Tangled Tales

Glorfindel Unleashed 6-10

Entrance | Livejournal

Warnings: M/M, implied child abuse, angst, character death (in this chapter)

Summary : When Glorfindel becomes a child’s protector, he does not realise what Erestor will be to him when he reaches majority. Can love survive the trials of death and destiny?

Author’s notes: AU as in it is my idea, but canon where possible with regard to LOTR history.

*In this chapter I have added Erestor to the Maeglin/ Idril scene (hopefully not to it’s detriment) and as for Glorfindel, well it is never mentioned in canon just what happened in the Great Market, or how well Glorfindel did against the foe. So I ‘tweaked’ it a little…. Glorfindel Rules! *

Oh - and there is a character death in this chapter - duh!!




Chapter 6


The response was immediate. Without even bidding farewell to their loved ones the warriors of Gondolin leapt from the wall and ran through the city streets to their Houses to arm themselves against the coming invasion. The House of the Golden Flower was near to the eastern wall and it took but minutes for Glorfindel and Erestor to reach the building. As the elves poured themselves into the armoury the Lord and his young ward sped to the small side room in which their own armour was kept.

Glorfindel’s armour was a dazzling sight; one that could halt an enemy in his tracks, for Glorfindel’s golden splendour and magnificent physique was enhanced by the finely wrought design. Glorfindel unleashed could strike fear into the strongest hearts. Erestor had been through his training as a squire and now hurried to assist his lord in buckling on the many layers. First the heavy chain mail coat, then the cuirass and kirtle cut in the shape of overlapping leaves. Shoulder guards, shin guards, wrist bracers lashed tight against solid muscle. As Glorfindel buckled his great sword around his waist Erestor drew the heavy mantle forth to drape around the warrior’s shoulders. The mantle was an heirloom and was so embroidered in threads of gold in the design of the house, the celandine, that it shone as bright as the morning sun. Erestor shuddered in awe to see his love so resplendent, so truly breathtaking. Erestor turned to arm himself, reaching for the shoulder brace that would hold his knives - his new knives - across his back. Glorfindel caught him on the arm, turning the young elf to face him.

"Erestor, I want you to go to Mirieth and Dķwen and help organise the evacuation of the women and children. Take them to Idril’s secret way."

Erestor stared at him with disbelieving eyes.

"Surely it will not come to that? Will we not repel them?" he whispered in horror. Glorfindel shook his head.

"I fear not, pen-neth. That glow told me that Melkor has brought his most evil of creations - balrogs and firedrakes as well as orcs and goblins. In what number I can only guess, but to cause a fiery heat and glow of such intensity the number must be great." He paused. "Gondolin will fall, I fear." His heart clenched at what he knew he must say next.

"Get the women and children out of Gondolin. For Melkor to have found the Hidden City after all these centuries and after all our precautions there must have been a traitor in our midst. I fear we know who it must be. Get our people to safety Erestor - and go with them."

The response was swift and expected. Erestor shook his head fiercely, tears of frustration and denial evident in his eyes.

"No." His voice was hoarse. "No, I will not go. I will not leave you. I will *never* leave you! You cannot make me!" At that the tears started to flow but Erestor was unconscious of them. He stood firm, his face set, his hands clenched at his sides as if determination alone would reverse Glorfindel's decision. Seeing his love so strong before him almost broke the golden lord's resolve. Instead he placed one large hand at the nape of Erestor's neck, a long thumb sweeping over the soft cheek to wipe away the tears.

"Oh my sweet one," he choked. He pulled his soul mate to him, his oath crumbling. Lips met, firm to soft, in their first kiss. There were no soft nips, no gentle presses, no sweet explorations. There was no time, no future for them. There was only now.

The rose-red lips parted eagerly, gave way in intimate surrender as Glorfindel dived into that honeyed mouth. Tongues duelled, teeth clashed and Erestor pressed tight against his love, trying to persuade him with his lips and body as he knew his speech could not. Though the solid armour divided him from the golden lord Erestor stroked and explored where he could, against the sinews of the neck, the firmness of the jaw until his fingers twisted in that golden hair. He felt the softness of the shimmering strands, so luxurious in their tribute to the sun.

Glorfindel in turn pulled his pen-vuin against him, feeling that lithe body so tender in his arms. His soul cried out in torment, sensing deep within his heart that he would not now know the pure delight of union with his little love. "Meleth nīn, ind nīn," he murmured against those lips as the kiss ended. "So now we are forsworn, yet I feel that the gods will look with compassion upon our sweet kiss."

Erestor moaned with the loss of his lover's lips. " Le melin, Glorfindel! Oh that this hateful metal was not between us. Oh that we had more time!" Glorfindel shook his head.

"We have broken our oath, Erestor. Would you have me dance on its shards? I may be an oath-breaker, but I would not be a law-breaker too. I would not take you in battle lust for in the eyes of our people you are yet too young for carnal love. If Melkor's hordes win this night then we must survive on our values, our worth as the Firstborn of Ilśvatar. I want our union to be full of joy and honour, to stand proud in the sun, not to have our love sordid and in shadow."

Erestor's head was now pressed against his breastplate and he stroked the raven strands, memorising their texture, inhaling the fresh scent. He took his sweet love's head between his strong hands and lifted it so that he met those brown orbs, so bright with tears.

"Meleth-nīn, I must go. I must go to fight. And you must go to Idril. Go, my heart, my soul. For I cannot fight unless I know you are safe. I have to know that you live else I will die, for my fear for you will pull my mind from my sword and to my destruction instead."

His voice was taut with pain and passion and Erestor could not be pacified. He clutched at Glorfindel refusing to release him. The cries from the streets were now penetrating the House and Glorfindel cast his mind about, seeking a way to persuade his beloved. His eyes settled on his un-gloved hands. He pulled quickly at the mithril ring and clasped Erestor's left hand, forcing the ring onto his first finger.

" 'Tis a symbol of my love, Erestor. It is my pledge to you. Our betrothal. I promise to return to you seron vell, and the next time I place this ring on your finger it will be on our binding day. I promise, Erestor. I promise. I *will* return."

Chocolate-brown met sapphire-blue and in that moment Erestor knew that his plea had failed. He nodded dumbly, knowing that he would follow the orders of his beloved lord.

"A promise," he whispered.

Glorfindel pulled his little love tight against him for one last kiss.

" Le melin, Erestor-nīn."




Before Erestor sought out the ellith he raced to the stables and released the horses. Asfaloth and Hirnīn whinnied in confusion and bolted only when Erestor swung his hand firmly against their flanks. The horses would have a better chance of survival if they were free. A very slim one, but at least a chance. It was the only thing he could do for them.

Back in the main hall of the house he found that Dīwen and Mirieth had gathered the women and children together and were trying to calm the hysterical ellith, for the elflings were feeding off their mothers' fear.

"Bring food and warm clothing - leave all else!" cried Mirieth, for the hundredth time. The women of the household in their panic did not heed her words. Erestor drew his knives and slammed their blades together, creating a ringing clang that penetrated the clamour. He shouted above the fading cries.

"Lord Glorfindel has spoken. Follow the instruction of Mirieth and Dķwen and you *will* be safe. Now, we go to the House of Tuor and Idril. Hold tight to your children and firm to your courage." It was his other persona, the cool young counsellor to Turgon rather than the frightened youth, which had taken over and in his calm voice the denizens of the House heard the authority of their Lord, and they obeyed.

The streets were bathed in the red light that came from the fearsome flames of the balrogs and firedrakes that now surrounded the walls of the city. The heat was almost overwhelming, as evidenced by the bodies of collapsed elves that littered the streets. Erestor knew the streets well having explored them thoroughly as a child and made for all the back routes through the south-eastern quarter, away from the majority of the fleeing crowds, so their passage was reasonably swift. Theirs was not the only house to descend upon the princess' home and her guards were directing the elves down to the cellars where the passage began. Erestor approached a guard that he knew.

"Rion, where are Idril and Eärendil? Have they gone ahead?"

"Not yet," the guard replied. "The Lady's cousin has gone to their room to aid them, for the ernil's nursemaid was injured in the flight from the walls."

Erestor was horrified. "Maeglin is here? But he is the traitor! He is the one who betrayed us!" The claim was based only on his belief and not on proof but he knew in his heart that he spoke the truth. Without delay he raced into the house, seeking the elfling's chambers.

The room was abandoned, crib sheets strewn on the rug-covered floor, toys scattered forlornly. He cast his eyes about, checking one last time before leaving to search other nearby chambers. All were empty and Erestor was beginning to despair when he heard voices in fierce argument above him, male and female - then the piercing screams of a babe. Erestor searched frantically for the stairs to the roof, taking them two at a time.

The scene on the roof was heart stopping. Against the crimson sky caused by the monsters that swarmed the slopes of Amon Gwareth, Maeglin was framed holding a twisting, wriggling child who screamed for his mother. Idril was almost in hysterics reaching in vain for him, for her wrist was clamped firmly by Maeglin as he dragged the princess and her son towards the roof's edge. Endlessly she tried to reach her son and free herself from the madman's grip, succeeding in neither endeavour. Nails out and scratching, she seemed as if she was one of those legendary creatures of the south, a tigress protecting her cub.

Erestor shouted, trying to distract the nephew of the king. He drew forth his knives and made to approach the traitor. Maeglin sneered as he saw the young elf, armed as if to give battle, and laughed derisively.

"Why, if it isn't Glorfindel's little pet. Have you come to witness my triumph, little 'lonely one'? Don't say you were actually going to try to stop me?"

Erestor saw Idril increase her efforts and sought to aid her by lunging at Maeglin with his knives. The elder elf sidestepped him easily but his hold on Idril slipped, allowing her to free her hand. Erestor's joy was short-lived as in the blink of an eye Maeglin caught at her flying hair.

"Oh no, my precious, my darling. You are not leaving me! Just let me dispose of this mewling half-breed brat of yours, then we can flee together. The little catamite won't try to stop us, will he? He'll be too busy grieving for his little master. Oh, Glorfindel is going to die horribly, sweet little Erestor. He battles bravely over in the Market, but which one? Not the one Salgant has sent his reinforcements to - but then Salgant could never get things straight where the brassy lord was concerned, could he?"

The manic gloating was fervent, the fever echoed in the madman's eyes as his words echoed in Erestor's ears. Maeglin wanted Glorfindel dead. Maeglin wanted Eärendil dead. Maeglin wanted Tuor, and Turgon, and Erestor dead; he wanted all of Gondolin dead - except Idril, who he simply wanted.

A huge roar came from behind him and Erestor knew without turning that it was Tuor. At once Maeglin cast Idril from him, drawing a knife and plunging it towards Eärendil's small chest, desperate to kill the son of his rival - but the knife was somehow miraculously deflected. Maeglin screamed in disbelief and defiance, tormented by his failure. At that moment Erestor leapt, grabbing at the child and wrenching him from the traitor's grasp. Tuor wrested the knife from Maeglin and broke it easily in two before lifting the damned elf about the middle and, in one movement, throwing him over the battlements. Maeglin's body broke upon Amon Gwareth, bouncing three times before erupting into flames when it collided with the firedrakes below. Idril ran to a shaken Erestor, claiming and clasping her son to her bosom.

"How - how did the knife not kill him? " gasped Erestor. Idril drew back Eärendil's tunic at the neck to reveal a cunningly wrought mail shirt beneath. Tuor grabbed Erestor and pulled him to his feet, hugging him in gratitude.

"We must go now, my boy. Voronwė will take you all to the tunnel." Erestor shook his head fervidly.

"Maeglin has set a trap for Glorfindel! He said that reinforcements for my lord have been sent elsewhere by design - it is Salgant's men who have gone awry!"

Tuor knew that Erestor needed to go to them, to warn his beloved, to save him. "Salgant may be a coward but his men are not. Glorfindel took your troops to the north-eastern sector in the hope of cutting off Melkor's left flank. He'll be in the vicinity of the Great Market. Find Tawaron of the Harp - he will listen to you!"

Erestor thought back to what Maeglin had said. "The men of the Harp must be at the Lesser Market - for 'tis where their House is situated. That snivelling lord must be trying to save his own hide! I must go now. Will you be alright?" he asked in fear.

"I must return to the Square of the Folkwell. Turgon has kept Ecthelion and his House in reserve and I must go to their aid. Go in all haste, boy, go save him for Gondolin - and for yourself."

With that permission Erestor fled back down the stairs and through the house to the exit. There he was horrified to see many elves dead after a battle with their own kin. For they were of Maeglin's House, men of the Mole by their caps, and Tuor's men had had to fight their way through them to gain entrance and save Idril. Erestor did not delay, could not delay. Though no orcs had yet penetrated to this part of the city the buildings around him were on fire from the blazing arrows shot by the enemy over the walls. The residents of the burning houses were crowding the streets, trying to escape. The screams of those who were trapped pounded in his ears, terrified and terrifying to the young elf. Closing his senses to save his sanity, Erestor battled as a salmon does upstream to try to get to the Lesser Market.

The battalion of the Harp was not idle. Orcs had started to find their way through the streets in small numbers and the warriors were hard pressed to defend their position, to allow time for the civilians to escape. Erestor was stunned by the grotesque appearance of the creatures but rallied to find the captain of the guard. He was relieved to catch sight of him leading his troops. Glorfindel had told him of this elf's support at his rescue all those years ago and the warrior had ever been cordial to him.

"Captain!" he shouted as loud as he could over the roar of the flames and the screams of the crowds. "Captain, you have to help Glorfindel. You have to help the Golden Flower!"

Tawaron heard Erestor's call and searched through the smoke to find the youth. "Get back Erestor! Get away from here!" He tried to force the raven-haired elf from the square. Erestor resisted, knowing that he had to make Tawaron understand his urgency.

"No, no! Glorfindel is in the Great Market. Salgant sent you wrong, he wants my lord to die!"

Tawaron needed no convincing. As loyal as he was to his own lord, he knew of his master's hatred of Glorfindel and the measures he would take to gain his revenge. Tawaron and his men were loyal to Turgon and Gondolin above all, and he knew where his duty lay. Calling the rallying cry, he and his battalion sped from the Lesser Market, leaving a small number of men to complete the evacuation of the House of the Harp.

