8. Fall of the Mighty
'I beheld the last combat on the slopes of Orodruin, where Gil-galad died, and Elendil fell, and Narsil broke beneath him; but Sauron himself was overthrown, and Isildur cut the Ring from his hand with the hilt-shard of his father's sword, and took it for his own.'
Elrond's words from Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Chapter 8 Fall of the Mighty
'No…' Elrond did not know what it was he felt, he had not experienced it before. 'Let me wake. Let it be a dream, Elbereth, Lady of the Stars. Please I beg of you, if my line has a favour left from some ancient time, please, I implore you, hear my plea…'
But the eyes of the Master of Imladris were already open. He did not arise, into the blissful world where he had so oft woken. Instead he still watched the body, which was lying in a strange position, of the man he had considered a friend… A father… His breath was strained and his head ached. His throat thick with the held-back tears he would not shed.
Someone ran in to him, while he stepped nearer, but he ignored it, causing the other to hurl onto the ground.
Not caring, not thinking of anything else, he knelt down beside the body. Carefully he turned it and placed the limbs in their normal position, before he undid the breast armour. His vision blurred. Desperately blinking with his eyelids Elrond made it go away. Slowly and with both hands he swept back the dark strands of hair that lay over the pale face. Undignified, not doing their last honour, to the one they belonged to. Closing the staring eyes with a swift movement, he had used too often, the past years, in that dreary place, he took a deep breath. But it came out wrong. A moment later all the sound around him went absent, which, deep down, worried him.
Lifting the upper part of the body first, then slipping his arm underneath the knees, Elrond lifted the remains, and started walking into the direction where, quite some distance removed, the High-king's sizeable tent stood. They had marched some miles from the encampment to the battle-field, and the fighting there had further removed them. Elrond knew he had a considerable way to go. But his mind seemed to have gone missing from his body… Drifting to times long past: Lindon, Eregion, Imladris... They would have celebrated as incessantly as when they destroyed the last company of orcs between them… At Imladris…
His voice uttered choked lamentations.
'Not you… Why must it be you?'
'Please, Súlimo*, my Lord of Arda, from your dwelling in the halls of Taniquetil, highest of mountains, do not sit by as such wrong is done. I beg of you…'
There were quick footsteps coming from behind. An Elf, Elrond heard, for Men's feet land so heavily, and slipped so easily on these treacherous grounds. The sound made him return. But there came no hand on his shoulder, no voice beseeching him to halt. Once more another pair of feet. Again one of his own people, but these dared not near him either.
'My Lord…' Erestor had called, before his body had been flung down by Elrond. But the Lord of Imladris had seemed temporarily deafened.
Watching his master kneel down at the High-king's body, Erestor had gotten on his feet again. Feverishly in search of one of the other high Lords: Glorfindel or Círdan, who would undoubtedly have some idea on how to assist.
He had found Círdan not far away, with Isildur, who was tending his father's remains.
'What is the matter, Erestor?' Círdan had called over. Leaving Isildur, who was holding the Ring he had cut from Sauron's finger.
'Lord Elrond, he… I fear… He is with my Lord Gil-galad.' Erestor stammered.
'Is he well, Erestor? We were separated only a moment, tell me, he is well?' Círdan shook Erestor more wildly than intended.
'Please follow, my Lord.'
Círdan, mortally worried for the son of his old friend Eärendil, and suddenly remembering Gil-galad, followed the younger Elf faster than he could have before. As the High-king was knocked down by the Dark Lord, he might have suffered serious injuries; Círdan was unwilling to consider something worse.
It were these two Elves that Elrond heard nearing him, as he carried his master's body back. All the way to Lindon, if it was asked of him.
Glorfindel came from the direction of the flank-position Gil-galad had ordered him to, which had covered the main host of the army as they had fought. He had been responsible for the defeat of the Orc-army that had stood there. Seeing Elrond, the body in his arms, coming towards him, he was the first to address him.
'My Lord, are you uninjured?'
Elrond seemed to give Glorfindel a mocking smile, but said nothing.
Glorfindel let him pass, meeting up with Círdan and Erestor, who still followed, exchanging condoling looks.
Círdan shook his head shortly. Glorfindel caught Círdan's arm.
'But what of the Ring?'
'Isildur cut it from Sauron's hand. He has it.'
'And you left him?'
'Yes, at the base of Orodruin.'
Glorfindel returned to Elrond.
'You need to go back to Isildur. He has the Ring, it must be destroyed.'
There came no answer. Glorfindel persisted.
'Elrond, do not now dwell with the dead; the living have more need for you here.'
The Lord of Imladris stopped.
'Let me bring him back to the encampment. Isildur is a grown man, he knows what to do.'
Glorfindel looked at Círdan.
'My Lord, I will gladly take your task… Please?' Glorfindel extended his arms, convincing Elrond to hand over the body. 'Trust me.'
Elrond reluctantly, and with the gentleness of a son, passed the limp body of the High King to Glorfindel, who, with the help of Erestor, continued Elrond's journey.
Círdan caught Elrond's arm.
'Come, we must go.'
Together they hurried back, not looking over their shoulder once.
They found Isildur by the body of his father, sitting with his head in his hands, two of his sons now with him, Elendur and Ciryon.
Elrond slowed down only a little.
'Isildur, you have the Ring?'
The Man looked up at him and raised his hand; holding the golden circlet between his fingers.
