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Gofi and the Balrog: 1. Gofi and the Balrog
Glorfindel, carefully copying out a page of text to a new parchment, didn’t
look up. “The floors are chilly tonight, little ones. Why don’t you come
closer to the fire and out of the drafty entry?”
For in Imladris there are no doors to bar the way, or keep the fresh air
from breathing through the rooms.
The patter of small elven feet on stone made the Elf Lord smile slightly as
he dipped his pen in the ink. He knew without looking who had been spying
on him. Slanting a look down, he let the smile show on his face as he
beheld two pairs of very large dark blue eyes in round faces staring at
him. “Here now...” Glorfindel set the pen down, wiping his hands on his
leggings as he turned slightly to face the twin sons of Elrond. “What is
the occasion for such solemn faces? Have you finally been sent out of
Imladris for being naughty again?”
The small boys shook their heads, long dark hair drifting around their
shoulders. Yet still, both were silent, only gazing at the Eldar.
Pursing his lips, Glorfindel considered the twins. “Has a dragon come in
the night and stolen your voices?” For it was very late at night, and both
boys should be long abed.
A tiny quirk of a smile appeared on Elrohir’s face, dimpling a round cheek.
He shook his head vigorously.
Glorfindel nodded thoughtfully, wondering what sort of mood had taken the
two as Elladan slowly reached out to trace a very small finger along the
back of the older elf’s hand. They were usually unstoppable whirlwinds of
energy, inseparable and rarely quiet.
Studying the sleep-flushed faces, noting the way Elrohir stood close enough
to his brother to touch, shoulder-to-shoulder; the twitch of one small
hand, still round with baby fat, as his thumb inched slowly, furtively,
towards a tiny mouth ringed by perfect, rosy lips.
Well. There was something he hadn’t seen since the child was two! Not
that five was such a great age - it was but a blink in the long life of an
elf - but both twins had long given up such behaviours as “babyish”.
Something must have unsettled them, and badly.
And yet here they stood, dressed only in sleep shifts, dark hair tousled,
watching him with huge, dark blue eyes.
Had he grown horns and everyone neglected to tell him? Glorfindel thought
that unlikely, but wondered again at the fact the boys had come to him...not
Casting his mind back through memories that stretched to the First Age to
recall what could unsettle small elves, the Elf Lord slowly leaned forward,
his voice quiet and low. “Was your father telling you tales tonight?”
Elladan nodded, not looking up from his perusal of the elegant long
Elrohir’s thumb had found his mouth and the boy sucked once, then again,
eyes pools of darkness as they gazed at the Eldar.
Glorfindel smiled gently, reaching out with the hand Elladan wasn’t
examining to trace a curve around Elrohir’s head, cupping the tiny chin
gently. He knew what tales the twins favoured; those of great battles and
brave warriors. “Was there a fierce creature in one of those tales?”
Elrohir, unable to nod, pulled his thumb out long enough to whisper, “Yes.”
Before sticking it back in again. He leaned into the large warm hand as if
seeking sanctuary, sidling closer as the older elf slipped his hand around
the child’s back. Leaning against the elf, the child rested his head
against Glorfindel’s thigh, watching his brother. He relaxed as Glorfindel
began to rub his back gently in soothing circles.
“Which tale was it, Elladan?”
The elder of the twins, by scant minutes, but forever the leader, made a
small moue of his mouth as he rested the entire of his hand atop
Slowly turning his hand so that the small elf had his hand resting in his
palm, Glorfindel marveled at the perfection of the tiny hand. They had
grown so much since their birth - twins were not that common among elves
and the boys had been impossibly small to one unused to babies - but still
the boy’s hand took only a very small circumference of the Elf Lord’s palm.
It wouldn’t be long before this hand would be curling around a the bend of
a bow, however. Already they had miniature bows that they mostly played
with. Elves were born archers. They would learn swordsmanship from one of
the finest swordsmen in Middle Earth, for their father, though he was more
of a quiet scholar these days, had been a fearsome warrior in previous
Glorfindel’s attention was recalled abruptly as Elladan suddenly looked up,
gazing directly into his eyes. “Did it hurt?”
The question took the older elf by surprise and he blinked once, trying to
discern from the solemn gaze what wound the child was recalling.
Glorfindel was no stranger himself to fighting and warfare.
He shook his head slightly, hair cascading around his shoulders in a silken
fall of gold. “Did what hurt?”
Biting a tiny lip, Elladan suddenly frowned fiercely. “I would have leaped
to attack it! I wouldn’t let it hurt you!” The tiny hand curled with
surprising strength around Glorfindel’s index finger as the boy leaned
against the older elf.
Holding the boy’s gaze with a solemn look of his own, Glorfindel nodded.
“I believe you, Elladan.” He knew then which story their father had told
them that night. “And with you both helping me, I doubt the Balrog would
have lasted as long as it did.”
Elladan nodded, face scrunched in a fierce scowl. He looked down suddenly,
taking a heaving breath.
A little alarmed, Glorfindel left off rubbing Elrohir’s back to stroke back
the dark fall of hair covering Elladan's face. “Elladan?” He could feel
the boy’s chest moving as he drew in gulps of air.
“Fa-Father said...” The boy’s lips trembled slightly despite his fierce
scowl. “Balrogs are made of fire.” He looked up suddenly, eyes brimming
with tears and a misery that was palpable. He choked, “Did it hurt?”
Glorfindel’s heart melted all over again for the boys.
As if he hadn’t been lost from the moment the two had looked at him - truly
*looked* and seen him - with their great, dark eyes so full of innocence
and trust when Elrond had finally forced him to hold them. He, a great
warrior of the First Age, sung of in ballads, killer of Balrogs, and one
who had faced death, Mandos’ Halls and returning. An Eldar, one of the
Had been afraid to hold two tiny babies.
