the halls, leading Glorfindel to cast about for something to say to perhaps distract her.
"Hair!" Was that the best he could come up with? Glorfindel winced inwardly as Erestor gave him a mildly uneasy stare. "I mean, your hair! It is very…black?" He offered weakly to Erestor's growing disbelief.
"Why, yes it is. It has been for a long time…as in, since I was born." Ouch. Despite the deadpan delivery, there was still a vicious sting of the facetious. Glorfindel tried desperately to recover. The looks he was receiving from Erestor weren't helping the situation. Glorfindel felt rather like he was trying to fly by flapping his arms…pointless and only succeeding in making him look like an idiot.
"You always have it pulled back," he noted, "do you never grow tired of that? Personally, I enjoy the feeling of a pleasant summer breeze through my hair." This conversation was getting worse by the syllable, but since his brain had decided to abandon him, it was the best he could come up with.
"It is practical. I like practical," Erestor stated firmly, apparently determined to ignore the stupidity currently being produced by Glorfindel, which he felt rather thankful for. 'Small miracles occur every day,' he thought to himself.
"I suppose practical is good. But do you like it?" Erestor eyed him carefully, as though assessing whether the elf beside her was completely sane.
"No. I would prefer it shorter. Harder for enemies to pull you around by your hair when it's short, but I keep it long because it is custom," she added, intercepting the question on Glorfindel's lips. Glorfindel nodded. That…made sense to him, and he said so.
"That makes sense," he said agreeably, and Erestor rubbed the bridge of her nose with a sigh. Superb, he had managed to annoy her.
"I am glad that my taste in hairstyles suits you," she muttered, rubbing even harder. At least she didn't seem as worried anymore, though it did look as though she was thinking of something nasty to hex him with and Thank Iluvatar, they had made it to Elrond's office and this conversation (engineered to make Glorfindel feel and look as inane as possible, he felt) could be ended and forgotten.
As they faced the door, Erestor's previous tension returned. If she were a bow string, a single touch would snap her in half.
"I do not- I do not think that I require Lord Elrond's attention after all," she wavered, backing up a step. "I can take care of myself by myself, as I have proven time and again." Glorfindel felt as though he were losing her trust with every movement backward she made, and decided that action suited the moment.
"Erestor," he said, carefully taking her hand and forcing her attention to his words. "I can take care of myself as well, but that does not mean that I am not given help when I need it, or even when I do not but receive it anyway- just because they want to as my friends." He held her left hand loosely between both of his so she knew that she wasn't trapped. "It is a very hard thing to trust others with your well being, and considering your past few centuries here I can only imagine how much worse it is for you right now." He couldn't tell if he was convincing her or not.
"But listen to me. Even if I have wronged you, hurt you purposefully, Lord Elrond has not. What is there to be worried about with him? I know you are logical- more so than most elves here, you say- so just think about it." And she appeared to be, which was confirmed a moment later when she withdrew her hand from his, rallied herself, and nodded firmly.
"You are correct, I need not fear Lord Elrond" she told him, though it looked as though telling him that he was right left a sour taste.
"I am glad you think so," came a voice from behind Glorfindel, startling both of them. Lord Elrond stood in the open doorway, looking fairly amused. Glorfindel could have died, and from what he could see from the glance he gave Erestor, so could she.
"Lord Elrond, perhaps we could discuss this further inside? In privacy?" Glorfindel asked, and upon receiving an affirmative nod, he turned to Erestor and offered his hand again. She looked at it for a moment, then at him, slowly taking it and allowing herself to be pulled (for all her bravery, this was still not exactly her deepest desire, Glorfindel could tell) into the room.
He led her to a chair, then went and closed the door. This was going to be difficult, he thought to himself. Turning, he saw Erestor, truly saw her as he hadn't during all the previous centuries and was just beginning to now. Small, nervous, alone, but incredibly determined and courageous.
Lord Elrond was seated, and apparently was waiting for Glorfindel to do so as well, but this was a moment of confession and judgment, so he stood.
"Lord Elrond, you know that the Lady Erestor and I have been at odds over the past centuries. That does not give a full account of what happened." He didn't want to rush this, it required a proper explanation, but Glorfindel was also conscious of not forcing Erestor to remain uncomfortable for a moment longer than necessary.
"I am ashamed to give the full extent of my actions, and will if required. However, for brevity's sake I will tell that they were unwarranted by Eres- Lady Erestor. I have only yesterday been informed of the repercussion of my actions. I am sorrier than I can say that my actions, at least in part, have caused her to begin Fading." A stillness took over the room, as though thunder had struck and rendered everything solid marble. The abject horror on his Lord's face brought the full weight of the situation to strike Glorfindel where he stood, and felt his knees buckle even as they hadn't before the Balrog.
"Are you certain?"
"Fairly, as much as I can be. That is one reason why we are here, I wanted you to know, to help her," Glorfindel replied, feeling guilty anew as Lord Elrond moved to kneel in front of Erestor, pure concern etched in every line of his features. He moved his hand towards her forehead, pausing for permission which was wordlessly granted.
Giving nothing away, he took her pulse and asked after her rest cycle and appetite, frowning a little (as Glorfindel did) at her answer which could be translated to 'not enough' and 'too little'. Learning her age was rather a shock to Elrond, and upon reflection Glorfindel realized that Erestor was young enough to be his daughter, and was not that many centuries older than Elladan and Elrohir. 'How differently they view responsibility to Elrond,' he mused to himself.
Elrond had finished asking questions, and remained kneeling in front of Erestor, who looked fairly uncomfortable, drinking her water (when had she been given that?) nervously.
"I will do my best not to let this affect my work," she blurted out, fingering the glass in her hand and looking distinctly uncomfortable with the attention.
"Perhaps you should," said Glorfindel, nearly jumping when Elrond's gaze turned his way. He fell silent, unsure what he was finding in his Lord's face.
"Lord Glorfindel is correct, perhaps you should have. Still, there is nothing to be done to change the past, only our present to correct it and ensure that the future is different." Turning to look at Glorfindel, he murmured, "Very different." Facing Erestor once again, he took the now empty glass from her hands.
"You are Fading, but fortunately you are not too far gone." A fierceness took over Elrond's tone. "I will not countenance allowing you to continue as you have. I heard some of the discussion prior, and I tell you now: You are not alone in this. You must learn to let others aid you. Glorfindel has been, by all accounts, teaching you to do so. I ask that you allow me to help you also." The absolutely stunned look on Erestor's face was almost worth the discomfort of the situation. Almost.
"I do not know why you learned to close yourself off from others, although I dare say Glorfindel's explanation later" message received, O Most Scary Lord of Imladris! "will shed some light on that. Just know that changes are going to occur, and one of them may be whether or not Glorfindel will continue in his roles both as Captain of Imladris and self-designated protector of you." That hurt, even though he had been expecting no less.
"I want him to." That was not expected, though. "He…he promised me. And he proved it to me, and keeps trying to do so." That meant a lot to Glorfindel. Elrond searched Erestor's eyes.
"I will take that into consideration, and will make the best decision- but for you, not for him." He held her hands, and Glorfindel was disconcerted to note their trembling. "Come, for now you need rest and I may have drugged the water to make you sleep." And true enough, Erestor looked as though she were about to fall asleep right where she sat.
"Come, I imagine you would like to rest in your rooms," Elrond murmured, half-carrying half-supporting his now almost unconscious Seneschal. As they passed Glorfindel, she reached out and touched his arm.
"Thank you," she whispered, shocking him to pieces as she left the room with Elrond.
The entire situation filled Erestor with the need to grind her teeth into dust. What was the obsession people had with drugging her? The entire situation had been horrifying enough without falling asleep in Lord Elrond's arm on the way to her rooms- she shuddered at that- added of course, to her rather…emotional declarations to Elrond and Glorfindel about Glorfindel.
Not that they were false. That was perhaps worst of all. And now! Now she was bored. Sitting on the couch with no work to do. Well, there was a great deal of work to do, it was just that she wasn't allowed to exert herself so. She had used up her allotted work hours just getting the absolute core tasks done with no time for anything else before Lord Elrond (embarrassing!) himself had come and whisked her away from her work- her duty, her responsibility- saying that she "mustn't overburden herself" lest she compromise her healing.
And Glorfindel hadn't been seen for the past two days. She wasn't sure how to respond to his letter, either, but boredom was about to force her to it. As much as she had fought trusting him at all, now that she did trust him just a little, well, it was all or nothing. Which meant that she was worried about him. Not that Lord Elrond would make a bad decision, but it was taking so long. Besides, as Lord Elrond and Glorfindel were currently the only two apprised of the situation and there was no way she wanted to discuss this with her boss (he was the one keeping her from work currently) that left Glorfindel for conversation.
Considering as well that he was the only one who was currently unemployed. Gildor was leaving and busy with that, Melpomaen was covering a great deal of the work that she couldn't, everyone else had their regular jobs which left her alone. Sitting on the couch, unable to even leave her room for a book she hadn't read twice or thrice. True, there were some book on magic she could read, but since anyone could burst in at anytime "to check on her" that made it a bad idea since she had a tendency to experiment. If Glorfindel were with her he could at least keep watch.
Sighing, she thudded her head against the back of the couch and looked at her clock. Five minutes later than it was the last time she had looked. Brilliant. Someone- anyone! Even Mîr had long ago fallen asleep as kittens were wont to do, leaving her with no companionship at all.
Just as Erestor was about to despair, salvation walked through the door in the form of Glorfindel. 'Well, speak of the devil,' she thought to herself, 'I did ask for anyone'. Ignoring the fact that she had been worried about him, Erestor gave a sigh of relief.
"You have saved me from so much boredom just now, you have no idea. Truly, I have not been forced to remain so still in centuries." It was odd, because Glorfindel hadn't said a word yet. "Is anything the matter?" Curses! She wasn't going to worry about him- hadn't she just decided that?
Glorfindel dithered a bit, shifting from foot to foot. He was about to give Erestor a nervous twitch when finally, he sat down. He looked distinctly uncomfortable, and something was off about him. Erestor watched him carefully. There was no sign of his previous dislike, which was good, but he wasn't the confident warrior, concerned (almost) friend, or the boundless ball of energy and cheer, either. This was a mood she hadn't quite seen before, and it sobered her. The idea that Lord Elrond may have decided that Glorfindel shouldn't be around her started circulating 'round her mind, leaving her flustered as to which emotions she felt and what they meant.
"Lady Erestor," he began, solemn as he never had been before as this was tinged with sorrow. "I know that I have apologized before, but I do so again at my Lord's behest. I am sorry. For all of the things I did over the years, for all I inspired others to do, I apologize. Talking with you, actually listening to you, made me realize how wrong I was- and then Lord Elrond discussed this with me further. I ask you to please forgive me."
Unexpected. Why now? Erestor searched herself. Did she forgive him? Could she? It was not quite as strong as it was before, but the memories of those endless days spent trying to avoid him, the needless work created, the frustration, hurt, wondering if she had done something to deserve it and the anger that refuting that thought caused- could she really let it go? She wondered. Forgiveness.
It could not be earned. All the good deeds he had done recently did not make it all better. This was her choice to give him her good will. Erestor hesitated for a moment- this was not something easily done. How many times had she been hurt by elves, men, idiots? Why should she? Still-
Still, none of the others had done as much as Glorfindel had in recompense. No one else had apologized- what was it now, three or four times? She had no reason to doubt his sincerity, it flowed from him with every breath. He had apologized, asked (not demanded) forgiveness, and she hadn't scared him off with her displays of temper or power.
"Yes, Glorfindel, I forgive you."
And just like that, the sun came out. The sheer joy on Glorfindel's face made the room seem brighter, and Mîr awoke from her nap and climbed onto Erestor's lap, purring happily. 'Great,' thought Erestor, 'now he's mind-controlling my cat'. Glorfindel smiled at her then, and Erestor realized she'd said that out loud. Oops. But his smile was worth it, the dejected look he had been wearing since first stepping into the room just did not suit him.
"Erestor," he said, coming to sit beside her on the couch (quite the feat, with all the blankets Elrond had insisted were very necessary), "I just want to thank you." Erestor interrupted before he could say more.
"I did not know it meant so much to you." Glorfindel looked shocked.
"Of course! I was sorry, I am sorry, and although I was still horrid, this means that I can work more on not being horrid ever again. It also means that you can start healing, truly healing." Mîr stretched and jumped onto Glorfindel's lap. The traitor.
"Lord Elrond and I discussed this. He was of a mind to send me to Far South Harad, or at least the Mirkwood Border Patrol, except for the fact that you were Fading." He sobered a little at this, and the kitten enjoying her place of honour on his lap mewed at him, causing him to pet her, though his hand was bigger than the ball of fur itself.
"Neither of us can recall someone being tormented to Fading by another elf, at least not outside of unrequited love. But taking into consideration my part in this, it was decided that for healing to start, you needed to forgive me. Honestly, I was not sure you were ready for it. Not a week ago you did not trust me at all, and I believed this step to be perhaps too much for the measure of trust. Elrond said not to underestimate a female, particularly not you, and truly, he was correct." He smiled again, and the feeling that all was well with the world pervaded the room. Stupid magical smiles.
"Not just for this bout of Fading either, but perhaps even your entire struggle with it. I am sorry if it was a breach of privacy, I did not tell him everything, but I did tell him that you have been fighting it for centuries, and have even started Fading before." Erestor nodded. It couldn't be helped, healers were notoriously nosy about things like that.
"So he made it my judgment as well. If you decided that you could forgive me, then I was free to stay and keep my promise to help you here. Otherwise," he shrugged.
"Otherwise, Mirkwood Patrol?"
"Mirkwood Patrol." A silent gaze of commiseration passed between them. It wasn't that Thranduil was a bad king, he was just rather exacting and had a distrust of most elves not living in his precious Greenwood. Erestor couldn't completely blame him, but he still wasn't pleasant to deal with.
"But boredom, did you say? Where is everyone?" Erestor gave him death glare version 21.
"Working." At the disbelief expressed on Glorfindel's face, she explained further. "Lindir practices music at least eight hours a day. Every day. Melpomaen is covering for me, along with most of the scholars. Trickle down affect, you see. Gildor is preparing for leaving, Lord Elrond is running Imladris, the guards I know are all on duty, and that festival tomorrow has occupied the time and attention of all the cooks, cleaners, bakers, servants, etc. Everyone- besides myself- is working." Glorfindel followed the list, and appeared to come to the same conclusion as Erestor.
"I see. Perhaps I should tell you that I was supposed to stop by yesterday but was too nervous to do so?" Looking at Erestor's face he said "perhaps I should not have told you, then. Right, I know you have been left with a strict set of instructions. But since I am here, perhaps we can bend them just a touch. It will be beneficial for you in the long run, methinks." Erestor looked at him suspiciously, the glint of mischief in his eye boding no good.
"What do you have scheming in that mind of yours, Glorfindel?" she asked. He smiled.
"Let me explain to you the whole plan before you make any judgments, yes? I think you just might like it. Besides," and his grin definitely turned into a smirk here, "scheming breaks no rules."
Erestor disliked festivals and feasts as a rule. Not just attending them, but the occurrences as a whole. When she attended them, people made her feel guilty for not working so Lord Elrond wouldn't have to worry. When she didn't attend, people accused her of being anti-social. She couldn't win for losing, and disliked it. Still, this festival was more enjoyable than most, for all that she was still required to sit in front of everyone at the head table with Lord Elrond.
Glorfindel was late. What on earth was he doing?
Lindir was bored. It wasn't time for the music to start yet, so all the musicians were just sort of milling around, afraid to venture too far from their positions and instruments, making the pointless small talk made every time.
"Is your harp tuned?"
"Yes. Are you using your new reed?"
Bah. Boring, repetitive, pointless. Still, the familiarity calmed nerves (after a few millennia, one would think nerves wouldn't be that big of a problem, but no) and by this point was almost tradition. Still, he found himself wishing that something would happen to liven the evening up before the important part (the music performance) began.
"What is he doing?"
"Is that Glorfindel?"
Whispers not about the instruments caught his attention, and Lindir looked. Just reaching the festival area with the tables was Glorfindel, which was normal, he was usually late or almost late. What was not so usual was the fact that he was wearing full ceremonial armour, sword included, carrying a bouquet of flowers, with Asfaloth walking behind him, mane braided with silver and gold ribbons. Lindir leaned against a lamp post in satisfaction. It would appear that his wish for entertainment was about to be answered.
"I am Glorfindel, Lord of the House of the Golden Flower, and I am here to claim my bride!" Speculation whispered about, but Lindir had a feeling he knew what was coming.
"Erestor, my fair lady, walk forth!" This was interesting. To the surprise of some who had somehow not heard the rumours, Erestor did so, smiling. Not a few gasps were heard as she came into full view, for Erestor not pulled her hair back, and she was wearing something not black and not a robe. A green and silver dress moved gently as she walked forward, and to one who knew her well, her smile had a tinge of smirk.
Lindir would never tell Arwen, but it had always been someone who looked more like Erestor in mind as he sung of Luthien. It was no fault of Arwen's, but he had seen Erestor first upon his arrival in the Hidden Valley (accidentally mistaking her for Elrond's daughter, an embarrassing incident she had dealt with gracefully and humorously), and her image had stuck in his mind. It appeared that others were realizing there was more to the Seneschal than books.
