Letters from War 3

Disclaimer: Let’s see. I didn’t invent the charecters–Tolkien did that–and I didn’t invent the storyline–Lady Firinswin did that–and I didn’t write the song–Mark Schultz did that–so all I did was write. Many thanks to Lady Firinswin for her gracious permission to build on her original story…and the same to Tolkien and Mark Schultz for writing in the first place!
You are good and you are brave
What a father that you’ll be someday
Bring him home
Bring him safe
She wrote every night as she prayed

Bring him home
Bring him home
Bring him home
That winter was bitterly cold. There was no news of Elrohir and Elladan, and there was no news of Estel. The last that they heard was from an outrider, watching for signs of orcs. He had seen the two grey horses ridden by the twins practically flying towards the Gap of Rohan. All the elves knew of the twins’ search for their missing brother, and many wished them well, though none would speak of it to Elrond. Ever since his sons’ departure, he had become very quiet, and there was occasionally a gleam in his eyes that chilled those who saw it. Glorfindel, worried about his friend, could hear the elf lord pacing in his study when he walked past the closed door late at night.
The older elf took to lurking again, this time watching Elrond as he went about his duties.
One day, late in winter as the wind howled at the window, Elrond looked up to find Glorfindel sitting in a chair in the study, reading a book. “You’re lurking again,” he accused his friend.
“Am I?” asked Glorfindel. “And here I thought I was just enjoying some peace and quiet.”
“You’re very brave, to beard me in my den,” said Elrond.
Glorfindel checked his pockets. “Nothing here, not even a scrap of horsehair. How could you accuse me like this?” He pulled a sad face. “I’m hurt!”
The elf lord laughed for the first time in months. “You clown.”
“Clown? I am a great hero! The Balrog slayer of Gondolin!” said Glorfindel indignantly standing and crossing his arms. “How can you say such things? Why, the next thing you’re going to do is accuse me of tinting the white horses green.”
Elrond smiled reminiscently. “I remember when the twins and Estel did that. I could hardly scold them for fear of bursting out laughing.” He shook his head. “Why haven’t we heard anything? The twins haven’t written, no one knows about the Gondorian expedition to Umbar, still less of the Captain who was carried off by the pirates. I sometimes think I should leave all this—“ he pointed to the piles of paper on his desk “—and go look for them myself.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Are you mad?”
“I don’t think I am…But then, you never know. Getting hit a couple of times by a Balrog lash might turn one’s mind.”
“I couldn’t.”
“Erestor and I can manage things here.”
Elrond half rose, a far-away look in his eyes, but then it died. “No. I can’t. Thank you, but no.”
Glorfindel shrugged. “Then we’ll just have to wait and see what spring brings.”
Then two years later
Autumn leaves all around
A car pulled in the driveway
And she fell to the ground
Spring was late, the first few timid buds and sprouts of green being ruthlessly killed off by the frost. Then came the rains, turning the lanes of Rivendell to mud. So it was, that the elf outrider who came bearing news of three riders seemingly bent on reaching Rivendell was generously slathered with mud.
Glorfindel questioned the muddy elf, and learned that two of the horses were matched greys. The outrider pled ignorance as to the third rider’s identity, but those who heard knew. The old elf hurried to Elrond’s study, but the room was empty. In the stables, he found that a placid bay mare was gone. What few elves as were outside remembered hearing the drumming of hooves and one had even seen the lord of Rivendell leaving the valley, bent over the mare’s neck, and her running for all she was worth.
Shaking his head, Glorfindel whistled to his horse, a white stallion, and walked back to the kitchens. “He might leave without thinking, but I imagine he’ll be glad enough when I catch up. Wonder if he’ll kill the mare in his haste?”
The white horse picked its way through the muddy lanes, each hoof lifted high, and ears laid back with distaste. Glorfindel rubbed the neck, shaggy with its winter coat, and laughed. “First the mud, then the rocks, then more mud. I’m sorry, old fella.” The stallion snorted.
And out stepped a captain
Where her boy used to stand
Said, Mom I’m following orders
From all of your letters
And I’ve come home again
He ran in to hold her
And dropped all his bags on the floor
Holding all of her letters from war
Elrohir and Elladan rode on either side of the steeldust gelding. The rider they escorted held the eager horse back, and the elves matched their pace to his. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” asked Estel. “Ada wasn’t too happy with me when I left.”
“He wrote, didn’t he?” asked Elrohir.
“And he said, ‘Come home’,” added Elladan. “Every single letter, he said, ‘Come home, son’. And you didn’t see his face when we handed him the last letter.”
“Besides. If he’s furious, it’ll be with us. We’ll take all the blame, and we’ll get you out.”
“Just like always?” asked Estel.
“Just like always,” promised Elrohir. The elf prince grinned, remembering the many boyish adventures they had taken their little brother on. “Just like always.”
The horses tossed their heads, and pranced anxiously. “So can we go a little faster?” pleaded Elladan. “Otherwise, our mounts will take it upon themselves to get us home in record time.”
“All right,” said Estel, one hand touching his vest where the precious letters were secreted. He loosened the reigns, and the three horses cantered towards the hidden valley of Rivendell.
They entered a long, narrow valley, and at the far end, entering from the opposite side was another rider. “Is that a new outrider?” asked Estel.
Elladan shaded his eyes against the westering sun. “I don’t think so…that looks like Ada!”
“You’re joking,” said Elrohir. “He hasn’t rode a horse at that pace for…for as long as I can remember!”
“Then we were wrong,” said Estel, pulling the steeldust to a halt. “He wants me to go.”
“Nonsense,” said the twins. But they were loosening their weapons, even as they spoke. “We’ll wait here and see what he wants.”
The lathered bay mare covered the last few rods in record time, and slid to a stop in front of the threesome. Elrond stared at his youngest, who straightened, and took a deep breath. “Ada, I’ve come home.”
Elrond opened his arms, and Estel leaned into them. “My son,” whispered Elrond, pulling the boy to his chest, and remembering the many times he had held the boy so. “Welcome home.” He then embraced the twins, wrapping his arms about all three at once.
Elrohir ducked out first, and studied his father’s mount. “This is one mare who’ll never be the same after her little ride.”
“I was taking lurking lessons from Glorfindel,” confessed the elf lord, “And couldn’t wait for lessons on how to ride fast—I thought I remembered that much.”
“He didn’t do too bad, either,” said Glorfindel, riding up on his mud-spattered stallion. “What he didn’t remember was the shortcuts.” He smiled. “Welcome home, Estel. I hear you’ve been showing some Umbarian pirates a thing or two.”
“I suppose,” said Estel. “But it took the three of us to do it.” He smiled at his brothers, who grinned back. “And it was nothing like the stories.”
Glorfindel and Elrond exchanged glances. “That’s so,” said Elrond.
“Besides,” said Glorfindel. “If we told it like it was, we could never have continued on. We tell them so to encourage each other.” They turned the horses’ heads towards home, and the brothers began to elaborate upon their adventures in Umbar. They didn’t notice when Glorfindel left them.
The father had eyes only for his sons. Estel was thin, and he had lost the boyish look he had had when he fled Rivendell. Now, he was a man, capable of doing a man’s duty, and doing it well. Elrond nodded. The months in Gondor had been good for the boy…but oh! Why had he sent his son away in anger?
Estel broke in to the elf lord’s reverie. “Ada, you’re not listening to a word we’ve said!”
“I was so,” said Elrond.
“No, you weren’t,” contradicted Elrohir. “I told you that we made an alliance with the warg riders and threw the sun in the Bay of Belfalas to confuse the corsairs, and you nodded!”
“You did what?”
“See? You weren’t listening.”
“All right,” admitted Elrond. “So maybe I wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have been. I was thinking.”
“About what?” asked Elladan.
“About how much I missed you all…and…” he swallowed hard, “And that I need to apologise for my actions. Can you ever forgive me?”
“Forgive…you?” asked Estel.
“Of course,” said the young man. “Because I…I’m sorry too.”
“We all are,” said Elladan.