Much like their father, however, the boys had worked their way into his
affection and now... Now there was little he wouldn’t do to keep the twins
safe. He would offer his life freely to keep these two from harm and never
once regret the choice.
With a sigh, he gathered Elladan up, setting the small elf on his leg
before gathering up his twin to sit next to him. Wrapping an arm around
each of the boys and holding them against his chest, Glorfindel surrendered
to a mild frown.
This wasn’t precisely a favoured subject of his. The memories, though old,
were still sharp with the smell of acrid smoke and withering heat. The
smell of his own hair and skin as it had caught fire, melting, was forever
seared into his memory.
Shaking free of the pain, the elf nodded, seeing Elladan watching him with
eyes that missed little. If anything.
Just like his father.
“Yes, it did.” He wouldn’t lie to them. Even at this age, they could
understand and spot a lie. “But it was soon over.”
That wasn’t precisely truth, but there was no reason to go into gory
details. Especially when the barest telling of the tale had led them here
to him deep in the night.
Elrohir rested his head back against the Eldar’s shoulder, eyes beginning
to droop. “And the eagle came and got you.” He patted the arm wrapped
securely around him. “And carried you up to the others.”
“Thorondor.” Glorfindel nodded. Not that he recalled the event. He had
fallen from the narrow mountain path with the Balrog, plunging to the
bottom. He had been dead already though, soul and spirit fleeing his
broken, burned body.
Elladan scrunched his little nose up, twisting his head to look up at
Glorfindel. “Father said they buried you there.” No small amount of
confusion and the ever-present curiosity filled his expression. “Did you
ever go back?”
Glorfindel shook his head. “No.” He smiled softly. “That all took place
a very long time ago. There would be nothing there to see but mountain
soil and rocks.”
“’Cause he’s here now, so he can’t be there.” Elrohir patted the large arm
again fondly, proud of his logic.
Elladan gave his twin a scowl that slowly faded as he clearly thought it
out. With a tiny shrug, he looked up again. “Gofi, are there still
Balrogs in Middle Earth?”
He hadn’t heard the twins use that name for him since they had truly
learned to speak. When they had been too young for such a long name, and
still communicating with their own twinnish form of language, they had
dubbed him ‘Gofi’.
A name that had sent Elrond into a fit of laughter that the handsome and
dashing blonde Elf Lord had not found overly amusing.
Sighing again for the many questions of young elves who ought to be in bed,
Glorfindel cuddled the twins. “If there are, your father and I will keep
them far from Imladris, I promise you that.”
Pursing his lips, looking startlingly like his sire for a moment, Elladan
nodded and leaned back, content in that answer.
Glorfindel found he was loathe to move, content to hold the small, warm
boys against him, listening as their breathing slowed and deepened.
Bending his head, he pressed a kiss to first one then the other’s hair,
closing his eyes to lock the moment forever in his memory.
A rustle of fabric alerted him to another approaching his room and he
looked up to find Elrond in the arch of the entry.
Leaning against the carved wood of the arch, the Lord of Imladris regarded
his oldest friend and sons with a soft smile. “I thought they might seek
“And you sent no warning?”
Shaking his head at the other elf’s attempt to shake off his most obvious
affection for the twins, Elrond crossed his arms. “Celebrian is unhappy
with me for upsetting them with that tale.”
The blonde elf arched one eyebrow in silent commentary but said nothing
else. The downward turn of his mouth said all he felt on that matter.
“They were quite upset to discover the elf in the tale was the same as is
living in their home.” Elrond’s expression softened to fondness. “Upset
that their Gofi had been bested by a Balrog.”
With a tiny frown, Glorfindel looked down at the twins he held. “I was not
bested,” he answered testily, mindful to be quiet. The blue eyes bored
into Elrond, daring him to contradict the statement.
“No,” Elrond agreed affably. “Gofi.” A low rumble as the Elf Lord
chuckled at his friend’s fierce scowl.
The scowl turned to a wry smile as Elrohir sighed in his sleep, yet once
again patting his arm, and mumbling, “Gofi.”
Elrond spun away in a flurry of burgundy robes and dark hair, but
Glorfindel could hear him as he fled out into the garden, laughing.
The elf sighed, shaking his head, looking up to where he knew Eärendil
sailed the night sky, the silmaril bright on his brow. “Cannot you do
something about your son?”
No answer forthcoming, Glorfindel slowly stood, carefully shifting the
twins who slept blissfully on, unaware.
Odds were good these two would grow up to be just like their sire, with the
same warped sense of humor.
“I came back from Valinor for this?” Plotting ways to get back at his
friend, Glorfindel carried his two small charges back to their room,
putting them in bed and kissing their foreheads before straightening.
Never one to stay in a foul mood long, Glorfindel smiled and left the room.
He stretched, reaching his arms up to ease the muscles in his back, as he
considered what retribution to enact upon Elrond.
And yet...it was good to hear his often too solemn friend laugh.
Even at his own expense.
Glorfindel wandered back to his desk and stood, looking down at the text he
was copying. Sitting, he carefully set the drying parchment aside and took
up a new, fresh piece. With a small nod the elf dipped his pen in the ink
and began to draw, carefully detailing the picture.
Beak that could crush elf and man with ease, open in a defiant, proud
Under the drawing he wrote, ‘Thorondor, Lord and King of the Eagles’ in
Glorfindel nodded. After it had dried he would hang it in the twins room
for them to find in the morning.
A much better memory of the tale than a fiery Balrog.
Or the elf who had perished in the slaying of the creature.
A better memory for all.
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