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The ride back to Edhellond was done in silence. As usual, Finrod was driving with Daeron riding shotgun. Glorfindel sat in the back with his eyes closed, looking drained. Finrod glanced in the rearview mirror and grimaced at Daeron who only nodded. Once they were home, Glorfindel announced that he was going upstairs and rest.
“Do you wish one of us to guard your dreams, gwador?” Finrod asked.
“No, I don’t think that’s necessary now, thanks,” Glorfindel said as he started to climb the stairs. He stopped at the first landing and looked down, a slight smile on his face. “Of course, if you hear me yelling…”
“We’ll send up one of the ellith to sing you a lullaby and tuck you in,” Daeron said before Finrod could respond, giving them a suggestive smile.
Finrod gave the minstrel a surprised look but Glorfindel just chuckled. “Just so long as it’s the right elleth,” he retorted as he continued up the stairs and disappeared down the hall. Daeron smirked.
“What was that all about?” Finrod asked.
Daeron actually blushed. “Ah, it’s a long story and a rather embarrassing one.”
“Oh? Do tell,” Finrod said, a glint of mischief in his eyes.
“Um, maybe some other time. I… I think I’ll just go out to the flowers… I mean the garden and check on the ellith… er… flowers and see if they need anything… I mean watering… see if they need any watering… or weeding… or something.”
Finrod watched in amusement as Daeron practically ran down the hall, obviously flustered, and vowed to himself to get the story out of Glorfindel somehow. He stood in the foyer somewhat indecisive as to his next move. Normally, he would’ve been at the bookstore at this hour. Checking his watch, though, he saw that Nick would be closing up soon anyway, so there was no point walking over to lend a hand. He could hear someone working in the kitchen and had to assume they were getting dinner together, though it would be several hours yet before they sat down to eat. With a mental shrug he wandered down the hall, figuring he could give whoever was there a hand.
Glorfindel slept almost until dinner time, waking feeling refreshed and rested for the first time in days. He took a shower and dressed in comfortable lounging pants and a T-shirt and went downstairs to see what was going on, following the delectable smell of roasted chicken into the kitchen where he found Cennanion and Alphwen, along with Finrod, Elrond and Celebrían helping. In the dining room he saw Daeron and Melyanna setting up the buffet.
Everyone looked up as he walked in. “Have a nice nap?” Finrod asked.
“Yes, thank you, and no, no nightmares. In fact, I don’t remember any dreams at all.”
“Finrod told us you allowed Vorondur to regress you,” Elrond said carefully. “I am glad he was able to help you.”
“He did and no, I have no intention at this moment of discussing what the dreams were about. Sorry.”
Elrond gave him a surprised look. “Do not apologize, Glorfindel. I am not prying, nor have I importuned either Finrod or Daeron about it. If you wish to tell us, that is your affair, and if not, that is your right. Just know that any one of us will lend a willing ear if you ever need to talk about it.”
“And I appreciate it, truly,” Glorfindel said. “Right now, I’m not in the mood to discuss it. There are aspects of the dream that need additional thought on my part before I can speak of it, but I promise that soon I will sit down with everyone and tell them, because they will need to know anyway. Now, let’s change the subject.”
“So what was all that earlier about elliths and tucking you into bed?” Finrod asked in a diffident manner as he sliced some bread.
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow and stole a glance into the dining room where he saw Daeron blushing and not looking at him. “Sorry, gwador, but I think we’ll pass on that one. Way too embarrassing for everyone.”
“So Daeron said,” Finrod retorted and the look he gave him warned Glorfindel that his gwador was not done with him and eventually he would get the story out of him. Glorfindel returned his look with one of his own that clearly said You can try. Finrod nodded slightly, apparently accepting the challenge.
Glorfindel, seeing the curious looks everyone else directed his way, decided to change the subject as he picked up the salad bowl to take into the dining room. “So, Conan, when are you finally going to take the plunge and ask Alfa to marry you?”
All eyes fell upon the hapless ellon, who blushed and stammered something no one could make out while Alfa just raised an eyebrow at him.