Erestor made to follow but at that moment a crumbling wall finally fell and his exit towards the northern quarter was cut off. The throngs around him were pressing hard now and the fires were consuming the air, causing Erestor and the other elves to gasp for the fresh air their lungs demanded. In a final thrust he threw himself clear of the crowd, desperate to make his way towards the fighting - and Glorfindel. His sense of direction was askew in the smoke-filled passages and street and only by the signs on the shops and streets did he decipher some of his route. He was just at the turn of a corner when a sound whistling past his ear made him duck.

In fright he brought up his blades, only to hear them clang as an object struck them, rebounding to his left. An arrow! He was under attack! Through the gloom of the smoke black, lurching figures emerged, creatures of such twisted and vile appearances that his bile rose in his throat. Orcs! Erestor realised with a lurch just how woefully inadequate his skills were in the art of warfare. All those lessons unlearned because he had not attended. All those reprimands for inattention he had received from his tutors. From Ecthelion. From his golden lord.

Valour is a quality much recorded in song, much praised, much lauded. But valour is useless when one is unlikely to survive the conflict. Erestor took its better part, and searched for a way to escape. A door nearby swung open, a deserted house in which he could possibly find refuge. He ran into the doorway, hearing the bellows from the ghastly creatures who had followed him in. Twisting, turning, dodging the objects thrown to stall him, his light feet carried him through the house to emerge - into a nightmare.

It was the Square of the King, and it was under siege. Erestor could see the colours of every House in the city, but no one in any great number. The Fountain fought alongside the Wing, the Tree by the House of the Heavenly Arch, by the side of the men of the Swallow. So few. So few remained. Erestor could not long stand in unhappy reflection for noises behind him told that his pursuers were upon him.

Turning swiftly Erestor raised his blades to defend himself and was instantly drenched in black, noisome blood as the knives cut deep into the first orc chasing him. The first orc he had ever killed. His first kill. Not yet of age, and he had killed. If he had time Erestor would have vomited anything, everything his stomach contained. But he had no time. He stood like a windmill, swirling his blades with what little skill he could recall, desperately trying to connect with his foes. He felt like a child batting away his mother in a childish tantrum, knowing that inevitably the smaller, weaker combatant would soon be overcome. Tears poured down his face, tears of fear and frustration and anger and shame. The shame came from knowing that if he had learned, if he had listened then perhaps he would be of more use, kill more orcs, save some of those elves who were dying around him in the blood and the sweat and the smoke and the horror. His mind was quickly becoming numb to the shrieks of the creatures; he was waiting for that final blow to fall yet it did not. He could not understand. Warriors - good, well-trained, battle-hardened warriors - were dying at his feet and yet he survived. It was incomprehensible.

Suddenly a great noise came from the eastern road and a surge of men came rushing into the square. Erestor could hardly believe his eyes. They were of his House. They were the men of the Golden Flower and of the Harp! The surge ended too swiftly and Erestor realised that less than a score had arrived out of what should have been hundreds. So many of his friends dead? And what of...? Oh, Gods please, please let him be amongst them. Please let him be safe! More orcs poured into the square behind the fleeing elves and the small troop of the Harp turned and fell upon them. Ah, they were truly warriors, not a mewling child like he! Still Erestor could not glimpse that precious golden head amongst the arrivals, and now reality crashed in on those few seconds of musings and time sped up.

Blades flashed - Eglamoth of the Heavenly Arch arrived - black blood, splashing - oh gods, a firedrake! - then Erestor's heart stopped.

Into the square came a true denizen of Hell, a Balrog of Morgoth. The flames of Angband in physical form. Brimstone, sulphur, a stench beyond the reasoning of all senses, the heat of its body a roaring pressure upon the air surrounding it, tearing away what little oxygen they had left to breath. Erestor's stomach had been threatening and could hold back no more. Staggering, falling, collapsing against a blood-drenched wall the youth gave into terror, heaving and retching until there was no more. He was forgotten and ignored by the foe as he stared in a stupor at the incarnation of the earth's fiery core, of the evil of the fallen Vala. He barely registered a figure squaring up to the monster - was it ...Tuor? Ai, no! Eglamoth was trying to aid him but the swinging arms of the beast were steadily driving him back towards the Fountain of the King. Erestor cried out to see him collapse under the onslaught. Suddenly a second figure arose and through the gore Erestor realise who it must be, for one elf only had adorned his armour with an extravagant excess of silver and diamonds. The Lord of the Fountain was injured though, his shield arm hanging useless at his side. This did not prevent the fearsome lord from delivering a blow that injured the Lord of the Balrogs, in turn having his own sword arm sliced. Erestor cried out in horror when the balrog's whip was raised, ready to strike the death blow, and wept as his brave friend ran forth, driving the spike of his helm into the creature’s belly, wrapping his arms around the flame-filled foe, falling to their deaths in the depth of the fountain beside them.


" 'Thel!"

In desperate grief for the dark-haired lord Erestor did not recognise the voice that roared above the tumultuous hiss from the steaming edifice - but that other elf knew Erestor's voice. Yet he could not battle across the square to Erestor for at that moment the doors of the palace flew open and the High King of the Noldor and his household troops flew out to descend upon the enemy, slicing, hacking, hewing, grinding the orcs with their fearless fighting. Erestor, from his fallen position against the wall of the palace, watched as Tuor made his way across to his law-father, begging him to retreat to safety, to flee with his people. The King would not listen. This was his city, the city he had dreamed of long ago, the city he had built from the foundations. He would not leave. Instead he lay upon Tuor and the captains of his city the duty of leading their people to safety. No argument would sway the king and as the enemy advanced, so the command for the Long Retreat was given.

Erestor saw the warriors of Gondolin, all save the Household of Turgon, fight a retreat toward the Gar Anion, yet could summon no strength to join them. He was paralysed, he had no control over his body, so deadened it was with the horror of the day. There was a dread peace within him as he felt his will to survive slip further away. Suddenly strong hands pulled him erect, held him firm and a bellow was unleashed in his ear.

"You silly fool! What are you doing here? You were given your orders, why did you not obey them?"

He could not answer, his tongue was tied. The elation that had risen when he heard that voice was immediately deflated under Glorfindel's wrath, which seemed endless. At last he tried to explain, to protest his reasons but he was allowed no speech.

"I trusted you! You told me you would go! Disobedient brat! Now - move!"

Erestor had no choice. He was forcibly pulled along, his arm firmly in Glorfindel's strong grip, trying to lengthen his run as they sped from the Square of the King along Gar Anion to the Square of Weddings. There they met another who had rebelled against the edict of their lord.

"Idril!" Tuor grabbed his beautiful wife, fury and fear upon his face. "Where is Eärendil?"

"He is safe, gone ahead," she replied. She was about to continue when she suddenly screamed, her face ashen. Turning all saw and felt the devastating rumble that heralded the fall of the King's Tower behind them - and the fall of the King.

There was no time to weep. Erestor would only remember the frantic flight to the tunnel, the compressing heat and darkness as they ran down the escape route. Stumbling, falling, cracking skulls against rough hewn ceilings, colliding with each other in the last desperate dash for life. Erestor's hand ached as he tried to hold his two knives in one hand, for Glorfindel had not released the other once. The golden lord had not uttered a word of comfort, a syllable of love, a whisper of gratitude for their survival. His anger, his battle rage still burned at full heat and Erestor dared not attempt speech in case that wrath turn to him once more.

The tunnel had taken many years to make for its length reached to the foothills of the mountains. As they finally broke out they met the early morning sunrise - the sunrise of Tarnin Austa. They looked back as one towards the Hidden City, the fallen city, and wept to see the destruction of their home. The creatures of Melkor - orcs, balrogs, firedrakes - spilled over the broken walls and the smoke of many fires rose and spread over the Plains of Tumladen like a pall.

"Ecthelion killed the balrog! The Great One that killed him!" wept Erestor in grief for the smiling lord who had been as a brother to him. "More, I am sure I heard he killed more!"

Glorfindel pulled him close, his first gesture of comfort since their reunion.

"Ai, say not that it killed him but that his bravery took Morgoth's son to the depths of Hell. Songs will be sung forever for our dear friend. He is safe in Nįmo's arms now, pen-neth."

Erestor lifted his head and pressed his lips to his love's. "I thank all the Valar that you did not face one of those monsters."

Glorfindel winced. "Ai meleth, I took down two and I have the burns to prove it!" He waved away Erestor's concern. "Nay, pen-vuin, we must go for even now Melkor's orcs are crossing the plains, seeking to destroy us utterly. Come, we must climb the Cirith Thoronath and face the cold of the Cristhorn pass."

The trail was arduous, for the women and children could move only slowly, yet progress was made into the mountains. Glorfindel asked Erestor to climb ahead and try to ensure that the families of their House were safe.

"They need to know that their Lords are protecting them. They trust you, sweet one. I will stay here with Tuor and the men to guard the rear."

Erestor clutched the large hand. "You will be careful, hir-nīn?" He asked fearfully. Glorfindel did not laugh at his fears but took his darling Erestor into his arms, kissing him breathless. As they broke from the kiss he reminded his beautiful love of his promise.

"I will always return to you, meleth-nīn. Always."

With that Erestor left to climb the trail, slipping on the snow which was always upon these heights. It took some time to locate the refugees of the Golden Flower, and the relief amongst them to see their young lord was obvious, more so when they heard that Glorfindel yet lived. Mirieth immediately pulled her surrogate son into her arms, crushing him to her breast. She had held onto her courage, yet could not resist asking Erestor about the fate of her own sons. Erestor could offer her little comfort.

"I did not see them - but that does not mean they are not safe. There was total confusion within the city and the Houses joined as one before we fled."

Mirieth had to be satisfied with such a faint hope. Dķwen was there too and hugged Erestor tightly.

"Oh gwador, the Valar have forsaken us just as we forsook them!"

There was no response that would be adequate, for she spoke what was in the minds of all.

A roar from behind then made them turn, cold fear freezing them faster than the snows of the pass. A huge swell of orcs had seen them and was racing up the trail - and with them a flaming balrog. Amidst the screams Erestor made to draw his knives to run, to help the defenders but the ellith clung tight and would not release him.

"No, no! We must run too, ion nīn!" Mirieth cried, pulling Erestor off balance. The rush of refugees storming up the slopes filled the trail and Erestor had difficulty finding his footing, to pull himself upright. The screams had increased and were swollen with the echoes off the heights, and there was nothing else reaching his ears as he desperately tried to force his way through the hysterical masses scrabbling up the narrow path. He caught glimpses of Tuor, of Idril and he hoped that Eärendil was safe with them. He could see the colours of his House in the elves heroically protecting the trail but yet no sign of golden hair or golden mantle. Mirieth still tugged at him, trying to make him turn when they both stopped in alarm. A single figure stood in front of the balrog, sword drawn and ready to do battle.

"No! What is he doing?"

The crowds were pushed aside as Erestor slid and slipped down the rock-strewn path on his way back down the cliff. The path was treacherous here yet Erestor did not slow, his eyes fixed on the lone elf in fierce combat with this fiery nemesis. Each swing of the broad sword forced the balrog back, each cut leaching its flame, its strength. The warrior at his mightiest stood supreme and he would not be denied.

Every thought, every word, every touch, every smile, every kiss scorched through Erestor's mind. He was heedless of the elleth behind him, he was only aware of the ellon before him. The tips of the golden hair ended in flames where they had touched off the balrog's heat. The stench of burnt flesh rose to assail the senses from where the creature's cruel whip had melted the hammered steel onto the hard muscles. Scorch marks on hands and arms stood out on white skin. The pain must have been horrendous but the battle went on. Then - one final thrust. The balrog staggered near the edge and its bulk toppled, falling towards the chasm.

Erestor shouted his love's name triumphantly. The golden head turned, spying him on the slopes. His sapphire eyes were alight with elation and a hand began to rise in acknowledgement, not noticing a movement behind him. A claw made a final grasp, snatching on golden strands and two fell off the cliffs. The elf stretched out his hand to his love in supplication, then was gone.

An elf died.

And the heart left behind shattered.

Erestor could hear someone screaming - but then, there were so many screams. His throat hurt, was raw - but he could not reason why. He was frozen in a moment, a single moment. Day, night, heat, cold. Erestor could have defined none of them - in that moment. The hand shaking him was not really there. He was not really there. Arda had stopped turning and the world had disappeared.

Who was shouting at him? How could they disturb him now? Didn't they know that Glorfindel was gone? Didn't they know he had to follow? Glorfindel needed him. Glorfindel loved him. Only when hands clasped his face and turned his head did his eyes focus, his deafness clear. Mirieth? Why was Mirieth shouting? What was she saying?

"... don't let it be in vain, Erestor! We must go now. He died to save Idril and Tuor and Eärendil. He died to buy us time. He died for you and me, Erestor! We must go, for he died for you!"

He died for me. He fell and he died for me. For Erestor. He died because of me. He died because I shouted. Because I wouldn't leave him. He is dead.

he is dead

because I let him

because I distracted him

because I loved him

He is Dead.

The heart was already shattered; the soul was torn in two.

And as Erestor stared at the cliff edge

his mind broke

and Darkness fell.


Title : 'Glorfindel Unleashed', 6/?

Author: Eawen Penallion
Type: FPS

Beta: Beloved Nienna, so encouraging!

Disclaimer: all rights to the characters belong to JRR Tolkien - I’m only playing with them.
Rating: (R for this chapter, NC-17 overall)
Pairing: Glorfindel/Erestor in later chapters



pen-neth - little one

pen-vuin - dear one

nīn meleth - my love

nīn ind - my heart

Le melin - I love you

meleth-nīn - my love

seron vell - dear lover

ernil -prince

gwador - sworn brother

ion nīn - my son

Chapter 7

* The date of Glorfindel’s return has been placed either just before the Fall of Nśmenor or around the same time as the Istari’s arrival. I have chosen differently to suit my story.*



T.A 149, Mid-winter

The sun shone brightly on the day Glorfindel first saw Imladris. The snow yet covered the ground, it being only weeks since the Yule celebration, but the slim green leaves of the snowdrop peeked through the white clothing of the earth to welcome of the lengthening days. The flora had been scarce on the Great East Road but now on the descent into the hidden valley of the elves the profusion increased. Glorfindel could tell that this was a magical place, the invisible wards tingled on his skin and impinged on his elven senses, which were much increased since his re-birth in the Blessed Realm. The Valar had been generous in their gifts on his release from the cool Halls of Waiting.

