Elrond leaned back in his chair and enjoyed the radiant sunset. The still-warm rays of the sun reached his balcony and engulfed him in a soft glow. Sighing heavily, he closed his eyes, remembering the Elves who had fallen at Helm’s Deep. Galadriel had told him that the losses had been great, and that Haldir of ‘Lorien was among the dead. Before he’d had the chance to ask any questions though, the connection between them had been severed as her sorrow had increased. Now he was waiting for another chance to contact her.
“My lord?” Erestor slowly entered the room and remained standing near the doorway, hating to intrude when Elrond was finally enjoying a moment of peace and quiet. “A messenger from Lothlorien has arrived, carrying a letter.”
Elrond noticed the parchment in Erestor’s hands and signaled for his advisor to approach. “I will read it now.”
Erestor handed Elrond the letter and then stepped back, waiting for instructions.
“Please seat yourself whilst I read.”
Erestor sat down, folded his hands, and waited for Elrond to address him again.
Elrond unfolded the paper and began to read, instantly recognizing Celeborn’s handwriting.
You know by now about the great losses we suffered at Helm’s Deep, and I assume that your heart, like mine, still has to recover from this great sorrow.
Galadriel has already told you that Haldir is among the dead. So is his brother Orophin. I had hoped they would survive, but their souls are now at Mandos. They leave behind the youngest, Rumil.
Rumil witnessed his brothers’ death at Helm’s Deep. He tried to defend them, but Saruman’s foul creatures were unstoppable. Seeing Haldir and Orophin die has greatly affected him, and Rumil has been unresponsive ever since.
When he was returned to us, two days ago, Galadriel and I instantly grew worried. Rumil no longer speaks, eats, drinks, or moves. He is like a statue, but his heart still beats strong. We tried to get through to him, but he does not acknowledge us.
Elrond, you are our last hope. You are a great healer, and if anyone can pull Rumil back from the brink of death, it is you. I would ask of you to look after Rumil until he begins to recover. Will you welcome him at Imladris and care for him?
I was also hoping that Elladan and Elrohir would show an interest in him. Rumil has just lost his two brothers, and we both know how close the three of them were. Maybe Elladan and Elrohir will understand how hard this is on Rumil and allow him to tag along once he is recovering.
Will you look upon Rumil as a son? He needs a family. Galadriel and I cannot reach him and we are hoping you will succeed where we have failed.
I trust you will not deny me, and whilst you are reading this, Rumil and I are already on our way to Imladris. I do not want him to travel alone, and will accompany him.
Elrond, I put my trust in you. Rumil is like a son to me and I hope you will take him under your wing.
Elrond raised a delicate eyebrow and looked up from the paper, finding Erestor’s gaze aimed at him. “Celeborn will arrive shortly. Please arrange for adequate guest rooms.”
Erestor inclined his head. “Is there anything else you would like me to attend to?”
Elrond nodded once. “With him, he brings one of the Elves who survived Helm’s Deep.” He considered telling Erestor now, but decided to wait until he had gathered his sons and Glorfindel. “He will stay with us for quite some time and will require rooms as well. Make sure they are situated close to mine.”
“It will be done,” said Erestor, getting to his feet. “Do you wish to send a reply?”
“That will not be necessary.” Elrond glanced at the text once more. “Tell my sons and Glorfindel to come to my study. I will require your presence as well.”
“I will be there.” Erestor headed for the doorway. Deep lines were etched onto Elrond’s forehead and Erestor had already gathered that the letter contained ill tidings.
Erestor left Elrond’s study and headed for Glorfindel’s rooms, recalling that his friend had retired for a nap. Glorfindel had been extremely busy securing Imladris’ borders now that the scattered remnants of Saruman’s army had washed over the lands, raiding the cities, raping the women and slaying men and children. So far they hadn’t reached Imladris, and Glorfindel was determined to keep the vile creatures from entering the peaceful realm.