The eight ellyn who had gone camping with the Inuit ranger, Harvey Lightfoot, returned the next afternoon, practically fighting one another to be the first to take a hot shower with threats of bodily harm to any who lingered too long. And when the water did go cold before Aldarion, Gilvagor and Mithlas were able to take their showers, they practically burst into tears. Glorfindel, who happened to be home at the time, offered to drive them over to Edhellond-two (after consulting with Ercassë when he called to explain the situation) so they could take a shower and not have to wait for the hot water. Mithlas nearly fell to the floor to kiss Glorfindel’s feet in gratitude. They returned in time for dinner and then those who had not gone camping watched in bemusement as all eight just about fell upon the food like ravening coyotes, as Daeron described it later, demanding seconds and thirds of the spaghetti and meatballs and sausages that was that night’s dinner .
“Thank Eru!” Mithrellas had declared. “It’s easy enough to boil more pasta and there’s plenty of sauce.”
But when Haldir went for a fourth helping, Glorfindel had had enough. “Okay, just who are you people and what did you do with our friends?” he demanded, only half seriously.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d swear they were soft-living Noldor from the way they’ve been carrying on,” Daeron chimed in before anyone else could respond. “Are you sure they’re ranger material?” he asked no one in particular.
“Well, four of them are Noldor and one’s a Vanya,” Glorfindel pointed out in a reasonable tone. “Only Haldir, Mithlas and Beleg are properly Sindar, but you’re right, Darren. They sure don’t act as if they are hardy rangers used to the wilds.”
“Now you know why I became a police officer,” Prince Legolas smirked and more than one of the would-be rangers cast him a dark look.
“So, does Harvey Lightfoot think you’re ranger material?” Glorfindel asked, deciding to divert attention from Legolas.
“Oddly enough, Beleg asked him the very same question,” Aldarion replied.
Everyone looked at Beleg who shrugged. “I remembered what Max Connery said in a recent anger management class about how to treat Mortals who may become our superiors.”
“And what was Harvey’s response?” Glorfindel asked.
“He said he would pray to… to God and ask the angels for guidance before giving his evaluation to Paul.”
“Harvey is a devout Christian, as are most of the Inuit, but he is also an angakkuq, a shaman, something like a priest or minister,” Daeron explained.
“Ed Finlay’s father-in-law, Atanninuaq, holds a similar position in his village,” Glorfindel added. “I’m sure Harvey will give Paul a good report. I’m assuming you all behaved yourselves and did nothing stupid or dangerous.” He glared at Beleg and Edhrahil, the only Reborn among those wishing to become rangers.
“We were the soul of propriety,” Beleg answered with a sniff of disdain. “Just ask anyone, anyone at all.”
Several people chuckled. “Truly, we were all on our best behavior, Glorfindel,” Thandir assured them.
“That’s fine then,” Glorfindel said.
At that point Daeron asked, “So who’s up for dessert?”
No one was surprised when all eight ellyn raised their hands, nor were they surprised when, after dinner, the same ellyn decided to call it an early night and elected to sleep in their own beds rather than haunt the woods as most of them tended to do when the weather was fair.
“All that soft living in Aman really did them in, didn’t it?” Barahir was heard to mutter to Cennanion and Gilvegil when they gathered in the library after bidding the other ellyn good night, the three laughing softly.
The rest of the week passed more or less quietly. Sunday was Father’s Day and, after consulting with Daeron and getting his opinion, Glorfindel announced that there would be a clambake at Edhellond, though just for the Elves. At the same time, Erestor and Lindorillë had their grand opening of the Elf Emporium that very weekend. Melyanna and Brethorn had elected to work with them and a number of Mortals were hired as well.
“Just in time, too,” one of their customers exclaimed at the check-out. “Father’s Day isn’t Father’s Day without a new tie, right kids?” Her two pre-teens nodded vigorously in agreement. The mother and cashier, one of the Mortals who’d been hired, exchanged knowing smiles.
All the Elves showed up for the grand opening to congratulate Erestor and Lindorillë and it seemed half the town came as well.