The golden elf shuddered in remembrance of those halls and his long sojourn there, a motion that was evident to the elves who had accompanied him from the Grey Havens. The escort had been at the insistence of Cķrdan for, as he had reminded him, a whole age encompassing thousands of years had passed since last he had walked on Arda. Times had changed, wars had been fought and won and lost, men had built and destroyed and had rebuilt their empires - and evil had found new forms.

Glorfindel thought back upon the instruction he had been given both in Valinor and at Cķrdan's behest, lessons in the history which had passed him by. Melkor had been banished from Middle Earth after the War of Wrath, imprisoned in dimensions beyond the bounds of Arda. The tiny ernil he had known in Gondolin had grown up in exile at the Mouths of the Sirion, had wed and had sired twin sons; then had led a plea to the Valar for their aid against their evil contemporary. The child was now a star in the heavens, shining his beatific light upon those he had saved by his sacrifice. An alliance of the Valar, and of the elves of Valinor and of Middle Earth in union with the kings of Men, had fought and brought down the vile walls of Angband. Sadly, one of Melkor's lieutenants had escaped from that war to revive his master's evil intents. Sauron, Annetar the Deceiver, had persuaded the elves of Eregion to make rings, magical and powerful, and had then stolen the rings to give to and corrupt the races of Dwarves and Men. Elves had made rings for themselves, but Celebrimbor the smith had allowed Sauron no part in their making and thus they were untouched by his machinations - and were not influenced by the One Ring, the controlling ring Sauron had forged in the fires of Mount Orodruin.

Eregion was built - and destroyed. Man's realm of Nśmenor was built -and destroyed. A second Alliance of elves and men had defeated Sauron at the gates of his land of Mordor - but not destroyed. Men had failed, as they had failed in Nśmenor, to rid Arda of the One Ring, Sauron’s power on Middle Earth and the repository of his spirit. And another elven-king had fallen in battle. Now Glorfindel had been called forth from his contemplation in Nįmo's Halls, had been given a chance to return to Middle Earth so that he could aid the son of the son of the daughter of his King - Elrond of Imladris.

And find Erestor.

That had been part of the bargain that he had struck with Manwė, which he had forced from the Lord of the Valar before he would agree to the tasks set upon him. Varda had aided his plea, understanding the need for the golden lord to seek his lost love. Erestor did not reside in Mandos, for surely his soul would have sought Glorfindel out. Nay, it was his death that had separated him from his love; therefore his love must still live. Vairė, the weaver of life's threads, had given him warning.

"Not all that is sought may be found and if found, may not wish a return to that which once was. Have care, Glorfindel. Have care for your heart and your soul - and your mind."

But Glorfindel knew that Erestor was his heart and his soul and his mind. He would seek him, he would find him, he would woo him and bind him with his love. He would tell Elrond of his search. He would not ask permission for that implied the possibility of refusal and Glorfindel would brook no refusal.

The House of Elrond, dubbed the Last Homely House by many, now lay before him across the narrow stone bridge that spanned the ravine of the River Bruinen. The buildings awaiting him showed great sensitivity in their construction, combining graceful arches and winding walkways of wood and stone with the natural features of their surroundings. Over the bridge now and the horses descended into the courtyard of the main house. The yard was full and Glorfindel winced. He knew that his return was no secret, and that it was generally regarded as a miracle in that he was the only reborn elf ever to return from the Blessed Realm to the lands of Middle Earth. Although Glorfindel was not a shy elf he had no desire to be fawned upon or fźted. He had already experienced the overwhelming awe evinced by the younger elves of the Havens when his ship had landed and he had cringed when he had been told of the number of songs that extolled his sacrifice. He had hoped for something different here, in his new home.

The escort was dismounting and Glorfindel did the same, turning to face the elf who stood regal in rich velvets before him. He was unmistakable. Those grey eyes had belonged to Turgon and he had Tuor's strength and Idril's pride. This was his host. This was Elrond Peredhel. Glorfindel bowed, hand on heart. He hoped that *that* custom had not changed since his death.

"My Lord Glorfindel, we are blessed by your presence here amongst us." The voice was deep, calm and soothing. It was said that this Elrond was a healer as well as a lord and a warrior and Glorfindel could tell that the ellon would inspire trust and confidence in all who looked to him. Glorfindel grinned and he greeted the elf.

"Since you are to be *my* lord then I thank you for your kind greeting, Lord Elrond. I have been told much of your hospitality and I can see that it is all true. " He spread his hands to include the welcoming crowd and the beautiful house beyond. Elrond nodded his appreciation, a quirk in his smile denoting a well-developed sense of humour. He drew forth an elleth of astounding beauty, of silver hair and sweet smile, who was flanked by two elflings of identical features, dark grey eyes and dark hair alike.

"May I introduce my wife, Celebrķan, and our twin sons, Elladan and Elrohir." The lady bent her head in gracious acknowledgement and Glorfindel could only stare at the elegance and refinement therein. His bow made, he turned to the young princes.

"My, if it were not for the fact that there are two of you, and that you are older than when I last saw him, I could swear that you are young Eärendil!" The boys squealed in delight.

"Did you really know our grandfather before he was a star?"

"Did you really fight a balrog?"

The questions came together in a rush and the golden lord laughed along with his hosts.

"Yes to both questions, my lords!"

"Now boys, you will have more time to speak with Lord Glorfindel later. He has just arrived and will want rest and refreshment first," soothed the Lady of Imladris, asserting her gentle authority over her sons.

"Aye. And if you will, my friend, I will keep the introductions short. There are many who live here but you will get to know them over time. First and foremost is my former Master of Horse and now my Chief Counsellor. It is he who truly runs Imladris - if I can but see him." Elrond searched the many faces surrounding them, obviously annoyed that such a prominent elf was not at the front of the reception party. Suddenly within the portico of the house Elrond spotted a movement in the shadows and his demeanour lightened.

"Ah, there you are, meldir. Glorfindel, this is my former tutor and most excellent friend, Master Erestor of Lindon."

So easily? So easily he had found him? His beautiful, sweet little love resided here, in the house of Elrond? Glorfindel's heart seemed to double it's pace, fluttering frantically, and his throat clenched in unbidden tears of relief and gratitude for the mercy of the Valar. His hand began to rise in greeting to the other half of his soul.

The elf in the shadows stepped forward, seemingly bringing the darkness with him. The waist-length raven hair was pulled back from his face in severely elaborate braids befitting an elf of such rank. High-neck, full-length robes in lush velvet covered his slim frame in a midnight hue that was only relieved by the thinnest edging of grey, and the voluminous sleeves hid his folded hands. The creamy skin of his face seemed ghost-white in comparison to the blackness surrounding it, and those rose-red lips held no smile. The figure - taut, austere - bowed in reserved greeting and when it rose again Glorfindel sought eagerly to meet those well-remembered chocolate-brown eyes, desperate to recognise within this restrained creature some sign of his open, emotional, passionate meleth.

The eyes are supposed to be windows to the soul. This soul spoke of great wisdom, of antiquity, of history. This soul spoke of pain. Then, as if realising that the reborn lord was reading him, a veil was drawn, and the eyes were blank - and black with repression.

"Welcome to Rivendell, Lord Glorfindel."

The voice was soft but flat, unemotional in texture, cool in content. Yet it was Erestor. The elf spoke again.

"Rooms have been prepared for you. My assistant, Saelbeth, will escort you to them. If you have any other requirements please direct them to him."

Another bow and the black elf glided away into the shadows again.

The words had been softly spoken, calculated in their content, measured in their tone. It was a speech which had been well-rehearsed, and it gave notice that this elf was not to be approached. Glorfindel could not speak, could not articulate a word in the face of such rejection. Though he had not been rejected. Simply - dismissed.

"Erestor." A whisper, a plea that went unrecognised by the intended recipient and registered only as a comment by his new lord.

"Aye, that is Erestor. A fascinating elf of great knowledge, wisdom and courage. One of the unsung heroes of elvendom, he has ever been a presence in my life. Do not be offended by his reserved manner, my lord. It is but his way with all those he does not truly know. I hope you will become good friends. And now," he turned back to the awaiting elves once more, gesturing to a white-haired ellon, "here is Master Lindir, a bard and musician beyond compare."

Glorfindel allowed himself to be turned back to the waiting throng, making his bow, a smile plastered on his face. His mind was elsewhere, with an elf in black, conjuring in his mind conversations and explanations for the frigid greeting.

Erestor was shy. He had been shy as a child, was ever so with those beyond his manufactured family unit. His public persona was cool and collected, a faēade drawn to cope with external necessities. Aye, Erestor loved to be tactile when alone, detached in company. If this was the way he must act in the presence of his subordinates then of course he could not release his control in public just for his lover, could he? And how much more difficult it must be for his pen-neth to see his dead love return, to see again the one who had died on Cirith Thoronath; the elf who had been burnt and battered beyond recognition and now was hale and hearty? He must be waiting for a private moment, a true reunion. It would be wildly passionate and truly poignant; of lips and hands, of hróa and fėa, in a dance of desire as old as time. Glorfindel cheered at this conclusion and was able to face the crowds of elves yet to greet him with greater equanimity.

Time passed slowly as Glorfindel was shown around his new home. His chambers were more than adequate a suite of four rooms including a bathing chamber. The bedroom overlooked a spectacular cascade which tumbled into the gorge below, a fine mist rising to create sparkling rainbows of reflected sunlight. The scene would only be matched in magnificence the first time he laid his beautiful Erestor upon the huge four-poster bed within.

He waited in impatient anticipation, sure that his little love would come to greet him here in private, for the reunion he had dreamed of for a thousand years. He paced the room as he counted the minutes. To have him, to hold him once more…

He waited in vain.

It was Saelbeth who arrived to guide a disappointed Glorfindel to the main dining hall. It was large enough to contain the majority of the inhabitants of Imladris for dinner, apparently a tradition that Elrond preferred for the lord treated his subjects as a family. Thus the main meal of the day was taken en masse, with a smaller hall used for breakfast and lunch. The residents also had the choice of dining in their chambers provided that notice had been given to Master Erestor in advance.

"And Master Erestor? Does he dine here too?" Glorfindel asked in hope. Saelbeth shook his head.

"Not normally, for his working hours are long and he prefers a tray either in his office or his rooms, which are on the same corridor as yours. However for special occasions such as this he will attend and is seated, as you are, at the Lord’s table."

Indeed Erestor did appear at the table which was on a raised dais at one end of the hall, as Turgon’s had been. The table was elegantly appointed. Elrond’s chair was large but yet could not be called a throne, but still it was elaborately carved in the manner of all elvish furniture. At his side was an equally beautiful seat, this time a canopied chair in which the Lady Celebrķan presided in beauty and in grace. To Glorfindel’s dismay, the dark advisor chose a place at the farthest end of the table, whereas Glorfindel as guest of honour had been seated next to Elrond. From the raised eyebrow of the lord (a truly intimidating gesture, Glorfindel noted) and the reaction of a few other elves at the table, this was not the normal state of affairs and Glorfindel began to wonder if his assessment of the situation had been correct. However he realised that had they been seated opposite one another they would not have been able to restrain themselves, so perhaps Erestor had thought of that. Glorfindel knew *he* was hard pressed not to think of the physical joy of their reunion.

The food was good, the company excellent. Still, Glorfindel had to concentrate so that he could carry on an intelligent conversation with his new lord. Elrond was truly knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. Thankfully he kept away from the subject of Gondolin, concentrating instead on outlining the convoluted elven domains of Middle Earth and their rulers. Thus Glorfindel learned more of the Lord and Lady of Lothlórien, the parents of the Lady Celebrķan. He had known of them as Celeborn of Doriath, cousin of Elu Thingol, and Galadriel, or Alatariel as she had been named in Valinor. There was also Thranduil son of Oropher, King of the Greenwood and the Silvan elves therein; Cķrdan of the Havens, who had received him back into Middle Earth; and Gildor Inglorion of the Wandering Company, a descendant of the royal houses who had his own realm at Edhellond.

Once the meal was concluded they moved to the Hall of Fire, an imposing hall of reflection and solitude in daylight or, like tonight, a place of tales and songs. The fire was a great conflagration in a hearth at one end of the hall; its burning logs and coals were never allowed to dwindle to ash but were fed continuously as a signal of the continuance of the Firstborn of Arda, and as a symbol of hope for all.

Erestor did not join them.

The entertainment included sagas and songs of the past Ages, though thankfully none about Gondolin. Glorfindel realised that he owed his gratitude to Elrond. He was very appreciative of the tact shown by the lord and he knew that this would be a relationship he would enjoy and, hopefully, a friendship he could cherish. It was for that reason that Glorfindel did not rise, did not leave to search for the raven-haired elf, for to spurn such pleasures which had be arranged for him would have been churlish. Glorfindel was ever an elf of good manners, though they were sorely stretched this night.

Elrond's young sons were being allowed to stay up late as a treat and with his great affinity for children he soon found that they had adopted him as an Uncle. They thus did what most children did in such circumstances - they had climbed upon him and had claimed his knees as seats. From their innocent chatter he learned more of his love's life in Imladris.

"Uncle Erestor can only hold us one at a time because his knees aren’t so big," said one twin. Glorfindel hadn’t sorted them out yet.

"Yes," said the other, "but he likes ‘Ro best - he says I wriggle too much." Ah, then this must be Elladan. Glorfindel thought it time for a little probing.

"So Master Erestor likes elflings, does he?" he asked gently. Elrohir nodded enthusiastically.

"Oh, he likes lots of elves, but he pretends he doesn’t."

"Yes, he has to be bossy so he has to pretend that he is cross so that they obey him."

"He is very shy really."

"And sad."

Glorfindel quirked an eyebrow, dismayed that Erestor was seen as such a reserved and pained elf. "Sad? Why sad?" What answer he expected he didn’t know.

