11. Proper Requirements
Note: Just a little family character development…
So much alike were they, the sons of Elrond, that few could tell them apart: dark-haired, grey-eyed, and their faces elven-fair…
From Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter 11 Proper Requirements
'Ada*!' Elladan called as he came running back. 'Elrohir has caught one again.'
Elrond absently rested his hand on the head of his oldest son as his eyes tried to find the younger.
'Has he now?'
The other boy came running; his hands carefully clasped around the waist of a snow-white rabbit, which, actively kicking with its hind legs, was desperately trying to get away.
As he neared Elrond and Elladan, perhaps the thought of impressing his father got the better of Elrohir; anyway, the animal saw chance to free itself. There was an expression of amazement on the boy's face before he dove onto the ground, trying to reclaim his prize. To no avail. Elrond watched it hop into some low brush, out of the reach of small hands.
'You fell well…' Elladan mocked, and Elrohir returned a deadly look.
'I did not fall.'
Elrond smiled as he extended his hand to him.
'Let me see your arms.'
Only now did Elrohir observe the scratches on his lower arms, made by the sharp nails. Disappointed, he showed them to his father. Elrond squatted for an inspection. Only after assuring himself they were superficial he looked at Elrohir's face.
'They must hurt.'
The boy shrugged, and Elrond inwardly laughed, pulling him close. The small arms closing around his neck, he picked him up and motioned Elladan.
'Come on, we are going back.'
It didn't take long for Elrohir to wriggle himself off his father's arm, and join his brother, leaving Elrond to walk by himself. As long as their voices were discernable, he would allow them to wander. Celebrían didn't like it when he did, but Elrond knew they liked it better that way… Besides, what could happen…
A roar, of panic or laughter, it was hard to tell, echoed through the forest along the North-Bruinen. Elrond's head twitched towards the sound and he dashed off, towards the water. Once there, he oversaw the situation immediately. Elrohir stood along the banks, his face red, pointing at his brother, laughing. Elladan sat in the water, abashed, apparently having slipped during some sort of game. Elrond took a quick step and pulled the older of the twins out of the water by the tunic.
'What has passed now?' He asked with a sigh, eyeing his son curiously.
Why doesn't this happen when your mother is with us?
'I was… I… The mud… I slipped…'
Elrond had to hold back a laugh as he watched Elladan, soaked. The expression on his face was priceless. Elrond tried to look stern.
'Come on, and don't wander off again, for I fear you shall break something.'
During the walk back, both stayed at his side, albeit reluctantly. Reaching the House he sent Elladan to change and took Elrohir with him into his study.
Lifting him onto the table, Elrond went in search of some salve to put on the scratches. Returning, he pulled a chair close and opened the container to apply some. Elrohir watched.
'Am I Halfelven too?'
Elrond smiled and looked up.
'Why do you ask?'
'Yes, you know I am.' Elrond answered. There had never been any secrecy about it, especially not from Celebrían's side. She never failed to stress that, in her opinion, Elrond had the best of both worlds. If he was in a really melancholy mood, he might disagree. Not so today.
'Well, I want to be too.'
Elrond laughed and closed the salve's container.
'You are almost Halfelven.'
'Because of your mother being entirely Elvish.'
'Being half Man and half Elf.'
Elrond waited for another volley of questions, but Elrohir sat silent.
How could he not love them, with such questions always, him and his brother? Elrond raised his hand and tucked a dark braid behind his son's ear.
'You can be anything you like, you know? If you set your mind to it.'
'Well,' Elrond smiled indulgently, 'almost anything.'
'Can I be a Lord?'
'Certainly you can.'
For now, it seemed to please Elrohir and he jumped off the table.
'Can I ride a horse?'
Elrond raised his eyebrows. Wanting to be a Lord was one thing; it was safely in the future, but riding a horse was another.
'We shall see.'
'Am I allowed to go to the stables?'
'No…' A voice came from the other side of the room. Elrond smiled as she neared them.
Elrohir raised his arms towards his mother and Celebrían lifted him, pressing a kiss against his forehead.
'How did this happen?' She asked, directed more towards Elrond than their son.