Knocking on Glorfindel’s door, he waited patiently for the blond to reply.
“Nay, leave me. I am asleep…”
Erestor smiled warmly. Glorfindel sounded exhausted and he hated being the one to disturb his friend’s much needed rest. “Lord Elrond demands your presence at his study.” Erestor’s smile broadened at hearing Glorfindel groan loudly. “Take your time, mellon-nîn. I need to inform Elladan and Elrohir as well.”
Glorfindel kicked down the covers and resigned himself to the fact that he wouldn’t get any sleep. Yawning, he pushed himself into an upright position and listened to Erestor’s retreating footfalls. “Thank you for seeking me out first,” he whispered. At least now he had the chance to go to the kitchen, eat a bite and drink some herbal tea that would hopefully give him enough energy to sit through this meeting without falling asleep.
After rising from the bed, he cast a look in the mirror and cringed at seeing his disheveled appearance. He picked up a comb, disentangled his locks and braided them. In the bathroom, he splashed cold water onto his face, hoping it would help him stay awake. Realizing he needed to change his clothes as well, he slipped into a dark blue tunic, grey leggings and soft leather boots.
Glorfindel left his rooms and headed for the kitchen, hoping one of the maids would brew him some strong tea.
Erestor knocked, hoping to find both Elladan and Elrohir in their rooms.
“Enter,” said Elladan, looking up from the book he was reading.
Erestor entered, inclining his head in greeting, and his gaze first settled on Elladan and then on Elrohir, who was softly playing the flute, practicing his skills. “Your father wants both of you to join him in his study.” When Elrohir raised an eyebrow, Erestor was once more reminded that the youngest twin took after their father the most.
Elladan closed his book and studied the advisor. Erestor had been their teacher and mentor for many years, and even now they still continued to learn from the elder Elf. “Do you know why he wants to see us?” Placing the book aside, he rose to his feet.
“I think I do, but your father will explain in due time.” Erestor waited for Elrohir to put away the flute and then headed for the doorway, both twins following. “A letter from ‘Lorien has arrived.”
“A letter from grandmother?” Elladan exchanged a quick look with his twin. They were very fond of their grandparents and it had been a while since Galadriel and Celeborn had last visited Imladris. Maybe their grandparents were announcing a visit? They hoped so.
“From Lord Celeborn,” said Erestor thoughtfully.
Elrohir felt curious. “It must be a serious matter then, for Ada to summon us.”
“I was also ordered to summon Glorfindel,” added Erestor pensively.
“Glorfindel as well?” Elrohir frowned. “Something must be amiss.”
They had reached Elrond’s study and entered, quickly heading for their father, who stood gazing at the setting sun. “Ada, what is wrong?” asked Elrohir in a concerned tone.
Elrond turned about and smiled at his sons. Looking at Erestor, he asked, “Where is Glorfindel?”
“I am here, my lord,” said Glorfindel as he hurried into the room, bowing slightly. “I apologize for being late.”
Elrond absentmindedly noticed the fatigue in Glorfindel’s eyes and the tea in the blond’s hand, but didn’t comment on it. “Now that you are all here, we can start. Seat yourselves.”
Elladan and Elrohir sat down in the windowsill, whilst Glorfindel and Erestor occupied chairs close the fire. Elrond slowly paced in front of the balcony, carefully considering his words before speaking them aloud. “I received a letter from Celeborn, who will arrive shortly.” Elrond looked at Elrohir, hearing his son’s pleased chuckle. “I doubt he will stay long.”
Elladan sighed, disappointed. “I had hoped to spend some time with him. Why is he coming?”
Elrond drew in a deep breath. “Rumil is with him.”
Elrohir released a surprised yelp. “Rumil?” Straining his memory, he added, “Is he not one of the three Elves Galadriel and Celeborn raised?”