Elladan’s face dropped a little. "He won’t tell us. Ada says he doesn’t know either." The little face lifted, grey eyes pondering blue. "Ada says that he may have lost someone he loved in the big war. The one when the Valar came to help all the Eldar and the Edain and the Naugrim."

Glorfindel looked around the hall, hoping that Erestor had returned. The ellon was nowhere to be seen. "Does he not like music then? I do not see him."

Elrohir frowned. "He is probably working. He is *always* working." This was obviously not to the twins’ taste.

In an innocent-sounding voice, Glorfindel asked, "And where does he work?" Both boys pointed.

"In his office."

"In the library."

"Which is next to his office."

"And Ada’s office."

It took some time but within the hour Glorfindel had returned the now sleepy twins to their mother, pleaded weariness to Lord Elrond and had left the Hall of Fire.

The Last Homely House was not large, at least in comparison to Turgon’s palace, but it still took a while to get his bearings. With discreet inquiries he was soon traversing the corridors of the house. Most elves were still in the Hall of Fire for his welcoming reception. But he didn’t want most elves, just one.

The library, as expected, was deserted. Glorfindel strolled through the immense space, overshadowed by rack upon rack of books, tomes, maps and scrolls, all in perfect order upon the shelves. The only illumination came from Ithil's glow shining through the high windows and the flickering candlelight through an open door at the end of the room. Like all elves Glorfindel was light of foot and his soft tread made no sound even to elven ears. He peered through the open entrance and smiled at the sight within. Standing facing away from him, head slightly raised to ponder some book on a shelf, was Erestor. His hair was still in braids yet it flowed beautifully down his straight back, curving to frame the slight swell of his buttocks. The outer robe of velvet had been discarded and the long under-robe clung to the slim frame. Glorfindel stole up behind him, capturing the dark elf in a firm embrace.

The golden lord felt the ellon tense at his touch and he stroked the upper chest to find a nipple to tease, whilst the other hand slid lower down Erestor's torso to cup his groin - a touch which had been forbidden when he had last held this sweet creature. Glorfindel let his lips explore a pointed ear, licking, kissing, sucking the tip, feeling his love melt against him. His hands stroked in their exploration of this longed-for body and he felt both Erestor's burgeoning arousal and quickening heart rate. This moment was the perfect moment. This feeling was so right. Within his arms he held his perfect, darling Erestor and they were one.

"Oh my little love, my sweet darling, I have so longed to hold you thus. I need you pen-vuin. I love you. Be mine tonight and forever. I will never leave you again, Erestor- nīn."

He pressed his need against Erestor, leaving him in no doubt of the truth of the statement. This moment was theirs. They would be united tonight, body to body, soul to soul.

The elf stiffened in his arms and in one swift movement twisted, turned, and broke free of the embrace. Face flushed and breathing heavily, the elf composed himself swiftly, stepping away from the warrior.

"You are mistaken, Lord Glorfindel. I have no desire to accommodate your needs. I suggest you try another ellon. There are many, I am sure, who would oblige one of your - stature."

Though the voice was shaky the tone was cool and the words calculated to cut through any illusions Glorfindel may have had. Erestor was rejecting him. A stunned Glorfindel approached his love, extending his hand to him.

"Meleth nīn? What are you doing? Why do you act this way? I am come back to you, Erestor."

The black figure took another step away. His voice was gentle, soothing - remote.

"We have a meeting with Lord Elrond early in the morning, hir nīn, to establish your role here in Imladris. I suggest that a good night’s sleep will clear your mind and settle your - troubles."

Nothing made sense. Here was Erestor standing before him as he had dreamed of since his death and subsequent re-birth, but instead of being tight within his arms his pen-neth was a dozen steps away, talking about meetings and sleep. The golden lord stood, confused and aroused, wondering what nightmare he had fallen into.

"Meleth, don’t you know me? Don’t you remember? Our love? Our life in Gondolin? Our pledge, our promise -" Glorfindel stopped, staring down at Erestor’s hands. They were bare. It was gone. A sudden tremor ran through him, a dread fear. " Where is it, Erestor? Where is our ring?" Erestor shook his head. Glorfindel felt panic arise in his throat. Surely it must have been lost, stolen. Erestor would not remove it willingly - would he?

"I know not of what you speak, hir nīn. I know of no ring. You are mistaken."

Glorfindel shook his head, not wanting to believe this was happening. "Why do you say these things? Don’t you know who you are? Did you forget? Were you hurt, and your memory gone?" He saw Erestor start at these words and pressed on. "Is that it, Erestor? You don’t remember?"

The counsellor seemed to rally, to gather his wits and his words. The gentle voice was firm.

"I know not of what you speak, Lord Glorfindel. I am Erestor of Lindon. My life began in Lindon. I cannot be the one you believe me to be. I cannot be the one you want me to be. I am sorry, but I am not - your love."

The rejection was total, laid before him. There was no sign in this composed creature of the young Erestor he had fallen in love with. The counsellor moved, turned to pick up one of the candles on the desk and without another word glided towards the door. Glorfindel had to try just one more time to reach *his* Erestor and the love he knew was there.

"I came back for you, Erestor! I died for you. I died to save you, ind nīn. Don’t you hear me? Don’t you know me? Don’t you love me - anymore?"

The black figure stopped, tensed and Glorfindel thought he had succeeded. Without turning the counsellor spoke, his voice tight, hollow, tinged with pain.

"I am Erestor of Lindon. You did not die for me. No one died for me. *No* one."

Then he was gone.




The nightmares started that night. Doors opened and closed, screams rang out, voices were raised in concern in the family wing wherein Glorfindel’s chambers were situated. A worried lord and lady brought herbs and potions to calm the hysterical warrior, to ease his dreams of balrogs and battles and burning flesh.

Within a dimly lit chamber not so very far away a still figure huddled in a shadowed corner of the room. It was swathed in black, long silken robes draped over it’s form, midnight hair falling as a veil over a blank face. It looked for all the world like a bundle of black rags.

One hand was clenched around a mithril locket which was suspended on a thick gold chain. The other was folded gently over a small mithril ring.






ernil - prince

meldir - my friend

meleth - love

pen-neth - little one

Ada - Daddy

Eldar - elves (as a race)

Edain - men (as a race)

Naugrim - dwarves (as a race)

pen-vuin - dear one

Erestor- nīn - my Erestor

ellon - male elf (sing.)

elleth - female elf (sing.)

hir nīn - my lord

ind nīn - my heart

Chapter 8

T.A. 149, Mid-winter


It was a red-eyed, weary Glorfindel who emerged from his chambers that bright winter morning. For one so recently re-born, he looked as though he would soon return to Nįmo’s Halls. He was well-dressed for he would not shame himself or his new lord by neglecting his appearance just because of a nightmare. But what a nightmare. And what of the event that triggered it? Certainly that terrible confrontation in Erestor’s office must have been the cause, for in all his time since his rebirth no such dreams had ever occurred. Indeed, Glorfindel could hardly decide which had been the worst - seeing the balrog advance in his nightmare or Erestor retreat in reality. No, there was no doubt. Losing Erestor was worse.

For so long had Glorfindel yearned for that sweet reunion. For so many millennia had he dreamed, planned, plotted, envisioned the pressing of lips and devouring of bodies. In those dreams they would now be ensconced in Glorfindel's bed and Erestor would be enfolded in Glorfindel's arms, sated and sleeping. Instead the delightful bedchamber had become a haunted room overnight, and the ghost of their love prowled there still. Glorfindel straightened his shoulders resolutely. He had to face Erestor again and determine why the raven-haired elf was in denial of their love, even of his life in Gondolin. What had become of the young elf, what had he faced in the intervening years that had provoked this extreme reaction? Did he resent him for dying, for leaving him alone? How had he survived? Did he not travel with Idril, with Tuor, or Mirieth? He had been well loved by them all; surely they would not have deserted his little one?

His route to Erestor's office was direct, and he marched in without knocking. He was not willing to face being barred from Erestor's presence. He was thwarted in his device for its inhabitant was not Erestor but Saelbeth, his assistant, who was laying papers on the desk in preparation for his master's perusal. He looked up, surprised.

"Lord Glorfindel! How may I help you?"

Glorfindel nodded his head in greeting. " I - I was looking for Erestor. He did not dine this morning," he stumbled over his words. "I thought that he may be - ill," he trailed off feebly. Saelbeth stared at him skeptically but made no comment on the poor explanation.

"Master Erestor breaks his fast before the sun rises, my lord. He has just finished the accounts and is now meeting with Lord Elrond." He gestured to one of two doors in the west wall, opposite the one from the library through which Glorfindel had entered the previous night. "I believe they are expecting you for your first daily report?" he ended gently.

Glorfindel nodded numbly. He had forgotten the meeting that had been mentioned during that ill-fated discussion of the night before. Now he had to face Erestor, not alone as he had wished, but in the presence of the Lord of Imladris. Steeling himself, Glorfindel followed Saelbeth through the indicated door. He was a proud elf, and would not reveal his grief to this descendant of kings.

Elrond was seated at his desk in his office, a spacious room which was obviously a place of work. Yet there was plenty of adornment in the chamber to personalize it as Elrond’s. Its walls were covered in ceremonial knives, ancient paintings and a silken banner which had obviously seen the blood-drenched face of a battlefield. The ornaments bore testimony to the occupant's valiant past as Herald to the late King of Lindon, the High-King Ereinion Gil-galad.

The two elves within stood to greet him. Elrond rose from behind his desk, a welcoming smile upon his face. Erestor hesitantly met his gaze and Glorfindel suppressed an exclamation when he caught a glimpse of the depth of the sadness in those chocolate-brown orbs. It was but a moment, but a moment when a recognition of the pain he had caused the golden lord flashed through Erestor's expressive eyes. Then the eyes lowered and the counsellor resumed his seat. Glorfindel took the empty one beside Erestor, moving his chair slightly closer to the dark elf, ignoring the nervous look he shot him.

"Lord Elrond, I must thank you once again for the care that you and your wife bestowed upon myself last night, and I must apologise for the disturbance I caused," he said quietly. Elrond hurried to reassure him.

"We only wish for you to make a comfortable home here, without fear or worry. You are a member of our community and, I hope, will regard yourself as one of my own family. For indeed, you paid the ultimate price to save my father and grandparents. I would be remiss in the extreme if I could not repay even a small amount of that debt with my skill as a healer." Elrond's words rang with great sincerity and feeling, and Glorfindel inclined his head in acknowledgement.

The conversation turned to his return and the intentions of the Valar in sending him forth in his renewed body.

"Times are darkening, my lord," said Glorfindel. "During my stay in the Havens and prior to that in Valinor, I was instructed in events which have occurred in the time since I - died." The slight twinge in Erestor's bearing at those words was barely noticeable, and the golden lord registered it wonderingly, hoping that it meant that his pen-vuin was not totally cut off from him. Glorfindel chose to leave it for the present, and continued. "The Darkness *will* arise again and so I was told that I would play a part. In preparation for that event I have been sent to offer you my services, that I may become better acquainted with the world as it is now and aid in its defenses against the Dark Lord."

"And do you know what part you have to play?" the dark counsellor asked softly. Glorfindel turned to look at him, but the mask was firmly in place.

"I do not know," he responded gently, "save that the deed will be perilous and fraught with danger."

The mask slipped and Erestor's eyes widened in alarm and his lips parted as if to give a cry - yet no noise escaped. Quickly the counsellor lowered his face, murmuring "I hope not too perilous, my lord. It would be too cruel to have you face Mandos a second time."

"I thank you for your concern, Master Erestor. But there are many things in life's journey which can be more painful to a soul than simple death. The loss of a love, for instance. I have faced death once, I can do so again with peace in my heart - if in doing so I have saved the one - the ones - I have loved," he ended. Glorfindel's meaning was plain and he saw the reaction in the dark elf, a brief closure of eyes in pain at the thought of the death of an elf.....

Elrond was confused at the drama being played before him. There was an obvious tension between his counsellor and his new seneschal but considering they had met for the first time only a day before he did not understand the scenario. He knew his old friend better than any other, and he could sense a deep disturbance in him. He could not bear to see his friend so discomposed and so strove to continue the discussion.

"I think then we would best be served by utilising those tremendous skills for which you are renowned. Your depth of knowledge of sword and bow, of tactics and warfare and the leadership of men, place you in perfect position to take up the role of Seneschal of Imladris," said the dark-haired lord.

Glorfindel was pleased with this tribute and acknowledged his host’s past as a warrior in his response.

"I am honoured by your confidence in me and I am delighted to accept. I hope to serve you well. What I know of your own skills I gleaned from Cķrdan, and I believe your weapon of choice was the sword? It is mine also, though I can wield most weapons with some skill." He paused. "I once had an apprentice who showed some promise with the knives. I wish I knew how he had fared."

Sharp sapphire eyes watched for but got no response from his near neighbour, but Elrond spoke up enthusiastically.

"Ai, there is a master of blades here amongst us in Master Erestor. He is the finest wielder of the knives in elvendom in my estimation, as well as being a formidable warrior in all other fields. He was fearsome to witness at the Battle of Dagorlad, eh Erestor?"

Ignoring Glorfindel’s wide-eyed stare Erestor bowed his head in acknowledgement to his lord.

"You - a warrior?" Glorfindel choked. Ai, when he thought of all the times he and Ecthelion had cursed his ward for abandoning the sparring ring for the library…

"Oh, Erestor may be a scholar now and indeed he was tutor to both myself and my brother Elros, even past our majority, but he was the only scholar I knew who practiced regularly on the training grounds. He sought the most skilled of warriors, trained in sword and bow and knife, learning from his mistakes until indeed, the warriors began to turn to him to hone their skills. He is still the only elf I trust to give me a good workout. Perhaps you would like to cross blades with him Glorfindel? I am sure Erestor would not mind."

Glorfindel guessed by the straightened posture of the elf beside him that Erestor was uncomfortable with the testimonial and did not welcome Elrond’s offer on his behalf. However Erestor simply inclined his head, not looking at Glorfindel.

"I am at the seneschal’s disposal," he murmured.

