Flight to the Ford: Asfaloth's Tale
by Elladan, son of Elrond
(who finds Valinor useful for achieving the tranquility necessary for writing an epilogue, even if that tranquility is not always appreciated after five hundred years of ceaseless orc-hunting)
In truth, despite what he at times claimed, Asfaloth was neither a warhorse nor very courageous though his deeds on this journey will be forever remembered, at least by the elves, in song and story.
As he returned to the stable beside his master, he pondered his actions of the last three days. Slowly he realized that he had defied the gathered Nazgul, an act few horses could have achieved. The more he thought about it, the less he liked it. And the less he felt like explaining to Glorfindel that Hadhafang was at the bottom of a raging river. As Glorfindel walked him, and then returned him to his stall, removed his tack, he acted calm and serene, unwilling to embarrass his master with the behavior he wished to display (hiding in a corner). At Glorfindel’s request, he told him that the sword of Elrond had been dropped in the Bruinen River. Details though, were somewhat lacking in his explanation of Arwen’s unusual clumsiness. However, being an ancient and perceptive elf-lord, well-experienced in the ways of horses, he understood the parts that Asfaloth had conveniently forgotten. Wisely, the matter was not pursued.
Since Lord Elrond was occupied with healing Frodo the Hobbit, Glorfindel returned to the house to aid in the organizing of the searches regarding the fate of the nine Ringwraiths and the party that would speed the journey of Aragorn and the other hobbits to the Last Homely House. Glorfindel came to Asfaloth’s stall the next morning and told him they would leave within the hour. For the sake of the Lady Arwen, he wished to search the river bank in the hope of retrieving the sword. As it was, Lord Elrond was furious enough that his daughter had been allowed to ride out alone to face the formidable Nazgul.
When Glorfindel advised Asfaloth of his plans, Asfaloth composedly enlightened him to the fact that he was never leaving his stall again. Indeed, Asfaloth went on at great length. Glorfindel waited until he had finished (with Asfaloth, never a short time) before informing Asfaloth he could remain in his stall if he wished. Asfaloth was rather surprised, but decided it was best if he did not say anything. However, he did emerge from behind the hay (to which he had returned after breakfast, refusing to leave his stall or acknowledge anyone other than Glorfindel) and come to the stall door. Glorfindel patted him and started softly singing. Not unusual for an elf, though his choice of songs was uncommon. He sang a lay which told of Rochallor, the great elf-steed of Fingolfin, King of the Noldor elves upon whom he rode to the gates of Angband and challenged Morgoth to single combat. Asfaloth, not overly impressed, plainly stated his opinion of Fingolfin’s intelligence. It was not exactly complimentary. Glorfindel merely smiled tranquilly and sang the lay of the wise horse of Turgon, King of Gondolin. Asfaloth said if Turgon had simply listened to his horse instead of being conceited, Gondolin would not have fallen. Glorfindel appeared rather smug at this point and spoke of Felarof, horse of Eorl. Noble and brave, he never failed his master or shirked his duty. Asfaloth appeared to like the story of Felarof, until Glorfindel “incidentally” mentioned Eorl was a human; one of the Rohirrim. That was all it took. Asfaloth stomped his hooves, laid his ears back and declared Felarof a traitor to horse kind. He demanded they ride out to recover Hadhafang at once. If nothing frightened a deserter like Felarof, nothing frightened Asfaloth the Brave, Steed of Lord Glorfindel. Glorfindel merely nodded; swiftly bridling and saddling him. They rode out to recover the sword though whether or not they were successful is not told in this tale. However, Hadhafang was soon seen again at its old resting place in Imladris and Asfaloth became his usual mischievous self, so perhaps it can be safely assumed that they were indeed triumphant.
I relate this tale to you in honor of Asfaloth, who long ago passed from this world for such is the lot of mortals, and because I know Lord Glorfindel would not wish for the memory of his valiant (though at times annoying) steed to fade and be forgotten with the passage of time. Many are the songs that have been sung and tales told of the courage of Lady Arwen Undomiel, daughter of Elrond. Few were there who could face the Nazgul when the nine came together. Truly, her deeds were valorous. But fewer still are the tales that have been told of Asfaloth, the white elf-horse of Glorfindel, who bore Arwen Undomiel bravely beyond the very clutches of the Ringwraiths. And yet, were his deeds of any less merit than those of his rider? For where she went, he went also. What she faced, he faced also. Asfaloth’s trust of Arwen to guide him was perhaps the hardest trial of all. He trusted and loved his master, but did not know or care to know anyone else (unless they provided him with bread rolls). In the end, it was his love of Glorfindel and not any act of Arwen’s that helped him to complete the journey. No tales have yet been written or put to song that tell of his adventure, for all tales of that time tell of the Ringbearer and that which he bore, and the return of the lost King of Gondor. But in the Undying Lands, there is a tall, golden-haired elf-lord whom you have only to ask and you will learn of his valiant steed Asfaloth and the unshakable love he bore his master.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.