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Tales from Vairë's Loom  by Fiondil

The Shadow of Lúthien

Summary: Elrond fears history is repeating itself and hopes to divert it. Written for the Teitho challenge 'History Repeating Itself'.


Elrond watched pensively as Estel — no! Aragorn — exited the Master of Imladris’ study, contemplating the disturbing conversation he had had with one he thought of as his son, no less than Elladan and Elrohir. He did not have long to himself, though, for a knock came to the door and when he called out, his sons, along with Erestor and Glorfindel, entered.


Elrond hid a smile at Glorfindel’s imperious tone.

“So what did our youngest have to say, or rather, what did you have to say to him?” the balrog-slayer added.

“Is it true, though? Is it what you suspect?” Elladan asked before Elrond could answer Glorfindel’s question.

Elrond sighed and rubbed the space between his eyes. Erestor, ever practical, went to a sideboard and poured some claret into a goblet and handed it to the Lord of Imladris, who accepted the drink with a grateful look. After he took a sip, he nodded.

“Yes. It is as we feared. Estel appears to have fallen under the spell of your sister’s beauty.”

“Well, he’s not the first man, Mortal or Elf, to do so, and I suspect he will not be the last,” Glorfindel retorted with a huff of amusement. He gave the Twins a merry look. “Remember the first Aragorn? Followed Arwen around like a lost puppy until you two put the fear of the Valar into him and he was younger than Estel.”

Elladan and Elrohir smirked but Elrond gave them an impatient look. “Be that as it may, this is a bit more serious than an adolescent’s infatuation.”

“Should ’Roh and I give him a talking to, older brothers to younger?” Elladan asked, his tone serious, though there was a glint of mischief in his eyes that was mirrored in his twin’s.

Elrond gave his sons a stern look. “You are not to do or say anything to embarrass him and you are certainly not to threaten him as you did to poor Aragorn Aravirion. The lad wasn’t even fifteen. Your naneth and I were very unamused by your overprotectiveness. Arwen was quite capable of handling the child. I swear he never recovered from your ‘little chat’.”

Now the Twins looked chagrined. “We did apologize,” Elrohir said softly.

“Well, it’s water under the bridge,” Erestor interjected. “Your adar is correct, though. He will not appreciate any interference in this matter from either of you. You leave young Estel to Elrond to handle as he sees fit.”

“But we cannot simply ignore this,” Elladan protested. “Are we just supposed to pretend that we don’t see him mooning over our sister, watching her every move, sighing over nothing?”

“Besides, he’s barely old enough to grow a beard,” Elrohir said dismissively. “The thought that he and Arwen… Talk about cradle robbing!”

“I reminded him that Arwen is of a far nobler lineage than he and that her doom is different from his,” Elrond said mildly.

“Oh, I bet Estel liked that,” Glorfindel retorted as he leaned negligently against the wall, his arms and legs crossed. “Until a few days ago, he thought himself your son, Elrond, and I think he still does, whatever his true lineage. The news that he is not, that he is the son of another man, a Mortal, no less, had to be shocking to him and then he meets Arwen.”

Elrond gave his friend a shrewd look. “Do you think there is something behind their meeting other than chance?”

Glorfindel gave an elegant shrug. “I learned long ago that there is no such thing as coincidence or chance. Things happen for a reason, though we may not know or understand that reason except perhaps in hindsight. It took me millennia after my death and re-embodiment to recognize this for myself. In Eä, there is no such thing as chance or coincidence, or so the Valar taught me.”

A troubling silence fell among them for several minutes. Finally, Elrohir gave his father a worried look. “So what do we do?”

“Nothing,” Elrond answered decisively. “Aragorn” — and he deliberately used his youngest son’s true name — “will be leaving tomorrow to join his people, as we agreed. You and Elladan will, of course, escort him and introduce him to the Dúnedain and you will say nothing to him about Arwen. Certainly if he raises the subject himself, and I think that doubtful, you are free to remind him that your sister has a different doom than his, but do and say nothing to turn him away from us. Remember the Lady Gilraen still dwells here and I would not wish any estrangement to come between us over this.”

The Twins both nodded.

“Well, we can only hope he will meet and fall in love with a woman of his own kind in the meantime,” Erestor said.

But Elrond shook his head. “I specifically told him that he should neither have wife, nor bind any woman to him in troth, until his time comes and he is found worthy of it.”

“Meaning, until and unless he ascends the throne of Gondor,” Glorfindel said.

“My foresight tells me that Aragorn will either rise above the height of all his fathers since the days of Elendil, or he will fall into darkness with all that is left of the Dúnedain,” Elrond said. “If it be Arwen’s fate to cleave to Aragorn, it will not be for any less reason in that he becomes King of Gondor and Arnor in truth and not in name only.”

“Well, that, of course, is Arwen’s decision,” Glorfindel said, “but have you spoken to her yet about this? What has she to say?”

“No, I have not spoken to her yet,” Elrond admitted. “I plan to as soon as I get rid of you lot.”

Several eyebrows rose at that. “All right, Elrond, even I can take a hint,” Glorfindel said in mock dismay. “Come along, children, let’s leave your adar to speak to your sister alone.”

The Twins grinned as they followed Glorfindel out. Erestor stayed behind for a moment. “Shall I find Arwen and ask her to attend you, Elrond?”