In no way was Glorfindel going to let this opportunity slip by. Erestor, a warrior? This was a great surprise, and he longed to see how his ward had fared.

"Very well. I wish to take up my duties as soon as possible, but perhaps I could come to your office after this meeting to arrange a time?"

Erestor finally turned to face him, the calm mask firmly in place once again. "I have many meetings today, but I will be free before breakfast tomorrow, say, at sunrise? I would not delay you by requiring a visit to my office without necessity."

"Ah, but there are many other things I would like to discuss with you, dear counselor," replied Glorfindel. Oh, yes, many things - like love, and its denial…

Erestor did not reply, but Glorfindel had no doubt that Erestor knew to what things he referred. When the meeting drew to a close Glorfindel stood to follow him. The black robes whispered along the floor as the raven-haired elf crossed to the door to his office. The poise and elegance in his posture sparked a flood of desire in the seneschal, a physical reaction to the presence of the one who had always been in his heart. Erestor was*his*, his beauty, his love, his passionate pen-neth. He had to find the reason for his reticence so that he could recapture the elf, without whom he doubted he could live. On entering the office Glorfindel closed the door so that Elrond would not hear them, but was annoyed to see that the office was not empty - Saelbeth awaited them.

Erestor turned to Glorfindel. "I am sure Saelbeth has many items for my attention. Perhaps if you wished to return at a later time…?"

Glorfindel grinned. He was not going to be so easily dismissed. "Not at all, Master Erestor. I will wait. I am a patient elf."

A flash of irritation crossed Erestor's visage in the face of such persistence but he gave no other visible sign. Instead he started to discuss arrangements, letters and queries with his assistant. Glorfindel watched as the slim hand dipped a black-feathered quill into the heavy crystal inkwell, fascinated by the elegant sweep of the pen stroke across the cream parchment. Would that that hand was upon him…

Glorfindel took the opportunity to look around the office. There had been no time and he had had no inclination to peruse the office in the dim light of the previous night. Now he searched for clues to this changed Erestor, this obviously efficient, cool and respected ellon who, as Elrond had said himself, ran Imladris. The room was a haven of order and symmetry. It's shelves were neat, the papers stamped, noted and filed in precise order. There was little of the personal relics that he had seen in Elrond's office. There was but one picture upon the wall, a painting of a black horse running wild and free across an open plain, a blue lake and distant high mountains visible in the background. Glorfindel's heart clenched when he saw it, for it was a scene he recognized well - the Plains of Tumladen, where so often he had ridden in joy and happiness with Erestor. That the horse was Hirnīn he had no doubt, for Erestor had loved him greatly, being his first true mount.

He rested his eyes once more upon Erestor, taking in the controlled and efficient nature of the dark elf. His voice was measured, his tone sure, his control complete. This was his element, this was his world. For whatever reason he had eschewed his past, he had made for himself a present where power was at his fingertips yet was wielded only in the name of his lord - his new lord. Elrond. As he watched the discussion was completed and Saelbeth, after bowing to the new seneschal, retreated to his office to carry out the tasks laid upon him. Erestor too retreated, standing behind the wide mahogany desk, using it as a shield between them. A wall which Glorfindel had to try to break down. He looked at Erestor, wondering who would speak first, holding the other elf's gaze firmly, allowing no further withdrawal.

"So," he said finally, "you are now Erestor of Lindon. Tell me *Erestor of Lindon*, what terrible thing did I do to you that you have renounced our pledge entirely? For I came back to Middle Earth to search for you, to fulfill that pledge so that we would join together in the union of our love and our souls. What hurt did I lay upon you that you have rejected me so completely? Tell me Erestor, so that I may make amends and turn your heart towards me once more. For without your love I cannot go forth. Without your love I am nothing."

The plea was extreme, it was from his soul and in pouring forth his words, he poured forth the agony which had encompassed him the night before. Surely his pen-neth would not hold him at bay upon hearing the honesty in his voice? The dark elf looked at him squarely.

"I grieve for you my lord, do not doubt that, yet I must reiterate - I am not Erestor of Gondolin." He hesitated, lowering his gaze, breaking the connection with the golden lord. The next words could barely be heard. "The Erestor you knew was surely worthy of your love and devotion for I see that it was great. I am a different elf. My life started in Lindon. I acknowledge no other life before that…." He paused once more, before lifting his head to complete his speech. His eyes glistened. "Erestor of Gondolin is dead, my lord."

Glorfindel gasped, not believing what he had heard. "No, no, meleth! Whatever happened, whatever has turned you from me - please, it can be mended. Le melin, Erestor! I am returned. You don't have to be alone anymore."

He moved to circle the desk, to take Erestor in his arms but the dark elf straightened, irritation flashing in his eyes, determination evident in his posture.

"Hold my lord! As I have spoken, so shall it remains! I will brook no further attempt on your part to pursue this matter against my will. I have told you and I tell you again, I am Erestor of Lindon and I hold to my word!"

This was the Chief Counsellor. This was cold, calm elf that the twins had spoken of, this was the voice and position and frontage he assumed when he was to be obeyed. Glorfindel felt the determination in those words and read the resolution therein. Only he had chosen the wrong elf to practice those skills upon. He felt fury rise that his pen-neth, his *ward*, would confront him in this way. He too had his limits and his temper rose. He moved towards Erestor, brushing his lips against his love's cheek as he spoke into that sweet pointed ear. His own voice was harsh, cold in the pain of another rejection.

"I will not accept this, Erestor. I faced Salgant and Turgon to rescue you from abuse; I faced restrictions so tight that kissing you *once* as a lover broke my oath; and upon the heights of Cirith Thoronath I faced pain and torment and burning flesh, just to keep you safe. I have lived my life for you, and I have died for you, and I have challenged the Valar for you. I will *not* accept that I have lost you! You are mine, Erestor, now and forever, and no matter how long it takes I will have your love once more!"

With that he turned and marched towards the door. As he placed his hand upon the lever, he turned again to the dark advisor.

"Tomorrow morning, at sunrise in the training grounds. I will see you there!"




Saelbeth was a discreet elf. One had to be, to be the personal assistant to Master Erestor for the papers that crossed his desk, the discussions that were held in his office, the secrets that were entrusted to the dark elf were all witnessed by Saelbeth. Master Erestor trusted him, and he would never betray that trust. So when voices began to float through the heavy, closed door, he shut his ears to them. The tension between his employer and the new seneschal had been obvious but again, it was not in his nature to pry. When the voices became raised he did not flinch but simply bent over his work. Master Erestor did not hesitate to use cutting words when patient reason did not accomplish his objective. Nor did the slam of the door cause any discernable change in the assistant. After all, both Master Erestor and Lord Elrond knew full well how to infuriate as well as placate.

When the resounding crash came, Saelbeth leapt in alarm. *That* he had never heard before! Swift steps brought him to the door in seconds and he flung it open to find Master Erestor calmly gathering his papers together. Confused, Saelbeth stared at him, then saw the huge ink stain splattered over one cream wall. Beneath the stain, on the floor, was the shattered debris of the crystal inkwell. The shards were small, evidence of great force having been used to smash the heavy item. Whoever had thrown it was an elf of great strength. Whoever had caused such a throw was a elf capable of great provocation.

Master Erestor looked up. "Ah, Saelbeth," he said evenly. "There has been a slight accident. Please have the servants clean it up before I return from the meeting with the representatives from Bree." And with that Master Erestor glided gently from the room, leaving a bemused and admiring assistant.


The remainder of the day was taken up with becoming familiar with his post and his troops. In his work Glorfindel could find release of his frustration and he leant all his energy into the ordinances of his office. He reviewed the warriors, visited the barracks and surveyed his new office in the outer courtyard. The walls of his office were covered with fine and extensive maps of the boundaries of Imladris and the patrol routes required. The many records of patrols, warriors, weapons and supplies were in cabinets positioned around the room. Glorfindel grimaced. Documentation was never his forte, even when he had ruled a House of Gondolin. He regarded it as a necessary evil, that was all. He smiled feebly in remembrance of a young elf who had quietly taken over some of those duties for him as he had grown towards his majority. He stroked the polished desk, remembering another desk, long ago. How he had been tempted, how often had he been tempted to lift and lay that elf upon that desk, to kiss him, to love him, to cherish him there and then….

The flat of his hand came down upon the desk top. He would not surrender. He would not give in. He needed that elf so much - and that elf needed him.





Glorfindel dressed with care the next morning. Following his bath he took one of the bottles of oil arranged in his bathing chamber for his use. It was sandelwood, a scent he had always favoured and one Erestor was sure to recognize. He took care to rub it well onto his torso and arms, bringing up a sheen on his firm muscles. He noticed once again a fine lattice of silver lines on his body, evidence of scars gained in battles in his previous life. When he had been reborn he had commented on them and had been informed by Varda that their placement was in remembrance of his heroic acts. They were not unattractive and did not cause discomfort so Glorfindel had dismissed them from his mind.

A quick swipe of the oil through his hair then a firm brush brought the golden locks to a shimmering brightness, restrained only by side warrior braids and a twist of leather to hold back the herring-bone plait from his face. Form-fitting leather leggings would show strong thigh muscles, and boots of a matching hue were added to a crisp white linen shirt fastened only with laces at the front and on the cuffs. He viewed himself critically. If he could not appeal to Erestor's mind then he would take what advantage he could and seduce his body. They had never sparred alone in Gondolin, always with Ecthelion or the other warriors. Even in company Erestor had always found it difficult not to show his admiration and desire when he saw Glorfindel in full warrior mode. A good warrior used all the weapons at his disposal -and Glorfindel was one of the best.

The golden lord collected his sword and knives. The weapons had been given to him by Tulkas himself, and were finely-balanced and well honed. The corridors of the Last Homely House were lightly traversed at this time of the morning and his passage was swift to the training ground to the rear of the building. The grounds were divided into sections for the many different disciplines of a warrior. The archery ranges were furthest from the house, set in glades amongst the trees so that the forest could be used for some of the more advanced training. The sparring rings, large and small, were nearer and many had benches or ranks of seats to accommodate spectators in training or for tournaments. The one Erestor had chosen was a smaller, more secluded one, flanked by high bushes. The advisor awaited him.

Erestor too had dressed with care - with care to be as unrevealing as possible. No form-fitting leggings for him, but wide-legged black pants, the toes of his black boots barely showing from under the hems. The black silk shirt was high-necked and long-sleeved, the voluminous gathers shrouding his slim upper body. Raven hair was tightly bound into one long braid, allowing the dark elf easy access to the cream-handled knives strapped onto his back. His sword hung in his hand, gleaming in the pale morning light.

As Glorfindel stepped forward to greet him a stray shaft of sunlight shone through the trees onto the warrior elf, turning golden beauty into an unbelievable vision of perfection. He heard Erestor choke back a gasp and he knew that his care in dressing had had the desired effect. Erestor’s eyes were wide and today Glorfindel could see the chocolate-brown tints he was so familiar with turn warm in appreciation. His own loins grew warm at the sight of his beloved’s reaction. By the end of this session, Erestor would be his again. Glorfindel bowed to his sparring partner.

"Counsellor, I give you greeting of a good morning."

Erestor returned the bow and the greeting. "Mae govannen, Lord Seneschal."

"How shall we start? I thought after a little warm up, the sword then the knives?"

Erestor nodded in agreement and, as he had already been through his preparatory exercises, he stood back to let Glorfindel take the field.

Glorfindel made every stretch count, extending his muscles, holding his turns, swinging the sword through the salutations of the morning with poise and ease. He could feel Erestor's eyes upon him, and knew that the advisor watched him in rapt attention. Just the thought of the result of the sight upon Erestor made his own member twitch and grow in anticipation.

The moment of sparring arrived and the elves made their formal salute. Glorfindel took up an attacking stance but was not surprised when Erestor blocked him with ease. He swung again, his sword forming a large arc in its sweep and he was delighted to see the skill and grace with which Erestor turned to meet his blade. Lunge, cross, parry, attack - the strokes were swift and even as the swordplay continued and the elves took measure of the other’s proficiency. The pace began to quicken and soon both were panting, their breath forming trails of vapour in the crisp morning air. The quickened breaths were not due to fatigue or the sweat of exertion but of need, as the heat of desire swept through them. As the metal swords clashed so other swords engorged. Eyes darkened as they met in desire, challenge given and challenge acknowledged, if not accepted. Glorfindel felt his shirt clinging to his torso, knowing that it outlined his muscular frame. In turn he appraised the silk shirt of his opponent, following the lithe muscles as they flexed beneath the slim layer. The connection between the two elves was such that their senses were heightened - a lick of the lips by one was felt by the other as a sensual tongue upon salty flesh; a thrust of the arm was echoed by a pressure of strained leggings upon swollen arousal.

Glorfindel was elated. His strategy was working. Erestor was responding to that most basic of emotions - lust - and if he, Glorfindel, could increase the desire, bring to the boil the fervor which had been building over the session then perhaps that lust could release the love he knew was within. Glorfindel knew that *he* needed release for he was as a wound coil, needing to unleash his passion within the elf of his heart. At a natural break in the conflict he addressed his dark love.

"You are a warrior indeed, Erestor of Lindon, and a truly worthy opponent. You seem flushed, as hot and - breathless - as I. Perhaps we should divest ourselves of at least our shirts so that we can continue with the knives?"

So innocuous, so innocently said, yet the mellifluous voice was laced in seduction and glamour. The raven-haired elf could only comply in his enthrallment. Glorfindel approached the counsellor, his nimble fingers undoing the bindings of the knife harness. He turned and lay them neatly on the ground. He noted that they were not the ones Ecthelion had gifted upon his ward but then, if Erestor had fought in as many battles as Elrond had claimed those knives would surely have been retired now. He turned back to Erestor and saw that the dark elf had remained still, as if spell-bound.

"May I?" Without waiting for an answer Glorfindel began to unfasten the buttons on the black silk shirt, his dexterous fingers slipping each one free slowly, savouring each inch of creamy skin that was revealed. Erestor closed his eyes, trembling beneath the intimate gaze, the onslaught of desire which inflamed him. Millennia of resolve seemed to melt in moments and Erestor could feel himself swaying into the tender touch of those calloused fingers on his flesh.

