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Chapter 4: My Poor Children
Erestor’s head snapped up when the atmosphere in the room suddenly changed. He was sitting in a comfortable armchair in front of the fire reading a book – his means to still his agitated nerves.
Lady Celebrían was standing like a statue in front of the great window staring into the dark for hours. Despite several elves best attempts, nothing had convinced her so far to leave this spot.
Not that she had spoken a word, yet her posture had suddenly changed from tense to rigid, and her breathing had increased.
Erestor frowned, what had the first Lady perceived? Slowly rising, he walked to the window to peer out. The courtyard lay as deserted as before and nothing was indicating that this would change. The information had to come from another source then.
Erestor had only to look into his Lady´s face to know that something had happened and according to the tears streaming down her face nothing good.
“My Lady, what is wrong?” he asked in his most placating manner, yet to no avail.
The Lady of Imladris was whirling around and directing her blazing eyes at her husband´s councillor.
“What is wrong?” she cried. “I will tell you what is wrong. I will never see my children alive again. I should have never allowed them to go, but I know who has to answer for that.”
She gathered her gown and left the room in a rush. Seldom lost for words, Erestor stared after the she-elf speechless. He narrowed his eyes to slits. What in the name of the Valar was the meaning of this? The children were with Glorfindel and when something bad had happened to them, then Glorfindel was involved also. He would give his life to protect Elrond´s sons. The first Lady´s anger was misdirected.
Never one to question the means of the world, Erestor took his leave as well. A bad situation had obviously turned for the worst. He had to take action.
The irritated whinny of the Elf-lord´s horse caused Tinár to look up sharply. For hours, they had been riding through the night, only stopping long enough to read tracks or check direction.
The Elf-lord had halted his stallion rather roughly, and was now sitting perfectly still with his eyes closed. Tinár came alongside and looked at his senior healer intently.
Elrond had been highly nervous and agitated before, despite his best effort not to let it show, yet now he was literally quivering.
“Elrond?” Tinár asked softly, deliberately using the Elf-lord´s name despite his title in the hope to get through.
Long moments went by and still the Elf-lord did not stir. Tinár was just about to call again when the healer opened his eyes sharply. The young healer flinched at the raw emotions he could glimpse in his lord’s grey eyes. Elrond seldom let anyone witness such a private side of him.
“They are farther up the mountain than I hoped they would be. Further peril will come upon them, and without Glorfindel, they will be lost. We have to reach them quickly.”
Without a further explanation or word, the healer spurred his horse forward.
The young healer took a deep breath. He hardly wanted to explore what these words were meant to be.
Where had the Elf-lord this information from? Knowing that the Half-elf had the gift of foresight, Tinár followed instantly.
Elrond must have suffered a vision of some sort. Vision often appeared unclear and nebulous but the few uttered word let the young healer dread what they would find further up the mountain.
When Elrohir heard his brother cry, he leaned over the edge. “El?” he called. “Stay where you are, I will come down to you.”
Without waiting for a response, the younger twin got up and turned to round the body of poor dead Asfaloth. Searching frantically for Glorfindel´s bag, Elrohir found it half buried under the horse´s belly.
With a jerk, Elrohir pulled the bag loose, opened it and retrieved a long rope. Tying the rope around a boulder, he frowned when he realized it would not hold due to the wet stone. Looking around and finding no root in the dark, he decided to use the means he had. His eyes falling on Asfaloth, Elrohir tied the rope to the front leg of the horse, estimating that the poor beast would be heavy enough to hold his weight.
“I´m sorry, my friend, but I need your help,” he sobbed while tightening the knot.
He could barely make the knot because of the tears streaming down his face. Having to do this tore at his heart, but his brother and Glorfindel were down there needing his help, so….
Testing the rope one last time, Elrohir shoved his feet over the abyss and gripped the rope with all his might as it stretched taut until he was suddenly dangling over the chasm.
Holding his breath for a moment, Elrohir looked over his shoulder. Not seeing much in the darkness, he used his brother´s fëa guiding him to the right spot. Bit by bit he let his hands glide down the rope until his feet finally touched solid ground. For a few more moments he stood there, his flushed face leaning against the cold stonewall and his little feet shaking from exertion.
Elrohir jumped slightly as his brother´s voice startled him.
“Elrohir come over here. I need your help.”
Carefully relinquishing his hold on the rope, Elrohir crossed the distance and crouched next to his brother. After a quick hug, he directed his gaze at the still body of the warrior.
“Glorfindel, how badly you are hurt? Tell us and we can help. Ada taught us much.”
The warrior briefly closed his eyes. When he opened them, again he smiled.
“Of that I´m sure, my boy, but here you can do nothing. I cannot feel my feet; in fact, I can feel nothing below my torso, but I´m not in pain…”
Seeing the panic in the twins´ eyes, he quickly added.
“It´s ok. You two must leave. The quicker you arrive home and seek help the quicker we will all get out of here.”
“But…,” Elladan began, but seeing the angry shake of the older elf´s head, he stopped.
“Child listen to me. You two must leave. Any moment wind can come up and blow us from the ledge, or another avalanche can loosen. So, get up there and leave. Take Asfaloth; he knows the way home….”
Exhausted, the warrior closed his eyes.
Elladan swallowed. How could Glorfindel demand to leave him here alone, helpless as he was? He looked at his brother with pleading eyes.
“I cannot come with you either. My leg is broken and my side hurts awfully. You must take Asfaloth and go for help….”
“But I will not leave you two….” Elrohir said, his under-lip quivering.
Besides, how were they to get home without Asfaloth. Elrohir did not have the heart to tell his mentor that his beloved horse was dead.
Glorfindel pleaded once more, his voice holding such urgency.
“Child, please leave. With you sitting here, we have no chance. Asfaloth will protect and guide you. Your father is most certainly already searching.”
The golden-haired warrior gritted his teeth. He could in fact feel nothing in his lower body, however his upper body was in a great deal of pain – yet he vowed that the children would not know lest they refuse to leave.
Elrohir looked up into the dimness and nodded. Hugging his brother once more, he looked in his eyes with fierce determination.
“Stay with him. I will return with the whole of Imladris.”
Glorfindel closed his eyes in exhaustion. With a sinking heart, he heard the boys scrambling about in the dark. A lump was forming in his throat when he heard the boys saying farewells and the beginning of Elrohir ascending the cliff wall. He knew that this was their only chance to get help, yet Elrohir was only an elfling and he dared not think about what terrible dangers could happen to the child, apart from falling to his death.
Not to mention what could happen to a little elfling alone at the High Pass. With orcs roaming in the night, he shuddered as he thought about what those foul creatures would do if they got their filthy hands on an elven child.
Glorfindel would never forgive himself if the boys were hurt or worse.
His heart nearly stopped when Elrohir let out a cry followed by a slithering noise and raining pebbles.
Behind closed eyes, he saw the child plunge to his death.
He cursed his inability to help. He still had no feeling below his chest and the pain in this left arm was killing him. The double vision and his blinding headache did nothing to make the situation any better.
However, his heart begun to pound quicker when he couldn´t hear any sound after the stone avalanche had come to a stop and the calling of Elladan had quieted.
“Elrohir, are you alright?”
“He´s alright, Glorfindel. Elrohir just took a wrong step. Nothing happened,” Elladan explained while limping over.
Glorfindel closed his eyes. Despite his body feeling more and more cold he begun to sweat.
`Please Valar let this child be safe. `
To be continued….
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