'I caught a rabbit.' Elrohir explained, his eyes glimmering. At the same moment Elladan entered and Celebrían pressed her lips together, shortly closing her eyes. His hair was dishevelled; braids partially undone, if not entirely, and a dark smudge of mud could still be discerned on his forehead. His clothes were spotless.
Elrond caught his son's eye and quietly pointed at his forehead, trying to convey the presence of the mark. Elladan didn't seem to understand and smiled broadly at his mother. Celebrían lowered Elrohir and walked over to the cabinet where she collected a comb and a handkerchief.
With an amused look she removed the mud, showing Elladan the dirt, before salvaging what she could of his carefully interwoven hair. Her hands worked fast and Elrond sat silently watching, enthralled by her fingers moving so methodically. Finishing, she turned Elladan around and smiled at him forgivingly, before kissing his forehead.
'Go play with your brother, but don't go too far.'
'Can we go to the garden?'
As they ran off, their voices already continued the ever-present conversation, and Celebrían looked at Elrond.
'A rabbit and a river?'
'Would make for a good story…'
Celebrían shook her head.
'And a horse…'
'Hmm…' Elrond returned, leaving his chair and catching Celebrían's hand as he peered over to the window. 'We know it has to come of it sooner or later.'
Celebrían rose from her chair as well and together they moved to the window, keeping their offspring in sight. Resting her head against Elrond's shoulder, she knew he was right, and that she was being protective. But they would be hers for such a short time, ten maybe twenty years, before they would indeed leave and ride and fight and in another century become Lords, and, while they would still be her sons, they would not be… Well…
Elrond smiled as he caught her stream of thought, pulling her closer.
Down on the grass, the twins had gathered somewhat weak-looking branches, which had suddenly become swords.
'I shall be a Lord,' Elrohir called, launching at his brother with the twig.
Elladan countered the attack with his own.
'If you can, so can I.'
'You have to ask father first.'
'Then I shall.'
Pushing his brother off, Elladan called up to the large window, where he observed his parents.
'I can be a Lord too, father?'
'Of course, Elladan.' Elrond called back, kissing Celebrían.
She rested her hand on his chest as she looked up.
'Can't you tell them to be careful with those sticks?'
'They will be fine.'
Elrond didn't see the harm in it. Maybe the danger of some bruises, but no real hazard. In not too distant future, they would be climbing trees and jumping from rocks, which worried him more.
In their dark-blue tunics and trousers, they looked very alike, and most members of the household solved any identity problems by simply always referring to both of them. But Elrond never had any trouble keeping them apart. Not with the help of physical characteristics really; one was simply Elladan, and the other Elrohir. The older twin might seem quieter, more reserved, but it was only show. The younger had much to say, but needed more encouragement in expressing his thoughts.
'Were you as restless as they are?' Celebrían asked.
Elrond slowly shook his head.
'I might have been when younger… I think I never really had the time to be restless. In that time one had to grow up fast.'
'Faeg hên.' Celebrían teased, and Elrond returned a grin, moving his hands over her face, touching her soft hair. They were lost in each other for a moment, oblivious to their surroundings, their minds one, only seeing, feeling the other. Sensitive of the memories both held, of present moods. Of devotion beyond all else… Elrond broke the link reluctantly, an apologetic look in his eyes.
'Let us go to dinner.' He whispered. Celebrían nodded, not having heard what her husband evidently had; a single chime of the bell. Calling for his sons, Elrond offered his arm to his wife. The boys were quick to follow.
Elrond carefully observed their every movement, as they sat on either side of their mother, across from Glorfindel and Erestor. Elrohir seemed eager to share his new-found career choice with one who already held the title, pride in his voice when he told Glorfindel: 'I am going to be a Lord too.'
Glorfindel smiled, glancing at Elrond, who tried not to return it too broadly, lest his son might think he was mocking him.
'So am I,' Elladan eagerly added, making sure there was no mistake about it.
'And what is the occupation of a Lord?' Glorfindel asked, handing Elrohir some bread, observing the small Elf-child with delight.
'Riding horses, and fighting, with a sword.' Came the answer.
'Nothing more?' Glorfindel asked, as if he needed to make sure he was observing the proper requirements. 'For I fear I might not be a Lord after all, if that is the case.'
