Glorfindel's Darkest Hour
Chapter 9 - The Vision
Elrond was amazed to see how well some of Glorfindelís injuries had already healed. The bruising on the blondís face and body was nearly gone. The wrists, once slit, sported new skin and he couldnít find any tearing inside his friend. Glorfindel was on the way to recovery, but the reason why eluded him.
"Ada? How badly injured is he?" Elladan, who had just finished washing the flaxen mane, used his fingers as a comb to untangle the mass. Once his father had finished his examination, they would wash all remaining grime from Glorfindelís body.
Elrond sat back in his chair and studied his injured friend. "I cannot explain it."
"What?" At his fatherís signal, Elladan began to wash Glorfindelís feet. Then he moved up the legs, doing the backside first. He had assisted his father before when Elrond tended to injured Elves, and hoped to become as good as a healer as his father one day.
"He is nearly healed. Physically, that is. Emotionally it is a completely different matter. I have never seen or heard anything like this. Glorfindel should be fading, but he is not; he is healing. His healing ability even seems strengthened." Elrond shook his head in confusion. "Maybe Erestor can tell me what is going on here."
"I am glad you assigned Elrohir to tend to Erestor," said Elladan, shivering. "I do not know how to act around him."
"Like you always did," advised Elrond. "Elladan, Erestor may be more than the scholar you have known all your life, but that does not change the fact that he has always loved you, and Elrohir and Arwen for that matter. When the three of you were born, he vowed to protect you with his life."
Elladan blushed slightly. "It is justÖ He suddenly seems so muchÖ more?" The word didnít quite feel right, but lacking a better one, he had to settle for it. "I am finished," announced Elladan, "We need to turn him around so I can do the front as well."
Elrond rose from the chair and helped his son to gently roll Glorfindel onto his back. "Just let me examine him first." There could be bruised ribs, broken bones; one never knew. Gently moving his hands over the healing body, they stopped mid-air when encountering a slight swelling in Glorfindelís abdomen. "OhÖ ElberethÖ no."
Elladan raised an eyebrow at hearing his fatherís shocked tone. "Ada?"
"It is true thenÖ" Elrond had no idea how Glorfindelís pregnancy could be progressing this quickly, but he knew what his fingers were telling him. The blond was with child.
"What is true?" Unexpectedly, Erestorís voice echoed through the room.
Elrondís head whipped up, making eye contact with his old friend. "He is pregnant."
The twinsí eyes widened, staring at each other. What was their father talking about?
Erestorís eyes hardened. "I am going back to Orthanc to kill them."
Elrond instantly knew who Erestor was referring to; Saruman and the Uruk-Hai who had ravaged Glorfindel. Quickly reaching out, he placed his hand on Erestorís arm. "Nay, you are staying. Glorfindel needs you here." He shivered momentarily, meeting Erestorís predatory glare. "You know better than to run off, chasing after revenge, when he needs you here." He hoped his words would get through; Erestor could be stubborn at times.
Suddenly Erestorís eyes softened. "You are right." He had told Elrohir only moments ago that they needed to stay at Glorfindelís side, instead of hunting down Orcs.
"Ada? May I ask what this is about?" Elrohir felt truly lost now.
"Continue your examination," said Erestor, addressing Elrond. "I will tell him." Glorfindel had said he didnít want the twins to know, but now that an advanced pregnancy was showing he didnít have any choice. "Elrohir," started Erestor, placing his hands on the half-Elfís shoulders.
Elrohirís gaze shifted from Glorfindel to Erestor.
"Pen-neth, Saruman cast a spell on Glorfindel, making it possible for him to conceive. It clearly demonstrates the degree of insanity Saruman has degraded to. He plans to start a new breed of Uruk-Hai. It is my guess that they are to become the packsí new leaders. And he wanted Glorfindel to carry the first in the hope that this Uruk-Hai would inherit our friendís courage and cunning. It is an insane plan."
Elrohir silently stared at Glorfindel.
