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Splitting Heirs

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~*~*~

It was a hot summer day. The Council was in recess for the summer and Glorfindel intended to go fishing and camp near the river for a few days. With his hair in a loose braid and dressed in his oldest leggings and tunic, plus a well-worn pair of heavy shoes, he had just finished gathering up his fishing gear when he saw Ecthelion approaching the small storage shed.

"Not so fast, Fin," his best friend called. "The king has called a special meeting this afternoon."

"A special meeting? Why? The council is in recess for the summer." Glorfindel asked in a grumpy voice. "I already have plans, Thel."

"So do I," equably replied the dark-haired man. "But when the meeting is finished, I'll go fishing with you."

Glorfindel looked a bit more cheerful at this, for he and Ecthelion seldom had a chance to get away from their responsibilities.

"Very well," he said. "Perhaps the meeting won't last very long."

~*~

As they entered the council chamber, Glorfindel was surprised at the size of the crowd, with a great many women and merchants occupying the observers gallery. He looked curiously at Ecthelion but his friend was already sitting down at his desk.

A few moments later, Erestor, the king's chief scribe, entered to stand beside the podium and announced in a carrying voice, "Oyez, oyez. All rise."

Turgon entered, followed by Idril rather than his usual herald, and nodded briefly to Erestor. Erestor then proclaimed "You may now be seated" and sat at his desk beside the king's podium.

There was a brief rustling as everyone sat and waited for Turgon to begin. Turgon looked around at the large audience before he carefully unfolded a small sheet of parchment.

"I have news from my elder brother, Fingon. He writes: 'Brother, I have great news for our family. My wife has given birth to a son. His name is Gil-galad, and he will be my heir.'"

There was a sudden uproar at the news, with everyone talking at once. Glorfindel himself felt stunned as he stared down at his desk. He had known Fingon as a confirmed bachelor since they had grown up together in Valinor, and Fingon's friendship with Maedhros was well-known by all.

"How did I not know of this?" Glorfindel leaned over and whispered to Ecthelion. "It was kept very quiet. Did you know?"

"Not now, Fin," Ecthelion whispered back. "Later."

"As all of you know, there are many of the lords here who are unmarried. This will lead to problems if something happens to those who have no family. It cannot be allowed to continue; at the very least, each house must designate a heir." Turgon paused as the people began talking again and then raised his hand for silence. "As you are aware, even women can inherit the title, as my own daughter will do one day."

~*~Several Hours Later~*~

"I still don't believe it, Thel," Glorfindel muttered in a low voice as he poked at the embers of their campfire.

They had gotten a very late start since nearly everyone wanted to discuss the king's announcement with the other peers. The loud chatter grated on Glorfindel's nerves though and finally Ecthelion had managed to maneuver out of the large hall and to the privacy of their houses. A supper had been packed for them, which both were thankful for because they only put up the tent so far.

Ecthelion sighed. He was not thrilled about the idea either but there was little to be done.

"Try not to think overmuch on it," he counseled his lover. "There are several others who are in the same situation we are; for now, let us enjoy this quiet time." The dark-haired man reached for Glorfindel's shoulders and began to massage them.

"Relax, Fin." he said as he felt the stiffness begin to loosen.

"You are right," Glorfindel said at last before he sighed and leaned back. "That feels so good," he said at last, in a sleepy tone.

"Let's bank the fire," Ecthelion replied as he nuzzled Glorfindel's neck. "A good night's sleep will make everything seem clearer in the morning."

As they settled in their blankets, Ecthelion noticed that Glorfindel seemed to be unusually restless before he finally drifted into reverie. I wish I knew what troubled him so I could help, the older man thought to himself. But I doubt if he will speak of it very soon.

The next week was spent mostly fishing interspersed with hiking and general exploring.

"What are you looking for?" Ecthelion huffed as they crossed yet another large hill and looked down at a small valley.

"I keep dreaming of a beautiful valley with a waterfall, but I don't think I will ever find it." Glorfindel told him as he unbraided his hair and shook it loose. "This is a nice spot though. I think I will camp here next time; I'll bet the river is full of trout."

The early evenings were spent talking and drinking an occasional ale or two. But once they were in the privacy of their tent, things became much more intimate.

 

~*~Two Weeks Later~*~

 

"Good morrow, cousin," Glorfindel said to Idril. "I am here; what is your wish?"

