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Second Age 1200:
"Sheís rather... vapid, isnít she?"
Erestor looked up to see Lord Glorfindel standing there with a strange smile on his face, wine glass in hand, staring at the object of Erestorís desire. The young scout bristled somewhat at the Elf-lordís words and drew himself up, attempting to look haughty, but knowing even as he did so that more than likely he just looked stupid.
"I think sheís quite lovely," he retorted, "and... and I like her very much," he ended on a lame note.
Glorfindel gave the younger ellon an amused look. "Which is why youíre standing here behind this potted fern rather than asking her to dance."
Erestor frowned. "Why do you even care... lord?" he added the last rather belatedly and wondered if King Gil-galad would ream him for his impoliteness to this noble. He himself was just a lowly half-breed without any real social standing even in the court of Lindon. His adar had been one of Lord Fingonís personal guards, his naneth a Sindarin maiden who worked in the kitchens. Their union had been the talk of the kingís household where Noldor and Sindar did not mix easily or well. The Sindar had been looked down upon by their Noldorin overlords for the most part and Erestorís childhood had been a torment of teasing and being shunned by the other purebred elflings. Even the Sindarin elflings despised him because of his mixed blood. Still, he had managed to make his way and in time gained some little acceptance. He attributed that to Gil-galad, who had taken him under his protection shortly after the founding of Lindon in memory of his adar, who had fought valiantly in the War of Wrath, saving the young kingís life more than once.
If Glorfindel was offended by the younger elfís tone, he did not show it. Instead, his smile merely deepened. "Iím a sucker for romance and hate to see it flounder before it even gets started."
"But you just accused Nimmeril of being vapid!" Erestor said in confusion.
"And she is," the golden-haired Elf-lord said equably. "To me, at least, but that does not negate the possibility that you two... er... deserve each other."
Erestor wasnít sure how to respond to that statement. "But... sheís beautiful," was the only thing he could think to say.
"Indeed, very beautiful," Glorfindel agreed, "but is beauty your only criterion for deciding if a particular elleth is now the love of your life?"
"No, of course not," Erestor protested, scowling. "It matters not, anyway," he added, "she would not have me were I the last elf standing."
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow at that. "Whyever not?" he asked in genuine surprise. "You are not disfigured or otherwise unattractive. You are a member of Ereinionís court...."
Erestor snorted at that and Glorfindel gave him a searching look. "Are you not?" he asked. "I know I have only been here a short time, but I see how the king asks for your opinion on the security of the land. He trusts you. That has to count for something"
"Only in Gil-galadís eyes and I sometimes wonder, if it werenít for the fact that adar saved his life during the War of Wrath, would he even know or care that I exist?"
Now Glorfindel looked nonplused and grabbing the other ellonís arm, he pulled Erestor away from the ferns and the other guests gathered in Gil-galadís feast hall and pushed him into an empty antechamber, closing the door behind them. "What nonsense are you speaking, youngling?" he demanded once they were alone. "Do you accuse your king of negligence towards his subjects?"
Erestor shook his head, feeling a little shaken at the precipitous manner in which Glorfindel had grabbed him. "If his subjects are Noldor or at least Sindar who are lords in their own right, such as Lord Celeborn, the King is ever solicitous, but Iím neither," he ended hoping he didnít sound as bitter as he thought he did.
"Or Pervoredhel, depending on your point of view," Glorfindel retorted with a grim smile.
"Either way, Iím trash," Erestor returned hotly.
Glorfindelís expression darkened towards wrath and he advanced on the other elf and grabbed him firmly by the shoulders, shaking him slightly. "No, you are not," he said vehemently. "You are not trash. You are as beloved of the Valar as any of us, probably more so."
"Fingonís people didnít think so," Erestor said with some bitterness.
"Their loss," Glorfindel said with a dismissive sniff. "In Gondolin probably half the population was of mixed blood and no one thought twice about it. Indeed, it is rather difficult to disparage someone with mixed elven blood when oneís lordís own daughter is married to one of the Edain and their son is truly a half-breed."
Erestor gave him a considering look, then sighed, looking at the floor. "I wish Iíd lived in Gondolin then," he said.
"I am glad you did not," Glorfindel answered fervently, "else in all probability you would be dead and we wouldnít be having this conversation."
To that, Erestor had no response. Instead, he moved towards one of the chairs gracing the chamber and sat down, putting his head in his hands. "It does not matter," he said heavily, "she would not acknowledge my existence were I a pureblooded Noldo."
"Why do you say that?" Glorfindel asked, taking a seat opposite Erestor.
Erestor looked up. "She is the daughter of Lord Araminas," he explained.
"Ah..." was Glorfindelís only comment, for he knew well Lord Araminas and his haughty disdain for the remaining Noldor, especially Lady Artanis, who had married Lord Celeborn. That union still did not sit well with many of the elves from either side. He shook his head, as if to clear his mind. And to think that he had naively thought to have left all that nonsense behind him in Aman. He gave the younger elf a warm sympathetic smile, placing a solicitous hand on Erestorís knee. "Her loss then," he said, "and I think you can do better."
Erestor shrugged. "Perhaps," he conceded, "but probably only if I find another like myself."
"One of my closest friends is half-Noldo," Glorfindel confided in him. "If he could find acceptance, and yes, even love, so can you."
Erestor gave him a surprised look. "Who is he?" he asked. "Why have I never met him before?"
"Because he died at the Havens and now resides in Aman," was the answer. Glorfindel gave him a wistful look. "Sadorís wife is a lovely Vanya and no one in Aman or on Tol EressŽa disparages their union."