'Writing on papers.' Elladan offered, as he tasted some bread. 'Father does it all the time.'
'Ah, there is something.' Glorfindel answered, relieved, glancing at Elrond, who had rested his hand under his head in an attempt to hide a broadening grin.
Celebrían had more success.
'Elrohir, do not forget to eat.'
Elrond sat on the balcony as he heard the sound of bare feet moving towards him. With a jump Elladan landed next to him, followed by Elrohir, who climbed onto his lap.
'Ah, there you are. Ready for bed?'
Elrohir rested his head against Elrond's shoulder while Elladan pointed up towards the darkening evening sky.
'Can we stay for a little while longer?'
Celebrían joined them on the balcony and sat down next to Elrond, catching his hand.
'Can they?' He asked, flashing a smile at her.
Celebrían smiled back, not giving an answer, content as it was.
Elladan sat silent, patiently waiting for the stars to appear, while Elrohir had a hard time keeping his eyes open. Elrond felt his son's breath slow down and the muscles in the small body relax.
'What is the ship called again?' He asked drowsily, not opening his eyes, close to dreaming.
'It was called Vingilot, the…'
'Foam-flower…' Elladan inserted, his eyes still on the sky.
Elrond smiled and pulled Elladan closer.
'… with golden oars and white planking, coming from the trees of Nimbrethil.'
'Tell of the sails…' Elladan whispered, sleepiness now also overcoming him.
'Like the silvery white of the moon, sometimes coloured blue by the night sky, but always reflecting the stars the ship sails alongside of.'
'Car-cuinar îdh?' Celebrían whispered, looking over Elrond's shoulder.
He nodded, observing, realising the trust in him to watch over them, as they slept so soundly. Carefully Celebrían rose and took Elladan in her arms, and Elrond followed her example, rising with Elrohir. Together they brought the twins to their room, lingering there, marvelling about their innocence and delight in the world around them, not as yet consumed by the fire of spirit. The burden of memory still light.
Celebrían pulled him out of the chamber, careful not to wake her sons as her hands explored her lover's body.
'Im mîl le…*' Elrond whispered into her ear, his lips caressing the skin of her neck, his hands slowly moving, awakening even more passion inside her. Celebrían's hands had reached sensitive skin, usually hidden by clothing, and he shuddered under her touch, as his mouth hungrily found hers, a soft moan escaping him as he exhaled.
Celebrían, ignoring Elrond's unwillingness to remove his hands from her body, slipped off the thin grey robes he wore over his tunic and trousers, her hands following the contours of his shoulders and chest before unfastening the buttons of his tunic. As she restrained his hands with her own, her lips against his bare skin, Elrond threw back his head and closed his eyes. If he wished, he could easily escape from her grasp, yet he chose not to, undergoing delicious torment holding back, simply subjecting to her.
'Let us go to Lórien…' She whispered in between kisses.
'Ah, there is the reason for this…' He teased hoarsely, trying to control his breathing, before biting his lower lip.
'Of course…' Celebrían melodiously returned, softly biting his neck, releasing his hands to free her own and continue her tenders. Their bodies close, she guided him, and he let her, and it was so.
Galadriel watched the youngest twin, going from one foot to the other, his hands behind his back. Her own daughter's features were apparent in both boys, but it was Elrond they resembled more strongly.
She had observed an obvious and deep devotion in the young family, both between parent and child as well as parent to parent. Her daughter had changed. Elrond had changed. Galadriel observed the touches between them, those of accustomed lovers, but still possessing a profound passion for the flesh she only vaguely recalled herself. The weight of years, with all their changes of desire and thought, had changed the impulses and moods of her body long ago.
Elrond pushed Elrohir forward, and Galadriel smilingly looked down at her grandson, who stared back before grinning. Elladan had already stepped forward, bowing shortly, his eyes revealing more knowledge of her than he let on.
Celebrían's arm was linked with Elrond's as she watched two generations meet. Galadriel and Celeborn had visited Imladris when she had just given birth, but now that her sons were old enough to undertake the journey to Lórien, Celebrían had been eager to show them her birthplace.
Elrond stepped towards the Lady Galadriel, bowing his head as a greeting.
Her voice was soft as she spoke, a smile embedded in her face.
