The two Elves ('No, no, Allen, we are half -Elven,' the short-haired one had patiently corrected him) that he was supposedly related to were dark-haired and grey-eyed like himself, but they were tall and thin as Legolas was – if a bit more broad-shouldered, and more natural-looking when they walked. (Legolas' gait seemed to be effortlessly silent. It was disturbing to watch.)
"Legolas has told us you study the history of medication," said the short-haired one as they stood in the elevator – Elohir, or Elrohir, or something like that. Allen found it slightly difficult to roll their foreign names along his tongue as the three others did.
Allen jumped slightly at the statement, having been again lost in thought as he tried to accept what was happening, and had to pause a moment to think. It seemed as if his job was a lifetime away, even though he had been at the college that very morning. What time was it, anyway? One in the morning? They had crossed two time zones, after all … "Ah, yes … yes, that's what I teach."
"Mm. Is it an interesting field?" inquired Elrohir. "If there is anything you wish to know about it, our father will know. Elrond was a master healer, and I daresay he hasn't lost his touch, even with all the new inventions Men are coming up with every day." Elrohir sounded as if he were impressed not only with his father (who happened to be the illustrious Lord Elrond they were meeting; Allen was still goggling a little at this), but also with Men.
Allen only just remembered that Elrohir had begun with a question. "Yes, it's very interesting," he said, taking comfort in the familiarity of the subject. "I'm part of an effort on a French site – we've discovered signs of a very advanced civilization—"
"Gondor?" asked the long-haired one then (Elladen? No, Elladan), his grey gaze sharp with interest. "You have found Gondor?"
Allen was confounded for a moment. "How would we find Gondor? It's not even—" He cut off before he said 'real'. After all, it was real, wasn't it? It had existed … and his many-times-great-grandfather Aragorn had ruled it … "It's … I don't know," he finished, now wondering. Had they found Gondor? Perhaps they had …
"I have long suspected Gondor would be located in what is now called France," Legolas confided. "Geographically, it would have to be in the mainlands of Europe."
"Even with tectonic shifts?" Elladan asked.
"From what I have studied of it, yes …"
I am standing, Allen thought, between three walking historical encyclopedias, and all I can think is that I cannot believe it.
He couldn't even imagine what it would be like meeting Elrond.
* * *
By the time the elevator doors had opened, Evanston looked utterly confounded. Every question caught him off-guard; he was constantly lost in thought, and he seemed to have even forgotten to blink.
Elrohir had suspected this would happen, but there wasn't much he could do about it. Evanston would have no choice but to swallow everything whole or choke upon it and go mad; regardless, he had to be here. There was no place safer.
It was Airelond that answered the door; upon seeing the three Elves and their human companion, he smiled and bowed them in. "I will go inform Lord Elrond of your arrival," he said, leaving the hall; Elrohir turned to Evanston and took his coat from him, hanging it on the rack along with his own.
"He was an Elf, too, right?" Allen asked, nodding after the housekeeper. "Is everyone here an Elf?"
"Yes, and yes," Elrohir replied. "You are the first human to know about the existence of Elves in some ten thousand years." He was vaguely amused when Evanston gaped for a moment at the thought.
Elladan nudged him. "Here comes Father," he murmured.
And so he did, sweeping around the corner in amazingly regal fashion considering it was the dead of night. His hair was still done formally, and his clothes were neat. "Legolas, my sons," he greeted simply, before his gaze fell on Evanston. "Mr. Allen Evanston. Welcome to my home." He smiled benevolently.
Elrohir's gaze flicked back to Allen when the man swallowed. "Thank you," he said uncertainly, stepping forward and offering his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mister … Lord Elrond?"
Elrohir felt guilty when the urge to laugh came to him; his brother was biting his lip, eyes bright with amusement. The shorter-haired son of Elrond felt that it was in his father's credit that his smile did not change as he returned Allen's handshake firmly. "You may call me Elrond, or Mr. Payton if it makes you feel more comfortable," he replied, "And the pleasure is all mine. Please, come with me; we have much to discuss." Gently he guided Evanston towards the dining room; with a small gesture he indicated that Legolas, Elladan, and Elrohir should not follow.
"Well," said Elladan after a brief moment, switching back to Sindarin in the absence of Allen, "We will just have to hope that Father doesn't scare him too much."
"I have full trust in Lord Elrond," Legolas said smoothly. "If anyone will be able to put Allen at ease, it will be him."
Elrohir just smiled. "Perhaps we should all get some sleep, then, since there is nothing more to do here."
All saw the wisdom in this and followed suit.
* * *
"Mr. Evanston arrived safely," said Olórin as he came into the kitchen.
Glorfindel was pouring himself coffee. "That's good to hear," he replied, offering a small smile to the Maia. "Would you like some?" He held up the coffee pot.
"Yes, thank you," Olórin said, seating himself at the kitchen table. Glorfindel nodded and retrieved a second mug, bringing it to the table and setting it before the older 'man'. "I am most grateful."
