The child was small for his age, but he was strong and would be tall, well over six feet. His eyes held a great sadness in their soft blue-gray depths that aged them beyond the child’s tender years. He had dark russet-brown hair that reached just past his shoulders and hung in waves.

The young one was loved by everyone…pitied…but loved also. None loved him more than the Lord of Imladris himself.

Estel, as the child was called, was brought to the great elven lord cold, wet, hungry and screaming in terror. Lord Elrond took the little screaming bundle from his guardian on that cold rainy night changed the child and fed him. Instinctively, Elrond cradled the small boy in his arms and gently sang a lullaby.

When Elrond tried to lay the child down to sleep, Estel whimpered then cried until Elrond held him once again. Others tried to comfort him but no one else could quiet him.

Estel clung to Lord Elrond all night and most of the next day. The child could not bear the elf lord to be out of his sight for more than a minute or two. Even then, he anxiously watched the door Elrond was last seen exiting through. Thus, the bond between the human and great elf lord was formed and helped to shape an age.

At night, the child had nightmares and he cried out “Ada” during the worst of them. Otherwise, the child never spoke.

Lord Elrond had a small bed brought to his room and for the first year or so, Estel slept in Lord Elrond’s bedchamber. Gradually, as his nightmares diminished, Elrond weaned Estel away into his own room next door to the twins.


Estel was an obedient child. Kind and well mannered, he was nonetheless…silent. He was nearly six years old and had lived in Imladris since the death of his parents around age two. For four years, he had not uttered a single word except in his worst dreams.

The day after a great contingent of elves had come from Mirkwood, (King Thranduil and his son Prince Legolas had come for a discussion on the growing darkness that was creeping over the land.) Lord Elrond asked Estel to go and make sure the windows in the suite of the royal visitors were closed, as it was raining.

Estel knocked but no one answered so he let himself in and went to shut the windows leading in from the terrace. Just at that moment, King Thranduil came in and seeing a human sneaking into the Lord of Imladris’ house he rushed up to the child and slapped him on the head and yelled for him to get out and “go back where he had come from”.

When Estel tried to leave the room by the way he had come in, Thranduil-who was always rather hot tempered where humans were concerned, slapped him again and threw him out and over the terrace railing. Thranduil yelled, “Don’t let me catch you here again or I’ll see to it you’ll regret the day you were born.”

Estel was terrified. No elf had ever spoken to him like that let alone slapped him. All he had ever known was love and tenderness from elves.

It started thundering and raining harder. Lighting began flashing in the darkening skies. Estel ran to the nearest door but found it locked. (All the rear doors to Imladris were locked at night now since the humans had started trying to sneak into the valley to steal, and the front ones were guarded around the clock.) He tried several other doors but all were closed for the night.

Estel ran around to the front of the house but there in the doorway was Thranduil himself ordering the guards who had come with him from Mirkwood to be on the lookout for humans trying to sneak into the house.

Just then, Thranduil saw him and shouted, “There he is.” The soldiers, following orders-and not knowing differently, started running towards Estel.

Terrified, Estel ran. The guards caught him, hauled him to the gate of Imladris, and threw him out, shutting it behind him.

Estel had never been outside the gate before, not even with Lord Elrond. Scared, cold, hungry and feeling abandoned, the child sat down by the gate and cried.

Around suppertime, some hours later, Lord Elrond sent his sons to find Estel. He had not been seen since the rain started that afternoon.

“Who is Estel?” King Thranduil asked.

“He is my foster son, a young human descendant of my brother Elros, whose parents were killed by orcs four years ago. I sent him to close the windows in your suite earlier today and have not seen him since.”

Elrond noticed a look of shock and dismay come over the king’s features. “What is wrong? Your Grace looks as if he has had a shock.”

“I believe I have done a great wrong to you my friend. I caught a human child in my room this afternoon and ordered him put out of the house, believing him to be a young thief. My guards chased him out the gate of Imladris.” The king replied sounding quite contrite.

Elrond, who had been listening with growing concern, ran from the hall and out into the night followed closely by his sons. They ran straight for the closed gate.

Tearing it open, Elrond ordered the guards of Mirkwood back to the house shouting that, except in times of war, the gate to Imladris was NEVER closed. Elrond ran out and scanned the area calling for Estel.