Círdan pointed into the direction of the path up the mountain.
'Come on, make haste.'
Elrond hurried Isildur onto his feet.
'What is up there?' Isildur called to Elrond, who walked in front of him.
'The cracks of Mount Doom.' The reply was curt.
Once they entered the gap, leading into the blistering heat that collected in the mountain, Elrond, in a desperate feeling of loss, walked past Isildur and up to the very edge of the chasm. As if he knew the spirit of the Dark Lord still lingered somewhere, he mowed his fist through the air, accompanied by a short call, showing what was their intention.
'Cast it into the fire!' he called to Isildur.
Círdan looked at Isildur, who looked at the fiery depth and back to the Ring.
Isildur looked, first at Círdan, then, with a far deeper glance in his eyes, to Elrond.
'No.' There was a moment of silence before Isildur continued. 'This I will have as were-gild for my father's death, and my brothers. Was it not I that dealt the Enemy his death-blow?'
Elrond's eyes seemed to widen in disbelief.
'Has my… your father, my King, have they died in vain?'
Isildur met Elrond's lethal look.
'Do not think, because I descend from your brother, that you can command me.'
Elrond wished to, but at that moment could not manage the discipline. His voice was soft, but piercing.
'You are nothing like my brother.'
Isildur turned around, with a broad smile, and left the two Elves in the crevice. Elrond stood motionless, not accepting that Isildur had gone. Disappointment that he had spoken when he shouldn't have, all emanating from his face.
Círdan shrunk back from the emotion that the outcry carried.
He knew that Elrond had not been entirely truthful. He remembered Elros well, and suspected that, precisely because Isildur so greatly resembled his forefather, Elrond had spoken so harshly. The Half-elven felt betrayed; once more his kin had made a decision he would never truly understand. Elros had, long before Isildur.
Then, without notice, Elrond left, going down the mountain again.
Círdan, for a moment, hoped Elrond would go to Isildur, but following he watched him sprint away, back to the encampment.
Glorfindel watched the High-king's face, finding it remarkably peaceful after such a violent death. The tent was in a state of twilight; some candles burned, but the darkness of death was inescapable. Beyond, the soft singing of Elves, saddened by the loss of their King.
When Elrond raised the flap to the entrance of the tent, his chest heaved heavily, his body trying to find breath after the long and rapid run. Glorfindel watched him kneel at the side of the dead King, and his heart, mourning the demise, grieved intensely for his friend also.
'I shall leave you.' He whispered, unsure if Elrond heard, or for that, cared.
Outside, he found Erestor and Círdan.
'We seem to have lost an entire generation of rulers.' Círdan sighed.
Erestor looked at Glorfindel.
'Most have their sons to take their tasks, but what of Gil-galad?'
Círdan and Glorfindel exchanged a long look.
'He will not claim it.' Círdan finally said, shaking his head.
'He is the heir…' Glorfindel answered.
'But rule what? Our time is coming to an end, our people have done their duty, they will, if only one by one, be leaving these shores.'
The sound of several pairs of footsteps could be heard and the three Elves turned around. It was Thranduil, son of Oropher, now King of Mirkwood, and two of his men. Oropher, not much inclined to place himself under the supreme command of Gil-galad, had been slain in the first assault. Rushing forward before Gil-galad had given the signal for the advance.
Overall, the Silvan Elves had fought hardy and valiant, although ill-equipped in comparison with the Eldar of the West. Their losses were grievous; they need not have been. Therefore, Círdan had no wish to insult anyone. Nor did Thranduil.
'I heard of Gil-galad's demise, and come to give my condolences.'
'Many good men have fallen.' Círdan answered.
'Yes.' Thranduil answered, his face unchanged.
It was then that Elrond, his face pale, but with no other signs of distress, exited the tent in front of which they all stood.
He nodded at Thranduil, who bowed shortly. All eyes were on him.
His voice was low, but strong.
'May Mandos guide Ereinion Gil-galad, the High-king of all Elves, and welcome him readily into his Halls. May his name live on for as long as his people still inhabit Arda Sahta*.'
'May Eärendil's eldest son, to whom now the throne befalls, inherit his wisdom and strength.'
Six Elves turned around as one. Elrond simply stared at Isildur, who had spoken.
'There will be no more High-kings, not of the Elves. The last one shall be remembered as victor over the Dark Lord. As will your father.'
Isildur looked at Elrond.
'I wish to speak with you. Alone.'
Elrond nodded at the others and raised the opening of the tent for the man to enter. Inside he folded his hands and rested his eyes on Isildur, cautioning him.
'Do not mock the sacrifice our Lords have made, not here, not to me.' His voice gave off an additional warning.
Isildur shook his head.
'We both spoke in anger, bereavement.'
Elrond tilted his head. He observed the Ring hanging from Isildur's neck.
'It is not wise to keep it.'
'Will it stand between us if I decide to maintain it?'
Elrond stared at him silently. Finally he looked away.
'It will not.'
Súlimo = literally 'Lord of the Breath of Arda', another designation for Manwë
Arda Sahta, literally: the Marred World, the Elves call it so because within the borders of their world, Melkor can influence everything.
I am aware that sending them up the mountain (movie-like) is very probably not canonical, but I liked it, and used it. So bite me, I can do what I like. (don't take offence, I am off to sing sorrowful songs)
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.