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On the knife’s edge  by Laikwalâssê

Chapter 7:  Continuing on

Elrond narrowed his eyes when the first rider broke through the brush. He would have recognized this elf among thousands and not only because of his unique hair color.

Celeborn, Lord of the Golden Wood, was galloping into the clearing. Elrond´s eyes widened however when he espied his mother-in-law just behind her husband followed by an entourage of six warriors as well as an elf driving a large wagon.

Elrond kept standing next to his injured son, yet bowed when the royal couple was dismounting. Even if both wore travel clothing, they looked magnificent. Celeborn had a silver lined tunic over black leggings while Galadriel wore — as always — a bright white tunic over leggings the same color. 

The six warriors fanned out at once and joined their comrades from Imladris in the trees.

The elf driving the wagon stopped and only now, Elrond recognized him as Haldir, foster son of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel.

Celeborn instantly walked toward Elrond while his gaze analytically scanned the sleeping boy on the ground. Galadriel joined Haldir at the wagon and gave her instructions.

“A star shines on the occasion of our meeting,“ Celeborn said placing a hand over his heart.

“It has been too long, Elrond Peredhel, even if I had wished for happier circumstances.”

“Well met, Celeborn, the same applies to me. Even if my heart rejoices in seeing you, I wonder how you discovered our dire situation.”

The Elf lord's gaze became suddenly piercing, and Elrond held his breath.

“Let´s say we received a sign and deemed it necessary to come to your aid even if thou hast not called for it, Eärendilion.”

The slight reprimand of the Lady of light didn´t go unnoticed by the Lord of Imladris but now was not the time to discuss this. Elrond stored the information how the couple was informed to bring help, away for later. This was a story he wanted to hear.

While Galadriel was kneeling beside Elrohir, Haldir came over and greeted the Elf-lord.

“Well met, Master Elrond. We have brought rescue equipment and other supplies we deemed helpful. It´s all ready for your disposal.”

“Thank you, Haldir. I´m glad for the additional equipment. Elrohir´s report about the state of his brother and Glorfindel sounded grave, and an extra pair of hands are very welcome.”

Celeborn nodded and greeted Tinár.

Galadriel looked up.

“And you will need them. I will stay here with Elrohir. My husband and Haldir will continue with you.”

This was a statement and not a bidding. Elrond looked momentarily irritated; however, he was glad for the unexpected support. He had already wondered how he have managed to come to his other son´s and Glorfindel´s aid with an already injured child to care for.

Seeing the lines on the Half-elf´s face, Celeborn placed a comforting hand on the healer´s shoulder.

“We are here to help, son. Elrohir is in the best of hands, and you have your head free to accomplish the rescue mission.”

Elrond took a deep breath.

“You are right, forgive my reticence. I´m glad I can leave Elrohir in your capable hands, my lady,” he said with an incline of his head toward the Lady of light.

“However, we should continue. It´s already been four days since the incident.”

Celeborn nodded, and with Haldir, he went toward the wagon to store what things he deemed necessary on two further packhorses. With the three laden mounts from Imladris, they possessed a decent number of required items hopefully sufficient to bring quick aid.

Elrond knelt beside his son one last time and placed a hand on his brow and one on his chest. The child fared well according to expectations. He nonetheless poured healing energy into the little body and sent his son into a further healing sleep.

It did not sit well with him to leave his injured child behind, but with the appearance of the Lothlórien elves, the situation was much more acceptable now.

Elrond rose and started when he felt Galadriel´s breath right next to his ear.

“I will take good care of your son, Elrond. Go now and bring back your other son and this infuriating elf you call your counselor. Don´t worry about us, in the meantime; I will be busy to placate my furious daughter.”

Elrond whirled around and noticed a reprimand, but when he looked into the ice blue eyes of his mother-in-law, he only saw concern and understanding. Marginally he relaxed.

“Thank you,” he said and turned toward the waiting elves of Lothlórien and Tinár, which were already mounted.

With a last look at his son, the Elf-lord spurred his stallion onward closely followed by Celeborn, Tinár, and Haldir.