“More than half, I’d say,” Gilvegil opined as he, Cennanion, Alphwen and Eirien strolled down the aisles, admiring the displays. The store was crowded but the Mortals behaved themselves, obviously intimidated by the presence of all the Elves who appeared to be policing the aisles, though in truth, they were merely wandering about like everyone else and some even went so far as to make their own purchases.
At any rate, the opening was declared a success, though Erestor warned that the proof of success would be how many people shopped there once the newness and novelty of a store run by Elves wore off, but Daeron thought that most people would be shopping there for their clothes. “Just wait until August,” he said. “Have a back-to-school sale and they’ll be there buying up your stock. Keep in mind the various holidays and seasons and plan your sales around them. Your most important sales day will be Black Friday. I would suggest you talk with other store owners and get their advice on things.”
Of course, then Daeron had to explain just what Black Friday was and its importance for retail businesses. “You were probably unaware of the phenomenon last November because we were all busy putting Finrod’s court together for that evening.”
Sunday dawned fair and the day promised to be warm and summery. “A good sign,” Mithrellas said as she and Celebrían were in the garden checking on the flowers. The picnic was scheduled for around two. The fire pit was stacked with wood and the menu set: barbecued chicken, steamed clams and salt potatoes along with a couple of salads and chocolate cream pie for dessert.
Around ten, the phone rang. Glorfindel happened to be in the kitchen when it did and answered it.
“Dan! How are you?” he exclaimed when he heard who was on the other end. “Have Roy and Sarah arrived yet?… Great… No, we’re just having a picnic later on… What about you?… Ah, well good luck with that… Yes, hang on, he’s around here somewhere.” He turned to see Eirien walking in. “Daisy, go find Elrond, will you? His sons are on the line.”
Eirien smiled. “I think he and Celebrían are outside working on the front garden,” she said and went back down the hall. A few minutes later Elrond showed up with Celebrían. “Did they arrive safely?” he asked Glorfindel anxiously. Glorfindel held out the phone and Elrond took it somewhat gingerly, still not used to it, remembering to put the receiver to his ear the right way and not shout into it but to speak normally. “Hello?… Elladan?! My love it’s Elladan… Yes, and Elrohir! But how are you both speaking at the same time?… Oh, how amazing… What?… Oh, thank you.” He looked at his wife with tears in his eyes. “They called to wish me happy father’s day,” he said huskily, his throat tight with emotion. Celebrían just smiled at him, clinging to his arm. “Here… you should speak to your nana.” He handed the phone to her and for another minute or so, their son visited with their mother. She was laughing and crying at the same time. Elrond held her gently and Glorfindel stood nearby watching them both fondly.
“Don’t hang up, Elrond,” he said, “I need to speak with them.”
Elrond nodded and when Celebrían finally finished speaking with them, Elrond took the phone back. “Glorfindel wishes to speak with you, my sons. Your nana and I wish all three of you were here, but we’re very proud of you. Elrohir, give Serindë a kiss from both of us. I love you, my sons… here is Glorfindel.”
He handed the phone to Glorfindel and then he and Celebrían stood there and hugged one another, heedless of their tears. Glorfindel smiled lovingly at them as he spoke into the phone. “Hi, yeah, it’s me… Look, I wanted to let you know that I had Ron regress me to find out what my dreams have been about… yeah, they’re pretty weird. Roy, you and Sarah are planning to go to the Adirondacks soon, aren’t you? … What part of the park?… Whiteface…. Oh, I will be sure to tell Amroth that. I’m sure he’ll get a kick out of knowing you’re going to visit Santa’s Workshop.” He chuckled, giving Elrond and Celebrían a merry look and a wink, though neither really understood why. He continued speaking into the phone.
“Do me a favor, okay? …When you get there, look up the following for me and take pictures. You have pen and paper handy?… Okay, in Saranac Lake, see if you can find the Grant Building on Broadway Street… Yes, that’s it… then head toward Wilmington and check out the High Falls Gorge. In particular, see if there’s a tree growing out of the cliff that has a trunk that is bent in a way that you can sit on it, like you were sitting in a swing. It will be just before you come to a bridge… humor me, son… okay and then go on to Wilmington and see if you can find a road called Owls Fly Way… yeah, that’s right. It should be on your way toward Jay. I think it’s a private road so don’t bother going down it, just take a photo of the street sign… No, I really don’t know if it’s there or not. That’s why I’m asking you to take pictures. Email me when you have them… No, I’ll explain later, after I’ve seen the pictures, and listen, you two be careful… yeah, yeah, that’s me in Captain-of-Imladris-mode… What? … Oh, thanks… yes, me too… Bye.”