"Certainly. The taste is addicting," Glorfindel replied, sitting across from Olórin and sipping his own drink. He looked over the mug at the Maia. "Everyone must think I was in a murderous rage regarding you. Elladan and Elrohir, the young things, think it funny to tell everyone I sprang at your throat. And you are not helping," he added when Olórin smiled.
"Come, now, Glorfindel," he said gently. "You are an even-keeled Elf; no one thinks that you truly saw red."
"I was more irritated than I should have been," Glorfindel admitted then. "Your decision was wise, but I was not pleased to think you had purposely led me on a goose chase."
"I only pointed you in the wrong direction when you came too close to finding me," Olorin replied, sipping his coffee. "You are discreet, but should someone else be following the clues without your knowledge, I did not want to be found accidentally. And it set back the Enemy, at least briefly. Although I am afraid we have lost the advantage of surprise." He shook his head.
Glorfindel sighed, running his fingers through his golden hair. "It is the toughest chess game played." He looked up at Olórin. "What of the other Istari? Know you their fate?"
"Saruman was reduced to nothing when Wormtongue laid a knife into his back," Olórin murmured. "He was a traitor to the Valar and yet was not on Melkor's side, and so his soul is lost, somewhere. I know not where. Radagast …" he shook his head. "He may yet roam this world. I have not seen him since before the Breaking. And the Blue Wizards who went East are said to have turned to the dark arts of Power – I do not know if they survived the Breaking either. Regardless, they cannot help us now."
"So none turned back or have contacted you. A shame," Glorfindel answered. He looked at the clock. "Three in the morning! And here we sit drinking coffee. Old fogies like ourselves should be sleeping."
"Indeed," laughed Olórin, draining the last of his cup. "I suppose we should." He stood up. "Tomorrow, my old friend, you must be a support to dear Elrond. Maglor will come."
Glorfindel nodded, finishing his coffee. "I know. I will," he replied. "Thank you."
* * *
Evanston was relieved to find that all his nervousness had been misplaced. Lord Elrond Peredhil was not the stern, overbearing half-Elf he had imagined, but a kind, fatherly figure, patient and careful.
"… and so it was that my father aided the Valar in their victory over Morgoth," Elrond said, finishing yet another tale of Middle-Earth. "That was the end of the First Age."
Allen smiled. Elrond was like a storybook, full of fascinating tales of valor and strength. "That's only the First Age?" he asked softly. "You said there were two more?"
"Three," Elrond replied evenly, holding up three fingers for emphasis," But I know little about the Fourth Age. For tales of that, you must turn to my sons."
Allen rubbed his eyes. It was still hard to believe that all these wild tales were actual history. "It's all so … the tales have such mythic proportions," he said finally.
"They do," Elrond agreed. "For a scholar such as yourself, they must be hard to swallow. I do not expect you to fully believe any of this, or to even comprehend it as such – I am merely requesting that you treat it as the truth until you can accept it."
The Man nodded slightly. "… I've seen some things that science can't explain," he said. "Men that disappeared into slips of paper, and people with pointed ears and eyes that are … not human." He gazed at Elrond. "I know I should accept it. I just don't know if I can within the next year, much less by tomorrow."
"Faith," Elrond said, "is hard to have." He sat back in his chair again. "Would you like more coffee, or would you like to go to bed? We can continue this in the morning."
"I would prefer to sleep, if that's all right," Allen replied gratefully. He hesitated for a moment before continuing, "Elrond … thank you for the history lesson." He smiled down at himself, standing up. "Whether I believe it or not, I'm grateful to be less … lost."
Elrond's smile was a gentle one, like a father to a son. "You are handling this admirably." He began to leave the room. "Follow me to one of the guestrooms."
The doorbell rang as Allen was following Elrond up the stairs; he looked down to see the Elf that had greeted himself at the door answering the door again. "Yes, sir—?"
But the Elf was cut off when a joyful bark rang through the house, and there was an audible 'oof!' as Huan – it could be no other dog – bounded free of the bellhop's hold on the leash and dashed up the stairs to tackle Allen. He licked Allen's hands and whined his happiness, then moved on to Elrond, who was blinking at the large dog.
"Uh, my dog, Huan," Allen said apologetically as Huan sniffed Elrond suspiciously, decided he wasn't a threat, and trotted down the stairs to Allen's side again. "He had to come late because of the arrangements for the flight. Is it all right if he stays?"
Elrond blinked at the name of the dog, and then laughed. "Yes, certainly," he said. "I think it would break his heart to be separated from you for long." He shook his head, leading the way again, and Allen thought he heard the half-Elf murmur, "Huan … ah, how Celeborn would laugh to hear that name."
* * *
Author's Notes: Well, it's finally back up and running. The next chapter will be the meeting of all the Elves.
Huan, for those who don’t know, was the name of the hound of the Valar. He fought in a number of battles in the first age and died doing battle with Melkor's great wolf who had eaten a Silmaril.
For those concerned that Glorfindel was horribly out of character, I'm sorry. I meant for it to be silly and funny, and I wasn't serious about Glorfindel being ready to hurt Gandalf in any way. I can't imagine him doing it; what I could imagine was Elladan and Elrohir telling whoppers about it, and Olórin playing along.
Thank you for reading, as always—
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.