"My lady, I have come at last," declared the Golden Knight, offering her the flowers. Erestor tilted her head to the side.
"Indeed? You are rather late, good Sir." Glorfindel bowed with a grand flourish.
"My sincerest apologies, M'lady. I pray you, forgive me. I am here now though, that we may ride off together- I have kept you waiting long enough, and now declare my love for you in front of all gathered. They are witnesses, let them be testimony to the great love we two share for now and forever."
"Aye! And so I declare my undying love for you, my Glorfindel. Too long have we been separated, I will bear it no longer. Come my love, we will away!"
Lindir could swear he heard crying as she accepted the flowers, doubtless from the maidens who pined after Glorfindel. Still, it was all Lindir could do to stay silent. This was magnificent!
Glorfindel led Erestor to Asfaloth, helping her mount and then, looking up at her he said,
"My love, let us say only two more words, that all may know and doubt no more our feelings for each other."Smiling, Erestor said,
"As you say, dearest." Erestor leaned down closer to Glorfindel, their faces almost touching. The elves waited to hear, and Lindir held his breath in anticipation.
"Fooled you!" Dead silence. First Glorfindel, and then Erestor started to laugh. Erestor actually slid off of the horse with Glorfindel's help so that she wouldn't fall off, she was laughing so hard. Not that Lindir saw either, as he was too busy watching the reactions and laughing himself. Erestor and Glorfindel had played it perfectly! Honestly, couldn't anybody see that they were being incredibly overdramatic about it all?
Lord Elrond walked up to Erestor, smiling broadly.
"So may we take it that you are declaring your not-bethrothal?" Erestor nodded.
"That is correct, my Lord," Glorfindel declared, rather loudly in the direction of the crowd. "Erestor and I are not romantically attached now, nor have we ever been. This," he said, sweeping an arm grandly across, "was merely to make a point about gossip. We are friends and fellow elves, nothing more." Lindir clapped in approval, which was mimicked by those who knew Erestor well. Indeed, he thought, this night had turned out far more interesting than he had imagined.
Erestor, although staying longer than she had desired, retired long before the festival was over. Despite having worn a dress (and causing the poor seamstress to go into shock), it still wasn't her favourite clothing item, and so she was eager to leave. Taking a chance between dances (she had been forced to dance tonight-where had all that worry about not overdoing it gone?) she made a run for it, thankful to escape successfully and into the calmer, quieter halls that led to her room.
"You did excellently tonight," came a voice. Erestor rolled her eyes.
"The drama has done you ill, honestly, talking from the shadows?" The shadows chuckled, although shadow was a stretch as Glorfindel's glow tended to cause shadows itself.
"Perhaps. I do apologize for being late, Asfaloth decided to play the mule tonight and it took two apples, a carrot, and I stopped counting sugar cubes," he shrugged helplessly.
"It went well for all that, do you not think? I enjoyed seeing the look on all their faces. I suppose you were right, the gossips were not about to stop talking about us. Well, this will work wonders one way or another, tomorrow will tell." They walked in silence for a while, Erestor appreciating the lack of conversation.
"You missed a line, you know. You were supposed to add 'and never will be' when explaining how we are not romantically attached." The elf beside her hmmed.
"You look well in that dress, for all you fussed about it." Erestor huffed at the topic change, but allowed him his pride despite forgetting. That had been harder to convince her of than the plan itself, wearing the dress. "Truly, you do. And I suppose I should warn you, people know your secret now." What nonsense was the idiot babbling now?
"Fine, I will bite. What secret?"
"That you are very beautiful." Erestor huffed again, louder this time.
"Really, Glorfindel, your part is over, just stop."
"Stop what? Stop being nice? Stop telling the truth? Stop looking at you? Stop-"
"Being annoying, perhaps? That will do." Glorfindel shrugged.
"I can but try. Still, believe me or not as you like, but I would not be surprised if eligible young bachelors start seeking you out," he finished with a rather sing-song voice. Erestor glared.
"How old are you, twenty-four? You are acting ridiculous." Glorfindel shrugged again and smirked.
"Maybe, maybe not." Erestor sighed.
"I had to let you be my friend, didn't I?" The warrior smiled.
"Of course you did, once I set my sights on something I do not take 'no' for an answer. And now, my fairest Erestor, I bid you goodnight," and with that he beat a hasty retreat, ducking out of sight before she could hex him. Erestor walked inside her room and picked up Mîr, sighing,
Well. Perhaps this explains a bit of OOCness Erestor went through last chappie? Hope it makes sense.
If Erestor seems OOC here as well, consider this: Whenever boxed in, what does Harry/Erestor do? She fights back however possible. Ignoring the gossip didn't help it. Plus she can't do much work work as forbidden by Elrond, so she does something else instead to say, 'hey, I'm alive and I make my own decisions'.
Chapter 24: Recovery Begins
Glorfindel hummed to himself as he walked down the halls. He still couldn't believe that he had actually managed to convince Erestor to do all of that! She had been absolutely brilliant at it, though. He supposed the acting skills were well learned after so many years of diplomacy. One more reason he couldn't ever take over Erestor's job, but it had served her in good stead last night. Oh, the look on some of the elves' faces! Although a great deal of it was from the initial shock of Erestor wearing a dress, he admitted. His success in that had surprised him even more than convincing her of the plan itself, but finally she decided that if she was going to 'look incredibly idiotic, she might as well go all the way and complete the ridiculous costume of frippery'- her words, not his.
He did wonder what sort of a mood she would be in today, though. Whatever it was, he could manage it. Well, probably. He considered his past interactions with Erestor, and recalled her ideas of revenge. He slowed down. Was this really the best idea? Likely not, but he was the great Twice-Born Balrog Slayer, he had a reputation to uphold and he couldn't let one female scare him away from his duty. Darn it.
Her door was open and he invited himself inside, earning him a scowl that he ignored. You didn't need to watch yourself until she started glares, and the danger only became real with the death glares. He was perfectly safe, and apparently not on Erestor's "To Kill" list for this morning. Small (or large) blessings, no?
He flopped himself down on her couch, narrowly avoiding squishing the calico sleeping underneath (underneath?) a pillow. Only Erestor's warning kept him from sitting on the small creature, who he then picked up and gave to Erestor before settling himself. He decided that he liked Erestor's couch better than his own. It was remarkably softer without being too soft, and slightly bigger than his own. He would have to see about switching them sometime. In the meanwhile, though-
"Good morning to you, my little butterfly!" Erestor sighed deeply, conjured a pillow and flung it at his face. It didn't miss. "In a bad mood, are we?"
"I was in a fair enough mood before certain elves I could name decided to sprawl their uninvited carcasses all over my couch, attempting to kill my kitten in the process, then topping their deplorable manners off with a completely uncalled and unacceptable form of greeting."
"I apologize, little bird." This resulted in another groan and pillow, which he managed to dodge enough that it only grazed him this time. "I am only attempting to brighten your day. Have you received any callers besides myself, by the by?"
"No, and thank the Valar for that! At least not how you mean. Lord Elrond stopped by and informed me that I am to move from this chair as little as possible as I insisted on staying out of bed, and not to leave the room at all as the strenuous activity could hurt my healing. I do not recall him being so worried about me last night, although I suppose he is making up for it now." She huffed at the end of this sentence, and Mîr meowed sympathetically, bumping her head against Erestor's hand. Glorfindel smiled.
"We do only mean to do well by you, Erestor. You understand?" Erestor sighed, rubbing the feline's fuzzy tummy.
"I suppose. I just dislike feeling so useless!" Her sudden vehemence startled Glorfindel.
"Useless? Anyone remotely familiar with any of the elven kingdoms knows you by reputation alone, and it is certainly not as useless," he said fiercely. Green eyes looked at him, unreadable.
"Oh? You yourself have called me so on multiple occasions. What of your words should I believe? Or should I go by actions instead?" Oh, that hurt quite a bit. He thought yesterday they had moved past that, but perhaps not-
"No, I apologize. I should not have said that." And truly, Erestor looked apologetic.
"I accept your apology. Why did you, then?" He received a semi-shrug in answer, and waited as Erestor mulled over the question further.
"I suppose…it is a bit of several things. I feel so foolish for last night. I keep asking myself why I let you talk me into that." She looked so miserable that Glorfindel began to feel guilty for having pushed her, but decided to answer his defense, sitting up and leaning forward.
"I suppose that it was not the most…ah, serious…thing to do, but Erestor, you need things that are not so life or death as your normal doings. I am sorry that I ever even insinuated that you are useless, because I know perfectly well how much your decisions affect every aspect of life in Imladris. I believe that certain elves are gaining a greater appreciation for just how much you do even as we speak," he smirked, and Erestor gave an amused snort at that.
"You need some silly things. You proved that with your revenge upon myself. Speak truly, did you not find my fashion situation at least slightly amusing?" Another amused snort from Erestor and the ghost of a smile flitted across her face. "See? It is healing for you, Erestor." Glorfindel found he couldn't stay in his seat any longer (he was about to fall off of it, trying to get closer to Erestor to impress his earnestness upon her) and moved to sit on the unoccupied footrest in front of Erestor's chair. He moved to take her right hand, but found a tiny kitten glaring at him worthy of a beast ten times it's size, and reached for the left hand instead. Let sleeping dogs lie, and kittens keep their belly-scratchers.
"It is another reason why Lord Elrond will not let you work with him for now. You know how intense it can become around him. You two only talk about work around each other, and you do not need that stress at the moment." Erestor tried to reclaim her hand, but Glorfindel wasn't about to let go. He could still feel her unacceptance, and knew that she needed to allow this idea as truth.
"You do not understand, Glorfindel. I work, that is what I do. That is how I help people, protect them, prove that I am worthy of existing. That is how it has always been for me, and you expect me to just turn around and forget? I do not mean to be cruel to you this time, but it has been said time and again by yourself and others and my worth is directly connected to how much I can do for others." Glorfindel was unsure of what he desired most at the moment: to bash in his head, to bash in the heads of those other elves, try to shake some sense into Erestor (literally), or find some magic to allow him to relive the past few centuries.
Deciding that none of these courses of action were appropriate for the moment, he stopped for a moment to think. Trying to outthink Erestor was not exactly how he had intended to spend this day, and was in no way shape or form an easy task. This did raise a few questions that needed answering, however.
"Erestor, listen to yourself. This is not you! Think about it for just a moment, please. Do you hear yourself? You are intelligent, diligent, responsible, kind, beautiful, and completely worthy of existing, even if you happen to miss a day or three hundred of work." He took a deep breath.
"I suppose I should have expected this," he told her, a wistful smile overtaking his face. "My sins have come back to be revisited upon my head. But tell me this: did all of those people, all of those letters, was their only reason for liking you because of your job?" Ah, now he had her rethinking things.
"Well, no. I suppose not. But still-"
"But still nothing! Listen, this is not you. This is the Fading. You are so much stronger than this. Please, Erestor," and now he was begging her, because Erestor shouldn't be the insecure and dejected creature he was currently talking to- "please, think. You are the elf who cows even King Thranduil. Galadriel and Elrond listen to you. Gandalf is afraid to cross you- between you and I, I believe his swift exit of Imladris was out of fear of further reprisal from you- and even the twins behave around you, and that is a miracle for the ages and a feat worthy of Fingolfin himself." Erestor laughed a bit at that and Glorfindel crowed inwardly at the victory.
"Do you believe me?" He asked, and held his breath. Erestor searched his face, and once again Glorfindel had that distinctly uncomfortable feeling of having even his innermost self exposed to viewing. She and Elrond had definitely been spending far too much time together, that much was certain. They were growing far too alike for the good of Middle Earth.
"Aye, I suppose I do, though why I cannot say. I am sure the twins behave for others at least on occasion." Glorfindel laughed at that.
"They do indeed, but you may be sure that it is for their own purposes, with darker, more malevolent reasons behind their apparent good behavior." Now it was Erestor's turn to laugh.
"I would argue, but I fear you are correct." And she smiled at him, and Glorfindel felt happier at that than he had in a very long time. "I am sorry, I just-"
"You just have been repressing all of these emotions and are proving that you are as elven as the rest of us by actually expressing them? You just have finally found it safe to express them without being afraid that I or one of my devotees would hear and use them against you?"
"I suppose," Erestor sighed, then turned a glare upon him. "And you may release my hand now, Lord Glorfindel." Oh. Was he still holding it? Oops. He released it, and Erestor shook it out slightly, attempting to get the blood circulating freely again. He would have to be a bit more careful about that next time he held her hand.
Feeling repentant for having caused her discomfort, he stood and moved to the balcony. He plucked a willing flower and returned just as Lindir appeared with lunch.
"Lord Glorfindel, good afternoon," greeted the minstrel, carefully appraising the situation. Reading no ill intent in Glorfindel, he nodded at the warrior, then turned his head and smiled at Erestor. "Erestor, how are you?" Erestor made a despairing noise in the back of her throat.
"I am not dead yet, as you may see for yourself, Lindir." Lindir laughed, then leaned over to scratch Mîr's ear for a moment.
"Just making sure, Erestor. Melpomaen would follow you if something happened to you, dear Seneschal. He is in danger of overworking himself, so Lord Elrond and I along with some of the scholars are keeping a close eye on him. Poor thing, he worries about you. It is why he checks on you every night. My, last night he was prepared to kidnap you right from the festival and tuck you into bed himself, after force-feeding you of course. He has formed quite the attachment to you, like a duckling with the first thing it sees regarding that as it's mother." Lindir frowned. "That last sentence did not make sense, quite, but you know what I mean." Erestor nodded, taking in the tidal wave of words with expert experience. Glorfindel was wondering if Lindir had breathed, and how any elf thought it necessary to speak that quickly. Shaking off his shocked stupor, he moved towards the lunch. Lindir appeared to have brought provisions for three. Interesting.
Remembering the bloom in his hand, he smoothly moved beside Erestor's chair, and quickly tucked the slip of pink in her hair, moving away before she registered that he was standing there. She gave him a suspicious look, but never reached for her hair, not realizing what he had done. Lindir gave him a knowing smile across the low table, which Glorfindel steadfastly ignored.
They had settled into a rhythm of sorts. Erestor would awaken to Lord Elrond (!) making sure she ate breakfast, shortly followed by Melpomaen double checking on breakfast and bringing her her daily allotment of work. It was done within an hour, usually less than half, and after that she was rather embarrassed to admit that she was tired and slept.
She felt better after Lord Elrond explained that she had a few centuries of sleep to catch up on and that if he found out she wasn't sleeping, he would start drugging everything she ate to make sure that she achieved an adequate amount of rest. In the face of that threat, she acquiesced. What else was there to do, really?
After that, Glorfindel would show up and pester her, usually until after dinner. Melpomaen would check on her again, and she would spend fifteen minutes reassuring him that no, she was not dying, yes, she was warm/fed enough, no, she was not thirsty, yes, he was doing a wonderful job.
Lindir would drop by during the day, bombard her with three hours worth of conversation in about ten minutes, and then leave. Glorfindel, who was unaccustomed to Lindir's interesting style of personal speech having only met in official settings before, looked rather shell-shocked every time. This also required Erestor to translate for Glorfindel, who looked amazed at her ability to understand a single word of Lindir's diatribe.
Erestor had originally believed that the forced rest would be the greatest irritant during her convalescence. Not so. Instead she found that the constant mood swings wore on her the most. For so long she had simply swallowed down every emotion, but as she was now forced to face them, this simply wasn't possible anymore. It would have been even worse had Glorfindel not been there.
Oh, how ironic that their roles had switched! Now she was the one being guided through a difficult change, made to realize where she had lived in error for so long. It wasn't pleasant, certainly, but Glorfindel was becoming something of a mainstay in her life, and she truly wasn't sure whether or not she liked it. The too-often betrayed, hurt, cynical part of her still held the suspicion that there was more to his 'help' than just a change of heart. Usually she ignored it, but she still watched his every move carefully. There was no use being stupid about it, after all.
Despite her careful scrutiny, he appeared to be sincere. If she wasn't such a becursed* cynic, doubtless she would have been completely trusting of him the first time he smiled her way. Nowadays, he insisted on calling her ridiculous names, expounding on her 'many wondrous virtues' and tucking flowers into her hair every time she wasn't paying attention. Each of these was met with a glare, glower, scowl, or conjured pillow. The occasional random colour-changing hex was thrown in just to mix it up, as were light tripping jinxes. Not that Glorfindel ever actually fell, just looked uncoordinated for a moment before righting himself and smiling that stupid Light-Bright smile of his and laughing at her some more.
The really infuriating part was that she really didn't mind as much as she used to. It was nice having someone who didn't always back down (despite knowing just what sort of havoc she could wreck), and who made her feel important just because she existed.
Still, she was determined to keep him at arms length. People had a nasty habit of leaving, willingly or no, just as soon as she got attached. That or betraying her trust. She scowled a bit, thinking of how many times people had tried that last one over the years. She saw it coming, knew what was going to happen and yet it still hurt to think that she was being used just to get work done.