“Aye, you met Haldir once, did you not? Rumil is the youngest of the three brothers.” Elrond watched his sons closely, saying, "There is no easy way to say this… Haldir and Orophin died at Helm’s Deep." He was forced to stop, seeing four shocked faces and hearing their stunned moans. “Aye, I was shocked to learn of their passing as well. My heart will mourn their passing for many months. Celeborn asked me to look after Rumil, who witnessed their deaths and has been unresponsive since. Celeborn hopes I can break his trance.” Elrond’s gaze came to rest on his sons. “Rumil and his brothers were very close, and I hope you will look after him as well. He will need all the support he can get.”
Elrohir nodded determinedly. “We will do the best we can. We want to help.”
Elladan’s heart went out to Rumil as well. Passionately, he caught his brother’s hands in his and locked eyes with Elrohir. “If Rumil was as close to his brothers as I am to you, he will be devastated. I am not sure I would survive losing you, Elrohir. I understand Rumil’s pain very well.”
Elrohir moistened his lips, and after giving Elladan a reassuring smile, he looked at his father. “Elladan is right; I am not sure whether I could survive without him, either. I do not pretend to know what Rumil is going through, but we will support him in every way we can.”
Elrond smiled, pleased. “I can always count on you. You make me proud.” After his sons returned the smile, Elrond looked at Erestor and Glorfindel. “I might need your assistance as well.”
“You have it,” said Glorfindel, whilst Erestor replied with a single nod of his head.
“Let us prepare for their arrival then,” said Elrond. Seeing Glorfindel’s eyes turn empty, he addressed Erestor instead. “Arrange for their rooms and inform me the moment they arrive.”
“As you wish,” replied Erestor. “I will welcome them personally whilst waiting for you to arrive.”
“Elrohir, Elladan, you can leave now, but stay close. I want you to be there as well when Celeborn and Rumil arrive.” After seeing the twins nod, Elrond’s gaze locked on Glorfindel’s face. The blue eyes were now completely vacant. Glorfindel had fallen asleep in his chair. “Erestor? Take Glorfindel to his rooms and make sure he rests.”
Once Erestor’s gaze came to rest on Glorfindel, he realized the blond was sound asleep. “I will see to it.”
Now that they had been dismissed, Elrohir and Elladan returned to their rooms and Erestor carefully lifted Glorfindel in his arms to carry the blond back to his rooms.
Elrond waited for them to leave and then sat down behind his desk. Helping Rumil heal would be difficult at best, and he wasn’t sure he would be able to reach the ‘Lorien Elf. Seeing his brothers die had put Rumil into a state of shock, and the Elf was mourning their deaths. Maybe Rumil’s soul was already on its way to Mandos.
Celeborn felt deeply concerned, looking at Rumil. The younger Elf sat frozen against the trunk of a tree, eyes wide open and staring into the distance. Rumil’s hands lay limply in his lap, and Celeborn had to manhandle him every time he wanted Rumil off or onto the back of his horse.
Opening a flask filled with miruvor, he let a few drops drip onto Rumil’s lips, who made no impression that he would swallow. Celeborn massaged Rumil’s throat and was rewarded with one swallowing motion. A few droplets had made it into Rumil’s mouth and down his throat.
“You worry me, Rumil,” admitted Celeborn honestly. “I understand that you grieve for them, but you cannot allow yourself to be pulled this close to death. You must stay with me. That is what Haldir would want.” The mere mention of Haldir’s name caused Celeborn to shiver with emotional pain.
“I am sure Elrond can help, Rumil. He is very wise and skilled in the ways of healing.” Elrond was his last hope. Galadriel and he had tried so many things; they had talked to Rumil, let him sleep between them, prepared his favorite meals, but nothing had helped. Rumil continued to lock himself away.
Celeborn continued, acting as if Rumil had understood and nodded, but the young Elf still sat like he was paralyzed. “Elrond has two sons. I do not think you have met Elladan and Elrohir before. But you did meet Arwen when she stayed at ‘Lorien.”
