7. Sundered by Shadow
Hunched low over the neck of his horse Gaearsul, Elrohir whispered words of encouragement, urging his mount to faster speeds and greater strides. The hooves of the horses sounded loud on the road and the thrill and excitement of battle began to pound in the half-elf’s veins. Elrohir had always been the more adventurous twin with an eye for swift swordplay and a delight for the intricacies of strategy. By contrast, Elladan was more given to study and contemplation. He could wield a sword against the most formidable opponent, but his true strengths lay in the arts and philosophies. Elladan still followed Elrohir into battle and still continued to prove himself a superb warrior even by elven standards, but he would never hold a candle to his brother’s love of the spear and the lance. Elrohir did not glory in the loss of life, but he did enjoy the interplay of various plots and schemes, and he found the rush of a cavalry charge to be exhilarating. That same excitement overtook him now, and though it was tempered by rising fear for his friends on the Road before them, it was still a wonderfully stimulating feeling.
Beneath him, Gaearsul suddenly neighed loudly, and Elrohir’s attention became fixed on his mount, wondering at the stallion’s restlessness. Then an answering neigh called out to them from further west on the Road and a running horse came into view, skidding hard around a sharp bend. To Elrohir’s right, Aragorn swore and spurred Roheryn forward.
"Arod," the king of Gondor cried, and in answer, the frightened, skittish horse galloped toward them, snorting and shaking his head. Elrohir felt his heart sinking, and he noted the slash marks on Arod’s legs and sides as well as the conspicuous absence of the two individuals that Arod usually carried.
"We cannot stop to tend him," Thranduil said from his position on Elrohir’s left. "We must press on."
Catching the slight tremble in the king’s voice and feeling his own fear rise in response, Elrohir quickly nodded. "Posto sí, Arod," he ordered. "Posto a deri an min."
Arod seemed less than pleased with the commands, but his trembling, exhausted form would not allow him to follow the elven riders and he reluctantly moved aside as they swept past him on the road. Raising his head high, he neighed loudly and the elven horses answered his cry with high whinnies, assuring him that they would do everything in their power to see that his riders were returned to him. Then they were sweeping around the same bend that Arod had turned, and the horse of Rohan was lost to their sight.
Onward they raced, now compelled by an even greater fear for it seemed that Legolas and Gimli had found the Orcs that hunted the hobbits, but as for what had become of them, none could tell. Nor could any tell if the Orcs had also found the hobbits. A dreadful fear gripped the hearts of the company, but perhaps its greatest hold lay upon Elrohir. Memories long buried of his mother after her captivity in the hands of these fell creatures flashed through his mind, searing his consciousness and reminding him of his failure to protect her. He remembered his father’s grave face and the sorrow of Rivendell when she at last departed for the Havens. He remembered the mad quest for vengeance that had taken his mind for a time, and he remembered his brother’s comforting presence when at last he came back to his senses. Elladan had followed Elrohir as the younger twin obsessively sought the Orcs that had tormented and maimed their mother. Elladan had protected him when anger stole reason, and when at last the rage was spent, he had stepped forward and quietly consoled him. Of his own feelings and hurt, the older twin had said naught. He only spoke soothing words of comfort, and from them Elrohir had gained the strength to move on.
But now the memories of that painful time threatened to take his mind again, and he felt the rising hatred and loathing that had forced him from his senses and filled his thoughts with an insane rage. Shoving his feelings down, Elrohir bridled his anger and tried to direct it, creating of it a tool rather than becoming a tool himself. He urged Gaearsul to even greater speeds, and sensing the fear of his rider, the elven horse willing complied. Leaping forward and compelling the others to also increase the pace, the band of elves and men swept down the Road with a speed that would have impressed Gwaihir and Landroval had they been there to see it.
The Road narrowed ahead of them as it bent to skirt the southern edge of wooded hills, and the company came together, with Gondor, Lothlórien, and Rivendell sweeping into formation before the elves of Mirkwood. The sound of their horses’ hooves echoed loud off the hills and seemed to demand even more speed. It was a race against time, and elven horses were too proud to let any challenge go unanswered. Straining to their utmost and galloping with a swiftness that had the horses of Gondor stumbling, they turned another sharp bend in the road, and then the rules of the game abruptly changed.
Elrohir felt his heart leap into his throat as his eyes caught sight of what lay before him. Further back in the line, Thranduil cursed and Aragorn echoed the statement in a rare instance of agreement between the two kings. Riding madly down the road on two frantic ponies came a pair of panicking adult hobbits and one crying hobbit child.