There was also the irritation of Glorfindel himself. For a very long time, she had spent most of the day alone and undisturbed. True, she had her classes with the children, and a large amount of time was dedicated to Lord Elrond, interspersed with various meetings and council sessions. But everyone else had their own work to do, and so while they made a point of talking with her she spent a great deal of time in complete solitude, attempting to dodge Glorfindel and his little wannabe cronies to flee towards the safety of her room as nowhere else was safe unless it was with Lord Elrond. She wondered which had caused which, whether her isolation had forced them to seek her out every else she was available, or if their torment had forced her into increased isolation.
Either way, it felt so freeing just with Glorfindel no longer leading the crusade. She was glad though that she wasn't ever alone outside of her rooms. Erestor doubted that anything too bad would happen, but Melpomaen had told her the worrying news that some of her more clever persecutors were seen talking together in hallways outside of her normal haunts. The idea that she could, perhaps, tell Glorfindel never crossed her mind. It had been going on for years and no-one cared before. Besides, she had managed all by herself till the present, there was no reason to start being a cry-baby now.
This at least was how she attempted to justify her decision to take a walk by herself after Glorfindel had left her for the day. It was earlier than normal, but some official guest or other needed to be greeted properly. Erestor had been feeling the need to be outside without a babysitter all day, and so seized her chance. The gardens that bordered the house were safe enough, she reasoned.
"Erestor?" Darn it, caught. She turned her head to see Glorfindel walking towards her through the twilight. She sighed.
"Of course you decide to walk this route right at this time." Glorfindel smiled sheepishly.
"I was coming back to see you and this was the quickest way from where I managed to slip away from the greeting party." Ah, so he was sneaking. "Perhaps we should hide ourselves, as neither of us is currently where we are supposed to be?" A sensible enough suggestion. The soft whisper of robes and dresses moving warned them, and they ducked and dodged through the garden, at last finding refuge underneath a bush with long, drooping branches trailing the ground in a wide circle yet leaving a ring between the branches and the trunk to hide in. This had been, in a previous life, an excellent hiding place for an undersized child whose pursuers lacked greatly in cleverness, intelligence, and imagination.
Still, the fact that she was currently hiding with the great Lord of the Golden Flower was rather amusing. He was quite courteous about it, laying his cloak on the ground so they wouldn't have to sit on the dirt and dead leaves and moving aside the branches as best he could so she wouldn't get snagged. Once settled, he leaned back and beamed at her.
"So, cabin fever?"
"Yes. Not horrible, but enough that I simply could not stand to stay inside for a moment longer." Glorfindel nodded sympathetically.
"Oh, I understand completely. Remember, I spend an inordinate amount of time in the Healing Wing, confined to bed. I know all about the call of getting outside."
They sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes, listening as people occasionally passed. Erestor started thinking about how she would never have thought about doing this same time last year. How things change-
Glorfindel had slipped another flower into her hair, looking smugly pleased with himself. Where had he even found those? This wasn't a flowering bush. Gently feeling the flowers, she thought she recognized the petals and scent from a night-blooming flower Glorfindel had developed a penchant for leaving in a vase in her room.
"Why are you doing this?" The question slipped out almost before Erestor recognized it as a coherent thought. Glorfindel raised a quizzical eyebrow.
"Doing what, precisely?" Erestor gestured wildly with a hand.
"This- the flowers, tea, visiting- being nice. Why?" Glorfindel looked fairly confused.
"I thought we had discussed this." Erestor shook her head.
"No, I do not mean that. I mean, if you did not feel responsible, would you care?"
"Ah, considering our previous relationship, you mean?" Erestor sighed.
"No. I mean, if this was not some sort of…duty…would you still care?" Glorfindel remained quiet for a moment, and Erestor wondered if she would have to clarify further. She was about to try when he answered.
"You mean, am I just paying off a debt by being nice, or do I actually want to be nice to you?"
"Yes, that is what I mean exactly," she said, relieved that she had managed to communicate the question at last.
"I think that if I had been forced to do this- forced leave from work, aid your UnFading, etc., before the letters asking to meet you in person for The Tea, then it would just be paying off a debt of honour." He sighed, and reached for her hand which she moved further from him. He looked sad, but didn't push it.
"After that, I wanted to know you- you you, just Erestor you and not Lady I Have Wronged you. See?" His sentence was about as clear as hers, but she thought that she did see.
"I think so. This is not pity, then either?"
"No. You would not accept it, and I will not insult you by offering any. This is concern. As a person who cares, as a friend." Erestor nodded in acceptance, then realized with mild annoyance that he was holding her hand. When had he managed that?
"Good evening, children." The greeting seemed to come out of nowhere until Lord Elrond parted the branches enough to peek through at them. Ha, oh dear. This was slightly embarrassing.
"Lord Elrond! We were just- I mean, you see-" Glorfindel sputtered to a stop after two unsuccessful attempts. "I don't know what to say." Lord Elrond smiled. It looked slightly indulgent.
"I expect you two to be in bed on time tonight, yes?" Erestor found that she could only nod, as did Glorfindel. Elrond looked pleased, and moved to close the bush back up.
"How did you know that we were here?" Glorfindel asked before Elrond left.
"Bushes do not squeak or talk."
"I did not squeak," declared Erestor. Glorfindel laughed.
"Yes you did, you make that sound when you think." Erestor was enraged.
"I do not! You squeak whenever you feel proud of yourself, it was your squeak that Lord Elrond heard."
"It was most certainly not!"
Elrond walked away laughing deeply.
Thank you for answering my questions and for hiding with me. Also, thank you for answering my questions truthfully.
Thank you for caring, although I must confess- I am not sure why you bother to. But it is nice that you do.
Erestor finished the letter, folded it over and handed it to Glorfindel.
"Read it later," she instructed, and he accepted the letter and tucked it away. They sat in comfortable silence once more, this time drinking tea and listening to the sound of Mîr's satisfied purrs in front of the fire in Erestor's front room. Erestor perused a book of Second Age poetry while Glorfindel read another history book compiled by Erestor.
Melpomaen peeked around the corner, watching the scene in silence, reluctant to disturb them, especially since Erestor appeared to be on the verge of falling asleep where she sat on the couch. Good. He worried about her, and she had been overdue for a rest for quite a while. He was about to move forward into the room when Glorfindel moved instead, carefully settling Erestor so that she lay down on the couch, spreading a blanket over, and making sure her head was on a pillow and that Mîr was in no danger of being suffocated or squished.
Melpomaen was a quiet elf, and people tended to discount him. Which was why Erestor relied on him, because he observed things without people noticing that they were doing them around him. He was 'quietly clever', as she called him, a title the young elf took pride in. It was why he was so capable of taking over a great many of her responsibilities, a fact that shocked many elves. Not Erestor, though. She had just patted his hand and proudly said "of course" as though it were the most obvious and natural thing in the world.
He knew that Glorfindel had made life miserable for her. Indeed, he had borne the brunt of it before, though he rarely told Erestor. Not that he needed to, his face had a habit of betraying him which was why he wasn't a diplomat himself. Still, he had watched over her as best as one of his tender years could. Lindir's accusation of imprinting on Erestor was at least partially true, Melpomaen's family had for the most part sailed, only an older sister remained, and she with Cirdan in the Grey Havens. Erestor had, for her part, adopted him somewhere between a son, younger brother, and nephew. Not overbearing, seemingly aloof, she was always the first to know if something was wrong or upsetting him and fixed it. She wasn't one for physical demonstrations too often, but there were more than enough female elves willing to smother him with hugs. He knew that from daily experience. Erestor though, she actually saw him, knew him, and cared. That was enough to inspire his devotion and it never wavered.
Now he watched Glorfindel, ready to intervene if he should ever hurt his surrogate mother/sister/aunt. As he observed the Elda care for her day after day, he began to realize that the formerly hostile elf had only good intentions now. He continued his surveillance, but seeing how carefully he treated Melpomaen's sleeping mentor, any doubts about his genuine character finally left. He smiled, and turned away. He would make his visit tomorrow morning.
Leaving a moment too soon, he never saw Glorfindel ever so softly smooth the hair away from Erestor's face.
*Yes, I know it isn't a real word with a definition. It is, however, apparently good as a Scrabble word. I have decided that the word "Becursed" is another way of saying "forced to act a certain way, as if cursed." It sounds like it should be a real word. I couldn't think of another word for it, so becursed stays.
Chapter 26: Undertow
Upon reflection, Glorfindel realized that Erestor had been very patient.
Indeed, she had been marvelously patient, and if Glorfindel were in her place, he would have been a much more difficult elf to deal with. All of the restrictions 'for your good health', of course- more than enough to completely frustrate any sane person with normal tolerance levels. Erestor, Glorfindel discovered, had above average tolerance for the medicinal hoops Elrond made her jump through, although whether that was due to it being Lord Elrond or inherent/learned patience, he couldn't say.
Still, for an elf who kept as busy as Erestor did, the drastic reduction of work was something of a shock. Glorfindel had learned very quickly not to mention anything about how things were being run without her, good or bad (but mostly bad). He had caught Melpomaen three separate times sneaking extra work in. At first he had maintained a strict decision of no extra work, believing that anything not done by Erestor during the few hours she was allowed to work could be done by another. He was proven very wrong when after the first, a diploma- in-training had managed to insult no less than three trading caravans, the second had left the smithies without the metal necessary for almost anything, and the third had resulted in a very angry ambassador from Mirkwood, four infuriated dwarves (dwarves apparently didn't get on all that well with Mirkwood elves. Who knew?) and a raging kitchen fire. How the kitchen fire was a result of anything Erestor hadn't done, Glorfindel didn't know. He also decided that he didn't want to know and so didn't ask or try to imagine.
After that, he let Melpomaen bring any work he thought necessary to Erestor. This had the two-fold benefit of keeping her slightly busier than before and ensuring that Imladris didn't fall down around their ears. Both were wonderful and improved Glorfindel's mood tremendously. Lord Elrond had been skeptical at first, but after having been forced to physically pry apart the dwarves and the Mirkwood elves who had taken to grappling each other in the foyer, he agreed it was for the best. Elrond had also made a note to try and improve relations between Greenwood (The Great) and dwarves…just as soon as Erestor was back to work.
Despite the improvement from the previous chaos, Glorfindel was currently not in the best of moods. He wasn't sure what to do about Erestor's letter. How the fickle creature known as Erestor could go from self-assured, feisty, fearsome, magic wielding to confused, hurt, and sad in less than five minutes completely befuddled him. Was it just Erestor, or females in general?
At any rate, this was his problem now and quite frankly, it was a relief that she felt safe enough around him to have these mood swings. It was merely disconcerting to be forcibly reminded that 1. This was build-up from centuries past and 2. The thing most in discussion was why he bothered to care. Neither one was a very comforting thing to be faced with on an almost daily basis. Still, he did his absolute best to make up for his past mistakes.
He was making a visit earlier than normal, the previous night having granted very little actual rest leading to an early morning ride. Perhaps Erestor should come riding when she was a bit better? He tried to recall seeing her ride before or hearing about it. Never for pleasure, only when business called her to Lorien or the occasional visit to Cirdan. What did Erestor do for pleasure when she wasn't being watched like a cat around a canary and forced to rest? She read a lot, and liked the woods, but so did most elves.
"Greetings, my fairest of all Erestor's! How does my turtledove do this beautiful albeit wet morn?" Entering with his usual gusto, he was surprised to realize that Elrond and Erestor were sitting together, eating breakfast. He shouldn't have been, he knew that Lord Elrond had taken it upon himself to personally ensure Erestor's continued good health. Still, he was rather embarrassed as he was wet (it had rained wargs and wildcats, cutting his ride short), muddy (Asfaloth had a wicked sense of humour), and smelled of horse. Not that he personally minded, but it was one thing to bother Erestor and a complete other to be in such a state in front of one's Liege and Lord. Erestor merely gave a beleaguered sigh and accepted a cup of (non-drugged) tea from Elrond, far too accustomed to sights (and smells) such as these. Now, Glorfindel thought desperately, would be a very good time for the earth to swallow him whole. Where was a crack in the Grinding Ice when you needed one?
"Ah, Glorfindel. I thought you might be dropping by this morning, and that you would need these," Lord Elrond said as he gestured towards a pile of clean clothes. "There is a tub filled with water in the bathing room, I suggest you make good use of it." His tone brooked no argument, and he tilted his head towards the door in a silent encouragement to obey quickly. If Erestor found any humour in watching the mighty Balrog Slayer of Gondolin being forced to take a bath like a naughty elfling, she did an admirable job of not showing it, merely maintaining her face of patient endurance and long-suffering. Glorfindel needed no further encouragement and obeyed the command.
Clean and smelling like a rose (literally in this case, he had a feeling Erestor had removed all other soaps on purpose) Glorfindel emerged a short time later and sat down on the coach after checking the cushions for sleeping kittens. Why the cat had decided that sleeping under pillows was a good idea Glorfindel had no idea, but he had made a point of checking before sitting so that Erestor had no reason to hex him. Breakfast was for three, Glorfindel noted, and felt that familiar feeling of mild disbelief whenever Elrond knew something he shouldn't have been able to. It happened far too often for Glorfindel's liking, something Erestor had a habit of doing as well. Those two did spend far too much time around each other.
"I am glad you are here Glorfindel, as I have important information to discuss." This was interesting. Erestor gave no outward sign of any change of attitude, but Glorfindel knew her well enough by now to realize that she was ready and listening. Glorfindel continued to munch on a flaky pastry whose name escaped him at the moment. Elrond had given his consent to let Erestor work more, but it was unlike him to involve a patient during recovery. This must be big, Glorfindel decided.
"As discussed, I have taken your well-being into my care and concern, Erestor." This was beginning to sound ominous. "Glorfindel informed me of his part in your trials here during the past centuries, and has worked to correct his past errors. That is not what we are here to discuss, however. His treatment of you inspired others to treat you similarly in hopes of gaining favour from him. After his declarations of friendship and protection, most have changed their ways. A few have come to me to confess their deeds." Elrond looked troubled, and Glorfindel wondered what exactly had been confessed.
"Yet, there are some who continue to cling to the idea that Glorfindel is false in his current change of attitude towards you, and plan to aid him still. Melpomaen came to me four days past, informing me that several of these elves were overheard discussing this very thing. He informed me as well that he told you three days earlier, and that this was not the first time such a conspiracy had occurred." Now he looked disappointed, and Glorfindel desperately hoped it wasn't going to be aimed his way. "I would like to know why neither of you saw fit to inform me of this." Erestor looked a touch guilty.
"Glorfindel did not tell you because he did not know of it. I never said anything about it to him." Elrond nodded thoughtfully at this.
"I see. And why did you fail to inform either myself or Glorfindel?" Erestor did not fidget under Elrond's keen gaze, further proving her bravery in Glorfindel's mind. Or stupidity. Maybe both? One of those.
"I did not deem it important, My Lord." Wrong answer.
"You did not deem it important." Glorfindel quickly glanced around the room, establishing the exits and noting any obstacles in the way as well as hiding places if Escape!Now! plan failed.
"I can take care of myself. I have for centuries past and while I greatly appreciate the care and attention recently bestowed, I-better than most- know just how busy you are. And to be completely honest, Milord," said Erestor, cutting off the interjection forming on Elrond's lips, "this has been happening for years. The worst of the persecution has gone, and doubtless the rest will give up in another century or two upon realizing that Glorfindel is not going to suddenly reveal himself the villain." The one bright spot in all of this dreadful conversation. "To be blunt, Milord, I have lived through worse and we-"
"We?" questioned Glorfindel.
"Melpomaen and two others who work with me- we are used to this and make it a habit to plan for any contingency. There is little they can do in the way of sabotage that is irreplaceable without somehow hurting themselves and reputations in the process." Erestor wore a very stubborn look, and Glorfindel knew how hard it was to change her mind. Elrond had very similar look however, and so Glorfindel scooted to the furthest side of the couch and prepared to watch the action with Mîr curled up for protection on his lap.
"So you are not the only person affected by this?"
"No, I am not."
"Why have they not said anything before?"
"Because it seemed rather obvious that we were being treated poorly yet nothing was done, besides which this all started much…smaller than it's current position."
"So it just grew slowly, until one day it was too big to handle." Erestor looked mildly startled at Lord Elrond's sudden understanding tone, and watched him carefully.
"Yes. It was rather like a leak. It started small, just a drip now and again, but the crack grew bigger and bigger and turned into a steady drip and then a small stream and now-" she gestured helplessly with her hands. "We just did not think much of it at first, really. And since it was all aimed at myself, I bore the brunt of it all and it affected the others only slightly. They just helped me plan and remember to make triplicates and the like."
"Were these helpers the only ones who knew about this?" Erestor began to look distinctly uncomfortable, and didn't answer at first.
"No. But it is just how things are. People either love me or hate me it seems and there is little I can do to change that."
"You are telling me though, that others knew that this was going on and yet did nothing about it." Oh dear, there went Elrond's falsely calm tone.
"Well, there were reasons. The elves in question were in fairly influential places, and honestly I think that elves were reluctant to burden you further." Glorfindel was impressed that Erestor wasn't cowering.
