Tale of a Smith by elenluin
1. Ost in Edhil
In Ost-in-Edhil all was dark. Elenluin stood before his wife and son, motionless. Any time now, the message from Celebrimbor could come, to summon him to the house of the Mirdain, to unite one last time and stand against he who they used to call Annatar.
“Don’t go Elen, please stay here…” Elianna pleaded to her husband.
“I can’t stay my love, I have to go. I can’t let him stand alone. You know that, none of the other smiths has a lot of experience on the battlefield. Always have I been at Celebrimbor’s side and today he needs me more than ever,” Elenluin whispered back.
“Father, let me go with you!”
Elenluin turned to Eäraumo, who stood before him, nearly as tall as himself. He had his mother’s blue eyes and shared his own black hair. Elenluin knew that when he was his son’s age, he had participated in a war far greater than this one, but he also knew that his young one lacked experience and training. For although the last four years had been hard, he fortunately had grown up in peaceful times and on top of that his talents were different than his father’s, he loved to work with numbers rather than weapons. So the smith hesitated to give him permission to fight by his side.
“’Rau, could you give your mother and me a moment alone please?” The request was made with such a serious and intense expression on Elenluin’s face that surprisingly – for he was at that age that “no” was almost the standard reply – the young man didn’t even utter a word, but immediately left the room.
“My dear Elianna…” He embraced his wife and held her as close as his armor allowed. His face buried in her long brown hair he whispered: “I don’t know what will happen tonight, but the attack is expected at dawn. Promise me, if all goes ill, that you’ll hide… Try to get over the mountains, in Lorien they will help.”
“I promise,” she whispered back.
She knew there was not much hope for them left, unless the long expected help from master Elrond came very quickly. Elenluin however, had received messages in the last weeks from which he could deduce that Elrond’s host would not come in time. The decisive battle of this war was about to begin and they stood alone. Not the first time this evening Elenluin wondered why he hadn’t sent his wife to Lindon or Lothlorien before it was too late. He had asked her numerous times to leave, but every attempt to convince her had failed. She refused to leave the land she loved – they loved. For in Eregion they had found each other, in Eregion they got married, here their son was born, they could not imagine a life elsewhere. But maybe, had he insisted a little more… He suppressed the thought, for now it had become impossible to leave.
Elenluin slowly let go of his wife.
Holding his hands, blinking away the tears that rose in her eyes she murmured: “We’ll meet again my love, if not here, then maybe beyond the circles of Arda.”
He tenderly kissed her on the forehead and said: “Would you please call Eäraumo?”
Elianna slowly turned around and Elenluin’s heart ached, for he saw her bent shoulders as she climbed the stairs and knew that she was desperately trying not to cry.
“You called for me father?”
“Yes ‘Rau, I want to ask you something.”
The young man noticed that he had been called by his childhood name twice this evening; his father hadn’t used it for what seemed like centuries.
“Eäraumo, promise me to stay with your mother.”
Silencing the protest from his son with a move of his hand he continued:
“I cannot stay here to protect her; you know that Lord Celebrimbor counts on me. And if we don’t hold the gates tonight, all will be over… Should that happen, take her to Lothlorien; you know the paths through the mountains?”
“Yes father, but maybe it won’t be necessary; maybe we will be victorious again! We have fought for four years now and we have kept our city, haven’t we?”
“Yes, we have, but tonight, I feel it will be different… But come, let us speak no more of those things and help me to gird on my sword.”
At that moment, a small knock on the door was heard. Elenluin looked at his son, who put down his father’s sword Vildamar to open the door. A messenger came in, bringing word from Celebrimbor that Elenluin’s presence was required at the western gates. The smith nodded and with the help of Eäraumo girded on his sword.
“Take care of your mother, boy,” was the last thing he said before he followed the messenger, taking a deep breath to regain his composure. He did not look to his son’s face again, he knew he would not be able to hold back the tears. The door closed behind him, and so they parted, and never saw each other again.
Elenluin stood on the city wall, trying to see the army of the enemy in this moonless night, thinking about the goodbye letter he had just written to the one he once called brother, now tucked safely into his armour.
“We are too few,” someone behind him suddenly said. He didn’t speak, kept staring in the distance. Deep in his heart he knew they would not make it through the night. Finally he answered: “I know, Celebrimbor.”
The attack didn’t come as a surprise, by dawn the army surged forwards, trying to breach the wall of the city. Eregion’s soldiers answered with a flood of arrows, but they had no infinite supplies, locked in their city as they were. It didn’t take the enemy too long to get on the walls. Elenluin tried to defend the gate as long as possible, shouting orders and running from one side to the other, but soon there were only a few of his companions left and he decided to retreat to Celebrimbor’s standard. Orcs were flooding the city, burning houses, killing everyone they met. At the end, Celebrimbor and Elenluin fought back to back, only the two of them were left, the standard long gone and Elenluin was tired, so tired… Then everything went black…
He woke up as he was thrown on the ground in a dark room, he vaguely heard Orcs talk, but slipped back into unconsciousness.
Utter darkness followed, filled with questions that he refused to answer and pain that he controlled as well as he could, day and night got mixed in that cave and all he knew for sure was that one day, he didn’t know when, someone had carefully lifted him up and brought him into the daylight. Then the memories were unclear again and full of pain, until he woke up in a temporary encampment, in the valley of Imladris.