There was no sign of anyone else.
"Sam!" Aragorn called sharply, and Elrohir raised his hand for the company to come to a halt. Horses snorted as they stopped their mad gallop and a feeling of dread swept over the group. Where were the other hobbits? Where were Legolas and Gimli?
Seeming to snap out of his fear at Aragorn’s commanding voice, Sam looked up and a look of relief swept his face. "Orcs!" he cried, slowing his frightened pony and reaching over to aid Rosie in controlling her mount. "Orcs on the Road! They surrounded us and ordered us to surrender."
"How were you able to escape?" Aragorn demanded.
"Legolas and Gimli made a distraction and we got away, but they didn’t," Sam explained hurriedly, a note of grief and guilt rising in his voice. "Then Pippin and Merry rode back to help them and Arod was already missing and Rosie and Elanor here needed looking after so I couldn’t go back even though I wanted to and—"
"Peace, Samwise," Elrohir broke in, silence the hobbit’s rambling even as he began to assemble the scattered facts they were receiving from Sam’s muddled mind. "What we need now is information, not recrimination. How far away are the Orcs and are they still on the Road?"
"They’re about a mile away, maybe more," Sam answered, turning and pointing to the west.
"And they’re still on the Road," Rosie added, filling in for her flustered husband though she was still quite upset herself. Elanor had stopped crying, but she clung tightly to her mother and would not let go.
"Aragorn, have some of your men and some of the Galadhrim stay with these hobbits," Elrohir directed. "They must stay alert, for there may be more than one company of Orcs in these woods. As for the rest of us, we ride on!"
Urging Gaearsul forward, Elrohir was dimly aware of hurried commands on the part of Aragorn as he split his company. But they could not wait for such matters to be ordered, for if there remained even a chance of rescuing the others, they could afford to lose no time. Of course, he could have simply ordered Aragorn to keep his entire group here, but the heir of Isildur would never obey such an order. Aside from the fact that he was now a king and would chafe under such assumed authority, he would never consent to allowing others to ride to the rescue when it was his friends whose lives were on the line.
There was now a new sense of urgency that whipped the company down the Road at speed that threatened to send all the horses tumbling, not just those of Gondor. Elrohir thought once about slowing the mad pace for the sake of their mounts, but any delay at this point might be costly. Even deadly. With a shake of his head, Elrohir pushed such ominous thoughts to the back of his mind. Such thinking only clouded the reactions of a warrior and distracted him from the battle. Firmly disciplining himself as he had been taught to do over the course of more than a thousand years, he loosened his sword in its scabbard, moved up on Gaearsul, and settled into the rhythm of an insanely fast gallop.
They were coming to a section of the Road that ran straight for several miles, and if Sam was correct in his reckoning, the Orcs would be somewhere along here. The anticipation and adrenaline of the coming battle flooded him, and he felt the same anticipation take shape in Gaearsul as the horse snorted and lowered his head in an attempt to squeeze just a bit more speed out of his faltering legs. Elrohir’s peripheral vision picked up Thranduil moving forward to make up for the loss of half the forces of Lothlórien and Gondor, and the elves of Mirkwood began to spread wide so as to hit the Orcs on a broader base. The archers drifted to the back of the ranks, and Elrohir heard the creak of bows as they were strung and bent, arrows already notched and waiting. On his right, the Galadhrim and men of Gondor began to catch up with the rest of the group and move forward along with Mirkwood’s forces, though they were a bit behind the others due to the delay with the hobbits. Elrohir had lost track of Aragorn and he glanced back, hoping to find him quickly so that they might fight together. After a moment or two of searching, he found his foster brother and started to motion him to the front of the pack, but as they rounded the last corner before the straightaway, all thoughts of strategy and planning were drowned in a sea of rage.
Elrohir had never before seen so many Orcs gathered in one place in Eriador. He might have expected this near Mirkwood, around Mordor, within the passes of the Misty Mountains, or even in the far south of Gondor where legions of dark forces still gathered. But in Eriador…such a thing had not been seen since Gil-galad and his father had driven Sauron east of the mountains. Exchanging a horrified glance with Aragorn, whose eyes were likewise filled with shock and loathing, Elrohir called to his troops and sent Gaearsul toward the Orcs with the cry of one mad and the challenge of one enraged.