"So never mind that I am here to be Lord of Imladris, the ruler and protector of the people here, I must not be burdened by a persecution of elves that lasted centuries." The scariest thing about Elrond was that he did not yell when he was angry. Instead, his voice was lowered, every word enunciated to death and aimed directly at the subject of his ire. Erestor had no answer to this, apparently.
"I think, Lord Elrond, that the fact that it was between myself and Erestor aided their inaction." Why had he opened his mouth? Seeing the vague relief on Erestor's face spurred him on. "It seemed to be something personal between two upper echelon if you will, and many I believe would assume that you were aware of the level of our ire and attempting to do something about it."Glorfindel shrugged helplessly. "I know that I never said anything when Galadriel fought with one of my older cousins, it simply was not my business because I was younger. Possibly the same principle applies here as well. As for the people who know Erestor well…" he drifted off here, unsure. "I cannot say. Perhaps out of respect for her privacy? Or maybe they did not understand the full magnitude either." Erestor nodded firmly at this.
"Most likely, yes. And after a while, as I said before, it was just something that happened, like the sun rising or Lords Elladan and Elrohir returning late from their hunting trips." Elrond was not happy looking, but no longer imitated one of the rainclouds outside.
"I suppose I can accept that answer. Still, I have taken measures to correct said elves in their thinking. Starting tomorrow, they will accompany our fine Greenwood Ambassador to his home as a sign of…goodwill between our two lands." Erestor snorted softly into her tea. Mîr moved from her spot on Glorfindel's lap and made herself at home on Lord Elrond's, who immediately shifted to give the kitten a more comfortable seat and began belly-rubbing the demanding creature.
"At any rate, I do expect to be kept informed of any further incidents of this type. Some of the elves who confessed desire to speak with you, but I told them not until you were better and that they were to avoid you until that time and your permission. Erestor," he said, voice softened much from earlier, "I understand that it is hard to change millennia of thinking. Still, please realize that we are attempting to protect you. It would be much easier if you helped us and told us important information about people who are actively plotting to harm you in any way, shape, or form." Erestor clenched her jaw and said nothing, and despite the sight of the Mighty Lord Elrond being ordered around by a cat about the size of his hand, Glorfindel was in a solemn mood.
"It is hard," Erestor stated at last, breaking a fairly painful silence, "very hard to think differently." Elrond sighed softly and nodded.
"I know it is. I myself had to be 'retrained' as Celebrian put it, to trust others with my problems. Even now, it is not an automatic response. Still, you should find at least one person you can go to whenever there is a problem that needs sharing. Start with small things and work your way up, or start with important safety related things," was it Glorfindel's imagination or was there a slight emphasis on those words? "and work your way down. Just know this, both Glorfindel and myself have purposefully made ourselves available to help you, and you must take advantage of this." Seeing Erestor's doubtful look, he added, "Think of it this way. You are wasting the time we spend trying to find out how to help you when we could actually be helping you." Ha, that got her. Mîr stirred from her comfy spot on the Lord of Imladris' lap, and scampered to her elf. Lord Elrond used this opportunity to stand up.
"I bid both good day. Please Erestor, let us help you." He moved towards the door, then stopped just before leaving. "If this motivates you, I might be more easily persuaded of your improvement if you practice confiding in us." And with that challenge, he swept out of the room.
"That was embarrassing." Erestor looked at Glorfindel as though he had grown a horn from his forehead.
"My greeting. In front of him. It was ruined actually, and I feel compelled to try again." Glorfindel walked out the door, then entered the room again with gusto.
"Greetings on this beautiful day, my sunshine! How fares my delicate blossom of beauty this morn?" Glorfindel expertly dodged the pillow flung his direction, only to make a rather undignified and unlordly "umph" sound when it returned like a boomerang and hit the back of his head. Erestor looked smug.
"In a poor mood, I see. Well, fear not gentle lady, Glorfindel is here and brings you sun!" Whereupon he produced a golden flower he had found blooming despite the rain and managed to keep from squashing. With practice and before Erestor realized, he had tucked the flower into a braid and ducked behind Erestor's chair. When no pillow was forthcoming, he chanced a look, only to have Mîr jump on his head. Erestor was disappointed since she refused to fling pillows in Mîr's direction. With his new cat shield, Glorfindel sat down and enjoyed his pillow immunity. Erestor could glare all she wanted but until the cat moved her personal two-legged irritant was safe from her ire.
"You will have to let us help you someday, you realize," Glorfindel said conversationally. Erestor sighed.
"I am aware, thank you. I am just unaccustomed to having that luxury." It was Glorfindel's turn to sigh.
"It was a horrible oversight on the part of many and an injustice from the rest. Still, Elrond was right."
"You really did need a bath?" Ah yes, Erestor was recovering. You could tell by the increase in insults and sarcasm.
"Aside from that- I am always ready to help you but I can only do so much if I do not know what to help you with." Erestor remained silent, idly tracing the lettering on a book sitting on the side table. She was thinking about it, and for now that would be enough. It was time to change the subject.
"So! I was thinking-"
"Is it truly so rare an occurrence that you must needs inform someone when it happens?"
"Very funny. I was thinking though, about how long it would be before our wayward guards have enough of the spiders, trees, giant spiders, trolls, orcs, giant talking spiders, enchanted streams, and giant talking poisonous spiders, and beg to return home. I thought it would be about two months." Erestor snorted.
"Two months? They will be begging to return before one month is gone."
"I am not sure, they are exceptionally stubborn elves." Erestor shook her head.
"Not that stubborn." Glorfindel smirked.
"Then let us make a bet, loser has to meet the next envoy from Mirkwood. I say two months, you say…"
"I say three weeks, tops." Glorfindel smiled and nodded.
"Good. Just remember this two months from now." Erestor nodded regally in agreement. Glorfindel thought it an opportune moment to ask something. "You really believe that two years from now, I will still be trustworthy?" Erestor smiled (happily, if he said so himself) at him. That was answer enough. Perhaps it wouldn't be as hard to convince her for good that they cared as he had thought.
Erestor wasn't trying to be difficult just for the heck of it, truly she wasn't. It was just so frustrating! Now not only was she still being regulated on the amount of work she was allowed to do, random elves kept coming around asking about her personal life.
Fine, perhaps that was a mild exaggeration, but not by much. It was really just Glorfindel, Elrond, Lindir, and Melpomaen, and they were just following Lord Elrond's "confide" crusade he had just launched. Their intentions were good, but honestly, the only thing currently bothering her was being forced to sit around and fend off their annoying questions. Perhaps that was why she had agreed to Glorfindel's invitation to spend time in the Hall of Fire. Normally she would avoid that place like the plague, if she had the time for it, but it offered an escape.
Thankfully of course, Elrond was allowing her a touch more freedom than before, but she still had a long way to go before she could resume anything near her normal work schedule. Plus, what little she was allowed to 'get up and go' was strictly monitored and even if she managed to escape her escort, all kinds of elves were greeting her nowadays, making it nearly impossible to do anything unnoticed. Invisible she knew how to handle, talk of the town was something she had never mastered even after all her experience with it as a child.
At the moment, she was being escorted by Glorfindel through the halls and found herself surprised- she had expected a mixture of curiosity and pity, but found instead that while there was some curiosity, far and away the most common emotion was concern, actual heartfelt concern. It also amused her to realize that she was now one of the few elves universally recognized at Imladris (or had she always been so?) besides Lord Elrond and his family, and of course every elf's favourite Balrog Slayer.
Glorfindel was walking beside her of course, chatting about some mindless thing or other. He had seemed fairly surprised by Erestor' s acceptance of his invitation though really, he shouldn't have been. Life without work was proving boring, or at least as boring as having Glorfindel visiting most of the day got. Erestor listened as he continued his extremely one-sided conversation, still mildly disbelieving that she had ever grown to like talking with him. Now that he had stopped hating her for no good reason, it was actually interesting to talk with him. He was doing his best to get to know her better and she actually could believe him when he said it wasn't for pity.
For Erestor, disliking pity wasn't so much a pride thing as it was for many. It was just that in her experience, pity was an emotion easily enough felt when someone didn't actually care enough to do something about it. She had been on the receiving end of a plethora of pitying looks from her teachers, but not a single one had ended up transferring into affirmative action, which would have been greatly appreciated. Pity was merely a way to alleviate the conscience without going to any real trouble. Concern though, that was different. And while it was something she had had little experience with until just recently, she found that it was…nice to find that someone actually felt that for her.
Startled from her reverie, Erestor realized that they had reached the Hall of Fire and then (most certainly did not) blush upon noticing that conversation had muted and a great many eyes were turned her direction. Merlin, why had she agreed to this again? Before she could do anything Glorfindel(!) glared at them and suddenly the quiet hums of conversation, songs, and stories, returned to the hall. She smirked as Glorfindel looked very pleased with himself as he led her towards a chair close to the fire.
"Your seat, M'lady," said Glorfindel, giving her one of his now standard (for her) extravagant bows complete with a flourish or three.
"Determined to play my champion, Glorfindel?" she asked, still smirking at him. He put on a Very Superior Look.
"Why, of course M'lady. I would not dream of being anything but." And because he could get away with it here (although retribution would come later), as he was still holding her hand, he leaned over and kissed it gallantly. Erestor had never seen a gallant kiss before, but now she had as there was no other word for it. Honestly, the cheek of him was unsurpassed and she gave a disapproving sniff, which of course just made him laugh at her. The oaf.
"You need a pillow. And something to wrap in."
"No, I do not. I am perfectly fine where I am," Erestor insisted.
"You do so need them. I will return shortly, my dear Lady clad in darkish-grey." Erestor nearly groaned at that, she would have to stop asking him to read her poetry as it was affecting his mental processes adversely and Manwe knows that Glorfindel couldn't afford that.
"Lady Erestor?" She had sense them as they came closer, but hadn't expected to be addressed. Despite this, her self control kept her from appearing startled and instead merely turned her head to the right to meet the gaze of three of her former tormentors. Steeling herself, she started regretting this grand adventure of socialization yet again.
"Yes, can I help you?" She wasn't really afraid of them or what they could do, especially with this many witnesses, but for all her fussing to the contrary she truly was feeling tired and emotionally wasn't in the mood for a confrontation. Where was her champion when she actually needed him?
"Lady Erestor, we do apologize for interrupting your evening like this," said a second elf with serious black eyes. The apology threw Erestor off for a moment. Outwardly stoic but inwardly mildly flustered, she nodded.
"And Lord Elrond told us that we should wait until you were more fully recovered…" the third elf, a youngish looking one, likely younger even than Melpomaen trailed off awkwardly.
"But we thought that perhaps you should know this before you get better. We," and the first elf, a guard Erestor remembered from many confrontations in the past but not by name, gestured towards himself and his two companions, "wanted to make formal apologies."
Lord Elrond had told her that some of the elves had come by to confess, but she somehow she still hadn't expected this. The youngest one looked almost sick with guilt, and while the older two masked it better, they were clearly feeling repentant. Now that she looked closer, the youngest one looked rather familiar…
"Cuillas?" Ah, she had remembered correctly as he nodded nervously. "I remember you, I taught you how to read before your father transferred to Lorien. I was unaware that you had returned." He nodded again.
"Aye. I always considered Imladris my home and came back when I came of age. And I really am sorry, teacher," said Cuillas, reverting back to the childhood title, "I should have known better but I thought- I thought I needed to make Lord Glorfindel proud and join the soldiers just like my father…" he trailed off again, and Erestor suppressed her inner cynic. Cuillas was a bright elf, but not truly warrior material. "Anyway, I am sorry and I come to ask your forgiveness." He stepped back, and the second elf took a half step closer- enough to be the center of attention, but not to threaten.
"I am Ruingur, Lady Erestor. I apologize as well. I did not care so much who or why, it just seemed the thing to do." He gave a very rueful un-smile. "My parents always told me that I followed the crowd too oft and thought for myself too rarely. For my unthinking actions which became cruelty, I apologize and I also ask for your forgiveness, deserved or no." He bowed, deeply, hand over his heart before yielding his spot to the first elf. This one didn't speak at first, apparently gathering his thoughts.
"I am Cúveren, Lady Erestor." He stopped, thinking again for a moment. "Did you even know my name, for all those centuries?" Erestor shook her head. She hadn't cared, and frankly she hadn't seen a point in knowing the name of yet another number in the faceless mass of people who did everything they could to make her life bitter in some way.
"I thought not. Lady Erestor, I apologize. I allowed loyalty to Lord Glorfindel to colour my perception. I also take responsibility for leading these two astray. I…" he frowned, sighed, and started again. "You should know, we were, ah, volunteered to aid the scholars in some of the more mind-numbing tasks and delivering papers everywhere. I know it is a rather lenient form of penance, especially considering how long it…that is, we…"
"How long you did your best to sabotage the hard work of myself and my assistants?" Cuillas cringed and looked on the verge of crying, Ruingur shifted uncomfortably, and Cúveren sighed deeply. Erestor waved him on.
And where was Glorfindel?
"Aye, that. Still, it has given us a better appreciation of just how cruel our actions were. I too apologize, for myself and for the other two, and I ask your forgiveness."
"Don't forget, those others…" whispered Cuillas. The older elf nodded.
"Yes, thank you. It may also help to know that the elves who hurt your assistant, ah, Melpomaen I believe, they were among the elves sent to aid the border patrols in Mirkwood. We were unsure if you knew or not, and wanted to let you know so that you would not have to worry." That was good to know, she had wanted to ask but as she unsure of who exactly it was, she was unlikely to have gotten a positive answer.
"Thank you for the information." Erestor thought it over. She was feeling too tired tonight, and this interaction, as non-volatile as it had been, was still wearing on her.
"Erestor!" Was that salvation? Did she hear respite? Sure enough, Lindir and (surprisingly) Melpomaen both appeared on her left, Melpomaen crossing his arms and keeping a suspicious watch on the three petitioners, Lindir sitting on the chair arm and looking very fierce for a minstrel that Erestor know had almost no practical fighting knowledge.
Cuillas was almost hiding behind the other two now, and Erestor felt sympathy towards the youngling. The other two stood their ground, doing their best to appear non-threatening.
"We mean no harm, we merely wanted to make our apologies known. That is all, and we will go now. We do not of course, expect or demand an answer of you now, Lady Erestor," he said to her rather surprised look. Cúveren bowed and began to back away as did Ruingur, while Cuillas stood still, unable to move. Ruingur attempted to pull him but the poor thing was far too distraught. Sighing inwardly, Erestor spoke.
"Cuillas, wait a moment please." Ruingur released his arm, and Cuillas moved towards her again. "How are you doing back in Imladris?" She asked, trying to ease the young one's nerves.
"I am unsure. I thought my father wanted me to be a warrior, like he was, and I thought that I could fit in here eventually, but it went so badly," he despaired. Now feeling rather forgiving for a former favourite student, she reached out and took his hand and began rubbing it, an old trick she had discovered eased his nervous attacks after (not before, oddly enough) tests and any oral presentations. "Father told me that I could be a scullery maid as long as I did it well and liked it in a letter he sent recently." A sniffle and he continued. "I always remembered you as my favourite teacher and I really am sorry." He looked so incredibly miserable, and Erestor sensed no duplicity from him. Even Lindir appeared mildly less threatening towards the nearly crying elf.
"I forgive you, young one." Disbelief at first.
"You do?" Erestor nodded, and patted his hand.
"I do. I believe you. But tell me, have you learned anything from all of this fiasco?" Cuillas nodded firmly.
"Yes. Next time I will not allow others to make my judgments for me, and when my conscience tells me something is wrong, I will stop before continuing." He actually was crying now, and Erestor was obliged to fish out a handkerchief for him. Melpomaen seemed to be contemplating something. "I should tell you something, though." He looked unsure but Erestor waited patiently. He had changed little over the years. "I need a different punishment." Erestor raised a disbelieving eyebrow, and Lindir and Melpomaen were about to burst from outrage.
"Why would that be?" Lindir asked, and Erestor was surprised at how borderline-menacing his tone was.
"Because I like this one." That…was unexpected. "I like working in the library and copying things and…" he stopped himself from rambling. "So I need a different punishment." Erestor and Melpomaen looked at each other, and her right-hand elf nodded. Erestor turned back to Cuillas.
"I think we will keep you there. If you truly like it, then I will not keep you from it. Personally, it is a better profession than warrior for you, yes?" Cuillas nodded. "Good. Then tomorrow Melpomaen will meet with you to discuss this further." Erestor looked at the two elves still hovering the backround.
"I do not need more time. I do not hold a grudge, not when you are truly apologetic. I forgive both of you as well." They bowed.
"Thank you, Lady Erestor. We will trouble you no more this night."
"I should certainly hope not," came a rather rumbling voice from behind the chair. Oh, now Glorfindel returned. Now that they were about to leave. Sheesh, but he needed to work on his timing.
"No need to become over-protective, Glorfindel. They came to apologize, that is all." Erestor gave Cuillas' hand one last reassuring squeeze before letting go. Glorfindel had taken up station on her right, and watched the three with a jaundiced eye.
"Indeed, and we were just leaving," said Ruingur, and the three were as good as their word, Cuillas practically sobbing on Ruingur's shoulder.
"Are you well? Did they upset you?" Melpomaen asked this, all concern and care and dedication. Erestor smiled at him.