 

……………………………………………………………………………….

 

Glorfindel woke with a start. First, he did not know what had lured him from his semi-conscious state. It was a sound, or better the total lack of a sound.

He lifted his head, and even this small movement sent pain coursing down his spine, although only as far as to his hips – from there down, he still had no feeling.

His eyes widened when he espied the elfling. The boy was lying right next to him, yet he was not moving nor made a sound. Glorfindel was not even sure if he was still breathing.

“Elladan?”

His voice sounded scratchy, and only now he registered his clothes were wet, the underground he was lying on, muddy. It must have rained, while he had slept – or was he unconscious? A weird dream was lingering at the edge of his subconscious; however, try as he might he could not grab the shreds. Why was he feeling so weak – even more so than the last time he remembered.

“Elladan?” he called again, this time more loudly.

Again, no reaction. Glorfindel lifted his hand and reached out to the boy. He could touch the boys head and pat over the wet hair.

“Elladan? Answer me child.”

His heart begun to pound quicker. Why was the child not reacting? He could feel he was still alive, his fëa responding, yet something was wrong nonetheless.

He nearly laughed aloud. All was wrong: they had been swept down a mountain by an avalanche, barely gotten stuck on a small ledge, both had been injured, and he was not able to do anything to improve their situation.

The twice born warrior had lost track of time. When had he last talked to the child? Yesterday? Two days past? Only now, he recognized how thirsty and hungry he was. How must the child be faring?

“Elladan?” His voice now carrying panic.

This would not work. He laid back his head and took a deep breath. Fortunately, his groping hand managed to grab the child´s cold fingers. He squeezed them gently and closed his eyes.

 

…………………………………………………………

 

Elladan woke up shivering. He opened his eyes and blinked. Dark and heavy clouds nearly reached the ledge he was cowering on. His stomach rumbled, and he felt incredibly thirsty.

Lifting his head, he looked around and noticed the place where Glorfindel had been lying was empty.

Springing to his feet, Elladan looked back and forth down the small path – no sign of the elf.

Elladan swallowed and his under lip began to quiver. Had Glorfindel left him alone?

Walking a few steps to his right, he searched before he did the same to his left and returned to where he started.

“Glorfindel?” he called out.

He listened carefully, but all he could hear was the ever-howling wind.

“Glorfindel?” he tried again, this time louder.

Tears began to form in his eyes. He looked up. Glorfindel would have never left him…would he?

With an angry swipe of his sleeve, he wiped the tears away. He was no baby after all.

Maybe Glorfindel had recovered and was now seeking help?

Again, he looked up, but his gaze could not pierce the deep hanging clouds. Maybe he should climb and show Glorfindel the way back?

“Elladan?”

The elfling whirled around. In his surprise, he nearly stepped over the edge, but weirdly some unseen force pushed him gently back toward the cliff wall.

The warrior was standing on the brink of the cliff dressed in a blinding white tunic and cream-colored leggings.

Elladan blinked – his beloved mentor seemed no longer injured.

“Come, child, let us leave this mountain.”

The elf´s voice sounded strange; however, Elladan was glad he was no longer alone.

“Glorfindel!” he cried running into the outstretched arms of the warrior.

“You have recovered, you can walk, how is this possible?” Elladan pressed his face into the belly of the elf.

Glorfindel patted the elfling´s hair.

“You can also walk, right? Come let us leave now.”

Elladan took a step back. Glorfindel was right. His leg was no longer hurting, in fact, all seemed in best order. With round eyes, he looked again up and into blue eyes.

“But…?”

“No more questions, Elrondion. Come, Asfaloth is waiting for us.”

Before Elladan had a chance to retort something, the elf had turned and already vanished around a bend.

Elladan started running after the warrior suddenly afraid he could vanish again. As soon as he had rounded the bend, he nearly bumped into the hind legs of the great white horse.

“Ah, what…?”

Again, before he could utter a word a large hand was grabbing his collar and a second later, he was sitting in front of the elf.

Glorfindel placed a hand on his forehead.

“And now still your mind, elfling. We must be on our way.”