For a long moment Erestor thought about this Elf-lordís words, then he nodded, more to himself, and gave Glorfindel a shy smile. "Thank you, Lord Glorfindel. Your words give me hope."
Glorfindel shrugged elegantly and returned the youngsterís smile with one of his own. "Itís what friends are for, after all, and the name is Glorfindel. I stopped being a lord of anything the day I died."
Erestor shivered involuntarily at the matter-of-fact way in which his new friend spoke of his death. Glorfindel noticed and drew the younger elf up as he stood, looking deep into Erestorís eyes. "Friends are easier lost than found," he said. "I lost most of my old friends with my death, but I have found new ones since. I would consider it a great blessing if I could count you among them."
The sincerity of the Elf-lordís words and the depth of feeling in his too knowing eyes convinced Erestor of the truth of his words. "I... I would like that very much," he said humbly, and meant it.
"Thank you," Glorfindel replied with a warm smile. "I am glad to finally have a friend on these shores."
"Are you not friends with Elrond and Gil-galad?" Erestor asked.
"Nay," Glorfindel objected, "for Gil-galad is the king, though not my king, and Elrond... Elrond is my charge," he ended softly.
Erestor wasnít sure what Glorfindel meant by that but he did understand one thing. "Then I thank you as well."
"For choosing me to be your friend when you could have chosen others more worthy...."
"No, child," Glorfindel interjected and for some reason Erestor did not mind being referred to as a child by this ancient Elf-lord, "you are more than worthy to be anyoneís friend. Now, let us bind our friendship with a kiss and join the rest of the party." With that the two ellyn exchanged kisses on the forehead.
As they were leaving the antechamber, Glorfindel gave Erestor a wicked smile. "Now perhaps you can introduce me to that elleth you were mooning over. Let us see if she disdains a half-Vanyarin Reborn Balrog-slayer."
"And if she does?" Erestor asked in curiosity.
"Then I will be in exalted company, will I not?" Glorfindel responded with a laugh.
"And if she doesnít reject you, what then?" the younger elf asked somewhat worriedly, wondering if, should†Nimmeril not reject the golden-haired Elf-lord, that would spell the end of their friendship, a friendship he had not realized he desperately wanted, nay, needed. The thought of losing this new friend before he had even gotten to know him and over an elleth....
Glorfindel stopped and gave him a searching look. "If she does accept me," he said in all seriousness, "I will know that she is truly as vapid as I first thought her."
Erestor stared at his friend in surprise and then, noticing the glint of humor and... yes, mischief, deep in Glorfindelís eyes, he started laughing. Soon Glorfindel joined him....
"Did the fair†Nimmeril reject him?" OlwŽ asked with a smile.
"Not only did she reject him," Erestor answered with a laugh, "but she made it known that anyone who associated themselves with a... pervornedhel was not fit to be in the same room with her whatever his social standing."
They all gave him surprised looks. "I bet that didnít go down well with Elrond," ArafinwŽ ventured.
"Nor with Gil-galad," Erestor said with a nod. "The High King was quite put out by her very public display of bad manners and her adar was put in the untenable position of having to back the king up even though we all knew where his true sentiments lay. Needless to say, Lady†Nimmeril was soon sent packing to one of the southern fiefs and we never saw her again."
"And thatís how you and Glorfindel became friends," Ingwion said.
"Yes," Erestor said simply. "Once we became friends, things got... easier for me."
"I am grieved that my people ever looked down upon your nanethís people," ArafinwŽ said with some sorrow. "It was unconscionable."
Erestor shrugged. "Ancient history, as Estel would have said," Erestor said with a faint smile, remembering the mortal child who had captured his heart.
Before anyone could ask him who Estel was, Finrod stood up. "Speaking of ellith, I was forced to take Erestor away just as he and LindorillŽ were going to dance. I think I should let them have at least one dance before this evening ends."
IngwŽ nodded and stood as well, the others following suit. Erestor hastily came to his own feet. "We apologize for taking you away from the entertainment. Thank you for sharing your story. Perhaps in the days to come you would be willing to share others."
Erestor gave them all a respectful bow. "It would be my pleasure, my lords."
Finrod then led him back out into the ballroom and, taking a quick look about, spied LindorillŽ standing alone beside a pillar. The two ellyn walked over to her and she gave them both a smile when she saw them.
"That did not take long, aranya," she said and Erestor was somewhat startled by her choice of title for Finrod.
Finrod merely smiled. "No, not long at all," he said equably. "So, I see the next set is about to begin. Why donít you children go dance?"
The two Ďchildrení glanced at each other uncertainly then glanced at Finrod who merely made shooing motions with his hands as he smiled at them. Erestor gave LindorillŽ a rueful look. "I donít know about you, but I recognize an order when I hear one."
She suddenly laughed. "Aye, so do I." She held out her hand and he took it, leading her gracefully onto the dance floor. As the music began and they took their first steps into the dance, LindorillŽ gave him a soft, shy smile and Erestor thought that perhaps life in Aman wouldnít be so bad after all.
Neither noticed the fond smile Finrod bestowed upon them as he watched from the side.
Perlachenn: Half-Noldo; Lachenn (pl. Lechenn) "deep elf" is a Sindarin name for the Noldor, originally meaning "Flame-eyed one".
Pervornedhel: Half-Dark Elf, i.e. Sinda; Mornedhel (pl. Mornedhil) is a term for the Sindar of Beleriand given them by the returning Noldor and adopted among the Sindar as a pejorative term. The Quenya form is Moriquendi.
Nimmeril: White Rose.
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