Night was falling when Glorfindel rode through the gates, and he was immediately surrounded by curious elves who had heard the rumours of Estel’s return and Elrond’s riding. They all wanted to know the truth, but the Gondolin elf just smiled and instructed them to prepare a great feast. Because of the honour they allotted to him, they obeyed, still wondering greatly.
When the four riders entered Rivendell, respectful elves vied with one another to take the horses. Elrond, sitting tall and proud on the weary bay mare, raised his voice, calling for order. Those who knew the elf lord well saw that he was himself again—the something that had been missing from his eyes ever since Estel had fled was back. “Prepare a great feast! My son that was lost has been found, and those who left have returned!”
The lanterns, which were dim, were uncovered, and light filled the courtyard, banishing the night and revealing the tables and the food already set out. Erestor stepped forward. He lacked some of Glorfindel’s nerve—some would call it cheek—but he said, “Is this quick enough for you, milord?”
Somewhere, someone began tuning their harp, and other musicians followed suit.
“Quite,” said Elrond, dismounting as he spoke. “But where is Glorfindel?”
“In the kitchens,” volunteered an elf who was bringing out a platter of bread. “Taste testing as usual. We can’t get a word out of him, though.”
The twins, younger brother in tow, vanished in the direction of the kitchens. “He’ll get all the good stuff,” mourned Elladan in passing.
Elrond raised his eyebrows, and the elf who had spoken grinned back. “I don’t think he’s getting much of anything this time. Fair is fair, after all. He’s not telling us anything, we’re not giving him anything.”
“I see.”
It was a feast to remember. Sitting at the head table, the elf lord could almost pretend that everything was as it had been before, but it wasn’t. He knew though, deep in his heart, that things would never be quite the same. Estel had grown, and he had not been there to grow with him. They were no longer as close.
The time had come for his son to take his place as the rightful captain of the DĂșnedain, and perhaps some day… perhaps some day he would step into his birthright and become King of Gondor.
The End

Well? How did I do? Cheers and applause? Boos? Derisive laughter? Most importantly… maybe… should I write more?

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