"Milord, you’re wounded! Let me-"
"No, no." Glorfindel batted off the hands that reached to help him, scowling so ferociously the younger elf took a step back. His mood was foul, dark as the ebony clouds billowing out of Orodruin. "If you would do something to help…" He let the fall of his hair cover his face as he dismounted, covering the grimace of pain. "…tend to my horse." Stripping off a bloody glove, he stroked the mare’s neck. "She saved my life today."
"Y-yes, sir." Flushing under the icy blue regard of the Eldar’s gaze, the youth grabbed the horse’s reins and quickly led the mare away.
Leaving Glorfindel with nothing to hold him up, save his own strength. A familiar voice, carried on the wind, made him straighten, pulling his cloak tighter around him.
Elrond. He could not let the healer see him. Not now, like this. He was already overtaxed by his duties to Gil-galad, long nights spent in strategy sessions, days spent either on the plains fighting or in the tents healing.
Glorfindel couldn’t bear to add one more thing to the weight on those shoulders. Nor was this a mortal wound. He’d taken worse, fighting back in the First Age, and managed to survive. A bit of pain was endurable.
He turned, stalking for his tent, mood darkening as he stepped around a pool of watery blood. Everywhere, reminders of the war. In the grimy faces, the deadened eyes, the scared expressions of the younger elves. The hardened faces of men.
The ground shook as the cursed mountain spewed more rock and ash into the air, fountains of fire and lava spewing upwards.
Shaking his head against memories of shadow and flame called forth from a weary mind, Glorfindel pushed aside the flap of his tent, letting it drop behind him. Grateful for this small respite from the madness outside.
Wincing as he pulled his cloak off, dropping it over the cot.
Each breath spread an ache through his chest, and he guessed the blasted orc blade had cut deeper than he first suspected. No surprise, that. He recalled the first red pain searing through his side, then only furious anger – at himself, and the orc.
The orc had been naught but pieces with a few strokes of his sword, the snarl of fury on his face sending other orcs nearby scrambling away. Even a few of the humans near him had backed away, surprised at the fury of the usually amiable elf.
Well, he’d lost it a bit, hadn’t he? Thrown his head back to loose the cry of Gondolin that hadn’t been uttered in centuries, and waded into battle with a vengeance. A fey, glowing creature bent on ridding Arda of as many foul creatures as one elf could, heedless of his own safety. Black blood on his hands, face, armor. In his hair. More of a target than anything as the inner light made him glow like some eerie Elven firefly.
A beacon, really.
Quite stupid, in hindsight, though it had given him power to cut through the enemy like a knife through butter.
Until he got careless. Left an opening.
Orcs were stupid, but opportunistic – if they saw a weakness they would do anything to exploit it, even if it meant sure death.
He had seen it turn to swing a great hooked sword at him, and knew he couldn’t pull his own sword free of the orc he’d just run through in time.
Back to Mandos already? Not good, especially with so much not yet done.
The orc had gone flying suddenly, propelled by a warhorse striking out with both back feet. Glorfindel, never that good with animals, had stopped and gaped at the mare as if she was a Valië incarnate. She was riderless, wearing an Elven saddle and bridle, and still fighting, though Elbereth only knew what had become of her owner.
Glorfindel had learned long ago not to question such interventions when they came, but accept them. Question later.
So he had.
Sinking to the cot, Glorfindel grunted, raising his right arm to frown at the bloody slash along his ribs that had cut through clothing to the skin beneath. "Bloody fool, wear the mail next time." Stupid. It was hot that morning and he hadn’t bothered to put the mail on – though it almost cost him his life for that bit of pride and discomfort.
Cursing softly as he pulled the armor off piece by piece, tossing it aside with a grimace. He’d have to clean it, though it would just get blackened with blood again the next day. His example set a standard for those under his command.
Nor would he leave it to a squire, or younger elf. The equipment, the weapons he relied on to keep him alive, so were his responsibility. Ignoring the pain, he pulled the tunic over his head, biting back curses as the muscles burned.