"Do not fret so, Melpomaen. I am quite well, merely tired" she amended after hearing Lindir's disbelieving sniff. Glorfindel busied himself giving her the pillow and tucking the blanket carefully, especially around her feet which she had confessed were almost always cold when she was Fading. Glorfindel had a rather fierce look, and Erestor still marveled that it was over her rather than ather. Her personal bodyguard all took up residence around her, Lindir and Melpomaen sharing a love-seat while Glorfindel surprised her at sat by her feet, leaning against the chair so that she was given a close view of his (extremely gorgeous) hair.
And it was there, sitting around the fire on a moonless, starless stormy night that Erestor was struck by the fact that these people cared about her. She sucked in a gasp, and looked around. Elves were all around, and when she met their gaze they would smile and wave, or nod. Lord Elrond came and took the chair Glorfindel had ignored, and gave her a look-
And she wondered what that look meant. Melpomaen was looking at her as well, and she realized that maybe it was more than care…but she ignored that, for now. It was all too much for right now. She also realized, as she looked around, that she had time. She would not die- she would live, and she would understand these people who had this more-than-concern for her and something told her she knew that she already felt more-than-concern back for them. And it made her smile.
"Ah, Erestor?" Coming out of her private world, Erestor responded to Glorfindel's call.
"What are you doing with my hair?" With his hair, what-
This was embarrassing. Indeed, several giggles and laughs were being choked down. Erestor let go of Glorfindel's hair as though it burned her. She had been playing with it. Why did she have to fiddle with things when she was thinking? Curses and quadruple curses!
"I apologize, I was thinking and your hair was…conveniently there." She was not blushing. She was NOT. Glorfindel meanwhile was inspecting his hair, suspicious that she had decided to take revenge for his cheekiness earlier.
"That is all?" He asked, still wary.
"That is all. I am sorry." Glorfindel shrugged.
"I do not mind. I just did not want to find that you had booby-trapped my hair or something like that. Play away if you like," he said, with that absolutely irreverent smile on his face which was tilted towards Erestor. She flicked his ear in response.
"Ow. Or not." Lindir sighed dramatically and began a conversation with Melpomaen about how he needed to relax and let the others working in the office take more work.
"I agree with Lindir," Erestor started but Glorfindel laughed at her.
"Pot," he said, pointing at her, "kettle," he said, pointing at Melpomaen. Erestor huffed while Lord Elrond smiled and pretended not to chuckle while Lindir had no such restraint and laughed loudly.
"Well how long does it take to get a pillow and a blanket, anyway?" Erestor asked, and Glorfindel groaned.
"You had better appreciate those, I had to fight past another Balrog to get back here."
Outside, the sky held no light but for once it went unnoticed by Erestor, who found herself surrounded by people-who-cared. And it was well.
Cúveren- Bow Bold
Ruingur- Fiery Heart
Cuillas- Life Joy
Thanks to Pixellated Feanor for these!
Glorfindel wondered at the pensive mood Erestor showed on the way back from the Hall of Fire. It worried him a little bit, because a brooding Erestor was generally not a happy Erestor, and an unhappy Erestor was liable to take it out on any handy by-standing Glorfindels. He decided that a distraction was needed to ease her away from whatever thoughts drew her.
"There were a lot of people in the Hall tonight, a few more than usual I thought." Here we go, a stupid opening topic line to draw her attention and irritation.
Nothing came in response.
So Glorfindel tried again. "I hope those elves did not disturb you overmuch when they came to apologize, they were asked to stay away. But the young one, you seemed to like him well enough. Do you know him?" Still nothing. Glorfindel wondered what could be keeping her attention so completely. They walked on in silence. Erestor reached the door to her room and entered, likely intending to leave Glorfindel but he had no intention of allowing her to brood alone, not when her health was in question. His self-concerned worry had long ago passed into a deeper concern for his…friend. Such a strange thought.
Erestor paid him no mind and walked out onto her balcony, never noticing the light drizzle. Her behavior was alarming Glorfindel. He swiftly followed her out and, trying not to startle her, grabbed a hand to try and pull her back inside.
Green eyes blinked at him, and her free hand was fiddling with her sleeve. What on Arda Marred-
"I was thinking." At last, she speaks! Still trying to pull her inside without forcing her, Erestor resisted and Glorfindel's attempts subsided for a moment. He decided to appease her in the hopes that it would make her decide to move back out of the rain, which could begin truly storming at any moment.
"What were you thinking about?"
"Lindir. Melpomaen. Lord Elrond, Gildor, and you." Still not incredibly enlightening. Glorfindel resisted the urge to tug her inside, knowing she wouldn't take kindly to that and would only yell and change his hair nasty colours, that besides the fact that it smacked of his former habit of not-caring and not-listening. So he waited and listened.
"Oh?" Brilliant repartee on his part definitely was making this conversation better.
"You care. I mean, I know that you said you did before now, and I knew that but I did not believe it- or perhaps I believed it but did not know it?" She looked pensive, and Glorfindel was thankful that she wasn't paying overmuch attention to him because he looked confused. "Either way, I mostly knew but not completely." She searched his face now, and apparently saw his incomprehension as she explained further, "Ah, for example I can describe this bow-shaped multi-coloured line of light in the sky but until you actually see it you cannot completely understand what a rainbow looks like." Glorfindel nodded.
"I suppose I knew that you and the others cared but tonight I actually felt it." And she smiled at Glorfindel so happily, and it transformed her so completely that Glorfindel wondered if it was a completely different elf he was speaking with. "It is surprising, and confusing, but I like it." Erestor gripped his hand tightly, and now it was not Glorfindel holding her hand, but they were holding hands. "I am determined not to Fade. I do not think I can anymore, not right now."
"I thought you were always fighting not to Fade." Erestor shrugged.
"Mostly. I could not help it, but recently a part of me was not so sure. I was growing weary. I did not want to die per say, but after a while a part of me was not completely sure. But now I am," she stated, decreed almost, and Glorfindel did not doubt her. "I am going to live now."
"I am most pleased to hear that." Erestor gave a tiny start, but Glorfindel nearly jumped off the balcony. Lord Elrond was standing just inside the room, holding Erestor's cat and looking displeased. "I am not so pleased to see you standing in the rain. What were you thinking?" Erestor looked abashed.
"I wanted to make sure this was real." Elrond's displeasure melted, although he sighed and beckoned them back inside.
"I can understand that, but you could not just pinch yourself instead of trying to ruin any improvement your health has made?" He placed Mîr down on a cushion and busied himself with drying and warming up his wayward patient. Glorfindel was left to his own devices, and closed the balcony door then stood to the side, smiling in amusement to himself as he watched Lord Elrond do a very admirable Mother Hen impression over Erestor, who looked mildly annoyed and embarrassed at the same time.
"There. Try not to overtax your still recuperating body, can you at least attempt that?" Erestor gave an obedient nod, drinking her tea after a warning glare from Mother Elrond. She still gave it suspicious glances and experimental sniffs, but whether or not it was drugged Glorfindel did not find out as Elrond shooed him out of the room so that Erestor could rest after her evening of excitement.
The next morning, Glorfindel burst into Erestor's room, his smile growing brighter upon seeing Erestor's improvement. She radiated less of the odd fragility that Glorfindel associated with unhealthy elves.
"Greetings and salutations, O Sunflower of my heart! How goes the fair Erestor this bright morning?" It wasn't bright at all actually, something Erestor pointed out after throwing a pillow at his face, which Glorfindel failed to duck. His good mood had slowed his pillow-dodging reflex, that was all.
"Ah, but any morning is bright when it contains you, Erestor-dear."
"I am Not. Your. Dear," Erestor enunciated to death. Glorfindel would have frighted, but he knew by now that a little conflict helped keep Erestor's day interesting and merely smiled blindingly at her, and with a flourish presented her a bouquet of flowers.
"What are these for?" asked Erestor, briefly foregoing breakfast in order to place the blooms in a vase with water.
"Ah. Those are some of the flowers that broke off during the storm last night, so fear not, no flowers died in the making of this bouquet." Erestor raised an impatient eyebrow at Glorfindel. "Specifically, they are in celebration of your discovery last night. I am very proud of you, and Elrond is as well. He sends his greetings, and will allow you to come with me wherever inside of the house that you desire to go. Except your office. No going there. But we can go to the library, the kitchens, watch Lindir bully the other minstrels into practicing…" Glorfindel trailed off, but was gratified that Erestor looked pleased.
"I am no longer quarantined in my rooms for extended periods of time, then?" Glorfindel nodded, wondering if her eyes could get much bigger. She was employing an incredibly affective puppy-dog pleading. Now at least he knew where Melpomaen had learned it from.
"Quite, m'dear. As long as I escort you so that you do not forget lunch and dinner and tea, then you may move freely across the house. He still does not want you to "Run around in the rain barefoot and half dressed" yet, though" Glorfindel said, earning both a glare for his cheek and a snicker for his mimicking. Still, Erestor swiftly finished breakfast (Glorfindel snatching a few pastries for later in a napkin) and they left her rooms. Erestor decided to visit the library, and so they took a rather roundabout way there, Glorfindel munching pastries all the while (later turning out to be five minutes).
Erestor moved with eased familiarity through the library shelves, occasionally patting a familiar tome in a way that left Glorfindel snickering until he noticed the death glares from Erestor and the elves in the area. He put on a mask of stoicism, which had Erestor sighing deeply but ignoring him further. Supposedly there was an order to the books, but Glorfindel had not cared to learn it. If he needed a book, he asked one of the many elves whose job it was to care about the system to find it. He moved closer to Erestor to ask a question.
"Are any of the books you wrote in the library?" Erestor jumped, having so successfully ignored him that she had forgotten his presence. She gave him a mildly annoyed sniff before answering.
"Yes. Why?" Glorfindel answered with another question.
"How many books have you written?" Erestor tilted her head.
"Eight and a half." Glorfindel opened his mouth to ask but Erestor saw it coming. "I am still in the process of writing another one." This left the blonde head nodded his understanding. "I ask again, why?" Glorfindel shrugged at her, enjoying their banter.
"I enjoy your writing, and would like to read more of your collection." Erestor looked skeptical and searched his face (hopefully out of habit and not active distrust) before rubbing the bridge of her nose and gesturing for Glorfindel to follow her lead. Glorfindel stayed close to this guide, never having been this far into the library before and unsure if he could find his way out if left behind. Would anyone come and look for him? Were there other elves lost in here, forever wandering through the bookshelves searching for an exit? Perhaps he could climb to the top of the shelves to look…
"Glorfindel! What are you looking at?" He was (rudely) snatched out of his day-dreams when Erestor noticed that he was lagging behind to examine the shelves for climb-ability. Attempting to look innocent, he decided to stick closer to Erestor. Who knew what could be hiding out here. Looking quite resigned to a martyrdom of Glorfindel, Erestor swiftly found four books and carefully handed them to Glorfindel. "Two are written by myself, for you to read. The other two are for my own reading. You can carry them." Glorfindel acquiesced with a low bow.
"I live but to serve, my dearest Erestor." A mild huff was his reply, and he followed Erestor out of the labyrinth more commonly known as the library, grateful to have made it out alive. "Good luck in there," he whispered to any still lost. Erestor eyed him curiously. Oh, had he said that out loud?
Melpomaen came and found them as they were leaving the library. "Oh, Erestor! I was just looking for you." Erestor looked mildly alarmed. "No, no need to worry. I just have a letter for you from Lothlorien. I must go though, Cuillas found an error that needs clearing up before we can pay the traders. Farewell." Erestor watched him leave with obvious pride.
"He is doing quite well, do you not think so?" Glorfindel smiled.
"He is doing very well, though I think he will be glad to have you back in charge." Erestor's face turned into one of longing.
"It should not be too very much longer, I hope." Glorfindel made a noise that could be taken as agreement at her statement, but found himself unsure as to whether he desired the same. He had grown used to having Erestor around, and wondered if she would be as welcoming of his presence once she had work to fill her time. He decided to distract himself.
"Who is the letter from?" She had mentioned something about a friend in Lothlorien before, hadn't she?
"Just an old friend, from the war," she said, tucking the letter into a pocket for later.
"Yes? Did you know her before the war, or did you meet during?" He asked, fishing for more information, though Erestor saw through it.
"So, why did…he?...decide to live in Lothlorien instead of Imladris?" Erestor shrugged, though Glorfindel sensed her wish to leave the topic alone.
"Because he knew that a nosy Balrog Slayer was coming to live here, that is why," Erestor snarked, and so Glorfindel left the topic alone. Still, he wanted to know who this person was but decided to leave it for another day. Erestor wasn't working full time quite yet, and he could always lounge around her office like he did before.
"Well, this nosy Balrog Slayer is desirous to escort a beautiful lady to lunch for two," he said graciously, and while Erestor shook her head disapprovingly at him she still took his offered arm.
Melpomaen watched them go, having swiftly fixed the problem. Glorfindel had looked both worried and jealous, and Melpomaen thought that rather significant. He decided to watch Lord Glorfindel and how he acted around Erestor. He would have to get with Lindir, between the two of them they could surely figure out exactly what to do with Glorfindel. Until then, there was about a thousand different things that needed doing, and Melpomaen was determined to do as much as possible so that Erestor's transition back to work wouldn't be too stressful. Curious, determined, and scheming, he made a mental To-Do List and moved off to find Lindir.
Why do you bring me flowers so often?
I hope you enjoy the books. And just so you know, the letter is from Haldir. I could tell you were curious and concerned. It is rather enjoyable to tease you like that. You make it rather easy.
Do not think it over-bold of me, but I am enclosing a book-mark so you do not have to spend ten minutes searching for your page every time you close the book. Happy reading.
That was a difficult chapter. Can you say 'filler'? -
No, not really. More like transition, but it feels like filler.
Chapter 29: One Week
Part two of Double-chappie weekend updates.
Erestor never would have admitted it, but she missed Glorfindel. And not because she was about to die of imminent boredom or needed rescue from well-intending but incredibly long-winded elves (which usually amounted to the same thing but that was besides the point here). No, at the moment she actually missed his companionship, a constant she hadn't had in a long time. Gildor always spent time with her when he was in Imladris, but that wasn't very often. She bumped into Lindir often, but their conversation was usually condensed into Lindir's flash-flood style of conversation and a similarly swift and sarcastic reply on her part. Until recently, she had felt almost invisible to Lord Elrond except for work- not that she minded, the state of affairs had suited her rather well. Melpomaen of course spent a great deal of time around her but Erestor saw him as more of a younger sibling to take care of than a best friend/confidante.
Glorfindel, well, Glorfindel was different. True enough, he was currently house-bound but he didn't have to spend so much time with her, dealing with numerous mood-swings, constantly trying to feed her (what was she, a toddler?), or bringing her flowers and making up the most ridiculous names and descriptions for her. It was all very strange, but he insisted that it was the sort of thing people do for each other to show that they care. She re-read his letter.
Why do I bring you flowers? Because I think they make you happy. They do tend to make you smile and that is reason enough.
Perhaps you wish to know why that is a good reason? Because it is a way to prove that I care. I care because we are friends (at least so I hope), because I did you wrong, because you are an elf, because you are alive, because you are interesting to be around, because you are you.
I thank you for the book-mark, it has come to be very useful. I do wonder if you had to send me such a bright pink one embroidered with posies, no less. Daffodils or blue-bells I do not mind- but posies? I have to endeavor to hide the book it resides in every time an elf comes around because they inevitably ask me who the fortunate maiden is to have caught my attention and favour. You do these sorts of things merely to irritate me, do you not?
Sincere apologies for being nosy. I suppose it truly was not any of my business, was it? Still, I thank you for telling me despite my more frustrating tendencies.
Perhaps I do make an easy target for your sharp wit (and sharper tongue) but we all have our purposes in life and I suppose that one of mine is to be a wet-stone for your speech. Alas, for age does not always equal increase in intelligence and I hope that I do not bore you overmuch.
I bid thee well, oh cleverest-Erestor.
It left her worried. Nowadays she only meant to be teasing except for when he grew simply too ridiculous for normal words. What left her even more worried was the fact that he hadn't come around for more than a casual 'hello, goodbye' sort of visit in four days. He stopped in, left a flower and then swept out of the room in typical Glorfindel-style (she had named the vaguely melodramatic and old-fashioned chivalric way of moving after him) before she could actually speak with him. It frustrated her. Why wasn't he speaking with her? The worry that she had managed to drive him away except for a duty-visit was making her edgy, and Lord Elrond had noticed though he hadn't commented on it. Melpomaen addressed the situation with a frown which only deepened when Erestor made him promise not to do anything.
So deep was she in thought (worry) that Erestor did not hear Lord Elrond knock and then enter her room, and it was only when he stood directly in front of her that his presence was finally acknowledged.
"You appear to be rather deep in thought. Do you care to share what has you so distressed, Erestor?" She sighed deeply, accepting the offered tea and sniffing it for drugs before taking a sip and replying.