Glorfindel felt that sway but withheld any indication of triumph. The shirt was now open fully and his eyes devoured the lightly-defined muscles, the roseate teats, the trickles of perspiration running down the chest. As tempted as he was to stroke and tease, lick and suck the proud nipples he reined himself in and instead focussed on removing the black shirt from the slender body. Eyes still closed, Erestor's lips opened to allow an exhalation to ensue, his increased respiration revealing his hunger for more. Over the shoulders, down the arms Glorfindel's fingers slid and the sword that was held in the advisor's hand slipped unnoticed from lax fingers as Erestor arched into the touch. A final twist and the material was free and fluttered gently to the ground.

"My turn."

Erestor opened his eyes, unsure of the meaning of the statement, his brain unable to process the words through the fog of lust and desire. Sapphire eyes gestured to the ties on the white shirt and as if in a trance Erestor's fingers fumbled at the knots. They released swiftly, uncovering the golden lord's frame to his gaze. First one then the other of the cuff laces were untied. Erestor's hand rose once more to the open shirt and rested on the warm flesh. Fingers splayed, he moved his hand to cover the area over the seneschal's heart, causing a groan to emanate from deep within Glorfindel's throat.

"It beats." The words were filled with wonder, with hesitant hope. They needed no explanation. Glorfindel nodded.

"I live again, Erestor." He bit back declarations which longed to burst forth, knowing that it was yet too soon.

"You are here. Reborn." Almost a sob in those soft words.

"Aye." Glorfindel could sense that this was a revelation, a realization not until now truly understood. Erestor had seen, but had not believed. The warrior gestured to his shirt. "I should remove this." He clasped the hem, and drew it over his head in one movement. Golden skin was revealed, the silver marks as gentle highlights of where his scars had been. Erestor's fingers reached out to trace them, fingertips a hair's-breath from touching them.

"Evidence of my warrior life, retained at the will of the Valar," Glorfindel murmured.

"They shine like mithril."

No longer able to restrain himself, Erestor leant forward to press his lips to one of the scars, hearing Glorfindel hiss at the softness of the kiss. Erestor looked up, searching Glorfindel's face and saw love and hope and need upon that beloved face.

"Glorfindel...?" One word but it conveyed the ache of a heart that had not dared to hope, a longing that centuries of solitude had only nurtured, and a lifetime of self-loathing and self-flagellation. A tear trickled down Erestor's cheek, and Glorfindel lift his hand to cradle Erestor's soft cheek, his large thumb brushing that tear away. Though he longed to pull his pen-neth into his arms and claim him, he felt that Erestor needed a moment to compose himself, a moment to fully comprehend that his heart’s mate had returned and that his soul could be completed.

"Let me dispose of this, ind nīn." He turned away, turned his back to Erestor, folding the shirt, bending to lay it upon the unused knives.


Erestor released a strangled cry, of revulsion and fear, of remembered pain brought into the here and now. The advisor stumbled back and Glorfindel turned, shocked to see sheer terror upon his

love's face.

"Meleth! What is wrong?"

Erestor swiftly backed away, forgetting his shirt, neglecting his weapons in his overwhelming need to flee from that which had horrified him.

"I am not your love!" he gasped, voice rampant with fear. "I cannot be your love - ever! I am Erestor of Lindon. I am Erestor of Lindon!"

The dark elf ran, ran as if a demon was behind him, ran to escape the trap he had so nearly fallen into. Ran to escape his own demons - but could not.

The elf who was left behind bellowed a roar, falling to his knees as tears flooded down his face at the collapse of his hopes when so near to completion, his body so near to release, his Erestor so nearly in his arms.

"Meleth nīn!"

The shout resounded through the forest and the woodland creatures quaked at hearing the wounded beast sound forth his pain. Elves within hearing also heard the scream.

And wept for the loss within the tormented cry.




(with help from Nienna and Andrannath)

pen-vuin - dear one

pen-neth - little one

meleth - love

Le melin - I love you

ind nīn - my heart

Chapter 9





A liquor of potent heat and depth brewed in Imladris. A reviver of spirits, succour to those on long journeys in the cold, amongst the snowy heights of the Misty Mountains. Revitalisation in a bottle.

Glorfindel drowned in it.

Every night.

Without fail.

It became his friend, his need - though he longed for his other need. He could have refrained - but he didn’t want to. Each evening after the dinner, a dinner in which he took no pleasure because he could taste nothing in his sense-starved existence, he went to the cellars. To greet his new friend. Because the other friend, his other lover, would not greet him. Would not face him. Would not love him. From dusk till dawn he indulged, snatching sleep where he could and when he could. He consumed the potions Elrond had given him not to remove his fearsome dreams, but to assuage his waking nightmare.

During daylight hours Glorfindel did not indulge. He had been too long a warrior, too long a lord to evade his responsibilities and his duties. They were all that were left to him; his weapons, his warriors, his men. He attended every training session, he personally reviewed every patrol that left the compound. He watched and he commented, praising where he found strength, correcting where he found error but always with a view to the welfare of his men. He wrote his reports, he attended meetings, he took his turn as the leader of his patrol, guarding the boundaries of Imladris with unparalleled fervour. If sometimes he seemed dimmed, depressed, out-of-sorts then Andrann, his captain and second in command, made no comment. Her loyalty was total, and she would never betray him. On patrol he abstained for the lives of his men he valued above all things - save one. In the role of seneschal he was superb. All the warriors fought to gain his attention, his approval. He was their shining lord and he lived for them.

He certainly did not live for Erestor. For Erestor would not let him.

Since the end of the fight on only his second morning in his new home, the home he had to live in for untold years ahead, Erestor would not greet him. He had cut himself off completely. His door stayed closed, his eyes averted whenever the golden lord came into view. If Glorfindel entered a room Erestor left; if he walked down a corridor and the dark counsellor drew near then the black-clad figure turned aside. Glorfindel was alone.

He made many attempts to pass the door of Erestor’s office but always it was barred, either physically by the strong bolt within or by Saelbeth’s prowling presence. He wanted, needed to ask Erestor about that dreadful morning, about the reason his love had fled from him in such a wild and terrified manner but the dark elf would allow no private talk whatsoever. Glorfindel was a strong, determined ellon who normally would let nothing get in the way of his objectives. He had not reckoned on Erestor’s strength of will and sheer stubbornness. He was his malleable pen-neth no more.

Only in formal meetings with Elrond or in the full counsel of Imladris did Glorfindel have a chance to see his beautiful pen-neth at close quarters, if not to speak to him. His eyes devoured that black-draped form, never leaving that slim figure, those sinuous hands, those soft rose-red lips. The other participants in those meetings tried not to look at the golden lord in their embarrassment, for they sensed the desire in that glare and perceived it only as a lust unfulfilled. Glorfindel had learned that Erestor was much hunted for his seductive beauty by the elves inhabiting the dwelling but that experience over the centuries had taught them that their desire was hopeless and that Erestor was unresponsive. This did not stop the transient visitors to the realm from attempting to attract his attention, but their approaches were unwanted and rejected gently by the counsellor. It was Glorfindel’s only comfort.

Glorfindel learned all the secret places of Imladris, all the corridors, balconies, gardens where he might hide to discreetly observe his dark beauty. From the corner of one portico he could see through the window to watch Erestor in Elrond’s office, in deep discussion over policies and provisions; on a walkway overlooking the study he saw him seated next to Elrohir and Elladan as they reviewed their daily lessons; next the corner of the courtyard he viewed him bidding farewell to departing travellers. Every glimpse of the counsellor was a torment, but each encounter was treasured by the lonely heart. In a unexpected way it had given him an insight into his lost love’s new life. He saw the depth of respect in which Erestor was held, the unassuming way in which the tasks laid upon his slim shoulders were accomplished; accurately, effectively, completely. He revelled in the overheard comments of the other Rivendell elves, in their admiration for the devotion and zeal of this gentle counsellor in his service to their lord.

It did not stop the weeping of his heart.




The Lord of Imladris was alarmed. It had been only a few months since the reborn lord’s arrival and yet it seemed that the Gondolin warrior was determined to drink himself back to Nįmo’s Halls. The cause seemed to be the discord which had been ever present between the Chief Counsellor and the Seneschal - but why Elrond could not imagine. Glorfindel did not seem to want the rift and had indeed, to Elrond’s knowledge, had tried to bridge it by overtures of friendship and amity towards Erestor. These had been rejected totally by the dark-haired elf. The tension was evident and causing whispered talk through the halls of the Last Homely House.

He decided to try to broach the subject with his long-time friend first. Erestor was dismissive of his concern.

"The seneschal and I have little in common, therefore I have no need for extraneous speech with him."

"It is not just extraneous speech, it is *any* speech! I have seen you, Erestor - you will not speak to him. Rather you will refer him to one of your assistants or carry on a dialogue through a third person before you will face him directly. You are as cold as Caradhras to him, mellon- nīn. What has he done to alienate you so in the short time he has been here?"

‘Lived’ was an answer Erestor could have given him, or ‘Loved me’. Instead he lifted his head and faced his lord directly, speaking in measured tones.

"If you wish to command me, hir nīn, then I will converse with the seneschal."

Elrond sighed in exasperation. "I don’t wish to command you, old friend. I just thought -" Erestor raised an eyebrow expectantly. Elrond shook his head in defeat. "Never mind." He tried a different tack.

"His nightmares have worsened," he said, a healer’s eye trained upon Erestor. Ah, it was there. A tightening of the lips and a quick blink of the eyes.

"So I have heard."

"He dreams of a balrog."

No response.

"He dreams of his death."


"Of the deaths of his friends. Of those he loved." Erestor finally turned to face Elrond.

"Probably Ecthelion," he said quietly.

"Why Ecthelion?" asked Elrond. "All the histories speak of him being a high-ranking lord, but they do not mention any other relationship."

Erestor shrugged. "There are transcripts of interviews with survivors. Anecdotes not confirmed. Some intimate they were close. They were both warriors, both heroes." He paused, but Elrond did not notice the hesitation or the sadness upon Erestor’s face, for he was reviewing in his mind the histories that had been written of that time. Erestor’s voice was soft when he spoke once more. "He was certainly an elf worthy of being Glorfindel’s - friend. Worthier than most."

Elrond nodded, eyes distant in contemplation. "I have heard similar interpretations." He was silent as he reflected upon puzzling information he had but recently heard - news which if he could but interpret, might lay clues as to Erestor’s attitude towards the reborn elf. Looking up at his friend he placed a bright smile on his face. "By the way, the twins came to me yesterday. I believe you were teaching them of the Fall of Gondolin. It seems our golden lord has sparked an interest in history."

Erestor smiled gently at the thought of the enthusiastic boys and their fierce questioning at their lessons of the day before.

"When heroics, battles, balrogs and bravery combine, they are most willing to learn. I only wish that they would take more interest in the admittedly convoluted families of the elves of the First Awakening, or the politics of the realms of Men. Such fine details do not appeal to such budding warriors - as I well remember!"

Elrond joined in his laughter, recognising in the slight reference the teaching that this elf had bestowed on other reluctant twins. He returned to the subject in hand.

"The boys were telling me of the number of balrogs defeated by the Lords of the Hidden City, and repeated what you had once told me - that Glorfindel had killed three balrogs. Yet since you taught me that I have had many years to research this myself. The histories only mention one, the one on the slopes of Cirith Thoronath. The one that killed him."

Erestor flinched at those words but tried to divert his lord. "It is as I said of Ecthelion - anecdotal. I did tell this to the boys," he said earnestly. "I would not be so inaccurate as to claim it as truth."

Elrond nodded, but was not distracted. "Yes, but as I said, I too have read those transcripts. Not once is that information included. Where did *you* hear it, my friend?" He leaned forward, trying to discern any changes upon Erestor’s countenance, eager for any revelations which may come. He was disappointed.

"My information came from one who was there - one who had been in the Great Market during the fighting." Erestor bent his head, his voice lowering in remembered pain. "He died shortly after telling me of this. There was no one else to question, nor did I have any opportunity to….further my investigations."

Elrond reached out a hand to his friend. "Erestor, are you all right? You seem upset."

Erestor smiled weakly, blinking away unbidden tears. "The one who told me was someone who was very - dear - to me."

Elrond squeezed the hand that clutched his own. "You still mourn his loss," he said simply. Erestor nodded, briskly wiping away the solitary tear that had escaped.

"More than you could ever believe."

The pain that was so evident in Erestor’s eyes caught at Elrond’s heart and compassionate nature and he gathered the grieving elf to him, offering his comfort and understanding. The two elves sat in reflective silence for some time, each remembering those they had lost in their lives, and praying for their peace and tranquillity in Mandos’ Halls.




Glorfindel was no easier to approach. The golden-haired elf did not want to speak of his relationship - his very difficult relationship - with the dark-haired advisor.

"I am well, Elrond. There is no need to watch me so closely."

Elrond laughed. "I didn’t know that I was *that* obvious! I must refine my methods, else Celebrķan will say that I am not doing my job correctly." He sobered, something he wished Glorfindel would do. "Nevertheless my friend, your pain is so obvious that it does not need a trained eye to see how you grieve."

Glorfindel looked down onto the rug in front of Elrond’s desk. It was rich in colour and depth, reflecting the tastes of this Lord of Imladris. Elrond was a very complex elf, a possible result of his mixed heritage and convoluted upbringing. Of edhil, human and Maian blood, he and his twin brother had been born at the Mouths of Sirķon; had been captured and cared for by two of the sons of Fėanor when their home was invaded; then released to the ward-ship of Cķrdan and Gil-Galad to dwell in Lindon. As inheritors of royal blood from both parents, the two Peredhil had received a commensurate education and were thus knowledgeable beyond most. They had used this knowledge to make their Choice at the end of the War of Wrath. The pain that Elrond would have felt in the resulting and ultimate separation from his twin would have been immense. Perhaps it was from this point, or from the vile and vast experience of horrendous conflicts and the pain therein, that Elrond had turned to the healing arts. Arts which he had now chosen to practise on Glorfindel.

"My pain is my own, Elrond," the golden lord reiterated. "I thank you for your concern - but I do not need it."