The Orcs turned at the sound of approaching hooves, and what captains remained to them suddenly shouted in alarm. Without even pausing to offer a defense against the coming elves, the fell creatures began racing into the woods, deserting the field before Elrohir could engage them in battle. From the back of the company came a shower of arrows as some of the Galadhrim and a few of the elves from Mirkwood loosed their bows. Shouts rang out from the Orcs struck by their arrows, but as the company from Rivendell reached the scene of the attack, they realized the futility of pursuing their quarry. The Orcs had scattered as dry leaves before a windstorm, and though they had left clear marks of their passing in the woods, there were too many different directions for Elrohir and his contingent to consider following them now. And here was now another puzzle for Elrohir’s confused mind. Orcs did not abandon a battle like that. They would occasionally retreat or they might be startled into a short rout by fear, but to simply scatter…what had happened here? It was as if they had been protecting something and fled to ensure that something’s safety. But Elrohir was not allowed to dwell on such thoughts, for there were now other things to contend with.
Littered along the Road were dead Orcs of every shape and size. Elrohir instantly recognized the telltale markings of Uruk-hai captains. He also noted the presence of smaller mountain goblins and wondered how they had been forced to travel and fight in sunlight. Then there were other Orcs, not so large as the Uruk-hai but stronger than the Orcs of the mountains. Some of them bore shields marked with the symbol of a red eye, and Elrohir felt his blood run cold. Mordor, his mind whispered. What are Orcs of Mordor doing in Eriador? Unable to solve this problem at the moment, Elrohir shook his head and turned his attention to perhaps the strangest and most disconcerting sight of all.
A large, dense ring of slain Orcs encircled a shocked, shaking, fuming, blood-splattered dwarf who stood with an axe poised to strike. With dark eyes he stared at the elves in disbelief as though his weary mind could not accept the reality of their coming. Behind Gimli, curled into a tight ball on the ground and moaning piteously in partial consciousness, lay a hobbit. Pippin, Elrohir recognized. Further away were the bodies of two hobbit ponies, their necks broken by the cruel hands of the Orcs. Of Merry and Legolas, there was no sign.
Aragorn’s deep voice broke the silence that had descended like a shroud over those now gathered, and along with the silence, it also seemed to break whatever trance had come over Gimli. With a shuddering breath, the dwarf blinked and turned away from the elves to stare at the surrounding woods and hills, his deep-set eyes searching vainly for some sign of his attackers. For a moment, none dared to breath and all eyes were fixed on the dwarf, who had paled and begun to shake. Then all jumped as with a wordless cry, Gimli began charging toward the trees, shocking the elves with his suddenness and ringing their ears with the force of his shout.
Fortunately, Aragorn seemed prepared for such action and he had already spurred Roheryn forward. Guiding the horse quickly and skillfully, he stopped his mount directly in the dwarf’s path. Skidding to a halt, Gimli was temporarily thrown off balance, which gave the king of Gondor time enough to dismount and knock the axe from Gimli’s hand. For a moment, no one dared move and dwarf and man stared at one another as though each looked a stranger. Then a terrible rage swept Gimli’s and he surged forward, forgetting the axe that now lay behind him. But as before, Aragorn was prepared and he seized the dwarf by the arms, planting his feet against the force of Gimli’s charge. But such was the dwarf’s strength that Aragorn was actually pushed back several feet before he found a firm foothold and managed to restrain his friend.
"He is gone," Aragorn hissed, his voice cold and his face stony as he held the dwarf back by brute force. "Seeking your own death will not avenge him."
Gimli made no answer to this, but he seemed to go limp and slumped against Aragorn, ceasing his efforts to press forward. Elrohir let out a sigh of relief and then turned to direct his forces, intending to send some out on scouting parties while others examined the dispatched Orcs. But much to surprise, he discovered that Thranduil had already taken care of such details, and the king of Mirkwood had even sent Lindir to examine Pippin. Seeing that all was ordered and his attention was not required for the moment, Elrond’s son directed Gaearsul toward Aragorn and Gimli, wondering if there was aught he could offer in the way of comfort or help.
Nearing the two, his heart constricted at the open agony on Gimli’s face. Never before had he seen a dwarf betray such emotion, and Rivendell had played host to several companies of dwarves traveling between the Blue Mountains west of the Shire and the Iron Hills east of Lake-town. Apart from Legolas, Elrohir and Elladan probably had more contact with the dwarves than any other elf left in Middle Earth, but never had a dwarf so blatantly prostrated grief before him. Aragorn was now kneeling next to Gimli and had a firm hand on his shoulder, but he seemed to be searching for something more to do. More than that, he seemed to be searching for a way to bury his own grief and distress while he dealt with more immediate matters, but it was clear that the horror of what had happened was beginning to clutch at the king’s heart. Bringing Gaearsul to a stop, Elrohir dismounted and approached softly, fearful of disturbing the two.