"I have not seen Glorfindel very much recently. I am worried that I said something to offend him." Lord Elrond 'hmmed' at this, although Erestor could see that he was pleased she had actually shared with him. "I meant no harm, it was not intended to drive him away. I did not…that is…" she groaned a little at saying it aloud, "I miss his company." Elrond said nothing, but nodded sagely. "And I never truly thought that I ever really would, but now I do yet I am feeling confused because in the letter he says he wants to think of us as friends but then he stopped spending time with me and I feel very confused and worried because I am not sure what I did wrong because today he has not come at all and I fear it is my fault." After a run-on sentence almost worthy of Hermione Granger herself, Erestor took a breath and another sip of (so far side-affect free) tea, attempting to ignore the sad feeling creeping into her gut.
"You need to go see him. Come, we will go right now and I will escort you." Decisiveness rung through his statement, and so Erestor quickly slipped on a pair of shoes and left with Elrond. Normally, the Lord of Imladris would be stopped in the halls but one look at his face deflected even the typically more oblivious elves that parted instead as he strode towards Glorfindel's office. Upon reaching it, Erestor hesitated outside the door. She suddenly felt very tired of all the emotional drama (mostly self-inflicted) she had felt for the past few days, and wasn't sure she was prepared for more.
Elrond was having none of it however.
"You need to do this, and I promise that you will feel much better once you do." He gave her a reassuring smile as he gently but firmly pulled her into the room with him. Glorfindel looked up, appearing rather surprised and confused. "You and you must speak with each other. You," he declared, pointing at Glorfindel, "because I am fairly certain I recall a promise being made, and you had best have a very good reason why it is not being kept- or at least why it has the appearance of inconstancy. In case it has somehow slipped your mind, I granted you the chance to make this right on the condition that you actually do so and I still have the power to make your Second Life very miserable." Glorfindel looked uncomfortable. Erestor didn't blame him, being the focus of Lord Elrond's displeasure was a distinctly unpleasant experience. But Lord Elrond wasn't done.
"I have waited for nigh on a week as this one worried herself to distraction- I found no less than four misspellings in one of your documents, dear heart-" Ah, how nice of him to try and soften the blow "and finally managed to get her to allow herself to tell me of her worry just a few moments ago." Erestor looked anywhere except Glorfindel's face, which now held guilt and distress. Honestly, Lord Elrond made it sound as though she was worrying herself to pieces (ignoring the voice that was inwardly poking at her saying "I was!") over Glorfindel. As if.
"You, on the other hand," and now he switched his attention to Erestor, who had decided to do her best unaffected statue impression but felt she was failing miserably. "You need to talk with him. Tell him what is upsetting you," Elrond enunciated slowly, and Erestor was too embarrassed to feel annoyed at the mildly parental-over-explanatory-yet-exasperated tone he was using on her, "andthen, if a satisfactory explanation is not given, come to me and I will have it out of him one way or another." Erestor never knew that someone as good-tempered as Lord Elrond could smile so predatorily. Glorfindel appeared rather disconcerted as well. Elrond gave Erestor's hand a comforting pat.
"Now, I will leave you two to talk this out unless you want me to stay?" Erestor numbly shook her head 'no' and sat down as directed. "Fine then. I will see the both of you later." And with that, Hurricane Elrond swept out of the room, leaving nothing undisturbed in his wake. Silence reigned as both studiously avoided look at the other.
"What?" Glorfindel looked shocked. Under normal circumstances, Erestor would huff at his ever-so-elegant response.
"I said that I apologize. It was not my intention to hurt you and-" Oh, how Erestor wished that she didn't have to say this, but felt it necessary- "I have missed you. I would like to be friends, if you still want to be." Glorfindel opened and closed his mouth a few times before managing a response.
"I accept your apology. And I offer my own, I did not realize that you were…" Erestor raised an eyebrow and waited as Glorfindel delicately picked through words, "that I made you worry. I had no intention of hurting you. I just thought that it was best to do as you wanted-"
"As I wanted? I never said that." Glorfindel looked confused. At the rate this day was going, he would need to simply etch a look of confusion and surprise on his face permanently.
"Yes, you did. Right here in your letter." He held it out for her perusal. Erestor made an angry noise, somewhere between a hiss and a growl, which resulted in Glorfindel subtly (or so he thought) sliding his chair further from the desk in preparation to duck if required.
"This," hissed Erestor, glaring at the offending parchment as she shook it, "is not my handwriting. Granted, it is a very good forgery, but it is not mine. I was apologizing for saying how easy it was to tease you. I never wrote that I wanted you "To leave me in peace" and "stop running my life". If you were running my life I would tell you in person- and likely punch you the face as well." Glorfindel appeared not to know whether to feel relieved or mildly disturbed, and the expression he settled on seemed to be a very odd mixture between the two that made him look like a (handsome and blonde) clueless monkey. Or perhaps a very puzzled puppy. Either way.
"You never wrote that." Erestor shook her head.
"No. I do know who did. Melpomaen. Though I cannot say why." Glorfindel smiled. Not in superiority, but merely amusement.
"Could it be that he was testing me to make sure that I was not planning to take advantage of your trust? You may believe my good intentions, but I have a feeling that Melpomaen required…a double check of sorts. I gained some of his trust," Glorfindel continued, seeing Erestor about to interject, "but he is quite the protective little thing, as well as very thorough. You mustn't blame him for wanting to look out for you as you have done for him." Erestor sighed, but realized that Glorfindel had made a very good point.
"But you were only following what you thought I wanted?" She had to make sure.
"Correct. Although I did not do it very well. I still checked on you, and as I am sure Melpomaen will tell you, asked after you quite a bit. I may have annoyed some people. But I missed you as well." Erestor smiled, rather happy that Glorfindel didn't resent her.
"I do have something for you. As you gave me something, and it is our anniversary- do not ask me what anniversary, but it must be something- I wanted to give you this." Glorfindel walked out from behind his desk/bunker (Erestor's temper was banked, so it was safe to leave) and handed her a small package wrapped in a handkerchief. "I thought you might need another one after Cuillas used yours," he smiled as Erestor sighed in (admittedly fond) remembrance of the sobbing youngling.
It was a beautiful thing, although few elves would likely ever care to wear it. It was a smooth pendant of Rose Quartz, not very big, on a silver chain. Carefully etched into it was a little sparrow in the same design as the hair pin Glorfindel had given her before.
"I know you said that pink was not something you normally wore, but tit for tat, m'dear, and one pink Posie bookmark deserves another pink thing." He looked very pleased with himself. "Turnabout is fair play, after all. And it is not very big, so it need not be seen often. Besides," he said, speaking in his more ridiculous Glorfindel-style, "pretty things for pretty ladies," so saying as he kissed her hand. Erestor flicked his ear, but still smiled at him.
"Thank you Glorfindel. Despite the fact that you are being ridiculously sweet, I thank you for it, and despite it's Pinkness, I think it is very nice." A pillow muffled his face as he went to reply, but a garbled
"Like you- sometimes," could still be translated.
"So, Lord Glorfindel, what keeps you so occupied in here?" A great sigh was heaved from Glorfindel, as a martyr.
"A letter that I must need send to King Thranduil, but it is going to kill me. For the second time. And were I sent back again, it would then kill me a third time." Erestor laughed at this and pretended not to see Glorfindel's countenance lighten at the action.
"I can look it over, if you like." Glorfindel apparently lost all control at this much needed aid, for he hugged her and kissed the top of her head soundly.
"You, merciful, kind Erestor, have saved me from a great deal of torment. Thank you!" He snatched the letter off of the desk and almost flung it at Erestor who quickly settled in to read it after smoothing her clothes out from Glorfindel's vibrant enthusiasm.
"Oh, my." Erestor wasn't sure whether to be horrified or burst out laughing.
"What? Is it truly that horrible?" Erestor grimaced.
"It is an absolutely wonderful letter if one desires war with Greenwood the Great," she emphasized, tapping several places where it was referred to as Mirkwood by Glorfindel.
"Ah, yes, I see. I should probably correct that, then." Erestor nodded. "Here, I will make a note of that," he said, nibbling on a well-nibbled quill. Erestor sighed and took out an un-chewed writing utensil.
"Why do you not start again, this time with my help." Glorfindel nodded fervently, like a bobble-head doll being driven over a cobble-stone road.
Eventually, they managed a letter that wouldn't end in disaster for diplomacy between Imladris and Greenwood. And all was well.
A sigh that originated from his toes left Glorfindel's mouth. Sitting beside him, Erestor nudged his shoulder.
"You have just spoken for the both of us, Glorfindel." They were sitting together on Erestor's bench, commiserating in shared worry over Lord Elrond's two sons. Currently, the wayward avengers were recovering in the healing wing. Glorfindel had long ago stopped counting and remembering the various times and ways that Elladan and Elrohir had returned home, barely conscious, wounded, angry still. It had always frustrated him that no matter what he tried to say, they did not listen. He felt rather than heard an answering sigh from Erestor. Suddenly though, her body became taut and she sat up straight.
"Erestor?" She hadn't heard him, too busy starting intensely and dramatically into the distance- well, not the distance technically since the woods blocked seeing very far, but the point still stood. "Ah, Erestor? Can you hear me? What are you thinking?" Still ignoring him, Erestor stood up and began moving back towards the Last Homely House, Glorfindel following faithfully behind.
"Lord Elrond?" Erestor had made a beeline straight for his office, and now stood in front of his desk, where he sat pretending to do paperwork. He appeared thankful for the intrusion.
"Aye Erestor, Glorfindel?" He gave a rather pained looking grimace/smile, the kind Erestor gave when she had been thinking of something unpleasant from the past but answered 'It's fine' when asked about it. The grimace/smile looked no better on Lord Elrond.
"I was just thinking about-"
"Elladan!" Erestor turned to see what Glorfindel was interrupting her for, and Glorfindel was thankful to have a good excuse for it. Elladan had walked into the room, never mind the fact that heshould have been resting. It looked, unless Glorfindel's eyes greatly deceived him, that he was also prepared to leave. Glorfindel couldn't help but wonder where Elrohir was.
"I am leaving now, father." Oh dear.
"You need to stay and heal, Elladan." The stubborn child shook his head and began to walk away. This turned out to be a tactical error, as Erestor had had enough apparently.
"Lord Elladan." Glorfindel (and Elrond, it seemed) knew the danger of being addressed in that tone. Erestor had never used it with either of the twins though, and so Elladan was unaware of the impending mortal peril.
"Lady Erestor?" He asked, not fully turning to address her but at least stopping to turn his head.
"Come here." Elladan turned around but came no closer.
"Why?" Glorfindel took another (very subtle, not at all noticeable) step further away from Elladan. Best not to be too close to the impact zone.
"Because I told you to, because your father is not done speaking with you, because you should not be standing walking around with that gear, let alone running around after yrch." Elladan frowned.
"There is nothing more to say to my father, and I must go." He looked as though he was about to leave when Erestor got mad. Looking back, Glorfindel realized that as soon as she had lost her temper it was all over for the young rebel, and that it was amusing at least to watch another be on the receiving end of her anger. Even if he was in awe of the fact that it was in front of Elrond, said anger directed towards his son.
"I did not say you had more that needed saying, I said that there is a great deal more you father must say to you. And you are going to come here right now, and listen to some very good advice." Elladan's eyes grew rather large, and he sneaked a glance towards Glorfindel, who jerked his head slightly towards the inside of the room. Elladan slowly walked in, and Glorfindel closed the door behind him, simultaneously taking the pack and sword from his arms.
"Sit down before you hurt yourself worse, young elf." Ah. That strange streak of motherliness evidenced with Melpomaen was making itself known. Elrond of course took the chance to make sure his son hadn't somehow managed to make himself worse during the walk between his office and the healing wing, smiling in a small victory upon finding that his son was no worse off than before his break for freedom.
"I do not have to listen to you, Lady Erestor. You are not my mother or father, and you serve my father and through him, me." Erestor was unfazed, merely giving that oh-so-Elrondish eyebrow raised look.
"Correct and yet not, Lord Elladan. I am not your mother or your father. You do not have to listen to me. I do indeed serve your father. But in order to serve you, you would have to actually be a resident of Imladris. You spend no time here. You are responsible for nothing except worrying your father. You are irresponsible, rash, selfish, and no son of Elrond's, at least not by any proof of actions or words on your part." Ouch. Yet Elrond remained silent, and Glorfindel moved to stand beside him.
"You need not listen to me, but if you have ever cared about your family you will. You are a disgrace to your mother and her memory. She asked you, did she not, to care for your father, brother, and sister while she could not? It was in front of all Imladris that you agreed. Yet the dust from the caravan had hardly settled before you left on a pointless mission of vengeance. Tell me, is getting your brother killed worth it?" Elladan looked very close to something, though whether tears, denial, or anger he could not say. "Is killing your father worth it? Because while Lord Elrond is one of the strongest, most resilient elves I have ever known, everyone has a breaking point. What exactly do you think the death of you and your brother- for neither will live without the other- will do to him on top of everything else he has endured? Or did you stop caring?" Elladan was breathing very heavily, shaking with repressed emotions. He looked towards his ada for denial, but Elrond could not offer that comfort.
"Your father loves you so much more than you realize, and yet you seem to make it your life's work to make him suffer because he cares about you. I hope you are well pleased, youngling, when Arda falls because you and your twin thought of no one besides yourselves in an insane quest for vengeance only matched by that of the Feanorians seeking the Silmarils!"
For a moment, Glorfindel feared that Erestor had gone too far and that an explosion from Elrond would be feared next. Yet he was quiet, and it appeared that Erestor was only speaking aloud thoughts that the Master of Rivendell had kept in his heart for a long time. Glorfindel wondered if Elladan knew that all of this was coming from Erestor because she cared. If she didn't, she wouldn't have bothered to say anything. Abruptly, Elladan stood and interrupted the brief silence and Glorfindel's thoughts.
"Fine! As you wish, I will stay. But only until my brother and I have healed. No more." And with that said, he stomped away, though his stomps echoed back towards the healing halls. The tension in the room was relieved, and Glorfindel guided Elrond down towards the couch and handed him tea.
"Fear not my lord, it is not tainted with anything to make you sleepy." Elrond snorted at that.
"Ah, but it would be only fair if it was. Turnabout is fair play," Erestor mentioned, looking just innocent enough to worry Glorfindel. She smirked at him.
"I must congratulate you, that was quite a display of temper on your part." Erestor sat down and sighed deeply.
"I know, and I apologize for it. I did not mean to say quite everything that was said, but it somehow just slipped out." Elrond waved off the apology.
"You have been getting better, but I have also been waiting an outburst like this. It was overdue, and your self-control is rather admirable. Still, I am unsure as to how successful it was."
"Well, he has not left Imladris and is back in the healing wing, so my short-term goals have been achieved." Elrond looked at her oddly.
"I will not ask how you know that he has returned, but I think I will not ask. If you will excuse me, I will go check on my children."
Glorfindel and Erestor began walking towards the kitchen. Apparently temper tantrums made Erestor hungry and crave tea.
"That truly was quite the show, Erestor dear. Are you feeling well?" Erestor patted his arm reassuringly.
"I am feeling much better after it, actually. I care about them all, and worry constantly, about the twins and Lord Elrond both. Today is not the end, but it is a step towards it." Glorfindel nodded in agreement. He doubted it would be an easy thing, either.
"I trust you have a plan of some kind?" Erestor nodded.
"Of course. And if all else fails, the information that you and I not only agree on something, but no longer hate each other should be shock enough for both of the stubborn Peredhil twins to achieve peace within themselves and with the rest of the world." Glorfindel poked her shoulder.
"That just might work, m'dear lady."
"I am not your 'dear' anything, Glorfindel. Kindly remember that." Glorfindel grinned like a naughty schoolboy and laughed.
"As you wish, my fair lady." Erestor groaned.
"You are completely incorrigible, you audacious, oversized warrior, you do realize that?" Glorfindel nodded solemnly.
"Of course. It is part of what makes me so extremely loveable," he answered her, laughing all the way to the kitchen. It caught though, and so Erestor and he were in a much more cheerful mood after the somber event just previous. This rubbed off on the cooks and various serving elves, who then made their pleasure known with some of Glorfindel's favourite pastries, the apple-y ones he had first encountered at the festival that seemed so long ago. He smiled at Erestor, who looked amused at his pleasure but refrained from commenting.
"I am glad that if nothing else, because I know you I now know these delicious, eternally tasty delights as well." Erestor kicked him (but not very hard) under the table, but Glorfindel still groaned and rubbed his shin theatrically. "What was that for?" He said with righteous indignation and a slightly martyred look on his face.
"That had better not be all, you frustrating oaf." He patted her hand comfortingly.
"No, of course not. I would also never have known the pleasure of magically pranking a very meddling Istari either, without you." She huffed at him, but it was an amused huff, not an exasperated huff. "Do you know what, though? I think that if Elladan and Elrohir knew of these pastries, they would never desire to leave Imladris ever again." Erestor gleamed at him, leaving him surprised.
"That is an excellent idea. I will go chase down a basket of these just for them." Glorfindel was stunned, but realized that Erestor was having some sort of brain-wave he wasn't privy to today, and enjoyed his pastry in silence until his fellow non-drugged tea mate returned.
"There. I know it may seem silly, but perhaps it will help. Who knows? I certainly cannot make things much worse, now can it? Besides, everyone knows that apple pastries and tea make everything better." And Glorfindel really couldn't argue with that, now could he?