Elladan swallowed and looked on in wonder when the great horse took one step, and before he knew it, the dreaded mountain trail was vanishing. Instead, they were galloping over a sunlit meadow, birds chirping all around.

Elladan stretched his hand in the air and cheered.

“Noro lim, Asfaloth. Noro lim!”

Glorfindel smiled.

That´s right elfling, enjoy your ride, the golden-haired warrior thought.

 

 

………………………………………………..

 

Celeborn looked up when he felt his wife sitting next to him stiffen. Something had changed in the atmosphere and according to his wife´s reaction; she had perceived it also.

Slowly, Celeborn stood and walked to the edge of their talan. It was late afternoon, and the sun had already started its descent.

The forest floor was dappled in golden specks from the sunlight finding its way to the ground. It was a pleasantly warm evening, but suddenly the temperature dropped.

Celeborn took a deep breath. This indicated nothing good.

No sooner, had he directed his gaze into the distance he could hear hoof beats. Galadriel now standing beside him had closed her eyes.

Celeborn raised an eyebrow. No rider or guest had been announced, and the guards would not have let someone unwanted cross the borders.

Standing like a statue, Celeborn readied himself for whatever was coming their way. Even if the sun was still shining, the dropped temperature made him shudder.

It did not take long, and the Lord of the Golden Wood could make out an enormous white horse coming swiftly closer. He narrowed his eyes. He could recognize the rider under thousands: Glorfindel!

Only now, Celeborn could see a child was sitting in front of the warrior. Gasping, he could tell the elfling was one of his grandsons. Which twin he could not yet tell.

Before he had fully figured out what the meaning of this encounter was, his wife turned and was already descending the steps.

`Glorfindel and Elladan need our help, beloved.`

Celeborn sighed. Of course, Galadriel already knew much more – but she was a ring bearer after all. Swiftly he followed his wife.

Just when he arrived at the base of the enormous mallorn, the rider had reached the clearing. The scene appeared harmless, peaceful with the elfling waving at them, yet at the same time strange, out of place.

The stiff posture of his wife and her blank expression spoke volumes.

Only now, Celeborn recognized the horse and the two riders wavered as if looking at them through a fine veil or intense heat. Even if the child was cheering at them, he could hear no sound.

He swallowed. What was the meaning of this?

´It´s an apparition of Glorfindel´s fëa`, Galadriel answered his unvoiced question.

Celeborn looked at his wife with a raised eyebrow.

“Something has happened to Glorfindel and the twins. There was an accident, and all three are injured. They need our help.”

Celeborn redirected his shocked gaze at the wavering figures. Accident? His grandsons and Glorfindel injured?

“Elrond is already on his way, but he will need our support.”

Before he could even utter this question, Galadriel had answered it and was now issuing orders at an approaching guard.

When Celeborn looked back where Glorfindel and Elladan had been a moment before, they had vanished.

“He has completed his goal. Come beloved; let us be on our way.”

Before Celeborn could move, Galadriel pressed a gentle kiss on her husband´s lips.

“I love you,” Galadriel breathed.

“I know.”

 

……………………………………………………………

 

When Elladan awoke again, the rain had stopped, and the sun was already breaking through the clouds.

He crawled forward while gritting his teeth. The throbbing pain in his leg had become a constant companion. Even if he felt cold, his leg was on fire.

Glorfindel was lying as unmoving as before.

Carefully, Elladan grabbed the warrior´s hand and started. The fingers were icy cold and stiff.

The elfling leaned on top of the elf´s torso to look into his face.

The warrior´s eyes were closed, and the skin looked no longer gray but translucent. The young elfling could not make out one sign of life.

“Glorfindel no!” he cried.

“You must not die. Help is on the way. Ada and Grandma are coming. Please, Glorfindel, hang on, don´t give up. They will be here shortly. Please I…I…”

Elladan was blinded by the tears rolling down his face. Frantically he shook the elf but got no reaction again.

Helplessly he looked up the cliff face. He slumped back on his beloved mentor´s chest sobbing uncontrollably.

Now he was alone – truly alone.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

    





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