But Gimli had been Legolas’s friend too long to not feel the pull of an elven gaze, and a mask quickly descended upon his face as he turned to watch Elrohir. Their eyes met for a brief moment ere the dwarf looked away, and Elrohir shivered at the despair and darkness slowly creeping over Gimli, hidden though it was. Elrond’s son moved to speak, stopped, and then shook his head. A battle had happened here, and they needed information. They were not going to get answers from Pippin in the near future, which left the dwarf as their only source. He is a warrior, Elrohir reminded himself. He knows to put grief behind him and he will understand our needs. Even if Estel is loath to seek them, we must have answers.
His mind made up, the son of Elrond took a step forward and then went down on one knee, bringing himself down to eye-level with the dwarf. At another time this move might have been mistaken for condescension and an affront to dwarven pride, but Elrohir felt that Gimli would understand the compassion and concern behind this gesture. Waiting until the dwarf looked back at him, he forced his face to assume a mask of calm. "Gimli, what happened here?" Elrohir asked gently.
"Orcs," the dwarf whispered after a moment of hesitation. He closed his eyes, took a steadying breath that seemed strangely elven, and then stepped away from Aragorn. "They were waiting for us and we were ambushed. There was nothing we could do to prevent it."
"Tell us," Elrohir implored, capturing the dwarf’s dark eyes with his own and ignoring Aragorn’s sharp looks. "We must know the details."
"We’d just come upon the hobbits and were speaking with them," Gimli answered, shuddering slightly as the weariness of battle began to creep over him and the adrenaline within his system faded. "All seemed well until Legolas sensed the Orcs. They were not yet visible, but that quickly changed. We were riding swiftly when they broke from the trees before us. Legolas and I attacked them, hoping that an offensive might buy time for the hobbits to retreat to a place of safety and hiding, but the Orcs were also behind us. We were surrounded on all sides. Rivendell was cut off, and there was no retreat to be had."
"How many were there?" Aragorn asked, and in his voice was a strange degree of tension that Elrohir had not heard since Halbarad had died upon the Pelennor fields.
The mask over Gimli’s despair was becoming more opaque now, and save for yet another deep breath that was strangely reminiscent of meditation techniques used by the Sindarin, Gimli seemed to resume his gruff, abrupt dwarven personality. "I do not know. They were milling about and I could not count, nor did Legolas give me a number. The elf and I broke off our attack in order to better protect the hobbits. It was strange," the dwarf murmured, his voice becoming soft. "They did not pursue us but rather allowed us to retreat into the middle of the circle. It was almost as if they did not want to fight us. We drew together and then…" Gimli trailed and shook his head, murmuring incoherent words beneath his breath that sounded very much like a rather foul dwarven curse.
"Gimli?" Elrohir questioned.
"Never give an elf leave to plan your escape," the dwarf eventually growled. "Legolas had the grand idea of cutting a path through the Orcs using arrows, Arod, and me. The hobbits would follow the horse and hopefully break free of the press. It was a wonderful idea except for the fact that the stupid elf would still be trapped inside the Orcs’ circle."
"I take it you did not go along with his plan?" Elrohir observed when the dwarf paused.
"Of course not," Gimli said indignantly. "Without me, Legolas does not know a hilt from a blade. I doubt he could even find his own quiver without my assistance, much less string an arrow. I let him know in no uncertain terms that if he was staying, then so was I. I am proud to say that I won that particular argument."
"What happened next?" Elrohir asked, trying to direct the conversation back to the flow of the battle’s narrative.
"They asked us to surrender."
"They what!?" This announcement seemed to shake Aragorn from his own cloud of grief and a bit of life entered his dark gray eyes as he studied Gimli and considered his words. "These were Orcs, correct? And they asked you to surrender?"
"We were rather surprised by it as well," Gimli said, sighing. "Of course we refused. That’s when Legolas began his attack. Arod charged, I charged, the hobbits broke free, and then I turned to fight my way back to Legolas." Gimli then stopped and shook his head, turning his eyes to the forest. "But I was cut off. I could not get back to his side. There were too many of them."