He hung up the phone, his expression contemplative. Elrond, having listened to the one-sided conversation, gave him a considering look. “You seek confirmation for your dreams,” he said.
Glorfindel nodded. “Yes. I need to know if I dreamt true or not.”
“Would you not know, though?” Celebrían asked.
“Usually, but in this case, as I’ve never been to the Adirondacks I do not know if my mind simply made these details up or not.”
“So what did our sons say to you at the end?” Celebrían asked, giving him a loving smile.
“What makes you think they said anything, dear lady?” Glorfindel responded with his own smile.
“Because I saw the look on your face and I know they said something to you that you were not expecting.”
Glorfindel nodded. “They wished me a happy father’s day and said… they said that they love me. I don’t know why. I mean, they already have their father…” At that point, he broke down and found himself weeping, too overwhelmed by emotions that he had held in check until now. Celebrían hugged him and Elrond rubbed his back, but it was several minutes before he calmed down, apologizing for breaking down that way.
“There is no need to apologize, Glorfindel,” Elrond said warmly. “Celebrían and I will always be grateful that you were there for our sons when we could not be. As far as we’re concerned, you’re family and will always be so. Now, come outside with us and give us your opinion about what we’ve done with that ridiculous statue of Eönwë. Honestly, I thought Mithrandir was vain at times, but the Herald of Manwë takes the prize.”
In spite of himself, Glorfindel laughed and shortly the three were outside admiring the garden and the statue of ‘Angel Eönwë’, as Daeron called it, which was its centerpiece.
Vorondur and his family arrived along with Amroth and Nimrodel around one. Dar and Cani immediately gravitated to the Three Amigos, demanding to hear about their trip to Fairbanks and Denali. The five ellyn were seen walking across the field to the woods deep in conversation.
Vorondur, Glorfindel and Finrod watched them go.
“So, how are they doing?” Glorfindel asked Vorondur.
“I think they’re beginning to settle in,” Vorondur replied. “I’ve arranged for the daughter of one of our neighbors to come in the evenings and tutor them in English and history.” He gave them a wide smile. “Brittany is all of seventeen and stands about this high.” He held his right hand up palm down to about chest level. “As young as she is, though, you would swear she was older even than Dar, never mind Cani, the way she comports herself. Her father admits that she’s very mature for her age, almost too mature for her own good, as he puts it. She’s also super smart and already has a full ride at Berkley when she graduates next year.”
“What do your sons think of her?” Finrod asked.
Vorondur laughed. “They’re absolutely terrified of her. I don’t think they’ve ever encountered anyone like Brittany before. She’s not impressed by them at all, nor is she in awe. ‘Pointed ears or not, they’re still just boys’ she told me with all the disdain that only a teenaged girl on the brink of womanhood can muster.”
Glorfindel and Finrod both laughed.
“Roy called, he and Sarah, to wish me a happy father’s day,” Vorondur then said.
Glorfindel nodded. “He and Dan called here as well to speak with Elrond. I asked Roy when he and Sarah go to the Adirondacks next week to take some pictures for me.”
Vorondur gave him a considering look. “Roy asked me if I thought he should.”
“Indeed? And what did you tell him?”
Vorondur raised an eyebrow at the almost belligerent tone. “I told him that I was not his nanny but his father-in-law and he should not be running to me for permission to do anything where you or anyone else was concerned.”
“Hmm… and how did he take that?” Glorfindel asked.
Vorondur’s smile was cold. “Well, he wasn’t happy, but he got the message.”
Glorfindel shook his head. “Sometimes I wonder if they will ever grow up.”
“Welcome to our world, gwador,” Finrod said as he and Vorondur laughed. About then, Amarië came looking for her husband and Vorondur asked her if she had decided on a mortal name yet.