“Yes, thank you, Erestor.”

The Elf inclined his head in respect and left. For a time, Elrond sat in silence, contemplating many things. He was reminded of Lúthien and Beren and their tale and how Elu Thingol had treated the Mortal, demanding a Silmaril as the only worthy bride-price for his daughter. It was an arrogant and rather dangerous demand, for it caused the death of one of the best of them and ultimately brought about the downfall of Doriath. Yet, in spite of that, if it hadn’t been for Beren daring to love Lúthien and Lúthien willing to return that love and forsake her heritage and her people, he, Elrond, would never have been born, for his own mother, daughter of Dior son of Beren, would not have been born. Indeed, Elros, his twin, would also not have been born and therefore, the line of Númenórean kings, including his foster-son, would not have existed.

All the sorrows and agonies and darkness which had haunted his line had to mean something, had to speak of some good that, if not seen, could at least be anticipated. If his daughter did indeed cleave to Aragorn, the two houses of Eärendil’s sons would be united, but what that might mean for any of them, even he could not say.

His thoughts were interrupted by a light knock on the door and then Arwen was there, peeking in.

“Erestor said you wished to see me, Ada?”

Elrond smiled. “Yes, Daughter. Come and sit beside me.” He rose from behind his desk and moved to a settee beside the fireplace.

Arwen closed the door and joined Elrond. “I understand you met young Aragorn the other day,” he said without preamble.

“Yes. He chased me.” She gave him a coy look.

“Chased you?” Elrond raised an eyebrow. That was a detail he had not known.

She nodded, her eyes bright with amusement. “He called me Tinúviel. He had apparently been singing about Beren meeting Lúthien when he spied me and thought he had wandered into a dream.”

“I see.”

Arwen gave him a shrewd look. “Why are you so interested in this, Ada?”

Elrond hesitated for a moment before answering and then asked a question of his own. “What do you think of him?”

Arwen raised a delicate eyebrow. “How should I think of him?” she countered, then she shook her head. “Ada, he’s a personable young Adan.”

“He is, in fact, the Dúnadan. Until a few days ago, he thought himself my son, Estel.”

Arwen nodded. “So I recall from the letters you and others sent me while I abode in Lothlórien. As I said, he seems a personable young Man and I found him rather amusing in his bashfulness.”

“Amusing… You felt nothing else for him?”

“Ada, what are you trying to say?” She stood up to stare down at Elrond, a look of puzzlement on her fair face. “What should I feel for him? We met for a brief moment. I have not seen him since, nor have I really given him much thought.”

“He seems to have been taken by you, Daughter,” Elrond responded. “Indeed, he thinks he loves you.”

“That’s absurd,” Arwen retorted scornfully.

“As absurd as Beren falling for Lúthien,” Elrond averred with a nod. “One thinks such things happen only in tales told by the bards, but the truth is, Aragorn son of Arathorn thinks he loves you and fell in love at the very sight of you.”

“As many an ellon and not a few Mortal Men have. I have ignored such as they. I am quite prepared to ignore his protestations of love as well, should he ever be so bold as to declare himself to me.”

“I would hope that you would treat him gently, Daughter, for I look upon him as a son, one of my children. He is dear to me and I would not see him crushed by careless or unthinking words.”

Arwen bent down and kissed Elrond on the forehead. “Ada, I would never do anything so crass. But the truth is, I have no interest in him, for he is but a callow youth and I have no intention of robbing the cradle, as I believe the saying goes. Now, shall I see you at the evening meal?”

Elrond nodded. “Yes. We are having a farewell feast for Estel, I mean, Aragorn. Your brothers will be accompanying him tomorrow to the Angle where he will be introduced to his Dúnedain kin for the first time.”

Arwen nodded. “Then I will see you there.” She headed for the door and opening it, paused, looking back, giving Elrond a brief smile. “Ada, I promise you, I am not Lúthien. I have no intention of running off with Aragorn or any other Mortal, now or ever.”

Elrond nodded and she left, closing the door of the study gently behind her, leaving Elrond alone once again. In spite of Arwen’s assurances to the contrary, though, he could not help thinking that history was somehow repeating itself and he feared what the future might bring for him and his family, especially his beloved daughter. Yet, it all depended on the young Man and what he accomplished in his lifetime.

Elrond groaned, closing his eyes with the realization that he both hoped and feared for the day Aragorn became King of the United Realm, just as he both hoped and feared, for Arwen’s sake, that he never did.

“Celebrían, my love, now more than ever I wish you were still here beside me,” he whispered to himself, the longing for his wife that never left him intensifying, filling him with sorrow and regret for what had been lost and what might still be lost. How long he sat there, lost in dark contemplation, he was unsure, but the small bell in the courtyard that was wrung to declare the hour chimed and he bestirred himself and went to prepare for the evening feast, forcing himself to set aside his dark thoughts for his son Estel’s sake, though his heart remained heavy with foreboding for the future.


Words are Sindarin unless otherwise noted:

Naneth: Mother.

Adar/Ada: Father/papa.

Eä: (Quenya) The Universe.

Adan: Man, mortal.

Dúnadan: Man of the West, used as a title of the Chieftain of the Dúnedain.

Ellon: Male Elf.

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