Thinking of Arwen, his thoughts drifted off to Celebrian; another name that caused pain in his heart. His lovely Celebrian had been tortured and raped by Orcs, and had sought her refuge in the Undying lands. Her departure had left Elrond without a mate. Thankfully his children were a great source of comfort. And maybe now Rumil would join Elrond’s family temporarily.
He was at a loss at what to do with Rumil. It had been days since Rumil had eaten last, or drank his share of water. The once shiny silver hair was turning grey and had lost its former glow. But the eyes worried Celeborn most. The greenish grey eyes usually sparkled with life and joy, but they had become dull. At times they were vacant, and no matter how hard Celeborn tried, he couldn’t get Rumil to react to him.
“It is about time we got moving again, Rumil. Elrond is expecting us and I want to arrive at Imladris before the sun sets again. Spending the night in the dark woods is dangerous these days when raiding Orcs and Uruk-Hai are scattered over Arda.”
He had decided against building a fire, as he didn’t want to attract any attention, but the warmth would have done Rumil’s chilled form some good. Celeborn maneuvered Rumil into a lying position and then spooned behind the younger Elf, wrapping his arms around the other’s waist. He hoped his body heat would keep Rumil from retreating farther away from him.
“I know your heart is heavy, Rumil. You miss your brothers as I miss my sons. It is hard to believe that Haldir and Orophin are lost to us.” He had hoped that mentioning the names would somehow cause Rumil to react, but nothing happened.
“I wish someone else could have led our army, but it was Haldir’s duty to be with his men in the hour of battle, and Orophin and you volunteered. Aiya, Rumil, you expected all three of you to survive or die, but you never considered that only one or two could fall, leaving the other behind. My heart bleeds for you.”
Celeborn rubbed Rumil’s icy arms, worried that the cold of Mandos was growing stronger in Rumil’s body. They needed to reclaim the younger Elf quickly or they would lose him.
The sun’s warm beams instantly awoke Celeborn and he stretched slowly.
“Rumil? Can you hear me? Would you like to eat and drink something? You need to keep up your strength – the little that is left of it.”
As expected, Rumil didn’t reply, or react in any other way. When Celeborn released Rumil, he cringed; Rumil’s limbs were losing their flexibility and it wouldn’t be long before the younger Elf turned into a living statue, unable to move, frozen in time. “Aiya, Elrond, you must find a way to help him!”
Celeborn busied himself by eating lembas and drinking water from a nearby spring. When he returned Rumil still lay frozen, and he manhandled the younger Elf until Rumil sat in front of him. The stallion trod carefully, knowing one of his riders was indisposed, and set a slow pace. Wrapping his arms around Rumil, Celeborn kept the younger Elf from falling. “I am not giving up yet, ion-nîn. Elrond is an excellent healer and he will help you. I promise.”
Glorfindel exited his bathroom, feeling rested and refreshed. Towel drying his hair, he looked at his bed, remembering waking up in it, but he was unable to recall how he had gotten there in the first place. The last thing he remembered was Elrond telling them about Rumil, and then he had woken in his rooms. What had happened in between?
After slipping into a light blue shirt and brown leggings he made his way into the corridor. His stomach growled, reminding him it needed food, and he headed for the kitchen. He had overslept, and the maids had already tidied up after serving breakfast, but he hoped to find something edible in the kitchen.
His eyes widened slightly, finding Erestor there as well. The raven-haired adviser sat at the table, nursing his tea. Glorfindel raised an eyebrow; a memory nagged at him, and it had something to do with Erestor.
Erestor inclined his head and signaled for Glorfindel to sit down. Rising from his seat, he gathered lembas, cheese, fruit and a cup of tea for the blond. “You are late,” he said, sitting down again to sip his tea.
Glorfindel buried his face in his hands. “Don’t remind me. I am still trying to figure out how I ended up in my bed. I am sure I did not make my way back myself.”
Erestor allowed a smug grin to briefly flash across his face. “I returned you to your bed. I carried you.” Erestor sipped his tea, and quickly tucked away his smile. “You were tired, mellon-nîn.”