Elladan, who had managed to remain calm during Erestorís tale, had now reached the blondís abdominal area. The wash cloth tenderly moved over the slightly swollen abdomen. "And what do we do now?"
"In the end, it is Glorfindelís decision," replied Erestor, as he made eye contact with Elrond, "but he mentioned to me that he wanted the pregnancy terminated."
Elrond shook his head. "I am not sure my herbs can end a magically induced pregnancy, especially when it is advancing this rapidly. I have never seen such a reaction. Normally it takes Elves several months before they start to show any signs of pregnancy and thisÖ" Tenderly, he rested his hand on the swelling. "This is Sarumanís doing; it wonít be a normal pregnancy."
Erestor nodded once. "You should talk to him about this when he wakes up."
"I will." Elrond searched Erestorís gaze and waited for Elladan to finish washing Glorfindel. Once his oldest son was done, he asked them to give them a few private moments.
Elladan and Elrohir were happy to oblige, for it gave them a chance to discuss this development privately. Both still felt shocked after hearing what Saruman had done to Glorfindel.
After the twins had left, Elrond signaled for Erestor to sit down.
Erestor gingerly sat down on the edge of the bed and gathered one of Glorfindelís hands in his. "Be honest with me," he said, addressing Elrond.
Elrond continued to observe Erestor. The love his friend bore Glorfindel had never been more obvious, and the way Erestor was clinging to the blondís hand, told him that Erestor planned to be there for the Elda. /Good./
"Elrond?" Erestor looked at the half-Elf inquisitively, when he didnít get an answer.
Elrond cleared his throat. "Glorfindel is healing fast. I expect him to make a complete recovery in a day or two."
"And emotionally? Did he tell youÖ?" Erestor didnít want to accidentally blurt out something that Glorfindel hadnít told Elrond yet.
"He told me he had been raped, twice, and that, as a result, he slashed his wrists." Elrond shifted in the chair. "What I do not understand is how he can still be alive. I assume that it is your doing?"
"I cannot tell you," whispered Erestor regretfully. He wasnít sure Mandos would allow it. "But aye, it is my doing."
Elrond inclined his head. "I do not know what you did, mellon-nÓn, but I am glad Glorfindel is still among the living. One visit to the Halls of Mandos should be enough."
"I agree," whispered Erestor, "What do you plan to do next?"
"I will talk to him. Chances are that the pregnancy cannot be terminated and judging by the speed with which the child is developing I estimate that it will be born in a few weeks. This is by no means a normal pregnancy."
Erestor closed his eyes momentarily. "A few weeks?" A normal pregnancy would last a year. "This will be hard on GlorfindelÖ I am glad he has your support."
"Mine?" Surprised, Elrond raised an eyebrow. "Do you not plan to be there for him then?"
A stab of pain moved through Erestorís heart. "We both know that he prefers your company, -your support-, to mine. He always did. I doubt that is about to change now."
But Elrond wasnít that sure. "We will see," he said cryptically. "For now, I have one other question. Does he flinch at your touch as well?"
"At first he did. Do not be discouraged by it. He will grow accustomed to your touch as he did to mine. It just takes time." But, being honest with himself, Erestor wasnít sure that was true. /I share a bond with Glorfindel; Elrond does not./
"But you will visit with him regularly? He will need his friends close during these next few weeks."
"Glorfindel has, -always had-, my undying love and support," said Erestor, staring deeply into Elrondís eyes. "I will be there for him until the day I die."
"Good." Elrond rose from his chair and studied his patient. Elladan had covered Glorfindel with a blanket before he had left and the healing Elfís body had grown warm again. "I will talk to him about the child when he wakes. By the looks of it we cannot waste any time."
Realizing their conversation had come to an end, Erestor got to his feet as well. Bowing slightly, he said, "Thank you for taking care of him. Please keep me informed about his condition."
"But of course, mellon-nÓn." Elrond placed a hand on his friendís shoulder, looking deeply into the dark and clouded eyes. "Do not despair, Erestor. Part of his child might be Uruk-Hai, butÖ" Uncertain of what he wanted to say, his voice trailed off.