I sincerely hope that you have a plan, or we are stuck dealing with infuriated twins. It is akin to poking a hive of bees with a stick. Once you do it, you are committed to follow through no matter the consequences. Hopefully you know what you are doing, but if anyone does it would likely be you.
You are very adorable when you are angry, just so you know.
Glorfindel the Audacious
As I told you before, Yes I have a plan. And your metaphors are getting better.
The fact that you noticed how adorable I looked when I was angry makes me wonder if you need to be reminded that I am NOT adorable when angry, I am scary and unstoppable.
Erestor the Clever.
Coming close to the end for this fic, but don't worry-
It is a series.
Chapter 31: Stand Here With Me
Glorfindel hiccupped whenever he spoke for the next two days, resulting in unusually quiet dinners while elves attempted to make him speak just to watch him grow frustrated. Still, he took it as good naturedly as ever and Erestor relented after his attempt to apologize took almost ten minutes to say. She reminded him that she was fiercely terrifying in her anger, not 'very adorable' and he agreed…saying instead that she was too adorable for words and taking off at a run before his sentence was quite finished. Erestor let him, knowing when to pick her battles and deciding that she preferred a Glorfindel fully capable of helping her handle the twins who were still convalescing and nursing a grudge. Apparently, they disliked it when someone scolded them like naughty children. Who knew?
So Erestor prepared herself for war. Or at least, that was how Glorfindel described it in melodramatic tones with exaggerated gestures to match. Personally, Erestor thought that there had been far too much watching and hoping and not enough doing, with Glorfindel and the twins. They were going to kill themselves and take the rest of their family with them, and then where would all of Arda be?
She had been discussing the twins with Glorfindel when he suddenly asked her a question.
"Do you really believe that you will be able to change their minds before they ride out again?" Erestor leaned back against her chair and closed her eyes.
"No, of course not." This seemed to surprise Glorfindel, so she explained further. "I am not foolishly blind, nor am I overly optimistic with baseless dreams. Lords Elladan and Elrohir are rather like me in that they will need time to think it over and stop being stubborn. It will likely be some years before they manage to subdue their rage and hate enough to realize the truth of what I have said." Rubbing the bridge of her nose in memory of a non-existent migraine, she continued. "The problem has been that everyone has expected them to reach this conclusion on their own. I believe that, save for their father, few actually understood just how deeply their anger runs and underestimated their will. What Lords Elladan and Elrohir needed was a swift kick in the rear to remind them, and someone besides their father to give them a wake-up call to the real damage being done by their foolish vendetta."
Opening her eyes, she saw that Glorfindel was looking at her very strangely, and Erestor wondered what exactly she had said that was intriguing him so much. This wasn't his over-exaggerated 'look at me being intellectual' face, he was well and truly considering something, and it unsettled him and…saddened? If she was reading his face truly.
"What about us?" Erestor blinked. Us?
"I am sorry, Lord Glorfindel, but I am afraid I am not sure what you are referring to." He visibly twitched at the title.
"I mean, if the twins are so like yourself, how long will it be until you actually trust me in what I say? How long until you believe that Elrond only wants to help? Do you prefer to pretend us all liars before you make up your mind?" That was unexpected, and she wasn't sure how to answer. For a very long moment, there was complete silence in the room as she tried to think of how to answer Glorfindel.
"It…it is not quite like that." Erestor fidgeted with her sleeve cuff.
"So you do believe us completely? Without a doubt?" Well, wasn't he getting rather demanding? Still, Erestor felt she owed him answers. Even if she wasn't sure herself what they were.
"I cannot say without a doubt, Glorfindel." He looked hurt, and that hurt Erestor though she knew not why. "It is not because you have played false, or I think you to be a liar. I just…please, this is a difficult thing for me though I am trying. Please believe that I am trying to trust." Glorfindel didn't answer, but still looked hurt. Erestor didn't know what else to say, and grew frustrated.
"Look, if we are being honest here, you and I were at odds for centuries. Centuries! And as wonderful as you have been recently, as good a friend as you are proving now, I cannot un-train myself from centuries of protection within an hour." That looked to have hurt him more, and Erestor felt like slapping herself. Way to go, Mrs. Motivational! "Despite that," she continued shakily, praying that she wasn't about to stick her foot in her mouth further, "I have been working on it. I care enough about you that I keep trying. Does that say nothing about how far I have come?" She waited desperately for a word from Glorfindel. She hadn't meant to hurt him. Curse it all, but when had she decided to start caring so much?
"Please Glorfindel, I did not mean to hurt you. I just cannot help doubting, it is part of my nature to be skeptical, especially when good things happen." There. She was done trying now, lest she ruin a good encouragement- well, hopefully it was good.
"No, Erestor, you did not upset me. I was upset because I should not have been angry with you over a skepticism greatly of my own making. If you, or at least a part of you, still doubts my intentions it is only my reaping what I have sown for so many years. I am sorry," he finished, and Erestor felt something inside of her break when she realized that Glorfindel was close to tears. She shooed Mîr off of her spot (that cat was getting lazy and fat as she grew older) and sat beside Glorfindel, taking one of his hands in hers.
"Glorfindel," she started, holding on tightly to his very large hand, "you listen to me. I forgave you, and we are both trying to make this whole friendship…thing…work. We will never be perfect at this, I am too ornery and you are too happy, but I think we can reach a level of trust where I no longer doubt your every motive and action regarding myself. It may take a while- I am very stubborn, you know- but it will happen." And she smiled up at him in encouragement. He still looked as though someone had popped his balloon, spilled his ice cream, and shot his dog, however.
"Yes, but I know you. You do not do things by halves, and I fear that I had a great deal to do with why you pushed people away, or at least began avoiding them. Admit it, while certain elves did make it difficult to travel, you still could have visited the Hall of Fire more often than you did. But you felt as though you needed to protect yourself from everyone and shut yourself off. I played off of your early life unknowingly and reinforced the idea that you had to do it alone." Erestor really was unsure how to respond to that, and simply patted his hand.
"But yes, I have noticed that you are getting better, m'dear. Thank you." Erestor was amused at that.
"For trusting one more time." Erestor gave one last comforting pat to his hand before standing up and returning to her seat.
"You are welcome." They sat in a comfortable silence, Erestor all ready having switched her focus back to Elladan and Elrohir although she doubted that Glorfindel was thinking about the twins much at the moment.
Lindir chose just then to pop into the room, greatly surprising Glorfindel which of course never failed to amuse Erestor. She had a sneaking suspicion that Lindir had taken to doing it on purpose, but decided that she didn't really need to know. Plausible deniability and all that, dontcha know.
"Ah, Erestor! Just the lady everyone has been talking about. Did you know that your little telling off has made the headlines of Imladris gossip? Well you do now if you did not before. You should know that both Elladan and Elrohir are angry- well, not so much Elrohir since he's barely been conscious but when he is awake he is not very pleased- and fairly upset with you. Elladan even asked Lord Elrond if he would reprimand you. Lord Elrond of course said no, that if he refused to listen to his father perhaps he should take the advice of one of the two wisest elves in Imladris." Erestor looked very shocked at that.
"Oh yes, he did say that, I was there. That is, I was not involved in the actual direct conversation but I was in the area and heard it myself. So Elladan humphed and refused to speak for the rest of the day. Or at least, he has not spoken yet but it has been a few hours." Glorfindel had that dazed look on his face that he wore whenever Lindir had a full head of steam, and Erestor resisted the urge to snicker.
"So, I am afraid that I cannot stay but I thought that I would just stop by to let you know the latest, and to offer my services if you should have need of them. Melpomaen and Cuillas offered as well, as did most of my minstrels and several of the kitchen staff. You have allies galore, Erestor, do not be afraid to call on us should you need us. Farewell!" And with that, he whirled off to do Merlin-knew-what. Hurricane Lindir, Erestor thought fondly. Her personal one-elf storm.
"Where does he get his energy from? I do not think he even rests but once a month or so!" Glorfindel seemed amazed and Erestor laughed at him.
"I assure you he rests more often than that, but you are correct in concept at least. Lindir is a self-propelled machine and a great deal of it comes out of his mouth. Still, do not let that fool you. I have met few elves as clever as he is, and I highly recommend staying on his good side." Glorfindel nodded fervently.
"Yes, I remember. Some of his threats…." He gave a shudder, and Erestor wasn't sure that it was completely put on. "He is creative with language, to say the least."
"He is also a good friend to have, and sweet as well." Glorfindel huffed at that.
"Sweet? Energetic, yes. Musical, yes. Overdosed on sugar and sweets, definitely. Sweet? I do not think so. He has quite the vicious streak, far better suited an orc than an elf." Wow, melodramatic much?
"Please, Glorfindel. Just because you managed to get yourself on his bad side does not mean that he is not sweet. True, he is not as obviously shy as Melpomaen, but Lindir is one of the nicest elves you can meet once you get on his good side." Erestor nodded her head firmly once, to signal a close to the topic but Glorfindel pressed on.
"Yes, once you get on his good side. If you are not fortunate to make that list, you had best be careful," Glorfindel said ominously. Erestor sighed. Why couldn't he just accept that she was right and move on?
"If you do manage to get on his bad side, I can assure you that it is for a good reason. Like spending centuries persecuting an innocent friend of his, for example." Erestor said this in a light tone to make sure Glorfindel knew she didn't mean to upset him over that.
"You make a good point," Glorfindel answered, making a wry face, "I still think that he is frightening far more than sweet." Erestor shrugged.
"Suit yourself, then. But still, coming back to our original topic of conversation, I know that Lords Elladan and Elrohir are going to need time. Fortunately, we are elves and time is not too great an obstacle. The hardest thing will be to keep them from wallowing in their guilt, although I dare say the initial act of breaking through their wall of anger will barely be secondary." Glorfindel looked fairly exhausted at the prospect, and Erestor was rather inclined to agree with him.
"As you say, Erestor. You speak from experience, as I do, and I can only agree with your assessment. Still, their father-"
"We cannot do much more than we all ready do. The greatest harm to him that we are capable of fixing is the current rift between him and his sons, and that cannot be done until his sons are helped." Glorfindel flopped back on the couch, nearly squishing Mîr in the process as he flung legs and arms everywhere.
"This will not be easy." Erestor flung a (miraculously uneaten, with Glorfindel in the area) pastry at him, which he caught without looking.
"Of course not, Lord Obvious. Just tell yourself that challenges keep life interesting." Her golden-haired companion groaned.
"That is what Ecthelion said about our 'realistic' combat training. I hated every moment of it." Erestor laughed at him, and pretended not to see that he tried to hide a smile at her laughter.
"Yes, but you survived the ordeal. Here too you shall, at least hopefully."
Chapter 32: Snippet!
Just a quick extra.
"Oh, for- Honestly, Glorfindel! Stop pouting like a twenty year old child."
" I am NOT pouting like a twenty year old child.
"Fine. Like a twenty ONE year old child." A blue eyed glare was fired her direction.
"I am not pouting like a child of any age, and I am not pouting at all." Erestor gave him a look of disbelief.
"I see. So if I tell you that I like his company better than yours, you will not be upset? Because frankly, my dear, silly, blonde fool, you have your arms crossed, you are leaning against the wall, and your face-"
"Fine! So I am pouting. I just do not think it is fair. You give him so much more attention when he is around than you give me. I have been here for centuries, much longer than he has but no. Allhe has to do is prance into the vicinity and suddenly any loyalty to me has vanished and you end up spending all of your time with him. It is just not fair!" Erestor sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose as she always did when Glorfindel was being particularly thick (her words, not his).
"Fine. Would it help if I told you that I like you more than I like him?" Glorfindel remained silent, ignoring her.
"Do think though, that I am always stuck with you, he is only here for a short while." Still silent.
"As you wish. I will go for a ride with him. You stay here and sulk if that is your desire but I will not stay here and be manipulated by your silly jealousy." Erestor swiftly spun on her heel and began to walk away. Glorfindel quickly ran to catch up.
"All right! I am coming with you. Still, I do not think it is fair that my competition for your attention," he stated sourly as they neared the stables, "is my own horse."
Chapter 33: Volare
Glorfindel hummed tunelessly, knowing full well that he was annoying Erestor. That was the point, as she was attempting to postpone lunch in order to 'just finish this one thing' which inevitably turned into another one, and another twelve. She was determined to ignore him at the moment, and was doing so masterfully. Glorfindel wondered if she had used magic, or if she had just begun to grow immune to him. If it was the latter, he mused, then he would have to start upping the ante.
Another heartbeat, and another.
Right. Subtly wasn't working. Standing, he made a grab for her quill. Anticipated, Erestor twitched the quill out of his grasp. Apparently he was growing predictable in his old age.
"Not now, Glorfindel. There is work that needs doing." Glorfindel huffed at her answer.
"This is not a game, Erestor. I am attempting to take you to lunch. You need to eat- you may have been cleared for a normal work schedule, But!" and Glorfindel made sure she heard the capitol 'B' there, "only on the provision that you do not ignore essential health things- like eating. And you are all ready trying to overwork yourself and it has only been one morning." Here he fixed Erestor with a very fierce glare. He worked with her stubbornness as much as possible, but in this case there was no way he was about to back down. He'd faced Balrogs and (eventually re-)lived to tell about it, he wasn't exactly short on stubbornness himself.
He waited, watching as Erestor searched his face. It was a good sign however, as it meant she was actually listening to him and considering. For a moment, it seemed that she was thinking of someone else, wistful and with a sense of loss. It passed, and she gave him a nod of acquiescence. Glorfindel felt justifiably relieved at this.
"As you wish. Let me drop this off at Melpomaen's desk and we can be on our way." Moving swiftly, she put up her writing utensils, picked up the documents and rose from her seat. It intrigued Glorfindel how she did it without a single motion wasted, like a practiced warrior replacing his (or her! He added mentally) weapons. Melpomaen wasn't at his desk (being slightly more sensible than Erestor, he was capable of taking lunch breaks without drastic Balrog-Slayer interventions) which meant a swifter drop-off and sooner than Glorfindel had feared although later than he personally desired, they began the trek towards lunch. Attempting to keep her mind off of work, Glorfindel picked a fight. It was fairly easy to do these days, since he knew how to push her buttons better than almost anyone else.
"If the world was limited to what you thought to be true, Glorfindel, then it would be much, much smaller than it currently is." Ouch. By this point Glorfindel had forgotten what it was he had started the argument about, but was satisfied that he had distracted her from any form of duty. For all that she liked to accuse him of acting more like an over exuberant elfling, she could be as unreasonable as one when she wanted her way. Of course, the one time he had told her that had ended badly. He had meant it more as a compliment, honestly, about how together they made up two sides of the same youngling. She hadn't taken it very well.
Erestor was headed towards the kitchens, but Glorfindel wanted to be a bit different and daring today. He had thought it over last night, and decided that it was time to ensure that Erestor was more exposed to the general population of elves in Imladris. Therefore they would not be eating at 'their' table in the kitchen, but rather in their proper seats in the main dining hall with Elrond and all the rest. That also meant risking a fight with Elladan and Elrohir but it was coming sooner or later and Erestor hadn't actually done much (or so it seemed to him) and he desired to get it over with. He understood military tactics and the important quality of not rushing things, but who said life had to be one big strategy?- besides Erestor, that is, and she hardly qualified as the average opinion. Focusing back on his task, he tapped her on the shoulder as she was about to bypass the proper hall for the dining area. She stopped and turned, and he flashed her his most blinding smile of epic 'please-agree-with-me-and-don't-kill-me-with-a-spoon' begging.
"I know you like your habits Erestor, keeping your little schedule as much as possible. But seeing as how you are beginning a new schedule that includes mealtimes and sleep and funny words like 'delegation', perhaps we could, just this once, attend lunch somewhere besides the kitchen. Maybe…where it was supposed to be eaten, with everyone else?" He continued to smile brilliantly, holding his breath as Erestor debated. Honestly, sometimes everything must be such a big problem. What did she need to debate this time?
"Lord Glorfindel," oh dear, he'd done something wrong now. He really should have listened to the little voice in his head telling him that all morning. "I have appreciated your companionship for these past many weeks. I have appreciated your mother hen tendencies less, but accepted them as part of your friendship. That being said, if you desire to spend time with someone apart from your charge, I am entirely capable of understanding and will not hold it against you." Great, she had that blank mask face on, the one that Glorfindel still had trouble reading. Still, at least he could address part of this. Hopefully.
"No, Erestor, truly. There is no need to look for trouble where there is none, you exasperating creature." Ah, perhaps now was not the time for insults he realized, as she seemed to close up towards him. Curses. "What I only mean to say is that I want this because I think it will do you good to be around more people in a setting where they do not need something from you. And you know that Lord Elrond has been wanting you to come and join them at mealtimes. That is all that I meant with this offer. I am not tired of watching you, I thought we were friends. And friends do not just abandon friends because they do not feel like being caring anymore. Or they do, just that they should not because then they are not really friends, unless I suppose one is taking advantage of the other and the first is getting tired of it and…"
Erestor had that frustratedly amused look on her face that told him he was no longer in any danger of being magicked in some unpleasant way. She gave him a brief smile and a sympathetic and slightly condescending pat on his arm. Which was both a good and a bad sign, informing him that he was perilously close to being sarcasmed to death. Well, perhaps not anymore. More like sarcasmed to ill-health. As sharp as her tongue could be, she tended nowadays to keep the barbs to a minimum, and all in good fun for argument's sake.
