The defeat of Sauron brought about many changes. One such being our need to sail, among others. From the moment of the crowning of the king of Gondor, elves had begun leaving in larger and larger groups. Ships had been built out of nearly every harbor in the west and all of them were fill to capacity.
Lord Elrond himself had waited some years, but the weight of knowing his children all chose to stay in Middle-Earth drove him to leave with the last of our people, on the same ship as Lady Galadriel, Mithrandir, and the Halflings.
As for us, our little family – Glorfindel, Lindir, Melpomaen and myself – we stayed. Lindir’s love of Elladan took him to live in Gondor with the twins, who went to watch over their sister. We – Glorfindel, Melpomaen and I – took our time saying our goodbyes to Imladris, now to become a relic though always a shelter for weary travelers, until finally, together, the three of us began our own journey. Over the Hithaeglir, through Lothlórien and Rohan, to Minas Tirith. Our party eventually met up with Legolas and Gimli, returning to the white city from their travels to the Glittering Caves.
We arrived a few weeks before King Elessar’s passing, and were glad to see him – still smiling in his old age. Arwen was there to greet us, and by her side, Eldarion – the picture of his father, and with all the grace of his mother.
The ceremony for the passing of the King of the Reunited Kingdoms was simple, yet grand, for many of his subjects wished to bid him farewell and to thank him. We stayed then, of course, and allowed ourselves to more as well. To mourn for Estel, the sweet boy of the men of the north, who so livened the halls of Rivendell, for Aragorn, the ranger and friend to all whose hearts he was given but a moment to touch, and for Elessar, the returned king of men and father of eight beautiful children.
Of course, we stayed a while longer than that even, but the sea-longing had awakened now in the twins, and Legolas – aided by his most trusted friend – had begun building a ship in the harbor to the south. Glorfindel and Elladan often joined them, while the rest of us provided our moral support from afar, for though we were prepared to leave, our hearts mourned out home already – for most, the only home they’d ever known – and held on quite stiffly still.
The day of our departure was bittersweet. For despite our inability to deny the call of the sea any longer, all deeply felt the loss of the Evenstar, and the loss of our homes. And yet, our hearts beheld a strange lightness ahead.
Our lives were beginning anew.
The voyage was long and difficult, but we were hopeful despite the turbulent waters.
Legolas was eager to introduce Gimli to his parents, and hopeful to heal the hurts of their peoples – for Gimli’s sake if nothing else, for the dwarf had become quite fond of the elven-folk, and so dearly did he look forward to seeing the lady Galadriel too once more. Especially, the young elven prince was especially looking forward to seeing his mother.
The twins were practically vibrating with the excitement at the chance of finally seeing their mother again, and the possibility of meeting the rest of their family for the first time.
Lindir and Melpomaen…
No matter how they wanted to hide it, their excitement at meeting their birth parents was palpable.
Lindir, sweet thing though he was, seemed torn between grinning cheerfully ahead at the front of the ship, and hiding his face in Elladan’s chest with guilt. Melpomaen on the other hand, had only looked back at us once, and been comforted by a single, soft, encouraging smile from his da and his papa.
Really, Lindir ought not to be so hard on himself, I had thought, and so I finally called him over.
“Lindir, sweet boy,” I spoke softly and waited for him to lift his head and turn toward me before continuing, “Come sit by your old papa for a moment?”
Elladan, bless him, gave Lindir’s shoulder a reassuring squeeze and a kiss on the cheek before giving him a playful shove toward me.
Lindir chuckled and walked slowly over to sit next to me on a bench on the starboard side of the ship. I held him closely for a while, my chin resting atop his head while his arms wrapped around my waist.
What I wouldn’t give to have this boy’s affection until the end of days, I thought to myself, For surely there is no greater gift than the love of a child for their parent – or parental figure, as the case may be.
“My sweet son,” I started, “Do you not know how much love I have for you? How my heart swells with pride and joy as the simple thought of you?”
“Aye papa,” Lindir answered, leaning against me, “You know I do, and you know I love you just as much.”
“Yes, my sweet,” I leaned back to look at him properly, for despite how I wished to hold him and stay in his arms, I needed him to understand how truly I meant my words. “Then, do you trust me, also?”
“Of course papa,” he had such a dark and serious look on his face, poor boy.
“Then you know you can trust me when I say that Glorfindel and I would not be upset, should you express your excitement at seeing your ada and your naneth once more?”
He gasped and his eyes widened, tears welling up in response – like a starving child caught with his hand in a cookie jar. Lindir seemed at a loss for words, his mouth opening and closing without a sound.
“Oh, Lindir,” I pulled him close once more, cradling his head on my shoulder. “I am sorry that we have not made this clear to you from the start. Of course we love you still. You are allowed to be excited. You should be. I am gladdened that you are so eager to be reunited with them.”
I glanced up and saw Glorfindel approaching toward us. He had a sad sort of smile on his face as he lowered himself to the bench next to Lindir, and our youngest immediately turned to him, throwing his arms around Glorfindel’s neck and pressing his face into Glorfindel’s chest, his tears soaking into the light tunic, as his shoulders shook with the effort to hold back his tears.