"But we will love it because it is Glorfindelís flesh and blood as well," finished Erestor for the half-Elf.
"Aye, those were the words I was looking for." Elrond managed to smile weakly. "We will make sure the child is raised properly."
"And loved," added Erestor. "Being loved can make the difference. If the child has Uruk-Hai traitsÖ" Now it was his time to struggle in finding the right words. But he meant what he had said; he would love this child because it was Glorfindelís flesh and blood.
"I will leave you so you can tend to him." Reluctantly Erestor moved toward the doorway. He would have preferred to stay, but Glorfindel would want to be with Elrond.
"I will keep you informed," promised Elrond, "And I expect you to visit with him regularly."
Erestor nodded and placed his hand on the door handle, but then Elrondís voice made him freeze.
"When will you tell him you love him? Have loved him since his arrival in Imladris?"
Shivers coursed through Erestorís body, hearing those questions. Slowly, he turned around to face Elrond. "We both know Glorfindel chose you centuries ago when he came to your bed." He quickly raised a hand, stopping Elrond who was about to voice his protest. "And no, I never blamed you for accepting what he offered. You were lonely and did not know I had fallen in love with him. My feelings are not important right now. The only thing that matters is that *you* give him the support he needs."
"No, trust me on this, Elrond. Knowing he would return to you was the one thing that pulled him through." /Well, the bond might have helped a little./ "It was your name that encouraged him to follow through."
Elrond sighed dejectedly. "I wish you would reconsider, Erestor. I really believe that Glorfindel has a right to know."
But Erestor shook his head. "Glorfindel learning the fact that I have been in love with him for these last few centuries would not change anything about this situation," said Erestor in a saddened tone. After exchanging one more glance with the half-Elf, he closed the door behind him and headed for Elrondís study. Now that the healer was tending to Glorfindel, he would handle all formal matters for a while.
/I wonder how the twins are dealing with this./ Erestor sighed. /I know you did not want them to know, Glorfindel, but you will need their support as well./
Elrohir and Elladan sat in the rose gardens, which their mother had designed and planted. Both were trying hard to understand what had happened to Glorfindel, --what was still happening to the blondís body.
"I cannot believe it," said Elrohir eventually, "A male Elf being pregnant is unheard of."
"It is Sarumanís doing. Erestor is right, you know. We should go to Orthanc and take care of the insane wizard."
"Peace, Elladan. Remember, he is the mightiest of the Istari. I doubt we can end his life." And Elrohir did regret that. "Why did Saruman do this? Why bring a life into this world in such a way?"
"You know what we have to do, donít you?" Elladan looked at his twin. "We need to be there for him. Erestor was right when he said that Glorfindel needs us here, needs our support."
Elrohir nodded once. "We will support him. Glorfindel is part of this family."
They felt better now that they had made up their mind and he smiled weakly. "And then there is Erestor," mused Elladan thoughtfully. "I do not know what to make of him."
"I feel the same way," admitted Elrohir, "Maybe we should make an effort to get to know him all over again?"
"I am still embarrassed about the way he could creep up on us like that." But at the same time Elladanís eyes glittered with excitement. "Do you think he would teach us some of his tricks?"
"We can ask," replied Elrohir, smiling at his brother. "I think they will be done talking and Ada will want us to take turns in sitting with Glorfindel."
"Aye, let us return to the Healing House." Elladan got to his feet. There were long and troubled days ahead of them.
/Am I dreaming? Or did I die after all?/ Glorfindel looked about in amazement, unable to identify his surroundings. /Where am I?/ The last thing he remembered was talking to Elrond and then falling asleep again.
"Glorfindel? Come over hereÖ"
A womanís soft voice pulled him from his musings. Following the sound, he approached a stone circle. In its midst sat a she-Elf, weaving a burgundy and gold colored tapestry, -- and suddenly he understood.
"Aye, you are in ValinorÖ Well, your mind is," said Vaire, looking up from her weaving to meet his glance.