Bowing his head, he panted slightly through the pain. Waited for it to become bearable. Pushing to his feet, he walked over to a tub of tepid water and knelt. Normally he would bathe entire, but that was beyond him. If he could get the gore and blood from his hair, face and arms, he would be content.
Pulling off his boots was a bit daunting at the moment.
Dipping two fingers into a pot at the side of the tub, he immersed his head, to begin scrubbing furiously at his hair. Then face and neck, rinsing it off. Sloshed a rag into the water and scrubbed at his chest and arms until the skin was pink.
Grimaced as he saw his exertions had split the wound and blood was oozing down his flank and thigh. Dabbed gingerly at the wound, spitting a curse that would have lit the air if possible.
Tossed the rag over the side of the tub, temper frayed beyond dealing with this right then. Wringing out his hair, Glorfindel rose and almost flopped on the cot before remembering the wound. He sat with a sigh, staring at the wall of his tent.
Wet hair dripped down his chest and stomach, his back, running into the waistband of his pants. Soaking the rough material. The cool felt good, reminded him of Imladris’ waterfalls and shaded grottos. He closed his eyes, mind wandering the paths of bloody years of war to the quieter times. Glorfindel smiled, lips curving sensuously as he remembered one of the last nights spent in one such quiet grove, the company far better than what he’d seen in the past six years. Shivered at the remembrance of scent and taste, of the smooth skin just under her breasts that was so sensitive. The way his mouth had made her writhe against him. The sounds of their voices mingling with that of the water.
Blowing out his breath with a sigh of longing and frustration, Glorfindel twisted his head to look at his side again. She was a long ways from this forsaken land, something he was eternally grateful for – yet he would dearly love her company at that moment. Even if it meant listening to acerbic comments on his lack of sense. It would be worth it to watch the glitter in her grey eyes. To feel her touch.
Not to mention her healing abilities.
With a huff for his fanciful longings, Glorfindel tossed back his hair and stood, walking to a trunk. Opening it, he pulled out a ragged, but clean undershirt. Ripped it in lengthwise and nodded. That should do. Bind the blasted wound and be done with it. His own natural healing would go far in making the wound bearable, as long as he could keep it closed.
"Glorfindel?" The tent flap opened enough for Círdan to step through, arching his eyebrow in surprise at the wary expression on his friend’s face. Almost smiling at the way the blonde elf clutched a ragged shirt to his chest. "Should I have waited for permission to enter? You’re usually the least modest of us all."
The smile left his face as his eye was caught by the red of the cloth resting on the edge of the tub. Silver eyes narrowed, expression hardening. "You’re hurt."
"Not badly." Glorfindel raised his head, his expression haughtily distant.
"Let me decide that." Círdan stalked forward as the other held his ground, scowling. "Stars! Glorfindel…"
"I’m not going to the healers, so save your words, Círdan." Pivoting, Glorfindel prowled to the cot and gingerly sat to glare at the ancient elf. "They’d poke and prod until it was worse, dose me with horrid concoctions and –"
"Go running to Elrond." Snorting, Círdan sat on the second cot, facing his friend. Shook his head, knowing all too well just how stubborn Glorfindel could be when he was set on something. Tugging on his beard, he sighed. "Will you at least let me look at it? Be certain you’ve not left something in there to fester?"
Reluctantly, the blonde elf nodded, dropping the shirt into his lap and leaning back.
Círdan winced, shaking his head. "You need stitches on that. I’ve mended enough nets in my time to know when a rip will give or not."
Blue eyes met his gaze. "There is a needle and floss in the trunk."
"Círdan," Glorfindel ground out, pushed almost beyond his already thin patience.
"Fine!" The older elf straightened, threw up his hands and stalked to the trunk to dig through the items stored there. "I don’t have anything to dull the pain, youngling," he warned, returning with the small kit.