'You experience Lórien as the one painfully hidden in your heart did Imladris.'
He examined her face without any expression on his own.
'Does the Lady of the Wood know my heart so well?'
'One of us does…' Galadriel smiled, her gaze turning and resting on her daughter.
Meanwhile, Elrohir decided his grandmother might be wise and beautiful, but that his grandfather was a more interesting companion. He was likely to know more about horses…
Leaving the twins with their grandparents, Elrond and Celebrían wandered off, amidst the trees and almost magical lights.
Elladan wandered also, but stayed near his grandfather and brother. He liked everything about Lórien, except that he could not find a clearing between the branches of the trees, as the darkness slowly blanketed the woods.
He did not know how much time had passed when he discovered his parents. His father had taken the time to change, and was now dressed in a grey tunic and trousers, all closer to his skin than the loose robes he wore at home. Elladan had never seen him barefoot in public before. With quick treads he ran towards them, but instead of being surprised, his father caught him with an even quicker movement.
'And who walks there?' Elrond asked as he caught and lifted the Elf-child. Celebrían laughed as she put her hand on Elladan's back.
'Do you dislike Lórien that you walk so fast?'
'It is because I cannot see the stars.' Elladan complained.
'Ah, but that can be remedied.' Elrond replied, carrying the boy nearer to the ancient trees, and climbing one of the stairways, Celebrían following. Once at the top, his other arm around his father's neck, Elladan pointed upwards as he always did and smiled contently.
'There they are.'
Outside a faraway echo of thunder rolled, but Elrond slept on, though his sleep had turned restless. As sometimes happens, he knew he dreamt, but didn't wake up, not seeing the need, not yet.
Darkness, even in his dream, horses, outside, as if on the road…
The unrest of the horses became apparent, feeling danger sooner than its riders, even if they were Elves… Stopping, deliberating…
Then something emerged, but instead of seeing it, he felt the emotion of the riders, strangely persistent… Flee! His muscles flexed as he tried to escape from the nightmare, expecting something to pierce his flesh, to make the final kill… But he couldn't, as if something kept him there, just as it came into his field of vision… Poison, torture, death…
Suddenly, as if his mind shut down he was awake, still feeling… Almost seeing…
'No…' His voice sounded deafening in the silence of the night. He sat up and bowed his head, closing his eyes. Desperately he tried to recollect what he had seen, what had scared him out of… He felt it before, a long time ago, shortly before the Last Alliance. He had predicted death… But not his own, never his own… But close…
Then Celebrían's cool hands on his sweat-covered skin, reassuring. Somewhere deep down they were always sharing their dreams, and something that could wake him with such force was worrisome.
'Tis a dream, Elrond, melethron*… Be still…'
His heart pounded in his throat, in his head. And he fled into her arms, as she softly whispered to him, stroking his hair.
'Sssh.' He heard near his ear, her lips touching his warm skin. 'It was only a dream.' Her arms folded around him and he buried his face against her chest, searching for the bliss of sleep again. Only a dream…
Celebrían woke of singing. Opening her eyes she was confronted with Elrond, his back towards her as he sat on his side of their bed, fastening the small buttons of his delicate tunic with his slender fingers.
Extending her arm and touching his firm back, she caught his attention. He ceased singing and turned around.
'Good morning, gwilwileth*.'
'Have the shadows past?' Celebrían posed him, settling back into the pillows.
'With the coming of morning…' Elrond smiled, bending towards her, his hands resting on either side of her, as he bestowed a kiss upon her lips.
'What was it you saw?' She asked, holding on to him a little longer.
Elrond shook his head, averting his eyes. Celebrían touched his face and he returned to watch her.
'I know not, I think my mind saw no place for it and pushed it away…'
What can be so terrible for you to push it away?
Then the answer, reassuring, but still disconcerting.
I know not, my love.
Ada: Sindarin (shortened version of adar: father) father, daddy
Faeg hên: poor child
Car-cuinar îdh: Do they rest?
'Im mîl le…*': 'I love thee…'
My main endeavour in this story is to convey a deep sense of family, but also that of Elladan and Elrohir being two people, entirely their own, alike, but different. Not simply the sons of Elrond, as they are usually referred to, but young men with their own personalities.
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.