"I think I understand what you meant to say, even the last part that devolved into complete drivel and nonsense." She gave him an evaluating look. "I apologize, I seem to be itching for a fight this morning. I will follow you into the dining area then." And she held out her hand to him.
Glorfindel felt a smile creep across his face, and not the cheesy one from earlier that he knew exasperated and mildly amused Erestor. It was the smile he had been informed by said elf that was disgustingly happy and glow-y and managed to put the general vicinity in better moods when it occurred. Taking her hand, he held it tightly feeling content with the turn of events.
"Pardon, Lady Erestor, Lord Glorfindel." Addressed elves turned their heads to find the terrible two, Elladan and Elrohir standing a bit off, looking mildly uncomfortable going by their body language. He could also feel Erestor tense up, preparing for whatever was about to happen.
"We do not mean to keep you from lunch. We just wanted to let both of you, and especially Erestor, know that…" Elladan trailed off, looking at his brother. A silent and swift argument and pleading passed between the two, which Elladan lost. He continued. "We wanted to let you know that you were right. We have been thinking about what you said, and realized that we were truly working at cross purposes with what we actually wanted, which was not to hurt our mother. It would only hurt her even worse if she found out that one or both of us was killed wreaking vengeance in her name. It was selfish of us." He nodded firmly, and Elrohir took up the confession.
"We enclosed ourselves in our own hurt and forgot the rest of the family. And you were right, we hurt our father. When Elladan told me what you had accused him of, we asked ada, convinced that he would not agree with you. We were wrong," he said, a wry and ashamed look crossing his face, "and it forced us to examine our actions more carefully. We came to a conclusion. We will still go and fight yrch, but not to the point of our own destruction. And not before we have spent some time here, and perhaps in Lorien, making it up to ada and Arwen and even our grandparents. And we will also go with others, and come back within a reasonable period. No more leaving for who knows how long." He stopped here, looking almost shyly at Glorfindel and Erestor.
"Well?" Glorfindel was mildly confused. Had they come to apologize, for approval, or both? Erestor appeared to have no such confusion as she answered for the both of them.
"We are glad you have left the path of destruction. I am sure your father is as well." Both elves nodded vigorously.
"I have not seen him that pleased in a long while. If you go to the dining hall, you will see what I mean. I think he could keep all of Imladris alight with the way he is glowing right now," Came the rueful confession from Elladan.
"As Elladan said earlier, we do not mean to keep you from lunch. We merely wanted to inform you and apologize." With a bow, the sons of Elrond began to walk away before Elrohir added, "Oh, and Lady Erestor? We are pleased to see you looking in good health. The peace between you and Glorfindel seems to agree with you." And with that, they left Erestor and Glorfindel out in the hall. Glorfindel looked askance at Erestor, who gave an amused snort.
"Anti-climatic?" Offered Glorfindel.
"Yes. But fairly satisfying, all the same," Erestor replied, looking both pleased and peaceful. "I truly did not think that they would come to a conclusion so quickly or without a great deal more intervention, but perhaps they had been left too long and have been ready for quite some time." She fell silent, then shrugged. "Must have been the apple pastries that managed it." Glorfindel couldn't help it- he laughed at that.
"I think you must be right. Come, let us go eat lunch and then perhaps we could find the magical apple pastries of peace and harmony." Gallantly he offered his arm, surprised when Erestor played along as well.
"It sounds like a quest of epic proportions, milord. I agree, let us prepare ourselves with nourishment before we set off on dangerous missions to the perilous Kitchen Regions of Redundant Perils, where we shall nobly seek the pastries that bring peace and order to all realms, as well as apple sweetness." She accepted his arm, and they walked off together into the lunch area, Glorfindel beaming all the way. Erestor quickly shifted back to her normal serious self as they entered public scrutiny, but the moment had still occurred and nothing could change that. Inwardly ecstatic, Glorfindel managed to restrain himself to a deliriously happy smile. Erestor was now looking at him as though doubting his mental capacity to be working at any vaguely intelligent level (his interpretations of her looks were getting lengthier yet accurate) but it didn't dampen his mood. Things had definitely changed for the better.
Chapter 34: Elfin Knight
The best of friendships often come from hard beginnings. This fact had proved true to Erestor more than once in her lifetime. It was almost amusing to think how a rather deep-seated loathing had changed into an uneasy truce, then a vague amicability coupled with concern, and now a rather sturdy, fairly steady, sort of friendship. And while Erestor would never have claimed it completely impossible (she had witnessed far too many 'impossible' declared things come true for that naiveté) she would have put it much farther in the realm of extremely unlikely than it turned out to be. Although considering her experience with the impossible-turned-everyday-reality, perhaps she shouldn't have discounted the possibility so.
Unlikely chances aside, the changes that had taken place (and all within less than a year's span) were in the end fairly agreeable. True, she had a dozen different elves all checking on her to make sure she ate and slept and smiled, but the amount of caring they put into it ended any frustration on her part. At least mostly. She wasn't about to just turn around and become some sort of marshmallow-type softy. Erestor had a reputation to keep up. Which meant no dresses. Or pink. Or super-complicated hairstyles.
The feeling of safety though was almost disconcerting still, as for a rather long period of her life there had been no such feeling except in brief spurts that were usually rudely interrupted by reality. This of course brought on a mild sense of paranoia, and motivated some of her more sarcastic comments towards Glorfindel. Oddly enough, he took them, laughed at them, and returned fire to the best of his ability. Which wasn't quite at her level, but at least he tried. Eventually, while Erestor didn't think she would ever be quite as oblivious as some elves, she did find herself relaxing her guard against her will. More surprising was the fact that she found people helping her protect herself- had they always been there and she hadn't noticed, or was it another recent development?
Either way, the balance of things was different for Erestor now, and she couldn't quite bring herself to wish it differently even if the people did manage to annoy her occasionally. With the exception of Glorfindel who had made it his life's purpose to annoy her perpetually. Still-
"What are you thinking?"
A voice jarred Erestor from her ruminations. Looking up, she found Gandalf standing over her, an all-knowing smile on his face. She sighed deeply, wondering if it was too late to make a run for it. Putting a brave and polite face on it, she gave a nod his direction and answered.
"That silence is golden." Fine, perhaps not so much polite but still. The infuriating one just smiled.
"I usually agree with that, though often thoughts are best used when shared with a wise friend," and he smiled beneficently at her. Erestor nodded thoughtfully.
"I think that perhaps you are right. I shall go seek out Lord Elrond," came her reply, and made to leave.
"All right, all right, I understand. Still, my meddling helped even if you are still sore at me over it. It was for the best, my dear." He blatantly ignored his companion's teeth grinding, maintaining an aggravatingly blissful expression with just a hint of smugness. Oh yes, that needed fixing, didn't it? Practically asking for it, the Istari was.
"Believe me, Mithrandir, your meddling might be easier forgiven if you were not quite so…annoying about it," came a voice from behind Erestor, a voice she was incredibly pleased to hear. She smirked. It appeared as though the tables were about to turn, as the timely arrival had granted her inspiration.
"I see, Lord Glorfindel. What exactly do you recommend, then?" Said Lord looked at Erestor's smirking face, and shook his head sadly.
"I suggest you run. Was it not you who compared the dear Lady Erestor to a venomous snake?" Mithrandir blanched as the smirk changed to a harrowing glare.
"What?" Erestor was not pleased. Apparently the Grey Wanderer caught on to that fact, and shuffled a step or four away. Erestor glanced at her companion, and nodded to herself.
"One word, Mithrandir, one word. Glorfindel, can you guess that word?" He looked blankly at her for a moment, then a smile grew on his face. It wasn't a very nice smile.
"Pink?" It seemed that even the wizard's clothing grew a shade paler with this pronouncement.
"Pink," came the agreement.
For a maiar trapped in the body of an old man, said old man proved himself quite capable of moving very quickly when self preservation was on the line. Erestor smiled and nodded in deep satisfaction.
"I thank you most heartily for your assistance, Glorfindel. Your timing was, for once, quite timely." Said elf made a snorting sort of noise that sounded vaguely like agreement. Not very Lordly, but considering that his maturity level seemed about on par with a six year old human on a good day, Erestor let it pass. It was a Glorfindel thing, and she found that she didn't mind it so very much. Indeed, she found herself smiling at him as he joined her on the bench.
"A lovely day, is it not?" Glorfindel asked. She nudged him in agreement, and for a moment all was silent. Fall was touching the valley, and oranges and reds and yellows flew in the air around them.
"Mîr enjoyed the treats you brought her. I was forced to hide them in a locked box with books stacked on top of it for protection, that is how much she liked them. And she STILL managed to nearly get herself flattened attempting to knock the books off of the locked box." Glorfindel dared laugh at this, and Erestor scowled.
"Just because you cannot share the couch with a creature not a tenth of your size does not mean you must attempt to assassinate the poor thing." A blinding smile, and Erestor was hard pressed to keep a displeased face. She settled for poking the idiot in the ribs instead of cracking. "This is not amusing, this is serious. You keep trying to murder my cat- the cat you gave me. If Mîr frustrates you, 'tis your own fault for picking her out." A typical Glorfindel-style shrug, along with a pat on the head was her answer.
The wind blew, a fierce chill running through it that Erestor loved- she was alive to enjoy it- and Glorfindel saw her smile because of it, and crinkled his nose (his sign of approval, apparently) and smiled back. And Erestor rolled her eyes at him, because honestly sometimes he was so Glorfindel that it was ridiculous but he knew that she tolerated him despite it, or perhaps because of it.
They still wrote letters, and it was amusing because sometimes they answered the questions face to face and the next letter would be about something completely different and anyone attempting to make sense of their conversation from the letters would be lost. But Erestor liked it that way, and purposefully (Gandalf had left her paranoid about it) sometimes wrote the strangest letters that only Glorfindel would understand even with a million years to puzzle it over.
"What are you thinking?" This time, the voice interrupting her thoughts was welcome.
"That I feel so very different right now than I did one year ago today. Do you know what I was thinking one year ago today?" Glorfindel shook his head.
"One year ago today, you had managed to belittle me in front of the entire council save Lord Elrond, make Melpomaen cry twice, and your former sycophants had ruined or stolen three days worth of work. And though I hate very few people, I was very close to making you one of them." Erestor sighed deeply, and patted Glorfindel's hand to reassure him. "I was frustrated and I felt trapped, and it was the first time I had really thought about not fighting when I started Fading again." She looked at her companion, who for his part looked rather stricken.
"But I decided to keep fighting. This is my favourite time of year, and I did not want my memories to be marred by decided to quit. And now?" She looked at him, and smiled- not her usual smile, but the kind she knew made Glorfindel smile back at her, the one people said made her eyes glow. Those people, she thought, were annoyingly poetic and romantic, but it cheered her friend (herfriend) up and so she didn't care. He smiled back, understanding her unspoken message that no, she didn't need another apology, yes, she forgave him. At least he could take a hint- eventually.
"Now I am very…satisfied with the way things have turned out. Things have changed for the better, and I am very glad that they have." It was an understatement, but she knew that he knew what she really meant. So she stood up, and tugged his arm to come with her. He followed willingly and they began to walk back towards the house where tea awaited.
The wind blew, leaves rattling past her ears and for a brief moment, Erestor felt like she was flying again, as she used to.
Chapter 35: Be Not Nobody: Bonus Ficlet
So: Just to let everyone know, the first chapter of the semi-sequel to this story will be up within the next few hours. If you don't want to read about a romance and prefer to end with Erestor and Glorfindel as friends, then "Two for Joy" isn't for you. However, I plan on expanding this universe as is, so Gen!verse readers, despair not! Actually, a Gen!verse story is in the works, "In the Bitter", so there ya go.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"I have just been thinking a bit." Erestor resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Glorfindel gave sheepish grin, the kind that made him look like a youngling trying to coax his way out of trouble. "So sorry, I suppose that was just a bit too easy for you." A martyred sigh came in response.
"Quite correct. Which is why I did not rise to it."
"And I thank you for that." Silence reigned for a few precious moments, filled only with the constant scratching of quill on parchment as Erestor continued her work. It was too good to last however, and Glorfindel jumped into the breach once more.
"But I was thinking about you, and wondered something…" he trailed off here, and Erestor sent a look of warning his way, the one that said 'spit it out all ready, imbecile' except the imbecile these days was included more out of fondness than true heat. A martyred sigh interrupted his rambling thoughts and he continued his questioning.
"I was wondering…about your name." An eyebrow went up at that.
"Ah, yes. Not that it is a bad name, it just seems a touch…"
"Odd?" Erestor finished. Glorfindel decided to take the rescue.
"Yes. I mean, was it the one your parents gave you or…" Glorfindel gave a helpless motion of his hands. Erestor took pity on her floundering companion.
"No, it was not." And that was all that was forthcoming for a long time, as Erestor proceeded to ignore him some more. Glorfindel huffed, and Erestor looked up, seemingly rather 'surprised' to see him. "Can I help you with something?" She asked.
"Your name!" Erestor looked surprised again at his outburst.
"What about it?" Glorfindel groaned.
"This is why I leave all the talking sort of things to you. I mean, who named you 'Erestor' if not your parents?" Erestor smiled a little at his theatrics, which made Glorfindel's frustration evaporate.
"Talking things?" She laughed a little at Glorfindel's dismissive wave, and continued. "It is not that important a story, but if you truly desire to know…"
"Then I suppose I can accommodate you." Glorfindel inwardly cheered his victory as he sat attentively, the picture of restrained eagerness.
"Cirdan named me."
"Aye. It was before my Sindarin was very fluent, so I had no clue what on earth he had named me. By the time I had a better grasp on the language, it was too late to change it, and I did not want to risk him naming me something worse."
"Did you know that he had, at the time, two dogs. One named 'Little Dog' and the other 'Bigger Dog'. His cat was named cat. His horse-"
"Let me guess: 'Horse'?"
"No, it was "Biggest Dog'." Glorfindel felt appalled.
"So considering what you could have ended up with…"
"I decided to be thankful and not risk anything else." Glorfindel agreed whole heartedly.
"A wise course of action."
The story told, Erestor went back to her work. Glorfindel's thoughts churned.
"Erestor?" With a sigh, she looked up at him, an eyebrow raised in question. "I was wondering…" She groaned deeply in response.
"What now, Glorfindel?"
"Could I name you something, perhaps? I am quite sure I can do better than 'Bigger Dog'." Erestor looked at him with a rather incredulous expression.
"No? Why?" he practically whined.
"You may have better naming skills than Cirdan, but not by much." He went to protest, and Erestor continued. "You have used the same name for the same horse since your first TOY horse as a child. You told me so, remember? No offense intended, but considering your past record with naming abilities…" She shrugged and dismissed him again, returning to her letter. Glorfindel pouted (in a very mature and handsome, warrior kind of way).
"What about –"
"You did not even hear me out!"
"All the better."
"Fine, Angbedhil." Glorfindel earned a nose twitch of irritation for that one.
"Hmm. Perhaps not. Meluifuin?" Erestor muttered to herself, and Glorfindel tutted.
"No, not that. Findtheliel?" A disbelieving glance his way, and he shook his head.
"Nay, you are correct. That one is just no good. Arverilin?" A deep sigh. Glorfindel grinned. This was amusing, he had to admit.
"Come now, this is important! What if I decide on something like Saeros?" Erestor, without looking up at him, threw a candle stub his direction, which he was unable to avoid.
"Fine, fine. Meduilas, perhaps? I rather like that one myself. Yes, it is quite decided. Meduilas it is!" And without any further ado, and with spare crumbs of wax from the candle in his hair still, he ran out of her office telling everyone he met Erestor's new name, Erestor herself hot on his heels.
All in all, thought Lindir as he plastered himself against the wall to avoid being run over, the new accord between Glorfindel and Erestor was only slightly less chaotic than their former dislike. He grinned to himself. Just the way he liked things, never ever boring.
Angbedhil- Iron Judge
Arverilin- Noble Nightingale
Findtheliel- Hair Heroine
Meluifuin- Lovely Night
Saeros- Poison Path
Thanks to Pixellated Feanor for the names!
So! What inspired this fic? Partially, the ambiguous meaning of the name 'Erestor'. Anyone who reads canon works knows that Erestor is male. I decided against changing the name because it just didn't work otherwise. Still, Erestor isn't exactly the kind of name most female elves would be given, so my shower muse (I get 90% of my ideas in the shower) came up with this. I would have liked to put this in the fic itself, but there was too much to work out to mesh it together. So this is slightly AU, a ficlet sort of bonus feature on your DVD. This also makes use of the Fan-verse myth that Glorfindel only ever names his horses 'Asfaloth'. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
The name Erestor itself inspires quite the debate- I've seen it translated as 'No Name', 'One who Names', 'Lone Brother/Elf', and 'Kinsman/aid'. Erestor was at one point in time supposed to be kin to Elrond, in earlier notes half-elven himself. So, with no clear definition of his name given and very little known about him, it is mostly left to the reader's imagination to fill in the blanks, and here I have done so with extreme liberties taken.