“I am debating between Amanda and Mara,” she told him. “What do you think?”
Vorondur smiled. “My dear, what I or anyone else think about it is of no consequence. You must ask yourself which name pleases you more and how comfortable are you in having people, Mortals especially, address you by that name. Be sure in your own mind and the rest of us will accept your choice as the right one for you.”
“And I’ve told her the same thing, more or less,” Finrod said, giving his wife a fond kiss on the forehead. “I will accept whatever name she chooses, but I refuse to choose for her.”
“Which is only right,” Glorfindel said and he excused himself to go check on the kitchen detail to make sure everything was running smoothly.
Later, as everyone gathered in the clearing to eat, Glorfindel showed up with a large shopping bag and began handing out long thin boxes to several ellyn, all of them fathers. “Happy Father’s Day,” he said to each and every one of them, while the others all looked on with various degrees of bemusement. When Vorondur opened his box he laughed out loud, holding up a tie.
“Just what I need, another useless piece of wardrobe accessory,” he said and then his sons demanded to know what a tie was and how it was worn and why and Vorondur spent a couple of minutes explaining it to them.
In the meantime, the other ellyn were also commenting on the ties they’d been given, the ones from Valinor unsure why they were even getting them. “But why a tie?” Valandur asked in curiosity. Glorfindel just shrugged. “Tradition,” was his only answer. Amroth, when Glorfindel handed him a box, insisted that he didn’t deserve a Father’s Day gift yet, but everyone equally insisted that he certainly did.
“The children may not be born yet, but you are certainly a daddy,” Glorfindel said, “so wear your tie with pride.”
“Only if I’m truly desperate or depraved,” Amroth shot back. “This tie is ugly.”
“They’re all ugly,” Glorfindel rejoined with a smirk. “That’s the point.”
The original Wiseman Elves all chuckled while the Valinóreans just shook their heads.
“I don’t know,” Finrod said in all seriousness, holding his tie in front of him. It was blue with a floral pattern in shades of red, yellow and green in an impressionistic style. “This would actually go well with my suit.”
“Which you have yet to wear,” Glorfindel pointed out.
Finrod shrugged. “Haven’t had the occasion to do so, but you insisted on my buying it.”
“Because every man should have at least one suit hanging in his closet. Trust me. There will be times when you will need to don it, such as for when Nicole and Tim are married or when someone dies and you attend the wake or funeral. It’s inevitable.”
“Well, thank you for your thoughtfulness, gwador. Even if done in jest, it still was good of you to go to the trouble.”
Others uttered their own thanks. Findalaurë then gave his atar a small gift and Calandil and Elennen gave gifts to Laurendil and Valandur, respectively.
“You may not be my atar but you have been one to me here,” Elennen explained when Valandur pointed out that he was not related to the ellon even by blood.
Dar and Cani became upset at the thought that they hadn’t gotten gifts for their father, but Vorondur gave them both a hug and a kiss. “You’re gift enough, my sons, more than you can ever truly comprehend,” he assured them. “Now, dry those tears. This is supposed to be a celebration, after all.”
“So tomorrow is the beginning of Elf Camp,” Daeron said then. “Everything is set and ready to go. Both sessions are filled up, so I think we’ll have lots of fun with the children running us ragged.”
“That’s what children do,” Vorondur said with a smile.
“Well, I said I’d like to help out this year,” Glorfindel said. “Let me know what I can do.”
“We have a boffer tournament set up,” Daeron said. “Perhaps you can help out with that. We need volunteers who are willing to die… all for a good cause, of course.”
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Well, been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. Just sign me up.” And everyone laughed.
When they calmed down, Glorfindel nodded at Finrod who nodded back before stepping forward. “Speaking of which, there is something I would like to say.” Everyone gave him their attention. “Recently, an incident occurred that, save for the intervention of Lord Námo, could well have ended in tragedy, but thankfully, one whom we all hold dear was not required to make the ultimate sacrifice. Glorfindel and I have spoken about this between us and we have come to an agreement as to how we would like to honor Daeron for his bravery and willingness to put himself into harm’s way for the sake of another.”