Respectfully, Glorfindel bowed his head. He felt lost for words and after raising his head again, he tried to peek at the tapestry. He gasped, catching sight of himself in one section.
"I am Vaire," she said. "Wife to Mandos."
"You weave Ardaís history into these tapestries," mumbled Glorfindel awed. But he still wondered why he was here and why Vaire had chosen to talk to him.
"Aye, and I wove your fight with the Balrog into a tapestry that now adorns the Halls of my husband." She raised a hand and signaled for Glorfindel to approach. "And now I am working on a new one."
Glorfindel nodded nervously. "Why am I in it?" He hoped it wouldnít depict the humiliation he had suffered at Orthanc!
Vaire smiled reassuringly. "You still have a very important part to play, Glorfindel."
Now that he was focusing on a section of the tapestry, -which constantly changed under her hands-, he saw he was sitting up in bed, holding a bundle of some sort.
"That is your son," said Vaire tenderly.
"My son? Why canít I see his face then?" Glorfindel was growing uncomfortable under her look. Under her hands, Erestorís face took shape on the tapestry. The dark-haired Elf was sitting next to his bed, smiling at the blond.
"You cannot see your sonís face because he has not been born yet." Vaire looked him in the eyes. "You are here because you need to know that this child, and the union whence it came from, is blessed by the Valar."
"You want me to bear this child?" Glorfindel flinched. How could the Valar be this cruel? "But I do not want to." Why would the Valar bless this child, this union? Union? It hadnít been a union! It had been rape! How could she call it a union?
"Glorfindel," Vaire said, momentarily abandoning her weaving so she could rise from her chair and look straight into the Elfís eyes. "You must trust me."
"TrustÖ" Glorfindel cringed at his tone. "IÖ"
"I know you are hurting, but know that you will be rewarded in the end." Her smile warmed. "You will love this child. You will treasure it andÖ you will be loved in return."
Glorfindel lowered his eyes. /I doubt an Uruk-Hai is capable of giving loveÖ/ But he didnít voice his doubts, reluctant to contradict the Vala.
Vaire sensed he needed more convincing and added, "Not just the child will love you. There is another."
"Another child?" Glorfindel looked stricken. He couldnít be carrying twins!
Vaire laughed amused. "Glorfindel, be at peace. There is only one child in your future, but there is also a lover. A very dedicated lover. One who would challenge Mandos himself to prove his love for you." She regretted being unable to tell him about Erestorís love at this moment, but all would be revealed in time. "He loves you more than life itself."
Glorfindel frowned. "A lover?" Had Elrond finally fallen in love with him after all these centuries? Maybe the Valar werenít that cruel after all.
Vaire sensed his thoughts, knew he had reached the wrong conclusion, but didnít enlighten him. Glorfindel had to find out for himself. "Will you keep this child? This gift from the Valar?"
Glorfindel sighed deeply. "I do not really have a choice."
"I am afraid you are right, Glorfindel, you do not have a choice." Vaire smiled warmly at him and squeezed his shoulder. "Elrond cannot undo this pregnancy. Sarumanís magic is strong and it almost proved too strong for us. We had to work with it, instead of against it." She sat down and returned to her work, beginning to weave another section of the tapestry.
Glorfindel watched a moment longer, but he was already being pulled back to consciousness. The last thing he saw on the tapestry was himself, smiling warmly and happily at his son who was bundled up tightly in his arms. But still the babyís face remained hidden to him.
"You must go now," said Vaire, looking at him over her shoulder. "Trust me. Let this child be born and accept the love that has come into your life. It has been there for centuries, but you never saw it. He did not let you see it."
Frowning at her words, Glorfindelís vision exploded with light and the next moment he was back in the Healing House. He was staring at the ceiling and immediately grew aware of a warm hand, tenderly clasping his. /ElrondÖ Vaire must have been referring to Elrond!/
Turning his head to the right, he expected to see Elrond seated at his side, holding his hand and gently rubbing the knuckles.
But it wasnít.
It was Erestor.
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