"Goodness, Fin, you need not be so formal with me." She laughed and pulled teasingly at one of his long golden curls. "Come, see if you like my plan for this year's garden."

They strolled along the graveled path and Glorfindel was pleased to notice that the garden was in full bloom and looked very much like one of his mother's favored patterns.

"I always did admire your mother's gardens," Idril said. "I thought it was wonderful of her to change every year; it is almost like painting on canvas. But with considerably less mess." She smiled up at him, her eyes sparkling and a deep dimple appeared on her cheek.

"Yes, Mother enjoyed creating fresh designs each spring," Glorfindel admitted with a smile. "I think she preferred to work with flowers; she was an acolyte of Yavanna before she met my father."

"Come, let us refresh ourselves." Idril stopped and sat on a small bench that curved around a table that was already laid for afternoon tea. She poured a cup of hot tea and handed it to Glorfindel before pouring her own. "How was your fishing trip?"

"It was great," Glorfindel replied easily. "I love getting out of the city in the summer."

The quiet was broken only by the sound of birdsong, as Idril sipped at her cup of tea while Glorfindel ate several of the small sandwiches and biscuits.

"So, what do you really want from me?" Glorfindel asked. "Don't get me wrong, cousin but I know we are in private for a reason."

"Did you and Ecthelion come to any decisions about heirs?" she asked in a blunt manner. "I know my father will pursue the idea as soon as the council reconvenes."

"I know Ecthelion plans to name one of his younger siblings. But I have no idea who it will be." Glorfindel finally said.

"And you, Fin?" Idril asked, a faint line of worry creasing her brow as she toyed nervously with the now cooled cup.

"I don't know." Glorfindel looked away toward the mountains. "My family stayed behind, and I do not desire to marry at all. I never have."

"May I make a suggestion then?" Idril said at last, setting the delicate porcelain cup on its saucer.

"Please do," Glorfindel said in a tired voice.

"I suggest you name Erestor as your heir. He is well-born and more than capable of managing a large estate."

"But I had thought to name one of Thel's siblings."

"I do not think it wise, my dear," Idril said. "For you to be so strongly allied with another house would upset the balance."

"It would?"

"Yes, your two houses are more powerful than you think." Idril grasped Glorfindel's hand in hers. "I have grown up in an extremely political family, Glorfindel and I understand the nuances of things far better than many could imagine."

"That is true," Glorfindel said, after thinking it over. "Are you certain that your father will not mind losing his chief scribe?"

"Of course not," Idril hurried to reassure him. "After all, there are other scribes who are capable of such responsibility and would love a chance to advance." Privately, she knew that Daddy would not dare argue if he thought she was match-making, and her chief lady-in-waiting, Gelwen, was far too busy moping over Erestor's refusal to propose to be any real help. Even worse, some of her younger maids in her court were showing signs of the same lovesickness. This simply could not go on!

"Very well," Glorfindel rose to his feet and bowed over Idril's hand. "If you will excuse me, I will go and speak to Erestor now."

"I wish you all success," Idril said as she kissed him lightly on the cheek. "No doubt you will find him in the library."

As Glorfindel walked down the pathway, Idril poured herself another cup of tea, put her feet up and reached for a piece of chocolate. Putting ideas in men's heads was very hard work, she thought to herself as she nibbled at the rare treat.

~*~

As Glorfindel entered the library, he was pleased to note that Erestor was at the front desk.
"Erestor, if you are at leisure, I would have a word with you."

"Of course, my lord. We can speak in my office. If you will just come this way..."

Erestor was stunned when Glorfindel offered him the role as heir, but he accepted wholeheartedly. He had long desired to make Gelwen his wife and now he could properly ask for her hand. He quickly opened the small library safe and withdrew a delicate mithril ring and slipped it into the pocket of his robe. He would speak to her this very night.

~*~

In the end, Ecthelion was secretly relieved that Glorfindel had chosen Erestor as his heir. As much as he loved his best friend, he would have been hard-pressed to refuse to let one of his younger siblings become heir or heiress to the Golden Flower. Such a close link between such powerful houses would have been regarded as suspicious at best; at worst, there might have been rumors of an attempt to usurp Turgon.

When the council reconvened in the fall, the problem of heirs had been neatly solved for the houses and all was well once more.

 

xxxENDxxx