All eyes fell upon the ellon, who stood there rooted to the spot, looking suddenly pale. Gilvagor, who happened to be standing next to him, took his elbow to steady him. “So what did you decide to do?” the warrior asked.
For an answer, Finrod pulled a bag out of his pants pocket and, untying it, poured out some silver beads, along with pearls and what looked like black opals and moonstones, though no one there thought they could be real.
“Warrior braids?” Gilvagor asked in surprise, holding onto Daeron tighter when that ellon looked to flee. Laurendil came up on Daeron’s other side to help steady him. “Where did you find the proper gems?”
“Unfortunately, in this day, it is almost impossible to find the proper stones,” Finrod admitted. “These are manufactured, but they will have to do for now. My question to you is, do you agree that Daeron of Doriath deserves to be brought into our Warrior Society?”
“Yea!” came the reply from all the Elves present, even those who were not themselves warriors.
“No!” Daeron practically shouted, the lone dissenting voice. “Are you all mad? I’m no more a warrior than I’m the King of Siam. This is crazy!”
“No, Daeron, this is right.”
Everyone turned with a gasp to see Eönwë standing at the entrance to the clearing in full battle regalia. In his hand he held a long, thin wooden box of nessamelda wood. The Maia addressed Finrod. “I figured you would need this, so I brought it with me.” He opened the box and they all saw a gleaming knife made of silver and mithril.
“That’s the sereg-e-hereg I forged in Lórien!” Finrod exclaimed in surprise.
Eönwë moved into the clearing and handed the box to Finrod who accepted it gladly. “Thank you. We were going to use a knife Glorfindel has had in his possession for centuries, but this is better.”
The Maia nodded, then glanced at Daeron whose expression was bleak as he struggled in Gilvagor’s and Laurendil’s hold. “Daeron, listen to me,” he said gently as he took the minstrel by the shoulders. Gilvagor and Laurendil stepped away to give the Maia room.
“This is insane,” Daeron whispered harshly, almost angrily. “I am not a warrior. I have no intention of being one, even for the Dagor Dagorath.”
Eönwë raised an eyebrow. “Truly? And what do you see yourself doing while the rest of us are fighting and dying around you?”
Daeron blushed, refusing to make eye contact. Eönwë brushed a hand through Daeron’s hair. “There are many ways of being a warrior,” he said musingly, almost as if speaking to himself. “You showed that when you took the bullet for another, as I believe Mortals would say these days. You may not see yourself as a warrior, but how we perceive ourselves and how others see us do not necessarily coincide. I think you should trust the judgment of those of us who are warriors. We know a fellow warrior when we see one.”
With that he stepped back, giving Finrod and Glorfindel a sideways glance. “I’ll let you do the honors.”
“Should you not do it, my lord?” Finrod asked respectfully. “You are, after all, the oldest warrior among us by far.”
“Actually, Manwë is the oldest,” Eönwë said with a smile, “but this ceremony is of your devising. You, of course, would not know it, but many of the Maiar who fought in the War of Wrath adopted warrior braids for themselves to better blend in with you Children, but none of them underwent the blooding. That is strictly for incarnates. So, you will conduct the ceremony and I will stand witness to it for the benefit of those, like Olwë, who will want to know how Daeron fares.”
“And I have no say in this at all?” Daeron demanded hotly.
“Of course you do, Daeron,” Glorfindel said briskly. “You can say ‘le hannon’. Finrod, you take the right side and I’ll take the left.” And with that he pulled out his own bag of beads and stepped to Daeron’s side while Finrod did the same, handing the box with the knife to Amarië to hold. Gilvagor and Laurendil silently came to stand behind Daeron to prevent him from fleeing, but the ellon just stood there shaking his head, glaring at Eönwë who watched with clinical amusement. Finrod handed his bag to Laurendil to hold as he began braiding the right side and Glorfindel had Gilvagor hold his bag of beads and gemstones as he worked on the left side.
“Stop fidgeting, Darren,” Finrod ordered sharply in English. “Honestly, you’re worse than a two-year-old.”