For more than an hour, he and his sons and others looked and called. Then, in the hollow of a tree, they found him curled up and unconscious.

Lord Elrond raced back to the house with the child in his arms. Once inside he stripped Estel of his wet clothing and warmed him, but the child did not wake up.

Elrond tried everything, every herb, every lullaby, then he remembered what he had used four years before to calm this self same terrified child… lavender and athelas.

Lavender candles were lit while bowls of athelas were placed around the room. Soon the sweet, soothing fragrance was felt by everyone. Estel slowly began to stir.

Lord Elrond knew Estel would be frightened after his experience so he held him close and gently rocked him. Elrond sang the lullaby that had never failed to calm the child after one of his nightmares.

Slowly Estel opened his eyes. The first one he saw was Elrond and he smiled. Estel reached up and touched Elrond’s cheek with the tips of his fingers.

The gesture sent a shiver of emotion through the elf lord and he pulled the little one even closer to him.

Just then, the door opened and Thranduil came in. Estel saw him, screamed “Ada,” and threw his arms around Elrond’s neck.

Elrond cradled the child and tried to calm him.

Thranduil stepped closer but Estel just cried out more hysterically, “Ada, make him go away. Ada, please” and clutched Elrond tighter as he buried his eyes in the elf lord’s neck and tunic.

Finally, Elrond managed to quiet the child enough for the elven king to apologize, but the child wanted nothing to do with him.

The door to the room opened again and Prince Legolas entered, playing a harp, and softly singing an elven love song he had heard the twins singing as they searched for the child. It was a song that Estel especially seemed to enjoy.

Estel heard the music and the song and turned his eyes towards the prince. He watched as the prince walked slowly up to the child and sat down on the floor at Elrond’s feet. Softly, he sang and played, never looking at Estel.

Estel stopped crying and starred at Legolas. He released his grip on Elrond’s tunic, slid out of his lap and stood in front of Legolas. He reached out and touched the harp then the prince’s fingers as they played.

Legolas stopped playing and placed the harp in Estel’s hands. Estel ever so slowly came and sat in Legolas’ lap. Legolas placed Estel’s small fingers on top of his and taught the child how to play the harp.

Elrond wrapped a blanket about Estel and Legolas. He then got his own harp, and for the next hour, they sat on the floor, and strummed along until Estel finally nodded off to sleep in Legolas’ arms.

Elrond thought that Estel might have a nightmare so he took the child to bed with him. Estel did not have a nightmare but he did wake up in the middle of the night.

Elrond was awake and looked down at the child lying next to him. Estel sat up and looked at Elrond. Then he reached and stroked Elrond’s cheek with his fingertips and smiled as he said “My Ada” and kissed Elrond on the cheek.

Tears welled up in the elf lord’s eyes and he clutched his son to him. The child laid his head down against Elrond’s chest, and breathed a deep sigh of contentment as he drifted off to sleep safe in his ada’s arms.

Slowly, over the next several days, Estel started talking and with Legolas’ coaxing made friends with the King of Mirkwood. On the last day of their visit, as the party from Mirkwood was about to leave, Legolas came and knelt in front of Estel once again. This time Legolas gave Estel the harp to keep.

Estel reached out and hugged Legolas. Then the young human looked the elven prince straight in the eyes as he ran his fingertips down his cheek and said, “Hannon le, Mellon-Nin.” Legolas felt a shiver run down his spine. In that instant, he knew this child would be important to him and would become his most beloved friend. Legolas returned the gesture, and said, “You are welcome gwador-nin”. He drew the child close and kissed his forehead.

Elrond came and stood behind Estel as Legolas stood and mounted his horse and rode away. He waited as Estel watched the prince go until he could not see him anymore. The child then turned and taking Elrond’s hand, walked back into the house.

Later that night, Elrond went and drew a great book from the special closed and locked case in the library. The book was called “The Words of Manwë Copied from the Ancient Scrolls of Cuivienen” by Elros Minyatur. He turned a few pages into the book and read.

“In the last days of the elves in Arda there will be born a great bond of friendship between an elven prince and a human of royal elven blood.

Together they shall rid Arda of the last of the evils of the Dark Lord and will show unto all races the true meaning of love, hope, sacrifice, and brother-hood.”

Elrond knew that he had just witnessed the birth of that long prophesied friendship.


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