Shrugging, Glorfindel watched him light a candle, holding the needle in the bright flame for a time. Watched with a detached expression as he threaded the needle and examined the wound again. "If you told me it had to be cauterized I’d say do so and be done with it."
"No." Círdan settled on the cot, gesturing. "Lay on your side and hold still." His hand was steady as he steeled himself to sealing the long gash. It wasn’t the first time he’d used his experience with nets on Elven skin instead. Looking up from time to time to gauge how Glorfindel was doing, he nodded, seeing the other had retreated into reverie. He didn’t miss the small trembling of the thigh muscle next to his leg, or the catch of breath every now and then.
Finishing, Círdan tied off the floss and snipped the ends. Grabbed the salve all soldiers carried for just such emergencies and gingerly dabbed it over the sutures. Laying a gentle hand on the blonde elf's shoulder, Círdan leaned forward to speak softly. "It’s done, Glorfindel. Have you something to bind it with?"
Blinking, eyes clearing, Glorfindel nodded and passed him the shirt halves. Heard the grunt as Círdan passed the makeshift bandage under his body and grimaced as the bandage was wrapped snugly around his waist.
"There. That will do, I suspect. Though I’d feel more at ease if you-"
"No." Glorfindel grunted as he pushed himself upright. "I’m not letting them maul me."
Círdan snorted a laugh. "As if I didn’t do just that?"
Meeting the other elf’s gaze, Glorfindel frowned. "Promise me Elrond will not hear of this from you."
Shaking his head at how serious he was, Círdan sighed. "I won’t tell." He stood, walking to the trunk to drop the kit in, and turned. "He’ll find out, you know."
Shrugging one shoulder, the Vanya stretched out on the cot.
Círdan chuckled, took a comb from the trunk and walked back over to sit next to Glorfindel. Ignoring the watchful gaze noting his every move, he reached out and began to untangle the golden hair that normally was kept immaculately clean and smooth. A fall of gold that would fire in sunshine into an almost living thing.
"I always admired the Vanyar gold," the mariner mused as he worked. He smiled as the wet hair clung to his hands like wet silk. "We get it sometimes in the Sindar or Silvan, but it’s usually a bit more silverish than this."
Cocking an eye open, the attention to his hair lulling him to relax, Glorfindel smiled slightly. "Bronwe told me once not to touch your beard."
That startled a laugh out of Círdan and he stroked a gentle hand down the drying hair. "Did she now?" Silver eyes gleamed with mirth.
Sleepy, feeling a bit frazzled from the pain, the blonde elf began to relax under the touch. Touch was one of the things he never took for granted, not since those long, dark years in Mandos’ care. Closed his eyes and sighed happily. "’Twas when I was first arrived in Mithlond. Textures fascinated me. Sights, sounds, touch…"
Círdan nodded. "All new again."
He stood, setting the comb on the other cot. "Let’s get your boots off at least. Make your tired feet happy." Tossed the boots aside and sat facing Glorfindel, expression contemplative. Worried.
Glorfindel cracked an eye open, feeling the gaze. Blinked and snuggled into the rough blankets. "You’re welcome to stay, Círdan." Yawned once. "I’m poor company at the moment, but that cot is yours if you want."
He sat for a few minutes before nodding and pulling his own boots off. "I think I will, my friend. It gets strangely quiet in a valley full of men and elves sometimes." Círdan lay back with a sigh, letting his gaze unfocus, relaxing. Listened to the other’s breathing as it evened out and deepened. Slowed.
Smiled and looked over. It was rare to find Glorfindel so still, so truly at rest. He’d wondered sometimes if the other truly slept. Seemed he did, but Círdan had a feeling it wouldn’t be all that long.
Casting his mind back to his beloved harbour, walking the dream paths that led to the sea, Círdan let his mind drift away to the places he truly loved and hoped to see soon.
Valië: Tolkien never used this in the stories, but it's the feminine, singular form of Valar.
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.