"There was nothing you could do," Aragorn murmured, sighing quietly and running a hand wearily through his dark hair. "There are some things that you cannot change no matter how hard you fight them."
"Gimli, you said the hobbits broke clear," Elrohir broke in, realizing that Aragorn was becoming too burdened by grief to think clearly. "How is it that Pippin was with you when we rode in? And what of Merry?"
"Merry and Pippin chose to come back," Gimli murmured wearily. "A fool’s idea, and Pippin will pay for it with the knock he received to his head. It was all I could do to keep the Orcs away from him after he fell. As for Merry…" The dwarf trailed off and a sudden trembling took his frame. "He went down just before Legolas did."
Elrohir glanced back at the sight of the battle and then turned to both Aragorn and Gimli, coming to the question that Estel was not prepared to ask. "Where are Legolas and Merry now?"
Aragorn rounded on his foster brother with the same forceful glare that had managed to wrest Orthanc’s palantir from Sauron’s grasp, but Elrohir was not watching the king of Gondor. His eyes were focused instead on Gimli, who seemed shamed and upset rather than grieved by the question. "The Orcs took them," the dwarf hissed. "I know not where. I could not prevent it, and they were rendered unconscious and so could not resist."
Elrohir nodded and then turned his sharp eyes to Aragorn, who was almost trembling with hope unlooked for. "They were not killed?" the man questioned.
"I do not think so." The dwarf’s voice was still a whisper and even Elrohir had to strain his elven hearing to catch the muttered words. "At the beginning of the attack, I noted that the Orcs carried primarily staffs, clubs, and staves. They were after prisoners, not corpses."
"Why did you not say so?!" Aragorn’s grief swiftly turned to anger and Gimli backed up in surprise. "From your face and your sorrow, I judged that they had perished at the hands of the Orcs!"
Understanding dawned and Gimli hastily shook his head. "Nay, they yet lived when the attackers fled, or so I deemed when I saw Merry flung over an Orc shoulder. My apologies, Aragorn. I did not mean to cause you grief. You should have asked."
"You should have made clear the fact that they were not killed!"
"Peace," Elrohir soothed, glancing over his shoulder as peripheral vision caught movement. He grimaced when he saw that Thranduil was walking toward them. This was quite possibly the last thing Gimli and Aragorn needed. Still, there was naught to do about it save to build up their hopes and prepare them for a rather unpleasant encounter with Legolas’s father. Would that Elladan were here instead of me. He has more the stomach for delicate matters such as this. But there was nothing to be done about that, and so Elrohir set about doing what little he could manage under the circumstances. "Seek not to place the blame upon yourselves, both of you," Elrohir said, his voice firm. "What matters is that Legolas and Merry are not dead and we have a hope in seeing them again. All is not lost and hope remains with us so long as we allow it to. We must now discover the devices of our enemies and, if possible, their motives. Such things will aid us in the search for our lost comrades and hasten the time of our vengeance and their freedom." He then turned as Mirkwood’s king reached them and nodded his head by way of greeting. "How fares the hobbit?"
"Lindir believes he shall recover consciousness soon," Thranduil answered, not looking at Elrohir but instead running sharp eyes over Aragorn and Gimli. To their credit, neither flinched beneath the weighty stare, and Elrohir silently thanked the Valar that Aragorn had been raised among the elves and that Gimli had become an elf-friend. As such, both knew how to withstand the weight of an elven gaze, and this ability now saved them from further anguish. To show weakness before Thranduil was to condemn oneself.
"I see you have already sent out scouting parties," Elrohir continued, having a fairly good idea of what direction Thranduil’s thoughts were taking and attempting to sidetrack the older elf.
"Yes, I have," Thranduil answered, not taking his eyes from Aragorn and Gimli. It was, perhaps, fortunate that they were both there, for even experienced as they were, one alone might not have been able to withstand his accusing glare. "This is a strange place to meet, heir of Isildur," the king of Mirkwood finally spoke, and his voice was heavy with accusation and condescension. "Was it not you who sent my son on this mission with no more guard than a lone dwarf?"
Aragorn’s eyes hardened but aside from that he evinced no sign of the great anger Elrohir knew to be building within the king of Gondor. Aragorn opened his mouth to reply, but the next words came not from him but from the dwarf who stood beside him.
"You underestimate your son’s abilities, great king of Mirkwood, if you think he cannot stand against a press of foes with no more defense than a lone dwarf," Gimli growled, laying a hand to the haft of his axe. "And you underestimate my abilities if you mean to belittle the defense that a lone dwarf might have to offer.