I placed my hand on Lindir’s back, rubbing gently. How terribly torn he was. I hoped that meeting his parents would soothe his spirit. For thought we also looked forward to seeing our families whole again, it should have been no secret that we – better than most – knew how the Halls of Mandos could change one’s spirit. And though meeting Aennen and Muineth again had long been on our minds, we now began to worry that we had overstepped. That we should have refused to let the boys refer to us as father figures.
“I just…” Lindir tried to speak through Glorfindel’s shirt, “I feel selfish, for wanting you, papa, and da, and ada and naneth. I want all of you. I love all of you.”
Melpomaen, perceptive as always, came to kneel before us then, and urged his brother to face him.
“Lindir. Sweet brother. Song-bird,” Melpomaen spoke, “All will be well. Do not weep. Soon we shall all be a family again. You will see.”
Finally, Lindir smiled. He wiped his tears with the back of his hand and Melpomaen wiped the rest away delicately with his thumb. And just like that, all was right again in the world.
Until we heard the cries.
So engulfed by ourselves in the moment that at the sound of Elladan’s Ela! Ela! We all sprang up, still far too wound up form a life of warfare and struggle, and from the baring of our weaknesses and uncertainties, that our first instinctual reaction was to assess a threat.
Yet no sooner had we stood did we understand the reason for his cries.
There, on the horizon, the peaks of the Pelori and more to the north, Taniquetil – tall and proud, could be seen rising above the sea.
Lindir kissed Glorfindel and I each on the cheek, and offered a grateful smile before running ahead to Elladan’s side. Next to them – already – stood Elrohir and Legolas, with Gimli struggling to see over the taffrail, and each of them offering in turn to pick him up, only for him to grumble about elves and their growing like trees.
Glorfindel laughed and stood, prepared to join them, as Melpomaen already had now. He offered me his hand and gladly I took it, giving it a light squeeze, but shook my head and stood firm. He gave me a tilt of his head and a furrowed brow, to which I answered with a simple smile nod and a smile.
Comforted enough, he took back his hand and went to stand at the bow with the rest of the group.
As they all stood there, engrossed in the view and avidly discussing how close we were getting, the cloud cover finally broke and – for a moment – the world fell utterly silent.
Awe as I had never yet known it filled me and moved me to tears, for the calm of the waters reflecting the brightness of the sun made it seem as though we sailed through the clouds, blessed by Manwë himself.
And there, between the two loveliest young elves I’d had the joy to call my sons, for at least half of my life thus far, stood the same tall, golden elf – his hair glimmering in the sunlight – as I had seen on the shores of Mithlond so many years ago. And again, his light brought such hope to my heart.
He was clothed in white again, and the colour accentuated the tan skin of his arms wrapped around our boys’ shoulders, peeking out from under the mid-length sleeves of his tunic. The strength of them to always hold up his loved ones, and to bring us all together never failed to bring me joy – and other things.
Ai, but that alone brought so many opportunities. Not to say of course, that either of us were innocent – far from it, in fact – and yet, despite our many years, and our devotion to each other, the question of marriage had never risen. It was on our minds, just as having children had once been, but with the nature of Glorfindel’s work and the increasing frequency of his trips abroad, my worry had ever grown for his safety. Both of us knew the only thing that had saved me in my youth was that we had never consummated our union, and so we kept on the same way – a silent, unspoken promise passing between us that the day would come eventually.
As it stood – as he stood – I watched his hair blow in the wind, revealing a small patch of skin at the back of his neck that I wanted nothing more than to attach my lips to and suck. Ai, but this was inappropriate. Before all our friends, before our children, and yet, I simply couldn’t help myself.
Oh but the breadth of those shoulders, how I loved to cling to them as Lindir had done earlier – and how I loved to press my palms to his hips, encouraging him to move, only to rake my nails up the wonderful length of his back.
Goodness, I shouldn’t, I thought, and laughed at myself. One would think that at our age we’d have mellowed somewhat, but our years apart had indeed made our hearts grow fonder, and now that our imminent binding seemed a sure thing, the thoughts rose unbidden.
Truly, Glorfindel of House of the Golden Flower, Balrog Slayer, Reborn, Captain of the Guard of Imladris, and my Great, Golden Oaf, ai he never failed to inspire such wonder in me.
And it was then that I went to join them all. I slipped in behind my lover – my beautiful lover – and wrapped my arms around his waist, our sons removing their arms from around him and wrapping them around me instead. They turned toward him and pressed the two of us in a hug between them. I placed my chin on his shoulder, just barely reaching it. I kissed his cheek and kissed Melpomaen’s temple, whose head was leaned against Glorfindel’s shoulder from the front.
Finally I looked forward.
I looked forward to the Pelori and the lands of Valinor. I looked forward to the ever closing distance between all of us and our future. I looked forward to the land where we would finally build our own little home. I looked forward to the unknown day we would finally bind.
I looked forward to having our family together and whole again.