The sceptical stare said it all, but Elrond did not speak. He sat silently, waiting in the hope that Glorfindel would use the moment to organise his thoughts and pain - and speak of them. His patience was rewarded.

"If my pain is obvious then it is because of my losses. I lost my city, my home, my king, my life - and my lover. So now if you are satisfied…" The large elf made as if to rise but was stopped short at Elrond’s next words.

"He must have been very special."

The pain was like a huge wave, swamping him; making him inhale sharply to relieve the stabbing at his heart. Glorfindel tried to dissemble.

"Who do you mean?"

"Your lover. You place him last in your sentence - yet I sense that he was first in your thoughts."

Yes, he was ever in Glorfindel’s thoughts. But he wasn’t going to tell Elrond that.

"Why do you say he? What do your history books say about my private life? Or are you delving blindly into my past in an unwanted attempt to give me counsel? I need it not, my Lord Elrond!"

Elrond could feel the pain rolling from the distraught elf. Outwardly Glorfindel seemed to be in control but the Peredhel could sense that the control was paper-thin. He tried to sooth the warrior.

"It was - suggested - to me that your loved one was male by someone who is very knowledgeable of the annals of history. I am sorry if I upset you. Please, won’t you be seated again?"

Glorfindel sat, wondering. He suspected that Erestor had been the source of speculation but why would the counsellor wish to involve Elrond in his denial?

"Who? Who said that my lover was male?"

"Does it matter? Why, was he wrong?" Elrond asked gently. Glorfindel shook his head, seeing no reason to lie. Yes, his lover was male - yet he had been his lover only in his dream, his beautiful, wonderful dream….

"Yes, he was special. He was my life, the keeper of my heart. My soulmate. My betrothed." He closed his eyes, visualising Erestor as he had been on the morning of his begetting day - that last, sweet morning. His voice trembled as he spoke. "He had a delight in life unseen in any other - bright, he was a bright spirit. And lively! I can see him now, riding wildly across the plains of Tumladen, shouting for the joy of the day, his hair as wild and as free as he was. His laughter was like the sparkles in the cascades, dancing, jumping, entrancing. He -" a sob, "-he fit perfectly in my arms. My perfect, enchanting, darling E -"

He broke off. He could say no more lest he revealed all in his despair. Wrapping his arms around his waist in a faint hope of self-comfort, Glorfindel wept as he rocked back and forth in the pain of the loss; the pain of that morning in the forest, when his love had fled from him.

Already he had given too much away. As deeply as he had been hurt by Erestor’s behaviour in these past few months he still loved him, still adored him. He would keep his own counsel and would not betray him to Elrond. After all these months, all his attempts, all his lonely tormented nights, Glorfindel was losing hope that Erestor would return to him. But between his work - and the miruvor - he would survive. He had to. Nįmo would not let him fade for he had a role, a purpose yet to play, and the Valar would not grant him a return to Mandos before then.

Elrond was leaning over to him, holding his hand comforting him. So perhaps it *was* Ecthelion. Glorfindel had almost said his name. The Lord of the Fountain certainly fit all the descriptions given him by the golden lord. He spoke gently to the weeping elf.

"I am so sorry, my friend. I did not mean to distress you this way. We will talk no more now, but please - I am here if you ever wish for a friendly ear." He paused. " I know that you have been unhappy here since your arrival. I only wished to find a way to lessen your burden, to help you to make friends and become more - part of our community. But if you do not wish to talk…."

Glorfindel nodded bleakly, but realised that he wanted to talk. Or rather that he wanted Elrond to talk. He needed find out what had happened to Erestor that had made his beloved spurn him so. Elrond was his friend, had been his friend for an Age. Perhaps he had some insight into the part of Erestor’s life he had missed.

"Elrond, what know you of Erestor? Who is he?"

Elrond started. He had not expected *that* question after such a gruelling confession. Why on Arda was Glorfindel so interested in his counsellor? What was the animosity that arose there, at least on Erestor’s part?

"Why do you want to know?" he asked in concern.

Glorfindel looked directly at Elrond, deciding that it was time to do that which he had not wished to do. He was going to lie through his teeth.

"My interest in Erestor is because - he reminds me so of my lost love. I only wished to befriend him, to have converse with him to ease my soul. He seems to have taken my interest in the wrong way and now will not talk to me at all. It hurts to see one who is so like my love - spurn my… interest."

Elrond was unsure for he could sense deception in the elf, but he saw no reason to withhold simple information. He cast his mind back, remembering those days with warmth.

"I met Erestor when my brother and I arrived in Lindon after the War of Wrath, when we were freed from the captive attentions of Maglor and Maedhros. Although we were well educated by the brothers our viewpoints were somewhat skewed by their prejudices. Erestor was a scribe in Gil-galad’s new court in Lindon. From the little Erestor has told me, and from what I heard from Gil-Galad, Erestor had been a refugee of Nargothrond. He and his family wandered near the remains of Nevrast trying to escape the attentions of Melkor’s troops. Erestor was still a minor at the time of the rout, and had apparently been badly hurt during the destruction of Nargothrond. He was fortunately nursed back to health by his mother, and brother and sister, but when they removed to the Mouths of Sirion with the mass of fleeing elves from the fall of Doriath and Gondolin, Erestor remained in Lindon."

Glorfindel nodded, knowing that their refugee status came of Gondolin, not Nargothrond. He was upset to hear that Erestor had been hurt. In what way? Oh, that he could comfort his beautiful darling. He hung on Elrond’s every word, like a man who is dying of thirst seeks for every drop of moisture.

"Erestor remained," Elrond continued, "working as a stable-hand until he took up a position with Ereinion’s household. His knowledge and skill with a pen were discovered by accident one day and the Master of Horse, being no mean elf, could not in all conscience neglect one of such education and learning. He introduced him to the Chief Scribe and the rest quickly followed. Being of an age with my brother and I, Ereinion assigned him as our companion, tutor and soon friend. We came to love him greatly and when the time came to found Imladris I knew that I could find no one better to help me in its building. He was at my side during every trial, every battle, every joy. He is one of the most consummate ellons I know - scribe, horsemaster, warrior. And so he is as he has always been, a true friend and one of the most rounded elves I have ever know. He is a true marvel to me, Glorfindel. But be warned - he has ever been a solitary elf. That is why he has not responded to your entreaties. He too had a love, a love who died. A love he still mourns. If you approach him as a suitor he *will* reject you. Be more circumspect in your endeavours, mellon- nīn, and you may find the way to become his friend, even if nothing more."

His mother, sister and brother. Mirieth, Dķwen and - one of Mirieth’s sons? Were they still alive? Had they died, or left in the return of the Eldar to Valinor at the end of the First Age? If he could meet with them, talk to them. Discover what had happened… At least Erestor had not been alone. His poor little love…

" I thank you, my lord. At least I now start to understand the counsellor. Perhaps this information will allow me to return to your household some of the tranquillity it deserves."

Elrond laughed. "My house has *never* been tranquil, Glorfindel! I have twin sons! Oh, and Glorfindel - thank you for your patience with my sons. They told me of the discussion that you had with them. Is it true then, that you faced three balrogs, not just the one that is recorded? The elf I mentioned earlier has said that he spoke to a trustworthy witness."

"Yes," said Glorfindel. "Though I am not surprised that it was not recorded. Not many elves escaped the Great Market, and the confusion and deep infighting was such that I doubted anyone would have remembered. We were only concerned in defending the city - and saving our skins. I only told one person - my betrothed."

A flare of sympathy shot through Elrond. "Ai!" he said sadly. "Oh, mellon- nīn, I am sorry to tell you, but I believe that your betrothed was the one who told my - friend - of your feat. He told me that your beloved died shortly afterwards."

Glorfindel smiled grimly. "Yes, I have been told reliably that my betrothed died on Cirith Thoronath at the same time I did. That he is no more. That he - " He drew his hand across his face. "Please, Elrond. Excuse me, I can speak no more. I have an - appointment."

Yes. His lover was dead. There was only a liquid lover to await him now.

Elrond seemed to sense the direction of his thoughts. "No solution was ever found at the bottom of a glass of miruvor, Glorfindel."

The golden lord nodded absently, smiling weakly. "No, but it hurts less there." He leaned towards Elrond as if to confide in him. His hollow tones and apparent despair alarmed the Peredhel.

"Do you wish to know the truth, Elrond? Do you wish to know how I really feel? Now ? Today? Here - in Imladris? I wish to the depths of Morgoth’s hells in Angband that the Valar had left me well alone in the Halls of Waiting. An eternity of grey reflection is a thousand times more preferable to the months, years, centuries of desolation that they have condemned me to. If I could choose death right now, be it by balrog’s grip, sword stroke or the elven sickness then I would choose it with joy. I hate the Valar, Elrond, for they have cheated me!" With a final snarl the imposing elf left swiftly, leaving a stunned lord behind.

And in his attempt to assimilate the desolate avowal Glorfindel had just pronounced, he realised something else, something he had never expected. A new and startling revelation.

Erestor had said that the witness he had spoken to had died shortly afterwards. Glorfindel had only spoken to one elf of his killing of the two balrogs - his beloved, who died on Cirith Thoronath. If the two were reconciled into the one and the same, then it meant that *Erestor* must have been in Gondolin when it fell! His friend, who had always sworn that he was of Lindon. Who was so secretive. Who was so pained. So who was he, truly?

Who in Arda was Erestor of Lindon?








(with help from Nienna and Andrannath)

mellon- nīn - my friend

hir nīn - my lord

edhil - elf (race)

Peredhil - half-elven

Chapter 10



The seasons had turned and the promise of spring had burgeoned into the Gates of Summer. Preparations were in full swing for the Festival of Tarnin Austa. Elrond was unsure how Glorfindel would approach this tragic day. The golden lord’s behaviour had not changed since the day of that depressing discussion and disclosure, though his more public excesses had been curbed. The miruvor supplies were still dwindling and the overall consumption had increased. However, Glorfindel had taken an interest in his twin sons, finding solace in their innocence and sweet trivialities. Their excitement at the upcoming festival was unbounded, though at their young age they would not be allowed to keep the whole vigil.

"But Ada says we may stay up a little later."

"*If* we promised not to talk."

"Or ask questions."

"Or whistle."

"Or sing."

Elladan paused, brow furrowed in dawning reflection. He raised his eyebrow in an uncanny copy of his father. "Will it be fun, ‘Ro? Really?"

Elrohir paused before launching into a positive litany. "There will be music an’ stalls an’ lights an’ - cake!"

An ‘o’ appeared on Elladan’s mouth, and he smiled again.

"Yes, and we have a long sleep the night before, then a big lunch with all our family. There will be Ada an’ Nana, an’ Lindir an’ Uncle Erestor an’ you. You will come too, Uncle Glo’fin’l, won’t you?"

Glorfindel glowed at the diminution of his name, one that the twins only used in excitement, but winced inwardly as he recalled another who had named him so.

"I will indeed, pyn-neth, if I be welcome at the table."

The elflings bounced up and down, clapping their hands with glee. The golden lord laughed at their exuberance and they laughed in return. The sheer joy caused such an escalation of merriment that all that were near turned to grin at the scene on the veranda.

In the shadows a black-clad figure smiled too, glad to see that the hurt he had caused had been somewhat assuaged by the innocence of the twins. Memories arose of similar circumstances, of a child’s happiness in the arms of the golden lord and the love found therein. The solitary figure sighed, hoping against hope that this would mark a new phase in the life of the re-born warrior. Glorfindel deserved happiness, even perhaps a new love… Tears pricked at his eyes at the thought but he allowed them no ground. He had forfeited all rights to his own fulfillment by his selfish acts. Someone else should have the chance to make the Lord of Gondolin shine forth his golden light in the act of true love. A love he had once known - but now did not deserve. One last, longing look, then Erestor turned to go back to his desk and his work - what remained of his life - hopefully unnoticed by those on the veranda.

Elven eyesight is the keenest on Arda save for the mighty eagles, and the eager eyes of elflings are much more so. Elladan sighed as he sat upon Glorfindel’s lap, snuggling against the broad chest of his protector.

"He is watching you again, Glorfindel," he said, lifting his head to try to meet the sapphire gaze. "He likes you."

"Glorfindel smiled grimly, reluctant to have this peaceful interlude brought low by sad ponderings. "I think not, Elladan. But that does not matter, because you two like me, don’t you?"

His attempt to divert the boys did not work. Elrohir looked up from where he was playing with his toy warriors.

"He does like you, really! I was drawing a picture for him and I did a picture of you and he said it was really good and asked if he could keep it. He wouldn’t do that if he didn’t like you, would he?"

Glorfindel could find no answer, save to fold his arms tighter around the child in his lap. He searched his mind frantically for a way to distract them, thinking on what would attract a child’s attention. An image of a small figure on a stallion’s broad back brought a wistful smile to his face.

"Shall we go to see my new horse, the one your adar gave to me?" he suggested. The response was immediate and in a very short time the two determined elflings had him almost at a run as they dragged him to the stables.

The stables of Imladris were large and well-stocked, for Elrond ran his own stud further up the valley. Elves had the essential empathy with horses which allowed the full personality and nature of the beast to be brought forth. There had been a mating with a Meara, a prince of horses, some generations ago as a gift from the Mearas to elvenkind. The horses of the House of Elrond still retained their noble qualities.

The golden lord beamed with delight when he beheld again the stallion he had chosen some weeks before. Although all the mounts he had been shown were excellent, this one had stood out; a proud white horse with a golden mane, so alike to his Asfaloth of the First Age. The stallion had whickered in amusement before bowing his head to Glorfindel and giving him permission to rename him.

"Hello, Asfaloth," he whispered, rubbing his broad hand along the proud head, and grinned when the horse pressed his muzzle to his tunic pockets. "Hungry again? Well I suppose you deserve a treat." He pulled forth the apples and nuts he had secreted there and gestured for the boys to do the same. Laying their offerings expertly on their outstretched palms they lifted their small hands up to the huge horse, who accepted their gifts eagerly. Glorfindel saw their delight but also saw that they had reserved some of the apples they had taken from the barrels in the kitchen.

"Are you hungry too, boys?" he asked.

"Oh no," said Elrohir. "We want to give some to Hirnīn too. Look, there he is!"