Thranduil glared at Gimli but made no answer, giving the impression that conversation with a dwarf was somehow beneath him. Turning his gaze fully on Aragorn, he caught the king of Gondor in a weighty stare that caused even Estel of Imladris to narrow his eyes slightly. "You did not answer my question, King Elessar. Was it not you who sent my youngest son into peril without so much as an honor guard for company?"
"King Thranduil, Lord Legolas requested specifically that only he and Gimli be sent," Aragorn said coolly. "And it is my experience that your son is more than capable of handling himself. Beyond that, we were unaware of any threat at the time that he was sent."
"Were you? Legolas and Arwen had both warned you of a deepening shadow in the mountains. And rumor has it that Lindir, Elladan, and Elrohir also expressed concern. Yet you failed to heed these warnings, much as your ancestor did despite the great sacrifice of the elves."
"Thranduil!" Elrohir said sharply, but before he could say more and before Aragorn could rise to his own defense, it was Gimli yet again who spoke up.
"How long have you sequestered yourself in Mirkwood with no thought for the outside world?" Gimli demanded, his voice becoming cold as a winter in the Misty Mountains. "Through your son I have learned that elven eyes are keen, yet your sight seems to be clouded. How is it that you have raised such an elf as Legolas? For his sake have I held my anger in check, but I see no need to watch my tongue now. You stand in the presence of heroes who have more than earned their renown, and yet you think only of prejudices and offenses long past. You may be my senior by thousands of years, Thranduil, king of Mirkwood, but by your words, you are a child."
Elrohir froze, his eyes darting to Thranduil as the king drew back in rage at the dwarf’s words. No one had spoken thus to the king of Mirkwood since the death of Oropher, and ancient elven eyes glittered as they pinned Gimli beneath all the weight of an elven lords’ wrath. But the surprises were not finished for the day, and Elrohir cringed when Aragorn suddenly began to speak, shifting Thranduil’s gaze from Gimli to himself.
"You forget yourself, my fellow king," Aragorn said, and in his voice was a hint of the commanding tone that had caused even the dead at the Stone of Erech to obey his will. "You remember not to whom you speak, nor do you remember our labors in freeing Middle Earth of Sauron’s shadow. Have I not reclaimed the throne of Gondor? And has not Gimli aided in the destruction of the Morannon and Barad-dûr? As for your earlier words, Thranduil, son of Oropher, I am not my ancestors. It is the nature of my Race to change over time, and change can be for the best. It seems that the you have forgotten that as well, and it would be wisdom to consider such things ere you speak again. Come, Gimli," Aragorn said, turning to the dwarf. "Let us see how Pippin fares and whether we may lend Lindir our aid." And with a polite nod to Thranduil and a hidden smile for Elrohir, the king of Gondor turned away. It took Gimli a moment to follow for he had to give Thranduil a taste of what it was to receive a dwarven glare, but he eventually did turn with a last look of utter contempt for Mirkwood’s king.
And so we are divided, Elrohir sighed, watching a plethora of emotions race across Thranduil’s face. From both within and without, forces seek to divide us. We have lost Legolas and Merry to Orcs. We have lost cohesion and unity to prejudice. Shall we also lose the alliance between elves and men? Mayhap Elladan’s shadow does more than hide the forces of darkness. Perhaps it divides those of us who would be allies and so weakens us.
"He should never have been raised in Rivendell," Thranduil said flatly, his fists clenching and unclenching at his side. "And that dwarf should be expelled from Imladris at once."
Elrohir lifted a fair brow at this and fixed a stony gaze on the Sindarin king. "Choose your words carefully, Thranduil, for Estel is as a brother to me. I will tolerate no ill talk of him. As for Gimli, did you not hear the king of Gondor? He has earned the respect of all the free peoples of Middle Earth. Neither I nor my brother will deny him anything, and you presume much in recommending such action to me. See that you do not overstep your boundaries, king of Mirkwood, for Rivendell is far from your own realm."
Thranduil stared in shock at Elrond’s son. "Have the mortals also blinded you?"
"Strange as this may seem to one such as you, I believe the dwarf to be right," Elrohir said bluntly with a strained laugh. "Keen elven sight may be, but yours is clouded." And with these final words, the son of Elrond turned away from Thranduil, unable to tolerate the prejudices that still pervaded elven thought.
Posto sí, Arod. Posto a deri an min—Rest here, Arod. Rest and wait for us.
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.