“Aye, I was.” Glorfindel released a resigned sigh. “Elrond was not annoyed at my inability to stay awake?”
“He knows how busy you have been these last few days.” Erestor finished his tea and placed the empty cup on the table. “It is important to him that you keep Imladris safe.”
Glorfindel heard the regretful tone to Erestor’s voice. “When do you plan to tell him, Erestor?”
Erestor’s dark eyes failed to hide their discomfort when they locked with Glorfindel’s. “I cannot tell him.” He firmly shook his head. “This must remain a secret forever.”
“Forever is a long time, Erestor.” Glorfindel took a bite of lembas and washed it down with the tea. Next, he ate some fruit and then more lembas and cheese. He hadn’t realized just how hungry was!
“I can never tell him,” said Erestor stubbornly. “Elrond can never find out.”
“For how many centuries have you been in love with him, Erestor?” Glorfindel wrapped his fingers around his cup of tea and sipped, watching the other Elf closely.
“Millennia,” whispered Erestor in a miserable tone. “But he never noticed my love. His heart belongs to Gil-galad and Celebrian; I will never be able to claim it.” Erestor’s eyes briefly closed. Even after so many millennia, it still hurt. “I never wanted you to find out either.”
Glorfindel placed the cup on the table, leaned in closer, and covered Erestor’s right hand with his. “Your expression is easily read once one knows what to look for. You hide your feelings very well, but it is a pity that hardly anyone knows the real you. You have hidden behind this façade for millennia, making sure the real Erestor never emerged. The children respect you for your knowledge; you are a well-versed scholar among our people. But Elladan and Elrohir do not know there is another, passionate side to you. Arwen has been in ‘Lorien too much to really get to know you, but— I am still trying to figure out how you continue to fool Elrond.”
Erestor sighed distressed. “Glorfindel, my love for Elrond can never be. Even centuries later his love still belongs to Gil-galad and Celebrian. I was part of the Elven army that followed Isildur and Gil-galad into their last battle and I will never forget the love Elrond’s face radiated when he was at Gil-galad’s side. Later, I saw it again when Celebrian placed the twins in Elrond’s arms. When Arwen was born Elrond’s love was complete. He adored his wife and children and they were the world to him; they still are.”
“But Celebrian left for Valinor,” reminded Glorfindel his friend.
“She was too deeply hurt to stay.” Erestor shivered. “I assisted Elrond when he tended to her wounds. If she had stayed in Imladris, the Halls of Mandos would have claimed her. I will never understand why someone delights in forcing an Elf.”
Glorfindel’s usually sparkling eyes darkened at the memory. “Elladan and Elrohir have killed their fair share of the creatures over the years, but they are still mourning the loss of their mother. All children were hurt.”
“And Elrond is still hurting as well.” Erestor drew in a calming breath. “How can I tell him I love him when his heart still grieves for her? I cannot. His heart will never belong to me.” Erestor added one more thing, reluctantly. “And in all those centuries he never showed any interest in me. Don’t you think that if he felt the same way about me he would have told me by now? Nay, I cannot tell him.”
Glorfindel raised his left hand and wiped away the tear that had slid down from Erestor’s eye.
Alarmed that he was crying, Erestor wiped furiously at his eyes. “I have matters to attend to,” he said, quickly rising to his feet, “And so do you. Lord Celeborn and his charge will arrive shortly.” Looking at Glorfindel, he flinched, reading sympathy and sorrow in his friend’s eyes.
“Do not worry about me; I made it through millennia without Elrond’s love. And Glorfindel? We never had this discussion.” Gathering his long robes around him, Erestor left the kitchen.
“Aiya, Erestor, your feelings need a way out or they will slowly poison your mind.” Head bowed in defeat, he sipped his tea, hoping against all odds that the day would come when Elrond learned of Erestor’s deep love for him.
Beta read by Ilye, thank you!
Return to Archive | next