Glorfindel’s knees almost buckled at the name. He had indeed noticed the huge black stallion which occupied a nearby stall. It was a fine creature, almost perfect in presentation, and he had known that its lord must be a superb equestrian. Now he knew the identity of his rider. The boys confirmed it as they chattered on.

"Uncle Erestor loves to ride. Hirnīn is wonderful, you can touch the sky if you stand on his back," boasted Elladan, oblivious to the derisive snorts of his twin.

"Don’t be silly ‘Dan, you’ve never stood on Hirnīn’s back!" the younger twin protested, his arms folded and his face cross. Elladan brushed off the scolding.

"No, but Erestor has taken me on a ride with him!"

Elrohir snorted again. "We were *both* on his back, at the same time, and it was only as far as the Great Cascade." He turned eagerly to the golden lord, excited at sharing his accomplishments with him. "We went there for a picnic for Nana’s begetting day. Ada says we can go again at Tarnin Austa. There is a small pool at the bottom where we can swim. Well, not *right* at the bottom, Ada says that the big pool is too dangerous, but a little away. Will you come with us too, Glorfindel?"

So many invitations! Glorfindel was not surprised as he had been welcomed very quickly into the bosom of Elrond’s family. He was delighted at the rapport he had built with the two boys, so alike in looks, so different in character. Though both were bright and spirited, Elladan was the more active of the two, always longing to be involved and desperate to be included in the younger elves military training. Glorfindel had allowed him to sit on the sidelines at some of the junior classes as long as he was quiet. Quiet was not a word which could be easily applied to either twin though Elrohir, as the more studious, was the one who was allowed into Erestor’s office, drawing or writing whilst the counsellor continued with his work.

Glorfindel sighed inwardly. He had tried again to approach Erestor to discover what had frightened the advisor so on that early morning; why he had fled from the glade in such terror. At every turn he was pushed away. Recently his nightmares had worsened, undimmed by Elrond’s medicine or the miruvor. Last night it was not the balrog which had burnt the flesh from his bones or seared his eyes to sightless coals. The burns had come from pure ice and it was the ice that had been in Erestor’s eyes, and touch, and breath. He had welcomed his re-lived death last night.

As he looked at the two animated boys he realized how lucky he was that Elrond trusted him with his sons. Considering his new reliance on alcohol, Elrond could have denied him access to the twins if he had thought him a potential danger. So far he did not. He smiled at the twins’ chatter, playfully indulgent.

"…and I can ride Asfaloth!" Elladan finished enumerating his exhaustive plans. Glorfindel had not followed their discussion but guessed that the two stallions had been allotted new riders for the proposed outings.

"Only if Master Erestor and your parents agree," he warned. The lack of guile in their faces belied the plotting within.

"Oh, of course Uncle Glorfindel!"

They hurried after him as he left the stable, but the golden lord cast a glance back at the black stallion - and an idea began to form.



The eve of Tarnin Austa dawned with an Imladris shrouded in mist though, from the visible efforts of a struggling Anor, it seemed as if the heat would soon lift the cool strands of vapour and brighten the sky. Glorfindel greeted the day in a somewhat muted frame of mind, only too well aware of the sad history of this day. He stood on the balcony and said silent prayers for those who had died in the battle. Courageous Rog, so valiant in his stand on the plains of Tumladen; strong Duilin; brave Eglamoth and all the warriors of the Houses of Gondolin. He even thought of Salgant, and through the remove of ages forgave him for his weakness.

And Ecthelion. His dearest friend and stalwart champion. Honourable, caring, supportive of his ill-fated love. His ready smile and cheeky grin would always be the image brought to mind, not the terrible hiss of boiling water and melting armour. Bright, brilliant ‘Thel. For sure, the dark elf who took chambers a short distance from here would be making the same salutations.

The long-awaited lunch was near upon him and he dallied to ensure that he would arrive at the same time as the others. He did not want to be first for he had set a little plan in motion and he did not want to be suspected as its instigator. As it happened, he arrived at Elrond’s personal quarters at the same time as Lindir and Erestor. He gestured for the other two to proceed into the chamber.

The family section of the house was large, encompassing many rooms. It was to here that Elrond was able to retreat to escape the duties of an elf-lord, and become a father and husband. Glorfindel had become very familiar with the quarters since his arrival, and he was grateful for the generous way in which the Lord and Lady had shared their family life with him.

The family dining room was a bright and airy room, with one side open to the private garden. The sunlight streamed in, glistening off the glasses, gleaming on the plates and cutlery set in preparation. The twins bounded up to them.

"Happy eve, happy eve!" they chorused, dancing around the newcomers. Glorfindel laughed in delight, picking up Elladan and swinging the elfling in a large circle, barely missing the other two elves. Elrohir, not one to miss out on such fun, launched himself into Erestor’s arms for a similar swing. The raven-haired advisor lifted him high and held him close, reveling in the sweet embrace. The room was filled with the joy of the day and the happiness rolled as a wave across all the participants. Glorfindel glanced around the gathered elves, realizing for the first time that here, in Imladris, he might truly have found a family to equal that which he had lost in Gondolin. In Elrond he saw both the wisdom of Turgon and the friendship of Ecthelion; in Celebrķan, the sweetness of Idril. He held part of Eärendil in his arms and the other was held by - by Erestor. His Erestor. Erestor, the only true connection to that other family.

The swinging had stopped. Erestor finished his spin just in front of the golden elf and his face shone, illuminating the room. His beautiful brown eyes were lit with an inner glow, the intensity of the glow increasing as they locked with Glorfindel’s sapphire eyes. For a split second their spiritual connection was renewed, pure harmony emanating as their fėar resonated for the first time in three millennia. The purity of that sweet transition transported all within the room and it was as if the Song of the Valar soared to its most exquisite height - for a moment. And for that moment, that sweet moment, Glorfindel felt like liquid joy. For a moment.

Sheer terror suddenly filled Erestor’s eyes and he turned away. He broke that connection and reality crashed in on the seneschal. Only the greatest of restraint prevented the agonizing pain from erupting from his chest; prevented his heart from breaking into a thousand fragments, prevented the smile from slipping from his face and a cry issue forth. Instead, in an act of supreme thespian achievement Glorfindel forced his vocal cords to contract and his lips to move as he spoke a greeting to his hosts.

Elrond, Celebrķan and Lindir shook in the aftermath of the emotional storm that had erupted within the dining room. Its intense tremors still swirled in psychic eddies through the entities standing there. The lord, lady and minstrel scrambled to focus on the expressed greetings of the other two elves who outwardly showed no reaction to the cataclysmic eruption they had precipitated.

Only the boys did not seem to notice the powerful emotions that had been evoked. Instead they provided the calming element in their innocent chatter, forcing the adults to revert to the roles politeness thrust upon them.

"Erestor, Erestor - come look! Come look!"

"Erestor, someone has given you a present!"

"Open it, open it!"

The dark elf was led to the table where there was indeed a parcel placed at his designated seat. The parcel was of soft red velvet tied with a golden ribbon, and his name was inscribed in stylized form on a fragment of parchment. Erestor glanced at Glorfindel but the elf lord’s face was a study of nonchalance. Elrond and Celebrķan watched the two elves intently, determined to investigate the emotional mystery which had vexed them since Glorfindel’s arrival in Imladris.

Erestor’s hand hesitated over the gift, reluctant to move further. He was very aware of the attention it had provoked but he knew his reluctance was causing more concern. Taking a deep breath he began to un-wrap the parcel.

It was beautiful. In the blackest ebony, carved to the most precise proportions, was a magnificent statuette of a horse - of Hirnīn. His head was raised in a gesture of nobility and his strong leg muscles were tensed as if ready to gallop in wild abandon. The carved saddle was inlaid in silver and gold and the reins were made of fine links of mithril. It was the work of a craftsman of great skill and worthy of great praise.

"It’s lovely," breathed Elladan, who immediately coveted it. Elrohir was mute with awe as were his parents. Lindir too appreciated its beauty but was bemused by the events of the morning, and glanced between the adults in an attempt to decipher the enigmatic signals flying between them.

"What is the occasion, Erestor?" Celebrķan asked softly. Her gaze was most intent upon the advisor, trying to discern what troubled him. When he spoke, she knew he was lying.

"I know of none, my lady, save the day that is here to be celebrated. Perhaps there was some mistake. I should find the giver so that I can return the gift to him or her."

It was Elrond who caught the brief tightening of the mouth, the quick flash of pain twisting Glorfindel’s slight smile into an unhappy grimace. He pondered on the thought that this was some courting gesture gone awry, yet another approach which had been rejected by his careful counsellor. Yet it seemed much deeper than that. The connection between the two elves which had seemed so bright but minutes before was now cold and dead, at least on Erestor’s part.

The twins were protesting to Erestor.

"No, Erestor - don’t give it back!"

"Aye," chimed the second twin. "Ada and Nana say that if you get a present you should always say ‘thank you’ politely, even if you don’t really like it." Eager eyes looked longingly at the carving once more. "But *I* think that it is beautiful. Don’t you like it, Erestor?"

Such a simple question, so simply put - yet pregnant with a meaning beyond the boy’s comprehension. Erestor raised his eyes, looking at a point past Glorfindel’s shoulder so as to avoid his avid stare.

"Aye, Elrohir. It *is* very beautiful. I am not sure - I do not think - I am worthy of such a gift."

Elrond was dismayed to witness the change in Glorfindel. Though the signs were not obvious to all, it seemed as if the golden lord’s spirit shriveled at those words. As the party took their seats Elrond could tell that Glorfindel only wanted to escape, to avoid looking upon the elf who had spurned his gift - and his love? Just what *did* the elf lord want from his counselor?

The meal seemed an anti-climax after that and despite the light-hearted talk initiated by Elrond and Celebrķan, and the enthusiasm of the elflings, the atmosphere was devoid of the true joy of the day. Elrond noted that the wine he had ordered for the adults was mostly filling the glass of the Lord of Gondolin. That he was the gift-giver Elrond had no doubt. The Peredhel had recognized the work of a skilled artisan of Rivendell, and Glorfindel had surely sworn the elf to secrecy. The same vow would probably have been extracted from one of the housemaids, for it must have been one of them who had deposited the gift onto Erestor’s setting. The household staff, ellith or ellyn, doted upon the golden lord, who was unfailingly courteous and charming to them.

Elrond focused first upon the seneschal, then the counsellor. This was no simple courtship. The bond that they had all felt was so bright, so intense that it had felt almost like…. Ai, it was like his own bond to Celebrķan! The two lords were soulmates! The elflord felt Celebrķan look at him in query at the slight gasp that escaped his lips - a gasp almost echoed when his unspoken thought sounded in her head.

Elrond’s discovery was valid, but the bond laid before them was not sound. This was a fractured union they had witnessed, a deliberate denial of the compulsion laid upon two souls by Eru to find and bind to one another. Just when their initial attraction had begun the lord did not know, but after his previous discussions with Erestor he suspected it was in Gondolin. Erestor had always claimed that he was from Lindon, a refugee from Nargothrond, but it was apparent that he had lied in that respect. And Glorfindel - it was obvious that he yearned for the raven-haired advisor. Suddenly all the mood swings, his nightmares and his dependency on miruvor became clear in light of the constant rejection by Erestor.

The seneschal and the counsellor had been mostly quiet during the meal and with the two boys so lively their silence was un-remarked. Lindir was the first to leave as the party began to break up but one glance at him told Elrond that the musician would be discreet. Elrond cast him a grateful glance in farewell. Erestor rose to leave too and was almost at the door when Elladan called to him.

"Uncle Erestor, you forgot your gift!"

The counselor stopped, not looking back but casting a doleful glance at the floor.

"I did not forget, pen-neth, but it is not an item I can accept at this time. Perhaps you would look after it for me?" He glided from the room, and a puzzled but pleased elfling danced delightedly with the horse in his arms.

"Come on, Elrohir! We can play in the garden with Hirnīn!" The boys dashed into the open garden and Celebrķan hurried after them, casting an anxious glance back to her husband and the glowering Glorfindel. The golden lord had leaned against a pillar, one hand covering his eyes, the other clenching and releasing in tight emotion by his side.

"Glorfindel…" Elrond began softly. The large elf stood straight, uncovering his face to reveal sorrow and anger in his expression.

"I gave him Hirnīn, Elrond!" he cried, anguish apparent in the ache in his voice. Elrond nodded in confusion.

"Aye, Glorfindel, it was a beautiful statue…"

The golden lord slammed his fist against the pillar, the force of his frustration cracking the plaster.

"No! Not the statue, nor the horse out in the stable! I gave him Hirnīn, the horse running so free upon the canvas in his office! It was my gift to him for his forty-eighth begetting day…" A sob broke from his chest, the torture of the past few hours finally releasing in anguish, as a cry from a heart ragged beyond endurance.

Elrond stared, hardly believing that his suspicions were confirmed, confused and stricken with compassion for this desolate being dissolving before him. He reached out to take the weeping lord into his arms but Glorfindel broke free and sped from the room. Elrond followed in all haste, but the long strides of the re-born warrior left him behind. By the time Elrond had reached the courtyard Glorfindel had removed Asfaloth from his stall and was already mounting him to the disbelief of the watching elves who had been passing through the area.

"No, Glorfindel!" Elrond was desperate to stop the elf lord, for who knew what the distraught elf would do in this frame of mind?

Glorfindel turned the stallion, pure rage upon his face, determination set into his pose.

"I can take no more, Elrond! My return has been nothing but torture to me. Well, the Valar can find another pawn for their game, for I will be played no more!"

Elrond blanched at the implication.

"Where are you going?"

The laugh which emanated from the golden lord chilled all who heard it, and dread filled the Peredhel. Glorfindel snarled his response.

"To Mandos! And if Nįmo will not take me - then to hell!"

And with a shout and a prompt spur of the fleet horse, Glorfindel galloped from the yard and from Imladris, leaving a frantic Elrond in static shock.







Ada - daddy

Nana - mummy

pen-nyth - little ones

Adar - father

ellith - female elves

ellyn - male elves

Peredhel - half-elven (sing.)

Peredhil - Half-elven (pl.)