That set everyone laughing. Daeron went still and suffered Finrod and Glorfindel to braid his hair. When the braiding was finished, Finrod turned to Amarië and took the knife out of the box. Without a word, Glorfindel held out his right hand and Finrod neatly sliced the palm so that a thin bead of blood welled. Glorfindel never flinched. Then Finrod flipped the knife into his left hand and did the same to his own right hand. Both warriors then placed their bleeding hands on the braids they had just done and wiped the blood from their hands onto the braids, staining both hair and gems.
“Sereg e-maethor af finnil e-maethor,” Finrod intoned and Glorfindel echoed him, speaking the words in Quenya: “Sercë ohtar’ ohtaro findin.”
“Maethor onnen, gwador onen,” Finrod then said and Glorfindel again echoed him in Quenya. “Ohtar ontaina, otorno antaina.”
“Onnen ah onen,” every warrior there intoned.
“Ontaina ar antaina,” Eönwë echoed, giving Daeron a glad look even as he handed strips of cloth to Finrod and Glorfindel to wrap around their palms.
Daeron just stood there, tears streaming heedlessly down his cheeks as each warrior, beginning with Finrod and Glorfindel came and gave him the three kisses of a warrior, first on each eyelid and then on the lips. Dar and Cani gave exclamations of surprise when Vorondur stepped up to offer his own kisses to Daeron and when he returned to stand with them and Ercassë, they gave him wondering looks which he ignored. The last to give Daeron the three kisses was Eönwë himself. The Maia looked upon him with grave compassion.
“I know you feel unworthy of this honor and indeed every warrior here will tell you that they felt the same way when it was their turn, but trust me when I say that no one deserves this honor more than you. You are an inspiration even to the Ainur. Believe this.” He then kissed the minstrel on the top of his head in benediction and turned to speak with Finrod.
“You should keep the knife handy. I think in time you will initiate others into the society. You might even consider designing a ceremony with Mortals in mind. None of them are likely to let their hair grow long in the hope that someday they might wear warrior braids, but there are some who are even now worthy of the accolade.”
Finrod nodded. “The thought had crossed my mind as we were doing this.”
There was a pause as people wondered what they should be doing next. Daeron grimaced as he fingered one of his braids, now sticky with drying blood. “I will not wait until tomorrow’s sundown to wash my hair,” he said firmly. “I have Elf Camp to run tomorrow and the last thing I need is to have to explain to parents why I’m walking around with blood in my hair.”
“Well, you can always say you’re practicing for when you’re dying in the boffer tournament,” Glorfindel offered in a bland tone.
Others sniggered at that as Daeron cast him a sour look. “Keep it up and you’ll be the only one dying in the tournament, over and over and over….”
Glorfindel sniffed in disdain, clearly unimpressed by the ellon’s threats. “Promises, promises.”
“All right you two, don’t make me come over there,” Elrond said warningly from where he and Celebrían were standing and now everyone else was laughing.
“So, who’s up for dessert?” Mithrellas asked, deciding it was time to change the subject to something less fraught with emotion.
Everyone practically goggled when Eönwë was the first with his hand raised. “What!” he exclaimed with feigned surprise. “I like chocolate cream pie as much as the next Maia.”
“Fine, but Daeron gets the first slice,” Glorfindel said, giving the Maia a stern look.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” the Maia said as he gave Daeron a wink. Daeron raised an eyebrow but when Eirien handed him a generous slice of the pie he didn’t refuse it and soon they were all enjoying dessert.
Words are Sindarin unless otherwise noted:
Nessamelda: (Quenya) ‘Nessa-beloved’, the name of a type of tree, mentioned in Unfinished Tales.
Sereg-e-hereg: Blood-knife, forged from silver and mithril. It was made for the sole purpose of ‘blooding’ the new warrior with the blood from the two oldest warriors present. Traditionally, the new warrior would not wash the blood out of his hair until the following sunset.
Le hannon: ‘Thank you’.
Sereg e-maethor af finnil e-maethor: “Warrior’s blood for warrior’s braids”. The Quenya translates the same way.
Maethor onnen, gwador onen: “A warrior is born, a (sworn) brother is given”. The Quenya translates the same way.
Onnen ah onen: “Born and given”. The Quenya translates the same way.
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